By B-Side|Wednesday, May 3, 2006 | 9:35 am | 46 Comments
Another Monday, another hilarious episode of The Apprentice. Seriously, this show is funnier than most sitcoms on TV these days. Then again, a dandelion growing in a field has more comic potential than any given episode of According to Jim, but that’s aside the point. What I’m trying to say is that I don’t care that The Apprentice is more about product placement than employee fortitude. It’s a damn funny show! And so concludes my weekly appeal that viewers keep watching this series. Trust me, people. It’s worth it.This week’s circus began back in the Boardroom with Andrea getting fired all over again. We were reminded how Sean broke ranks and suggested that Allie be fired — something I had a feeling would come back to haunt him this week. Anyway, up in the suite, the Gold Rush members happily enjoyed this rare evening out of the Board Room by preparing a lavish lobster dinner, courtesy of Chef Tarek. While he slaved away, Lee couldn’t help pondering, “Where are the Synergists?” Oh, you know, right in the middle of a passive-aggressive meltdown. Yes, Synergy returned to suite, and while it was all cheers and hugs at first, it only took about three seconds before Allie began taking swipes at Sean. “My team right here,” she said, “If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here.” But what about Sean? “He’s kind of a fence sitter, but kind of went over to the dark side,” Allie told the group — in front of Sean. Ah, unsheathe the daggers now.
With tensions brewing, Sean and the girls all sat down and had a powwow. It was one of these wonderfully polite and restrained discussions — the type where you know everyone just wants to yell and pull hair and kick and scream. Nevertheless, Allie faulted Sean for having some sort of ulterior motive in the boardroom as opposed to her who was as clean as a whistle. “I don’t necessarily have a strategy,” Allie said. Yes, she just happened to have organized the group against Andrea in an effort to save her own ass, but that’s not really a strategy per se. Gosh, you people and your labels!
Anyway, no matter what Sean said, the women were totally incapable of understanding why he had spoken out against Allie in the Boardroom (for those of you who may have forgotten, it was because she had been a terrible leader on the task). This drove the Brit absolutely bonkers, and soon he was getting all shrill and fussy. Let me tell you something: you haven’t seen annoying until you’ve seen Sean shrill and fussy.
The self-delusion continued as Allie explained to Sean, “Just because Roxanne and I are super tight and Tammy and I are tight, we are not here to tell you who you should go after or what your opinions should be.” Yes, just because we’re all a TIGHT-KNIT ALLIANCE doesn’t mean you should LISTEN TO US. I mean, you’re free to come up with your own opinions. Just make sure they’re the same as ours! Seriously, if Allie didn’t want to tell Sean who he should go after and what his opinions should be, why was she so mad in the first place? Oh, that’s right. Because she’s full of BULLSHIT.
Later, Allie complained to us that Sean kept on playing the “strategy card,” whatever that was. As far as I could tell, “the strategy card” seemed to be “telling the truth in the Boardroom.” But we all know that the truth means nothing when it comes to a witch hunt, so why even sweat it, right? Eventually, the discussion ended on a lovely, superficial note as Allie said, “I know you love me, and I love you.” Awww. Now, let’s slowly remove the daggers from each of our backs and call it a day!
The next morning, the two teams lined up outside of the Boardroom, inside of which we could hear several muffled voices. Turns out Trump was talking to some short, gray-haired man who sort of reminded me of that one guy from L.A. Law. I don’t remember his name, but you know the one. Anyway, he and Trump joked around, with The Donald at one point noting, “You love to borrow money!” Incidentally, BORROWING MONEY IS A THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!
Eventually, Trump and his cohorts ambled out of the Boardroom to greet the contestants. The Donald bragged about how he had all sorts of businesses — even a fragrance (mmm… smell like Trump! That’s not horrifying at all!) — but eventually, he conceded that “Everybody wants to talk about my frickin’ hair!” Well, let’s not forget, talking about your hair is a lot of fun. Talking about your hair is a great way to pass time. And talking about your hair is a THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!!! But mostly, it’s fun.
