It’s been a rough week for The Apprentice. Well, not so much for The Apprentice, but for recently fired applicant (can applicants be fired?) Jen C., who’s found her world collapsing in the wake of her arguably anti-Semitic comments from last Wednesday. Yeah, this show isn’t always great for your career. Just ask Kwame Jackson. Oh wait. Anyway, when we returned to the universe of The Apprentice last night, the apartment was reeling from the firing of Jen C.. No one seemed to mind her absence, and Stacy was kind enough to mark her departure with a little “The witch is dead” proclamation. Of course, in the wake of another female departure, the women all gathered around the kitchen to discuss ways to be more productive and communicative. This apparently meant finger pointing and general bitchiness – a strategy that has worked oh so well the past few weeks. “If you have to order bread, it shouldn’t take forty five minutes,” declared Sandy in what was supposed to be an attack on Stacy. SLAM! Nice panary dis! I’ve been waiting all season for someone to work in a pumpernickel attack, and I think this was about as close as I’m going to get. Oh yes. It was going to be a good show…While the verbal skirmish raged politely on, Pamela stopped in to observe. She had a look of shock on her face, and I couldn’t help wondering if something awful was going on off-camera. You know, like Maria bludgeoning a puppy. I guess she was just surprised at the continued ineptitude of the women in these tasks, but then again, in her eyes, it isn’t about the battle of the sexes, or as she so delicately put it, “uteruses versus penises.” She then added “Which is too bad because I was turned down for The Great Uterus-Penis Challenge 2004.”
Anyway, the next day the troops all shuffled off to UPS – although not before we saw Chris’s nipple ring. I wonder, does Carolyn have one of those? Or better yet, George? Okay, erase that image if you can. At the UPS distribution center, the applicants all stood around, awaiting their master. Maria dazzled all with a monster flower broche that seemed like a forced attempt at gracefulness. “I’m as soft as a flower. Did you hear me? SOFT AS A FLOWER!” Hiding in the shadow of the gargantuan rose was Sandy whose face seems to be ground zero for some sort of makeup explosion. Seriously, I’m no makeup artist, but when your base shows up on TV, that’s a bad sign. Her face was about two shades darker than her neck. Why does this matter? It doesn’t. So let’s move on. After a few moments of staring at our group, the mighty trio of The Donald, The Carolyn, and The George all arrived. Mark Burnett swapped out the regal fanfare for a more throbbing rock star guitar riff. I guess it matched the whole decor with all those trucks around. Maybe if the next mission is at Lincoln Center, Trump can get a glockenspiel intro. That would be awesome.
The first order of business was that Trump took Pamela off of the sissy-named Mosaic team and placed her on the sissy-filled Apex team. Then it was time for the challenge. With all the UPS trucks around, I couldn’t wait to hear what it was. Something to do with freight or the complexities of international shipping? Maybe the high demands of running a fleet of trucks on a rigid schedule? Actually, the task was much simpler. Teams had to sell an item on QVC and whoever had the highest revenue wins. Oh, and by the way, QVC uses UPS and they’re like really really good, so let’s just give them this little product placement here totally blatantly.
The teams piled into buses that drove them to QVC, but apparently there was some stop at the Frito-Lay factory because everyone seemed to have a bag of Lays or Doritos in their laps. In Team Apex’s bus, Pamela laid the smackdown on the women with her aggressive leadership. Maria was not happy. The team doesn’t need a lecture, she said during her interview. Yeah, the team has been so mature lately, like that time when they ganged up on Stacie as a scapegoat. I personally think Maria’s was just a little cranky because Pamela had no respect for her designer suit, which clearly must have been sat on prior to this mission.
At the QVC headquarters, Apex chose to sell a spongey cleaning agent called “It Works!” Coincidentally, this is the same thing Maria’s creators said when they first tested her out. Pamela seemed to be doing a great job in organizing the women and making them productive. She had some problems with Stacy, but overall, there seemed to be a minimum amount of bickering. Then again, any bickering was quickly shot down by Pamela’s tone, which seemed to say “Shut up. Shut the F up. Shut up before I sew a muzzle out of your hair and stick it on your face.” Unfortunately, this authoritarian style, which was so good at organizing the women, also opened Pamela up to attack, especially after she priced a package of thirty sponges at just under $30. Um, yeah. I’ll stick with club soda and vinegar.
