I’m horrified. I’d hoped this day would never come. But as a father, I always knew it would. It’s inevitability is unquestioned. It happens to every parent. And it’s pure, unadulterated torture. What am I talking about? I should probably give you some background. You see, I’m typing this from the passenger seat of the family SUV. My beautiful, intelligent, funny wife (who threatened to stop driving if I didn’t use those adjectives) is at the wheel, and our kids are safely stowed in the back seat. Mercifully, their attention is currently focused on Buzz and Woody on the DVD player. But that distraction is, sadly, only temporary. Fortunately, my daughter is too young to put two words together; I have no reason to fear her this day. No, it will come from my son, of that there is no doubt. It could arrive before I type another word, or not for several more hours. But it will come, oh yes, it will. He’ll be reading a book or watching Larry the Cucumber and the other animated veggies, and suddenly a quizzical look will come over his face. He’ll look into the front seat and say it. “Are we there yet?” Sure, it will seem a harmless enough question the first time. But seventeen hours from now as we approach the outskirts of Houston and the safe haven of my wife’s sister’s house, that first utterance is going to have spawned a hundred, a thousand more just like it. Eac one just a fraction more mind-numbing than the last, until I finally lose my sanity. The horror. But for now, as I mentioned, all is calm. I must write quickly and tell you what happened in this week’s episode of “The Apprentice.” While there’s still time.
A Corporate Re-Re-Reshuffling
This week’s show opens with an all too familiar scene; the candidates in the suite pondering who was spared in the boardroom. Katrina tells the group that she supported Ereka, and that when she did, Bill and Nick turned on her. Both she Heidi believe that Ereka is at risk.
Queue the door. Enter Nick and Bill, sans Ereka. Nick is telling Bill that he believes if Ereka had brought Katrina into the boardroom instead of Bill, Trump would have fired Nick instead. As you’ll recall from last week, Trump sited Ereka’s emotional decision not to bring her friend Katrina before the board as one of the reasons she was fired, so it’s not like Nick is figuring this stuff out for himself.
Seeing that her arch enemy has been eliminated, Omarosa lets out a squeal of glee. It wasn’t much different from the squeal to flee she let out when the drywall dust hit her in the head a few weeks back. Everyone rushes to greet the two returnees. Well, everyone but Katrina, who looks like she just lost her best friend. That makes perfect sense, because well, she did.
Bill tells the group that Ereka wouldn’t shake hands when she left. Nick tells Katrina “I’m a little annoyed she didn’t shake Bill’s hand. Me? I don’t care, but Bill’s a nice guy.” He can’t be that nice, Nick; if you’ll recall it was David that finished last.
The next morning, Kwame answers the phone, and those of you at home who’ve been wondering finally have you answer: Kwamce prefers boxers over briefs. This group is instructed to meet Mr. Trump in front of the Metropolitan Museaum of Art in one hour.
Once assembled, Trump greets the two teams and tells them that since Versacorp is once again down two players, they get to chose someone from Protégé to join their team. Without hesitation, they bring Amy back into the fold. Donald tells then that he never would have chosen Amy, because it makes her look indispensable. “Maybe what you’re telling me is I should just giver her the job right now.” You can’t do that, Mr. T. I mean, you’re still barely in casting for the second season for goodness sakes.
The Art Is The Deal
This week’s task will be to select an artist from a list provided to them, hold a showing at a gallery, and sell as much of that artist’s work as they can. The team that brings in the most money will be the winner. In previous weeks, the rewards have for the most part been little promotional ads for all things Trump; his apartment, his golf course, his country home, even his helicopter. But this week’s reward is the ultimate in self-promotion. That’s right, this week the project manager of the winning team will be rewarded by getting to spend ten whole minutes alone with The Donald himself. Now, before you all scoff, you should know that Bill Gates once auctioned off a day with himself for charity. The winning bid of $60,000 came from one of Gates’ own employees. No doubt, at some point that day Mr. Gates realized that one of his employees was vastly overpaid. But I digress. My point is, as much as we’d all like to boo and hiss Trump for his self-promoting style, the fact is that ten minutes alone with him probably is actually worth something, especially to someone hoping to impress him enough to get him to hire you.
