Somewhere in America, former Apprentice candidate Elizabeth is shaking her head. After all, for a brief moment it looked like Chris would be joining her in the “I sucked so badly I was fired on the spot” club, but alas, it appears as though Elizabeth will keep that humiliating honor all to herself. Yes, Chris narrowly avoided that dubious distinction, but not much else. His performance as project manager this week was… how do you say it? Awful? Abysmal? Embarrassing? Shameful? Or how about simply lame? No amount of smiley faces on the knees could help him on this episode — unless of course those smiley faces could magically buy wedding dresses (they didn’t).As usual, the episode kicked off with our resident Jimmy the Greeks weighing in on who may have been fired in the boardroom. Jennifer put her money on an Ivana ouster, thus extending her accuracy record to about, hmmm, 0 and 9? Honestly, the homeless dude down the street would do a better job at predicting the outcomes of the boardrooms, and I think he might be dead (or at least suffering from a Jane Austen-ish bout of consumption).
Nevertheless, Ivana returned triumphantly to the apartment where she was greeted with a cold silence. She didn’t really say anything – certainly nothing approaching the level of a solid Enron zinger – and part of me really wanted her to simply state “I’ll assume your lack of cheers and joy indicate that you are happy to see me.” But instead Ivana just sat down with the group and watched new project manager Chris chomp on asparagus. Later, team Apex held one of those ineffective Let’s Vent discussions where Ivana mandated that if you have to complain, come up with a solution. For instance, when Ivana complains, the solution she often provides is to fold her arms and look peeved. Other welcome solutions are scowling, rolling eyes, and – oh yes – pacing to and fro with hands on hips.
Meanwhile, over at the Mosaic Corporation, a minor leadership battle erupted between Kelly and Andy. The young pup voiced his interest in being the project manager, an idea that Frau Maria quickly batted down with an efficient “We’re not gonna let you lead.” Still, Andy persisted enough that he and Kelly entered into a name drawing scenario. Ultimately, Kelly’s name was picked from the hat, and I half expected Maria to turn to the camera and say darkly “All the names said Kelly. It’s an old trick I learned during my Home Economics with a Concentration in Communications minor.”
The next morning Rhona called up and told the candidates to meet Trump at famed restaurant Tavern on the Green. Once the teams were there, Trump and his cohorts arrived regally. For her part, Carolyn did her darndest to look like another one of those 1970s Love Boat villains that hang around Trump so much. Nevertheless, Trump greeted the teams and announced proudly “This is Tavern on the Green.” Really? I wouldn’t have realized that considering the cryptic directions were “meet Mr. Trump at TAVERN ON THE GREEN.”
Trump continued: “The thing that really differentiates Tavern on the Green is the fact that at least once a week, they have a wedding.” Also differentiating it: At least once a week, some jerk bangs on the windows and pretends to be Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters. Anyhoo… Trump revealed that this week’s challenge would involve reenacting scenes from Ghostbusters. I’m sorry. I meant it would involve setting up bridal shops and trying to make the most profit. The wedding industry is a $30 billion industry, Trump proclaimed. Doesn’t he say that every episode? “The nail clipper industry is a $30 billion industry, as is the wiffle ball industry.” He then added coyly that he’s been to many weddings in his life, and someday, he’ll get it right. Cut to crestfallen Melania awkwardly saying “Oh…” and then backing off into the shadows of oblivion.
Why does Maria look like someone punched her in the stomach?
Teams departed to view their retail space, and when Ivana arrived at the Apex shop, she exclaimed “We can totally use this space!” Uh, well, that’s the point Ivana. She then pointed out that the front door totally opens and closes and would be PERFECT for letting people in and out of the shop. Team leader Chris meanwhile attempted to secure some vendors for the big bridal expo, but all he got was an earful of hostile attitude. I suppose that will happen when you call Just For Angry Shrews Bridal Shop.
Heading into the first commercial break, Chris nearly threw in the towel on the task, claiming that it was almost impossible. After a few words from our sponsors, we returned for Trump’s obligatory Business 101 lesson. “Believe in yourself,” he commanded. Great. Well, I guess Chris will be losing – not that Trump has any care about that. He spent a good portion of his little segment thinking about building names. “I like the name Trump Towers Chicago,” he told some underling who had a look on his face like “Yeah yeah yeah. We get it. You like to name things after yourself.”
