Remember that Christmas where you picked the biggest package under the tree to open first and it turned out to be a bathrobe? It’s not as annoying as getting Care Bear Underoos from Santa, but it’s not the Malibu Barbie Dream Car you were hoping for. That’s how the rewards work on this show - not detestable enough to complain, but not the whirlwind of excitement and fun you were expecting. I wonder how many “rewards” they will have to experience before the hapless contestants catch on. I’m starting to suspect that despite their pedigrees, these people aren’t too bright. I hope they prove me wrong. (I can hope, right?)
Spoiling the Victor’s Spoils
It’s morning in the penthouse, and Kerry is feeling pretty pumped. Because she survived elimination, she’s the new Femron team boss, which has the perk of absolute immunity - just as if she's the real head of a real corporation. Not only that, she’s earned her reward - an afternoon on a billionaire’s luxury yacht, along with two of her compañeras. They are told to wear “yachting attire.” Would that be deck shoes and yellow rain slickers? Meanwhile, Robert, who led his team successfully in the last episode, has earned a reward for himself and two of the men - an afternoon on an exclusive golf course. *yawn* Not really fun, if you ask me. Unless it was a billionaire’s exclusive miniature golf course. Maybe instead of rusted cups shoved into astroturf you’d be aiming for priceless Ming vases tipped over onto an all-silk putting green. I’d find that very rewarding.
Robert chooses Michael and David to accompany him. You might recognize Michael as the goatee dude who danced unashamedly for the cause of soup sales; David was the fake Abercrombie model using his blonde yumminess to sell soup. Michael tells us he wants to corner Mr.N.Paul Todd in order to ask him some questions about his background. David tells us he’s excited to get the chance to speak to the Boss one-on-one. The way I see it, Trump is to blame for glamorizing the chance to suck up to a millionaire in a three-minute meeting. Now, everyone wants their shot at making an impression by asking clever questions. It’s not like these billionaires made their money by throwing cash at whoever impressed them on the way up - outside of strip clubs, that is. Nevertheless, the men are excited at their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. *yawn*
Kerry, Elli and Whitney arrive at the dock. Kerry and Elli are in their version of yachting attire, which just looks like Saturday-afternoon-at-the-mall-attire - sundresses, heels, light sweaters. Whitney goes another route, wearing a black pantsuit and looking like she’ll be hitting a funeral later in the day. After a champagne toast, we learn the attire thing was just a subtle hint at today’s fun. The girls are presented with “gifts” for their hard work, which they open to find bikinis. That’s right, skimpy bathing suits from the boss. Never mind that they were handed out by his fictional daughter, the women are unsure how to react - especially, when Mr. Todd suggests they all jacuzzi, like it’s a verb now. The girls weigh in with the camera in interviews taken later in the day. Each declares they thought the gift was inappropriate, and Elli boldly declares that she refuses to wear a bikini on a job interview. The camera cuts directly to Elli still on the yacht and wearing the bikini, nattering with Whitney about whether the suit makes her (Whitney) look fat. You see how it is … first you give in on wearing bikinis for your future boss, and the next thing you know, you‘re soliciting couples in a casino bar to join you in a swinger‘s club. You never know where it will end.
Once (un)dressed, Whitney and Elli especially are looking disturbed about the situation. Elli tells Whitney she wants to change back into her clothes because the big boss man “skeeves her out.” It’s a good thing for Elli that no one actually watched “The Casino.”
Golfing for Dummies
The men head out to the course, and are dutifully impressed by the clubhouse and the driving range, but none of them are golfers. They are looking forward to meeting Mr. Todd on the course, though. They say that a few times, so I guess they really mean it.
Back to the yacht, where instead of “jacuzzi-ing”, the girls (minus Elli, who has changed back into her sundress and sweater) have joined the Boss in a bit of “Lake Michigan-ing.” As Kerry and Whitney clamber down to the side of the yacht, Mr. Todd looks up from the water and tells them that he has good taste in bathing suits. They waste no time in diving in and joining the fun, while Elli remains upstairs looking bored and a tad resentful. At one point, the swimmers have a race, and there are clearly four bodies in the water (one of whom appears to be wearing a shirt), so it’s not as un-chaperoned as they are making it out to be.
