It was down to the final five on last night’s Apprentice, and even though ratings have been declining (sniff sniff), the corporate sponsors have been growing. This week, we had two heavy hitters jockeying for space on the same show: Microsoft and Wal-Mart. To say this episode was ‘uge, would be an understatement. Trump even threw the “trillion” word around. Now, I know what you’re thinking — too much product placement — but before you start to roll your eyes, think to yourself: are you rolling your eyes? Or are you raising your eyebrows. As this episode proved, there’s a BIG DIFFERENCE.This week’s episode began back in the Boardroom, but unlike the last show, we weren’t lucky enough to hear Trump’s blaring narration again. I was highly disappointed, but I got over it quickly as I watched Michael crash and burn all over again. While the Gold Rush guys dealt with the wrath of Trump, we cut to Roxanne up in the suite who weighed in with her official Boardroom prediction. “Michael’s strong in the Boardroom,” she noted. Haha. Not strong enough, BITCH. Don’t know where that hostility came from, but it was fun; so I regret nothing.
Well, Michael was dumped by Trump (or as I like to call it, “Drumped” — I just made that up), and when Lee and Sean returned, the girls could not have seemed less pleased (they still hated Sean for being an alleged turncoat). “Hey Sean. Hey Lee. Ohhhhh,” Allie said, making little to no effort to hide her disappointment. Even though I really can’t stand Sean (or Allie for that matter), I really want them to go to the final two, just to watch them viciously attack each other one last time in front of Trump.
Meanwhile, Lee couldn’t believe his lucky stars that he had survived yet another Boardroom (and believe me, he wasn’t the only surprised person). “I keep going in there and keep coming out somehow,” he said. Might this foreshadow some sort of Lee demise? I could only hope. Nevertheless, now was a time of celebration. The group all raised their glasses at the dinner table and toasted. “To the fabulous final five! Yay!” Roxanne said, adding, “P.S. that ‘fabulous’ and ‘yay’ does not extend to you, SEAN! I hate you.”
We then cut to the opening credits, and when we returned to the show, the final five were standing by Trump who announced, “I love working with Microsoft and Wal-Mart.” Wow. Big guns today. This would certainly be a step above the P’Eatzza! Anyway, standing next to The Donald were two executives — a stuffy-looking guy from Wal-Mart and a bald, “cool dude” from Xbox. In a move I highly endorse, the Xbox exec suggested that there should be a limited edition Donald Trump Xbox 360. I couldn’t quite envision what it would look like, but I imagined it had bad hair, and every time you’d turn the system on, it would say, “Turning me on is a THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!”
Trump then joked that he wanted only ten percent of the Xbox 360 sales, and when he was done giggling (and he was giggling), he told the candidates that they were standing in the showroom for the Donald J. Trump watch collection. One of the hottest watch collections in the entire world! Well, at least according to The Donald. I personally had never heard of them before, but then again, I’m also not a middle-aged man living in Greenwich with Hammacher Schlemmer on speed dial.
Well, this week’s task was to create a display environment for Wal-Mart and Microsoft — two giants in the corporate world. Even Trump had to genuflect a bit. “Together, these two companies are worth over a half a TRILLION DOLLARS!” he extolled. Wow! Trump then added, “Being worth over half a trillion dollars is a THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!!!” I didn’t understand it either.
Anyway, as I was saying, the teams had to create an interactive, three-dimmensional display that would promote the “hottest new product,” the Xbox 360. I can’t really attest to whether or not the Xbox 360 really is the hottest new product. Maybe if Microsoft sent me a free one, I’d be able to better judge that (hint, hint), and I’m not just saying that because I’m already pretty much sold on the PS3 (make me a believer, Microsoft! Make me a believer!!).
The teams then went their way, and we followed Gold Rush as Sean attempted to hone his inner gamer (which, I assure you, wasn’t there). “I love the Xbox 360! It’s so much more than just a great gaming console!” he said, adding, “It’s like the fish and chips of videogames!”
