Last week on The Apprentice, we watched an immutable Rebecca stand up for Toral’s honor in the Boardroom. She defended her to the point of foolishness, but somehow wound up on top, escaping Trump’s wrath and sending meek Jennifer W. and her Tethno cake down to the street. This week we knew it was crunch time for Toral. She would have to either rise to the occasion or face certain death at the hands of the Donald. Now here’s the thing. Everyone on Toral’s team hates her. In fact, I’m sure most of America hates her too. But I LOVE her. I love her unwavering condescension, her frantic defensiveness, and most of all, her expressive little face that manages to be both smug and feisty all at the same time. She may be a pain to deal with in person, but c’mon now. Everyone needs a little Toral on their TV.One of the joys of Thursday nights is settling in on the couch, getting some popcorn and — what’s that? The show’s already begun? Whoa. No opening credits this week. FINE. I guess we’ll just start now. So much for my whimsical take on Apprentice viewing. Well, things were sort of weird at the top of the hour. We revisited last week’s Boardroom but intercut it with new footage. Eventually, we saw a hobbled Rebecca returning to the suite as her teammates greeted her with thinly masked disdain. You know how it goes: shocked silence followed by phony perkiness: “Oh shit. I mean, hiiiii sweety!!!!” Despite the smiles on the women’s faces, it was obvious they weren’t happy, especially Felisha who looked like she’d just seen Trump spit on her mother: sure she was mad, but she wasn’t going to say anything.
Sensing tension amongst the group, Rebecca called a girls-only meeting (sorry Clay) to address the evening’s drama-filled Boardroom. The pressing question: would Toral live up to Rebecca’s hype? “I guarantee you that you will see her step up on the next task. I guarantee it,” insisted Rebecca, thus ensuring Toral would certainly be failing miserably in the next task. And just in case we weren’t sure that she’d be completely flopping out, Toral reiterated that she would in fact step up. Kristi, in her biggest, baddest Reese Witherspoon voice, noted that Toral not only had to rise to the occasion but be twice the worker she could be, just to prove herself. Besides, she owed it to Rebecca. This has disaster written all over it.
Suddenly the credits began, and I felt somewhat relieved. I was a little worried that we wouldn’t get to hear the Ojays this week. Well, not only did we hear them, but when we came back after commercial, we got a taste of a little sumpin sumpin I like to call Rhona. Yes, the early morning phone call was back, and this week’s lucky recipient was none other than Marshawn… who looked pretty much as awful as she probably could look. The mission: meet at the “Trump Ice Cream Parlor” downstairs. Oh, doesn’t that sound delightful? I wonder if it’s located next to “Trump’s Ye Olde Taffy Shoppe” or maybe the “Trump Gobstopper and Lollipop Express.”
Actually, turns out “Trump Ice Cream Parlor” was less of a parlor and more of a booth, conveniently located in the lobby of Trump Tower. “We make great ice cream in Trump Tower,” said The Donald as we saw him chowing down on a scoop of what I imagine was Chunky Trumpy. Amazingly, he had a moment of modesty: “But it’s not a big deal like Dairy Queen. How’s business?” he asked, turning to two “Thanks for having us!” execs standing next to him. Nice segue, Donald.
Well, Trump set his ice cream aside but warned he would come back to finishing it: FINISHING ICE CREAM IS A THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY. He then introduced the Dairy Queen execs to the candidates, causing Clay to smirk with excitement. Look, just because Donald said the word “Queen” and then we cut to Clay does not mean we should draw any conclusions. Anyway, Trump explained that DQ’s biggest brand was the Blizzard. “It does three-quarters of a billion dollars in sales ANNUALLY!” he blared. Confession: I’ve never had a Blizzard. Second confession: now I’m tempted to go have one. Third confession: I’m a slave to product placement. Fourth confession: In between the third confession and this one, I went out and drove to Dairy Queen only to find that it was closed. But that’s okay because I went to this awesome little place instead and had like the best ice cream ever. Fifth confession: comedy comes in threes, not fives.
