The Apprentice 01/28/2007 Recap – El Trumpo Loco
What the hell?!?! Man, if I hate anything, it’s false advertising. Last week, were we not promised a yooooge mistake made by some unfortunate candidate? And a budding romance? Well, fellow viewers, we’ve been robbed. Bamboozled, no less. There’s no “mistake”, unless you count the obvious one made by this season’s hopefuls – you know, the one they made by auditioning for the show in the first place. And there’s no nooky by the pool, like the teasers led us to believe. Instead, there’s chicken, and a lawyer who talks too much. The only saving grace? Donald’s finally changed his tie.
Buzz-kill, thy name is Surya
After a brief recap of last week’s celebration of being spared Trump’s boardroom in the wake of Michelle’s departure, we’re taken to the mansion living room, where Heidi is giving the Kinetic team an earnest pep talk. Kinetic sits quietly and are as subdued as if they were sitting in church. Heidi comments in confessional that there’s a lot of reserved people on Kinetic, at least in comparison to the rowdies that are Arrow. And sure enough, team Arrow is sitting around the campfire, drinking beer and joking around. Finally, they’re learning to camp the right way. The phone rings, and Marisa (probably the most bored by Heidi’s lecture) and Aaron (probably the most sober camper) answer at their respective sites. Trump, unaware that Kinetic skulks around the hedges listening to the drama on the Arrow side, announces that Michelle has quit. Since Arrow is so pathetic, Kinetic is directed to send over a member to help out. Possibly sensing that Kinetic is ripe for a fall, Aimee, Marisa, and Surya offer to switch sides. Kinetic leaves the choice to Arrow, who quickly snap up Surya for no apparent reason – maybe they liked the sight of his scrawny physique in those Trina Turk board shorts from a couple of weeks ago.
Aaron is enthusiastic about the arrival of Surya, and instructs the team to greet him with a huge hug. Okay, so maybe Aaron isn’t the most sober of the group after all. Aaron thinks Surya is a nice, calm guy, and is just what’s needed to balance the boisterous Arrow team. As promised, Aaron drunkenly embraces Surya upon his arrival at the camp. Looking frightened, Surya turns down a beer – good thing, because Arrow will need all the alcohol they can get their hands on in the next few minutes. Surya thinks he can bring structure and discipline to Arrow, which he feels is sorely needed. And what better way to go about that than to bore the bejesus out of your new teammates with a deadly dull lecture about…God, I don’t know, I tuned the geek out after the first five seconds. Hey, if I can’t manage to pay attention at my weekly office staff meetings, you can’t expect me to listen to some drone who drops a ton of corporate buzz phrases in a feeble attempt to motivate a bunch of beer-sodden losers.
Kinetic klucks around
The teams meet Trump at the “Hollywood Overlook”, off Mulholland Drive. Does Ivanka have a fear of heights? She’s MIA this week, and in her place is last season’s winner, British charmer Sean Yazbeck. Trump starts off yammering about automobiles, and what people do in them. Which somehow segues into…chicken. Accompanying Donald & Sean are Steve Carley & Karen Eadon, who are President/CEO and Chief Marketing Officer, respectively, for El Pollo Loco, a Mexican fast-food restaurant specializing in crazy chicken. The Apprenti all smile and nod excitedly – personally, I’m unfamiliar with this particular franchise, but I checked out their menu and it does look pretty yummy – I’ve never had crazy chicken but I do love Mexican food. The task is to create a new “chicken bowl”, which is a dish with grilled chicken and whatever other goodies the teams want to toss in.
Aaron and Heidi retain their Project Manager status from the previous week, and the Arrow team, who must have found a great hangover cure, quickly decide that their new bowl will be a Chicken Tortilla Bowl. I hope that means they put those little strips of tortilla in it…mmmm. (Listen, I only had a tuna sandwich for dinner tonight, and the thought of cheese sauce has me drooling all over my keyboard, OK?)
