So Monday was the big night! The Apprentice finale. I was quite excited. Not super excited, however. I don’t know what it is. I love The Apprentice, and yet, every season, NBC manages to bungle the finale — making it a ponderous, awkward affair. I think it all started with season two during that dreadful, endless finale at Carnegie Hall. What should have been a fun celebration of a season’s worth of bickering turned into a lame (and boring) survey of what random people in the audience thought about the contestants. It was so bad that a) I think the show managed to lose almost all of its buzz in that single night, and b) it meant that future finale shows would be pared down and completely lacking a reunion. I don’t know why Mark Burnett has never followed his simple yet flawless Survivor model when it comes to the Apprentice finale, but I went into Monday’s show hoping he’d maybe buck the trend. Not so much. Truth was that I actually really enjoyed the first hour of tonight’s episode, but the Boardroom — the most reliable cornerstone of any Apprentice edition — was severely lacking. By the time The Donald called out the winner, I had already checked out halfway. On the upside, we got plenty of Lenny, and Trump was out of control with his yelling. Hmmm… so what am I complaining about?Okay, first off — if you notice a certain jittery nervousness in my writing, that’s because I just nearly had a heart attack when I thought I had pasted my Real World/Road Rules Challenge notes over my Apprentice notes. Luckily, disaster was averted when I found a backup copy. I now have adrenaline coursing through my veins — which might be a good thing since I’ll probably be up late writing this. Anyhoo, enough about me. Let’s get on with the show!
After watching Deal or No Deal featuring Celine Dion (or as I so cleverly dubbed her back in 9th grade, Vaseline Dion), it was finally time to being The Apprentice season finale. NBC boasted that this was live from Hollywood, but technically, this was airing from Downtown Los Angeles. I mean, I don’t want to split hairs or anything. Oh, what am I talking about. I’m writing a blog on the internet. Of course I want to split hairs! And while I’m at it, I’d like to take a few seconds to bitch at NBC. Yeah, you, NBC. This site gives so much free press and publicity (favorable publicity at that) to The Apprentice (especially at a time when every other media outlet is relishing the show’s ratings decline), you’d think the least they’d do would be to throw some finale tickets our way. C’mon now! Feel shame, NBC. You’ve done the blogosphere wrong.
Anyway, as a raucous crowd cheered in the famous Orpheum theater, a door opened and in walked The Donald with George and Carolyn just steps behind him. I wondered if this grand entrance would lead to another dramatic coat-tossing adventure with Robin, but alas, Trump kept a firm hand on all his vestments.
Trump then made his way down the theater aisle, shaking people’s hands all along the way. It was a silly display, but at least it afforded us the opportunity to gawk at people in the crowd. Why, there was Mark Burnett! And Heidi from season one! Oh, and the angel herself: Melania. Ooooh! Ooooh! Dreamboat alert! Donald Jr.! And if it wasn’t the least exposed reality star on television: Ms. OMAROSA MANIGAULT-STALWORTH. Feel the hyphenate! (Actually, I think she’s divorced now, but how can I ever resist calling her by her most regal name?)
Eventually Trump and his sidekicks made their way up to their seats on the stage, and as the crowd cheered loudly, The Donald exclaimed, “WOW!” Wow indeed. Little known fact: walking through the crowd and being overwhelmed by the reaction is a THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!
Caesar! Caesar! Caesar!
Trump then did that little thing where he flares both palms outwards and said, “We love The Apprentice!” Well, duh. It’s YOUR show. Of course you love it. And stop using the Royal We. Who do you think you are? Perez Trump?
Hey, were you wondering why this finale was in Los Angeles and not New York? Me neither. But Trump then told us that the reason for the locale was because the next season (starting in January) would be filmed in Hollywood, a.k.a. “La-La Land.” Question: why was it so damn funny to hear Trump say “La-La Land?” Something about his gruff voice saying “La-La” just tickled me. Tickled me pink, I say!
Trump then dove into his most favorite activity: outlandish exaggeration. He said, “In every way, this season has been a tremendous success.” Well, except for the declining ratings and unspectacular job applicants. But go on. Trump continued: “And I couldn’t have asked for two stronger candidates and finalists than Sean and Lee.” Uh, actually you could have, but we’ll let it slide. Anyway, this was all an elaborate intro to a nifty video package that recapped Sean and Lee’s wonderful (read: boring) journeys. Oddly enough, during this montage, when we learned that Lee had selected Pepi for his team, the crowd suddenly burst with cheers. Huh? Why? Did Pepi have some hidden fan base that we didn’t know about? Maybe he just bought everyone in the theater pizza beforehand. Total guess. But Pepi kind of seems like the type that buys other people pizza. And then stiffs them with the bill. Oh, I BET YOU DO THAT ALL THE THE TIME, DON’T YOU, PEPI???