Elli doesn’t regret her decision to stay dry; in fact, she is now very clear that both the gift and the swimming session are inappropriate activities for wannabe business prodigies. Will her choice affect her position in the game? Aw, heck, we knew she was toast the first time we saw her auburn head surrounded by all the blonde Barbie look-alikes.
After the impromptu swim party, Kerry and Whitney are lounging around in towels instead of getting dressed when they notice that it’s late afternoon. Didn’t Mr. Todd say he was meeting the men around 4:00? Sure enough, the Boss strolls in the room with a cell phone, telling the men awaiting him on the golf course that he had an unexpected business meeting and will be there in an hour. Robert, ever the eager acolyte, asks what he would like them to do. “Work on your putting,” the Boss orders, while the women can be seen listening to one side of the conversation and giggling.
On land, the men sit in their golf cart, looking bored and annoyed. Michael especially seems ticked, telling the camera that it’s his number one pet peeve to have someone show up late to an appointment. His blood pressure will be put to the test that afternoon, as the Boss tells us privately that he isn’t planning to show up at the golf course at all.
Not So Much Fascinating as Stupid
On the yacht, the women are finally getting their coveted one-on-one time with the billionaire. Although we’re told he spoke to all three, we only see Mr. Todd’s conversation with Whitney. At first, Whitney starts off slowly, saying that the game has been hard but she feels more comfortable after spending the day on the yacht. Mr. Todd gazes into her eyes and says, “That’s fascinating.” Whitney is flattered, and begins to chatter excitedly about her goals and dreams. For the rest of the conversation, anytime a response is required Mr. Todd repeats that he’s fascinated. By my count, there were fifteen instances of “that’s fascinating.” I would think that’s about twelve too many for her not to catch on, but Whitney tells us that every time he called her fascinating, it made her feel warm and gooey inside. Could we have a little mentee falling for her mentor?
It’s 8:00 p.m., and the men are still sitting on their golf cart, realizing they’ve been stood up. Do they look understanding of a billionaire’s busy and unpredictable schedule? No, they seem to be equal parts disbelieving and angry at having wasted the day sitting in a golf cart. I’m not that sympathetic. Wouldn’t you have started the course by yourselves after a couple of hours? Well, they admitted that they played a few holes after hour three came and went with no Obnoxious Boss in sight. In total, they were on the course for five hours before they headed home.
The women return to the penthouse first, looking rested and relaxed. Around 9:00, the men stroll in, looking fit to kill. Matters aren’t improved when the women tell them Mr. Todd had been with them all day - in fact, they witnessed him calling the men on the course and lying about where he was. Mr. Todd asked the women not to tell the guys about his little deception. The guys are livid at the news, and Mr. Todd’s character as an obnoxious jerk is shaping up nicely.
Mr. Todd puts the icing on the cake, though, when he makes a late night “drunk dial” call to the penthouse, looking for Whitney. He tells her he took one of those pills they gave him when he had a procedure done on his testicles, then gives a drunk-sounding, whoopee! Whitney’s smile crashes into the floor at the mention of naughty bits, though. Mr. Todd drunkenly asks to speak to Whitney again, and she tries to steer it back to business. He tells her that he meant every word of their talk earlier that day, and that he finds her fascinating. When she finally hangs up, the rest of the house has joined her by the phone and heard her side of the conversation. No one knows whether to laugh or shake their heads, so most of them do both. Whitney looks confused, but you can see the traces of warm gooiness from being told one more time that she’s fascinating. Oh, Whitney. You couldn’t fascinate your way out of a paper bag, hon.
As the candidates file into the offices of IOCOR, they are relieved at the thought that they won’t be doing some kind of challenge on the street again. It’s nice to know they will be facing humiliation in air-conditioned comfort for a change. As they await the Boss, two men in business suits enter the room. Their identity is unclear, since they are wearing giant fuzzy heads - an faux-feathered owl and hot pink bird, to be precise. They cavort and scamper around the room, making silly noises. The man with the hot pink tendencies removes his head to reveal … David, right hand man to the big guy. He tells the assembled contestants that he knows what they’re thinking: that they’re a couple of asses. Hey, this guy’s pretty smart!
