Wow! This was the most exciting week ever on The Apprentice! It had the most challenging task, the hardest-working candidates, there was no hanky-panky, the Donald appeared in the boardroom in a non-pastel colored tie, Caroline and George returned, and there was an unprecedented five-person firing, thereby cutting out two weeks of the show and best of all, there’s a half-hour finale next week! Do I really need to tell you that’s all a big ol’ April fool joke? I don’t even get the pleasure of telling you that Trump can now be known as The Hair-less – damn you for betting on the wrong horse, Vince McMahon!
High School Confidential
When we left last week, Tim was anxiously hovering around the hedge. When we return this week, Tim is still in his leafy abode, waiting to see who from Kinetic survived the boardroom. Kristine and Heidi appear first and pull their own little April Fool’s prank on Tim, sadly telling him that Nicole is the casualty. Nicole appears almost immediately, though, and Tim is overjoyed to see his lady love return. Heidi rolls her eyes in confessional and complains that Tim and Nicole’s hijinks makes her feel like she’s still in high school – a feeling that she’s not totally adverse to, as she and Kristine hang out at the hedge with the lovebirds and tell tales out of school about the boardroom. Smirking, Heidi lets Tim know that Trump told Nicole to dump him, and that the Donald laid the smackdown on him in absentia during the boardroom session. Tim is aghast at the news, and it only gets worse when he rejoins his Arrow teammates in the mansion kitchen. James is “disgusted” by the recent boardroom antics, and immediately tells Tim about Nicole’s nasty remark to Trump regarding asking Tim to join Kinetic. There’s some ominous mutterings about where Tim’s loyalties lie. Tim, for his part, mounts a vigorous defence, but his team has had enough of his showmance - Stefani tells him that if he doesn’t give 110% to the next task, he’s going home. Tim blames Trump for his fall from grace, saying in confessional that he’s lost respect for the Donald. Well, then you shouldn’t mind not working for him.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Even hot girls get gingivitis!
The teams meet in the printing facility of the Los Angeles Times building, and Trump has Ivanka, who appears to have made a permanent return to the show, and the usual executive-types standing alongside him. This week’s execs are from Smart Mouth, which is a new kind of mouthwash (believe it or not, that’s not an April Fool’s joke) – in attendance is Dr. Suzanne Cohen, President, and some guy named Kevin, who’s the marketing VP. Ivanka announces the task – the teams will be responsible for designing, photographing, and producing an advertising supplement for the mouthwash, and will have a photographer, studio, and graphic designer at their disposal. Essentially, this challenge is about leadership and creativity, since professionals are doing the actual work. How could you screw up something this easy? Here’s a hint – love doesn’t only make you blind, it makes you stupid as well.
Arrow decides to start off by smelling each other’s breath. Tim and Frank huff in each other’s face and both grimace. Frank thinks Tim’s breath smells like chicken, which must be what Nicole had for breakfast. Stefani is obviously worried about her own breath, as she pounds back a cupful of Smart Mouth before anyone can get near her. The brainstorming session begins with Tim leaping around excitedly, waving his arms and spewing out ideas, and it doesn’t look like anyone else is getting a word in edgewise. James tells the camera that Tim’s under a lot of stress, and is over-compensating by trying too hard. And annoying the crap out of everyone. Tim says if the team wins this week’s task, he’s safe. Uh, yeah, Tim…that’s how it’s worked for the last five seasons. You won’t go home if the team wins. But don’t worry, this is the last stupid thing Tim says this week! Ha-ha, gotcha again! April Fool!
The Kinetic women have decided their ad supplement should send a message – the message being that good-looking women are just as susceptible to bad breath as less attractive folk. They just look better than you do as they’re befouling your personal space. Heidi is again the project manager, though it seems to me it should be time for Nicole to step up. Kinetic, acting as their own models (because they’re all so bee-you-tee-full) have Heidi in a business suit, Kristine in a silky short robe, and Nicole as a
club-hopping hood ratgirl out on the town. Kristine says the images are meant to portray “three attractive females with bad breath” – and the concept is so simple, it just may work. Heidi is slightly worried, hoping their ad isn’t too gender-specific, and the execs have frowns on their faces as they observe the photography shoot. Foreshadowing or more April foolin’?
Arrow’s pajama party
Arrow’s going to take a different route to freshen America’s breath – Frank and Stefani hit the street looking for “everyday people” to model for the ad. They manage to find a fairly large group of folks who want to be on T.V., and you know how hard it is to find people like that. They outfit the whole gang in robes and jammies, with Frank, Tim and James joining in the fun. Stefani, she of the massive librarian eyeglasses, is apparently far too dignified to play dress-up (or dress-down, as it were) and isn’t participating in the shoot. Frank and Tim both seem to think they’re the next Scorcese, and butt heads when they both try to direct the proceedings. You’d think a large-scale pajama party would be a perfect setting for the party-hearty Arrow squad, but the kids are not playing as nice as usual. At the end of the shoot, Frank voices objections about their concept and the pictures, and James, who has no sense of irony, complains in confessional about Frank’s eleventh-hour problems with the ad content.
