This week’s episode of The Apprentice left an odd taste in my mouth. I can’t quite put my finger on why, since there were many gems bestowed upon us by both The Donald and his legion of squabbling minions. But as it ended I just felt a little emptier inside. Like Rosie O’Donnell without a Chinaman to insult.
That’s not to say it wasn’t absolutely hilarious. The evening started off with a bang thanks to an impromptu Comedy Hour over at Team Arrow. (Is anyone else really pissed about not getting to see the ridiculous team-naming ceremony? I always loved that, watching these idiots shout out what they believe to be strong names, crap like “Endure!” and “Gibralter!” and “Bowflex!”) Frank, James, Tim, and Aaron are stupidly giggling over what will happen if “Johnny” returns from the boardroom. You see, Frank explains, Johnny is the name that they gave Michelle, because “she’s an annoying person.” Huh? Wtf? He continues, “Johnny-come-lately, that annoying, non-productive girl.” Ah. Thanks Frank! All clear now!
Well, “Johnny” (HI-larious!) does return, and not to a rousing welcome either. In fact, the men are completely silent. Subtle. Meanwhile, back in the mansion of luxury and pool toys, Heidi informs her team that Carey has been fired, and they all groan. Either because they were sad to see him go, or they were sad he wouldn’t be around to model any more chewing gum wrappers, it wasn’t clear which.
Tim is telling Nicole that Michelle is “just insane” and “icy cold”. Now, I’m not sure whose fault this is, mine or the producers, but I don’t really see any reason for him to be saying that, other than the fact that perhaps he’s a total moron, which I’m not throwing out the window just yet either. Pretty much the only thing Michelle even did in the last task was insist that Carey’s swimsuit sucked. And she was completely right. And this equals insanity? Shut up, Tim. Go back to The Office.
The next morning, both teams receive a call from some chick named Andy, who I assume killed Robin in a vicious fight to the death by viciously beating her with a telephone. The teams are to meet Trump at the Loews Hotel in Santa Monica. Oh, and Kinetic, because of your win last week you will not be competing today, chirps Andy. Damn, she even gets more lines than Robin. Poor kid’s probably living in a box somewhere now.
Hark! What wench doth sit upon thy throne of fair Robin disgraced?
The teams prepare for the morning. The Kinetic folks roast fresh coffee and take showers while a jaunty, fancy tune plays in the background, whereas the poor Arrow saps struggle with a backed-up toilet/bucket while xylophone music foppishly plunks away. And just in case you’re a little slow on the uptake, Tim reiterates that “this is becoming the separation between the haves and the have nots. The team that wins has everything, while the team that loses has relatively nothing.” WE GET IT. FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING CLASSY AND LUXURIOUS, WE GET IT.
Over at the hotel, Trump is having the traditional forced conversation with the owner in order to plug the product/business/service that that person provides. But to the untrained eye, it only appears to be a friendly chat! Hollywood is full of magic! The teams arrive, and Trump jokingly yells at Kinetic for showing up, since they don’t have to participate. AAANDY!! He sends them off to enjoy a day at the hotel, free to indulge in endless amounts of food, massages, spas, leprechauns, and self-congratulatory smarminess.
Trump, decked out in a fabulously orange tie, informs Arrow that they must divide themselves up, for they will be competing against each other. Aaron volunteers to be a project manager, and when no one else steps up (what a team of losers), he asks Michelle if she would like to. She replies with an intense, slightly scary, YES. In the interview she whines that she can’t say no to Trump in front of everyone and that she feels cornered into the position. This can only lead to good things.
They begin to pick teams, and Michelle picks Tim first. No, Michelle! He thinks you’re icy cold and insane! Apparently this girl never took How To Recognize Obvious Hatred 101 because she then goes on to choose the two other team members that loathe her the most, Nicole and Frank (the genius behind the “Johnny” hilarity). And Aaron gets James and Stefani. Fantastic. On to the task.
