I don’t know what was more entertaining on this week’s Apprentice: the awkward corporate presentations or Domino’s Pizza’s painful attempt to atone for presenting us with a cheeseburger pizza (barf) after last week’s much hyped meatball pizza. I have to say, it’s not often that the sponsors can upstage the silliness of our Trump wannabes, but I think in this instance, Domino’s exceeded the task with flying colors. And even if you disagree with me, market research proves that I’m right.We began this week’s episode with a brief montage of rain falling in Manhattan. A poetic moment of foreshadowing? Maybe. Maybe not. If anything, it suggested a baptismal catharsis for Chris who, after last week’s thrashing by Trump, realized that he had to adjust his temper and calm down. He noted that he had to stay more in control of himself, but then suddenly he bared his teeth and screamed “I MUST CHANGE! I MUST STAY IN MORE CONTROL!!!!” Then Chris threw a chair at Alex’s head and hissed for about twenty minutes before finally retiring to his bedroom. Well, actually, none of that happened, but our hot tempered snowman (he kind of looks like one, right?) did casually inform us that all he had to do was just sit back and change his outlook. Yeah, it’s that easy…
The next day, we found Trump with some clothiers examining garments. “I love these fabrics,” said Carson Kressley. Oh wait, no, it was Trump himself, New York’s newest fashion aficionado. Turns out Trump has a new clothing line, unsurprisingly titled The Trump Signature Collection. He later described it as “Very very high end and very luxury clothing.” Man, has Tana been writing his lines? The word is “luxurious”. Come on, it’s not very rocket scientist…
Anyway, teams sauntered into the room and met this week’s NotGeorge. Her name was Michelle Scarborough and grrrrrowl, she was a hottie. Trump warned us to beware — she’s tougher than she looks. Whither Jill Kramer, the other mistress of the Trump Empire who we’ve come to love? Or how about Matthew Calamari? Eh, nevermind on that front. I think it’s safe to say he’s still licking his wounds from his über-embarrassing meltdown on live television a few months ago. On second thought, bring him back STAT! That kind of awkward television is what we live for.
After introducing us to Michelle Scarborough (apologies MIchelle if I misspelled your last name), Trump informed the teams that they would be designing a fashion line for American Eagle Outfitters, a.k.a. Abercrombie & Fitch for a less homoerotic crowd. The teams’ goal would be to somehow incorporate fashion and technology in a way that would be most appealing to the target consumers. Hey, this is a pretty cool task. Okay, let’s start!
But first, a message from Dominos.
In an edited moment that was really too ridiculous to comprehend, Trump suddenly blared, “And speaking of last week’s task, here’s something you didn’t know. Both teams created meatball pizza. But if you’d done your market research like Domino’s did, you would have discovered that customers don’t want meatball pizza. What they want is cheeseburger pizza. The lesson: Always pay attention to your customer.” Wow! Thanks Donald! That was insincere and tangential!
Now here’s the thing. We didn’t actually see Trump saying all this. We just watched awkward reaction shots of the candidates nodding their heads and smiling. Plus, add in the fact that the audio during this moment was completely dissimilar to the audio in the rest of the scene, and it became completely obvious that this little insert was damage control for Dominos. After all, you knew they had to explain why in the world they’d let an hour of meatball pizza advertising go to waste on a cheeseburger pizza. A cheeseburger pizza!?!?! Now, I normally wouldn’t care about the ins and outs of a pizza campaign, but seriously, if you have eight different people plus Donald Trump saying they like meatball pizza for about an hour on national television, guess what? You should make the DAMN MEATBALL PIZZA! Luckily, Papa John’s was there to happily vulture the audience with a commercial for their new Spicy Meatball pie. I have to admit, it looked really good, but then again, according to The Donald and Dominos, customers don’t want a meatball pizza and neither should I. Silly me! I should have read my market research! By the way, I think Domino’s should unveil a new ad campaign: “The Cheeseburger Pizza: Approved By Market Research!”
Okay, well, back to the show. After teams received their assignments, we heard the lazy drawl of a wah-wah guitar and soon rejoined Net Worth as they rallied around Alex, the self-proclaimed fashion lover and metro/homosexual. I’m still not sure if I buy the whole Alex-is-gay conspiracy, but I’m always happy to promote it. By the way, I was very pleased that the producers had Chris, of all people, explain what a “metrosexual” is. I half expected him to yell “WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME THIS? SIR, I AM NOT A METROSEXUAL!” Nevertheless, Alex felt he had a good grasp on this task and was out of the gate running with several ideas, including a sweatshirt with a giant pocket in the back for a laptop. Yes, a logical design. Because it will be so easy to slip that laptop back there. But beware. There’s no protection against a crushed laptop if someone tries to do something hardcore like, I don’t know, sit back in a chair?
