When it comes to savory product placements, The Apprentice has had its share of duds. A certain cheeseburger pizza comes to mind. Well, just when the bile had finally settled back down after that Domino’s disaster, along came 7-Eleven with its take on how to destroy that most beloved of meals: pizza. Ladies and gentlemen: meet the P’Eatzza — a sandwich made from, you guessed it, pizza! Now, a normal 7-Eleven sandwich is bad enough on its own, but housed between two nasty slices of old pizza? It’s just a gastro-intestinal disaster waiting to happen. Not even the can-do attitude of aspiring corporate wannabes could make this sandwich look appealing — and you know me; I’m a total sucker for Apprentice product placement. I know Arby’s. Arby’s is a friend of mine. And you, P’Eatzza, are no Arby’s.
This second hour of the big Apprentice marathon started with the lovable ladies (a.k.a. the cliquey harpies) of Synergy confronting Michael about his indecisive leadership. They all told him he was lucky to have won because he was NOT responsible for the victory (oh SNAP!). Well, obviously Michael took this harshly, telling us, “It’s a complete blow to my character.” Character? Or ego? Actually, I shouldn’t ask that. Wouldn’t want to overload Michael with options. Cut to him ten hours later pondering, “Character or ego… I don’t know. Maybe I should call someone.”
Meanwhile, over on Gold Rush, Lee was still mourning the loss of his hetero-lifemate Lenny. It was a tough loss for him (and for us too, really — who else will provide the surly and rude observations that we know and love? Oh, that’s right. TRUMP). Anyway, Charmaine then confronted Lee, saying that down in the Boardroom he really acted his age by putting friendship over performance. Whatever, Charmy, Lee’s gonna be loyal to his cronies, and you’ll just have to deal with that. Yes, Lee stated that he couldn’t change who he was and that he’d always be partial to his friends. Too bad he had none left. Ha! SUCKER! I mean, FRIENDLESS SUCKER!
The next morning, that mistress of the dawn, Rhona, called up to the suite, but not even the most piercing ring could disturb the heavy slumber that had descended upon the candidates. Luckily, Charmaine arose from her beauty sleep and managed to answer Rhona’s call. The directions were simple: go to the park and meet The Donald. A quick morning montage later, and we suddenly found our intrepid group of lackeys standing in Central Park, waiting for Trump to arrive. Sure enough, we then cut to The Donald driving himself through the park in his hoity-toity McLaren SLR, or as I like to call it, “shiny Mercedes with cool vents on the side.”
God, he even sleeps annoyingly.
Anyway, this was a very special day, we soon found out, and not just because Donald had let the chauffeur stay at home for once. No, the big news was that George and Carolyn were reunited again for the first time since the season premiere. Hallelujah! Order is restored! My lifeblood… it’s coming back to me!
Well, before we could learn this week’s task, there was some business to attend to. Synergy had been on a winning spree, and as a result, they had to send someone over to Gold Rush. The Donald asked if anyone would like to join the other team, and sensing that he was no longer wanted or loved by his catty contemporaries, Michael volunteered to cross on over to the dark side. This was great news for Synergy, and Allie in particular was very excited. “One of the main reasons why we’re not going to lose this task is ’cause we got rid of Michael, and now he’s on Gold Rush. They have to deal with him, and how can we lose?” she boasted, hopefully foreshadowing a miserable failure on her part. She really is quite punchable, isn’t she? Something about Allie’s forced mannerisms and pea-shaped head makes you just want to shake her. I bet she’s an annoying drunk. The type that has two glasses of red-wine, gets a little hyper, says things like “I’ve only had two glasses of red wine and look at me!” and then passes out ten minutes later. Either that or she turns into a raging slut. But I think it’s probably the former.
As I mentioned earlier, this week’s lovable corporate sponsor was the bastion of high quality epicurean delights, 7-Eleven. Trump told us that there are so many damn 7-Eleven stores around the world that one is opening every five hours. That would make sense, really. Let’s not forget that opening a 7-Eleven every five hours is a THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!
Anyway, Trump then revealed this week’s task. “They want you to launch a new sandwich called Pa-Eats-Ah,” he said, articulating every vowel (and then some) in what we later discovered was the P’Eatzza. Teams had to use a promotional giveaway and tie in the 7-Eleven racing team car into the task, and whoever increased P’Eatzza sales the most per store would win. Now, before we move on, let’s talk about something. The P’Eatzza. What the HELL were the executives thinking? That has to be one of the very worst product names I’ve ever heard. I mean, P’Eatzza? I know they were going for the pun and all, but why not go for something that doesn’t sound as dumb, like “Pizzawich” or some stupid name like that? And on top of that, it’s kind of hard to say, what with that apostrophe in there. I mean, who uses an apostrophe in a sandwich name? It’s not B’Mac. It’s BIG MAC. It’s not Wh’pper. It’s WHOPPER. It’s not Lil’ John. It’s… oh wait, yes, it is Lil’ John.
