”The Apprentice”: They can’t shoot straight
Howdy from Texas, ducklings! This is gonna be pretty much incoherent because it’s the day after SXSW and my fingers no want type-type anymore. Hopefully, the additional commentary from my mother will help make up for the lack of clarity/goodness, and hey, you can always use the rage created by my incompetence to clean your bathroom.
Much as last week’s booting of Surya could be seen coming from a mile away, this week Muna never stood a chance, with shot after shot of her babbling incomprehensibly, glaring sternly at her teammates, or sitting atop a freeway overpass looking like she just might jump. And man, does obvious editing make for a boring episode — maybe it’s the Mexican food I had for dinner, but I could hardly keep my eyes open.
Then again, after seeing tonight’s task, I’m wondering if maybe editing ain’t so easy after all. The Apprentici met on the set of NBC’s ”top rated” yet recently canceled soap opera Passions, then headed out to their KB model homes to get crackin’ on a 45-second webisode for Soft Scrub Deep Clean Foaming Cleanser. (”I buy that!” said my mom.) Personally, I hoped someone would come up with an hommage to The O.C. and burn the model home to the ground (”This Soft Scrub can tackle that mess!”), but no such luck. Instead, we got Nicole screaming at Tim in her annoying wrecked voice — could we perhaps do a task that involves lozenges next week? — and James professing to lack even the most rudimentary knowledge of film technique. Seriously: Has this guy never seen, like, a TV show ever in his life? I mean, it’s fine if you’re not ready to put together a 10-minute tracking shot through an Italian restaurant, but how is it possible he’d never considered the existence of close-ups before? And not that I’d know, but could that whole thing have looked any more like really low-rent porn?
Kinetic, on the other hand, was busy creating what looked more like a Skinemax special, with Muna for some reason insisting she wanted to act in the video, despite her heavily accented speech and her increasingly religious behavior. ”The only thing is, you guys,” she said, as they discussed a script that was all about infidelity, ”I can’t use the Lord’s name in vain.” Cranky project manager Kristine replied, ”God said I could use it in vain, though.” That was but one of the snappy secular bon mots Kristine tossed off tonight, which were pretty much the episode’s only redeeming (get it?) quality. Kinetic lost the task because no one could understand what Muna was saying in the webisode but also because their video didn’t leverage the brand strongly enough (in contrast to Arrow’s hollering-sledgehammer-cleaner-porn approach), and as the two women at fault prepared to go head-to-head in the boardroom, they each pulled out their trusty manuals for living. Muna read to us from her Bible: ”The Bible says if you have faith, you can move mountains.” Meanwhile, Kristine sat on the other side of the campground reading one of Trump’s books, because ”God is not the one in there making the decision. Mr. Trump is making the decision. And I have yet to see God sitting in the chair to his right.”
So while Arrow headed off to meet with Arnold Schwarzenegger as their reward (where they learned all about clichés and their usage in modern conversation), Muna vs. Kristine was on in the boardroom. And even though I’ve since come to realize that the loss was definitely Kristine’s fault, not only for casting Muna in the first place but then for leaving her and the rest of the shoot unattended, there was never a moment’s concern that she might be going home, much to the chagrin of my mother. ”Well, they shouldn’t have picked that girl you can’t understand to act!” she said. ”And when they realized they couldn’t understand her, they should have changed stuff!” Mom was also a bit incensed to see that James, not God, was sitting on Trump’s right. ”That’s unfair! They’re all on the same level! He shouldn’t be on that side of the table!” Then she sighed bitterly and said, ”Donald Trump knows more than I do, I suppose. At least he has more money than I do.” Great job, The Apprentice. My mother has watched like three-quarters of an episode in her entire life, yet you’ve already somehow destroyed her self-esteem.
Some other stuff happened regarding lambs; Ivanka (who’s back, and snottier than ever) got hung up on the word ”globally”; and I honestly think at one point James said, ”Did you know you could rewind the tape?” Weirdly, it also looked for a second like Heidi was going home for waffling between her loyalties to Kristine and Muna. Angela should be sent home for being dull as a hockey puck, but no such luck: It was the Munester all the way. Perhaps she and Surya are having a passionate reunion through a hedgerow somewhere in Loserville right now, or perhaps God himself came down to congratulate Muna on the fine ministry she did while being portrayed as a bit of a kook on a reality show. I really haven’t the foggiest.
What I do know, though, is how touched and moved I was by all of your comments last week requesting that I keep writing this column. Even though this week’s version has sucked, I hope you know how much your support meant to me. Except for the part where, you know, I now have to keep watching this show. And if I have to keep watching, so do you.
So: Is there even anyone to root for at this point? Is Nicole so loud because she’s using the black magicks to steal Stefani’s voice late at night while everyone is sleeping? Were they being deliberately funny when they showed Arnold Schwarzenegger talking about how having an accent didn’t prevent his success? And does anyone have an old VCR they can send James?