It’s been two weeks since our last new Apprentice aired, and I sort of feared the worst. After all, how can any installment ever live up to the magical chemistry between Tana and Lil’ Jon? Well, unfortunately, this week’s edition paled in comparison, but that’s not to say it wasn’t chock full of entertainment. The loyal viewing audience was treated to a silly challenge, an even sillier reward, a tense boardroom, and a raging Chris. That’s really all we need sometimes.This week’s episode began a little differently than usual: for once the typical boardroom punditry turned out to be correct as everyone accurately predicted John’s ouster. That’s strange. Usually Mark Burnett enjoys displaying the candidates’ uncanny ability to pick the wrong person going home. This time around though, we had lots of discussion about Erin. “He’s not firing Erin,” said Angie gravely. She later noted that “Erin is a contender,” and that “she’s quick as a whip.” Hmmm… All this emphasis on Erin’s great skills feels a little fishy to me. Nevertheless, Erin returned to the suite safe and sound, although considerably less bouncy than we had expected. After all, two weeks ago, the entire country saw Erin spastically charge into the suite as the front door closed behind her. Maybe the undulations of her celebration caused a sudden hair cyclone, blacking out all light sources and mandating a more subdued reshoot of her entrance. Either way, upon return, Erin boasted, “I do well in there [the Boardroom] because I don’t lose my cool and I know how to speak like a rational human being.” That’s great. She’s clearly getting fired. At least she’ll go down stylishly though. Erin dazzled us with a green shawl that closely resembled what I’d always imagined Gumby would look like if he were flattened and then draped over a woman.
Erin is a fan of Gumby Chic
With the Apprentice-ites reveling in the post-Boardroom fallout, Erin, Stephanie, and Chris took to fooling around in the kitchen. “Stephanie has that not so fresh feeling!” squealed Erin, causing laughter all around. The camera then cut to Chris who chuckled with maniacal rage. I half expected him to yell “THAT WAS A VERY FUNNY JOKE! I FOUND THE HUMOR IN THAT COMMENT TO BE QUITE PLEASING!” Sadly, Chris remained quiet, although he did manage to snap a rabbit’s neck. Don’t really know where the rabbit came from.
After Erin concluded her brand of douche comedy, we then moved over to Magna where Craig was finally stepping up to be team leader. Before we even saw them though, the camera came to rest on a rack of free weights, surely in place for design purposes only. Needless to say, this cast isn’t what we’d normally call “physically fit” or “well toned” or “displaying any inclination towards exercise whatsoever.” I think it’s safe to say that Craig and Bren are no Kwame and Troy.
Anyway, Craig gathered everyone around to inspire his team with a random assemblage of provebs, Bible verses, and what sounded like fortune cookie messages. It was all a jumbled mess, and thankfully the producers were there to supply a patronizing New Age synthesizer chord. Tana tried to explain the surreal moment to us, but she only managed to confuse herself even more, ultimately muttering “I don’t diggety this’.”
The next morning, teams met Trump at one of his construction sites where he announced that this week’s challenge would involve a Do-It-Yourself Clinic at Home Depot. “I’ve heard some recent stories how well they’re doing,” said Trump regarding the hardware company. He then added, “Just the other day I saw they helped build shelters on Survivor. So I’ve decided to invest in Trump Survivor Shelter. The Survivor shelter business is a $30 billion industry, and Trump Survivor shelters will be the very best shelters you can get on a deserted island. It’ll be great folks.”
Actually, Trump didn’t launch into a Mark Burnett cross-promotional tie-in. Instead, he extolled the virtues of Home Depot. First he noted that the company was the “fastest growing retailer in the United States.” Funny. That’s what he’s said about EVERY OTHER COMPANY! At least he had one correct fact: Home Depot “revolutionized the do-it-yourself home improvement business.” He’s right. Have you ever tried to get help in those stores? They might as well have a sign by the door saying “Questions? Do it your damn self, you dipshit!”