“Hey, guys, I found this random food in the trash. Let’s call it a P’Eatzza.”
Well, the first team we saw toiling away was Synergy, and guess what? The P’Eatzza was earning rave reviews! Allie happily stated, “I’m a very picky meat eater, and this turkey is quite delicious.” GREAT! I’m so happy for you! Nevertheless, with their taste buds doing the dance of joy, Synergy set about choosing their promotional item giveaway. The team wanted to give out something that people could use with their P’Eatzza, like a cup or a mug (or a better sandwich), and Tammy in particular was pushing for a drink cozy, or as she called it, a “coozy.” But NO! Project Manager Andrea had a better idea: hats! Because New Yorkers LOVE wearing 7-Eleven hats!
Even though everyone was opposed to it, Andrea made an executive decision. Hats it was. Yeah, she may have been a dictator about it, but that didn’t bother her. “There’s a lot of people that are like ‘You’re a total control freak and that’s your weakness,’ and I’m like ‘Really? Because I have a really nice life,’” Andrea said. So if you have a “really nice life,” why are you submitting yourself to this weekly embarrassment at the hands of reality TV? I love how proud she is of her success. And what has she done? Sold hole-punchers or thumb tacks or stickies or something like that? (Upon further review, it turns out Andrea has launched a successful sticker business. How wonderful for her. Maybe next she can conquer the world of wire hangers or cottonballs.)
We then broke for a commercial, and when we returned, we learned Trump’s weekly lesson: “Know your customer.” He babbled for only a few seconds, and then we immediately got right back into the action over at Gold Rush as we learned that Leslie would finally be Project Manger. For her promotional item, she wanted to give away a free cooler, which was not a bad piece of swag at all. I would certainly plunk down a few dollars to get one. Unfortunatley, Leslie wanted people to throw down more than just a few dollars. She was charging a whopping $7.99 for those damn P’Eatzzas, and cooler or no cooler, that’s a bit much for what looked like the nastiest sandwich of the new millennium. Lee did suggest lowering the price by a dollar, but Leslie was pretty sure that with the free cooler attached, people would pony up the extra money. Okay Leslie. Let’s try to remember something: you’re selling 7-Eleven quality meat and lettuce smushed between two old, crusty slices of cold pizza. I’m thinking you should be paying us $7.99 to eat that shit.
Well, Lee may have lost the pricing battle, but he wasn’t totally useless. He went down to the store that the team would be operating out of and told the manager to clear all the sandwiches off the shelves. It would be all P’Eatzzas all the time the next day. People wouldn’t even have any other choices. Then again, if you’re buying sandwiches at 7-Eleven, chances are, you already don’t care about choices.
Meanwhile, over on Synergy, half the team was handing out promotional materials to people on the street (I wonder if the flyers said something like “Come in tomorrow to taste THE WORLD’S WORST SANDWICH”). The other half was up at a photo shoot, taking pictures of a race car driver posing with the infamous P’Eatzza. Poor guy. He had to take a bite too. 7-Eleven should pay him an extra million dollars for being strong enough to force a thumbs-up gesture instead of barfing all over himself as any other human would do (7-Eleven is sooo not buying ad space on here now). For all those who care, Sean then told us that the team had come up with an absolutely smashing slogan to go along with the promotion: “Tasty food for life in the fast lane!” Kind of clunky. How about “Try this. You won’t believe how bad this is. Seriously. Try it.”
Back at Gold Rush-ville, Tarek and Leslie were now hanging out in front of the computer, coming up with trivia questions. Why? That’s a good question. Didn’t seem to have to do with anything. Turns out that this was their little promotional device. They were going to ask random people trivia, and that would somehow entice them to enter the 7-Eleven. Sure. Sounds like a great plan. Hey, I even know a little trivia. What’s the worst sandwich that’s ever been created by mankind? Give up? P’Eatzza!
A little later, the whole team got together to talk about pricing. Turns out I got a little ahead of myself before. It wasn’t until now that Leslie proposed the $7.99 price tag. I don’t really have anything more to add. I just thought I’d clarify in case some avid Apprentice viewers attacked me for chronological errors. That would be embarrassing. It would be like going out on a date and eating P’Eatzzas for dinner.