Okay, he didn’t say that, but he babbled on about how great the system was and then talked about how he decided to “step up” and be Project Manager. Step up? There are two people on your team and Lee was PM last week. It’s called PROCESS OF ELIMINATION. Anyway, Sean brought two signage guys (Bill and Adrien) in to help create his display. One contractor would be in charge of making the floor and the roof (Adrien). Another contractor would create a wrap the would essentially be “the walls” (Bill). Sounded wonderful! Odds that one or both of these signage guys will flake? About 1 to 1. This was validated when the cameras zoomed in on one guy and we suddenly heard “dumb” music. You could almost hear Mark Burnett nudging us with his elbow and saying “Get a load of this guy!” We sensed further danger when we learned that Bill’s wrap would actually be hanging from Adrien’s circular roof. Oh, I had a bad feeling about this Adrien character. Everything literally was hanging on him.
“I am, how you say, a lazy idiot.”
And just when we couldn’t be any more certain that Adrien would f-ck this all up, Lee declared, “I will guarantee this win. I am so confident right now. It’s going to be awesome!” Then again, Lee tends to make that proclamation every single episode; so I guess it doesn’t really indicate anything beyond the fact that he’s hopelessly always full of talk.
We then went away to commercial, and when we returned, we had Trump’s lesson of the week, which was quite intense: “DEATH TO TRAITORS!” Seriously, that’s what it was. Death to Traitors. He elaborated: “If you think there may be some sabotage from within, find the people that are doing this to you and get rid of them ruthlessly, viciously. I don’t care how you have to get rid of them. But get rid of them FAST!” Killing traitors is a THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!
Well, after hearing this Trump rant, I now was on the lookout for traitors. I didn’t sense any real treachery on Gold Rush. Lee seemed to be quite happy with the plan. But that didn’t make sense. I had already prematurely pegged them to lose. Ah, but wait. Then there was Synergy. Wonderful, wonderful Synergy. Tammy was the Project Manager of her estrogen-heavy team, and for the display, she wanted to employ a red carpet theme to highlight entertainment. Didn’t totally make sense, but it could have worked. Unfortunately, Roxanne was not a big fan of the idea at all. You know what that means: she’s a TRAITOR! DEATH TO ROXANNE!!!
The girls then wandered around Wal-Mart, searching for items to use in their display. Tammy wanted to use mirrors to make everything look bigger, but we knew this would only lead to folly as Mark Burnett again piped in the “dumb” music. You know what they say about mirrors: they’re TRAITORS!!!
As the girls continued to amble around, good ole Bill Rancic appeared around a corner like a bright ray of sunshine — assuming that ray of sunshine had spiky hair. Anyway, Tammy explained to him the display concept, and while she talked, Allie shot Bill looks as if to say “Tammy is an amateur.” Hmm… Do you smell that? It’s the fresh stink of a TRAITOR! DEATH TO ALLIE TOO!!!
Well, Bill wasn’t very pleased with Allie’s little eye-rolling technique, and I sure as hell hoped that would come back to bite her in the ass. In the meantime, the girls continued on with their Wal-Mart journey, with Roxanne pausing to marvel over the “Piso Mojado” sign that the janitor had put out. Yes, nothing’s more awe-inspiring than seeing “Wet Floor” in Spanish. Do the wonders of Wal-Mart ever cease?
As for Tammy, she was growing frustrated with her gal-pals. She could sense that they weren’t on board with anything and therefore were passive-aggressively undermining all her leadership decisions. “It’s so high school, you know? It’s like, grow up,” Tammy complained. She just noticed this now? After twelve weeks of cliquey elitism that saw Brent, Andrea, Michael, Sean, and others forced to the wayside?
Well, there were no high school issues on Gold Rush. Everything was going just wonderfully, according to Sean. They had designed their banners and now they were just waiting for the floor and the roof and everything else to arrive. “The hard part is over,” he said. Well, that is until the contractors totally dick him over and he has to create a display out of toilet paper and pipe cleaners.
