On ''The Apprentice,'' best friends square off: After failing to make much noise with their televised rock-star charity event, macho men Chris and John turn on each other in the boardroom

By Whitney Pastorek
Updated March 11, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST
John: Craig Blankenhorn/ NBC

The Apprentice

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”The Apprentice”: Best friends square off

Hello, love muffins. I had such the night tonight! I wish you could have all been there to share in the glee, but instead I took my darling friend Al, who returned from the wilds of upstate New York for one night and one night only, to accompany me to the viewing party for this week’s Apprentice, hosted by the lovely and easily intoxicated people at Fuse. If you notice, they got some nice free advertising tonight, and that, my darlings, is something to celebrate.

We opened on the suite, where ‘Roid Rage Chris was concerned that John might be fired. John, you see, is like a big brother to Chris. And then it was handily explained that he, ‘Roid Rage Chris, is like a little brother to John. This concept pretty much blew my mind. Luckily, I didn’t have time to dwell on it, because Angie, in her apparently consistent role as answerer of the Rhona Phone (whatever, there’s no guys I want to see shirtless at this point anyway) was told that the teams needed to pick project managers and report to the boardroom.

Magna chose Kendra, as she’d never been it before. The Blond Stealth Bombshell was worried. ”I need to wear something powerful!” she said, before donning an adorable cap-sleeve blouse. Meanwhile, over at Net Worth, they drew Chris as P.M., providing my favorite moment #1: the smattering of applause that greeted that announcement. Kind of the same amount of noise generated by the rats on a sinking ship.

And so the little Apprentici headed downstairs, the women with inexplicable flowers pinned upon their bosoms like tiny, fluffy third boobs, in order to learn what all of us who pay attention to commercials already knew: The corporate reshuffling was upon us. ”The teams are even,” said Trump, ”which shows that anyone can be successful in business.” (Although Trump was at the party, I did not make my way over to the VIP section at this point to tell him that actually, all it shows is that anyone can BS their way through a reality show.) (Look, there was an open bar. I couldn’t be bothered.) And so the teams shuffled into the following order:

Magna: Kendra (smart), Craig (useless), Tana (nuts), Alex (anal), Bren (nuts).

Net Worth: Chris (nuts), Angie (dyes her hair), John (hubris!), Erin (smart), Stephanie (useless).

Tonight’s project was to host an 11-minute live celebrity auction on Fuse, featuring ”personal experiences” with a selection of middling pop and hip-hop stars. (”Wooooooooo!!!!” went the Fuse employees at the party, at any mention of their channel or shot of their building. They, too, had been enjoying the open bar, and watching this episode with them was a lot like watching the dead-people montage at the Oscars. The Fuse hairstylists are apparently very popular.)

Each team was assigned a set of celebrities to embarrass themselves in front of, but only one team had Tana. And so it was that the post-racist world of Mark Burnett revealed itself to us once again. ”Now we be talkin’!” Tana said to Lil’ Jon, right before getting crunkdefied. ”I know somebody would diggety that!” she squeaked to Lil’ Kim (She didn’t get to be the #1 Mary Kaye sales rep for nuthin’, people.) Worst Conservative Ever Bren fulfilled his weekly insanity quotient by declaring Tana was a MILF — which Tana, God bless her, thought stood for ”Mother I’d Like to Fool Around With” (MILFAW!). Craig checked off his loopy box by offering people a chance to perform ”on” Moby. John wore a wallet chain and managed somehow to offend the Barenaked Ladies (who are Canadian, for crying out loud — you, like, can’t offend them) while simultaneously saying some of the most misogynist things ever uttered in prime time (”fluffer”?). Erin and Stephanie made Gene Simmons ”rigid.” Do I need to go on? The only person who emerged unscathed from the celebathon was Kendra, who gets 1000 bonus points for mumbling, at Bren’s MILF comment, ”Just no cucumbers.”

When the dust cleared (and after Gene Simmons had put his finger in Erin’s ear and licked it), Magna had raised $21,654 to Net Worth’s $11, 325, all of which was going to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (no comment on Trump’s continuing inability to pronounce ”glay-ser”). But did Magna win a reward? No, their reward was simply in the giving. (”What? That’s worse than golf!” Al declared.) Meanwhile, ‘Roid Rage and his motley crew (now that would have been a cool band) reported to the boardroom.

It was clear to me that Misogynist John had to go. His little August Strindberg the Pimp routine had worn thin, plus he sucked at negotiating. (”We’re happy with anything at this point,” he said to Fat Joe. ”Okay, then,” Fat Joe should have said, ”here’s some spit in a can, you loser.” But Fat Joe is clearly more polite than I am.) And even though he and Chris swore they’d love each other till they died, I was pretty convinced the J-Man was out. But then I got concerned. George was so chatty tonight, lecturing the room on how they hadn’t ”knocked ’em off their socks” and how they didn’t understand negotiation and how he was a Simon and Garfunkel man, really, and even though Chris didn’t chew tobacco at all during the episode, it seemed so shaky for him. But then suddenly, the Rage paid off! Was that Chris standing up for himself? Raising his voice, but being articulate at the same time? Wait — is he really 21?? Even the Professor stuck out her neck to defend the Ragemeister, providing my favorite moment #2: the Trump Catch-22 of Death. ”Erin, you keep talking, you might get fired,” Donald taunted. ”But go ahead, keep talking.” Yeesh.

When the hammer finally fell and Trump fired John, the world fell silent in witness to the bromance between brothers, as Chris took Loser Boy in his arms and said, ”I love you, man.” Even my cold, cold heart couldn’t help being moved. Or maybe it was the gift bag at the party bringing tears to my eyes. Hard to say.

Cab same. Robin continuing to betray. See ya next week. Booyah!

What did you think? Are any new front-runners emerging? Should Chris have been fired instead? And if Chris loves John so much, how come he put him up for firing?

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