The end is in sight, my friends. In one week’s time, the Donald will pick Apprentice No. 6 (maybe not a great name for a perfume, but how about a new Renuzit scent?), the remains of the losers’ pitiful little egos will be swept from the floor of the Hollywood Bowl, and Trump can carry on with building his monstrosities and dabbling in professional wrestling. A thought – isn’t pro wrasslin’ the perfect sideline for Donald? Just like it’s not a “real” sport, The Apprentice isn’t so much like a “real” reality show. But both shows do offer lots of twists and obnoxious loudmouths with delusions of grandeur and bad hair. So even if we never see another season of The Apprentice, why, you can just tune in to Friday Night Raw for your fix.
Let’s see…there’s Bill, then the other guy, then the chick, then…um…the British guy? Did I miss anyone?
The final four – James, Stefani, Frank and Nicole - return triumphantly to the mansion, and James points out gleefully that they’re all original Arrow members, the former underdogs and semi-permanent tent dwellers. There’s excited discussion among them as they ponder what Trump has in store for them next – bet they didn’t think it was breaking and entering, though. Donald Senior and Junior quietly sneak in the mansion’s back door, obviously hoping to catch someone talking some smack about the elder Trump. It’s not to be, though, and Donald instead satisfies himself by barking, “Frankie! Come here, Frankie!” Frank quickly runs in the direction of his master’s voice, with the rest of the litter soon following. They cluster around Trump, tails wagging, while Donald gently smacks Frankie on the nose with a comment about how hard he is to fire. Aw, poor Frankie…his tail droops and he whimpers as though he’s been kicked. Trump pats him on the head and reminds him and the other young pups that there’s no losers here, they’re all super-fabulous, but only one will be considered super-fabulous enough to be his next Apprentice. As a reward for surviving this long, they’re being whisked off to attend a cocktail party with the previous five Apprentices. Wow, a party with five manic type-A overachievers! I bet that’s at least as much fun as the gay guy had at the Playboy Mansion with all the blonde bikini babes!
And as it turns out – Bill Rancic, season 1 winner, doesn’t even show up for this soiree. Because he’s so darn busy and important. The rest of the Apprentices…not so much. There’s Kelly, who I dimly recall liking from season 2, Kendra, the sour-faced blonde who beat out the Mary Kay lady or whoever the hell that loud broad was from season 3, Randall, who refused to share his season 4 Apprentice title with his final two castmate, and last season’s winner Sean, the guy with the huge teeth and British accent. They’re here to scoff up free margaritas and dispense useless advice like “Stay true to yourself”, and “Put the pedal to the metal”. Someone’s been skipping their Trump Wealth Seminars, I see. Fortunately, it’s no-nonsense Kelly who does most of the talking, and he asks the candidates if they’ve split up into teams yet. James leaps over to Stefani’s side, while Frank and Nicole are each other’s booby prize. Kelly smirks and tells the four that there’s only one task left and they have 30 seconds to chose two fired candidates to be on each team. And so the season is abruptly cut short by one week. I guess we should feel ripped off, but again…not so much.
The Return of the Chalkboard Master
After they pick their jaws up from the floor, the two duos quickly split off and there’s hurried discussion about who they want to bring back. Ultimately, James & Stef choose Angela, Trump’s gold-medal gal, and Aaron, who…has been gone so long I can barely remember what he looks like. Frank and Nicole go with Tim, because Frank really, really misses him, and…Surya. Yes, Mr. Unpopularity himself. Nicole, who’s either a complete idiot or a far more diabolical schemer than I’ve been giving her credit for, wants him back on the team. And she has the nerve to question James and Stefani’s choices, wondering why they would want someone (Angela) who neither of them has ever worked with. There’s a jealous twinge to Nicole’s confessional, perhaps because she’s realizing that a chick that plays hockey well enough to win medals and is smart enough to go to Harvard is maybe better than having great hair and the ability to wear a bikini. Stefani, for her part, is mystified as to why Frank and Nicole would bring back Surya, the “chalkboard master”. It’s nice to hear her finally speak in confessional, and to give someone a great nickname, yet! Thanks, Stef!
Reunited…and it feels so good
The big reunion is at Universal Studios, and you can’t help but be a little touched when Tim is greeted with a giant hug from Frank. After Tim extricates himself from Frankie’s manly grasp, he wanders about, looking lost, until Nicole arrives to fling herself into his arms. Frank sulks jealously in the background as Nicole rejoices in the chance to ride Tim’s coattails to victory once again. Angela looks slightly bemused at being chosen, but James enthusiastically greets her and says that he “just had a good feeling” about her. He didn’t include “and you got screwed by getting fired for no reason while slackers like Nicole are still here” but you know he was thinking it.
