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Going into this week’s episode of The Apprentice, a certain level of suspense hung in the air. At least for me. After all, it was the final four, and we had basically three capable people and, well, Felisha. The odds were that Randal and Rebecca would surely dominate Alla and Felisha (or A&F, as I like to call them. I’m a big Abercrombie & Fitch acronym punster), but seeing that this is The Apprentice, you never really know which team will ever win any given task. Let’s not forget when a quadruple firing turned the Excel dream team into the Excel reamed team. So would such a surprise happen again? Would Randal and Rebecca inexplicably falter, letting sweet but weak Felisha sneak into the final three?The episode began with Alla eagerly awaiting the return of her teammates up in the suite. She asked Randal and Rebecca who they thought would be coming back, but Randal simply replied, “If anybody could have any insight, it would be you.” Shut up, RANDAL! Just answer the question!
Well, Alla was soon put out of her suspense as Felisha returned all full of tears and giant-foreheaded emotion. The two surviving Capital Edgers embraced tightly, and when this Lifetime Intimate Portrait moment ended, the final four headed off to Grand Central for a celebratory dinner. The quartet chatted it up over oysters and various crustaceans from the sea, and Randal asked the table what everyone had given up to be there. Alla commented that she’s been missing her ten-month old taking his first steps. Aw, that’s sort of sad. As for Randal, “Clearly, I’ve given up time with my wife.” CLEARLY. Don’t try to one-up the baby. It just won’t happen. Baby always beats wife.
The next morning, Rhona called up on the banana dildo phone and told the teams to meet Trump at Nasdaq. Sure thing, Rhone-meister! We then cut to Trump at Nasdaq talking to various unnamed executives. “Well, I use a lot of Microsoft, and it works; so I’m very happy,” he said, apparently never having tried the new XBOX 360 (Zing! Video game dis! Hey Microsoft, maybe you should prove me wrong and send me a complimentary system. What do you think?).
Well, the teams eventually filed in, and the bad news was that Bill Rancic was filling in for George again, but the good news was that Trump was in full hyperbole mode. Actually, when you talk about Microsoft, there really isn’t such a thing as hyperbole, is there? Nevertheless, Trump told us that Bill Gates’s little company “has a value of almost $300 billion.” Wow. Incidentally, just talking about Microsoft is a THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!
Anyway, Trump introduced us to two charming execs, and hey, is that Cathy Moriarity? Oh wait. Never mind. That’s just Janice from Microsoft. Really got excited there for a moment. But I digress. This week’s task was to make a sixty-second promotional video for Microsoft Live Meeting, new software whose functionality we’d have hammered into our heads fifty million times by the end of the hour. Well, Felisha wanted to be Project Manager, which meant we had to sit through her and Alla saying “Are you sure?” “Yeah, I am. Unless you want it. But I really want it.” “No, I want you to have it. I just want you to be sure.” “I am sure. Are you okay with that?” “Yes, as long as it’s something that you want to do.” And so on for about ten minutes.
Eventually, Felisha assumed the throne, and then she and Alla went off to meet with their production staff. Oddly enough, they brought with them two large suitcases. Were they planning on spending the night? A little slumber party in the editing suite? Well, as soon as the two women arrived at the production offices, Alla pretty much took charge. You see, in the commercial, Felisha chose to be the actress because she claimed she was the better thespian, and as a result, she tasked Alla with being the director. “That was a tough decision because being an actress is a subordinate position to being a director,” Felisha said. “I mean, I was the Project Manager. I didn’t want someone else having all the creative control.” Um, so… be the director, not the actress.
As expected, Felisha and Alla immediately bumped heads. I mean, that’s what’ll happen when the Project Manager takes a subordinate role and then still expects to have higher authority. The two women tried to be as polite and civil as possible, reiterating that they just want to collaborate, but the power structure of this team only called for pure gridlock. And uh oh. I spy a Bill Rancic lurking in the shadows! Yes, our favorite Trump poster boy quietly observed the Capital Edge mess, but he interpreted the situation as Alla being too difficult. “It’s almost impossible for Felisha to be the leader with her in the group,” he said. Dude, Alla’s just being a director! Oh whatever. These two are destined for failure. No use in getting emotionally attached.
Over on Excel, Rebecca had stepped up to be Project Manager, and her vision for the promotional video was to show a guy flipping out as he tried to organize himself for a meeting, all while attempting to catch a plane. And just when everything seems dire and gloomy, Microsoft Live Meeting saves the day. Yay!