Then, in an odd turn of events, Trump decided to yet again prove that his hair is real. Never mind that any time there’s a gust of wind, he yells “Now you know it’s real!” Yes, yes, we know. That’s why we make fun. You think we’d poke as much fun if it were just a toupée? Eh, I guess we would. Point is, it looks horrendous, and you should shave it.
Well, Trump asked the group, “Would anybody like to examine my hair?” As unappetizing as this offer was, some people actually raised their hands. Leave it to Charmaine to take an unnatural interest in Trump’s coiffure. She walked right up to Trump and stared hard at his hairline, but I think the real test would have been if she could have really put her claws in there and pulled. I guess that’s Melania’s area of expertise though.
As amusing as this image is, my favorite part is Bill, whose smile seems to say, “Wow. Whatta guy! I love him with all my heart.”
Eventually, Charmaine finished her careful inspection and returned to her team, causing Trump to state, “It may not be pretty, but it’s me.” Hey, you gotta respect that sort of individuality…. Done respecting? Okay, good. Trump, cut that shit!
Anyway, all this hair talk was the perfect segue into this week’s task: opening up a hair salon. Trump prefaced the challenge by announcing, “The hair business. You know, it’s a 150 BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY.” Whoa! That’s five times more than the THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY that I would have expected. I really ought to get with inflation, yo.
Trump then introduced us to the small man by his side, and no, it was not George (gone, once again this week). This was Dennis, the CEO of “Hair Cuttery,” some sort of hair salon chain. The teams would each be opening a brand new Hair Cuttery salon, and whoever earned the most at the end of the day would win. Sounds like shear madness! Rimshot! Ah, an oldie but goodie.
The teams then filed into an elevator, and once they were all in, Tammy jokingly mocked Charmaine’s hair inspection. “Charmaine, you didn’t get the back. You need to check out the back,” she said. This was followed by awkward, interminable silence as the elevator doors then closed a few seconds later. I kept waiting for someone to say something in response, but nope. Second after second went by with nothing. No music, no sound effects, no nothing. Just awkward, awkward airtime. Who was in charge of the editing? Julie Chen?
Click to play (Quicktime 7 required)
Well, Synergy — led by the Queen of Elevator awkwardness, Tammy — headed off to Long Beach, NY for their salon. We finally caught a glimpse of the Hair Cuttery, and, well, I kind of thought it would be all trendy and cool. You know, like Jonathan Antin’s place. But no. It was just a bastard step-child of Supercuts. I guess the name should have clued me in. “Hair Cuttery” doesn’t exactly connote “class.” If anything, it sounds like the sort of place you’d find near an Old Spaghetti Factory, and in the case of this Long Beach branch, it was conveniently nestled in next to a Marshall’s. I suppose Marlee Matlin and Diana DeGarmo won’t be getting their tresses chopped there anytime soon.
Anyway, Tammy’s first order of business: organize all the products. Excuse me. I meant, product — no “s”. What is it with the hair industry that everyone suddenly pluralizes “product” as if it were “fish.” There’s an “s,” people. Nevertheless, Allie listed off all the different products to be sold, and goodness gracious, where was the DIRT by Jonathan Antin? Another strike against the Hair Cuttery! I’m going to the Lemon Tree instead!
Well, Synergy all seemed to be working together just fine — which was good news for Sean. He knew that one wrong move would send him packing now that he’d upset this ravenous pack of she-wolves. Over on Gold Rush, Project Manager Charmaine was having a different experience. No smooth sailing here (isn’t that always the case with this team?). You see, Sharm (I understand it’s spelled with a “Ch” but if I abbreviated it, you’d think I was just writing the world “charm,” which I certainly am not) wanted to power forward and get all the products on the wall, but Tarek felt that this grand opening celebration needed to have some sort of theme. “What is the message you want to send?” he asked.
“Grand opening,” Charmaine replied.
“All right. Grand opening it is,” he said. Ah, great minds at work! I guess the plan was that people would come in for the grand opening and then learn about other grand openings in history. How very meta.