Over at Mosaic, the guys opted to put their weight behind a panini grill. Could they BE any more QVC? There was some squabbling about the price – Raj wanted it to be $69.99, Kelley wanted it to be $71.25. Chris, as the leader just wanted it to be over. He sided with Kelley. But enough about the men. There’s no drama there. Let’s go back to the women! With the product and pricing in place, the group performed a runthrough with Maria and Jen M. at the helm.
Maria, who had a self-proclaimed background in public speaking, immediately took front and center and tried to hawk the product with such angry perkiness that I thought she might hold a knife up to someone and demand viewers to buy the sponge, all with a perfect smile on her face. Once again, her eyelids went aflutter as Maria didn’t as much recite her lines and blink them. Maybe she was trying to just reach the Morse Code demographic.
Pamela decided to demote Maria to second, well-dressed banana behind the more composed Jen M. whose only public speaking experience has been as a trial lawyer, whatever THAT means. Of course, no situation like this could go without a little passive aggression, this time from Elizabeth who had the following conversation with Ivana in front of Maria: “Tell Maria that Pamela’s coming down to talk to her… Oh, and tell Jen she was absolutely perfect and wonderful and great. Tell Maria not to interrupt her.” Now that was some good passive aggression!
Ultimately, the two teams duked it out on the air. Apex sold more units but at a lower price. Mosaic seemed to be having problems making sales. But hey, at least Andy was happy. He extolled the experience as he sat by a wall wearing a QVC hardhat. Did I miss something? Was Andy at the QVC steel girder plant? Anyway, in a tough break, the guys won the challenge by a mere $10. It’s too bad because now we have another week with Raj, and Pamela, who had such solid if not unforgiving leadership skills, would most likely be going home.
The guys all went off to Flushing, NY to hit a few balls with tennis great John McEnroe and tennis mediocre talent Anna Kournikova. Raj, ever the dapper gentleman, tried to woo Ms. Kournikova, but she was fairly unreceptive. Maybe she didn’t want to raise the ire of Enrique Iglesias, lest he release another crappy song to express his rage (in an appropriately lusty and smoldering way. Bailamos!). Anna dared Raj to return just one of five serves, and then she would have coffee with him. Of course Raj whiffed miserably each time, complaining that the ball had spin on it. Um, Raj, you do realize you’re playing a professional tennis player, right? That’s supposed to happen. Never one to go down without trying, Raj took the chance to make lame political jokes about the balls. “That one had more spin than Bill Clinton!” he said. Wow, somebody call John Stewart. The newest political humorist is here and he’s ready to take over! Anyway, Raj lost the bet and as punishment, he had to run around the stadium in only his boxers. Yes, I can think of no finer way to salute the late Arthur Ashe.
Things were not so carefree back at the loft. The women all ganged together to develop a strategy to oust Pamela. Yay! More scapegoating! At least this time there wasn’t that awkward moment like that one time when Stacie J. walked in on the strategy session and all the women walked away from her. Team Apex finally made their way down to the boardroom where Maria debuted what appeared to be either a matador’s blazer or the product of a free QVC bedazzler. Carolyn was significantly less testy than the past few weeks, but George wound up being the snippy one this time (next week’s promos warn “Don’t annoy George!”) as he chided Pamela for saying that Apex tied Mosaic.
Ultimately, Pamela chose to return to the boardroom with Stacy and Maria, two of the more annoying women who in this case were not really accountable for the mission’s failure. All three women put up solid defenses, although Maria did face a little Carolyn wrath. In the end though, it was Pamela’s oversight on the pricing and her lack of flexibility that did her in. Sure enough, she was sent home in a taxi where a string of self-serving comments such as “You have to be underhanded, and that’s just not me” helped soften the blow. Can’t wait to see the women implode next week!