Unfortunately for Rebecca, she had hired an actor who wasn’t very, uh, good. I’m not sure what sort of talent agency she used to find this guy, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the company specialized in staffing for some of Cinemax’s finer late night offerings. When Rebecca told the actor to express urgency, the guy attacked the scene with the sort of quiet energy you expect from a nervous intern. “I, uh, need these like, uh, five minutes ago. So…” he said into a phone over and over again. Wait a second. Maybe this guy really is just an intern. Probably Mark Burnett’s trial by fire initiation. “You want to be an intern for me? Well, let’s see how you do ON THE APPRENTICE!!!”
Sadly, Rebecca cut this master thespian (but we didn’t get to see her fire him. Boo!) and instead had Randal step into the role. And thank goodness for that. If there’s one thing The Apprentice is always good for, it’s corporate types making fools of themselves in creative environments. This season has had a spectacular track record: the LAMBOOOORGHINI presentation, the Delicious Wishes Diary Queen song, and of course, The Rubble Man (“Freakin’!”). And so Randal stepped into the role of harried businessman and delivered his coup de grace line: “Gosh, I hate waiting for these large files!!” WELL PERFORMED! And authentic too. I mean, that’s what I always yell… when I feel like yelling a line indiscriminately to no one in particular.
Over at Capital Edge, Felisha and Alla attempted to film a scene on the street, but like many an E! True Hollywood Story, behind-the-scenes feuding undermined the production. You see, Felisha the actress did not like Alla’s direction. And seriously, Alla, who the hell do you think you are, giving an actress directions like… a director. Oh wait.
Sensing that Felisha wasn’t comfortable taking commands, lest it undermine her authority as a Project Manager, Alla actually offered to switch roles, but Felisha refused, saying, “I’m fine with it. I’m fine with it. You know, I’m fine with it.” Yes, we know. YOU’RE FINE WITH IT.
Oh, and for those still wondering why Alla and Felisha had toted around those big-ass suitcases, it wasn’t because of any upcoming sleepover parties. They were merely props. Anticlimactic, I know.
Anyway, poor Felisha still couldn’t deal with being a subordinate; so she told us, “Alla’s trying to steal the ship and take over the task.” Then don’t make her the director. Wow, this is really an exercise in patience on behalf of the audience. Oddly enough, when the two women retired to the editing suite that night, Felisha then said, “Alla knows what she’s doing. She’s really gonna have the direction on this. She knows what she’s doing, and she’s gonna take the lead.” Uh, I thought you said she was stealing the task. Sounds like you just gave it to her on a silver platter, PLATTER GIVER!
Unfortunately for Capital Edge, all their footage that they had shot was rendered somewhat useless when the editor told them that the script would be too long for a sixty-second presentation. Instead of reworking the script or cutting down the scenes, Alla decided to go to Plan B and make the presentation text-based. Oh Alla. Don’t let the editor scare you. You can tell a lot in sixty seconds. Just ask Randal and Rebecca. Yes, they managed to successfully pull together their little “Randal Is Late And Flustered!” commercial in sixty seconds. And just as they finished their cut, Carolyn happened to stop by to take a gander. As expected, the puffy-haired one watched with a bemused smirk on her face (so close to Carolyn hysterics, but alas, none), and later, she told us that she actually liked the video because it told a story. Carolyn LOVES stories! Of course, Rebecca didn’t know this, and when Carolyn harmlessly asked, “How long did that take you,” the Project Manager became rattled that maybe the presentation looked rushed or shoddy. Oh, relax Rebecca. You’ve got the power of Randal on your team. You’ll be fine.
When we came back from commercial, we finally found out this week’s big lesson (a bit late, yes?): “Family.” Yes, Trump explained that in business, it’s always important to have a warm, loving, pre-nupped fam nearby. And to illustrate this, we saw one of the most amusing Trump moments of the season: the royal ordering of take-out for Melania. “We’ll order,” Trump said into his cell phone from deep within his palatial limo. “What do you want? Chicken parmigian?” This was followed by a mild pause where we could barely here the sound of Melania’s voice chattering in Donald’s ear. Suddenly, he cooed, “Ahhhh! With meat sauce!” Oh Melania, you sassy bitch! Finally, Trump ended the call with some mushy words: “Okay, Angel. I’ll take care of it… Okay, I’ll get you some spaghetti, babe. You are so lucky to be married to me. Goodbye, honey. Bye, baby.” Question: is Melania lucky to be married to you because you’re getting her an Italian take-out feast, or is it because of the, you know, billions of dollars? I’m gonna go with the billions of dollars. But then again, one can never overlook Melania’s unhealthy obsession with a fresh loaf of garlic bread.