Spurned by Tim, Frank tries to cozy up to his former nemesis Surya poolside. Surya is uncharacteristically silent during their tête à tête, but vents in confessional about Frank’s former treachery. He admits that the team setup is “awkward”, but vows to try his best. And whips a piece of chalk out of his pocket.
Renuzit or lose it
Trump has both of his namesake junior execs with him today, and I think Ivanka and Don Jr. must have been fighting in the backseat of the limo, because Donald is doing all the talking himself this time. There’s no high-profile, celebrity-studded golf tourneys or charity events this time (darn it, I was hoping for a Donald vs. The Undertaker wrestling match, with proceeds going to Make-A-Wish). Instead, the teams will be making a 60-second “mini-movie” to promote…Renuzit. The air freshener. OK, first of all, haven’t we done the infomercial thing already this season? And second, air fresheners? Renuzit, apparently, was one of Mrs. Trump’s (Donald’s mother) favorite products. His mom cleaned her own house? Funny, I can’t see Ivana or Melania Trump risking their manicures to use a trigger spray bottle.
James and Stefani hit the Universal Studio sound stages to try to pick a good “location”. Stef says there’s a baffling number of possibilities, so they decide to meet with the Renuzit execs. The execs explain in detail exactly how Renuzit works to freshen the air. My head spins trying to imagine the money the company must have paid Trump and Burnett for this kind of extreme product placement. It’s not working on me, mind you…I’m a Febreze gal myself. Frank and Nicole also have a meeting with the executives, who kindly take the time to tell us that their target demographic is moms with kids (do you know any moms without kids?). As one of those moms with kids, I find this puzzling, as I prefer to bathe my children and wash their clothing in order to keep them smelling fresh. But maybe that’s just me. Even more baffling is Frank & Nicole’s idea of a “cute and funny” setting – a mom visiting her kid in the hospital. Yes, there’s nothing quite as chuckle-inducing as children who require hospital care. My sides ache just thinking about it, and I’m sure all of Renuzit’s “target demographic” that’s watching feels the exact same way. Gee, you think any of this team has kids of their own? Frank, at least, voices some concerns with this addle-brained scenario. Hospitals, he says, shouldn’t be in need of air fresheners, as they’re supposed to be clean. Which is somewhat true…but no matter how much cleaning you do, you can’t quite eliminate the smell of death, can you? Tim mutters agreement, but not too loudly – it’s his girlfriend’s idea, after all, and you can tell he doesn’t want to piss Nicole off…or they might end up shooting a commercial with Frank visiting Tim in the hospital.
Hey, know any good homeless people jokes?
James and Stefani have decided on a courtroom scene for their mini-movie. You may not think that’s a very funny scenario either, but hey, courtroom justice is so often a joke anyway… Their story involves a guy who’s “charged” with stinking up the family home after a poker game. It could be worse, and trust me, the opposing team’s story is worse. James and Stef are still in their honeymoon phase, and continue to work well together and praise each other’s efforts. Their “employees”, Angela and Aaron, profess to be very impressed with both of them, and seem pleased to be the chosen ones.
Frank and Nicole are on the same tasteless page – in an attempt to soft-pedal that nasty “hospital” aspect of their movie, they’ve given their kid a twisted ankle. I don’t know anyone who goes to the hospital with a twisted ankle, but what would be the alternate scenario? The cancer ward? Who’s writing the material for this team, anyway? It sounds like they’ve hired Don Imus (who after all is in need of a job these days). In an apparent effort to make things even more offensive, they’ve decided to add a “stinky bum” in the bed next to the kid. Because, Frank says, everyone thinks stinky bums are funny. What, you don’t? Besides, the kid in the movie is no Michael Richards – his acting is pretty stilted, and I don’t quite believe that he thinks that the guy in the bed next to him is THAT smelly, you know? Surya, keeping his promise to play nice – no Omarosa, he – says Frank did a great job directing the movie. Frank has a confessional hissy fit when the execs arrive at the shoot and Nicole suddenly springs into action, waving bottles of Renuzit around and pretending she’s done something up till this point. Frank complains that as usual, he’s doing all the work, while Tim and Nicole are in “la-la land”. Even more galling is the execs’ reaction, as they exclaim that Nicole gets “brownie points” for making sure their product is strategically placed by the hospital bed.