Four hours later, we finally saw the opening credits, which were followed by a loving camera shot of Mark Burnett (again), and then it was back to Trump. The big man asked the audience who they thought should win. First: Lee. Strong applause, but nothing too rapturous. I did notice that one Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth did not deign to clap her hands. Let it be known throughout all the lands of the Trump kingdom: Lee was not endorsed by the Manigault-Stallworth party! And for good reason, I might add. Lee had the most annoying fans in that theater. They were all dressed up like him and bouncing around. I envisioned them as those things in carnival games that pop up that you have to bash with a hammer. They were probably actors paid by NBC anyway.
Trump then asked the crowd if he should hire Sean, and the response was significantly louder. Everyone cheered, including Omarosa. Sean should always feel special knowing he capture the all valuable Manigault-Stallworth vote.
“Believe it or not,” Trump then said, “I haven’t made up my mind yet.” Oh really? What a surprise. How funny that he says that at every single season finale.. This time, however, The Donald then implored us to go to NBC.com and vote for who we think he should hire. Just as I was all excited to log on (not really), a message came up on my screen: “Voting is now closed.” GREAT. Thanks for vote-teasing us. So far this Apprentice in L.A. thing isn’t work out so well. First you shun your most loyal blog, then you don’t let us vote in your dumb poll. What’s next? You’re gonna stop saying “You’re fired!”? What other torture must we endure???
Anyway, you may have forgotten, but we were only midway through the final task when we began this episode. Last week, we were left with a cliffhanger: would Sean’s team survive after Andrea had to excuse herself for coughing up blood? Yes, it seemed as though the sticker queen had come down with that most dreaded of illnesses from 19th century lit: CONSUMPTION. Surely her tale would end with a long, harrowing death in the English countryside (or the slums of Russia. Either way). Oooor, maybe not. Yes, we saw Andrea head to a doctor’s office, and after checking her out, the MD concluded that she was… absolutely fine. Just some minor membrane tears. No big whoop. Still, that didn’t stop Andrea from clutching the doctor’s hands lovingly. For a moment, I thought one of them might get down on one knee and propose.
Well, Andrea happily returned to her team and announced that she had been merely suffering from a burst blood vessel in her sinuses. LAME. She has the consumption, I say! By the way, funny TB story. (Feel free to skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want to go down a tangential route). One time at this job I had in high school, I worked in the box office of a performing arts center. Well, the big guest musician of the night showed up, and he was sick as a dog; so I had to drive him to the doctor’s. This guy was coughing up a storm in my car, and I was not very happy, but I was like whatever. It’ll be okay. So the musician meets with the doctor, gets some meds, and as we’re driving back, he’s like “Oh, it’s probably tuberculosis. I forgot to mention I was in Peru earlier this month, and I’m pretty sure I was exposed to it.” You’ve never seen car windows roll down so fast. I mean, that’s like saying, “Oh, I forgot to tell you, I HAVE EBOLA. Hope you don’t mind that I’ve been coughing on your face!” So that’s my consumption story. Moving on…
With Andrea cured and ready to get back to work, there wasn’t much else to worry about on Sean’s team. After all, they seemed to have everything under control. Gold Rush, on the other hand, was still a mess. Lee was in charge of running a celebrity hockey game at Chelsea Piers to benefit the Denis Leary Firefighters Fund or whatever. Here’s a good rule of thumb: any event that involves the Chelsea Piers and/or more than one celebrity always equals disaster. Too many important people to track and too expansive a location to patrol.
Anyway, where we left Gold Rush last week, the charity’s main woman, Liz, was coming over to hear Lee’s plans for the event. And let me tell you something: Liz was one tough cookie, and I’m not just saying that because she looked like she just ate an actual bag of cookies. She was all about reprimanding Lee last episode. This week, however, she suddenly seemed to be in a better mood — at least for two seconds. When Lee opened the main door for her to walk in, Liz entered all super happy with a giant grin on her face. It was as if she just ran into her old friend at the super market. Meanwhile, all I could think of was Horatio Sanz’s Carol character. IIIIIII’MMM LIZ!!!!
Well, HappyLiz only lasted for so long because soon her classic, ball-busting side came out. She was annoyed because she didn’t feel like there was a beginning, middle and end to the event. Okay, basically, she just wanted a make-your-own-sundae stand. OH, I KID! Truth was that for some reason, I suddenly began to like Liz this episode, despite her bitter, crusty attitude. She was especially amusing in the way that she battled Lenny. She constantly berated him, saying snappy things like “You think, or you know?” Forget Bill Rancic. Next time George or Carolyn is gone, put Liz in the Boardroom!