The next morning, Gold Rush learned the hard way that when it comes to trivia, people just really aren’t that into it. Tarek attempted to reel in pedestrians by asking dumb questions about 7-Eleven, but predictably, no one cared, leaving our MENSA member to do little more than amble around and shout statements into the air. I’m sure there were many passers-by who wondered, “When did Orlando Bloom turn into a homeless bum?”
“Here’s some trivia: how many corporate executives does it take to design a TERRIBLE sandwich?”
Inside the store, Lee pestered Leslie about the price point again, saying that he had overheard two managers saying the price was too high. However, Leslie didn’t really care, and she thought Lee was simply being negative anyway. She dismissed her young minion and got back to hawking those P’Eatzzas onto whichever poor saps happened to cross her path.
Over at Synergy, Roxanne and Sean were being extremely annoying by yelling, “SELL! SELL! SELL!” to each other in some lame, British pep-rally way. Truthfully, there was nothing inherently British about the chant, but Sean was involved, and that was enough of a link for me.
Well, things were not so hot over at Synergy. Their P’Eatzzas were cheaper than Gold Rush’s, but their promotional item kind of sucked. The hats were all NASCAR-ish, and when Carolyn saw them, she was not impressed. She didn’t see a connection between the hats and the sandwich. “I’d keep walking,” she said. She then added, “Had they given away oversized foam fingers with Tony Danza’s face on them, well, now we’re talkin’ business.”
Carolyn may have been a downer, but that didn’t stop Allie from having an absolutely wonderful time. She was delighted that some people she had given flyers to the night before had actually returned to try the P’Vomit, I mean, P’Eatzza. “We actually made a lasting impression on some of these people!” Allie gushed. Don’t get too excited. Those people just wanted to be on TV.
Finally, some P’Eatzza customers.
Back at Gold Rush, it looked like Lee’s out-of-the-box thinking might just help his team out. He had somehow entered into negotiations to sell a thousand P’Eatzzas to some guy on the street. Lee wanted $3.00 per sandwich. The guy wanted $2.00. After much back and forth, Lee was unwilling to go lower than $2.50, and the entire thing fell through. Personally, I would have sold the sandwiches at $2.00. I mean, that’s 1,000 P’Eatzzas. There’s no way the other team was going to sell nearly that many. Plus, if I wasn’t mistaken, this challenge was all about units moved, not profit increase. That meant that the profit on those 1,000 sandwiches was nearly irrelevant. And even if the profit did matter, like I said before, that’s a huge sale. Oh well. Not worth losing sleep over. And the good news is that some hospital now has 1,000 less patients with gastro-intestinal malaise.
By the end of the day, I wasn’t sure who would be winning. The big lesson of the week was “Know Your Customer,” and clearly Andrea had violated that by offering up dumb hats that no one in New York would care about. But then Leslie had tacked on an expensive price point for the sandwiches that was clearly out of the typical 7-Eleven customer budget. I was on the fence, but I kind of thought Synergy might lose. That is until we heard the Gold Rush people talking about how they aced this challenge. Oh well. They totally lost.
“We deserve this,” Charmaine said. “We need it. It’s Leslie’s birthday tomorrow!” Well! Why didn’t you say so? I would have gone down there and bought ten P’Eatzzas! Just for Leslie!
Anyway, the teams made their way back to the Boardroom to hear the results. But first, Trump talked about the P’Eatzza: “You know who really liked it? George Ross.” Of course. George never found a snack he couldn’t warmly embrace. Instead of porn, George probably just looks at cookie trays.
Back to the challenge. Gold Rush did a fine job with their task, increasing sales by a whopping 608%. Wow. Even Synergy couldn’t believe those numbers. But those dropped jaws soon turned to smiles as we learned that Synergy had increased sales an even more whopping-er 997%. Ouch. That’s a spanking. And so Synergy won yet again, and for their reward, they got to fly down to Washington DC on a private plane where they had brunch with New York Senator Chuck Schumer. It was a pretty cool reward; although, Chuck wasn’t exactly the most exciting brunch host. “His father and my grandfather were builders together,” he said of Trump. The Synergy members all nodded politely and said “Oh!” as if they were surprised and delighted, but you could tell they were all giving each other sideways glances as if to say, “How can we ditch Schumer.”
After the meal, the team (sans Schumer) walked over to the White House and stood by the famous iron fence. Sean had his goofiest smile on as he took in the entire scene. This was followed by a lame speech about being an American, and then Andrea finished the whole thing off by saying, “Everyone in this interview process is living the American Dream right now.” Funny, I don’t remember the American Dream involving widespread humiliation on national TV.
