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Fed up with D-list celebs coming on the show in a feeble attempt to jump-start dead careers for charitable purposes? Fear not, Apprentice fans! (How many of you are left, exactly?) Donald Trump has a new purpose in mind – to single-handedly end the recession by enlisting 16 under- or un-employed, yet stunning over-confident, reasonably good-looking young people (with a couple middle-aged ones thrown in to appease the aging Gen X’ers who are, after all, the main viewer demographic for this show) and give them the chance to become the…Apprentice! Ready for some sob stories challenging tasks and superbitches strong personalities? And can you believe this show has lasted ten seasons? Let’s pretend it’s because it provides such consistent entertainment and has nothing to do with Trump having some kind of weird sex tape featuring the president of NBC.

The playas

First off, let’s have a quick meet and greet session. We get some background info and quickie interviews with 14 of the 16 contestants. After a couple recounts and some head-scratching, I deduce that the Apprentices whose interviews were left on the editing room floor are Alex, a friendly-appearing greyhead, and Brandy, a blonde who’s harder to pinpoint as she is nearly impossible to discern from the other 3 or 4 blondes in attendance. Brandy does get some face time in the boardroom, but more on that later. Much later – 2-hour premiere this week, folks. There’s Tyana, a former sales rep; Steuart, who spells his name in the stupidest way possible and is some kind of “fledgling entrepreneur” (in other words, no income and living in his parents’ basement); James, lawyer and all-around jerkoff; David, one-time telecom sales bigshot and divorcee with 5 kids and apparent mental health issues; Poppy, unemployed with a headful of blonde hair extensions and two college degrees; Stephanie, banker; Nicole, former pageant queen and lawyer; Gene, balding and bow-tied ex-military man, now jobless financial advisor; Anand, “business owner” (perhaps he owns the coffee truck one of the blondes sells cupcakes out of); Wade, realtor; Mahsa, strident assistant district attorney; Kelly, publicist; Clint, property developer; and Liza, another “business owner”.

THE playa

The Donald begins by holding court in the boardroom first thing. It’s the usual – a few intros, Trump announces it’s men vs. women, and they’re sent off to pick team names and project managers for the first task, to be revealed at the Trump Building on Wall Street. Trump advises them to “be tough”, a sentiment that David & Clint take to heart. More on that later.

The men, who give us a laugh-out-loud moment by suggesting “Icarus” as a team name, get the testosterone flowing and choose “Octane”. It sounds like a Spike TV program or a really bad ‘80’s hair band. The women have their own snicker-worthy suggestion of “Inspire” (a new brand of feminine hygiene products?) but they break out the thesaurus and decide on “Fortitude”, a new Lifetime movie starring Meredith Baxter-Birney. Or is she just “Baxter” now? Wait, isn’t “Baxter” a new Disney Channel show? This is all very confusing. Back to the Apprenti war rooms. The juice quickly peters out of the Octane boys, as there’s no volunteers for PM. Gene is nominated and with reservations, he accepts. An enthusiastic (as befitting a former Miss California finalist) Nicole begs to be the first PM, which suits the other gals just fine.

Office Space, HGTV style

All gather with Trump and his offspring at the hallowed Trump Building, and Ivanka – who is looking a little too Anna-Nicole Smith these days, if you get my drift – announces the task will be to design an ultra-modern workspace. Yeah, I thought it too – boooooooring. One hour and 40 minutes to go. Trump says the winning PM will receive something “nice”. As the Donald is such a fan of the grandiose, the “nice” adjective isn’t very motivational. The apprentices force smiles and hope it’s cash so they can put some money on their over-extended credit card balances, and maybe get the kids some new shoes.