“I will EAT you.”
Anyway, the bombshell news that came out of this Liz meeting was that the person in charge of dealing with all the celebrities would be… Lenny? Yes, Lenny. Oh, that sounds like it couldn’t go absolutely wrong at all. Even Liz couldn’t help bulging her eyes with surprise. Listen, Lee. We know you love Lenny, and that’s admirable. It’s hard not to love him. But seriously, don’t be an idiot. Put Roxanne on celebrity detail.
Meanwhile, over at Synergy, things were going pretty well. Sean decided to meet up with the Pontiac exec that he had previously snubbed in order to ogle menu items for his VIP party. The feisty Brit took the exec (who shared a strong resemblance to Food Network chef Tyler Florence) into the main concert area and revealed his idea to have Trump drive the Pontiac on stage, all set to dramatic music. Everything sounded awesome… that is, until Sean floated the idea of having a man in a panda suit ride shotgun with Trump. Huh? What? You see, the WWF’s main symbol is a Panda; so obviously a guy in a panda suit would be perfect! I mean, that wouldn’t degrade the Pontiac brand at all! Right? Hey, and why don’t we have the guy in the suit piss on the car too! That’ll be awesome!
As you can imagine, this idea did not sit too well with the Pontiac exec. “We could have the panda bear just walk on stage,” Sean then suggested in his desperate attempt to keep the panda dream alive. Look, Sean. This isn’t the Monty Python. Just drop it already. To paraphrase Mean Girls, stop trying to make panda happen. It’s not going to happen.
We then went to commercial, but not before gazing upon the live audience once again where we found Melania staring off into space. It occurred to me that in her head, she must always be listening to Enya. And none of that chipper “Book of Days” or “Orinoco Flow” junk. I’m talking about those morose Celtic dirges that Enya loves to bust out with. Btw, here’s my textual impersonation of Enya. ooooooaaaaaAAAAAHHHHH.
Upon return from the break, we saw glimpses of Sean and Lee’s lame hometown parties, and then Trump introduced the next segment, saying, “It’s crunch time for Sean and Lee. Will their teams be able to step up? LET’S [pause] SEE!” He then added, “Smoking sucks– the air out of your lungs!”
We then headed back to the world of Synergy as über-relevant / not-annoying-at-all “rockers” Barenaked Ladies arrived at the Trump Taj Mahal. As you can imagine, the moment they stepped out of that limo was absolutely thrilling. Kind of. Not really. Okay, so there was nothing special about this scene whatsoever, but while Sean hobnobbed with the celebs, Tarek was busy introducing George Ross (dressed in a casual, Adam Brody-ish, argyle sweater) to a hottie lady from SLS — a speaker company that I guess was sponsoring this event. The woman babbled on and on about branding and speakers and even Quincy Jones (was it me, or was this a Pontiac event?), leading George to tell us that Sean should have been present — he wasn’t spending enough time with his team. Oh George. He just wanted a cookie.
Ah, memories. Best cookie EVER!
The next day, we went back to Gold Rush to see how their disaster of an event was working out. Lee told us he felt confident, which is no real surprise. He’d say he felt confident if he was the last person standing on the Titanic. Anyway, with only a few hours to go before the event, Lee met with a woman named Christine from the Leary Firefighters Foundation. She appeared to be sweet and cuddly on the outside, sort of like an alterna-version of ballroom dancer Ashly Delgrosso. I’m surprised Lee didn’t nudge Christine and say, “Have you met that bitch, Liz?”
Ah, but appearances are deceiving. Christine may have looked a little cuter than Liz (not a difficult achievement), but she sure wasn’t any easier to deal with. She busted Lee over his program, complaining, “There’s no show. I’m bored.” She then asked how everything was downstairs in the locker room, and Lenny joked, “Half of the stuff was stolen, and actually, we just replace it.” Oh Lenny. Some of that classic “half-stolen” comedy. That always kills. I hear they’re still talking about it in Kiev.
Well, Christine was understandably not happy with this response. “Comedian,” she said sarcastically before attempting a comeback. “I’m so glad you have so much, you know, such a comic … [garbled words] … when we have our game in how many hours?” God, is everyone at this foundation a bitch?
“I refuse to dance with Master P again!”
“I would say it was like your worst nightmare,” Roxanne then told us in an interview. I couldn’t imagine that she was exaggerating. I mean, why in the world did Lee have Lenny interacting with so many people — Christine, the celebrities. Is he a total idiot? Yeah, Lenny may be loyal, but let Roxanne be the people person. Then again, having Lenny on the front lines made for infinitely more amusing television. So… right on, Lee!