Trump introduces his children, “but they’re not children, they’re very talented business people.” I nearly take a drink as per The Apprentice Drinking Game Rules because I’m sure a Wharton School shoutout is about to drop, but alas, I’ll have to get drunk another way. Little Don, doughy as ever, explains that the teams are to create a themed bus tour of L.A. for Starline Tours. Hehe. I laugh when he speaks. To win, they must score the highest on a survey given to the tourists. Oh boy. Uppity business people trying to sell a double-decker bus tour to a bunch of cranky tourists. I’m salivating in anticipation.
Aaron’s Team (lack of names AGAIN, what the HELL) is brainstorming themes, and James busts out with the idea of bringing Laker Girls on board. Because people want to “be part of something special, something big, something sexy,” screams James. They make a call and the deal is done. Although I love how James, on the phone, clearly enunciates that they would like the “Los Angeles Laker Girls”. Ohhh. THOSE girls. Because that’s the number you’re calling. Gotcha. The girl on the other end was probably banging her head against the wall.
Michelle miraculously comes up with a theme that doesn’t revolve around NBA cheerleaders – A Day in the Life of the Rich and Famous. It would be a tour of the places that celebrities know and love. To make sure the rest of her team is on board with this, she asks each one of them approximately forty-two times whether they agree with the theme. Obviously she’s trying to cover her ass in case the blame falls on her later, but still. Enough, Michelle.
We’re treated to several more scenes of “Life in L.A.” like surfers! And a dog! And a bird! The Kinetic peeps are having the TIME OF THEIR LIFE in a swimming pool. In fact, the mood is so jolly that Derek decides it’s time to inflict his Shamu impression upon his innocent teammates, somehow resulting in uproarious laughter. Looks like someone successfully completed the Franky “Johnny-come-lately” Laugh-A-Minute workshop. Everyone is enjoying the free food and champagne, and then they all decide to go get massages. Best girl’s day out ever!
I don’t know what’s going on here, but my computer just burst into flames.
Over on Team Laker Girls, Aaron is spewing some nonsense about how their tour should include such essential tourist hotspots as the Menendez Brothers house and the O.J. Simpson murder location. I bet Aaron is a serial killer. They all have chin dimples. Stefani wisely rips the wind out of his sails and instead suggests that they stop by places where movies have been filmed. To which I say, duh. James, whose head appears to have exploded, finally and dramatically comes up with a theme for their tour: “Famous places, beautiful faces.” Did you miss that? Don’t worry, he’ll say it about fifty-seven more times throughout the episode. James flips out over his magnificent accomplishment, saying that it’s beautiful. Hear, hear! Brilliance! Poetry!
Jubilant James and his Fountain O’ Hair
After proclaiming that they would almost certainly win, which in my book means they almost certainly will not, Stefani informs us that “we’re sending James on a mission,” which only further confirms my suspicions. However, as we will see, these crazy kids actually have a decent idea for once. James takes a bus tour and surveys the tourists, asking about what they like and don’t like. He finds that they’re thirsty, so refreshments (Perrier, he insists) might be nice, and that John the Tour Guide should probably be arrested for inflicting such painful commentary upon innocent tourists. (“Celebrities love me like they love a ruptured spleen! HAHAHA!”) Terrifying.
“I have the saddest life ever! Whooo!”
“We’re going to die, aren’t we.”
Back at the hotel, Kinetic is STILL enjoying their fabulous reward and lollygagging around the pool. And it’s a good thing, too, because I was really hoping for yet another shot of all those lounging tramps.
Michelle and Tim, stuffed into an awkward van ride, are scouting Hollywood for sights to feature on their tour. They find strip clubs. After realizing that Hollywood is “kind of a dump” they decide that maybe the whole thing is not such a good idea after all. “Is it okay that I’m second-guessing my decision?” asks Michelle. So, she’s attempting to get a consensus on the decision to change the decision she already made by consensus. Great. I need a flow chart to keep up with this woman.