So anyway, Trump revealed that this week’s task was to create a new character and promotional campaign for the Blizzard brand. This just had hilarity written all over it. First of all, any time Apprentice-ites are charged with creating some sort of marketing strategy, it’s always a trainwreck (LAAAMBOOOORGHIIINIII), but now that they have to actually create a mascot of sorts, this just calls for all out lunacy. Well, over on Capital Edge, it was clear that Toral had to step up. Sure enough, she announced that she wanted to be Project Manager. Ooooor not. Okay, she basically did the “I’ll do it, but I’d rather not. But I’ll do it.” Not smart, my precious Toral. Not smart at all. Instead, Felisha “DECADENCE” Mason stepped up, despite not having any marketing experience.
Future flight attendants of America.
Over on the men’s team, Clay volunteered to be the main Dairy Queen, but the man had demands. Basically, he was like the perfect union of Christopher Lowell and Hitler. “I will do it based on two conditions. If I ask you to do something, you do it. When we schedule stuff, don’t be scheduling things without us. If you’re hungry, don’t whine about it,” he insisted, then adding, “And rule #3: look fab! Okay, let’s go girls!”
Meanwhile, on Capital Edge, we were treated to a favorite Apprentice pastime: dumb brainstorming. Yes, there’s nothing like an ice cream challenge to really bring out the creative horsepower on a team, and we mustn’t forget season two’s seminal task to design-your-own-flavor. Back then, the women’s team came up with a bevy of wonderful ideas like… lobster ice cream and… Bloody Mary ice cream and… Red Velvet Cake ice cream and… (my personal favorite) Old Bay Seasonings ice cream. Surely we’d be privy to more legendary thought processes.
As predicted, the women did not disappoint in their quest to create the perfect mascot. Marshawn got the ball rolling with the idea of “Scooper” the Scoop, but then Jennifer W. — she of the stewardess school of hairstyles — moved her team into bigger, bolder directions. “I think it needs to be something like ‘spin.’ I love spin,” she announced. Yes, too bad “spin” has nothing to do with Dairy Queen. As for Toral, well, let’s just say this was a task she probably should have delegated to one of her lovely secretaries. “Blizzard blister. Blizzard booster. Boost off,” she suggested, as if the idea of a blister mascot would actually be appetizing to anyone. Ah, but she wasn’t done. “Blizzard bumble bee,” she offered up before really finding her groove with “Blizzard Blizzamarol.” What’s a blizzamarol, you might ask? Beats me. But anything flowing from the colorful imagination of Toral can’t be half bad. Sadly, she neglected to also suggest “Blizzamadoodle,” “Blizzamaboop,” or her meta masterpiece, “Blizzamablizzard.”
As for Toral’s biggest fan, Rebecca simply wrote down three words that she really liked a lot: “Zip, zam, and zoom.” Well, everyone LOVED Zip, which was a shame because we never really got to hear from the “Bip, blam, boom” lobby. The gals quickly got to work creating “Zip” — that was the mascot’s name — and Jen immediately took a keen interest in the task. She said she wanted Zip to have big lips, a spoon, and a little pack that had “all the ingredients” which he would then zip (get it?) together. Maybe it’s just me, but Zip seemed kind of scary. He was at least objectionable. “Is it goofy? He looks a little goofy in that,” commented Toral, as if the blizzamarol were a beacon of class. You know, watching these women design Zip gave me new insight into how exactly the Olympic committee came up with “Whatizzit” for the 1996 Games.
“Whatizzit,” a.k.a. Izzy, a.k.a. the dumbest product of corporate creativity EVER.
Anyway, the next minor conflict arose when Jennifer said she wanted to put the Dairy Queen logo on Zip’s t-shirt. Sounds like a decent idea, right? Well, for some nonsensical reason, the girls all decided not to add the logo to the mascot because it seemed like “too much.” Yeah, that would be like putting the name of your product… on your product. Way to be dumb, JEN.
Actually, Jen was quite miffed about the team’s response to her suggestion. “The fact that I was a beauty queen makes people underestimate me all the time,” she complained. But to be fair, it’s hard to trust a girl who won Miss Blair Warner 2003 in the Annual Facts of Life Lookalike Pageant.