We then saw some random b-roll of a little girl skating by the camera slowly, and then it was off to the changing rooms where Lenny and Pepi were stocking jerseys and helmets in the players’ lockers. One problem: they didn’t have any sizes. This meant they had to eyeball everything (read: guess), and that translated to Lenny giving nearly everyone medium-sized jerseys, especially John McEnroe, who he insisted had “definitely very small head.” I wonder if Lenny studies head size as a hobby. Perhaps he dabbles in the lost art of phrenology?
Meanwhile, back at Synergy, it looked like the team was about to face its biggest crisis since Andrea’s fake tuberculosis. Tarek couldn’t find the CD that was supposed to play at the pre-party (over those SLS speakers, no less). This sent the team into a panic as they scoured their workspace looking for the errant CD. Finally, Sean called Tammy and had her come to the war room to help with the search. Might this be the end of Sean???
Well, Tammy walked in and noticed a pile of CDs sitting on the table. She asked if Sean had looked through them, and sure enough, there was the missing CD. In the pile of CDs. Who would have thought? This caused Sean to punch the air with excitement and exclaim that Tammy was “my lucky charm.” Yes. Without her, he may have never have learned that if you’re looking for a CD, you should look in a pile of, you know, CDs.
And so non-disaster was averted, thus restoring my belief that Sean was going to win this hands down. I mean, seriously. The biggest drama that he’s had was that he lost a CD for two minutes? What’s next? He’s gonna have an itch on his back that he can’t reach?
On the other end of the spectrum was Lee, who was facing problems at every turn. The next big debacle came when celebrity hockey player / racecar-wrecker Jason Priestly arrived at the rink WITH NO ESCORT! Dunh dunh DUNH! The cardinal sin of every season is when VIPs have no one to hold their hand for every passing second. God forbid people have to “walk on their own.” Well, while Brandon Walsh wandered aimlessly towards the locker room, none other than Christine the anti-comedian witnessed this and was not happy. She quickly reported to Lee that Jason Priestly was on the loose, and worse yet, Lenny was not answering his cell phone (when celebs arrived, a woman would call Lenny, and he’d escort them to the locker room). Luckily, a capable young woman named Liz (no relation to LIZ) arrived and said she’d guide the celebs around the rink. We knew she’d be on top of it because of her confident hand-wave that seemed to say, “Don’t worry. I got this DOWN!” Keep an eye on that one, Mr. Trump!
Random aside: I know they’ve been there all season, but for some reason, on this show I couldn’t help noticing just how huge Lee’s ears were. They were like the fake ones that Chris Kattan used to put on to play Mr. Peepers. Anyone else ever see that?
Anyway, the excitement really began to ratchet up when the luminous (read: plastic surgery’d) Jaime Pressly arrived to do… something. Basically, it was NBC’s way of reminding us that My Name Is Earl can be found every Thursday at 8 PM. Unfortunately for Jaime, she had to deal with the mildly lecherous Lenny who offered, “You want to see players? They all naked now.” Wow, he sure knows how to sweet talk the VIPs. We then headed down to the locker room, and man, were the stars out tonight! There was Denis Leary! And Stephen Baldwin! And… Paul Guilfoyle. Yay? Jaime then entered and shook hands with all the guys, who were in various stages of undress. It was kind of like that one scene with Cameron Diaz in Any Given Sunday, except with less penis.
This was all fun and everything, but soon the problems looked to be festering once again. Denis Leary complained that his jersey might be too small, and John McEnroe, well, he just looked like a crazy homeless man. I really didn’t know what was up with that.
“Spare a dime?”
Soon we heard angry Jaws-type music, and into the rink walked Carolyn, sniffing out fresh blood at every corner. While she quietly observed, Jaime Pressly found herself unattended to, and if there’s anyone who’s not afraid to be high maintenance, it’s her. She smacked her lips in boredom and contempt, surely adding fuel to Carolyn’s fire.
“I’m still trying to figure out why Lee has Lenny on his team,” Carolyn said, “Lenny is not giving a level of comfort to any client, donor, VIP, you name it. Lenny is not make anybody feel comfortable. Plus, I don’t understand for the life of me why Lee chose Pepi. Pepi was fired the second week in this interview process. It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.” You’re wrong, Carolyn. It does make sense… if you’re an IDIOT.
We then cut to commercial, and when we returned, we found the camera trained on some blonde woman in the audience. Was that… could it be… Marla Maples? It sure looked like her. And the little girl by her side looked just like Trump, assuming he was a 12 year old tweener with blonde hair.