Okay, enough stalling. Let’s get to the fun stuff. Time for the presentations. First up was Excel, and I was more than excited. The spot began with Randal flipping out in his office, and while this was certainly amusing (I could listen to “Gosh, I hate waiting for these large files!” all day long), the best part was the tragic, somber, and overly dramatic music in the background. Yes, if Randal doesn’t get his large file soon, THERE WILL BE A HOLOCAUST!!! Anyway, Randal amusing fussed out of the office and then appeared in an empty conference room where he found Rebecca waiting. “Where is everybody? We were expecting at least forty people!” his character asked.
“I know,” Rebecca’s character replied as the music reached new levels of pathos. “Delays out of the Chicago airport. Most people didn’t even make it on the flight.”
And then the icing on the cake. Randal’s character gravely replied, “Oh my goodness.” OH THE HUMANITY!!! NO ONE MADE IT TO THE MEETING!!! THEY ALL DIED!! AND THEIR BABIES TOO!!! AND THE TITANIC SANK!! AND SO DID THE LUSITANIA!!! THE HORROR!!!
All that was missing was for Randal to yell “NOOOOOO!!!!” to the heavens above with hands outstretched and camera floating away from him.
Of course, the music became all perky and happy corporate as the presentation introduced Microsoft Live Meeting into the mix. Looks like everything will be A-OK!
Next up to present were Alla and Felisha, who took the extra step to wear matching outfits. How cute and unnecessary. Well, their video started on a lovely infomercial note as it asked the audience questions like “Always on a business trip?” I personally enjoyed when the spot asked, “Frustrated?” and then cut to Felisha tossing papers all over her office. Funny, I do the exact same thing. You know, just throw papers around. The presentation also asked if people were tired of spending all that money on business trips, and this was followed with an image of Felisha in a trench coat handing over some cash to a cabbie. Was she buying drugs or something? Sketchy!
Then suddenly the video became the world’s fastest Powerpoint demonstration as small text zoomed on and off the screen before anyone could even read two words. By the end, the execs were left with nothing to say but our old favorite euphemism: “Interesting.” Sure enough, Excel won the task hands down, and for a reward, they’d get to sail around Manhattan on a yacht.
Later that night, Alla and Felisha went out for a consolation dinner, but that basically turned into a venue for Felisha to sniffle and cry while Alla watched bored and annoyed.
“I actually look down on people who, you know, get depressed. I don’t relate to that mentality. All I can do is just sit there and laugh,” she said. Sounds like someone’s been hanging out with Toral. Oh those depressed people. They’re so cute. They’d make lovely assistants.
The next day, Randal and Rebecca (or Randecca) boarded the yacht, and oh look! Family members! The two were joined by Rebecca’s boyfriend Matt and Randal’s wife Zahara, or as I like to call her, ZATHURA! The two couples hugged and kissed and said how much they loved each other. It was very nice. Anyhoo…
Back at the suite, Felisha attempted that most futile of pre-Boardroom exercises by telling Alla that whatever goes on in the Boardroom will not be personal, just honest. Okay, whatever. Meanwhile, Alla was brimming with confidence as she told us, “I think it’ll be a lot easier on Felisha as a person to just accept the fact that she failed and just pack it up and go home.” As Trump would say, Whoa whoa! That’s a bold statement to say. Might this be misdirection??
Anyway, the ladies headed down to the Boardroom, and when Trump emerged, he said, “I know you hate to lose, Alla. You HATE to lose!” Alla HATES to lose. Oh wait, Trump already said that. Well, Trump commenced his scrutiny of Felisha, and honestly, had Alla just shut her mouth, this would have been very open and shut. But instead, Alla attacked with the sort of self-serving comments Trump and especially Carolyn hate. “She would tell me something to do, but then when I was doing it too well, she would tell me to stop being so good at it,” Alla said. Carolyn sensed that she wasn’t taking any responsibility for the loss, but Alla replied that she was, but since it was a collaborative effort, it wasn’t only on her shoulders. Ah, but then if it was a collaboration, then Alla shouldn’t be any less accountable than Felisha, Carolyn noted. Touché, Ms. Kepcher!
