Reality shows, as we all know, are stacked with wanna-be actors and actresses. Oh, they’re usually not that obvious about it – instead, they’re what we fondly refer to as “slashies”. You know – the bios that read “waiter/model”, “personal trainer/singer”, or the most famous non-slash slashie, “pharmaceutical sales rep”. Rarely do we see a reality show contestant who’s such a lousy actress that we realize that she has to be serious about winning the competition for something more than fame-whoring and exposure. For that reason alone, this week’s Apprentice would be refreshing – if the person involved were less of a Bible-thumping pain in the arse. Close, but no cigar, Donald.
James & Tim arrive at the Arrow camp to whoops and cheers from their teammates, for ding-dong! The witch, a.k.a. Surya, is dead. Not literally, of course – I fearlessly predict Surya will re-animate for The Final Showdown, when rejected Apprenti are forced to work for their former teammates. In spite of Tim’s wishy-washy behavior in the boardroom – when he came perilously close to hanging his friend James out to dry – the twosome claim they’re perfectly OK with each other and they’re still buds. Frank points out that when someone is called out in the boardroom as James was, the best thing for him or her to do is to step up and be the team’s next project manager. Frank has somehow morphed from week one’s Bronx-tawking pushy tent-raiser to the voice of reason. It’s a hell of an editing job, even for a Mark Burnett production.
The phone rings with the weekly summons, and for Nicole, the meeting place is more – much, much more – exciting than usual. Because Nicole is a huge – a HUGE – that’s HUGE, got it? – fan of the afternoon soap “Passions”, and the teams will be meeting Trump at the Passions set. Nicole is such a fan of this show, she’s squealing and carrying on like a twelve-year-old who’s won a meet and greet with Jesse McCartney. It’s worth venturing into the outdoor shower during gale-force winds and rain, with Nicole screeching frantically the entire time. Note – fangirly-ness is really not attractive in 25-year-old women. In fact, it’s really not attractive in anyone over the age of, well, 12.
The teams arrive at the set, just as Trump is bidding adieu to what I assume is a couple of actors from the show. I can’t provide names as I don’t watch Passions (I’m a Y&R gal myself). Evidently the candidates have all had their morning
Kool-Aidcoffee already, as they obediently chant, “Good morning, Mr. Trump” in unison. Trump addresses Nicole, who’s practically wetting herself, and gets her to admit that she loves Passions. Perhaps the task has something to do with the program? Hah! Not quite. Instead, Trump introduces Brian and Linda, who are execs from Soft Scrub. That should dampen Nicole’s passion a bit. The teams are charged with producing an original 45-second “webisode” to hawk Soft Scrub Deep Foaming Cleanser, and it’s to be in the form of a mini-soap opera.
Portraying adultery is OK.
Just don’t scream “Oh my God!!!” when…you know.
Kinetic has decided to name their webisode “Dirty Little Secrets” (clever, if a little obvious) and focus on an adulteress who’s having it on with her neighbor’s husband. (Though wouldn’t that make the husband the adulterer?) Kristine, Heidi and Angela are enthusiastic, but Muna prefers to throw verbal wrenches in the machinery. For someone who so vehemently accepts Jesus as her savior, Muna certainly enjoys playing devil’s advocate. Kristine wants Muna behind the camera, focusing on “timelines” (read: busywork to keep Muna occupied and out of the way), but Muna claims she would be more "comfortable” in front of the camera. Kristine is irritated and claims to take control, which in this case means letting Muna have her way. Muna is assigned as the unfortunate wife, with Heidi as the hussy who’s sleeping with her husband. The husband is to be invisible – I guess Angela wasn’t up to the role. Too bad, as there’s certainly a nasty joke or two in there somewhere. Muna, however, still isn’t happy – they argue over the dialogue, which includes a line offensive to Muna, in that she can’t/won’t take the Lord’s name in vain. Kristine smirks and tells Muna that “He” said that she could indeed use it. Apparently Kinetic is still experiencing divine intervention with their tasks. Well, it did help them last week.
This is not supposed to be fun, dammit!
Arrow, as usual, is having a whale of a time at their task. James is apprehensive, as he doesn’t know anything about filming or direction, so he’s going with his gut. The storyline is about a boy (Tim) who cleans the bathroom with Soft Scrub to prepare for proposing to his girlfriend (Nicole). Yeah, I know…awwwww. Nicole is still in semi-hysterics, and squeaks “It’s so cuuuuuuuute!” to the camera. Tim, for his part, is mortified – he admits in confessional that the “thing” with Nicole is very, very new, and to portray himself proposing to her is incredibly awkward. Yes, but so very amusing for those of us watching. Nicole seems to be over-emoting during the filming, but James thinks that her background of soap opera viewing (who would have thought that could look good on a resume? Only in Trumpland) is coming in handy.