Over on the men’s team, Mark was heading up the brainstorming session. And no, he did not suggest a lowercase spin on DQ. Actually, the guys had a decent idea. They decided to go with a genie motif. I’ll let Clay explain: “Jenny the Genie has really great flowing hair that’s almost like ice cream, fairly large breasts, and lots of Dairy Queen bling.” It should be noted that as soon as Clay said “bling,” Tana from last season suddenly burst into the shot and yelled, “Yo yo yo! We got the best Dairy Queen bling straight up from the krunky wizard of the DQ blizzard. My boy Lil Jon is gonna get you krunkified with so much Dairy Queen bling, and that is fo’ rizzle my DQuizzle.”
By the way, Dairy Queen bling: only marginally more impressive than Bling Bling Barbie.
Anyway, the Excel team was all happy with Jenny the Genie (or Jenny Da Genie, if you really want to rock the bling bling), and Randal said he hoped people would want to hang out with her, take her home. It’s funny. I always want to hang out with corporate mascots. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve invited the Geico Gecko over for dinner.
Oh, and while we’re talking about Randal:
Thanks to TVgasm reader Joslyn for making this comparison.
Well, now that the teams had come up with their characters, they had to actually create the costumes. Mark volunteered to dress up as Jenny the Genie, and later on, we could tell he was excited about the opportunity because, well, like I said, we could just tell. (He had a boner.) For the record, Clay wanted to duct tape Mark’s manhood, but at the end of the day, Jenny the Genie was allowed to exhibit some very Jamie Lee Curtis-esque traits.
Mark’s more excited than the time he found a free bottle of teeth whitener.
Meanwhile, as Felisha met with the costumers, she reiterated, “No Dairy Queen symbols on here.” Dumbest strategy ever. It didn’t take a genius to realize the women would be losing this task. Anyway, Felisha then called Toral up and asked her to be Zip, but uh oh, T-Dawg would not have it. She wouldn’t be a “childish” character, unless it was the famed Blizzamarol, but obviously, who would ever turn that down? Well, Kristi and Felisha and Alla were understandably annoyed, but then again, I couldn’t help thinking they’d pretty much set my dear, oft-flustered Toral up for failure. Those girls should know better. You mess with the bull and you get the horns — the feisty, condescending horns.
We broke for commercial, and when we returned, it was time for Trump to parlay his latest lesson: “Maximize Potential.” This was epitomized by The Donald delivering a speech and saying, “So get the best people and watch them.” With that, the audience broke out in laughter. Huh? Was there a punchline in there? These must be the same people who keep Yes, Dear on the air.
Over at Excel, the men were busy working on slogans and jingles. The short guy (Brian?) surprised everyone when he whipped out “Delicious wishes are at your command at any DQ across the land.” Whoa… Well done. But not to be outdone, Randal then stepped it up with a semi-rap: “I’m a genie in a blizzard baby, fun is what I’m about. If you want to taste delicious wishes, just come and let me out.” Advantage: RANDAL. But wait! This battle ain’t over yet. Enter Adam. This guy’s one part Jewish, one part effeminate, and all parts college a cappella. He actually took Randal’s words and set them to the tune of “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel.” But what was really so amazing about this little performance was that you just knew that Adam’s been waiting to bust out his singing ability for weeks now. You just know he’s been crossing his fingers for Trump to announce, “For this week’s task, you’ll be performing HMS Pinafore.” Of course, all this brainstorming was fun and everything, but when Clay returned from a long day at the costume shop, he completely scrapped everything. And just in case we weren’t sure just how much of a bitch he was, he snipped, “I don’t want you to speak until I ask you to speak.” Adam then sang out, “But caaan we siiiiing??” Okay, that didn’t happen, but you just know he was dying to do it.