Eventually, the notion that Alla was just too difficult to lead became a major topic of discussion. I personally hadn’t seen any evidence of that, and Alla should have simply said her record was flawless in that department (which she did say) and that Felisha put her in a position (as director) that required her to be more of a leader than the typical subordinate. Unfortunately, Alla was all over the map and was particularly brutal to Felisha, constantly interrupting her every few words. “But you are difficult,” Trump said at one point. “I mean, let’s face it. My parents sent me to military academy. They said I was very difficult, okay? I disagreed with them, but you know, they were probably right.” And that concludes this week’s vignette from the Trump Family Discord Theatre.
Hoping to make sense of the whole mess, Trump requested to see the video presentation, and when it was over, he felt there was too much text. Felisha noted that it was Alla’s idea to chop up the video with words, causing Alla to balk, “Are you kidding me?” Well, she’s not lying.
“Felisha, shame on you!” Alla then retorted, and knowing Felisha, she’d probably feel shame.
Anyway, there was more cross-talk and Felisha tried once again to somehow explain why she was a strong leader: “Truth of the matter is when it came down to the punchline, and this was my task…” Wait. Punchline? No wonder they lost! They were doing a standup routine! Makes so much sense now.
Felisha then said that she absolutely had to be Project Manager of the task to prove herself, causing Bill Rancic to suddenly wake from his slumber and said, “I respect that though.” Thanks Bill. I respect you for respecting that.
And then once again, Alla began talking over Felisha, causing Trump to remark, “She’s [Felisha's] being so nice to you, and you’re just killing her.” Uh oh. Could the pendulum be swinging against Alla? Trump continued, “I almost think that if you would have just left her alone, she would have probably said I should fire her.” Exactly! That’s what I was thinking! Up high, Donald!
Alas, even though it looked like Alla might be going home for being too pushy and stubborn, Felisha then committed the cardinal sin: she began crying in the Boardroom. Oh, poor Felish. As she expressed how frustrated she’s been with herself, Alla interrupted AGAIN, causing Felisha to exasperatedly ask, “Why don’t you just stop?” Wow, even I felt bad at this point. It was like watching a little kid get picked on by a bully. Luckily, Trump was there to regulate as he bellowed, “ALLA! ALLA! ALLA!” (Btw, he should really bellow that every episode. ALLA!) He continued: “I mean, she’s a wonderful person. She’s a wonderful woman. You gotta stop browbeating her.”
This finally quieted Alla down, which meant The Donald could do all the browbeating for once. “Felisha, do you really beleive you’re tough enough to work in New York?”
“Yes, absolutely,” Felisha said, with tears rolling down her cheeks. This is not going to be good.
“You’re lovely. You’re smart. You have so many things going for you, but you’re not strong enough for this city. Felisha, you’re fired,” Trump said, offering up one of his sweetest terminations in quite some time. He hasn’t been this warm and fuzzy since the time last season when he became Papa Bear to a weeping Chris.
Okay, time to get this show on the road. Let’s finish this–
“SIT, ALLA!” Trump suddenly blared. Whaaa?? What’s going on?
“Alla, the fact is, you’re very, very hard to manage… You were the director of a disaster. Alla, you’re fired,” Trump said. Whoa! A mini-firing! No final three? Does this mean no corporate interviews? Oh, I loved those. And, you know, they were kind of the only real part of the interview process. Alas, that’s The Donald’s problem, not mine. All I know is that this is gonna be one awkward cab ride home.
As Alla and Felisha headed downstairs to the street, we then went back to the Boardroom where Trump announced, “Okay, now for something pleasant. I’m gonna go back and tell Randal and Rebecca that they’re the final two.” Whoa! Trump’s going to the suite? Yup. Sure enough, we then saw him making the slo-mo victor’s walk down the hallway and opening the front door. He’s right. This IS pleasant!
We’ll have to wait until next week to see Randal and Rebecca’s shocked faces. In the meantime though, we then went to the cab where Felisha said some sweet but unmemorable comments whereas Alla dropped a passive-aggressive clunker: “I can be led by the right leader. That’s all I can say.” Ouch!
What did you think? Are you happy with the Final Two?