At Kinetic, all is confusion. The story is that Muna, the wronged wife, runs out of Soft Scrub and races over to her sexy neighbor’s house to borrow some, during which she nearly catches Heidi and the invisible husband in flagrante delicto. Kristine picks the beginning of the shoot to take Angela on a road trip for “props”, and spends the time bitching about Muna. Back at the filming, things are not going well, as Muna is proving to be more of a Razzie candidate than an Apprentice one. Her acting skills are nil, and her voice is shrill and indecipherable. Mind you, Julia Louis-Dreyfus is still a working actress, so maybe those flaws aren’t as bad as you might think…
A confident Arrow team is chowing down on pizza and clowning around in the editing room. James is still a little nervous about letting Tim & Nicole run the show, but feels he’s so inexperienced at this sort of task he did the right thing. Oh, for…can we have some conflict here, please? I don’t watch this show to see people be nice to each other. Fortunately, Frank comes to our rescue to take a few verbal swats at Tim in confessional. Tim, says Frank, over-thinks everything. To prove it, there’s a few clips of Tim anally analyzing the webisode footage. Frank likens it to making a pasta sauce – you put in too much seasoning and you ruin the sauce. Save it for the restaurant challenge, Frank.
Kinetic’s mood is bleak as they watch the tapes. Practically every scene is ruined by Muna’s rambling, and her rapid speech, combined with her accent, is impossible to understand. Heidi grimly tells the camera that although Muna is terrible, Kristine shouldn’t have left the filming in the first fifteen minutes. Angela is more tactful and says that Muna gets flustered when she’s nervous and as a result talks too fast. Either way, the scenes with Muna speaking are disastrous and much of the footage is left on the cutting room floor.
I love watching men clean bathrooms, don’t you?
Arrow is so confident, on the morning of the presentation to the Soft Scrub execs, they partake in a team brunch. James says they’re prepared and there was simply nothing left to do. I thought I told you guys already…you’re NOT supposed to be having fun.
Stefani, who we’ve barely heard from in the past couple of weeks, gives the presentation to the execs. The Arrow webisode is called “A Time To Share”, and starts off with Frank and Tim cleaning the bathroom with Soft Scrub, and ends with Tim about to propose to Nicole when she interrupts him with the exciting news that she’s been offered a job in another city. Like any woman in her right mind would pick a job over a man who is willing to scrub a bathroom. Brian from Soft Scrub nods and his only comment is, “very interesting”. Uh-oh…Arrow better hope that Kinetic’s webisode sucks even worse.
And as it turns out, it does. Kristine gives a stilted preamble to “Dirty Little Secrets”, and there’s just no hiding the fact that Muna is utterly awful. Her speech is so rapid it’s impossible to understand what’s going on, and the video’s only saving grace is the very end, where Heidi is caught trying to scrub off an incriminating message in lipstick on her mirror before Muna sees it. What does Soft Scrub’s Brian think? Well, he thinks this one is “very interesting” as well. Either he’s far too polite, or completely devoid of any imagination. Not exactly what you want in a marketing VP.
Trump arrives solo, and asks the execs for the verdict. Brian says that Arrow’s webisode was easy to follow and had good “brand integration”, though the cliffhanger at the end was not that dramatic. Who knew that you needed a cliffhanger for a commercial? The other exec, Linda, liked Kinetic’s cliffhanger, but couldn’t follow the story and there wasn’t enough brand integration. Arrow takes the easy win, and Trump sounds so surprised, I’m insulted for James’ sake. James will accompany Trump and Ivanka, who has condescended to re-join the show this week. As for the reward, Arrow will fly on a private Bluestar jet (good!) to Sacramento to meet with California governator Arnold Schwarzeneggar (weird). Ah-nold is going to lecture them about leadership, and this time it’s Frank who’s almost comically star-struck at the prospect of meeting the former Mr. Universe-turned-Republican henchman.
Even Conan bleeds
Do you want to hear about how the Kinetic ladies bitched and moaned about going back to the filthy campsite? Good, because I’m tired of writing about it. Instead, let’s hop on that private jet with Arrow, who are overwhelmed with their good fortune. James is particularly looking forward to meeting Schwarzeneggar – no, not because he’s an aspiring bodybuilder/action movie star, but because Arnold is an immigrant like himself, and he wants to pick his brain about how he overcame the difficulties inherent in not being American-born. And here I thought Arnold’s difficulties stemmed from his damned hard-to-spell last name and thick accent – oh, and his lack of acting ability. Hmm…sounds like Muna would have benefited most from meeting The Terminator.
