It’s official. I’m a big fan of the lastest Apprentice cast. Yeah, some of them don’t talk (big silent ups to Craig, Tara, and Kendra) and some of them have poor fashion choices (Erin’s wardrobe is apparently assembled from Bed, Bath & Beyond scraps), but I’m happy to report that everyone seems to be relatively interesting. More importantly, the interpersonal conflicts don’t smell of reality star showboating. I’m sure I’ll be eating my words by the end of the season, but hey, if I can’t pontificate now, when will I ever get another chance?This week’s installment picked up, as usual, with the cast sitting around the loft, waiting for the boardroom peeps to come back. Chris, fresh from defending his heterosexuality, grabbed a glass of whiskey and let the alcohol flow through his veins. Moments later, he crushed the tumbler with his hands and yelled “GOTTA… CALM… DOWN!!!” Okay, maybe he didn’t say that. But definitely needing to take it down a notch was Erin who came sprinting into the suite like a bull in Pamplona. She was either extremely excited to have survived the boardroom, or her giant hair had finally turned on her, forcing her to charge towards the nearest window and plummet to her death. Unsurprisingly, it was the former.
Audrey explained how things went down with Mr. Trump, but really all I could hear was a steady stream of bleeps. I also noticed the producers inserted some peppy, urban music in the background. It was sort of their way of saying “Ay ay ay! Peppy Latina!” Meanwhile, Michael Tarshi, after a week of being good, reverted to his normal stupid ways as he boasted about his likeness to Trump: “He only likes Eastern European women. I only date Eatern European women — exclusively!” And with that, the great Eastern European Women Emigration of 2005 began. To be fair, Michael did cite some other similarities between him and The Donald: They both love sunsets, walks on the beach, and, of course, walks on the beach AT sunset. So you see, everyone else should really just step aside now.
The next day, everyone showed up in front of Trump World Tower where a bundled up Alex dazzled everyone with his scarf of corporate majesty. Trump soon arrived with George and NotCarolyn by his side. No Carolyn? Quel horreur! I guess she was off on one of those intense country club management conventions (I kid! I kid! Don’t fix your icy glare on me Carolyn!). Anyway, Carolyn’s replacement was Jill Kramer, a marketing guru from Trump’s empire. “Have fun Jill. Enjoy it,” said Trump. Seriously, crack a smile or something. You’re on TV for crying out loud! (And with that, Jill screamed like a madwoman and flashed her boobs).
What is this “smile” concept you speak of?
The mission this week was simple enough. Each group would outfit a bare Airstream Trailer into a mobile business with the help of $5,000 in seed money. Where would they get that money? “I have here two Visa credit cards,” Trump announced as he turned to the camera and smiled for his sponsors. Oh Donny Wonny! You’re a good corporate shill, aren’t you! Aren’t you!
After we were all done petting the Donald for a plug well done, the teams departed to brainstorm. Bren, this week’s project manager for Magna, tried to think of interesting business opportunities. “Something that focuses on kids,” he suggested. Hmmm… A mobile unit that preys on children? Let’s just start the Amber Alert now.
Ultimately, Magna opted for a mobile spa getup. Not a bad choice. Creative genius Michael insisted that the business name should be “Massage-A-Go-Go” in homage to the Whiskey-A-Go-Go in Los Angeles. Mixing “massage” and “go-go” actually makes me think of that other LA institution: The Hustler Store. “Massage-A-Go-Go is great. It’s like Sushi-A-Go-Go,” Michael argued. Uh, and what exactly is Sushi-A-Go-Go? Tarshi’s idea was predictably shot down as Erin quipped “You’re a pig-a-go-go.” The group then engaged in several “a-go-go” puns, but sadly, the moment did not transition into a musical ode to the Wham! classic, “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go.” I guess I was the only one who kept expecting Tarshi to suddenly snap his fingers twice and go “Jitterbug!” You have to admit, that would have been pretty awesome.
Over at Net Worth, perky but surprisingly capable Tana stepped up as PM. She approved an idea by Angie to charge people for consultations with a casting director. Now, I’m not an actor, but I’m pretty sure the general rule of thumb is that you never, NEVER pay to audition. Charging for a casting consultation is what we like to call a “con”. But whatever. It was a unique idea and Tana felt like she had to follow her instinct on this one. Oh, and by the way, the lesson for this episode? Follow your instinct. So I guess the sham wins out over the spa, huh? But that can’t be. Magna has a good idea. Surely they can’t lose. We then returned to the loft where Michael was handling a burnt pizza disaster. Wow, Magna can’t even heat up a frozen dinner. Yeah, they’re gonna lose.
With time ticking away, we returned to the Airstream garage, but not before an ostentatious establishment shot showed a bird flying to the sound of dramatic, swooping music. Oooh. Such a powerful image. I’m surprised we didn’t see Mark Burnett rub his hands together and exclaim “That’s my Emmy shot!” He could then throw his coffee in the face of an assistant and yell “Too cold! Too cold!”
Anyhoo… Angie, the former actress turned neckscarf enthusiast, headed up Net Worth’s campaign to land a casting director for their business. She had trouble procuring one though since a) the entire operation was very sketchy, and b) she couldn’t provide any details beyond “It’ll be great!” After about four hours of this nonsense, Tara (not to be confused with Tana) gave it a whirl and managed to find a casting director willing to possibly humiliate herself on national TV. Tana (not to be confused with Tara) was quite excited by prospects: “She is a very well known casting director. She did Sex and the City. She’s casting a movie right now with Uma Thurma; so I was like oooh, that’s a big name. Hello!” Uma Thurma is a big name? I mean, I’ve heard of Uma Thurman, but I had no idea about this other lady. Tana later added “I really loved her in Pulpy Fiction and the Kill Phil, Editions 1 and 2. Hey, did anyone see Steinfeld last night?”
