After long delay, I finally saw the much-hyped finale for season three of The Apprentice, and sadly, the only surprise here was that Matthew Calamari didn’t return to royally embarrass himself on live television once again. Yes, we here at the TVgasm offices were traveling on the 15 freeway en route to Las Vegas when Donald Trump officially anointed his next glorified underling, and so I didn’t even get a chance to check out this hour of splendor until late last evening. The Donald had promised to cut down on the fat from last season’s bloated finale, but would he be true to his promise?
Yes and no. For starters, he nixed the endless testimonies from random people in the audience (thank god — although, again, kind of missing Matthew Calamari). Unfortunately, he also did away with the reunion segment, something that I’m always eager to see. What we were left with was a herky-jerky Q & A as well as a lengthy segment on the adventures of Kelly and Brian, Apprentices Extraordinaire. Also, let’s not forget that while this episode was only an hour long, the actual finale was a two-part event that stretched over seven days; so at the end of the day, while this show was certainly shorter than last season’s three-hour snoozefest, I don’t think it’s safe to say that it was any less bloated.Speaking of bloated, how about that opening recap of the season? Much like with Survivor which also plopped a fifteen minute “in case you weren’t watching” montage on the front of its finale, Mark Burnett burned off the first quarter of the show with a lengthy – but enjoyable – trip down memory lane. It started with Trump blaring that “Half of the candidates had degrees from some of the finest schools in the country.” Like University of Florida (Kendra), Seattle Pacific University (Alex), Cleveland State University (Danny), University of Memphis (Bren), University of Miami (Erin, Todd), Arizona State University (Stephanie), and Jackson State University (Verna). Yes, some of the very finest schools. I’m glad Trump didn’t dilute the pool with those crappy-ass institutions like Princeton or Stanford.
Anyway, as we reminisced on the season, we got to relive those glorious moments from early on. Look, there’s Danny yelling “UNBELIEVABLE!”, and there’s Brian dressed like a… cowboy? Okay, we’ll just assume that was for the Burger King task and not some unfortunate fashion choice (he did, after all, take great joy in wearing a Viking hat for no reason). The producers then threw the audience a bone by flashing us a scene from one of Chris’s earlier explosions. “I DO NOT REFURBISH HOMES!” he yelled. Yes, if there are two things we know about Chris, it’s that he hates gutting houses and that HE IS NOT A HOMOSEXUAL, SIR!
One more, for old time’s sake.
Later we saw Stephanie and her ill-advised pizza delivery to Brooklyn. Trump boomed on the soundtrack: “It was a bad move; SO I FIRED HER!” Settle down, Donald! We know what happened. The recap continued though, and as it approached the ten minute mark, we once again had a little more product placement for the Pontiac Solstice (insert Bren’s testimony to his love for the car here) and then the always enjoyable shot of Chris cackling like a madman in the back of a cab. This, of course, was followed immediately by the even more entertaining footage of Chris bawling in the Boardroom as Papa Trump patted him on the back and sent him out into the world.
Then after fifteen minutes of Trump yelling, we finally cut to the live finale where we saw a chipper audience clapping inside of NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Last season Carnegie Hall, this season the Skirball Center? What’s next? The YMCA? The jungle gym area of McDonald’s? (Yeah, that’s right Skirball. I’m calling you out! Maybe you should stop sounding like Skeeball’s less fun carnival game cousin and more like a real performing arts center).
Anyway, as we floated over the cheering crowd, the camera zoomed in on who else? Sugar Ray Leonard! Oh yes, that reminds me! I should watch The Contender this weekend! Thank you, Sugar Ray Leonard and NBC! Meanwhile, bitter flashbacks to December engulfed me as I feared we’d then be subject to another incongruous interview with the boxer to promote his show. Luckily, we simply went to commercial, and when we came back, the spotlight seemed to be squarely where we liked it most: on Trump. As The Donald said “Thank you, thank you” over and over again, the audience rose to its feet yet again (except NBC head honcho Jeff Zucker who happily remained seated). Wow, we’re twenty minutes in and literally nothing has happened. Way to keep this finale tight!