Eventually, Trump introduced the team to two Home Depot execs. “What is your name?” he asked one of them. Amazingly, the guy simply stammered for a few moments and then pointed to the other exec, adding “This really isn’t my department. She’ll be able to help you.” The exec then ran away to the other side of the construction site.
Later, at the loft, Net Worth sat around and discussed ideas. Angie, this week’s Project Manager, babbled about how Home Depot was the happiest place on earth. Well, it’s the happiest place as long as your definition of “happiness” includes dying from falling hardware. Nevertheless, Erin immediately bowed out of the task, noting that she’d never been to Home Depot and could therefore not offer any productive assistance. “As a former beauty queen, I know what a crown is. But I don’t know what crown molding is,” she said in an altogether too rehearsed remark to the camera (Kudos to the segment producer that came up with the crown/crown molding punchline). Erin then went on to say, “As a hair enthusiast, I know what a brush is… That’s all I wanted to say.”
Over at Magna, Craig announced that he wanted his team to run a clinic on how to make… a box. The idea was immediately received with passive aggressive rejection. “Everybody seems to have a box,” said Tana, opening up the dialogue for many colorful vagina puns. You just know that Bren was chomping at the bit on that front. Still, despite the team’s hatred of the box and all things box-like, Craig took an official stance and made the simplistic design the cornerstone of his plan. The group begrudgingly accepted this decision, perhaps feeling like Craig’s boxy idea had in fact, boxed them in. Man, I always love being able to throw in a cheap Sex in the City caliber pun. (You know that if this were an actual Sex and the City episode, the subplots would have to do with a boxer, boxer briefs, and possibly Barbara Boxer. Why bash an already dead show? Because TVgasm wasn’t around 18 months ago. Gotta make up for lost time).
While Craig got busy with the boxes, things at Net Worth were kind of slow. Erin and a tobacco-chewing Chris ambled through the death-aisles of Home Depot, desperately seeking some inspiration, but alas, it was not meant to be. The entire experience caused Erin to predictably break out into one of her labored comedy analogies: “Me walking through a Home Depot is like me being in a foreign country where everyone speaks a language that I can’t understand!” Truthfully, that statement does little to clarify the Home Depot experience. I don’t know what she’s like in a foreign country where everyone speaks a language that she can’t understand. Maybe she becomes a raging slut? Maybe she cries? LET US IN, ERIN!
Later, Angie’s team assembled in a generic office to browse through Home Depot options. After some low-energy brainstorming, the team finally opted to use a mobile kitchen island for its clinic. Not a bad idea, and a few hours later, they actually managed to assemble one, causing all the girls to remark at how “cute” it was. Yes, nothing tugs at the heartstrings like shelves on wheels. I would show that picture of the puppies again, but next to the mobile kitchen island, they look like hideous warts. Now, if we could only design a mobile kitchen island made of puppies, that would be the darned cutest thing on earth!
Artist’s rendering of the mobile puppy kitchen island.
Less cute was the “space-saver trunk” (aka the box). Having no faith in Craig, even after his rambling prayer session the night before, Magna all but abandoned their odd-voiced leader. Luckily, the father of four knew how to turn everyone’s frowns upside down. No, Craig didn’t tickle Kendra, but he did tell everyone to stop being such sourpusses. Surprisingly, everyone said okay and welcomed the box into their lives. And at twenty six minutes into the episode, Bren finally provided us with our first official “thinking outside the box” pun. Moments later, Darren Star called him up: “We’re thinking about doing a male version of Sex in the City. I’d like to make you the head writer.” Sorry people. Still working through the rage.
With Magna newly motivated, Tana got to work teaching the local Home Depot staffers about the finer elements of hip hop culture. “Shake it Sayid!” she exclaimed, urging a small Indian man to dance. NOW WE BE TALKIN’! Incidentally, I couldn’t help noticing a vague interpretation of Fat Joe’s “What’s Love?” on the soundtrack. It’s a sad state of affairs when 50 Cent and G-Unit dominate the radio so much that all the other rappers have to spread their music on reality show soundtracks. With that being said, I’m looking forward to this summer’s season of Big Brother with its promised rap interludes by Chen Dogg and her Robo-Posse.
