Apprentice 2: Eric Liebowitz

On the most unfair episode ever of ''The Apprentice,'' the team with a bridal-store owner wins a bridal-store task, and tough guy Chris is disengaged

November 12, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

”The Apprentice”: The most unfair episode ever

Hey, guess what! The Project Manager got fired again tonight!

Yeah, I know. It’s crazy. Wake the kids. Phone the neighbors.

The mission was to set up a bridal shop and sell the most dresses. Which is kinda funny, if you think about it, because hey! Sandy, the one with the straight hair who is not either one of the Jennifers, is actually a bridal shop owner in real life! Nuts, right? And — wait for it — would you believe me if I told you that the team that didn’t have Sandy was the team that lost? Shut up, right?

I’m sorry to hit you with so much mind-boggling information all at once. It’s just, well, it’s my job, people.

Anyway, after announcing in last week’s Boardroom that his team sucked and they were all going to crash and burn, Chris was doomed to become the worst Project Manager ever, at one point slumping down against a wall with his head in his hands while Jen M. and Kevin and Ivana (can’t you just imagine her saying, ”Our easy-fit jeans are on sale this week”?) stared at him. He had a little smiley face drawn on his knee in black marker, and it was seriously the saddest thing I’d ever seen, a desperate cry for help, like those kids who used to draw on themselves in Saturday detention, except less satanic. He didn’t have a chance in hell, young Chris, Chris the Homophobe, Chris of the Many Bleeped Words, Chris who Might Have Been Really Smart but had a pathological fear of wedding dresses unlike any I’ve ever seen. I’m thinking: Child of divorce? Broken engagement? Allergic to taffeta?

Some things to consider:

1. I would imagine that the tasks on The Apprentice are planned out well in advance. And having a task that is the exact job of one of the contestants in real life seems a little bit disingenuous to me, like casting, I don’t know, a survivalist on Survivor or, like, a hooker on The Bachelor. It’s just unfair, and I’m not sure I liked it. While it could be argued that what Sandy brought to the task — knowing to advertise on, for example — was common sense, I thought the attempt to create artificial drama around Blinky Maria’s forgetting to put the phone number on the ad was pretty lame. I didn’t think for a second that no one was going to show up.

2. My Apprentice-watching buddy Al made a really good point tonight, as we were eating our rice pudding (we’re in a rut): She thinks last season they waited until after the task was announced to pick their Project Manager, and then chose someone who was uniquely qualified for that mission. I cannot confirm if this is true or false, but it sounds right, and it sounds like a much better way to go about things. Discuss.

3. To the owner of a white pickup truck parked on a SoHo side street last summer: Yep. That’s what happened to your taillight. I believe I see some legal action in your future! Go for it!

4. Tonight’s Lesson was ”Believe in Yourself,” which I thought was sweet considering the way Chris seemed to be suffering from a full-on nervous breakdown. But even better was the Totally Staged Business Moment that came with the Lesson, with Donald ”Industry” Trump in his limo discussing what to name the new Chicago building. He finally settled on a wildcard, Trump Tower Chicago, and I realized what I’ve been doing wrong my entire life: not naming enough things after myself. So from now on, this recap will be known as the Whitney International Apprentice Recap. Thank you. I feel much better now.

5. Is it a rule that whenever women are allowed near wedding dresses, they must dance around with them? Is there some sort of prescription available for those of us who find that sort of behavior nauseating?

6. Trump’s announcement of this evening’s reward, the way I expected it to play out: ”Tonight, you are going to what many consider to be the finest jewelry store in all of the world: Trump International Graff’s Jewelers. There, you will meet Melania, who will wear a lot of things you will never be able to afford. Please do not touch the diamonds. Please do not touch Melania. Enjoy.” But holy crap! Instead, he actually gave the team $50,000 to spend on themselves, and he let them touch Melania! It was nuts! It was, dare I say it, damn close to an actual reward! What the hell is going on?

7. Am I the only one who half expected to see Raj sitting next to Robin outside the boardroom, feet up on the desk, one hand casually draped over her slim, alluring shoulder, a snifter of brandy in the other, smiling his smiley smile? Really? I’m the only one? Jeez. What is wrong with me?

Speaking of the boardroom, there was way less drama this week, and yet it really does seem Burnett has heard your cries of outrage and has either stopped the stupid overdubs or hired a competent sound engineer. Chris was a goner from the beginning, no shocker there, but when it came time to choose who would stay or who would go, he sent Jen M. back up to the suite and kept Ivana and Kevin, who immediately turned on him and said, ”Why did you let her go?” and Chris had no answer at all. He’d initially declared that she did the best job, which I’m inclined to agree with — Jen M. has an air of competence that many of the remaining worms completely lack — but then he seemed totally unwilling to back that up once it was just the three of them. Now, this may have been a ploy to try and win their affections so they wouldn’t send him home, I dunno, but then what I found absolutely bizarre was the way that Trump and Carolyn went off on Jen, agreeing with Ivana’s snakelike assertion that Jen was ”slipping by” every time and saying that had she been in the boardroom, they would have sent her home. That, my friends, is what Chris might like to call a crock of bleep. Who are they kidding? There was no way anyone but Chris was leaving tonight — not the Poisonous Tree Frog Ivana (who made, for the record, Boardroom Appearance Number 5 tonight), not Increasingly Indignant Kevin (who needs to be careful, because his indignation is now bordering on the sociopathic). The bell tolled for thee, Chris. Please don your unnecessary winter coat and make your way to the cab. My friend Al has left you a lovely parting gift at your dentist’s office.

Next week: we have been guaranteed the Best. Boardroom. Ever. Ah, people. Here at Whitney International Apprentice Recap, we like to keep our expectations low. Remember: If you start out depressed, everything is kind of a pleasant surprise.

What did you think? Was this task fair? Did Chris deserve what he got? And will Raj and Robin find true love?

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