They decide to instead head over to the Beverly Hills area, which they find to be boring. “Beautiful and boring,” to be precise. Michelle continues to hem and haw, and Tim proceeds to lose his mind. Over in the other team van, Frank and Nicole and yakking away about how they’re do-ers, and that all this sitting around and waiting isn’t really working for them. So they go print up the banners and rent tuxedos and pat themselves on the back until they are bloody and sore.
Back in the Van of Indecision, Michelle is STILL grappling with the Hollywood vs. Beverly Hills debate. Tim, clearly about to snap and kill her with his clicky pen, forces her into a decision. Fabulous. Now all they have to do is stay up all night to put together something, anything, that even remotely resembles a bus tour.
While Aaron’s team quickly finishes their work and hits the Third World hay, Michelle forces everyone on her team into the traditional Apprentice All-Nighter From Hell. The inevitable debate arises: better to get the work done, or better to get some sleep and be mildly conscious the next day? Nicole the loudmouth is of the latter opinion, and just goes to bed. Michelle storms in and gently insists that she “find a way to rally.” WELL. Nicole, clearly not a fan of Ghostwriter, does not want to rally unless there is a clear plan in place. She and Michelle squabble for a little while more, and in the end it’s not entirely clear who won. Certainly not us, the viewers.
Finally, it’s time for the bus wrecks to begin! There is an alleged “mob scene” around Team Aaron’s bus, and as the Laker Girls arrive, there is much mirth and merriment, mostly coming from James. They hand out popcorn and bottled water (NOT Perrier, for those of you keeping score at home), and the tour begins. James decides to alienate every single tourist by screaming his inspired creation “FAMOUS PLACES, BEAUTIFUL FACES” and demanding that they join in.
Meanwhile, over at Team Incompetence, Michelle spews forth with optimism, and feels that once the bus starts moving everything will go smoothly. This despite the fact that they’re all dressed like waiters. After shepherding the tourists aboard and recommending the chicken marsala, she grabs the mike to begin the tour. And then her brain falls out. She literally utters these “sentences”: “As you probably know, our theme for the day is A Day in the Life of the Rich and Famous. We wanted to take this opportunity to explain how we feel this…this means to us…this theme. Felt through the eyes of the rich and famous. The elements of being in the caliber of the rich and famous.” Put this woman together in a room with Paula Abdul and we’ve got a party!
Michelle may be a terrible project manager, but her velociraptor impression is off the hiz-ook!
Tim then takes the mike and it revolts against him. Yes, the already doomed team is additionally cursed with a crappy feedback-ridden microphone, which adds insult to injury in just the most hilarious way possible. Through the squeaking and screeching, Tim manages to inform the crowd that the Chateau Marmont, which they pass by, is the location in which John Belushi died, “after injecting a speedball of heroin and overdosed.” This is followed by an awkward silence peppered with more awful screeching. I’m more or less passing out from laughter at this point, but the kids aboard the bus are terrified, and the parents are none too pleased with Tim’s instructions on how to commit suicide.
Over at the other team, Foghorn McLoudmouth is still screaming at his crowd. He is TERRIFYING. After yelling obnoxiously for what seems like an eternity, Stefani’s common sense finally kicks in and she wrassles the mike away from James. She eloquently finishes the tour, but not before one final round of the “FAMOUS…” crap. So, they’ll be winning then. Got me with the misdirection THIS TIME, Mark Burnett. It won’t happen again.
Michelle’s team is still shrieking along, and with the mike problems and the giant bus and the dysfunctional team it all feels very Little Miss Sunshine. They finally, finally, abandon the damn thing (the mike, not the bus) and just yell. Tim yammers on about the Hollywood stars but, perhaps realizing that nothing could top his haunting tableau of death, he clearly is not feeling it anymore. The tour ends, and Michelle admits that although the tour was a bit of a disaster, there were “some people on the bus who were certainly not angry.” Haha. Only some. You know you’re doomed when you’re banking on sympathy votes. Although I don’t know what those tourists could be so upset about. I would have happily paid to witness this delightful meltdown.