Meanwhile, I couldn’t help noticing that the final boardroom was setup like a goofy version of People’s Court. Paging the mixed metaphors department: Trump runs a corporation, not an Appellate Court. Nevertheless, The Donald sat high above the stage in the equivalent of a judge’s bench and even had a gavel. Maybe he was planning to yell “Order in the fake boardroom that looks like a court on a stage in a performing arts center!” Sitting oddly in two different witness boxes were George and Carolyn, each of whom had a sidekick in Bill Rancic and Kelly Perdew respectively. As for the fired contestants, they unsurprisingly filled up a jury box, and of course Kendra and Tana sat at the defendant’s table. Unfortunately, there was no stenographer, leaving a bitter Rhona with little to do except wait backstage with a teacup full of arsenic for her ungrateful boss.
Anyway, Trump questioned Tana about the way she treated her team, and she immediately apologized for her disparaging comments. She then wrote everything else off by saying “My sense of humor didn’t come out.” I could just imagine Tana a few years from now: “I know you think me killing a hobo on the street looks bad, but honestly, my sense of humor just really didn’t have a chance to shine. If you look at it, it’s rather funny.” Trump then leveled with her: “You have an uphill battle.” Great. Should i even bother watching anymore?
Trump then tried to come up with a way to make Kendra feel uncomfortable, but he failed amazingly as the best he could do was attack her for crying in the boardroom. “I’ve seen 300 pound linebackers cry as they raise the Superbowl trophy!” she declared triumphantly, causing the audience to erupt in cheers. Yay crying linebackers! You PUSSIES! But then even Trump had to concede, “It was actually a pretty nice cry.” So why did you grill her about it? He then added, “The Trump Organization has the very best cries in the world. Our crying is a THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR industry.”
Somewhere in the middle of this, we then cut to Danny and Erin who apparently were in their own competition for “Most distracting patterns EVER.” Danny seemed to be in a paisley hurricane while Erin simply wore an outfit reminiscent of MC Escher’s lizard drawings. Not sure who looked more ridiculous, but I think it’s safe to say at least three or four children around America had epileptic seizures that night.
Anyway, the show ground to an awkward halt as Trump futzed up and asked a question to Kristen that was obviously intended for Erin. He wanted to know what it was like working for Kendra. Kristen simply looked blankly at Mr. Trump, not sure if he was truly addressing her. “Come on,” he coaxed impatiently. Wow, this was incredibly uncomfortable. Next time, let’s look into a dress rehearsal.
Trump soon improvised and refocused the question to be about Tana, and surprisingly, Kristen had nothing but kind things to say. Wow. Next up was Erin who also had nothing but kind things to say about Kendra. You know, I’d like to hear what everyone has to say. Surely, NBC would show us what happened when the six returning employees entered the Boardroom last week, right? After all, it was the cliffhanger. WRONG. Yes, in one of the major oversights of the live finale, the producers never showed us even one second of the interchange between Trump and workers. So what did we see instead?
If you answered “A fluffy segment about Bill and Kelly,” you’d be correct! That’s right. Because the producers think we actually care about these two suits, we had to watch a whole video montage about how well Bill and Kelly are integrating into the Trump Organization. Bill seemed to be doing okay, but Kelly was all over the map. He had been hired to oversee construction in New York City, but apparently, he was also promoting Trump Towers Tampa, an office building, and of course, Trump Ice. Rumor has it he also fetches lunch, pulls night shifts with the janitorial staff, and serves as Trump’s chauffeur.
When we finished with this update, Trump informed Tana, “I still don’t think your team like you very much.” Maybe you should SHOW US THE BOARDROOM FOOTAGE! Instead, Trump babbled about the job opportunities the winner would have: overseeing Miss Universe or renovating a “uge” Palm Beach Mansion. Apparently these two options edged out three other jobs: head of makeup, director of shopping, and receptionist. Yes, the job offerings were mildly sexist, but if you really think about it, whoever wins will be doing just as little as Kelly and Bill, so it really doesn’t matter.