This photo was taken prior to Julie Chen’s banishment from G-Unit.
Luckily, 50 Cent welcomed Chen Dogg back with open arms.
Anyway, it was finally time for the teams to kick off their Do-It-Yourself clinics. Net Worth started off strongly with Angie anchoring an effective demonstration, but then things began falling apart. Because the presentation required a loud, booming voice to reach the large audience that had accumulated, Angie logically had Chris take the helm for the clinic. Sadly, this choice was only met with disaster. I half expected Chris to yell, “THIS IS HOW TO BUILD A MOBILE UNIT! YOU WILL BUILD THIS UNIT RIGHT NOW. I AM NOT EVEN JOKING! I WILL BEAT YOU, OLD LADY!” Then in my fantasy Chris shakes one of the aisle units, causing an avalanche of hardware to fall from upon high. In real life, however, Chris just yelled in a general way and then managed to assemble the cutesy wootsy mobile kitchen island completely incorrectly. The only thing more embarrassing was the fact that it took thirty five minutes to construct a product that Angie had boasted could be finished in fifteen minutes or less. Later when asked what took so long, Angie simply replied “CPT. Don’t know what it means, but Craig told me to say it.”
Speaking of Craig, turns out his whole box idea was pretty damn smart. You see, after watching the mobile kitchen island disaster, we’ve come to appreciate the simplicity of the space saver chest. The easier the project, the harder it is to screw up. As a result, Magna could focus its energy on selling the box instead of simply constructing it. Oh, and by the way, Donald Trump’s message of the week: “Sell yourself.” Not so surprisingly, Magna excelled in this department, especially Tana who seemed to trade in her Crunk Juice for Apple Juice as she painted with children and squealed “Weeeeeeeee!!!!” This woman is a true chameleon. One week she’s a clown, another she’s a homegirl, and another she’s a… hyper child. Man, I love Tana.
Amazingly, the entire Magna team seemed to recognize their lack of vision regarding the box. Kendra and others fully acknowledged how naive they were to doubt Craig. I’m sorry. I don’t understand. A reality star is being apologetic, humble, and unselfish? Man, this show has really jumped the shark.
Nevertheless, we had a strong feeling that Craig’s team was going to march to victory, especially when the music suddenly became dramatic and contemplative as we watched children paint the boxes. I didn’t really understand why the mood had become so serious. I’ll just assume everyone died ten minutes later. It would make sense, them being in Home Depot and all. Prediction: Home Depot will never advertise on TVgasm after this post.
Anyway, it was finally judgment time, and to no one’s surprise (except maybe Trump’s), Magna handily won. Surely their reward would be a somewhat relevant experience that would further clue the neophytes in to the world of high power execs. Well, maybe not. Team Magna won a Zero G 727 Experience. Huh? According to The Donald, since the candidates worked so long “training” people at their clinics, they now would be “trained” in zero gravity. Okay, that’s a stretch. I mean, it’s a cool — nay, very cool — reward, but honestly, is this what CEOs do in their spare time? “Well Mr. Simon, it’s been a pleasure doing business with you. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to float in zero gravity.”
The show paused briefly for a commercial break, and we suddenly were faced with the bombastic debut of Home Depot’s latest ad featuring Craig’s box. I really couldn’t tell if the spot was trying to be tongue-in-cheek or not, but either way, it’s kind of hard to take a commercial seriously when it treats a wooden box like a Lexus. “It’s the box!” boasted the narrator with equal parts genuflection and orgasm (genugasm? boxgasm?). To further cement the box’s place as the coolest creation since the wheel, we were even supplied with a quote from Kendra saying “The neatest thing ever!” Okay, this commercial can’t be serious. But even if it’s an ironic, self-parodying spot, why would Home Depot do that? I mean, they want people to go to their Apprentice clinic, right? It’s like they’re saying “Hey, isn’t this box stupid? Anyway, you should come by and build one. At your expense, natch.”
