I’m still not exactly sure what happened with this week’s episode of The Apprentice, but I do know that I only fully understood about 64% of it. Too many foreigners dancing around and not enough Snoop Dogg. On the other hand, it was a commercial/video challenge, which I always relish because of the ample opportunity for total and explosive failure. Let’s not forget the Dove Body Wash Massacre of ’05. Oh, the carnage.
So let’s jump in, shall we? Over in Tent City, Arrow is awaiting the return of their less fortunate teammates. Nicole has some helpful advice: “Tomorrow we need to think about winning.” If only she had said that last week, they wouldn’t be in this position right now! The men return and there is much mirth and merriment at the demise of Surya. James insists that he was fighting for his LIFE, which makes me wonder what would happen if James actually had to fight for his life, instead of just whining his way onto another week of a reality show. Like if James were attacked by a legion of angry bears, he’d probably just start throwing folding chairs at them and screaming random business terms like “Synergy! Brand management! Global corporate worldview of crossdimensional strategic optimization!” And then the bears would eat him.
It appears that the bears have attained night vision technology! Run, James! Run!!
I’m happy to report that this week’s challenge begins with a crack-of-dawn phone call from Andie, which there have not been very many of this season. I love watching these plucky MBAs stagger about in their Tweety Bird pajamas and fumble the phone around like it’s an unruly ferret. Andie tells the teams to meet Mr. Trump at the set of Passions. Because nothing says future real estate tycoon quite like witches and midgets.
Nicole is attempting to take a shower in Tent City, but it’s very windy, so the curtains are blowing everywhere. This causes her to scream in total TERROR. Maybe there are bears in there too. Cut to Team Kinetic, enjoying such luxuries as hair dryers and orange juice against a soundtrack of Fancy Music. They’re so LUXURIOUS! Because it’s the haves. And the have nots. Just in case you forgot. Nicole informs us that she is a huge Passions fan. Wait, I mean Nicole informs us that she is a HUUUUUUGE Passions fan. Hmm, maybe she should be a Donald underling after all.
They all meet up at the Passions studio, where Trump tells them that they’re standing in the Passions studio. I see. Nicole makes a fool out of herself, drooling over the show, and the Donald is mildly amused. He gives his minions a little history lesson in the form of a story about how soap operas came to be in the 1930s, as the result of dramas being sponsored by soap companies. Thanks Professor Trump! And now the teams are going to have to make their own 45 second mini soap operas as part of a webisode marketing campaign for a new product, the Soft Scrub Deep Clean Foaming Cleanser.
Trump introduces everyone to two marketing execs from Soft Scrub, and they’re a marked improvement upon the 14-year-old Lexus child exec from last week. Though they still have no personality, as expected. He informs the kids that there will be an awesome reward, which we already KNOW about, because the commercials have been touting it all week. I prefer the beautiful surprise that is an impromptu rapping session with Snoop Dogg, but that’s just me. Trump reminds everyone that the losing team will be in the boardroom, where someone will be fired, “like a dog”. He goes on to say, “I fire all my dogs. Once they get past the puppy stage they no longer please me. I have them killed and made into leg warmers. This pleases me greatly.”
Team Kinetic begins the brainstorming and immediately settles upon some form of slutbaggery. Their theme is “dirty little secrets”, wherein the plotline would involve a housewife catching her cheating husband’s mistress. For some reason, Kristine is having a hell of a time managing Muna. I don’t know why, because to me it just seems like Muna wants to know the details, but Kristine promises to “slam her under the table” if she keeps it up. I think Kristine just wants to send someone to the emergency room and doesn’t care how she does it. When the subject of acting comes up, Kristine volunteers, because “I would love to run around and be the slut.” A fine goal in life, indeed. Employers are going to be lining up for this plucky young harlot.
When Kristine gives Muna the task of creating a timeline and keeping all of the details straight, Muna, the alleged Details Queen, says she’d be much more comfortable in front of the camera. Bwwaa? And so Kristine, wanting to avoid a fight, relents. So Kristine is kind of a moron. Got it. Moving on. Oh, but before we move on, Muna declares that she can’t use the name of the Lord in vain. To which Kristine replies, “God said I could use it in vain, though.” So you heard it here first, folks: God speaks exclusively to reality show contestants about their promotional soap opera webisodes. Apparently God is getting really sick of war and famine and all that nonsense, and would prefer to spend more time in sales and marketing. Sorry, Africa! That AIDS cure is going to have to wait! There’s soap to be sold!