With hubris oozing out of all their pores, Lee and Sean sat at a table in Wal-Mart and happily took pictures of each other (don’t ask, don’t tell). Keep in mind that their display area was completely empty. Apparently, they couldn’t put together the electronics and all that stuff until the floor arrived; so in the meantime, they just gushed about each other. Lee explained that they had a honeymoon relationship — they were having a good time and still loved each other. Sean, meanwhile, did his best to dispel that foppish, British stereotype. “I love Lee. I actually adore him,” he said, adding, “I want to commit buggery with him. I can be the Camilla to his Charles. I’ll even wear a big hat.”
Meanwhile back at Synergy — a.k.a. the TRAITOR team — Tammy asked Roxanne when the banners would be ready for the display. Roxanne simply shrugged coldly and said dunno, and when Tammy walked away, Roxy complained, “Allie, did you see the look she gave me??” She then added, “I can’t believe that when I acted like a cold bitch to her, she had the audacity to react negatively!” Roxanne: proud standard bearer for the catty female stereotype. Bravo!
Later, Tammy sensed that the girls weren’t totally happy; so she tried to clear the air. Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with two bitches (and it’s hard for me to say that because I had been such a Roxanne fan), it’s never easy to just have everything out. Sure enough, the confrontation became quite snippy, and Tammy said that for once, she wanted this challenge to be about her. It sounded like a selfish comment, but I think she was trying to say that she was really hoping to prove to Trump that she could lead, not trying to necessarily be the total star of the day. Well, the girls did NOT like that comment, and soon things became very catty. At one point, Tammy accused Allie and Roxanne of rolling their eyes, and man, you’d think she’d said they were crusty old wenches with barren vaginas. Allie and Roxanne vehemently denied the charge that they were rolling their eyes. I mean, how could Tammy SAY such a thing. Just because they were rolling their eyes didn’t mean they were actually rolling their eyes!
To be fair, Allie did explain what she was doing. “We weren’t rolling our eyes,” she said. “We were raising our eyebrows.” WELL! NEVER MIND THEN!
Roxanne also defended herself to us, saying that she too didn’t roll her eyes. She just made a general grimacing face. She also noted, “I might look up.” Yes, she might look up, but that’s a purely vertical eyeball direction. There is absolutely no arc or rolling involved. Just up and down! God, Tammy. Why are you so evil in your eye-rolling witch hunt???
Seriously, this debate was not even over. Allie continued to defend her eye raising, saying, “That’s not eye rolling. That’s eye raising, and it was called for at certain points during the task!” The injustice in this world is astounding sometimes! I’m calling the ACLU!
Back at Gold Rush, everything was going just great. Absolutely dandy. That is, until that chump Adrien called up Sean. He had a problem. He was supposed to have everything in by midnight, but, uh, looked like now it would have to be 7 AM. (Me shaking my fist) Aaaaadrien!!! Anyway, this totally unpredictable predicament sent Sean into a rage, and I had to admit, I was pretty impressed with how assertive he suddenly became as he yelled at Adrien over the phone. I really think The Apprentice should give us these guys’ last names. How many contractors have we seen screw over candidates on this show? People should know who to avoid. But that’s just my inner consumer reporter speaking up.
Well, the next morning, with two and a half hours until the presentation, Gold Rush still had nothing. NOTHING. Keep in mind that Synergy had been assembling a display the entire day prior. These guys were gonna have to put together a display in a fraction of the time that it took the girls. But wait, there were not traitors on their team — so they couldn’t lose. I couldn’t figure this out at all.
Finally, Adrien arrived with the floor, and everyone was all happy. Now Gold Rush could start putting things together. This was gonna work out after all. It’s a Christmas Miracle! Now, all they needed was that roof to hang the wrap/walls from, and they’d be golden. So, Adrien, when was that roof gonna get there?