Unsurprisingly, Tana said she’d choose Miss USA while Kendra opted for the mansion. Then it was time to return to “the jury.” Trump asked Chris what he thought of Tana’s leadership, and he ultimately answered, “I was a bit disappointed.” When Trump asked why Chris was so calm, the hothead suddenly exploded, “I SAID I WAS A BIT DISAPPOINTED! TANA’S LEADERSHIP WAS UNSATISFACTORY TO ME. THAT MAKES ME VERY ANGRY! AND THAT IS A FFFFFFACT!” Chris then turned around and choked Audrey to death before hissing at the audience and running out of the theater. He was later taken down with five tranquilizer darts and can now be seen at the Bronx Zoo.
Actually, none of that happened, but he did have kind words for Kendra: “Outside of the show, I’ve been involved in some things that we’re potentially gonna be doing together,” he said as a dirty-minded audience began to snicker (Kendra and Chris, sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S…). When Chris finally caught on (a good fifteen seconds later), he yelled out angrily. “NO! NO! NO!” He then added “I DO NOT REFURBISH HOMES, I AM NOT A HOMOSEXUAL, AND I AM NOT HAVING SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH KENDRA!” And then Chris did that whole tranquilizer/Bronx Zoo thing again.
Next, Trump asked Florence Henderson what she thought. Oh wait, that was Carolyn. I didn’t realize with the hair and everything. Anyway, Carolyn echoed pretty much everyone else’s concerns — she didn’t like Tana’s leadership or Kendra’s lack of stepping up earlier on. Man, when did Carol Brady become such a hardass?
Here’s the story of a lovely lady…
We then cut to commercial, and when we came back, we found Omarosa bobbing her head to the live band. Who is she again? Oh yeah, a woman desperately trying to cling onto the spotlight. Still, can’t wait for the next Surreal Life!
Now it was time for George to speak, and he had nothing but warm, grandfatherly praise for everyone. “I have never seen anyone come up with more brilliant ideas and raw enthusiasm in my life,” he said. He then revealed a t-shirt and said “I’m getting it bedazzled tomorrow!”
Trump then asked Kendra if she had an advantage because of her education. Huh? Didn’t he ask that LAST WEEK? Why are we watching the same questions? The bloat-meter was approaching 100%. Things finally got interesting when a desperate Tana piped up about the famed Pontiac brochure that Kendra had made.
“What you didn’t see was that I was the reason that the Pontiac CEOs loved that brochure, and it was because of the shape,” she said, as a chorus of boos descended on her. Tana then added, “I also invented the Internet.”
Actually, Kendra gave her props, saying that it was Tana’s idea to have the circle design, and when Trump revealed that he had not known that, our favorite MILF from Iowa went berserk. For some reason, she had the delusional belief that this fact would somehow earn her a victory, and she began cheering and whooping and pulling all sorts of embarrassing things not seen since the Arsenio Hall show. Eventually Tana yelled, “Don’t get me started!” Uh, Tana, part of being a professional is acting, you know, professional.
Well, how these women conducted themselves turned out to be the ultimate factor, and in the end, Trump unsurprisingly hired Kendra for the job. The winner immediately went over and thanked The Donald, who responded by making a weird little kissy face. After some hugs from her family and friends, Kendra then headed outside to fetch her new Pontiac Solstice. Trump meanwhile alerted us that The Apprentice Musical would be coming to town, thus making it official that Broadway is dead. The evening ended with Kendra driving away in a Pontiac commercial that I’m pretty sure was read by Matt Dillon.
And so ended a highly enjoyable third season for the series. There have been a lot of haters recently (Mark Berman, I’m looking at you), but just because the show’s ratings have gone down doesn’t mean it’s any worse. I’m looking forward to this fall’s next installment, and I’m more than curious to see how the Martha Stewart spinoff plays out.
What do you think? Did Trump make the right choice? Did you enjoy this season?