On ''The Apprentice,'' the teams take a pop quiz: Assigned to design a new soda container, Apex makes a hole in one, but Mosaic fizzes out

By Whitney Pastorek
Updated November 26, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST
Apprentice 2: Eric Liebowitz

The Apprentice

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”The Apprentice”: The teams take a pop quiz

It’s Thanksgiving. I’ve had a lot of turkey and a lot of wine.

Tonight’s Pepsi commercial — excuse me — tonight’s task, which was designing a new bottle for a certain brand of soft drink that just might have been Pepsi, opened with everyone fighting over the chance to be the Project Manager, and I just wanted to reach through the television and grab them all and shake them and scream, If you are the Project Manager and you lose, you are going home, you morons! And sure enough, national debate champion Andy stepped up and lost out to two women in a Boardroom that reminded me a lot of the arguments we’d have in my dorm in college when someone’s boyfriend would come over and use the last of the toilet paper at 3 a.m. Jen M. (who got traded off Apex to even out the numbers) and Sandy (whose hair appears to be functioning independently of her body at this point) bickered incessantly, and Andy sat between them looking like he wanted nothing more than to smack his head onto the table very, very hard, and after Trump smacked his hand on the table to shut them all up and ultimately fired the boy wonder, he turned to Carolyn and George and, in his obligatory weekly use of the word ”tough,” said, ”I’ve always thought women were tougher than men,” and even though I’m a woman, and a pretty freakin’ tough one, I had to take that opportunity to disagree. What Sandy and Jen showed was not toughness, it was bitchiness, and pettiness, and, I dunno, loudness. But not toughness. Toughness is, frankly, what I thought Andy showed by not letting them drag him down to their level. But I guess Trump’s more interested in ”spunk” than, like, maturity, or —

Look, whatever. All these people are lost causes at this point, as far as I’m concerned. Even Jen acted like a 12-year-old this week. Every time I think someone has promise, they screw it up, and then there’s Ivana the Tree Frog helping to come up with another good idea — putting a hole in a soda bottle is a cool plan, even if you accompany the notion with the phrase ”piece of a boob!” — and because of that I tried so hard to like her this week, I really did, and then when they went for their Best. Reward. Ever (driving Lamborghinis around the Pocono Speedway!), she had to blurt out, ”I mean, I wrecked the Porsche my dad gave me when I was 16,” and now I can never like her, ever, ever, ever. Let’s just be honest: It would have been nice to wreck the maroon Isuzu pickup I bought when I was 16, but the thing didn’t go much over 35 mph.

Going through my tryptophan-garbled notes here . . . Oh! The hair brushing in the van — when Jen and Sandy were brushing their hair in unison! Fire them both! Or how about when Ivana started a sentence with ”I’m not trying to be retarded, but . . .”? No need to try, dear! And how about those poor Pepsi-bottle designers whose faces all screamed, ”Holy crap! We have to do whatever these jackasses say. I can’t believe we went to college for this.” And then Andy bribed them and withheld their dinner until their work was done! Ah, the Fidel Castro school of business management, yes, I hear that’s been tremendously successful over the years.

Sigh. But it’s Thanksgiving. And so I am going to take the last few moments here to think of things for which I am thankful. Let’s see.

1. Thank you, NBC, for finally purging the bad overdubs from the show. It’s like watching grown-up television now! I’m not sure if you hired a better sound engineer or just taught Trump how to read cue cards, but there is nothing better than the illusion that what’s happening on the screen is what actually happened in real life.

2. Thank you, also, NBC, for the moment when Kevin and Kelly and Ivana walked into the Pepsi presentation room and it turned out to be the soda equivalent of the U.N. General Assembly, with dozens of employees peering down at them like tigers ready to pounce. When those window shades came down, I honestly believed for a minute there might be a bloodbath, or at least some poking at the contestants with sticks. Even though that didn’t happen, I thank you for the visual.

3. Thank you, Kelly, for answering the phone shirtless.

4. Thank you, scenes from next week, for showing Ivana dropping trou in the middle of the street and consequently giving me the most hope I’ve had in weeks that she’ll be going home soon.

5. Thank you, Hudson River Valley, for being a gorgeous aerial shot.

Um, that’s it. I know Al’s gonna yell at me for being too negative this week, but come on. Is there anyone you find sympathetic at this point? . . . No, I’m really asking. Would you let these remaining six people run any aspect of your life? Could someone please clue me in as to their appeal, Trump’s logic behind his decisions, Carolyn and George’s actual role in anything that’s happening here, etc.? Because honestly, I thought Jen and Sandy and Andy should have been fired this week, except that leaves us with Kelly and Kevin and Ivana, all of whom seem legitimately eeeevil, and I don’t want any of them to win, either. I am just completely befuddled and, though it pains me to admit it, sort of glad the whole thing is winding down. I’m ready to hit the reset button, bring in some new people and try this again. Aren’t you?

What do you think? Who should have gone this week? And is there anyone left worth rooting for?

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