Okay, that wasn’t the plan at all. Charmaine was quite content to simply tell the public “Grand Opening! Come on in!” but Tarek wanted more. Eventually, they found a happy medium. Literally. The theme of the opening would be “Making You Happy.” How wonderful. And for the record, that was the last time we heard or saw anything that resembled said theme.
Nevertheless, everyone was happy at that moment that they’d decided on happiness as their happy theme. But again, Tarek needed one more ounce of satisfaction. As he closed his laptop, he said, “You know what’s making me happier would be if I could get some power now to my PC that’s out of power.” PC ZING! Take that, PENTIUM PROCESSOR! You just got Tarek’d!
After the commercial break, we learned this week’s lesson: “Watch your back!” You hear that George? Rancic is coming for your job. Better get back to the Boardroom, STAT! Anyway, Trump babbled about the need to shoot down adversaries, and after watching him bellow to the masses at the Learning Annex, we returned to Synergy where Tammy and Sean were roaming the streets, trying to market the grand opening to passersby. According to the promos, this was where a great romance was supposed to spring up between the two. Makes sense to me. As you can imagine, walking through scenic Long Beach, NY was quite romantic. It was enough to make Tammy forget Sean’s wily British ways and throw her lusty body at him. Okay, maybe not that much. I’m sure NBC wanted that. The most action we got out of these two was Sean giving Tammy a polite peck on the head before galloping across a street. Showmance indeed!
A little later, Tammy and Sean got dinner at some pizza place while next door Roxanne and Allie chowed down on what looked to be low-quality Chinese take-out (clearly this restaurant was the Hair Cuttery to Panda Express’s Supercuts). With the team split up, there was nothing better to do than gossip. Gossip, gossip, gossip! Allie — who appeared to be vastly overdressed for this hole in the wall establishment — immediately pondered whether something was going on between Tammy and Sean, but she ultimately decided that Tammy would never date Sean. Why? Because he’s the most annoying person on the face of the planet? Oh, sorry, that honor goes to Howie Mandel. And Danny Bonaduce. It’s a tie, really.
Little known fact: when Allie gets Chinese food, she always wears her best Baroness outfit.
Over at the Pizza Parlor of Love, Sean and Tammy weren’t gossiping. They were flirting. Kind of. Okay, they were just eating pizza. But what fine pizza it was! It was so good that Sean insisted that Tammy try some of his. He even told her to get some of the mozzarella. Uh, it’s pizza. I’m pretty sure she’ll be able to get the cheese. By the way, in tangental news, anti-props to Tammy for skinning Kermit the Frog and making a coat from his hide. Not cool, man. Not cool.
“I just killed Kermit!”
Later, Sean revealed to us his true feelings about his pizza mate. “Tammy’s an adorable girl,” he said. He then described the beginnings of what could be a love story. “Gorgeous, young, sexy, grrr, kind of businessy girl from Beverly Hills; um, young, strapping, chap from London — anything can happen.” Yes, anything could happen. But who’s the young, strapping chap? It’s not you, is it? It is? Uh… yeah… okay…
Nevertheless, Sean continued: “I’m pretty certain we’ll have lots and lots of babies once this is all finished.” He then gave a goofy smile to the camera. And then continued to smile. And then picked his ear. And then smiled some more. Awkward, but somewhat awesome.
Over at Gold Rush, the last thing on anyone’s mind was babies or romance. Charmaine was forcing her team to place “the product” on shelves, but this wasn’t the simple task that you’d expect. Charmaine insisted that the products be lumped together in families and whatnot, and blah blah blah, this entire task was taking hours — hours that could have been spent marketing to the community. Furthermore, it was such a mundane thing to focus on at that time that Charmaine essentially lost the respect of Lee and Tarek who began mocking her behind her back.
“Three guys taking orders from a lady,” Lee scoffed at one point. Yes, it’s a crazy thought. Men never take orders from ladies. And I’m sure you’ll love explaining that position to CAROLYN later in the Boardroom.
The next morning, Charmaine sent Lee and Tarek out into the community to pass out flyers and stick them on the windshields of every car in every nearby parking lot. Yes, a brilliant plan. Because every time I find a flyer on my car, I don’t immediately toss it aside solely on principle. I always stop to read what it has to say!