To minimize any boredom factor, let’s try a fresh approach and dispense with the dizzying back-and-forth between teams that makes notes so hard to take - especially for those of us recappers who are PVR-less – and break this task down by teams. So without further ado:


Both teams’ office spaces are big, wall-less, main-floor, and feature huge banks of windows. Tyana quickly speaks up and claims design experience, being involved in new home sales. More like new home foreclosures these days, ha ha. Her vision is “urban downtown loft”, with black & gray as the feature colors. So much for minimizing boredom. Nicole, feeling a little demeaned as PM, nixes the colors but then agrees to send Tyana out to buy paint. Nice strategizing, Miss California. She chooses Poppy as her partner to meet with the architectural designer – how much work can architectural designers be getting in this economy??? – and Mahsa grouses in the background about how much Nicole sucks as a leader. Lay the foundation, ADA Mahsa. Now there’s some nice strategizing.

Nicole, still annoyed with Tyana’s experience and expertise in the design area, gets Stephanie to go shopping with her for props. Stephanie bluntly tells Nicole that Tyana should be the one involved with that kind of task. Nicole is grumpy and vocal in her dislike of Tyana, but sees reason. In the meantime, the women on the work crew quarrel over window-washing and painting, who is working harder and who is the biggest bitch. Tyana is the apparent winner in all this, having purchased gray paint. Nicole returns to fetch Poppy and Tyana to go furniture shopping, and gives Tyana free reign over the office items.

It’s day 2 – no late-night sessions for this efficient bunch, but of course being unemployed for so long they’ve had plenty of time to rest – Mahsa is antsy and insists on being included in a shopping excursion. This team certainly likes to spend Trump’s money – they’ve shopped more in a day and a half than one of Donald’s wives can manage in a week’s time. Today Tyana picks out a random painting of some old guy who looks oddly familiar, and who the women dub “Uncle Forty”. The painting is to hang in the executive office, for some inexplicable reason. It would have been smarter to hang a picture of Trump himself there – Donald never minds a little brown-nosing.

Junior, his hair greasier than ever, arrives along with Fortitude’s furniture. Nicole slams Tyana to Junior, calling Tyana “my Cyndi Lauper”, but adds that Tyana has turned into a design superstar and is now the strongest team member. Tyana is offended by the Lauper remark – her hair being nowhere near that bad – and in return, badmouths Nicole to Junior. Young Trump is just happy to have pretty girls talking to him and offers little advice.

Fortitude, encountering few problems with furniture and staging, are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed upon Trump Sr.’s arrival. Tyana plays receptionist and Nicole walks Donald around the office, which certainly is ultra-modern. It’s a little too blandly neutral for me but it does look like very much like every newer office I’ve ever seen – but I’m guessing the lack of gold filigree won’t win points with Trump.


Anand is a commercial real-estate guy – although his profile under his name is business owner – and he starts the festivities by throwing out suggestions for design. An anxious Gene suggests a “green” theme, but has no idea what that involves. Attorney James gets busy complaining, which is his main contribution for the next couple of days. The architectural designer arrives and doodles on his sketchpad while the boys debate paint color. Anand steps in with James as sidekick, who bemoans PM Gene’s lack of focus. Mere nothing compared to the trouble brewing between Clint and David, who turn a simple request by Gene to acquire some plants into a near-brawl. David, who gives every impression that he’s a guy whose meds have not quite kicked in yet, demands that Clint hand over the cellphone so he can call “my A/V guys”. Chest-thumping and belly-bumping ensue, with a distraught Gene looking on. They settle down before Ivanka arrives, in a distractingly transparent ivory dress. The boys preen, except for James, who claims to be afraid of the Lady Trump – who is rather fearsome compared to her brother, at that.

A stressed Gene decides that he’s had enough, and lays down the law. PM Gene becomes General Gene, tearing David a new one and advising the rest that from now on, he’s handing out the orders and they better start saluting and falling in. I actually just made that last part up and quoted some stuff I remember Louis Gossett Jr. yelling in An Officer and a Gentleman. Minus the expletives. However, Gene does get his military man on full-force the next day, and starts doling out specific tasks. There’s a pathetic little aside, as David again commandeers the cell phone and sneaks outside to phone the unemployment office to register for ongoing benefits. He bucks up once the tech guys appear with the computer equipment, though, and a happy Gene declares the team cohesive.