“God says you’re a stinkypants, Muna.”
Team Arrow, in the meantime, is hard at work scattering rose petals around a bathroom. Go team! Apparently their ad has something to do with Tim proposing to Nicole, who doesn’t care because the house is just SO clean and she’s also moving to New York. Yeah, I don’t know either. Nicole brags that it was her idea for the storyline, and that she and Tim are acting as the couple and that it’s SO CUTE!! Hey, Nicole? DIE. Tim at least recognizes the ridiculousness of pretending to propose to his girlfriend of two weeks and gets all weird about it. Heh, they really are like Ryan and Kelly from The Office.
Nicole has an amazing breakthrough and tells James to use more than the one standard wide shot in their video. She uses a few novel ideas, such as closeups! And editing! James is flabbergasted, totally impressed with Nicole’s “experience watching all those soap operas”. Or as I call it, “half a brain”. And I’m using the term loosely.
Things are not going as well over at Team Kinetic. Kristine and Angela have taken off in an apparent hunt for props, leaving Heidi and Muna to shoot the first couple of scenes on their own. And surprise surprise, you can’t understand a damn thing that’s coming out of Muna’s mouth. She’s cute as a button but her accent is somewhat difficult even at her clearest, so now that she’s nervous and rushing, it’s totally incomprehensible. It could be Elvish for all I know. But she does make the good point that Kristine should be there, directing. I have to agree with that, because if Kristine had been present she might have put a stop to the whole trainwreck and gotten Muna the hell out of there. Cut to Kristine in the van defending her decision to Angela, who agrees and looks somewhat bored.
After some more confused filming, the Propmasters finally arrive back at the shoot. Kristine is horrified to find that her beautiful flower of a film sucks major ass. But it’s too late to change anything, so she finally starts directing. And complaining about Muna. To God. Because they’re BFF.
Over in post-production, Tim is directing the editing process. Conducting a masterful symphony, if you will. He has a vision, dammit, and nothing is going to stop him from making this the best soap-themed webisode EVER! Frank tells him to stop talking and just “SHOW ME THE MONEY!” Oh, Frank! You’re so hilarious, what with your catch phrases that were barely tolerable ten years ago! Do continue! The rest of the editing session is equally obnoxious, as Tim dances around singing the stupid little jingle over and over. Stefani glares out from behind her outrageously unnecessary reading glasses. And Frank reaffirms his status as a walking Olive Garden Commercial by comparing Tim to a home-cooked Italian meal: “When you’re making sauce, you put too much salt in, you put too much olive oil, you put too much seasoning in, you spoil the sauce!” HEY MA! UNCLE TONY JUST GOT HIS CITIZENSHIP SO WE’RE ALL GOING OUT FOR SOME NICE CHICKEN PAAARM!
“YO TINA, CAN WE GET A FRESH BASKET A GAAARLIC BREADSTICKS OVA HEEEEAAAHH?”
Times are not as happy over at Team Kinetic. The girls are reviewing the tape, and Kristine is quickly realizing that her beautiful vision has turned into a steaming pile of feces. I literally look at the screen and yell “What are you saying??!” at the clips of Muna “speaking”. Kristine looks ready to reach into the television and strangle our favorite little Jamaican, but Muna just kind of sits around with a cute little “oops!” look on her face. Ultimately, Angela suggests that they just cut out the whole middle part of the tape. You know, the one where they mention the product. Soft Scrub execs, we have a winner!
The next morning, James takes his team out to brunch. And what does Tim think? “This is delightful!” Hmm, Nicole may want to de-gay him a little. James says that if they lose, he doesn’t want to take anyone into the boardroom. Stefani says it sounds like he’s saying goodbye. Hmm, misdirection? Mark Burnett, you whimsical devil…
A large fountain spurts its vapors into the heavens. I miss the New York City steam emitting from the sewers. This watered-down version (pun INTENDED) is getting to me. I need grit! Anyway, it’s time to present these cinematic disasters to the judges. Team Arrow enters the Soft Scrub SoftBoardroom dressed like stewardesses. They’re really attractive.
“I was under the impression that shredding dollar bills into a pulp and then fashioning that pulp into a scarf was a good idea. Was I wrong on that?”