It’s IMportTANT to put the emPHAsis on the CORRect syLLAble
James and Stef are shooting their movie, and James has finally figured out what pisses off Stefani the most and is doing it over and over again. Now it’s like they’re truly married. James, Stef says, is trying to be a perfectionist. Which isn’t exactly true, because being a perfectionist means you want something to be perfect, and I’m sure James just wants to be annoying. How else can you explain his constant correction of the actors’ enunciation? The actress playing the district attorney miraculously keeps her temper and obediently follows James’ direction, take after take. Stefani taps her French-manicured nails on her watch and tries to keep James on schedule, but it’s like trying to manage Frank.
Speaking of…Frank has obviously decided he likes having to do all the work, because he’s intent on not letting Nicole do the editing. Tim whispers to the camera that Nicole knows what she’s doing, a feeling Frank doesn’t share as he asks Surya, of all people, for advice. Nicole states that she “rocks” at editing – in that case, I expect her to edit out that hospital scene – and hisses and spits at Frank when he keeps trying to butt in. Finally, Frank ungraciously gives up control, and goes away to make notes to attack Nicole when they get to the boardroom.
Stef and James take their turns in the editing room, and Aaron tells us that due to James’ “perfectionism”, they didn’t get all the footage they needed. James admits that it’s his fault, but kvetches that he’s the sole creative force as Stef is useless in that regard. However, he makes amends by tweaking the editing so that you can’t tell there’s anything missing. Much.
”An Inconvenient Truth” is the main feature
In case the toxic, ozone-depleting aroma of Renuzit hasn’t been enough for you, imagine it mixed with the noxious odor of movie-house popcorn. Feeling queasy yet? Just wait until you see the mini-movies. First up is Stef and James – Stef, as usual, does the talking, and introduces their husband-accused-of-stinking-up-the-house commercial. It’s goofy and sexist – the husband capers about, cigar in mouth, spraying Renuzit frantically on the wife’s upholstery – but not terribly offensive. The audience seems receptive, and continue to shovel their free popcorn in their mouths as they chuckle at the first team’s effort.
Next is Frank as emcee, and though he’s not in Stef’s league as a public speaker, he gets through his speech without any glaring errors. Their mini-movie begins with the hapless mom at the office, whose colleague tells her to spray her cigarette-smelly jacket with Renuzit. Ah, so that’s the real reason why her kid is in the hospital – second-hand smoke! The scene changes somewhat abruptly to the hospital part, and horrifyingly, the execs laugh heartily at the “stinky bum”. Obviously, they suffer from over-exposure to their own product. The audience laughs as well, and just for that, I hope they all get a year’s supply of Renuzit to take home.
Back at the mansion, Nicole smirks in confessional that Stef and James’ offering was a complete bore and lacked creativity, while James expresses horror at the child-in-the-hospital setting. If my word-picture didn’t get the message across – they both sucked.
Trump quizzes the Renuzit execs on the candidates – they think James and Nicole have “energy” (meaning “noisy and ineffective”), that Stefani is quite the little organizer, and Frank took control and ended up running the show. Donald, as usual, pretends to take their comments seriously and thanks them for their
This would normally be the time that we would delve into the boardroom antics of the Trumps in attendance, and salivate over the slings and arrows flung between the candidates. But guess what? There’s none of that this week. That’s right, none. Nothing. Nada. Instead, the final four and their “employees” give each other a liberal tongue bath, telling Trump and his kids how cool and wonderful they all are, and how honored they are to be here, blah, blah, blah. Trump lets them rave on for a few minutes, then dismisses Angela, Aaron, Surya and Tim – so he can drool over his “stars” a bit himself. And then – he sends them home. No, he didn’t fire them all – nothing that fun. He wants them to meet back in the Hollywood Bowl boardroom next week in front of a live audience, and he’ll choose his Apprentice from the final four.
I’m beyond indignation at this point. Not only have we sat through 13 weeks of Camp Trump – and a full hour of advertising for an air freshener – we’re being denied the pleasure of a final firing? Something stinks, and not even my Glade Spice Rose and Vanilla Scented Oil Candle can cover it up. Donald, I hope you’ve learned something from your time at World Wrestling Entertainment, and smack down some verbal piledrivers and clotheslines at the finale next week – or be warned, because I’m ready to lay my patented testicular claw on you. Get ready to rumble!
If it’s a tag-team match, I want Angela on my team. You pick Trump’s partner…PM me with suggestions.