Over at Magna, the college grads had moved from a pizza dilemma to a cheeseburger dilemma. Bren, who was in Queens with Kendra and Alex, called the other half of his team and told them to get cheeseburgers for everyone working at the Airstream garage. As usual, Stephanie was not happy about the task and complained liberally as she schlepped the food over to the garage. When she confronted Bren about the menial task, he reminded her that she could have arranged a delivery from the apartment. Oh. I was really hoping an old cleaning lady would stroll by with her cart and mutter “Idiota…”
The next day, both teams hit the streets and opened their trailer doors to business. Magna seemed to be doing well despite the dubious contributions of its plucky marketing team of Erin and Michael. Using a little of the ole “If you don’t do this, you’re gay” strategy, Erin lambasted a poor guy on the street as she yelled “Real men get a massage!” She then ensnared the patsy in a web of hair and forced him onto the massage table. It was very Frodo vs. the spider in Return of the King.
Less effective was Michael Tarshi who quietly approached people on the street and asked “Wanna massage?” Could he be any more sketchy? For some reason, the pedestrians didn’t respond well to the tall, burly man offering massages in a trench coat. Later, Michael complained to his teammates and even George that it was creepy for one man to offer another man a massage. Well, maybe it’s creepy if you say “wanna massage?” like a nasty old pervert in a back alley.
Over at Net Worth, the team struggled to bring warm bodies into its casting con. I feared Tana might erect a sign saying “Maybe YOU can be the next Uma Thurma!” Luckily for Net Worth, you can never underestimate the power of a fame-seeking public. Eventually all sorts of deluded people arrived with the vague notion that stardom was just inside the Airstream trailer. I’m not sure how many of those customers have now launched successful acting careers, but I think it’s safe to say their fleeting dreams have been happily shattered by reality. Yay fame!
At the end of the day, both teams did well, but Net Worth edged out Magna by just over $80. Their reward? A trip to Mikimoto to go on a pearl necklace extravaganza (insert dirty joke here). The camera cut to Craig whose expectant face seemed to say “Um, so no meal? ‘Cause I kind of don’t wear pearls… and I really want some lobster.” The camera then zoomed out to reveal that he was, in fact, wearing a lobster bib in the boardroom.
Nevertheless, the gang hit up Mikimoto where Ms. Universe and Ms. USA greeted everyone. The pageant winners observed with big, Vaseline-on-the-teeth grins as the ladies tried on pearls and the men… smiled politely. Eventually Chris tried to spice up the party by insisting that Craig should wear a tiara. It was a funny idea, but things became awkward when Chris suddenly yelled, “PUT. THE TIARA. ON!!!” He really has some rage issues.
In the boardroom, quick-talker Bren suggested that Team Magna could use some of the creativity that Net Worth has. He then pointed the finger at Stephanie and Michael for being detriments to the team. Michael defended his performance by restating that it’s creepy for one man to offer massages to another. There was lots of talking all at once, but all I can remember is Trump asking Tarshi “Do you think you’re the sexiest man in the suite?” (and no, Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer” did NOT come on in the background). So let’s see. Last week, The Donald asked “Are you not a homosexual?” and this week “Do you think you’re the sexiest man in the suite?” Exactly what is his agenda these days? Maybe doing a little matchmaking for Rhona? I hear she’s a lady on the street, but freak in the bed. Grrrrrrrrowl! (imagine me making little pawing motions)
Anyway, Jill spoke up and said the failure on this task was the marketing (that’s you, Michael!). There was more general stammering and babbling, ultimately leading up to Erin saying “Michael has become a boardroom cliché.” Oooh. Very nice! And I wasn’t the only one who thought that. Trump complimented her by saying “You have some good lines of crap!” And this was coming from the master of lines of crap. Bravo Erin!
My hair… It’s dragging me down!
That being said, Erin delivered, er, another line of crap. “We needed to be street hustlers!” she proclaimed. Um, so they needed to lean against walls, smoke cigarettes, and ask random lonely men if they wanted company? It’s really not a strategy I would have adopted.
Nevertheless, Bren opted to return to the boardroom with Stephanie and Michael, and as the group walked back into the lobby, Mr. Tarshi actually shook Bren’s hand and congratulated him. DON’T KISS HIS ASS! bellowed Trump. Michael tried to give some silly explanation, but it came out as a jumbled mix of “You know” and “It’s just” and some shrugs. It was quite masterful.
Later, as Bren and Stephanie went at it, Michael continued to interrupt them and remind the panel that he is, in fact, an idiot. Trump eventually reprimanded him by asking “I mean, how stupid can you be?” Sure enough, Michael proved that he could be VERY stupid. Trump axed him, and as Michael walked out, he handed his business card over and said “If you’re ever in Boston, call me. Please. I’m serious. I own a nice, big parking lot.” OH GOOD. Donald Trump NEVER finds parking in Boston. This works out perfectly.
And so Michael Tarshi exited Trump Towers as the latest of many disgraced employees. Donald, George, and Jill all nodded their heads in approval of a job well done. Tarshi was pretty lame, but he did give the show some spice. I’ll also add that after Bren’s masterful work in the board room, he might be a strong contender to reach the final four. Then again, you never know. A capelet mission might just throw everything off.