Two hours. Yes, the roof would arrive in two hours, and then it would take another half an hour to install it. And did I mention the execs were coming in two and a half hours? Less than that, really. Oh Adrien. How you disappoint us so!
Well, Sean sent Adrien off to make the roof, and over at Synergy, Tammy talked to us about how she’d need some really eye-popping signage to compete with all the other junk in Wal-Mart. Luckily, Roxanne designed a banner that was small and uninspiring — the perfect sign to get lost in the clutter! Hey, but at least it was done, Roxanne said. It may have been too small, it may have been forgettable, it may have been completely awful, but at least she got it delivered. Yay, Roxanne! Doing the bare minimum and lovin’ it!
You gotta admit: that’s a pretty impressive sign!
Back on Gold Rush, with just twenty-five minutes to the presentation, there still was no sign of Adrien and the roof. Sean finally called him up and said just bring the damn thing over. He didn’t care if the ink was still wet or if it were blank. JUST GET IT. Of course, he should have said this back at 7 AM, but hindsight’s always 20/20, right? Anyway, Adrien assuaged Sean by saying “OK. OK.” over and over again. Little did Sean know that in Adrien-ese, “OK” means “Wait, I’m confused on account of me being an idiot. What do you want me to do?”
With no roof in sight, Sean realized he needed a backup plan, regardless of how shabby it may be. He erected some makeshift poles around his display and literally wrapped the warp around them. Keep in mind that this wrap was supposed to hang from the roof; so as a result, it looked shabby and awkward — kind of like the lemonade stand I tried to make out of an old refrigerator box when I was little (just imagine an awful contraption featuring cardboard, duct tape, and a plastic bag of raisins. Yes, in my lemonade stand, I didn’t sell lemonade. I sold raisins. We didn’t have any lemonade in the house that day).
Meanwhile, Synergy’s display looked surprisingly good. They welcomed the execs to their red carpet experience, and Tammy explained that each section of the room was sort of like it’s own award show. For instance, one TV was displaying a photo slideshow, and therefore, that was the “Slideshow Award.” Get it? Because it was a slide show, and it was an awards show! Slideshow award!
Before we could truly soak up the idiocy of the whole “Slideshow Award,” we then headed to the other Wal-Mart where Sean’s roof still had not arrived. His display, to put it simply, looked pathetic. I actually felt badly for him. I was embarrassed. This was painful to watch. And sad. So sad.
Gold Rush’s display.
Well, the execs showed up, and I couldn’t say they looked too pleased with the results. The crumpled wrap signage and the exposed power strips weren’t totally winsome. They then entered this display via the sagging door (they had to literally lower their heads), and inside, things weren’t that much better. It was cramped, and no one had much room to stand. But on the plus side, unlike the girls, the guys had price tags everywhere and lots of other Wal-Mart items such as cameras and mp3 players. So if someone were interested in the Xbox for its slideshow abilities, there was also a digital camera nearby (with a price tag) that the consumer might pick up as well. Very clever. Well, not clever. Logical, really.
Anyway, the executives finally left, and as Sean and Lee relaxed in a chair and hung their heads in shame, guess who showed up? Adrien! Yay! And he had the roof! Hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?
Later, the teams all filed into the Microsoft offices to hear the results. Trump arrived too, and Bill and Ivanka told him that they both had some strong opinions. And if there’s anyone who’s known for strong, incisive opinions, it’s Bill Rancic!
Anyway, Trump asked the teams how they did, and Sean said that they had some problems. Allie, meanwhile, answered for Tammy by saying, “I’m more confident about the results after hearing how unsure Sean is.” Ouch. She somehow managed to passive-aggressively slam Sean AND Tammy in the same perky comment. Amazing!
Lee then tried to defend his team, but Trump cut off him off, saying, “I wasn’t talking to you, Lee!” Not talking to Lee is a THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!