The teams each visit several artists in order to view their art and chose who they want to work with. We at home get to learn that some artists are a little odd. The first artist Protégé visits things of each of his canvases as a little piece of himself. Actually, they contain little pieces of himself. The guy (whose name is never revealed to us) mixes fingernail clippings and boy hair shavings into the paint as he applies it to the canvas. I’m sorry but, um, gross.
Versacorp splits into two teams. Nick and Katrina visit an artist named Andrei, who’s work is big, bold, and beautiful. He describes his work as “nature-based abstract.” “It could be a cave wall with gestural effects.” To make sure his visitors understand, Andrei sweeps his arm through the air in a dramatic gesture. “I’m not using trickery, I’m using good old paint and I’m weaving a story with it in a very intelligent and sophisticated way.” I’m sorry. I like Andrei’s art, and though he’s a bit pretentious, I like Andrei as well. But sometimes, paint is just paint. Nick of course, thinks it’s “Phenomenal.”
The other half of Versacorp visit Leah, a sweet yong lady whose paitings are like enlarged, stylized snapshots of her and her friends. As dull as that sounds, her style is, as Amy puts it, “Fun.”
Protégé’s next artist lets those of us at home learn that some artists aren’t just a little odd, some of them belong in an institution for the criminally insane. The walls of Meghan’s apartment are covered with her artwork, and stag’s heads. She tells the group that her art is teling the story of two twins; Psyche – who is a sweet, innocent little lady, and her sister Smut, who isn’t. Oh, they live in a land that is ruled by frogs and their concubines. I almost forgot that part. At this point I expected one of the Protégé’s to say something like “Wow, look at the time! Well, gotta run!” But they don’t. NBC must have realized we’d need a moment to pick ourselves up off the floor at this point, so they went to commercial.
You’ve Gotta Believe
We return from commercial to the part of the show where The Donald imparts his weekly nugget of wisdom upon us. This week he tells us “You’ve gotta believe in what y ou’re selling. If you don’t really believe it yourself, it’ll never work, it’ll never sell, and you’re going to be miserable.” I’d like to add that in addition to the fact that you gotta believe, you’ve gotta have heart. Miles and miles and miles of heart.
Protégé discusses who they’ll chose. It’s between Meghan and Leah, who they apparently saw off camera. Kwame is the project manager this week (sorry I forgot to tell you that sooner – I must have been distracted by the border crossing into Kansas), and he thinks they should go with Meghan. Troy and Heidi agree. I pray for another commercial break so I can collect myself, but I’m denied. Their decision to choose Meghan has nothing to do with the art, and everything to do with the dollars. You see, her average price point is $4,000, while the average price of the other artists is only $1,500. Kwame sums it up this way: “She’s weird as Hell but I’m not an art aficionado so I don’t really care.” Call me nutty, but that doesn’t sound like the voice of someone who believes.
Omarosa decides to cover her bases, and takes two positions. Position 1) she has serious concerns about Meghan’s work; she loves Leah and think they should chose her instead. Position 2) She believes that “Meghan is the only one that is going to drive the numbers we need to win.” Then she turns around in confessional and tells us “Kwame wanted to take this major risk and this was just not the task to do it. The art world is very finicky, and I informed him of that.” We then see her laughing with her team that “I’m going to sell the frog smoking opium.” That frog wouldn’t happen to have two faces, would it?
Now it’s time for Versacorpt to decide which artist they’ll put their fortunes with. Over the radio, Bill and Amy suggest that Nick (project manager, Kansas border, you know the drill) choose Leah. He tells them he’ll call them right back. He didn’t see Leah’s work, and Bill’s description of it being images of her and her friends on the beach does nothing for him. He calls them back and tells them that he’s made an executive decision; he’s choosing Andrei. Amy is not comfortable with the decision. We could have guessed that from the way the bell tolled when she and Bill learned the news. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for Andrei. That would have sounded so much cooler if his name was “Thee.”
What Does That Mean?
