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Reality Unwrapped

By Joanna Miller in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 27, 2006 5:54PM

Chicagoist loves opening presents. We love the element of surprise. But when presented with a naked woman wearing a big red bow, well, you pretty much know what you’re going to get when you unwrap it. And, frankly, we think Gold Coast resident Gina Huerta should have known what she was getting into when she signed up to compete on ABC’s “American Inventor” with her Naughty Knot product.

Huerta claims that when she first presented her invention, a red bow designed to wrap (and then unwrap) around a woman’s body, producers of the "American Idol" rip-off loved it and encouraged her to wear it with nothing underneath for the taping. She brought a naked model instead to wow the judges, but was shocked with their response. knot1.jpg

“They acted so shocked, so horrified, and the female judge stormed off, calling my invention ridiculous," Huerta said. "The whole time I stayed calm even though they were all trying to pick a fight with me. They called it garbage, a rag."

While we’re not wowed by her design and could make the argument that it blatantly objectifies the woman wearing it, who are we to tell consenting adults how to behave in the bedroom? There are far more risqué things than a big red bow. But that’s exactly why the Naughty Knot was perfect fodder for reality TV dramatics. It’s not too scandalous for primetime but ridiculous enough to be mocked.

And the “producers tricked me” argument? Honey, please. Either you’re just working the system for maximum publicity or you’ve been living under a rock for several years. It’s reality TV – they’re going to take advantage of you.

That said, Chicagoist loves a lot of reality TV, but we find “American Inventor” unwatchable. It’s not because the judges pick fights with contestants (they do) or because they're especially smug and condescending (they are), it’s that we just can’t stand watching the parade of middle-age hopefuls who’ve taken out second mortgages or raided their kids’ college funds for their worthless inventions only to be told they have nothing. It’s just too depressing.