But he points out that he got everyone’s attention. Whitney, all empowered by late-night phone calls from the boss, chimes in perkily that it absolutely got her attention. Sure, and every time I see a guy on a street corner dressed in a hot dog suit, I’m so riveted I run the red light. Well, it only happened that one time, but who can resist an oversized furry animal or cartoon-like tasty treat? Not me. They’re hilarious!
And who is behind the owl mask? None other than Kent Todd, the boss’s son. Conveniently, the Boss has been “called away” for the day, so none of the angry men or flattered women will have a chance to observe the Boss after his unusual, reprehensible behavior. Meanwhile, Kent (we’re told by the actor) is the son who’s not too bright, who flunked out of college, but whose dad owns the company, so everyone has to put up with him. He’s got an impish, annoying look about him, too. With peaked eyebrows and a round face, he’s a dead ringer for the owl mask. He introduces himself, then says he knows what they are all thinking - that he slept his way to the top. As an icebreaker, it doesn’t really warm up the crowd so much as confuse them. You can read their faces: was that supposed to be a joke?
David, corporate honcho extraordinaire - in the sense that he is as far from ordinary as he can be without losing his corporate-ness - tells Robert that it’s time to choose his replacement as team boss. Robert chooses Damian, one of the blond, gel-haired people who I think of as the one who gave that gushing speech about how expensive Excalibur must have been to purchase. “Excellent choice,” says David, with a naughty twinkle in his eye. You might remember that David was the one encouraging the men to feel more sexy and take off their shirts during previous challenges.
Apparently, David has his own fascination for one of the mentees - sweet little naïve Damian. He gazes warmly at Damian, and moment grows longer and longer. David won‘t break the eye contact, and Damian looks increasingly more uncomfortable. As David puts it, he looks like a little kid in the barber’s chair about to go under the scissors. Damian returns his gaze confidently at first, but as David unabashedly continues to stare him down with a knowing smile, Damian bites his lip, then wilts, looking down at his hands. It’s a good thing, too, since David was ready to stare at him until next Tuesday without a blink.
Marketing Tools to the Extreme
The Awkward Sexual Tension (AST) portion of the evening is over. On to the challenge! Kent explains that it’s tough being a corporate entity. Thanks to stinkin’ Enron, people aren’t real happy with corporate America. Now Kent, we are told, is passionate about public relations, and has designed an “extreme” challenge to test their PR skills. If America doesn’t like the face of your company, he reasons, it’s up to the PR professional to put a new face on the company. Good idea, but does it have to be a hot pink, fuzzy face?
Kent announces they will be designing a mascot for one of IOCOR’s affiliate companies. “Drycon” manufactures a chemical found in common household products called hydro cyanic acid (HCN, if you‘re playing along at home). None of the contestants have heard of it, and from the chopped-up interviews with them obviously shot at a later time, they won’t remember it either. Not a one could repeat the name of the chemical - or it’s more commonly known name, cyanide. Kent tells them that while this chemical is in products all around them, it’s incredibly toxic. Their job is to create a “marketing tool” for Drycon; in other words, a mascot.
After they have designed a mascot, they will create an informational presentation about the product suitable for children. Oh, and by the way, they will be performing for a roomful of eight-year-olds and their parents because, you know, it worked on The Benefactor. Sort of. David tells them that he will be watching the men (cue the warm gaze from David and uncomfortable squirming on Damian’s part) while Kent will be observing the women’s efforts (cue the leer from Kent and uncomfortable looks from Annette and Whitney) . Inappropriate leers and furry animals costumes? This should be fun.
Men Kissing Men and Women With Large Teeth
The men and women are herded into separate rooms that have been stocked with costumes, crafts, and dozens of furry heads. Alvin the Chipmunk appears to have made the ultimate sacrifice, as has Dorothy the Dinosaur (from the Wiggles - a preschool reference, please just skip if you’re not mired in a Wiggly World like some of us). The women actually seemed excited by the challenge. The men approach their work less enthusiastically, but right away hit on the idea of a superhero as appealing to little boys. In other words, they are volunteering to don a cape and tights, so I don’t want to hear any whining about it later. Robert seems pretty quick to jump into a mermaid costume, complete with flowing blond wig. I’ve got to hand it to Robert - he’s found a way to work around that disfiguring shortness the Boss almost fired him for in the first episode.