Anyway, we then returned our gaze to The Donald (the real one, not the adolescent girl version). “Before we continue, let’s bring out the other candidates. LET’S GO!” he blared, and with that, all the fired contestants marched onto the stage through a door. This led to unintentional comedy when Leslie walked in as clearly expected the door to be held for her. She had a rude awakening, however, when the door whipped back and slammed her in the shoulder. They’re called arms, Leslie. USE THEM.
The whole gang looked pretty much the same. There were a few changes though. Andrea was now sporting bangs (and a wannabe trendy outfit that surely has scandalized the sticker community). Charmaine, on the other hand, was wearing an ensemble that was entirely too dowdy for her. And then there was Roxanne, who was single-handedly attempting to bring back the puffy-shirt craze (not seen since, oh, 1756). Once everyone was seated, Trump then extolled them with high praise. “It’s great to see all of you again. It really is. I mean, we had a hard time together. You all got FIRED!” The Donald said, adding a certain pirate’s voice emphasis on the word “FIRED.” It was pretty awesome. I think Trump should conduct more Boardrooms with his pirate inflection.
Anyway, we soon got back to the final challenge, and over at Gold Rush, the whole silent auction gambit wasn’t really doing so hot. In fact, there had only been one bid. Haha. Lee sucks. Just when things couldn’t get any worse, Trump then called up to say he’d be arriving in ten minutes. “Will I be impressed when I get over there in ten minutes?” Trump asked. BEING IMPRESSED WHEN HE GETS OVER THERE IN TEN MINUTES IS A THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY! Actually, to be fair, Trump really will be impressed. Lee had shaped the rink to look like Melania’s forehead. Okay, I just made that up.
Well, sure enough, The Donald arrived ten minutes later, and where was Lee? Nowhere! Cardinal sin! When Trump called, Lee should have been out there waiting. Nevertheless, Trump was left all alone, causing him to scowl, “They never learn.” They really don’t, do they? Every season someone forgets to greet Trump. To be fair, Lee didn’t forget. He just was late. He eventually did meet up with the big man and guided him to his reserved seat and oops! The Pontiac Execs were sitting in it! That’s okay though. Lee ushered them out, and as The Donald took a seat, Lee said, “And here’s a Diet Coke, sir.” WONDERFUL! Consider this task won!
Anyway, the celebrity players soon hit the ice, and we got to see that traditional montage where the event looks like it’s going off without a hitch, despite all its many, many flaws. Why look! There’s Michael J. Fox getting onto the ice! And there’s Carolyn and Trump smiling! It’s a Chelsea Piers miracle!
In the middle of all this, we zipped over to Synergy as their VIP party was just starting up. And yes, greeting the guests at the door was none other than a guy in a panda suit. Sean just had to have it, didn’t he? I wonder if that’s like the pinnacle of comedy for him. Does he go see a Farrelly Brothers movie and say, “That was bloody funny, but it really needed a bloke in a panda suit.”
Well, the VIP party seemed to be just swell (dumb panda suit be damned), but there was one minor problem. Turns out that Sean had forgotten to include copious amounts of Pontiac signage in the ballroom. As you can imagine, this did not make the Pontiac rep very happy. Luckily, George was there to calm him down. “You don’t need much Pontiac. The cars will sell themselves,” he said, adding, “Back in my day, if we put a Pontiac in front of the soda jerk, it sold! We didn’t need signage! And if it didn’t sell, you’d call up Sally Ann and have her sit on the hood. And if she got thirsty, you’d give her a Pepsi. It only cost five cents back then. Five cents!”
If it made the Pontiac exec feel any better, saleswoman extraordinaire Andrea had taken it upon herself to hawk the cars to random people. She seemed to be actually doing a good job. I just hoped she didn’t hack up a blood clot on anyone. Sean, meanwhile, was downstairs in the Taj Mahal beauty shop. He wanted to apply some good luck hair spray — you know, because his hair really wasn’t shiny enough. Wouldn’t want that stylish coif to come undone in the heat of the BNL concert. Between Sean and Tarek, I’m surprised there’s any hair product left over for the rest of the Eastern Seaboard.
Back at Lee’s event, it was half time, and the Pontiacs were being driven onto the ice. Oh how I wished the cars would slide into each other. Anyway, we finally learned what the hell Jaime Pressly was doing at this event. She’d be auctioning off the cars. One problem: she was nearsighted and wouldn’t be able to see the bids in the audience. Oh, and on top of that, Lenny didn’t have her in the correct place where she was supposed to be, causing her to lash out, “Your shit is not together, little Apprentice boy!” Normally, I’d find that behavior kind of obnoxious, but for some reason, it seemed kind of awesome to see her unleash on Lenny. Besides, I think she may have been joking also.