James, a glass half-full kind of guy, is now unhappy with what he calls Gene’s micro-managing. He and Gene have a go over paint stripes on the wall – yes, really, but more pressing is the lack of furniture, with only 30 minutes left in the challenge. The men manage to pull their space together with scant time to spare, though, and are ready for Trump’s arrival. Gene greets Donald and gives him the tour – Octane’s space is more colorful and original than Fortitude’s (I much prefer it, but as a cubicle veteran who’s stared at gray walls for the last couple of decades, my standards are pretty low). It almost goes well until some cameramen wipe out on rugs that were not affixed to the floor. No word yet on any potential lawsuits, but you could see Trump start to sweat.

The Bored Room

Well, color me neutral gray – Trump can’t wait to announce to both teams that he didn’t like either office space. He’s also pretty ticked about the rug-slipping incident, but Anand graciously steps up and takes full responsibility for the oversight, which takes the steam out of Donald. He grouses a bit about liability and how much he had to pay the cameramen off, and leaves it at that.

PM Gene names David & James – who he calls “negative” and “subversive” – as the weak links, and James pretends to be shocked while David indulges in some eye-rolling. The David/Clint scrap is rehashed, but for some reason no one suggests David attend some anger-management classes. Instead, Junior calls Clint out on his decision to attend the boardroom tie-less. In other words – it’s okay to be unbalanced, but for God’s sake look good while you’re doing it. Advice Cyndi Lauper should have heeded last season.

Time for Fortitude to chime in, and Nicole is blowing sunshine over at Trump about her awesome team and kickass office space. Suddenly, it’s like a Simpsons episode, when Mr. Burns shouts, “Release the hounds!” The women circle Nicole and nip at her heels, proclaiming her ineffectiveness as team leader. Brandy – remember her? You have no reason to, as she’s gotten zero air time till now – speaks up and says everyone worked very hard, except Nicole. Mahsa, who could do with a little anger management herself, yips so angrily that Trump cuts her off mid-sentence.

Donald doesn’t love either space – to the extent that he finds it necessary to repeat this five times – but after some input from his Trumplets, picks Octane as the task winner. As winning PM, Gene gets to have a private pow-wow with Trump. This is the “nice” prize previously mentioned. Well, if dinner and champagne is included, I guess it qualifies as “nice”.

The men troop off to get drunk and laugh at the women from their war room, while the women turn the boardroom into another kind of war room. Brandy leads the charge to throw Nicole under the bus, and every single woman in Fortitude backs her up. Mahsa goes positively Rambo on Nicole, and I wouldn’t have been surprised had she lunged over the table at the former pageant princess when Nicole decides to bring her back to the final boardroom. Tyana is the third unlucky candidate, but she eagerly sides with Mahsa, who takes a few more bites out of Nicole’s ass until Trump shuts her down. Ivanka is displeased with Mahsa’s pit-bull demeanor, but Junior is firmly on board the Nicole-hater train. Hopefully Nicole’s legal specialty is not as a defense attorney, as she’s no match for ADA Mahsa. Trump, professing to like Nicole but not having a choice, fires her. Nicole heads to the elevator (no luggage in tow – I guess this bunch is so broke they can’t afford clothes?) but is philosophical about being the first out, and has no harsh parting words. Trump declares his intention to set up an interview for Nicole with the Miss Universe Pageant – I guess they need plenty of lawyers to deal with the pageant scandals, after all.

Next week, look forward to ice cream, catfights, and lildago – first 50 readers get free virtual Haagen Dazs bars! The full size, NOT snack size. Be here early and enjoy!

Hmmm…a new Trump ice cream flavor? How about Raspberry Blue Chip?