Tana, meanwhile, became the leader of Magna and instead of designing illogical vestments, she and Kendra headed down to an American Eagle Outfitters store and questioned the youth of America. I personally loved the way Tana approached the city kids with her midwestern perkiness. “Guys, can I ask you a question?” she asked without a trace of the crunk juice she one gotten so crunkified on. When the kids said yes, she continued “Am I a MILF?” Okay, she didn’t actually ask that, but she did want to know what the most important gadget to them was. It was a pretty smart move on her part. You know, as we learned from the cheeseburger pizza debacle, it’s important to make sure you know what the customer wants (thanks Papa John’s!).
Net Worth unfortunately didn’t poll the teens and instead headed straight to Best Buy to purchase $5,000 worth of electronics, courtesy of a Visa card given to the teams by Trump himself. As Chris checked out, I couldn’t help but notice an orange Tivo box amidst the gadgetry. Hey, I’m all for the Tivo, but how exactly is that going to fit on a t-shirt? I mean, I understand an iPod or a cellphone, but a Tivo? What’s next? A microwave hoodie? [ed. note: upon closer look, the box was not a Tivo box. It was for a laptop or a portable DVD player. Still, I wouldn't put it past Net Worth to try to cram a giant DVR into their fashions.] Well, things soon went sour for Net Worth as Chris returned to the American Eagle workroom to discover that he had lost his precious Visa card. Uh oh. Looks like he picked the wrong day to not go crazy. Actually, Chris didn’t really go berserk due to the total, abject fear that had seized him instead. Too bad. I like lunatic Chris much more than fearful Chris.
After returning from commercial break, The Donald told us to “Let nothing get in your way” for business. This was then followed by footage of him yelling angrily into his cell phone (located directly next to his car phone — will he ever use it? Might as well remove it and put a Pez dispenser its place or something). The best part of this though was that at the end of Trump’s conversation/screamfest, he roared, “THIS DEAL WAS MISHANDLED FROM DAY ONE!” And then oddly enough he added a coy little “Okaaaay???” at the end. Don’t really know why he did that. It sort of sounded like he was trying to be Dwayne on What’s Happenin?. I kind of expected him to turn to the camera and say “Hey HEY hey!” Listen for yourself.
The next morning, Chris headed back to Best Buy to reclaim his credit card, but not before registering his desire to buy a pretzel from a vendor on the street. “I WANT A PRETZEL! IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT I HAVE A PRETZEL, AND THAT IS A FACT!” But no! Chris did not yell. In fact, as he waited and waited and waited for the credit card to resurface, he noted that normally, he’d want the sweet embrace of chewing tobacco to ease his nerves, but due to his promise to quit, he was simply sucking it up and chilling out. “I find myself being less aggressive,” he happily told the camera. Then literally moments later, he turned to a Best Buy employee and said “I hope they find the credit card, or else I’ll have to find an aluminum bat and break somebody’s kneecaps.” Okay, I know it was a joke, but you know, to his credit, he really has calmed down. After all, had he been chewing tobacco, he would have threatened to blow the kneecaps off with a sawn off shotgun instead.
Well, with things suitably falling apart at Net Worth, let’s check in on Magna to see if they’ve encountered any setback. Um… nope. They were still doing great. In fact, Tana had even designed some “Wearable Tech” logos for their outfits. Wow, market research and branding? It was like she knew what she was doing! To be fair, there were some minor disturbances in the Magna ocean. Kendra seemed to have difficulty designing some female pieces, and Craig was only too happy to push her buttons. This was a problem, she noted, because her blood sugar was low which meant she really had two options: become a bitch or faint. Unsurprisingly, she chose the former, although this conflict evaporated before our eyes just as quickly as it had arrived. You know, the producers touched on growing tension with these two last week as well. Something tells me there’s gonna be some major Kendra/Craig smackdown in the next few weeks.
Over at Net Worth, Angie was disturbed to realize that the bulk of this week’s task was falling on her shoulder. After all, Chris was stuck at Best Buy waiting for his card to resurface and Alex was busy… doing Alex things. You know, like rehearsing his little interview quips and… uh… I don’t know. What exactly does Alex do every week? Brush up on his metrosexual fashions? Erect small shrines to Kian Douglas? Well, conveniently, Alex had written down a list of everyone’s responsibilities for the day. Just so we knew that Angie wasn’t crazy, we could see that Chris had about three or four responsibilities, Angie had literally nineteen, and Alex had… one: “decide how to attach belt buckle.” Making matters worse, Alex then delegated his one task to a small boy named Pedro who he happened to find in the subway. Needless to say, Pedro was a whiz with the belt design.