OH. It’s already been BROUGHT-EN!
Either way, Jaime finally made her way out onto the ice and then began possibly the worst auction of all time. She could not have sounded less enthused. It was as if she were reading ingredients off of a cereal box. Luckily, Lee was around to boost the excitement, and he appealed to the audience to bid, bid, bid! He raised what seemed to be about $30,000, and afterwards, that ballbuster Liz admitted, “He did a good job. And I have a big smile about that.” She then added, “Plus, I just ate a double cheeseburger. So that I have a big smile about that too.” By the way, Liz spells her name “Lys.” Yes. Lys. AWFUL. I refuse to abide by such idiotic spellings. She will remain Liz on this blog.
Anyway, Lee’s event finally came to a close, and never one to shy from boasting, he announced to us, “I think I did a pretty darned good job.” Yup. Except, you know, for all those mistakes.
Over at Synergy, Sean received a call on his cell phone — a cell phone which happened to have the most annoying ringer of all time. It sounded like there were a thousand mosquitos trapped in that thing. Anyway, I don’t even remember who was on the phone. All I know is that the VIP reception was going on, and it seemed to be going pretty smoothly. I think we can all thank a certain CD for that.
Oh — that phone call? I think it was Trump (it’s now been a full twenty-four hours since I started this recap. We can thank a dentist’s appointment, a birthday party, and some random work at the office for the delay). Anyway, Sean headed up to the roof to greet Trump, and downstairs, that pesky Pontiac exec was still all pissed about the lack of proper signage for his company. I guess the fact that Pontiac is all over this damn episode counts for nothing, huh? Anyway, the Barenaked Ladies played the role of Jaime Pressley and led auction, but unlike their flaxen counterpart, they actually seemed to care a bit about the task. They worked the room well and managed to summon several bids for the Pontiacs (then again, this room was significantly more affluent than the hockey crowd). Ultimately, one guy bought the Pontiac for $40,000. Maybe now that stupid exec will shut up and enjoy the show (as much as one can enjoy a BNL show these days).
Of course, since having a boisterous Pontiac auction was simply not enough, all eyes then focused on the stage where (fanfare, please) Trump drove up in a Pontiac as if he were returning from some conquest in Gaul. The audience gave him a rapturous ovation, and The Donald eventually stepped out and spoke to the masses. One thing he didn’t do though: take off his trench coat. Maybe that’s because Robin wasn’t nearby for him to toss it to.
“This trench coat is very luxurious. I’m very reluctant to take it off.”
Anyway, the concert soon began, and the Barenaked Ladies took us on a tour of all their biggest hits. Trump, meanwhile, turned to George and joked, “I thought there were going to be bare naked ladies.” Oh Donald. Another nugget of comedic gold!
Well, everyone had a fantabulous time at the concert — especially George who we caught dancing with a lady friend. And by the way, this split-second moment was possibly the very best of the season (next to Trump dancing, of course).
Eventually, things all came to a close, and Sean hugged his team goodbye. How lovely. Now let’s get to the Boardroom!
We then went to commercial break, and it was again painfully obvious that Sean would win this. I mean, his entire event took about five minutes of screen time tops whereas Lee’s hockey game seemed to last an entire segment. There was no way Trump would hand the apprenticeship to Lee, right?
After the break, we returned to The Donald on stage for his last bit of advice for the season: “Taking Credit.” Technically, that was more of a topic than a pearl of sage wisdom, but what do I know? Anyway, with the crowd cheering loudly, Trump yelled, “Don’t get me wrong. MODESTY is a good thing! But in business, it’s important to take credit for your successes before someone else does. I do it all the time. So don’t be afraid to blow your own horn.” Trump blowing his own horn? Now I’ve heard it all! By the way, it should be known that Trump’s horn is the biggest, most luxurious horn in all of New York City. That’s why he calls it Trump Horn.
“How big can my mouth get?”
We then headed back to the suite where Lee and Sean were preparing for one final battle. Thank goodness Mark Burnett did away with the sentimental junk this season — no final meals, no ponderous reflections, etc. We just went right in for the Boardroom. The guys took seats at the table where an all buttoned-up Carolyn looked ready for bidness. This was gonna be goooood.
Trump soon joined the group and immediately asked Sean why he had picked his team. Sean replied that he wanted a balance of operations and people that would get along. In fact, he went so far as to state that he felt he had won the majority of the task with the selection process alone. I’m not sure if he had actually won it with his personnel choices. It’s more like he didn’t royally fuck it up like Lee did with his squad (cough, Pepi, cough, Lenny). Speaking of which, Trump then told Lee that his team was quite the risk, causing Lee to reply back, “I’m a risky guy.” Shut up, politician. I hate all his slick answers. If Lee doesn’t wind up in the Senate, I’m sure we’ll be finding him selling used Acura Integras in Glendale, CA someday.