In contrast, Heidi has everything running smoothly on the Kinetic side. She keeps busy approving the pictures the photographer shot, and although she’s dispatched Nicole and Kristine to work with the graphic designer, her teammates are checking with her at every step. As PM, Heidi radiates calm and competency, and even the mercurial Nicole is kept in check by Heidi’s manner. Kristine grudgingly admits to the camera that Heidi knows exactly what she’s doing and that’s great for the team, but if they win, Heidi will also get all the credit. She forgets to note that if they lose, Heidi is almost certain to be the one sent packing, as she’s pretty much lost all the brownie points she earned with Trump early on.
Someone was watching Season 3…
Arrow is burning the midnight oil on this task, and continues to work with the graphic designer till morning – in fact, the boys are still in their pajamas from the shoot. None of the team has slept, and James thinks there’s no point in everyone returning to the mansion as the presentation is at one o’clock. It’s decided that Tim will remain with James, and Stefani and Frank will head back for showers and a change of clothes. After they leave, James changes into his suit, and Tim somehow doesn’t recall until that moment that he neglected to bring his street clothes. Although he’s been walking around in pajamas for the past twenty-four hours, it hasn’t bothered him until now, and he frets that he may have to appear at the presentation barefoot and in jammie pants. (He hasn’t worn shoes for an entire day? He certainly is embracing the California lifestyle.) Tim tries to call Stefani and Frank to remind them to bring him some clothes, but they’ve left their phones behind in the car, and when Stefani tries to call them on their way back to the L.A. Times building, her phone goes dead in the middle of the conversation. Tim is in full panic mode, but Stefani once again proves her competency and arrives with a suit for Tim – she’s forgotten socks, though, so Tim does L.A. casual with his bare feet shoved into his dress shoes.
With her goggle-like specs perched on the end of her nose as usual, Stefani gives the Arrow presentation. Their ad supplement consists of a picture of the pajama-clad group with their hands clapped over their mouths, a product shot, a loose chart that explains the breakdown of the ingredients in the mouthwash and how it works, and finally, a picture of the now-happy group with fresh breath. It’s slightly dull, but looks no worse to me than the ad supplements I get with my weekend paper. The execs look neither overwhelmed nor horrified, and politely dismiss Arrow.
Next up is Kinetic, and a brightly smiling Heidi gives the presentation. Kinetic’s ad supplement features cut-outs of the Smart Mouth pump bottles, and anyone who saw Kendra Todd (Season 3’s winner) kick ass with her slick circular Pontiac Solstice brochure, knows that executives lap up advertising material in funky shapes. Sure enough, Dr. Cohen and her sidekick practically drool all over themselves when they see the supplement – and it’s not from the pics of Kristine’s sexy negligee or Nicole’s tube top.
Trump arrives for the verdict, and the execs are surprisingly harsh with their critique of Arrow’s ad – they like the diverse group of people plucked from the streets, but complain that they look like they’re yawning. They must have had to sit through the first 10 weeks of this season. The execs also don’t like the chart insert, as it’s too technical and wordy.
It’s such a slam dunk for Kinetic, the producers don’t even waste much camera time on the execs’ praise, but do include the comments on how appealing it is, and that it will appear in the following Sunday’s L.A. Times. Trump looks pleased, and announces that Kinetic’s reward will be dinner served at the mansion by some of the “finest chefs in the country”. It sounds kind of lame, but the Kinetic women are delighted with their win nonetheless, and Heidi throws an “I’m back!” comment to Trump over her shoulder.
Meeting the Fockers
Nicole is ecstatic, and crows about her first win on the Kinetic team. She races into the mansion and immediately heads for the bar, warning us that Heidi and Kristine are about to see “Nicole unleashed”. The girls smile politely and lift their glasses for a toast, no doubt hoping that Nicole unleashes herself elsewhere. Still, the atmosphere is less chilly than at Arrow, where Stefani, Tim and James glare at Frank, who’s noisily munching down on a bag of potato chips, and chewing with his mouth open. Frank, your mamma would smack you upside the head for such terrible manners. No wonder Tim got the girl.