It’s the next day, and the teams have prepared their presentations. They are trucked to a magnet school, which Damian sees as an advantage. He thinks gifted children couldn’t possibly get bored. Which suggests he was never in a class of gifted children, either as a child or an adult. Let’s get on with the brutality, shall we?
The men’s presentation has a comic scientist inventing a chemical with super powers, namely, Captain Drycon. David enters the arena with a somersault, then bounces around a lot in his cape. The meat of their show - the edumacating, if you will - is all about chemical safety. The men decide to personify the side effects associated with exposure to hydro cyanic acid; hence, we meet Michael as “Rashy Robby,” Donald as “Dr. Dizziness,” and in a part that wasn’t explained to me, Robert emerges in his mermaid costume as “Bob the Beauty”, Captain Drycon’s bimbo girlfriend. The superhero sweeps dainty little Robert into his arms for a dramatic kiss. How is this selling cyanide again?
To finish their presentation, the men have a catchy jingle that’s short and sweet. Pretty soon the kids are singing, “Drycon, Drycon, it’s everywhere you look.” Team One bows out of the room to rousing applause, flushed with their success.
Next, the women cartwheel onstage in costumes, if you can call them that. Elli has her hair in pigtails and is wearing enormous buck teeth. Kerry is also wearing the gigantic buck teeth, along with a trucker‘s cap. Elli is manic with excitement as tells the kids they will meet ALL of her FRIENDS! She’s just a bucktoothed kid with pony tails; what kind of friends could she possibly have? They trot out obediently: “Scuba Sandy”, “Fergie the Frog,” and most puzzlingly, Tonia in her regular jeans and shirt wearing a bald cap. She lurks in the background while the other “friends” careen around looking like manic depressives on triple-shot espressos. Fergie is the star of the show, in her bright green, pregnant-looking frog costume. Too bad for Whitney (inside) that she instantly forgets the name of the chemical they are supposed to be educating the youth of America about. Hydro…cyanon….thingie.
The women cover the side effects of the chemical by acting out the wretched upchucking and near-choking that would result by even a short exposure. As comic relief, it fails, but I doubt those kids will forget the sight of the women pretending to vomit graphically. Their jingle falls flat, too, by being several verses long, unmemorizable, and certainly not catchy. But they ended with flourish of jazz hands. The kids look half asleep with boredom.
Kent takes a vote, and although there’s only thirty people sitting in the room, the men win 20 to 19. Drycon has a new mascot. Team bald/scuba/frog/bucktooth are heading for the boardroom.
Whitney’s Got a Boyfriend! Neener Neener Neener!
The women enter the boardroom, and David the actor makes the comment that the remaining contestants really seem to be buying into the idea that Mr. Todd’s wisdom will help them further their careers in business. The actors want to test the contestants’ limits where they can, so Whitney is asked to appear in her frog costume - to facilitate discussion of her team’s PR strategy, naturally. As an added bonus, she looks ridiculous sitting at the table with the others in business suits.
Mr. Todd is back from whatever took him away from the challenge, and he’s not amused. He starts off by telling Whitney to take the frog head off in an irritated voice. Then he lays into the women, telling them they have a “virus” and “it’s called losing”. He calls them weak, and says that in his business, the weak only survive if the stronger are weaker. “What do you think of that?” he challenges Tonia, who nods mutely in response.
Mr. Todd wants to know who came up with the aquatic idea, and the women agree that it was a collaborative effort. Mr. Todd cuts off Elli’s comments mid-sentence, then invites David to give his opinion. David points out that with the big frog head on, he couldn’t see Whitney’s mouth; while in contrast, he was drawn in - hell, he was “attracted to” - the men’s mouths moving and forming words. Furthermore, he applauds the men’s “water cooler” moment, a man-on-man kiss. That got his attention, he tells the women.