Kinetic is having a bit more trouble with their bowl idea. Kristine suggests putting mango and pineapple in the bowl, which Kinetic somehow thinks is a good idea. Fruity chicken is never a good idea. Derek & Marisa are in charge of marketing – in name only, that is, because Heidi has already decided that the name of their new, fruity bowl should be the Paradise Pollo Bowl. Marisa doesn’t think this is an original enough name (it isn’t) and wants to call it the Bravado Bowl. Both names suck but neither Heidi nor Marisa are backing down. Marisa pesters Heidi with phone call after phone call, in an attempt to win her over to Marisa’s idea, to no avail. Derek is supposed to be working with Marisa, but proves he’s Heidi’s bitch after all as he complains in confessional that Marisa is “too abrasive”. Actually, although all those phone calls were annoying, I thought Marisa was fairly polite in trying to make her point. Marisa is frustrated and vents to the camera, saying that her ideas are being suffocated by the group.
El Pollo Yucko
Aaron, high on the knowledge that Arrow can’t possibly lose forever, is exultant about the ultra-fabulous Chicken Tortilla Bowl the team created. They unfurl a huge sign advertising its greatness, and James is dispatched to wave customers into the restaurant. The Arrow cashiers are suggestion-selling at the till and the drive-through, with good results. Aaron isn’t satisfied, though, and decides on a risky move to lock up the win – he sends Frank & Tim out to try to drum up a bulk order. Surya’s disciplinary tactics are obviously failing, and he radiates disapproval over Aaron’s plan.
Kinetic is also going the suggestion-sales route, but with less success – probably because Derek & Marisa have been dispatched to the drive-through line to give out samples of their Paradise Pollo Bowl. One taste of fast-food chicken with fruit thrown on top of it is enough to make anyone order a burrito, apparently. Sean drops in to check out Kinetic doing – nothing. The restaurant is empty when he arrives, and after a brief chit-chat with sour-faced Aimee at the till, he leaves (no doubt to go grab a Big Mac).
Success is killing Arrow. They’re falling behind on their orders, because of the long drive-through lineups. Surya is fuming – he thinks Aaron needs to bring back Frank & Tim, PDQ. Aaron, however, has faith in the boys, which turns out to be well-founded – Frank & Tim score 22 bowl orders from a business, leaving Aaron ecstatic and Surya disgruntled. I’m not sure if it’s loyalty to Kinetic or if he just hates being wrong.
The teams meet in Trump’s boardroom to hear the results. Donald is in a bit of a temper today – his pink tie must have been forcibly removed from him – and he snaps at the teams to take off their hats. There’s still no sign of Ivanka, but Sean is in attendance. Sean gives the results, with his commentary – Kinetic’s marketing, he felt, was limited, but they did manage to sell $313.54 worth of Paradise Pollo Bowls. Arrow, on the other hand, showed enormous spirit and the bulk order gamble paid off, because their bowl sales garnered $480-something (the exact amount recited was drowned out by Arrow’s excited screams). Trump comments that Surya must have been the lucky charm – yeah, lucky Aaron didn’t listen to him. The reward this week is fairly impressive, for once – Arrow will be treated to a seaside concert in Malibu by Andrea Bocelli, with a fireworks display following. Arrow is understandably exultant, by the prospect of a reward and the opportunity to move into the mansion. They race around their newly posh digs like four-year-olds at a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party, and jump into the pool fully clothed. Kinetic initially puts a brave face on, but it falls quickly when they reach the campsite – Arrow hasn’t cleaned up after themselves, and everything is filthy. Muna’s sensibilities in particular are offended, and she mutters over the mess as she scours the sink and outdoor shower.
Pretty fly for a white guy
The beach at Malibu is set up with a seating area and Andrea Bocelli is already tickling the ivories at a white baby grand piano. Bocelli is all humble charm, and tells Arrow that he’s delighted to play for the winning team, and is performing on a beach by the ocean for the very first time. Frank is more wired than usual – Bocelli is the music of choice during his mama’s Sunday pasta dinners, and he can’t wait to tell mom about this reward. We don’t get to hear a lot of Bocelli actually singing, unfortunately, but a few seconds makes this entire painful hour worthwhile, doesn’t it? There’s also a drool-worthy seafood dinner served on the beach, made all the better by clips of Kinetic’s icky attempts at making spaghetti. By the looks on their faces as they eat, I think someone tossed in a few leftover bits of mango in the sauce.