The movie begins and oh ho! It’s powerfully lame. Although I do have to congratulate Frank on his extraordinary performance as Douchebag Neighbor #1. I could seriously watch him flail his arms about and scream “BRIAN!! I CAN’T believe you’re POPPING the QUESTION today!!” forever, and it would still not be enough. Even better is his next line, after Tim tells him that he needs to clean the house: “TELL ME YOU HAVE SOFT SCRUB!” And he says it with big arms and not to Tim’s face, so it’s outrageously infomercial and it fills me with glee. Well, “Brian” does have Soft Scrub, in fact he has five bottles in the very cabinet he’s standing right next to, conveniently enough. After a hearty “LET’S GO!” from Frank, the two set about cleaning the apartment, to the tune of that infuriatingly annoying jingle. I half expect some magical elves to pop out of the houseplants and give them a hand.
“I CAN’T believe I’m SUCH a good ACTOR!”
Nicole arrives home to find a spotless house and doesn’t find it the least bit odd that her hubby starts spouting some ridiculous facts and figures about a household cleaning product. She asks what the deal is and “Brian” gets down on his knee. At which point, she interrupts him, clearly not recognizing the MOST RECOGNIZABLE SIGN OF AN IMMINENT LIFE-CHANGING EVENT. So she ignores this and shouts that she has something “really interesting” to tell him. Odd word choice. I would imagine that moving to another city would warrant a different adjective, like “exciting” or “amazing” or “box-filled”. But whatever. “Brian” is left holding the ring up with a shocked look on his face. And presumably Nicole, looking at him on bended knee and with an engagement ring in his hand, still doesn’t quite comprehend what’s going on. So will she move to New York or accept his proposal? What a cliffhanger!! I’m betting she’ll move. She’ll probably pack everything and get on the plane, all the while screaming towards the heavens “if only there were something to keep me here!” and then use the ring as a napkin holder in her new apartment while “Brian” dies a slow, painful, lonely death.
“But it’s a ring! For marriage!”
The Soft Scrub exec says it’s interesting. But is it “really interesting”?!? They thank the team and probably roll their eyes after they leave. Team Kinetic enters and introduces their commercial. I’m sorry, “webisode”. It’s called Soft Scrub Suburbia. Oh, alliteration. Clever. The whimsy ends there, though. As expected, the whole thing is a confusing mess, and doesn’t contain Frank and his bug eyes, which in my mind just makes it a failure. Though it does end with a nice look from Heidi, which perhaps is evoked by the possibility of getting fired…like a dog.
“I admit it! I lost your copy of Cool Runnings! I’m sorry!”
The execs laugh and say it’s interesting. What? They can’t BOTH be interesting!! That’s against the webisode code! (Webisode Code is a great name for a band.) They send Kinetic out and confer, then call both teams back in, along with The Donald. The execs say that Arrow’s spot was better with the branding, but Kinetic’s had a better cliffhanger. Well, in the end, Soft Scrub doesn’t sell cliffhangers, so Arrow wins.
“Peanuts or pretzels?”
And speaking of cliffhangers, it’s time to announce the reward! Which might just be slightly exciting if the NBC promos hadn’t been announcing it ALL WEEK LONG! Trump announces that they’ll be flying to Sacramento aboard a private jet to meet with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Frank’s head literally explodes right off his neck.
The girls of Kinetic move out of the mansion to the tune of the saddest song ever. It is as if something has died. Their dignity, perhaps? They approach Tent City with the same disgust as last time, declaring it filthy and unfit for human habitation. If only they knew of some sort of deep cleaning product! Oh well.
Arrow boards their private jet to fly to Sacramento and drool to each other over the meaning of luxury. James talks about how meeting Arnold means so much to him because he, too, is an immigrant. What, did you come when you were five? Oh, the hardships. Though I do enjoy that James is probably already drunk, judging by the way he slurs Swarzzzzeneggggr.
So they finally make it into the Governator’s quarters, and I’m really hoping that they will be served schnitzel. Just say it. Schnitzel. Good times. Arnold enters the room, and they all grovel appropriately. He tells them that The Donald called him up yesterday and asked him to meet with his people. Yeah, I’m real sure that conversation took place.
James asks the immigrant question (turns out he came when he was three), and wonders how Arnold did it all. So Arnold talks about how he wanted to be a movie star and everyone told him it couldn’t be done, and how they pronounced his name Svachenschnitzel. See, even Arnold likes to say it! He then gives the expected speech about how you have to be hungry and follow your dreams and reach for the stars and whatnot. So the moral of the story is that you can’t let foreign accents stand in the way of achieving success. Remember that, kids. Then he yammers on about how pain is only temporary, but what remains on film will be there forever. Nicole fails to grasp the irony of this statement and takes that as a good thing. See, your constant failures and your deep cleanser webisodes will live on FOREVER. For The Arnold has proclaimed it to be so. Then he talks about something else. Meh, it turns out brunch with the Governator isn’t nearly as awesome as it sounds.
