Welcome back to season 5 of The Apprentice. It feels more like season 37 to me, but that's probably because I recapped Martha's version last season, and it was an eternity. WOW do I love this theme song...it brings back images of Bo Bice on American Idol last season, and that's never a bad memory. What? Quit living in the past and get on with it? All right already! Geez....
Why isn't there Trump hairspray?
Trump arrives at Republic Airport in his plane, because he really hates automobile traffic. George and Carolyn are meeting him there with the 18 new candidates. They all board Trump's plane, and he gives them the first task. They will each be given $10 and dropped off via parachute over Brooklyn. They are then to make their way back to Manhattan. First one back gets immunity! Okay, I'm making this all up, and not doing too well at it. Back to reality....
The candidates get a very brief pep talk, then they have to go stand out on the tarmac. Trump follows them out, introduces George and Carolyn (as if that was necessary) and tells the candidates to each tell something about themselves, because it's so good to share and all. The candidates get all puffy about themselves, but this is a job interview, so I'll let that slide. Here's a brief run-down of this season's choices, in no particular order:
Lee - 22, Business Analyst
Lenny - 37, Trading Company Owner
Summer -30, Restaurant Owner
Tarek -27, Hi-Tech Manager
Sean -33, Recruitment Consultant
Brent -30, Attorney
Dan -31, Clothing Company Owner
Tammy -33, Wealth Manager
Charmaine -27, Real Estate Consultant
Leslie -28, Realtor
Michael -29, Management Consultant
Roxanne -26, Attorney
Pepi -25, Attorney
Theresa -36, Psychotherapist
Bryce -28, Homebuilder
Stacy -38, Attorney
Andrea -31, Sticker Company Owner
Allie -30, Medical Sales Manager
We've got 4 attorneys, 4 people who manage something, 4 people who own their own business, 3 people who consult on something, 2 people in real estate, someone who analyzes something, someone who builds houses, and a shrink. (yes, I realize that this breakdown totals over 18! These people are versatile!) After their brief introductions, Trump choses two of them to be project managers. He picks Tarek, because he's a member of Mensa and says he has an IQ in the top 2% of the world. Trump then picks Allie, because she went to Harvard Business school. At this time, it's the old school-yard pick for teams, which seems to be a favorite for reality shows. It goes quickly, and the last two remaining are portly Brent, a lawyer who created his own diet and lost 110 lbs, and Lenny, who has been advertised for two weeks in those "The Russian is Coming" spots. Allie choses Brent, so Tarek gets Lenny. Brent says he's used to being chosen last from school, and that it doesn't hurt him being chosen last for Allie's team.
Trump then tells them the task will combine advertisting and aviation. Each team will have a Goodyear blimp to use to attract business to Sam's Club. They are to sell memberships, or upgrade existing memberships, and the team who sells the most memberships wins. Each team hops into a vehicle, and they're off.
Allie, the teeniest candidate ever.
Allie's team consists of Tammy, Andrea, Michael, Sean, Pepi, Roxanne, Stacy, and Brent. They decide to get their team name out of the way, and Brent suggests "Killer Instinct", because that would imply no one can mess with them. I think Brent does have some issues over always being chosen last after all! Everyone hates his idea, and Pepi pipes up....Hey! That's almost a tongue twister..."Pepi pipes up"....eh, nevermind. Pepi suggests "Synergy", and they all love it, applause all around.
Tarek, thrilled that he's been able to say "Mensa" ten times already.
Tarek's team consists of Dan, Bryce, Charmaine, Lee, Summer, Leslie, Theresa, and Lenny. It's 14 minutes into the show, and I've already heard Tarek mention "Mensa" at least four times. I see signs of "dumbass" all over Tarek. Quit talking about how smart you are and do something already! He does do something, he chooses the team name, "Gold Rush". I hate this name, as it makes me envision prospectors panning for gold, or Vegas, or pawn shops, or television home shopping channels pushing their jewelry. I mean, I really dislike that name.
Lenny, floating around his neighborhood of East Brunswick.