Later, after the baffling commercial had run its course, we returned to the loft where Net Worth was moping around. Well, mainly just Angie who had adopted baby talk to say “I wanna go on da plane!” Anyone who uses baby talk on the Apprentice should be immediately fired. Actually, any adult who uses baby talk in general (when not in the vicinity of a baby) should be taken to Home Depot and made to stand in an aisle until a crate of hammers falls on them.
Not using baby talk was Magna who happily slipped into some Zero G flight suits and hit the tarmac. As the airplane hangar doors opened, Tana could barely contain her excitement, saying “Oh here it goes.” She then added, “NOW WE BE FLYIN’!” A fast walking man soon emerged from a plane and announced that he’s clocked over one thousand hours in zero gravity. I hear he’s not very well grounded. Rimshot! Anyhoo, the team soon boarded the padded cabin, and within moments (on TV at least), they were floating and spinning and flipping and twirling, all to the sound of the Blue Danube. Yes, it was just like 2001: A Space Odyssey, except instead of space, we had an airplane, and instead of HAL, we had Bren, and instead of cinematic artistry, we had Diet Rite ads. At least Erin hadn’t won the challenge. I couldn’t imagine what her hair would do in zero gravity. It would probably extend in thousands of directions, gagging people as it entered their mouths and nostrils. A troll doll gone bad. Very bad.
This loopy interlude eventually came to a crashing end (not literally) when Alex presented us with an incredibly forced metaphor about his team being up in space enjoying zero gravity while Erin and Stephanie were grounded by gravity in the reality of getting fired even though they were space cadets and OH MY GOD SHUT UP. Alex has grown on me in recent episodes, but annoying comments like that (most likely written by the same producer who supplied Erin with her clunky “foreign country” line) really bring his cred down.
Speaking of Erin, it was time to go into the boardroom, but not before our flirtatious lawyer had one last thing to say. Regarding her boardroom track record, Erin boasted that “Every time I speak, it’s poignant and accurate.” Poignant? I don’t understand. Has she been relating stories about how her pet hamster Butterscotch died an early death? (FYI, for fear that I may be acting like an idiot, I did a little research on “poignant” and found that indeed, it can also mean “incisive”, “skillful”, “astute”, “pertinent”, and “agreeably intense.” So I guess Erin wins this round, although I’d still argue that “poignant” was an odd word choice.)
Anyway, in the boardroom, Angie quickly assigned blame for the task’s failure on Erin, accusing her of checking out from the getgo. Erin explained that she was unfamiliar with Home Depot as a business, prompting Trump to respond, “You sound like Paris Hilton.” That in turned cause Angie to say “Paris Hilton would have been better.” Zinger for the Angie-meister! Almost made you overlook that stupid necktie she was wearing. Seriously, what is up with Angie always going for the stewardess look?
After some cutesy winking from Erin and a few more defenses from Angie, Chris suddenly piped up angry as ever. I love how you never see the anger boiling in him. It just is suddenly there. I don’t remember what prompted him to say it, but out of nowhere Chris was jamming his index finger into the table and yelling “THAT IS 100% TRUE!” He even had that angry scowl on his face that we’ve all come to love. You know, the one that looks like a cat defending its territory. Hissssss!
Around this time, Angie tried to make a point, but in her exasperation, she wound up saying “Yes sir, honey.” Did she just call Trump “honey”? That’s somewhat odd. I suppose it’s less inappropriate than Erin’s chronic winking problem. Nevertheless, the attention returned to Chris who continued to face wrath for his chewing tobacco problem. You’d think he would have stopped two episodes ago when he first faced scrutiny for it, but no, it turns out the only thing that can tame the beast is a tin of Skoal. Trump grilled Chris with all sorts of questions about his tobacco use. “Do you use a spittoon? You swallow it?” he asked over and over again. The gross discovery here was that Chris actually does swallow his spit if he has no container to dispose of it. Man, that is disgusting. There’s a reason why people call it “spit”. Even Carolyn had to hang her head in repulsion upon hearing this sordid detail.
