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''The Apprentice'': Beads of sweat in the boardroom

On ”The Apprentice,” Trump is far from dazzled by Tana’s bead obsession during the T-shirt task — but in the end, lawyer Alex’s losing record makes his argument moot

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The Apprentice (Season 3)
Alex: Craig Blankenhorn/NBC

”The Apprentice”: Beads of sweat in the boardroom

Hey, kids. I’m back, and I’d like to start by thanking the incomparable Jennifer Armstrong, who filled in for me last week, and whose subtlety and grace under pressure are always appreciated. I’d also like to thank President George W. Bush for choosing Thursday night to make some speech about some thing, causing me to run scurrying out of a bar where I was happily drinking with friends and back to the office so I could be sure to see this episode, lest the speech about the thing screw up my recording at home and cause me to miss it all. Thank God that didn’t happen. Had I not seen tonight’s episode, I might have missed the moment when this show officially became so boring, it flipped back around to fascinating. The Apprentice: Now With Metaphysics-Defying Action!

Look at them. They are losing their minds. Craig started the night shining shoes and sporting a ‘fro-pick. Tana looks like she’s living on Slim-Fast shakes and some of Chris’ unused chaw. Alex is maintaining his metrosexual ways, but let’s listen to his words: ”The worst person to get in a fight with is someone who has nothing to lose,” he said, and then pointed to his brain. ”That’s me.” Only Kendra, She Who Will Win, looks like she’s bearing up under the pressure of all the soul-sucking… but that’s possibly because she’s always seemed a little soulless to begin with (and that, my little ducklings, is why I love her).

Now. When I think of T-shirts, I think of Hanes! How about you? Well, you do now. Apparently, the nice people at Hanes have been making T-shirts for 50 years, and so the Apprentici were tasked with making a commemorative shirt to celebrate that. Snore. To assist them in this task were two of The World’s Most Prominent Pop-Culture Artists: Dude I’d Never Heard Of No. 1, and Dude I’d Never Heard Of No. 2. (What on earth is a ”pop-culture artist”? Were the seemingly high silk-screeners from the American Eagle episode too busy?) Our Project Managers were Kendra and Tana — who’d joined Alex over on Big Loser Team and who was clearly the most qualified because (you know what’s coming) one time she sold all that crap on eBay. Yes. Again.

(BTW, if you missed it, Alex actually used the word crestfallen to describe Kendra’s condition when the restructuring left her on a team with Devil Craig. After Wednesday night’s America’s Next Top Model, where the gals had trouble defining aloof, I found this use of a $5 word refreshing.)

Off they trot to start making ugly shirts. Kendra and Craig get in a fight; Alex and Tana refer to something as ”tight.” I rub my eyes because I cannot believe the repetitive nature of this television program. The Lesson, though, was ”Keep Your Eyes on the Prize,” and so I popped those babies open again and focused in close… just in time for it to get so boring I could no longer look away: This entire episode of a multimillion-dollar television program based on the life of a billionaire and his gazillion-dollar company hinged solely on… The BeDazzler. THE BEDAZZLER. The cheap-ass rhinestone-studding tool favored by art teachers and over-excitable soccer moms everywhere, the biggest piece of crap sold on late-night TV since the ThighMaster, the reason women own shirts with glittery kitty-cats on them. I left a bar where I was very happy and rushed to my office at 9 o’clock at night so that I would not miss an episode where a woman and a man, both reasonably in possession of their faculties, willingly got in a cab and drove to Staten Island to try and find A BEDAZZLER. Kendra and Craig hit up rich patrons of their Pet Artist Dude, but Alex and Tana went to a craft store in the only borough of New York that still has cows and searched for A. BE. DAZZ. LER. I cannot make this text get any bigger, but if I could…

So maybe Alex wasn’t kidding when he pointed at his brain and said he had nothing left to lose. Which is why tonight’s result has to be so very frustrating for him: Alex lost. Despite the fact that at one point Tana started referring to the rhinestones as ”My beads! My beads!” and equated them, in the right light, to diamonds — diamonds which, by the way, she ended up gluing on the shirts by hand because no one carries the *@#&#%$! BeDazzler anymore — she managed to squeak through this one alive.

Long story short, Kendra was off shooting down Devil Craig’s ass in a fighter plane while in the boardroom we had the following:

Tana: Insisted on BeDazzling. One time made $10K BeDazzling (???). Not this time. Has a 2-1 record as Project Manager.

Alex: Disagreed with BeDazzling. Possibly could make $10K BeDazzling but is metrosexual and has better taste. But as Tana pointed out mere seconds before she was destined to see the Cobra, Alex has a worse record as Project Manager, and one time he lost to her. Wait, Alex, what’s your record? ”Uh, 1-1?” Whoops. Nope. Try 1-2, babe.

And then Alex said something about Herschel Walker (???), willingly reminded Trump that he’d lost five times in a row, and creeped the hell out of me with the line, ”And I have all kinds of fire in my belly.” All kinds, all for naught. And so Alex took the Walk of Shame, out to the Cab of Death (did you guys see them almost get in an accident with that black Town Car? that was awesome!) where, oddly, he found his Brand New Life. Aw, sweet. Be free, young Alex. At least one of us should be.

Your final odds:

Craig: 15-1
Tana: 6-1
Kendra: 3-1

Your final odds if you are not optimistic about life/gender roles:

Craig: 2-1
Tana: 100-1
Kendra: 1000-1

What do you think? Are the Apprentici losing it? Who’ll choke during next week’s interviews? And seriously, does anyone out there think the BeDazzler is worth embarking on an epic quest?