Nicole has apparently held off from overindulging, as she appears quite sober when the “chefs” arrive at the mansion. Laden with groceries, Nicole’s mom, Heidi’s mom, and Kristine’s husband are the star cooks, and are greeted with squeals, hugs and tears by the women. Kristine and her spouse seem to prove the old adage that opposites attract, as he sports longish hair, a wispy goatee, and heavily tattooed arms – but Kristine informs us that her husband happens to be one of the top 50 chefs in the nation. No smart woman turns down a man who can cook well. More puzzling is Heidi’s mom, a farm-bred woman who works as a hospice nurse, and obviously hasn’t been to a hairdresser or a mall for the past twenty years. How this granola-type spawned the polished and poised Heidi is a complete mystery, but it does make me like Heidi a little better, as she obviously holds her mom in high esteem. Nicole’s mom is your standard middle-class, middle-aged bottle blonde, and Nic eagerly drags her off to give her an earful about her suitor on the other side of the hedge.
Tim, in his usual lovesick form, is peeking over the foliage, and complains that Nicole’s mom being around is a “complication”. Nicole and her mom cast amused glances towards the hedge, and Tim grins apprehensively as the women chat about him. At the Arrow camp, James is in a rage, claiming “that (Nicole) is killing him!”. Or at the very least, killing his chances at staying around another week.
In the morning, the newspaper arrives with Kinetic’s supplement, and the women proudly show it off to their family members. Before they leave, Nicole prods her mother for a verdict on Tim, and Mom proves she’s the one with sense and tells Nicole to “just worry about the tasks”, reminding her daughter what she’s here for. In other words, keep your eye on the prize – and Tim is most assuredly not the prize in this competition.
So I cry…I pray…and I beg…for you to love me, love me
James is busy plotting against Tim, and really, who can blame him? Stefani, though, notes in confessional that Frank could also go home for his mutinous behavior at the shoot. Frank is unaware of his precarious standing, but Tim knows he’s in trouble and plans to go after James for approving his lousy ideas. That kind of blame-game almost never works…unless of course you happen to be employed by George W. Bush.
Trump is quizzing the Smart Mouth execs, who praise James as a good leader and Stefani as a cool, confident presenter. Their safety is pretty much assured as they step into the boardroom, and confront Trump, who has rescued his pink tie from the Goodwill box. Ivanka looks sharp in a dark suit on his left, but Heidi looks oddly drawn and hungover. James starts the flamethrowing, immediately questioning Tim’s loyalty to the team, and saying that at best it’s divided. Tim hammers in his first coffin nail by stating his loyalties lie first to people, then to the team. Trump is quickly all over him, demanding to know if his loyalties are with Arrow or Nicole. Tim claims they’re not mutually exclusive, but when Trump and Ivanka snicker, he pulls back and swears there was zero ambiguity on his part during the task.
Ivanka is having none of Tim’s BS, and roughly slides Kinetic’s ad supplement across the table to him, asking pointedly if he’d seen it yet. Tim is cowed by Ivanka’s aggressiveness, and chatters nervously, trying to steady his about-to-capsize boat. James continues to blame Tim for the loss, calling him a “distraction”, but apparently wary of putting all his eggs in one basket, also mentions “Frankie’s” last-minute complaints about the ad concept.
Ivanka doesn’t like the concept either, and comes down hard on the chart – she notes that the goal is to evoke the idea that the product is rooted in science, but it’s not necessary to provide a molecular breakdown of the ingredients. Really, I like Ivanka better and better with each passing week. Caroline who? Trump takes a jab at Tim, saying that Nicole told him that she wasn’t happy with him. Tim still hasn’t recovered from the first onslaught on the loyalty question, and – fatally – interrupts Ivanka sharply in the middle of a sentence. There’s a chilly silence on the Trump side of the table, and Ivanka’s smile is so icy it would make Cruella de Ville proud. Donald doesn’t like the help being rude to his princess, and Tim apologizes, but his fate is pretty much decided at this point. Trump is enjoying himself immensely, commenting that he loves to see people lose, so he can learn the truth about what they’re really like. Tim makes a last-ditch effort to sink Frank, who turns on him like a rattler and calls him out for beginning a romantic relationship during the job interview. Trump agrees, saying that Nicole is unquestionably a distraction, plus Tim’s bad idea cost them the task, and finally, he’s fired.
For his part, Tim is unhappy that his loyalty was questioned and admits that he’s a fool for getting involved, but is otherwise unrepentant. His main concern is that his picture will be “grayed-out” on the NBC website. But it’s nothing compared to the big red circle and slash across your pic on FORT, Tim. Don’t worry, though…Nicole’s picture is still pristine, and you can moon over that while you’re looking for a new job. If all else fails, remember Howard K. Stern earned a paycheck by catering to a woman who treated him like a doormat. Hey, it’s a living, right?
Is your breath kissably fresh? PM me.