Nevertheless, Trump pressed Lee about his team, and at the very mention of the word “Pepi,” I swear I could see Carolyn suppressing a laugh. When Lee insisted that he wanted a group that would be passionate about him winning, Carolyn asked, “Why would Pepi be passionate about you winning when he’s only known you for a couple of weeks?” Uh… because… um… he’s a-Pepi! He a-likes a-everyone! He a-wants a-everyone to a-win! And have meat-a-ball! (Okay, okay — I know Pepi is Cuban, not Italian. So let me rephrase that: he’s a-Pepi! He a-wants a-everyone to have a-plantains and ox-a-tail!)
Anyway, when it came to boasting about credentials, Sean noted that he had more experience and that was the key. Ah, but Lee said he had potential. Not so fast, said George — we’re talking about experience, not potential. “What does that mean?” Lee said, shunning the whole idea of experience.
“Experience?” George asked incredulously, adding, “Back in my day, we valued experience! You didn’t just get to walk in and work at the soda jerk. You had to clean floors! Wash dishes! And if old man Whithers didn’t like what you’d done, you’d have to do it all over again! That’s experience!”
Okay, George didn’t say that, but Sean did emphasize that his track record working with multi-million dollar deals in the past ten years would allow him to hit the ground running for Trump. Yes, hit the ground running in a very, very foppish way.
We then reached a random bit of one-upsmanship as Lee bragged that he had a 4.0 GPA from Cornell. Well, guess what? Sean had the equivalent from South Hampton University (I don’t know anything about South Hampton University, but it’s in England; so it already sounds fancy. For all I know, it could be the ITT Tech of Britain). Not to be outdone, Lee then bragged that he was part of the National Honor Society, to which Sean replied that he was Valedictorian. SLAM! Suck it, Lee! Victory to the Valedictorian!
And with that, the Boardroom ended. What the? Trump didn’t ask one question about the events that we had just spent two hours (including last week) watching unfold. Why even bother then? How could The Donald not grill Lee about his shoddy work? Or how could he not bash Sean for… losing a CD for a few minutes? Okay, I guess they didn’t show any of that because it would have further cemented how lopsided this finale was, but still, the Boardroom is the meatiest part of any episode. That it received such perfunctory treatment here was a real disappointment. Dare I say that I was having flashbacks to Martha Stewart?
We then went to commercial, and when we returned, Trump had his kids stand up in the audience and weigh in with their thoughts on who should win. Donald Jr. gave a nervous, rambling reply that both guys were great and would be beneficial to the company. Ivanka, looking quite sexy, answered with what has to be one of her favorite robotic phrases: “I concur completely.” She LOVES to concur! I’m putting it out there right now: Ivankabot?
Trump then called on last season’s winner, Randal, who didn’t weigh in on the candidates. Instead, he just plugged his website and smiled a lot. It was incredibly dumb. Next, Trump beckoned for the finalists. Lee emerged on stage first and hugged and shook hands with everyone in sigh. Just like a politician. Damn you, politician Lee! Sean came out next, and he punched the air in the excitable yet extremely annoying way. We then cut to his parents sitting in the crowd, and aw, they looked so sweet with their awful, awful British teeth.
Once the finalists had finished mugging for the crowd and greeting their friends, Trump addressed all the candidates. “There are no losers on this stage,” he said, adding, “Well, except you, Brent.” Okay, he didn’t say that last thing (but you all were thinking it, weren’t you?). Trump asked Tammy if Sean was hurt by his gushing love (dumbest misdirection ever. Like that would actually disqualify Sean).
“Mr. Trump, I think that that shows how much passion he has inside of him for things, and I think that he would bring that passion to the Trump organization,” Tammy replied, causing the audience to cheer loudly. Trump, for one, was blown away. “What a great answer!” he marveled. “WHOA! That is a great answer!!!!” Having a great answer is a THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!
Trump then decided to set the record straight about something. “Pepi,” he said, “I do remember you very well!” And with that, everyone cheered loudly. Yay, Pepi! You do exist! You’re not as forgettable as previously believed! Yay!
Trump then barked a series of orders: “Stand up, Pepi!” “Sit down, Pepi!” “That’s enough, Pepi!” He later commanded, “Heel, Pepi!” “Roll over, Pepi!” and “Give me your paw, Pepi!”