With no clear marketing plan in place, the two guys just wound up wandering from lot to lot, not really seeing anyone anywhere. Eventually, they capitulated to the futility of their efforts, and Tarek even joked that Charmaine was probably in the salon getting her hair done. We then cut to Charmaine who was in the salon… getting her hair done. Another winning moment for women in business. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and figured she’d then show off her hair to other women in an effort to lure them into the store, but no, that didn’t seem to be the case. She was literally just getting her hair done, and she hardly seem fazed or concerned when Bill walked in right in the middle of the process. Normally I’d be — I don’t know — embarrassed to be caught like that on the job, but hey, no one can explain the mysteries of Charmaine. By the way, if anyone was in need of some Hair Cuttery magic, it wasn’t Charmaine. It was Tarek. Somebody trim that greasy helmet of hair. PLEASE.
Anyway, no surprise here. Gold Rush was pretty much dying on this task. The producers didn’t even try to fake us out. Tarek and Lee were already choosing their Boardroom clothing. Meanwhile, over at Synergy, sales were brisk. They were focusing on selling the products because they could move more inventory faster. Very smart. People seemed to be entering the salon at a decent clip, and we knew this team had it in the bag when we then saw a little baby smiling after her first haircut. Can’t deny that. Just hand over the victory now.
Well, the teams eventually returned to the Boardroom to hear the big results. Before that, however, Trump asked various people what they thought of their project managers. Tarek said that Charmaine was just average, causing Trump to remark, “So much for dating Charmaine.”
“It’s over between us,” Tarek joked. That’s too bad. Dating Charmaine is a THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!
Okay. Enough stalling. Here are the results. Synergy pulled in a strong $1005.47. Gold Rush: $700. I have to admit, Gold Rush did better than I had expected (I was anticipating a total of about $43.03), but nevertheless, they lost. And what a reward they lost out on: Burt Bacahrach! Yes, Synergy was told they’d be meeting Burt Bacharach AND writing a song with him. Sounded like goofy fun, but let’s be honest. Nothing, absolutely nothing, beats The Rubble Man.
We then cut to Steinway Hall where we found the one and only Martina Navratilova playing the piano. Oh wait, that wasn’t Martina. It was Burt Bacharach. Easy mistake. Anyway, the musical legend/dinosaur greeted the team and then casually mentioned that there’s this instrumental track ON HIS NEW ALBUM that he’d love to the group to write words for. Oh, and did he mention he has a NEW ALBUM?
Awww. What a kindly lesbian.
Well, Burt began playing what sounded like the theme to Jurassic Park, but it turned out this was actually that instrumental song FROM HIS NEW ALBUM. Soon, Allie, Tammy, Roxanne, and Sean began writing down lyrics furiously as if this entire job process depended on it. Burt eventually asked them what had come to their mind, and I half expected Allie to say, “Something about blood on the walls. Maybe a little ditty about a guy named Sean who’s from motherf-ckin’ Britain and thinks he’s sooo smart. Or maybe something about butterflies. But I’m thinking one of the first two ideas. Oooh! Can we work in something about a guy being drawn and quartered? How about tarred and feathered? Castrated?”
Anyway, early lyrics began to form, but clearly, this was not as free flowin’ as that wonderful Arby’s theme (“When I’m thinking Chicken Naturals, I’m thinking Arby’s!”). The gang tried to rhyme “laughter” and “tears,” and somehow, “spooning” and “premieres” got in there too. At one point, Tammy suggested the word “careers,” but she might as well have said “ass monkey c-nt face” because Allie gave her quite the death stare. Actually, everyone scoffed at the idea and brushed off the word. GOOD GOD TAMMY! GET IT TOGETHER!!!
Meanwhile, poor Burt sat there at his piano, watching this so-called brainstorm with a look of total incredulity on his face. Yes, Burt. A wonderful, fruitful career has come to this.
Nevertheless, this whole “career” controversy really brewed something up in Tammy, who told us, “I wish Allie wasn’t such a little bulldog, and I wish she didn’t make Sean feel like the outcast, and I wish we all could have just had love, like what the world needs now.” Oh be quiet you and your coy musical references.