Boardroom time! Trump surveys his minions – Team Aaron is confident they won, Team Michelle, well, they showed up and that takes courage. He asks Michelle’s team members how she did, and they dance around the subject of her sucking and meekly proclaim that they think they’ve won. They’re reserving their ammo against her for later on, it seems. Meanwhile, Aaron’s team is in love with him and want to have a million of his babies. Great. Time for the results. Team Aaron scored an 89% approval rating, while Team Michelle scored a measly 58%. Hey, it’s better than Bush, eh? That’s something!
THERE IS NOTHING TO READ. TAKE YOUR STUPID GLASSES OFF.
Trump tells Team Aaron that winning is reward enough (a “mental victory,” he says) and that they will not be moving into the house. However, Aaron will be allowed to sit in and have a say as to who gets fired. And with that, it’s time to bid everyone adieu until the boardroom later on that evening, where someone will be fired. Fantastic. “Ivanka, fetch me my gold-plated evening paper and Milania bring me my diamond-encrusted–whaa?” Michelle wants to say something, and boy is it a humdinger. Hold on to your hats!
Michelle feels that this whole competition – the tents, the ridiculous teammates, the faulty microphones – it’s not what she signed on for. And while she would love to come to work for him by going through the traditional routes, she just doesn’t want to come back to the boardroom because it’s not worth it to her. Daaamn. “So you’re quitting? Are you a quitter? Doesn’t that make you a lllloser?” Trump blares. She just doesn’t want to put up with any of it anymore, and she’s learned a lot about herself over the past couple weeks yada yada yada, and she thanks him for the opportunity.
But Trump would like to leave her with a little nugget of wisdom. He says she’s doing something that, when she looks back on her life, she will not be proud of. And he keeps going on and on about never giving up. And he certainly believes it, because he’s not giving up on repeatedly bashing her over the head with how much he hates what she’s doing. To her credit, Michelle is acting very dignified during this whole ordeal, saying that she appreciates his candor and – wait he’s not done. He begins to ramble on about having respect for a losing boxer, then goes on to reenact Rocky in its entirety.
How do we feel this this means to us this theme NOW?
More speechiness, it just wasn’t working for her (clearly), she feels as if she’s leaving with her integrity in tact (debatable), and that she’s just not a fan of this process (perhaps she’d be up for a speedball of heroin at this point). Trump counters with “it’s a real life process!” which just makes me giggle. That’s like saying that any given Prison Break plotline could actually happen. I laugh at your ignorance. Ha. Ha.
Eventually, after what seems like eons and eons of “I HATE QUITTERS”, Trump accepts her resignation and they all leave. But not before he tells the rest of their team that he will see them later in the boardroom. Ouch. Behind closed doors, the Trumps grumble about how she just didn’t have the balls to fight it out with her team, but I think Donald Jr. is just mad because she didn’t like his Tent City idea.
“I LOVE L.A.?”
But we’re STILL not through yet! It’s like a Day in the Life of the Rich and Famous Tour! Back at the mansion, Stefani more or less assaults Michelle, yelling, “What the hell did you do?” The rest of her team also hates her because they think one of them is now going to get fired. Of course we all know that won’t be the case, which is exactly what Michelle keeps telling them, but they continue to bitch and whine, as Apprenti are wont to do.
Although I really love her apathy. It’s great. As she packs up, she voiceovers that “I knew that Mr. Trump would respond that way. (pause) I don’t care.” Awesome. And as she walks down the street to leave (what? No limo?) the rest of her team gets a phone call from Robin-killer Andy, who says that the boardroom has been canceled and no one else will be fired. Frank jumps around like a rambunctious monkey, which incidentally is a good name for a band. And he is, as always, holding a cigar. What a douche.
OBEY THE CHIN DONUT
And there we have it. While I do think that it was a cop out for Michelle to quit like that, I have to say that she did it with a fair amount of aplomb. Her management was a disaster, but was able to keep her composure in the boardroom, which must not have been easy considering the sheer volume of boxing metaphors being thrown at her. So all in all, a weird yet enjoyable episode. What do you think? Any speedballs of heroin in the house?