Back on the women’s team, it was time to pile on Toral. Felisha and Kristi were still fuming about the Zip situation, but Toral explained her reasoning: “I can’t do anything that’s gonna embarrass my family under any situation.” Because going on a reality show will never be embarrassing. Jennifer tried to assuage Toral’s fears by saying, “They’re not gonna even know you’re in there.” Yeah, seriously. How will Toral’s family ever know she was in a stupid Zip costume? It’s not like it’s being broadcast across the country. Oh wait…
Anyway, in the end, Kristi was the one who had to wear the stupid Zip costume, and while that sucked for her, you’ve got to admit: if there’s anyone suited for wearing a mascot, it’s Kristi. I mean, she already kind of looks like one. Well, having triumphed over her catty teammates, Toral congratulated herself in an interview, noting, “Again, my judgment was 100% on target, and I don’t regret it for a minute.” Whatever you say, Toral Manigault-Stallworth.
Zip! Wow, he actually looks a lot like the Whatizzit. That’s just sad.
Eventually, it was time to pitch the characters. The women were first, but sadly, we were not treated to a string of dramatic adjectives. Don’t worry though, I have some lined up: POWER. ICE CREAM. FLAVORS. DECADENCE. PASSION. DAAAAIIIIIRRRRRY QUEEEEEEN. Nevertheless, Jennifer took the reins and pitched that lovable Zip to the execs, telling stories about his magical whimsies and Sunday drives in his brand new Laaaamboooorghiini. I apologize. I’m beating this joke to death, but I just can’t help it. Some might say I have a Toral-ish PASSION for it. (Imagine me turning to the camera, my eyes smoldering with said passion.)
Well, it didn’t take long for the execs to corner Capital Edge with questions. For instance, most of Dairy Queen’s consumers are teens, not children. How will Zip appeal to them? Oh, uh… Next question please? Actually, what really stumped the gals was when the execs unsurprisingly asked how someone would realize Zip was associated with Dairy Queen. Not even beauty queen Jennifer could answer that. She had to back off and let Marshawn take over. Wow. That’s like Blair making Tootie stand up to Mrs. Garrett. Anyway, Marshawn produced a fine stream of bullshit about how the swirl in Zip’s design was iconic of Dairy Queen. Probably not as iconic as writing “Dairy Queen” on Zip’s shirt, but I guess she had a point. No, not really. She had no point. Marshawn also argued that the spoon was clearly all Dairy Queen, but I hate to break this to her: all ice cream places have spoons.
As for the men, they fared much better. First off, Markus buttered up the execs by serving them quite the delightful platter of fruits, cheese, and crackers. Just about the only thing missing was a harpist in the corner. Then, after a trembly-voiced introduction from Clay, the one and only Jenny the Genie walked in and… she didn’t look half bad — well, as long as you ignored those genie pit stains. Still, the genie mask nicely hid Mark’s face, and the soft-serve hair was surprisingly effective. It was therefore no surprise that the men easily won this task, and despite his tyrannical rule, Clay won exemption from firing. Hey, what happened to the men from week one who said they’d only vote for exemption if the PM went above and beyond? Boo. I call shenanigans.
Barbara Bush is really looking good these days.
For their reward, the guys headed off to Shea Stadium to play ball with the Mets. Of course, Trump dropped by to show off his skillz, which meant we saw him weakly throw a ball, and then we cut to a player catching some other faster moving ball. The real highlight though was watching the guys call Brian “the guy who was in Seabiscuit.” Aw, poor guy. So short. Don’t worry, Trump kind of defended him, but honestly, this whole segment was fairly dumb and boring. Let’s get back to those crazy girls!
In the suite, Felisha confronted Toral about not wearing the Zip costume. “I said I have a personal and spiritual belief about that stuff,” explained Toral. Actually, Toral never mentioned her spiritual objections to Zip, but to be fair, if there’s anything that wreaks of sacrilegious blasphemy, it’s an oversized creature that spews both chunks and cream at the same time.
Not everyone was coming down on Toral though. Jennifer felt Felisha had massively screwed up by not placing the DQ logo anywhere on Zip. When Jen asked who was in charge of team strategy, Felisha happily responded, “I just don’t think that falls on one person.” Yeah, it’s not like there’s a “Project Manager,” whatever that is.