Nevertheless, Angie sent Stephanie back up to the suite where she could “look at the moon”, as Trump said. He then added “The moon is the fastest growing retailer in the country. Last year, the moon took in $85 billion in profits. It’s big, people.”
While the candidates waited outside, Carolyn and George both voiced their support for Angie, saying she was the one who carried the team. Later, when everyone had returned to the boardroom, Trump alerted the Project Manager that she most likely would not be fired based on the high vote of confidence from his advisors. Unless she says something really dumb, chances are, she’ll be okay. Hmmm… We’ll see how that goes. Next, it was time to light a fire under Chris and Erin. “Don’t you think Erin’s better than you?” asked The Donald instigatingly. True to form, Chris responded with pure hellfire, yelling “ABSOLUTELY NOT!” He then spat venom at the panel and ripped Erin’s head off.
Actually, that didn’t happen, but Trump got on his tobacco kick once again, saying he doesn’t want a guy working for him who chews tobacco. He may have been jokey about it before, but we could tell he was fairly serious this time around. Chris promised to quit, and if he’s caught chewing again, he could then be fired. Man, and we thought Chris was irritable BEFORE withdrawal…
Of course, it’s not just us bloggers who’ve noticed Chris’s uncontrollable rage. “Don’t you have an anger problem?” asked Trump. Chris deflected the question, yelling “NO, I DON’T! I’M VERY AGGRESSIVE SIR!” He then added “I AM QUITE A HAPPY PERSON. ANGER IS A FOREIGN NOTION TO ME. NO ONE COULD BE MORE PLEASANT THAN ME! NO ONE! THAT IS A PROMISE SIR. THAT IS A PROMISE!“
Luckily for Chris, the spotlight soon returned to Angie as Trump questioned the once safe PM as to why she didn’t have Erin present in the clinic. Angie tried to defend herself, but Trump came down viciously, and not in his jokey way either. In the background, the music began revving up, and suddenly the unthinkable seemed to happen. Was Angie going to get fired? Was this all brilliant misdirection onto Erin? All that “Erin’s as quick as a whip stuff” — was that just misdirection on the misdirection? Trump said that he wasn’t very happy with Angie, that she’d made some bad decisions, and yet Carolyn and George say she’s great, “and I have to listen to them.”
“Do you have to?” asked Erin with a wink and a smile. Smart move, dumbass. Insult Trump’s two most trusted advisors. “You’re a real wiseguy,” replied Trump, prompting Carolyn to chime in with “That was a dumb statement. That was a dumb statement.” George merely performed the sidekick role in its basic form, only saying “Yeah.” And just like that, Trump fired Erin. Ouch. I guess she wins idiot of the week for successfully redirecting the blame from her onto Angie, and then stupidly bringing it back onto herself again by dissing George and Carolyn. Erin stomped out of the boardroom, but then suddenly paused at the door. I figured she’d something like “Can you please lift up your chair? My hair is caught under it,” but instead she continued onwards, revealing that her Rapunzel locks were in fact unencumbered.
Afterwards, in the cab home, Erin tried to make light of the situation by hurling several lame power tool puns our way. I didn’t bother to write down the exact quotes because they were so dumb, but needless to say, they had something to do with her lack of knowledge on the subject of power saws cut her off at the knees; getting fired was like a nailgun in the heart. Eventually though, she assured us that “All is well in Erin-land,” which is awesome because in about six months from now when she realizes she’s not the model she thinks she is, she’s probably gonna be depressed, suicidal, or at least shedding her dignity in Playboy. Cheers!