Back up in New York, Leslie was having the worst birthday EVER (well, not worse than Aneesa from Real World. Her birthday is on 9/11, and if you remember, when the World Trade Center went down, no one called her to say Happy Birthday. Poor thing. Fun fact: Kristy McNichol’s from Empty Nest was born on 9/11 too. I know this because one of the people I was with on 9/11 said “Today’s the birthday of my friend, Kristy McNichol. She’s having the worst birthday.” Or something like that. True story.) Okay, I’m back from my random tangent. Point is that Leslie was having a really sucky birthday. No one was feeling like celebrating, and her birthday cake looked like it had gone completely untouched (I bet George was chomping at the bit to come bursting into the suite and take a slice of that thing).
Not everyone was having a terrible time. Michael certainly saw the upside in everything. He told us that he felt like he really fit in with the team, and he was happier there having lost than when he had won with Synergy. Yeah, okay, whatever. Just go find a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. That should occupy you for several days. Cut to Michael hemming and hawing with the book, pondering, “Do I run through the crocodile infested swamp, or should I take the road to the volcano. Dammit! What do I do?”
Down in the Boardroom, Leslie immediately attacked Lee, saying that he was negative the whole time and went missing for forty minute on what turned out to be a shady deal. Lee replied that it wasn’t a shady deal and that he wasn’t being negative at all. The two went back and forth, and somehow, in the middle of this, Charmaine suddenly turned into a walking, talking 7-Eleven billboard as she talked about the P’Eatzza.
“It’s two things that Americans love. It’s a pizza! It’s a sandwich!” she said with a spokesmodel perkiness. Being a pizza AND a sandwich is a THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!! By the way, is it a distinctly American thing to love sandwiches? That seems awfully broad. That’s like saying, “Those Frenchmen. They sure do love water!”
Anyway, Trump was highly impressed with Charmaine all of a sudden. “You know what, Charmaine?” he said. “You are a great presenter.”
Being a great presenter is a THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!
Well, the bickering soon started back up again, and Leslie insisted that Lee’s disappearance from the store for forty minutes severely hurt the sales of the team. This got George all hot and bothered as he snapped, “What are you going to sell? It’s a SANDWICH!” He then added, “In my day, you didn’t have to sell sandwiches. People would just come to the soda jerk and say ‘Hey, gimme a sandwich!’ And you know what? WE GAVE THEM A SANDWICH!”
As much as Leslie wanted to attribute Lee for the loss, it was clear that the pricing was what killed them. Trump and his buds absolutely grilled Leslie about the insane $7.99 price tag, and as they reamed her, Lee chimed in with several kiss-ass remarks. Eventually, Leslie called him a politician, and it was no surprise that when Trump asked her to bring back two people, she chose Lee. What was surprising was that she brought back Lee exclusively. That’s right. No second person. It would be Leslie vs. Lee, and as much as I liked Leslie’s quiet style, it seemed like Lee might have the upperhand. But then again, Lee didn’t have the official endorsement of Charmaine, who made a special point to praise Leslie before she left the room.
When Lee and Leslie returned to the Boardroom, an all-out bickerfest went down. Lee bragged about how wonderful he was to pursue that deal, but Leslie shot him down with the remark, “You’re a hero if it went through, but you’re a zero because it did not go through.” Ooh! Leslie with the sass! It’s not anyone who can take a tagline from The Mask and turn it into a Boardroom zinger.
Unfortunately, that was Leslie’s last great moment. From that point on, Lee talked and talked and talked, and when Leslie tried to get a word in edgewise, Lee just kept on fighting, completely railroading her out of the spotlight. Instead of defending herself or saying anything of note, Leslie was reduced to saying irrelevant comments like “You’re out of control” or “This is what he does.”
Blah blah blah.
Well, it was obvious where this was going. Trump fired Leslie because of the pricing, and with that, the quietest cast member was sent home. Out in the lobby, Lee and Leslie hugged goodbye, which was oddly heartwarming. It’s nice to see people act like adults from time to time. Leslie then headed off to the taxi, and we returned to The Donald who, as usual, sought the approval of his cohorts. Of course they told him that he’d made the right decision, and so Trump said, “Okay,” and then flicked his hand as if to say, “Smell ya later, Leslie!” Being cavalier is a THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!
See ya. Wouldn’t want to be ya!
As the show came to a close, we then saw Leslie riding in the cab, marveling at the run of luck she’s had: lost as Project Manager, got fired, and all on her birthday! Oh my! With that sort of luck, she said, she should buy a lotto ticket! Uh, actually, no. You have what we call “BAD LUCK.” Just go to Ben & Jerry’s an enjoy a double scoop of New York Super Fudge Chunk. With your luck, it’ll probably fall on the floor.
What did you think about this episode? Should Trump have fired Leslie? Or Lee? Should she have brought anyone else into the Boardroom?