I have to give her credit: Mary Lou was not annoying at all in last night's episode (if you overlook the first hour recap). She actually had some very good advice to guide her three inventors with their $50,000 investments.
To Niya doll creater, Mary Lou recommended that Daria bring her product into the 21st century; and at the judgment portion of the show, Mary Lou asked the insightful question of whether the time for Niya has come and passed. For all of my ranting of the worthlessness of a talking piece of plastic, I have not conceded that a multi-cultural toy was quite revolutionary twenty years ago. Allow me for a moment to reveal some personality: twenty years ago, I was Daria's target audience, a young girl of color in a predominantly Caucasian community. I didn't want to play with the black-haired Barbie(R) wearing a floral tube top and a hula skirt, I wanted the blond Barbie(R) with the pink convertible and the boyfriend. Now, culture is different. Difference is celebrated at the Gap and United Colors of Benetton ads. Hip hop is huge. The new and improved Niya needed more than a fresh song laid over bongo beats. Niya needed to teach more than counting to five in three languages. Niya needed more tech if Daria wanted any tech at all. What advice would you give Daria?
It seems that most of these inventor's are hung up on one aspect of their product's potential or else they mistakenly believe that their product is applicable to everyone in all situations all of the time. Jerry, my favorite personality, as you know, is the hapless victim of the latter. He declared before the panel that his competitors were serving niche markets whereas exercise is universal. Um, newsflash: American obesity is at a record high (another personal aside: I just noticed in a picture last night that my elbows are fat). I'm willing to bet that a lot of us who don't go to the gym are even less likely to buy a cumbersome portable weight and pulley set. Let's not even go into his debilitating incapability to make decisions. And, poor Jerry's test-drive video! Giving the EZ X system to a traveling businessman to try would have been brilliant had it not been for the slingshot to the groin scene appropriate for ABC's other hit show Funniest Home Videos. Are you like Jerry: someone who hands the reins to "experts" to avoid possible failure? Do you think this is a good tactic so you can focus on your area of expertise?
Francisco, on the other hand, has a serious shot at winning the whole caboodle. His flexibility and determination combine in all the right ways. He took Mary Lou's directive of making the traction bike hipper and safer, and hurtled the additional benchmark of making his front seat removable. Even I, who leaves her bike in the basement to collect dust nine months of the twelve, would consider acquiring this attachment for the times I want to bike somewhere but my companion lacks a vehicle. (Digression number three: If only Francisco can come up with double traction roller skates!) Do you think Francisco made the right decision? Should he have gone the other direction and target parents?
Next week we are spared the insufferable wacky highlights episode and get to see Peter's and Doug's three respective inventors bring their feeble baubles to viable realities. Tune in to inc.com to see what sort of delightful commentary I have about them!