Well, the execs told Trump that they loved Synergy’s environment, but they didn’t feel like it was where to go to make a “high end consumer electronics choice.” There were no price points, the navigation was confusing, and ultimately, it was like a nice living room — a place where tired shoppers could hang out rather than purchase. Yowsah.
Gold Rush on the other hand had a super crappy environment, but the executives liked the price points and variety of products. Long story short, the guys somehow pulled off a victory, despite Adrien royally screwing up their display. Their reward? They’d be working with Dreamworks to help promote the new animated film, Over the Hedge. How delightful! Actually, it was a pretty cool reward. The guys would be flown by private jet to Hollywood where they’d audition their voices for Jeffrey Katzenberg, and maybe, just maybe, they’d wind up in the movie. Yes, it was sort of a silly thing, but the private jet flight would be worth it.
Anyway, we went to commercial, and when we returned, we were in beautiful, sunny California! Hollywood!! Lee and Sean pulled into the Dreamworks studio lot where they were greeted by Jeffrey “Squirt” Katzenberg. I call him “Squirt” because back in the day, my mother used to work with him in and said that everyone in the office used to call him “Squirt.” That’s a little inside info for you to enjoy. And I know you will. Because if you ask most people what they’re curious about, it’s Jeffrey Katzenberg’s old nickname.
Well, Squirt welcomed the guys to Hollywood by gushing, “Look like a couple of winners to me!” What a cool guy. FYI — once the cameras stop rolling, he’ll never speak to these two ever again. Anyway, Katzenberg brought the guys into a screening room and showed them Over The Hedge. Basically, it was a computer animated film about animals in suburbia. How original! Always dependable for blatant shilling, Sean told us, “The film is hilarious!” We then learned that he had only seen a small preview. Hey Sean, stop trying to sell us on something you’ve never actually seen more than five minutes of.
The guys then headed into the recording studio to do voices. Lee absolutely nailed the prime role of “Lunch Table Larry,” and Sean? Let’s just say his interpretation of “Barbecue Barry” was pure genius. Granted, all he had to do was grunt a lot, but it was still magnificent. “I actually believed in my soul that I was BBQ Barry,” he said. And I actually believe in my soul that you’re an IDIOT.
Afterwards, Katzenberg and his buddies all feigned a huddle, and then he turned towards the guys and said “You’re hired!” Hilarious! Get it? Because that’s what Trump says at the end of each season! Oh, Katzy. You’re indomitable!
Ultimately, Sean was totally wowed by the Hollywood experience. “I’m getting a taste of something that’s going to be very hard to walk away from if I don’t get this job.” So grunting for animated films was really that exciting? Wow. I should try it myself.
Meanwhile, in the dark and brooding city of New York, trouble was brewing. Roxanne and Allie were jealous of the boys. They wanted to be in a cartoon also. Guess what? You’re already on one. It’s called The Apprentice. ZING! The two girls then began plotting against Tammy, with Allie saying, “I hope it’s very clean. It really should be.” Oh yeah. Three girls in a Boardroom? I’m sure it won’t turn into a bitter, angry catfight at all.
We then went down to the Boardroom where Ivanka stunned us with her dark lipstick and bejeweled sweater. She was a vision in beads. Anyway, right from the get-go, Tammy hyperactively defended her hopes and dreams for the display. Gosh, calm down, woman! Trump quickly rained on her parade, however, when he declared, “I thought it looked terrible. Yours looked like a LOUNGE! It looked like a cheap, third-rate liquor lounge!” By the way, if my local liquor lounge had flat screen TVs, Xbox 360s, and reclining chairs, I sure as hell would be there every night.
Ivanka looks like she just OD’d on Tana’s Bedazzler.
Anyway, Allie couldn’t help but laugh at Trump’s comment, and this probably pissed Tammy off more. She once again entered her shrill mode and explained that she couldn’t depend on her team for anything. Roxanne countered that when she offered up ideas, Tammy just walked away. To be fair, Roxanne only communicated her ideas through an elaborate pattern of eye rolling. I’m sorry, I meant eyebrow RAISING.