Alex’s task (singular). Hey, somebody’s gotta decide how to attach that belt buckle.
Suddenly, in the midst of the usual Apprentice task chaos, the soundtrack suddenly became very laid back, mon. In fact, I was pretty sure we were hearing the public domain take on “Stir It Up” by Bob Marley. Why in the world would Mark Burnett do this? Were we about to see some rastas or something? Well, my healthy skepticism was a bit too premature. Sure enough, Bren and Craig, on a journey to print those nifty Wearable Tech logos, found themselves in a silkscreen shop in Brooklyn — a silkscreen shop that may or may not have been the front for either a) Bob Marley collectibles, b) hashish, or c) Bob Marley collectibles made from hashish. Yes, the one and only reggae master was highly revered in this unassuming establishment. There even was a picture of him high above the door where one typically only finds crucifixes or mezuzahs (technically, mezuzahs aren’t over the door, but just go with me on this). Yes, Bren and Craig had journeyed into rasta paradise, and as can be expected, these half-baked print specialists had a few mishaps that we can probably pin on the marijuana juice. First, they got wet paint on some of the clothing. But even more regrettably, they printed the “Wearable Tech” logo BACKWARDS on a nice white jacket. Surely we thought Bren and Craig would maybe get up, stand up, but they simply made an exodus with their besmirched garments and headed back to Tana who sadly had been waiting in vain. No woman don’t cry. These screwed up logos are a way to stir it up. Still, Tana was not jammin’ to this news, and surely we thought this might mean Bren and Craig would be singing a redemption song in the Boardroom. Um, let’s see. I really want to do another Bob Marley pun. Maybe I should just stop now.
To be truthful, Tana was not very happy about the errors as she blurted out “What the f–k is this?” Wow, now we don’t be talkin’! Tana then spewed out an angry tirade during an interview that had me worried she’d swap in some gold teeth, find her Eastside Boyz posse, and kick some rastafarian ass. Luckily, she came up with a fix so simple that even Maria Boren and her Home Economics minor could be proud. Tana had Craig actually erase the backwards logo with WhiteOut. And it worked!
With disaster avoided on Magna, we could only hope for disaster embraced on Net Worth. Sure enough, we got what we wanted. Chris finally left Best Buy purgatory after… one hour. Huh? The producers made it seem like he was there for an entire lifetime. Okay, whatever. While Alex played dress up with Carolyn and had her try on his nifty jean jacket creation, Angie struggled with her thirty billion responsibilities such as dealing with the models and preparing her presentation. Unfortunately, the team was a complete mess, and they headed out the door to the American Eagle showroom with only ten minutes to spare. Oh, and they forgot their prized jean jacket.
Magna was first to present to the execs, (one of whom was named Susan and had an uncanny resemblance to Joanna Kerns, a.k.a. Maggie Seaver from Growing Pains). Unsurprisingly, Tana and Bren rocked the presentation and wowed over the judges. Thankfully, Craig was kept quiet, lest his marble-mouthed Bill Cosby-ish voice confuse everyone in earshot.
As for Net Worth, well, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. First of all, NBC had promoted this meltdown all week, but the commercials implied that Net Worth would literally miss their entire presentation and fail in an awful, embarrassing way. Well, technically, Net Worth DID fail in an awful and embarrassing way, but not in the same way we were hoping for. Still, I always embrace such awkward television moments, so I really can’t poo-poo this semi-false advertising anyway (besides, reality shows always promise earthshaking news, only to provide us with a minor tremor of drama). Well, Angie, who had previously always been a bang-up presenter, completely crashed and burned. She later attributed her stuttering, gulping, and awkward laughs to having been told just seconds before going on that the jean jacket centerpiece was nowhere to be found. Either way, she was a complete mess, calling American Eagle Outfitters, “American Eagles” and even worse, reading notes from wrinkly paper torn from a spiral notebook. I mean, at the very least, use notecards! She looked like a lunatic reading from her journal of nonsensical ramblings. This was worse than last season when poor Kevin erupted into a fountain of sweat when dealing with the Levi’s execs. What is it about the fashion industry that strikes such fear and ineptitude amongst our most capable citizens? Well, “capable” might be an overstatement.
Eventually Trump arrived, causing Susan from AE to nearly have an orgasm as she greeted him with excessive enthusiasm. Maybe she thought it was Alan Thicke showing up for another Growing Pains reunion movie? Either way, she eventually pronounced Magna to be the winners, and as a prize, Trump told them they’d have a shopping spree at Bergdorf Goodman. He then added, “Bergdorf Goodman is one of the finest department stores in the city. They are very cutting edge with their fashions, much in the same way Domino’s is cutting edge with their Cheeseburger Pizza which, by the way, you should buy because that’s what research tells us.”