At long last, the group finally finished their song, and it was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. And by “beautiful,” I mean horrendous. It was like Jurassic Park meet total crap. But at the end, Burt happily said, “Very good.” Oh Burt. You’re not a good liar.
We then cut to random b-roll of New York City that was inexplicably stylized and all fast-cut, kind of like some flashy CSI episode. Seriously, I think there was a new editor this week. Anyway, up in the suite, there was no music being made. Only the sweet, sweet sound of pre-Boardroom scurrying. Lee asked Charmaine what she was thinking, to which she replied, “Not thinking anything.” No surprise there. He then talked buddy-buddy with her, suggesting that she go for Tarek’s jugular (even though Tarek really hadn’t done anything wrong in this task). By the end of the convo, Charmaine conceded to us that her only real ally seemed to be Lee. Hmmm…
Lee then went to Tarek and helped him refine points to go after Charmaine. And just like Charmaine, Tarek left the conversation feeling like Lee was his ally. “He doesn’t want to be a snake,” Tarek said of his new buddy. Insert healthy dose of skepticism here. And so Lee, in his continuing effort not to be the snake, then cornered Michael in his bed and actively campaigned against Tarek, saying that they could keep Charmaine around to be their worker — well, assuming she wasn’t busy getting her hair done.
Eventually, Lee dipped his pen into the ink of hypocrisy and self-delusion by telling us, “I’m not teaming up. I’m not conspiring. I’m not going in there [the Boardroom] planning on saying this, this, and this.” Yes, he’s not doing any of those thing. Just because he teamed up with Michael, conspired with Charmaine, and prepared his statements with Tarek doesn’t mean that he’s actually teaming up, conspiring, and planning his words. Sheesh. You people are so judgmental sometimes.
We then went to commercial, which meant that Trump clearly wouldn’t be having Charmaine return to the Boardroom with two people. During this break, we were lucky to see our favorite PSA of all time, Trump bellowing about smoking. I know it’s been on for a few weeks, but damn, it’s wonderful each time.
“SMOKING SUCKS… THE AIR RIGHT OUT OF YOUR LUNGS! AND YOU’RE GOING TO NEED THEM FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! DON’T SMOKE! IT KILLS!” And yes, NEEDING YOUR LUNGS IS A THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!
We then returned to the show and the Boardroom where Charmaine explained the team loss by saying, “we failed to capitalized on the product.” A.k.a. YOU failed to capitalize on the product. I mean, she and Michael were in the salon. They were accountable for pushing the product on people. Still, Charmaine didn’t think the downfall was her fault. If anything, it was Tarek’s fault because… because… because she thought he was Orlando Bloom! That’s it! And she thought that would bring customers in. Meet Orlando Bloom! But then she realized he wasn’t Orlando Bloom. Now everything had fallen to pieces, and it was all Tarek’s fault!!
Okay, Charmaine didn’t say that, but she did hold Tarek responsible for the flyers and whatnot. It wasn’t her idea to plaster the community with leaflets. She wanted one on one interactions. Well, if she wanted that so much, why was she getting her hair did in the salon, Bill wanted to know. Oooh. Gotcha. Charmaine explained that she wanted to go through the EXPERIENCE. Yes, that most hallowed of rituals: having Doreen Interdonato run a curling iron through your hair. Charmaine was so toast.
Trump then asked Lee who should go, but he wouldn’t give a straight answer no matter what. The Donald merely smirked and called him a politician, saying that we’d probably see him in the Senate someday. But what about Michael? What did he think about all this. In his usual overly emphatic, overly articulate way, Michael let out a long and fairly empty statement about leadership and whatnot. Carolyn had a little smirk on her face as if she was just barely humoring the guy. It was almost as if she was trying to remember as many details as possible so she could later write a mocking email to all her girlfriends. Trump on the other hand was profoundly touched by Michael’s stupid speech.
“That was a beautiful statement,” The Donald said.
