Psychology students of the world, please gather round. If you’ve ever wanted to see a case study of self-preservation rearing its ugly head to create a scapegoat, look no further than last night’s episode of The Apprentice. Donald Trump facilitated a circus in his board room that led to the unfair ouster of chronically misunderstood team member Stacie. Sure, the dandelion fluff’d one was a little nutty, and yes, in week one she seemed to be at wits end when no one would pay attention to a Magic 8 Ball, but did she really deserve the ungracious character assassination these women handed to her? I mean, they made her sound like an ax-wielding mad woman. Oh well. These catty detractors from the feminist movement have bought themselves a little time before they the knives have to be sharpened for each other.Speaking of sharp implements of pain and suffering, Maria was back in full force last night. Last week’s superficially sweet and mannered robot put back on her SS boots and went from this:
Maria was in full-force sneer mode from the top of the show, accusing Stacie of having a scary meltdown during the first task (the aforementioned Magic 8 Ball impasse). Of course, Maria never loses it. Instead, she just keeps her bottled-up rage barely suppressed with a few passive aggressive remarks, as best evidenced during her latest trip to the board room. As team leader Elizabeth accused Maria of being incompetent (a very harsh slander, by the way. All Maria did wrong was falsely report a printing estimate to be $5,000 less than it’s actual price. No big deal. Happens to everyone), Maria seemed to bat away all criticism with a quick flutter of the eyelids. Honestly, at one point, her eyelids were blinking so quickly I thought she was trying to achieve flight. I would have attempted a video capture, but I knew it would be too difficult to see.
I do enjoy Maria’s rigid mannerisms, but she really deserved to go. She did after all have the oversight that caused what should have been the winning team to head to the board room. Last night’s challenge was a marketing mission in which teams had to create the biggest buzz around Crest’s new annoying flavor, Vanilla Mint. I have an idea. Why don’t you take it and put it on a highly rated national TV show, maybe get Donald Trump’s face on there, and spend an hour extolling it? Oh wait. Okay, how about just getting Mike Piazza to use it instead?
That’s pretty much what Team Apex opted to do. They took the route of getting a celebrity to endorse the toothpaste in front of a bunch of adoring fans. At first the women were going to try to nab LL Cool J, which would have been awesome, but instead they felt more comfortable with Mets catcher Mike Piazza. Jennifer C. made the case that everyone in New York loves Mike Piazza – even Yankees fans. Um, actually, they all think he’s gay. Maybe Jennifer was talking about someone else. That would explain why she was chronically mispronouncing his name.
The guys, meanwhile, came up with a not so brilliant scheme to offer a million dollar giveaway to whoever opened the lucky tube of toothpaste. Not surprisingly, this was the brainchild of Andy, whose previous contribution to the group was “Crustacean Nation.” There’s nothing wrong with a million dollar sweepstakes, but when you only have one day to put it into action, not even the best legal team can get that fine print all in place.
Well, at the last minute, the legal department called the guys and basically told them “Yeah, you’re idea is retarded. We’re not doing it. Good luck!” Fortunately, Team Mosaic had a contingency plan involving circus freaks and whatnot, and the team put together a solid effort in Washington Square Park. As EW.com points out though, seeing oddballs in that neighborhood isn’t exactly head-turning.
Over at Union Square, Mike Piazza looked about as enthused about this product launch as a baseball player shilling toothpaste could look. Maybe he was just a little sad that the event wasn’t going on in Chelsea. Either way, he was a good enough sport to brush his teeth and sign some autographs, but apparently a smile and some energy were too much to ask for. If LL Cool J had been there, he would have been working the crowd like none other.
Still, the Mets catcher did what he had to do and the girls pulled off a solid event. It seemed like everything would be just fine, and all that infighting (and by infighting, I mean cattiness directed towards Stacie J.) might just float away. Oh, there was that budget thing that I mentioned about Maria though. You see, she was in charge of getting all these nifty flyers out to Union Square and while the printer originally gave her an estimate of $1800, a little thing called MASSIVE OVERTIME kicked in when the project went, you know, all night long. So that estimate kind of mushroomed into about $6700, a change that caused Maria to adopt her patented severe face. Ivana tried to negotiate with the printer by subtly remarking, “You are raping me.” Well played, Ivana.
Well, the girls went over budget by 10% which sent their butts into the boardroom. We knew it would happen because once again, Trump’s little nugget of business acumen foreshadowed which team would lose. Seriously, Mark Burnett’s got to cut back on the in-show spoilers. As a reward, the guys went off to the Queen Mary 2 (I heard Mike Piazza was jealous until he found out it wasn’t a bar in the Village), where they seemed to reenact the opening scenes of Titanic by boasting about the ship’s size. I sort of wanted it to hit a random iceberg in the harbor just to shut everyone up. The Mosaic peeps all got drunk at dinner and then went out to the deck to give a slurry hommage to America and freedom by singing one of the more slovenly versions of “America the Beautiful.” It was really touching. I wonder if Andy vomitted over the side of the ship.
Back at the apartment, the girls were self-destructing. Elizabeth and Maria went at it with shrill gusto while Stacie J., confident that her only misstep this week was a toothpaste transportation oversight, sat in the corner smugly. The ladies all went down to the boardroom where The Donald grilled Maria and Elizabeth for their inadequacy. Personally, I was surprised that there was no fanfare for whenever Trump opened his mouth. After all, every other time we’ve seen him this season, the soundtrack blares regal horns as if Caesar himself were descending upon the contestants.
After some heated bitchiness between the girls, the group slimmed down to just Elizabeth, Maria, and – shocker – Stacie J. At first it seemed as though Maria was going to bite the dust. She and Elizabeth went at it like a cockfight on speed. Then about midway through their self-destruction, they remembered that Stacie was actually sitting there. Oh yeah! In the interest of self-preservation, Maria and Elizabeth called a temporary truce and focused all their wrath on the unsuspecting Stacie, accusing her of having multiple personality disorder. This comes from Maria who has no problem transitioning from “Oh sweetie pie! How are you????” to “Get your motherf**king finger out of my face, BIATCH!”
Anyway, in a wonderful moment of passive aggression, Maria told the panel that she had no idea which personality would come out of Stacie, and then proceeded to smile politely and pat Stacie’s arm as if to say “No offense, hun!” Wow, people really do that. I always thought caricatures on SNL were the only ones. Even though Stacie was the most composed person in the board room, Donald still fell for all the muckraking and insisted that the other girls come down from the suite and verify the accusations. Brilliant plan, Donald. We all know large groups of women NEVER prey on the outsider.
Well, the middle school playground squad – led by real life sixth grader Stacy R. – showed up and was ready to pounce on fresh blood. When The Donald asked them about Stacie’s behavior, they gave increasingly ridiculous answers. “I feared for my life,” said one. “I thought she was borderline schitzophrenic,” said another. “She tried to behead me with a chainsaw,” said yet another. Oh wait, no, that was just what I imagine was said in the unaired footage. Unfortunately, Stacie’s only response was “I’m not crazy,” which is sort of the Hollywood way of saying “I’m very crazy.”
Honestly, Stacie is a bit nutty, but this sort of character assassination was fairly deplorable, I thought. These women have all displayed the emotional stability of Faye Dunaway in “Mommy Dearest”, and to be honest, their complete surrender to group mentality spoke more to their lack of professionalism than to their savy business sense. To Stacie’s discredit though, she did absolutely nothing to stand up for herself except shake her head. Overall, it was a very sad display for everyone involved.
The good news is that Ivana and Jennifer C. will be spearheading a production of Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” next episode. Can’t wait!