While Troy and Kawme work the streets handing out invitations, Heidi and her best friend Omarosa are at the gallery helping Meghan get her art hung. Unpacking a particularly disturbing piece, Heidi asks Meghan the meaning of the three severed heads with blood dripping from their mouths. Our deranged artiste tells her “It’s about reconciling one’s self with the Dark Territory and aligning yourself with it, because when you finally harness those forces, then you’re stronger.” That’s great Mrs. Beelzebub, but sometimes a severed head is just a severed head.
With Psyche and her sister safely in place on the walls of the gallery, Omarosa and Heidi head out to finish preparations for the evening’s gallery showing. Omarosa, trooper that she is, tells Heisi that her head is killing her, and she needs to eat. Heidi suggests grabbing a sandwich and eating in a bac, as they are pressed for time. Omarosa won’t hear of it, and decides to call Kwame and let him know she needs a sit-down meal. “I can’t run like this with a concussion.” Heidi tells us that Omarosa’s head only hurts when there is work to do, and when it’s reward time she is fine. “She’s an absolute lunatic blank.” Of course, she didn’t say “blank.” She didn’t say “fringe” either, but we all know she’s out there, don’t we Red Rider?
Kwame tells Omarosa that she and Heidi need to wrk things out on their own. Troy, having heard the entire conversation, breaks into a parody of the former Clinton employee. Throwing his arm to his forehead, he whines “Dude… it’s my head… if I don’t get some catered service pretty quick, I’m calling The President.” Troy, Kwame, and millions around the country are left in stiches.
It’s 6pm, time to sell some art. As we’re shown a completely empty Versacorp gallery. Nick confesses to us that you can never let the troops see that you’re concerned. Apparently he also holds to the adage that you should never let them see you sweat either, as he considers changing from his grey sweater into something black, which we all know is much better at hiding unslightly wetness. Of course, if you’ve got a dandruff problem, forget about it. Fortunately, by 7:30pm the joint is jumping, and we don’t have to find out whether or not Nick is a “Head & Shoulders” man. Bill explains to a potential customer that if she buys a painting, Andrei will personally hang and light it for her. And if she’s really lucky, he might even show her that nifty hand signal for “gestural effects.” She buys. And then someone else buys. And another. And another. Nick confidently informs the viewers “This competition is not about marketing. It’s not about real estate backgrounds, or MBA’s. It’s about leading people. All is well in the land of Versacorp.
All is decidedly not well in the land of the Smut peddlers. While the gallery is full, we see Carolyn observing that a table of grapes and cheese is in shambles and could use some attention. We’re treated to poor Troy, clearly out of his element, trying to push the bizarre works of their demented artist. Of Meghan, he tells a patron “Her though processes are far beyond my comprehension.” Personally, I think her though processes are beyond the comprehension of anyone lacking an advanced degree in Demonic Studies.
Omarosa talks over a few pieces with another hesitant individual. She describes Meghan’s work as “Very esoteric. Very tailored to a very small group of people.” Which is true; thankfully there just aren’t a lot of people with both the money to afford Meghan’s work and the complete lack of taste to actually like it. Miraculously, O managers to convince this poor woman to purchase a small picture of a strangely unsettling kitten in front of a rabbit. The piece’s title – “The Hollowed Pussy” – is no less unsettling. Meghan tells the unfortunate woman “It’s unclear if this is an undead cat or not.” I don’t know about you, but for $869, I want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt whether or the cat in my picture is undead. That sort of thing is important to me.
The next day, the teams meet with Trump as George and Carolyn report the outcome. First Donald asks each team who chose their artist and why. Carolyn then announces that Versacorp sold eight of Andrei’s pieces for $13,600. When George reports Protégé’s pathetic total of $869, Trump comments ‘Wow, that’s awful! You tried to sell something that you didn’t believe in. You didn’t like the product. You’ll never be successful selling a product that you don’t believe in, and that was your biggest mistake. I’m suddenly awestruck by the implications of what he just said. You realize what this means, don’t’ you? It means that Ron Popeil actually believed in GLH spray-on hair.
Nick is rewarded with his ten minutes with Trump. Donald uses it as another opportunity to show off his apartment. Nick asked some decent questions; who was Trumps role model, what is he looking for in an executive, etc. By the way, the answer to that second question was energy, and he thinks Nick has a lot of energy. He also tells Nick that regardless of the outcome of this show, he believes Nick will be very successful.