Arrow is ushered into the governor’s office for tea (Tea? Guess the Kennedys have rubbed off on Arnold after all). Schwarzeneggar enters, looking trim and fit in a well-cut suit, his face more Botox’d than wife Maria’s toothy, skeletal visage. Arnold proves to be a gracious host, and regales the candidates with tales of his hardscrabble climb to the top in America. He recounts the filming of Conan The Barbarian, which was apparently very physically demanding and bloody. The pain, intones Arnold, goes away, but the film is permanent. Therefore, the pain is worth it. Ditzy Nicole takes this advice to heart and vows to suck up the sleepless nights and yucky camp conditions – whatever it takes to become the next Apprentice. Or maybe an internship in the governor’s office.
God moves over to Trump’s side
You’re almost single-handedly responsible for turning out one of the worst products ever seen on The Apprentice. You annoy your team during every task. How do you prepare for the boardroom? Scheme and try to get people to back you up? Skulk around the hedge and try to win over the opposing team member who’ll be in the boardroom? Nosiree…if you’re Muna, you read your Bible. Now, before I get a barrage of hate PMs, just let me say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with reading the Bible. I’m just pointing out that it’s a curious strategy when you’re on the chopping block, OK? It might be more prudent to do a little less spiritual networking and maybe attempt to ingratiate yourself with your teammates.
Kristine, on the other hand, is poring over one of Trump’s own books. She points out that Trump is the one making the firing decision, not God. God, she says, is not sitting on Trump’s right in the boardroom. True – God is on his left side. It’s Satan who’s on the right.
The lamb is led to slaughter
A red moon careens over L.A., and Trump is asking the Soft Scrub execs if they saw any “stars” in Kinetic. Brian politely answers that he only saw Heidi & Muna, and since it’s perfectly obvious how bad they were (OK, I made up that part), Trump should lay blame on whomever directed the webisode.
Kinetic troops into the boardroom and Trump asks Kristine for an explanation of the loss. Kristine states the obvious – Muna’s performance was incomprehensible. She’s taken to task first by Trump, who asks why Muna was on camera. Kristine feebly explains her wish to have everyone on her team comfortable with their roles, when Ivanka rips into her for her inability to control Muna. The Trumpette continues to hammer on Kristine, and I’m fondly reminded of when the Donald was a hardass himself, before hair bleach and too many young trophy wives atrophied his brain. Muna, for her part, ridiculously declares that she “went in as a lamb” on the task. This comment brings snorts of disbelief from everyone in the boardroom, and Trump flatly tells Muna she’s no lamb.
Trump asks Muna who she would fire, and Muna chooses Kristine. He asks Angela next – she hedges and says Muna and Kristine are equally responsible. Trump is having none of that and uses a hockey analogy that he probably thought up weeks ago and has been saving for the first opportunity – if Angela was playing the Russians, who would she rather have on her team? Now he’s talking Angela’s language, and she promptly responds that she’d rather have Kristine on her team. It’s Heidi’s turn, and she looks like a deer caught in the headlights until Muna interrupts and imperiously demands who Heidi would prefer to save, given the chance. Verbal salvos are fired between Trump, Muna and Kristine, while Heidi wisely keeps her mouth shut, but she’s not off the hook – she needs to answer and finally, she hesitantly chooses Kristine. Trump tsk-tsks at Muna, telling her that she’s quite the little risk-taker to put Heidi on the spot like that. Just when it looks like it’s all over, Donald and Ivanka suddenly lay into Heidi for her answer, which is somehow wrong. It’s all very confusing, as it suddenly looks bad for Heidi (for no apparent reason), but Trump finally comes to his senses and tells Muna that he can’t ignore the fact none of her teammates are on her side, and she’s fired. Ah well…Hasta la vista, Muna (Sorry, couldn’t resist).
The Kinetic ladies see Muna off, and everyone cordially waves goodbye. It’s all very civilized, and Muna hopes that she’s inspired someone to believe in God and work hard. Though it would have been more inspiring if she’d won.
Next week, parting is such sweet sorrow, as Tim and Nicole end up on opposing teams. I’m guessing the remaining three Kinetic members have to choose someone from Arrow to join them, and they wisely pick the cutest guy remaining. Now there’s good business sense for you!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch my stories. PM me with any Young and Restless spoilers.