Anyway, Trump then asked Lenny why Lee had depended on him so much. “Who’s Pepi?” Lenny joked. Polite laughter ensued. Okay, Lenny. We get it. You like to make jokes. Someone should let him know that he’s funnier when he’s not trying to be funny. Anyway, Lenny continued: “Lee like a gold. Gold has no age basically… Gold is always gold. It’s only appreciated in price over time. I want you to invest in gold, Mr. Trump.” A bit forced, but poetic, considering who said it. Nevertheless, Trump said that it wasn’t a very well-stated answer, meaning that Tammy was still in the lead for the Best Response Ever contest.
Trump then asked for Charmaine’s opinion, and while she praised both men, she officially endorsed Sean. “Charmaine, you are one great presenter, and you did a fantastic job,” Trump cooed. Being one great presenter and doing a fantastic job is a THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!
Trump then revealed this season’s job choices for the winner. One position oversaw construction of a new hotel in Hawaii, and the other option was to work on a giant condo/hotel project in SoHo. Unsurprisingly, both guys picked the SoHo project. Sean said he wanted to be close to Trump (as if he’ll really get to spend any time with him once the cameras are off), and Lee said he wanted to be close to home. I think he just wanted to be close to Liz. It’s hard to deny her siren song.
After the commercial break, it was time for the final grilling. But before that started, Trump polled the candidates as to who he should hire. Nearly everyone rooted for Sean except Roxanne, Michael, Stacy, Pepi, Summer, Lenny, and Allie (vindictive Cabbage Patch Doll). I also noticed that Brent voted for both candidates. Lame. But then again, he may have thought Trump had asked “Who wants a bagel?” both times.
Trump then asked for advice from George, but all he did was heap more praise on the two candidates. What about you, Carolyn. Surely you’ll offer up something concrete. Ms. Kepcher insisted that she would provide a pick, but all she did was say that Lee was an out of the box thinker like no one else, and Sean was a great leader. Uh… so the pick? I think her endorsement was for Sean, but I really couldn’t be sure.
Anyway, the guys finally made their last appeals. “I’ve shown you things people have never shown you in this interview process,” Lee said, causing Trump to reply, “Like you’re a politician?” Oooh, SNAP! Lee then trumpeted that he’s stepped up four times to be Project Manager and that he’s a true apprentice. Ah, but Sean said he had the aptitude and the attitude to run the SoHo project or anything else. He also reminded everyone that he’s negotiated multi-million dollar deals for the past ten years. AND he loves Oasis.
Trump then cornered Sean about his feelings for Tammy. He asked if they were in love and gonna get married. “Yes,” Sean replied, causing the crowd to cheer. But I couldn’t tell if he was saying yes to love or yes to marriage. Either way, I truly did not care. But if they do get engaged, Tammy and Sean will certainly not improve the reality engagement club already populated by Rob and Ambah and Danny and Melinda.
Oh hey — remember that whole thing where America gets to help The Donald decide who to hire? You know, the dumb gimmick NBC’s promoting all season that no one actually cares about? Well, the stage manager handed over the results. Trump said it was one-sided, and he happened to agree with it. He then told the guys, “I’d almost like to hire both of you, but I just can’t do that. That’s not the way the game is.” THIS SEASON. I half expected Randal to stand up in his chair and yell, “IT’S NOT CALLED THE APPRENTII!!!” (And no, “Apprentii” is not a word).
Anyway, it was time for the final verdict. Trump looked at Lee and said, “Lee… [long pause]… you’re fired. Sean, you’re hired!” And with that, Sean burst into the air with a flurry of fist pumps and general annoyingness.
And now: four of the most annoying pics ever.
The next few minutes were spent with the new winner bouncing around, hugging everyone and generally making me wonder how this great season could wind up on such a lame note. Eventually, Trump bellowed out to Sean, “GO DOWN AND GET YOUR CAR!!!” Sean then thankfully ran out of the theater, leaving everyone to stand around and clap. Oh, and by the way, there were still five minutes left in the show. Great. We then saw Sean getting into his car and making dumb comments like “I AM the Apprentice! Yes!” He then drove off and suddenly, in the background, we could see the Staples Center passing by. Wow, he really got there quickly! It’s almost as if… this was pre-recorded and scripted! NO! THEY WOULDN’T!!!
After this mini Pontiac commercial was done, we then headed back to the theater where we literally watched people applaud for the next three minutes. That’s it. Just uninterrupted applause. Those were three minutes we could have seen in the Boardroom, dammit! Even Donald Jr. looked bored. Er, more bored than usual, I should say.
And that was it! No more Trump until January (sniff, sniff). What did you think about the episode? Or better yet, what should NBC do to improve the chronically lame Apprentice finale shows?