We see the obligatory shot of Heidi on the phone with her mom. Mom’s doing great, Heidi loves her. Terrific. I feel for her, but do we need to be reminded of this every week? Unless mom takes a turn for the worse or Trump needs to show off the new wing of a local hospital named “Trump” or something, then I don’t need this bit every week.
Omarosa confides that she hopes Heidi is eliminated this week, because she is tired of hearing Heidi say that she would rather sell Tampax than art. She claims this statement supports her theory that Heidi is “the least classiest” in the game. I think Omarosa should give Heidi the benefit of the doubt; perhaps she just really likes and believes in Tampax.
Omarosa also tells us of Kwame “I hope he does not choose me, because I am ready to go into that boardroom fighting.” Imagine how much more she would hope he doesn’t choose her if she wasn’t prepared.
The What Bomb?
In the boardroom, Mr. Trump tells Protégé that this was the worst disaster was the worst one yet, and he asks Kwame what happened. To his credit, Kwame stepped up, took responsibility, and refused to back down. He said that three of them chose Meghan, but Omarosa wanted to use Leah’s work. Donald told her she was to be commended, which got Omarosa to start talking. I think Trump made the statement for that very reason. She said that she told them Meghan was the wrong choice. She left out the part where she told them that Meghan was the only one that would get them the numbers they felt then needed to win. How convenient. George pipes up, telling her that she’s not sure they would have been able to win with the other artist, either. The reason? He’s concerned about how the operate as a team, and how there is always dissension between Omarosa and Heidi.
Omarosa responds to George’s comment, telling all who will listen that she’s been walking around with a concussion for a week and “needed a moment”, and how she asked Heidi for that and was completely ignored. Trump questions what a concussion has to do with taking a long lunch when you’re supposed to be working. He also points out that it was a little piece of plaster, and “Omarosa, I mean, you know, give me a break.”
Trump asks Kwame if Omarosa often makes excuses. Kwame tells him that she does at times, but that both teams feel that Omarosa can be dramatic. He then chooses Heidi and Omarosa to go with him to face elimination.
In the waiting area outside the boardroom, Omarosa starts to literally cry on Kwame’s shoulder. Before Donald has a chance to discuss things with Carolyn and George, a distraught Omarosa barges back into the boardroom. Trump angrily bursts out “Omarosa, I didn’t call for you yet!” She tries to explain how bad her concussion has been affecting her. Trump will have none of it, saying “Life is full of problems.” Heidi and Kwame enter the boardroom, and O goes to get a tissue to compose herself.
The three each state their case for why they should remain, and Kwame starts off. He says he did a good job as the leader, he took a calculated risk that didn’t pay off, and he’ll stand by it. Omarosa says that she was the finance manager, she distributed invitations, and she pressed for the last 48 hours non-stop. She said that she fights with Heidi because H uses “The F-Bomb.” Trump asked “The what bomb?” Heidi told him it was the F-Bomb. Trump doesn’t get it. “What’s the F-Bomb?” This question caused Carolyn to crack up.
Trump continues “Heidi, you have an edge that gets people crazy. Omarosa, this competition isn’t about how much you know, it’s about leadership and getting along with your team.”
Donald doesn’t mind that Kwame took a risk, as Trump himself has been known to take a risk from time to time.
Addressing Omarosa, Trump tells her that he doesn’t like the constant fighting, or the constant excuses. “Omarosa, go out and sell paintings or whever the Hell you’re doing. I don’t like excuses. In this case Omarosa has to go. You’re fired!” Wow, and to think that last week they said it was the best boardroom ever. I’m sorry, but this boardroom kicked that boardroom’s butt.
As we close, Donald tells his lieutenants “Omarosa has a huge chip on her shoulder. She felt that she was superior to the other people. She’s very smart, but I think her attitude was terrible.” Mr. Trump, I couldn’t have put it better myself.
I’ll be away for the next few weeks, but you’ll be in good hands. The lovely and talented Greenie and Bumpkin will be covering things in my absence.
Am I there yet? Write me at email@example.com