Team Mosaic, with the help of bridal shop owner Sandy, seemed to be breezing through the mission. Young Andy joined Sandy on a quest to land some vendors. Together, Andy and Sandy formed the dynamic duo of… Sandy! Okay, I guess their names don’t mix well (unless they were SandyAndy or Ansandy), but I digress. Andy was fairly useless as he tried to pull off a lame Honda/Ferrari metaphor which suitably alienated the vendor. Later Carolyn mocked him by saying “You’ve never done this before, have you?”
Back at Apex, Chris and Jen decided to get off their asses and actually try to meet some of the vendors, not that Chris looked too enthused to be doing it. Kevin and Ivana meanwhile found the wise Yoda of the bridal industry in Bernadette, a boutique owner who was more than happy to play the role of Sandy for the team. Still, even with Bernadette in their corner, it was clear that Mosaic would trample Apex. Somewhere in the middle of this mess, we cut to Sandy who was inexplicably sitting barefoot on a sidewalk in yoga clothes. I suppose she was teaching some street urchins the downward dog.
Sandy’s team wasn’t totally bulletproof though. Not only was their wedding expert lying around like a wino on the pavement, but they also had to contend with Maria and her supposed skills for marketing. Unfortunately for Mosaic, the cornerstone of Maria’s publicity campaign seemed to be blinking… a lot. Surely it wasn’t the email she sent out to 23,000 future brides because as we soon found out, that ad didn’t feature some important things like, you know, a phone number. Also contributing to the shaky Mosaic team was Wes who barreled down the streets of Manhattan as if he were playing Grand Theft Auto. By the end of the first half an hour, he had crashed into one pickup truck and managed to have knocked over all the wedding dresses. It was all part of Wes’s plan to give the gowns that tattered chic look that’s so popular these days.
The next morning, while Maria tried on wedding dresses (she’s such an asset!), her opposing team ventured off to Penn Station and Grand Central to distribute leaflets about their wedding sale. Yes, it was a brilliant move because so many brides-to-be hang out in train depots. I also would have recommended the city junkyard and under as many highway overpasses as possible.
Later that afternoon, after the big promotional pushes for both teams had run their courses, it was time to open the doors to the public. Kelly & Co. welcomed throngs of women into the store while Ivana, dressed like she was ready to hit a luau later that night, greeted only two ladies at the door. In case there was any doubt before, it was now completely obvious that Mosaic would be dominating this challenge. Besides, Maria had taken out her elephantine brooch, so we knew all would be well. I believe the rule was “Buy a dress or we’ll feed you to Maria’s flower.”
Nevertheless, after all the selling had come to an end, the teams returned to the boardroom to hear the results. Maria asserted an icy chill over the room as she curiously stood over all the other sitting candidates and exuded a “DIE! DIE! DIE!” vibe. At least she had a sassy, arch-villain collar to match her bitter scowl. Her anger soon melted away though as we learned that Team Mosaic had trounced Apex $12,000 to $1,000. As a reward, Trump ferreted Mosaic off to Graff jewelers where they met Melania who endeavored to ALMOST say something.
Back at Trump Towers though, Chris and his cronies faced the wrath of The Donald. Chris at first claimed the other team had an unfair advantage because they had Sandy. This of course caused Carolyn to tilt her head, a gesture that’s reminiscent of a cobra flattening its neck before attacking. Sure enough, she came full charge, reminding Chris that he did in fact have Fairy Godmother Bernadette to help him out. Trump and George agreed, although Trump was kind enough to note that Chris’s accent made him feel at home. He then added that he wished Chris would simply embrace him and hold him tight and tell him that everything was going to be okay.
Later, Trump asked Ivana what the deal with Chris was. “Chris is very good at identifying problems,” she responded. Ha, and by “identifying problems”, she clearly meant “complaining.” Ivana then went on to say “And when I say that, I mean he’s really good at complaining.” Uh, wait. Ivana stole my line. God, I hate her.
As can be expected, Chris ultimately got the boot. It was such a no-brainer that Donald and his sidekicks didn’t even share a post-termination comment like “That was easy” or “That was hard.” For now we’ll have to look forward to next week when Maria apparently goes ballistic (Yes!) and other candidates strip down for a scantily clad photo shoot. You know, the type that happens every day in business. Anyone?
UPDATE: By request, here is Maria in her hot pink bikini.