Mr. Todd wants to know why Whitney was put in the frog suit, therefore cutting off the view of Whitney’s “fascinating” eyes? It’s like the person is shrouded in a frog, he shouts. But he’s also implying that the team took their greatest eye-candy and wrapped her up in amphibian goodness. Whitney tries to defuse his anger from inside the frog head but Mr. Todd is right in this case; all you can here is an incoherent mumble. Mr. Todd thunders that you “don’t put a Picasso in a closet and you don’t put a Whitney in the frog suit!” I think we’re clear on Mr. Todd’s preferences now.
Kerry nominates Elli and Whitney for elimination. She explains that Elli performed the weakest on the challenge (which I can only take to mean that Bald Tonia must have done something brilliant that wasn’t shown) and Whitney is there to ensure that Elli is the one to get the boot. Kerry says it in a roundabout way, but what she’s implying is that Whitney is such an obvious favorite of Mr. Todd’s, she’s confident he won’t kick her out of
bedhis office for eating crackerswearing a frog head. Mr. Todd tells Kerry that she’s being presumptuous, and she’s taking a big risk. A bigger one than Kerry realizes, since Mr. Todd doesn‘t get a say in who to keep.
It Was Me! I Invented Scuba Sandy!
The two women are ready for their final defense. Elli tells Mr. Todd that she hasn’t had the chance to show what kind of leader she is. She created Scuba Sandy, and … but before she can continue, Whitney jumps in and lays claim to Scuba Sandy. Them’s fightin’ words, and soon the two are bickering about Scuba Sandy, talking over each other and squabbling unchecked. Mr. Todd lets them go at it without a word, even glancing directly at the camera for a moment. At one point, Mr. Todd does exert himself enough to tell Elli that the other women hate her, and that sets off another round of yammering.
Eventually, Mr. Todd kicks them of the boardroom, commenting that they better get a decision out of the mystery boss quickly, as the women will be going at it in the hallway.
The Boss Behind the Dross
Mr. Todd throws us a tiny clue by calling the mystery boss, “The Man.” So now we know he’s not female, and has the ability to sit in a chair. And he may be an anagram of the character name Mr.N.Paul Todd. Other than that, I’ve got nothing.
Mr. Todd reiterates to us privately that he has no power to keep Whitney around even if he wanted too. She feels like she has his favor, but it means nothing to the game. The Man is making the decisions, not the Boss. He receives his instructions, then returns to tell the women the news.
Back in the boardroom, he goes back to work, pretending to be sharing the reasoning behind his decision. He summarizes Elli up as a creative person - someone who likes to stir the pot. Elli looks like she disagrees with this characterization, but before she can speak he silences her by saying that he likes his pot stirred. Furthermore, of all the members of the Femron team, she’s the only one with brass ones. Elli doesn’t look very flattered, but manages to hold her tongue.
Mr. Todd seems on the verge of firing Whitney, telling her he finds her fascinating, but that it was presumptuous of her and Kerry to bank on his liking for her to save her. He feels like Whitney is playing him “like some junior executive.”
He draws out the moment as long as he can, but eventually he gets around to kicking Elli out of his office. She’s up and striding out in a flash, but she pauses by the door to tell state that “Paul” is “missing out on a really good opportunity.” Woah, Elli! Is this where your previous experience as a Vegas swinger comes in?
On the street, Elli tells us that she didn’t learn anything from Paul; in fact, she tells the doorman that he works for a jackass. A real businessman would tell her why she was being fired instead of just kicking her out of his office. She says that she doesn’t understand the process, calling it “freaking ridiculous” and “overdramatic.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Todd has a message for Whitney: if you play with fire, you’re going to get burned. She meekly bids him good night and tries to shake his hand, but his expression doesn’t soften. She can’t charm a single “fascinating” out of him, and looks like her goldfish was found belly-up in the tank.
The contestants sell bogus products, such as tampons made from berries and twigs and “reusable” toilet paper. Mr. Todd gives a speech so chock full of bleeps that it’s incomprehensible. What does “[bleep] [bleep] and then [bleep] [bleep] to a [bleep] [bleep] on a melon” mean?
No turkeys were harmed during the writing of this recap. firstname.lastname@example.org