Soon enough, we were treated to the obligatory shopping spree montage, and as Tana tried on all sorts of ghetto MILF fashions, Kendra seemed to nearly lose it in an interview. “It’s $1,290 and it’s a tank top!” she exclaimed before busting out a maniacal laugh worthy of Chris’s approval. Okay, somebody get this girl a pixie stick. Her blood sugar’s too low again. Honestly, I bet she was about two seconds away from foaming at the mouth.
In the end, Tana boasted to us (rightfully so) about her 2-0 track record as PM. “Don’t mess with the mom from Iowa! I’m just a little hick from the cornfields, but I’ll take you down!” she warned us. She then added, “Seriously, Lil’ Jon is my DAWG, yo! I will bust a cap in yo’ ass if you try to mess with me. You hear me, bitch? Yeah, I thought so. You betta take that nasty ass weave somewhere else!”
While Tana busted shit up in my imagination, Net Worth languished in the Boardroom. Amazingly, Chris was very quiet this time as he bound himself with the shackles of restraint. Luckily for him, Trump had focused much of his interrogation on Angie, who struggled with the realization that she always seemed to be on the losing team. She ‘fessed up that her performance in front of the American Eagle judges was abhorrent, but even such candid assessments left The Trump cold. Still, Angie continued with her self-effacing act, noting that “I think I ‘uh’d’ once.’” YOU THINK? Sorry to tell you this Angie, but your entire presentation was one big string of “uhs” with some real words like “American” and “cool” peppered in for effect.
I personally felt bad for Angie. From what we could tell, she had been given the most responsibilities and so any failure on the team’s part would essentially fall on her shoulders as opposed to the Project Manager’s. Still, heading into the presentation, Net Worth still could have clocked in a respectable second had she not completely melted down. Huh. I guess she really was responsible for the team’s loss. Still, that didn’t stop her from trying to deflect the ire of Trump onto Chris, rightfully arguing that he spent nearly the whole day at Best Buy instead of helping her out. Be calm Chris. Be calm. But Angie kept hammering away, accusing Chris of being out of control and inept — after all he was the accountant; he made one purchase and lost the card.
Just relax Chris. It’s only words. Don’t let them get to you. Go to a happy place. Just smile. Think of ice cream and sunshine and–
“SHE WAS IN CHARGE OF THE PRESENTATION, AND THAT’S HOW WE LOST! HOW IS THAT MY FAULT?!???” yelled Chris suddenly. Ah, the old Chris was back. I half expected him to pound his chest, lightning to flash, and flames to suddenly engulf Angie. But instead, Donald simply reprimanded all three of them, saying they were all losers. Actually, he sort of spared Alex, saying that he hung out with losers and therefore became one. Carolyn then turned to the three, made an L with her thumb and forefinger and yelled “Luh-hoo-huh-zers!”
The three candidates briefly left the boardroom, giving Trump his opportunity to confer with his two sidekicks. You know, that Michelle Scarborough has been tough as nails. She is out of control! I’m glad The Donald told us to beware of her. As for Carolyn, she still seemed to be gunning for Chris as she once again offered up a litany of reasons why he should be fired. Later, when everyone had returned, she directed a scathing remark at the hot tempered youngster, noting with a stutter that “Everything fairly failed!” She then added “Or failed fairly. I haven’t made up my mind.” For a moment, it looked like Angie might be safe as the roaring beast that we call Trump directed his consternation on Chris and his temper. For some reason, Chris wanted us to believe that he was a changed man and his streaks of homicidal rage (like the his outburst just five minutes ago in the boardroom) were gone. “Have you had over your lifetime this problem?” asked Trump. Chris responded, “Yeah, to a certain extent.” So even though he’d had a short temper his entire life, Chris wanted us to believe that he was suddenly a happy-go-lucky guy? Why, that’s a miracle! I’ve never seen such short turnaround. Man, think of all the juvenile delinquents we could save by putting them on the Apprentice!
Eventually, Trump returned his hostility to Angie as he asked her repeatedly, “You agree that you choked?” She seemed completely humiliated and saddened by the drilling, and eventually she relented, confessing that she had in fact choked. And just like that, at her lowest of lows, Trump whipped out the finger gun and fired her. I kind of miss the days of the cobra strike. Whatever happened to that?
After some passive aggressive comments in Robyn’s lobby (Angie to the guys: “I can’t believe you did that.”), our fired candidate strolled away into reality oblivion as Donald noted that he simply hated chokers. Literally. Carolyn was wearing one, and he made her take it off.
So now we have at least one more week with Chris. Will he be able to get his act together, and more importantly, will he have the volcanic eruption we’ve been so dying to see?
What did you think? Should Angie have been fired before Chris?