Gold Rush gets right on their task, and Summer thinks she has hit the jackpot (see? more Vegas! That name is bound to curse them.) She says this is right up her alley, as she is a small business owner and has a Sam's membership. Lenny lives 5 minutes from the Sam's Club they'll be working from, so he feels that knowing the neigborhood will be an advantage for the team. Theresa the shrink comes up with the slogans for the Goodyear blimp. She decides on "It's a big deal!" I find this uninspired.
Tarek has given Summer the job of cold-calling restaurants, to invite the owners/managers to Sam's Club, but she has no hook line, nothing. It's like she's just calling with a suggestion "Hey, why don't you come to Sam's Club tomorrow?" "Oh, okay, I have nothing going on and would love to roam around two acres of fluorescent hell for no particular reason!" What a bad idea. Summer thinks so as well, and only makes ONE call. I don't fault her for that, as cold-calling bites even when you have an idea to pitch.
Over at Synergy, Andrea thinks it would be a good idea to to make an event, a reason for people to actually come to Sam's Club. Brent suggests renting a karaoke machine and putting it out front. Unless they're giving out free Long Island Iced teas with the karaoke, that idea is totally horrible. Because what fun is karaoke without lots of alcohol? Brent then comes up with free makeovers, but is shut down with lots of eye-rolling, and Tammy squeaks in "or massages". Allie loves this, and adds free manicures to the list. Personally, if anyone tries to "massage" me while I'm at Sam's Club, my claws are going to come out and it sure won't be for a free manicure. It'll be one instant neutering, pain included. These claws are razor-sharp, you know.
Brent, proving that hot air rises to the top.
Synergy puts Brent up, up and awaaaaay in the Goodyear blimp, and he is definitely not happy about it. I think perhaps it has something to do with him offering to give massages to the Sam's customers. Or perhaps it has to do with his loud mouth. Or even his really bad toupee, which looks like roadkill on his skull. It looks like Stacy is his blimp-partner, and she is also a lawyer. Could this be discrimination against the legal profession? More likely Stacy just drew the short straw to get stuck riding around with the hot air. And you're seeing this lame joke coming a mile away aren't you? I'm talking about the hot air of Brent, not the blimp. Yeah, well, I said it was lame.
Sean, showing it pays to say "Cheers!" a lot.
Back at Sam's Club, massages and manicures are going on, memberships are being sold and upgraded, and all is right with the world. They've set up areas in the front to catch the customers before they get on with their shopping, and they have a secret weapon....Sean. According to Allie, the female shoppers will listen to him just to hear his voice. I think it's an extremely forced-sounding accent, but think he's pretty cute. Sign me up!
Lee, advising someone to buy pushpins instead of thumbtacks.
Gold Rush has no accented cute man to draw in shoppers, but did you know they have a Mensa member? No? Then you haven't been reading this thoroughly! Tarek of the enormous ego is happy that Lenny is in the blimp, since he knows the area, and happy that Summer is up there with him, since he finds her useless after her misadventures in cold-calling. The rest of the team is busy handing out free gift bags, which are empty duffel bags, to the first 485 customers. Just a free bag, nothing inside. No cute fake-sounding accent guy, no massages, nothing. Just "here's a free bag, and by the way, do you want to sign up for a membership?" Lee is wandering around in a suit instead of a polo shirt like the rest of the team, because he's going to be doing some business consulting. In Sam's Club. Business consulting. I really don't know that I'd need to consult on a new pack of dry-erase markers.
Everyone piles into the boardroom for the results. Trump asks Allie how she thinks Synergy did, and she says "I think we did fantastic!" For Gold Rush, Tarek says "I'll be shocked if we don't win." Summer says she thinks thinks went well for them, but that there are things she would have changed. *cue foreboding music* Carolyn gives the results for Gold Rush, they sold 40 new memberships. George gives the results for Synergy, they sold 43 new memberships, making them the winners. As the winners, they will go to lunch with Trump at the Wharton Club.
At the loft, all the members of Gold Rush except for Lenny and Summer, are gathered talking about which one of them should be fired. Several of them are saying it should be Summer, but Lee isn't comfortable about talking negatively about someone who isn't there. He thinks the loss is Tarek's fault for not coming up with a big idea to draw people in. I give Lee a lot of credit here, it's not easy to stand up to a group when you're the lone voice of dissension.