Soon, Tammy and Roxanne were scream, but Allie was quietly reserved, letting the other two women go at it. Ah, but she couldn’t stay quiet for long. Ivanka wasn’t going to allow it! “Allie, you’re rolling your eyes a lot, but you haven’t said anything; so if you have something to say, now would be a time to speak up.” Okay, first of all, Ivanka, her eyes were not rolling. How many times must she tell you people? HER EYES WERE RAISED! NOT ROLLING!
Okay, I’m not even joking, Allie actually replied by saying she wasn’t rolling her eyes. She was merely shaking her head. Huuuge difference. But then Bill stopped her and said that when he was in Wal-Mart, she was rolling her eyes like crazy at him. It’s like they’re deaf. There was no eye rolling! NONE! I’m totally raising my eyebrows at this.
Things then became quite interesting when Ivanka accused Tammy of taking things too personally. “Who doesn’t?” Donald then asked. “Nobody takes things more personally than me. When somebody says something about me, I hate them for the rest of my life.” (Cough, Martha Stewart, cough). Don’t worry, Trump. We love you here at TVgasm. If we ever get on your bad side, it’s purely our fault, and I apologize in advance. Ah, but Trump wasn’t done. “It’s probably wrong,” he continued, “but I HATE people! Do you understand that? I HATE ‘em!” Oh my god. What happened to him? Let’s say it together now: HATING PEOPLE IS A THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!
Anyway, after this random personal catharsis, we got back to the cat fight. Tammy accused Roxanne of distracting Allie and bringing her down, something that both girls denied. Trump then said that Roxanne didn’t seem to get along with people. No, no, Mr. Trump, Roxanne explained. Tammy was just attacking her because she had to. But then The Donald said that Roxanne and Allie were attacking Tammy more than she was attacking them. Personally, it seemed fairly equal on both sides to me, but I also don’t get to see the unedited Boardroom.
Ivanka then trained her bitch torpedos at Allie again, saying she wanted to know what exactly she contributed to this task. Allie wisely dodged the question and somehow returned the focus to Tammy, accusing her of not being a team player (that whole “I want this task to be about me” thing). This led to more chaos, and eventually, Tammy got real dirrty and said that Roxanne had been riding Allie’s coattails for twelve weeks now (sort of strange because Roxanne supposedly distracted and brought Allie down). Anyway, Roxanne could not believe that. “OH. MYGOSH!” she yelled. This turned into general screaming and finally Trump had to yell, “Wait! Wait! WAIT!!!”
“OMG! I do NOT roll my eyes!”
“As you can see, my eyes merely bulge, not roll!”
“It’s blasphemy, Mr. Trump! Pure blasphemy!”
Silence. “Okay, it’s enough. Give me a headache,” Trump said. He then grilled Tammy about being in over her head, saying she didn’t have control over her teammates. Plus, he bashed her design yet again, and you knew where this was going: “Tammy, you’re fired!”
Eh. Not that surprising, but it sure was fun to watch her go down. As the girls left the Boardroom, Allie told Trump, “No more eye rolls.” But The Donald just cut her off, saying, “Just go. Just go. Okay? Just go. Enough!” He HATES her now!
Outside in the lobby, Allie and Roxanne walked briskly to the elevator, denying Tammy any hugs (at least, as far as we could tell with the editing). And so the once close-knit trio — the same girls who danced together at Rutgers last week — was officially torn asunder. Meanwhile, in the Boardroom, Trump stated that he made the right decision. Ivanka backed him, saying it’ll just get harder and harder from here on in. And what was Bill’s brilliant observation? “We’re down to the final four!” Thanks for stating the obvious! At least now we know that he can count.
What did you think about this episode? Should Tammy have gone? Or were Allie and Roxanne more to blame?