“I believe it,” Michael replied. “When you believe something from your heart, it’s hard not to say things like that.” OH GOD. SHUT UP. Tarek immediately began laughing, which earned him two points in my book, and then he and Charmaine began bickering like their lives depended on it. Unfortunately, Tarek veered way off message, and failed to reiterate how Charmaine had no clear marketing strategy, wasted time shelving products, and got her hair done instead of pulling in customers. Tarek instead focused on Charmaine’s emotional instability, accusing her of abstract things like always being negative and crying too much. Charmaine insisted that she’s only cried twice since the show started, and both times were in private, not during challenges. Michael then piped up and clarified, “For the record, Charmaine didn’t cry on this task once.” THANKS!
“I specifically said she should open suitcase sixteen, NOT eleven. I would have won the million dollars.”
Anyway, Tarek then attacked Charmaine’s outlook, saying she always wanted everyone to love each other. This caused Trump to note, “She says she wants everyone to love each other, and you didn’t take advantage of that? You are a schmuck!” Ka-ZING!!! This caused everyone to laugh, especially Tarek who let out a hearty guffaw — that is, until Trump added, “You’re not a genius.” Suddenly, Tarek went from full-scale laugh to solemn face in about half a second. Fun time is OVER.
Trump and his cohorts then questioned Lee again about who to fire, and the only thing Lee would concede was that he didn’t want to see Charmaine go. This started to piss off Carolyn who remarked, “You ARE a politician.” Oh, she was getting mad. She wanted to bust some balls. She smelled blood in the water. Might Lee be the surprise ouster? NBC had been predicting a shocker.
Soon, Bill and Carolyn began grilling Lee, which led to a whole bunch of “huminah huminahs.” I was hoping that the three others would suddenly realize how Lee had played them all, but no such luck. Instead, Tarek and Charmaine returned to their bickering, and in a display of total professionalism, the two began to actually yell, each one accusing the other of being the loudest. Finally, Tarek commanded, “CHARMAINE! LET ME FINISH!” Ah, raised voices. Always good times. Did I mention that this Boardroom was awesome?
“I’m telling you, Foreman will not die on House tonight! They wouldn’t kill off Omar Epps!”
Well, Tarek called Charmaine a whiner and a nagger, which may have been all well and good, but it was so far off message that it only served to make himself more vulnerable. Luckily, Charmaine’s actions spoke louder than words. Trump told her, “Charmaine, I don’t think you’re negative at all. I think you’re very, very attractive.” Uh, last time I checked, the opposite of “negative” was “positive,” not “attractive.” I’m pretty sure you can be negative and attractive at the same time.
Cha Cha Cha Charmaine!
Anyway, Trump fired Charmaine, which really wasn’t very much of a surprise. Just as everyone started to get up, however, he then said, “Wait one second.” Uh oh. Seeya Tarek! Yup, Trump then fired Tarek too, saying he was too difficult to manage and too spotty with his performance. Had to admit, I saw that double firing coming. In a weird way, I felt bad for Tarek. I really didn’t think he was to blame on this task. Yeah, he’s sucked in the past, but he seemed to be really shaping up, and he didn’t appear to be that difficult this week. Oh well. What can you do? By the way, I think we can all thank Lee for orchestrating that double firing. He effectively turned Tarek and Charmaine against each other and quietly watched as they dug their own graves. Very smart. But also, very deceitful. I sure as hell wouldn’t hire him in my company.
A bad day for MENSA.
Well, the gang all said goodbye in the lobby, and as the two rejects made their way to the cab, Trump, as usual, sought approval from his sidekicks. Carolyn said it was the right decision, and Bill merely commented, “Oof. It’s coming down to the wire.” Thanks for the generic contribution, Bill. FYI — that meant he didn’t agree. You can always tell with Bill.
Trump then noted, “That should be an interesting cab ride. They’ll be fighting all the way home.” Not quite. Instead, the two sat in stony silence, barely looking at each other or even saying a peep. So awkward. I probably could have watched twenty minutes of that.
This will probably lead to hate sex.
What did you think? Did Trump fire the right people? Did Tarek deserve the axe too?