Lenny and Summer are discussing Summer's defense for not making more cold-calls. Lenny's not worried about himself, as he says he did his job, and he tells Summer that when they go into the boardroom, to be quiet. Good advice. *turns foreboding music up louder* In another part of the loft, Tarek tells Lee that he's committed to not bringing him into the boardroom and that he needs him to stand by him. Lee again tells him how he thinks they didn't have "it" creatively, and Tarek responds by threatening him. He warns Lee that if he mentions any of that to Trump, he's setting himself up as a target. Nice strong-arming there, Tarek.
Gold Rush is seated in the boardroom for the Trump grilling. First thing, Trump calls Tarek a Mensa genious (seriously, we should make a drinking game out of everytime we hear "Mensa" in this show) and asks him how it feels to lose. Tarek is quick to point out how they didn't lose due to bad leadership, they lost because two people didn't execute the task they were assigned, and he calls out Summer and Lenny. Lenny? You asked Lenny to fly around in a blimp because he knows the area, Mensa-boy! How did he not do that? *sorry, I occasionally yell at my television* Lenny is as ticked off about this as I am, and says he did exactly what he was assigned. Trump tells Lenny "You know what they did when they put you in the blimp? They sent you to Siberia!" Which I really find a tacky joke considering that Lenny is Russian. There's really just nothing like a joke that invokes images of Stalin and Gulag labor camps. Bad move, Trump.
Trump asks Lee what he thinks of Tarek's leadership. Lee doesn't give a fig about any "warning" from Tarek, and says that there was no creative process, all they did was to give out duffel bags. Theresa praises Tarek, and throws Summer under the bus, pointing out that she only made one cold-call to a restaurant. Summer tries a defense of it being during the dinner rush for the restaurants, but Carolyn shuts her down. Trump asks Tarek who he wants to bring back in the boardroom, and he picks Summer, Lenny and Lee. Looks like Tarek's making good on his threat.
Tarek tells Lee he's a member of Mensa for the 100th time.
After the Gold Rush team leaves, Trump asks Carolyn and George their opinions, and they both bring up Summer. Tarek, Lenny, Summer and Lee are called back in. Trump asks Lee if he has disdain for Tarek, and he says "I do now." Hee! Lee thinks Tarek is dishonest for saying he wouldn't bring him in, and then doing so. Trump wants to know if Lee is less impressed with Mensa (dang Mensa AGAIN) now, and Lee says he's just umimpressed with Tarek. Tarek flips out, saying "Do you think I'm unintelligent?" because you just know he's dying to spout off about Mensa yet again, and I expect him to whip out some graphs and a laser pointer to give us statistics on his massive I.Q. Lee (who is cracking me up) says "yes, I think you're unintelligent." Trump interjects that he's not unintelligent, he just lacks common sense, and you can visibly see Tarek's swelled head deflate at least one size.
Trump wants to know why Tarek brought Lenny into the boardroom, and Tarek says Lenny did nothing, and he didn't step up. George jumps in and says that Lenny knew the area, and directed where the blimp went. Go George! Trump zeros in on Tarek, insinuating that they failed because of his lack of leadership. This is going fine, Tarek's digging himself into a hole, but then Carolyn wants to know what Summer contributed to the team. I don't think Summer did anything worthwhile, but I also think Carolyn just hates her. Summer can't defend herself at all, and stumbles all over her words. George brings it back to Tarek, asking why they didn't use the budget to give something away other than an empty gift bag. Tareks says he doesn't think it was a bad decision, and Trump is funny this time, saying "What, giving away NOTHING?[/i] Which makes Lenny and Lee crack up. Summer interrupts Trump (which is never a smart move in the boardroom) and Trump starts going off on her about it. Both Lenny and Lee are trying to get her to be quiet, Lenny saying "Summer, shut up" and Lee says "just say you're sorry" but Summer can't shut it, and gets herself fired. They get up to leave, and Trump tells Tarek that he didn't make it by much, that Summer saved his ass with her own stupidity. Lenny, my absolute favorite Apprentice candidate of all time (so far) say "Not for long" as he walks out the door.
Summer, who doesn't know when to shut it.
Tune in next week for Brent dancing on the sidewalk in a bathrobe. I can hardly wait.
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