As the girls headed into the Boardroom, Toral told us, “Let each of these individuals self-implode. Because they’re so stupid. They have no intelligence. They have no backbone.” Sadly for Toral, she seemed unaware of her own ability to implode faster than a demolished building. In front of Trump, even though Felisha was attacked for the logo oversight, it was Toral who faced the most scrutiny.
“Mr. Trump, I believe that this group is outstanding,” she said. Oh. Wait. Never mind. That was kind of nice. Oops, she wasn’t done: “Mr. Trump, I believe that this group is outstanding at setting up balloons and cheese trays and making song and dance routines.” Heh. I love Toral. For the record, her team was not, in fact, outstanding at setting up cheese trays. Why in just this episode Markus completely outclassed them with his assorted fromage. Good thing Jennifer W. wasn’t still around. She probably would have offered up a tray of Triscuits and American Cheese, maybe writing “Dairy Queen” in EZ Cheese (but of course, it would be misspelled as “Diary Quen”).
Well, Toral went on and on about how her team had dropped the ball, thus paving the way for Trump’s inevitable question: “So where were you?” Gotcha Toral! Where’s your PASSION now? In a totally unnecessary move, Toral then brought up the fact that she didn’t wear the Zip costume. Silence is golden, Toral. Shhhhh. But no, she was determined to stick her foot in her mouth. She then asserted that she would never wear any silly costume such as a chicken suit, causing The Donald to remark, “I wore a chicken suit. On Saturday Night Live. Did anybody see Saturday Night Live?” He then added, “Was I not fantastic on Saturday Night Live? Because I think I was.” I’m sure when this episode was taped, Trump had no idea what other embarrassing costumes would be in store for him…
As Trump grilled Toral about her reluctance to wear Zip, she made the fatal mistake of playing the religious card. Once she did that, it was all downhill. Or more downhill, I should say. “Did you say religion?” asked The Donald, “Now remember, you have to tell the truth. We’re talking about religion.” And Toral’s response? “I believe I did.” Well, this made Trump quite mad as he accused her of basically lying. Making matters worse, Toral then said that Felisha deserved the blame for the loss because she had lots of experience in marketing and advertising. Uh, actually Felisha said she had little to no experience in those fields. I’m surprised the sprinklers didn’t go on in the Boardroom because Toral was going down in flames.
Never one to ignore a potentially divisive situation, Trump then questioned Rebecca and asked if Toral was at fault this task. The financial journalist stalled for a bit, but then delivered another one of her great Boardroom speeches (this one was considerably shorter but just as effective). Rebecca expressed disappointment that Toral had not stepped up as Project Manager, but this just set off a whole new wave of idiocy by T-dog as she claimed that she wanted to be PM but then didn’t get it and this was all Felisha’s fault and yada yada yada. Trump simply confounded her again, stating, “If you wanted to be Project Manager, all these problems would be solved.” Can’t argue with that. And then before even the second Boardroom, Trump bellowed, “I am so disappointed with you, Toral. You have a great Wharton education, but you are totally ineffective. You’ve done a terrible job, and Toral, you’re fired. GO! OUT!”
Alas, with the flick of the old finger gun, Toral was sent packing, thus ending the brief tenure of my new favorite reality snob. I doubt we’ll be seeing her in Kill Reality 2, but she’s pretty much a lock for the Apprentice’s traditional “bring the crazy people back” season finale (that is unless Mark Burnett tries to get real cute and gives the Trump finalist three Martha rejects and vice versa). Well, as the irascible sped away in a taxi, we then heard Toral’s last, beautifully delusional words: “Some people take their personal dignity very seriously. I’m a person of stature and respect, and in everyday life, I don’t think I would even speak to somebody like Kristi or Felisha. I mean, these are not people I would even hire as my administrative assistant honestly.” She then added, “That’s assuming I had an administrative assistant. Which I don’t. But I will someday. I am a woman of great stature and dignity. Just like all reality stars.”
What did you think about Toral? Love her? Hate her? And what’s up with the preview for next week’s episode. The blatant product placement of Zathura looks like it might be more horrendous than usual. What do you think?