Back at the beach, Tim impresses by giving a little piano recital of his own. He proves to be a pretty competent pianist – he doesn’t sing, so I guess that’s why he chose The Apprentice auditions over American Idol. Nicole is starry-eyed over Tim’s playing, and admits there’s a “connection” there. Is this The Apprentice romance we were promised? No idea, and if Tim thinks there’s a connection as well, we don’t hear about it from him. Instead we get a few glimpses of the fireworks display, and dang, it IS pretty spectacular. A tip of the hat to The Donald, for a reward that is admittedly quite lovely (and for changing his tie – okay, I promise I’ll let the tie thing go, pinky-swear).
Debating the missed opportunity of the giant chickens
Heidi and her minions are discussing who needs to be brought into the boardroom. Heidi’s thought is to bring in one cashier, and one marketing person. Aimee, cashier un-extraordinaire, objects strenuously – she doesn’t see how the cashiers could have done any better, considering there were no customers. Queen Heidi doesn’t see this as a shot at her – and although she deserves it, it probably wasn’t meant as one anyway. Derek whines about Marisa – how dare she have a differing opinion from Heidi! Heidi says her only “management problem” is Marisa, and the rest of team feigns sadness as they nominate Marisa as the scapegoat of the week.
Trump is consulting with Steve & Karen from El Pollo Loco management, and they think that the poor marketing is responsible for Kinetic’s loss. Rona clone Andi shows Kinetic – who are all dressed in funereal black – into Trump’s lair. Trump is flanked by Aaron and Sean, and the mood is grim. Trump wants to know who came up with the revolting idea of chicken & fruit, and Kristine admits it was her creation, but claims it was fabulous. She’s let off the hook, mostly because Marisa can’t stop talking. Sean, who seems to be the most assertive of Trump’s chosen ones thus far, comments that Arrow did a far superior job at sales. Marisa, to her credit, isn’t going down without a hell of a fight. She defends herself spiritedly – too much so, as she manages to interrupt Jenn, Muna, and fatally, Trump, who tells her to shut up. Marisa tries to deflect the blame to Aimee, after Aimee calls Marisa the team’s weakest link. Personally, I would have laid blame squarely at the feet of Heidi, who after all shot down Marisa’s idea of having giant chickens advertise their chicken bowl. I always thought it was rather odd for restaurants to have a mascot that portrays the very animal that they want you to eat, but maybe that’s just me. Though I would have liked to see Derek – and Heidi, come to think of it – dressed as a giant chicken. I bet James would have put a chicken suit on, had Arrow thought of it. The Marisa-bashing continues unabated, and to no one’s surprise, Heidi announces that she’s bringing Marisa & Aimee to the boardroom. By the way, that would be one cashier and one marketing person, her original plan. Just saying.
Trump pretends to consult with Sean & Aaron, who are on Marisa’s side. Sean likes her spirit, and Aaron hedges by saying that the loss came down to sales. The women return, and Heidi almost blows her ace in the hole – her winning record – by saying she only brought Aimee into the boardroom because Marisa said she would fire her. Trump lets this one slide as well, presumably because he made up his mind fifteen minutes ago. Marisa attempts to defend her giant chicken idea one more time, but Trump is having none of it – he tells her that he has to listen to her team, who are all blaming her, and Marisa is summarily dismissed. The camera catches Heidi’s smirking face, and I take some small comfort knowing that her reign as PM is over. Marisa is disappointed but composed in her farewell address – she still thinks Kinetic would have won had they listened to her. Well, they couldn’t have done any worse, could they?
Next week…aw, the hell with next week, let’s get ready for some football! You’ll have to get your fix of The Donald elsewhere on Superbowl Sunday. See you in two weeks, and gooooo Bears!
There’s no El Pollo Loco in my neck of the woods, so excuse me while I run for the border. firstname.lastname@example.org