“Jingle all ze vay!”
Back at Tent City, the girls are strategizing. Muna says she doens’t know what else she could have done, and Heidi says she would 100 percent pick Muna to be on her team. This will be important later, in ways that will not make sense. Muna seems satisfied with this but continues to stew. She then proclaims that God will help her through the boardroom. Back up, girl! Didn’t you know that God speaks exclusively to Kristine? Well, apparently Kristine has denounced the Lord Almighty and resorted to another deity of choice – Mr. Trump himself. In a brilliant shot that must have had some producer soiling him/herself in reality television joy, Muna reads her Bible against the backdrop of Kristine reading one of Trump’s books. It’s SYMBOLISM, people! Muna starts thumping her chest and saying that God will support her in the boardroom. Kristine, meanwhile, talks about how Trump will like to hear what he himself hath written. “Seeking guidance from God before going into the boardroom is not really helpful.” God is not the one making the decision, she explains. “I have yet to see God sitting in the chair to his right.” You’re right Kristine. God isn’t nearly qualified enough to sit in the chair occupied by past luminaries such as Randall “every megaphone” Pinkett and Sean “punch me in the face!” Yazbeck.
Clash of the Titans
Finally, time for the boardroom. But not before a shot of a blood red moon rising over Los Angeles. Creepy.
God is sooo pissed.
Andie greets the candidates at the door, and it appears that she’s continuing her “Andie Through The Decades” series with a nice little peasant blouse. What’s next, a flapper outfit? You never know what that crazy girl will do next! The kids are wrangled into the boardroom and Trump asks what went wrong, how did you delegate, etc. It should be noted that Ivanka is here this time, and wearing a top that blends nicely with her skin tone so as to make her appear topless.
“Welcome to the sixties! Groovy!”
Kristine points out that she originally asked Muna to do the detail work, but when Muna requested to be the actress Kristine caved to keep the peace amongst her team. They then continue to hash this out ad nauseum. Trump reiterates the fact that he couldn’t understand a word Muna was saying. Ivanka goes after Kristine for not being there when the executives were snooping around, and then points out the lack of product placement. So they have to explain how they cut most of it out because Muna’s a mumbler. Then Ivanka makes the excellent point that Muna probably couldn’t tell if she was hard to understand, that someone behind the camera needed to be there and recognize it and fix the problem. Looks like your God’s-not-in-the-chair plan isn’t working out too well for ya, KRISTINE.
More arguing ensues. Trump asks Angela who she would fire, and when she avoids the question he rephrases it as asking who she would want on her mental hockey team. Good one! She says Kristine. Muna is shocked. Then he asks Heidi, who refuses to pick one. Gah, this is painful. So Muna asks Heidi herself who she would rather have on her team. Remember, this is the same question she asked her not a few hours ago. After TONS of hemming and hawwing, Heidi finally chooses Kristine. Then Trump goes after Muna for being a risk-taker, for asking that question in the first place. You know, the question that HE HIMSELF had just asked a nanosecond before she did. And so he fires Muna. Huh?
The girls exit and so does James, who said maybe five words. Beware the Aaron curse James…ames…ames…! Outside, Muna chipperly says goodbye to other girls like they’re all BFF or something. And she rides away, as Heidi says that was the hardest thing she’s ever done. Apparently she’s never decided to propose in a filthy bathroom!
Where is your “God” now?
Yeah, so I don’t really know what to think about this episode. I enjoyed it because I always enjoy business people attempting to be creative filmmakers and failing miserably, but the outcome was just wrong. Muna did suck but it really wasn’t her fault that she lost. So she has an accent and every word out of her mouth makes me want to root for the Jamaican bobsled team all over again, but I’m guessing she was nervous and had no idea how incomprehensible she was. Kristine should have stuck to her guns and delegated appropriately. Or once she saw how bad the situation was, she should have changed it. But she did the right thing in the boardroom and kept her mouth totally shut. So…the moral of the story is that God prefers white people and foreigners with accents decidedly can NOT achieve the American Dream. Arnold lied to you. He lied to you good.
So there you have it, folks. For those of you keeping score at home:
And I leave you with this thought:
Separated at birth?