On ''The Apprentice,'' a do-it-yourself dismissal: Overestimating her bond with Trump, Erin refuses to work hardware and gets nailed in the boardroom

By Whitney Pastorek
Updated March 25, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST
Erin: Craig Blankenhorn/ NBC

The Apprentice

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”The Apprentice”: A do-it-yourself dismissal

Aw, ducklings! How I missed you! We had that week off — well, okay, it wasn’t technically off, but if Trump Etc. couldn’t be bothered to come up with a new episode, neither could I — and it’s like a little void opened in my life. But that was nothing compared to the void I feel now: The Professor, our Professor is gone. I feel like someone ran over my pithy dog.

We kicked things off with Boardroom Story Time, with Erin revealing her very special relationship with the Donald (insert first of multiple puking fits here) and Angie revealing her very odd relationship with the remaining twits on her team. Stephanie, Chris, and Erin were like her adopted children, she said, over scenes of the kids eating ice cream. Plus, we had Craig — the only candidate who hadn’t yet been project manager — sitting his team down to read a poem or something and then forcing everyone to pray. Or maybe Bren suggested the prayer. Either way, it was all just a little creepy at the beginning of tonight’s ep.

But then the Home Depot-commercial portion of the evening kicked in, and I cheered up — after all, it is consistently my favorite part of this series when the contestants perch hard hats on their heads. Trump introduced the Home Depot execs (shouldn’t he have learned their names, like, before?) and explained the project: to put on a clinic at a Home Depot store demonstrating a simple do-it-yourself project. Everyone smiled and looked thrilled. Only later would we discover the darkness in the hearts of them all, except Craig, who believes in the purity of power tools and their ability to change lives.

Mom Angie stepped up as project manager for Magna (or is it Net Worth?), because she considers Home Depot ”the happiest place on earth” (cue sobbing Disney execs). Erin immediately started yapping. She balked at the notion of doing crown molding (”As a former beauty queen, I know what a crown is,” she smirked, and I had a sudden fear she was going to start clawing at her face because she was just too pretty and we could never understand her pain), and then she started acting like a 14-year-old (”toilet seats, gross!”) and then cut some wood while wearing Jackie O. sunglasses, and frankly, because my TiVo told me that ”an overconfident candidate slacks off,” I pretty much figured she was a goner. Basically, the whole episode became like one long horror movie — ”Don’t go in the basement! Don’t wink at Trump again! Dear God, shut up!

Meanwhile, over at Net Worth (or is it Magna? or does it even matter?), Craig had a full-scale insurrection on his hands because he decided they should do a clinic on . . . building a box. Not just a box — a magical box, a special-moment box, an embellished box, a box that was thought outside of, the best damn box on earth, a pet coffin. . . . (”Can we not call it the box anymore?” whimpered Craig.) Kendra and Tana wandered the bowels of Home Depot discussing how lame the project was; Bren and Alex seemed to spend a lot of time milling about the parking lot contemplating ways to sabotage the other team (Alex’s suggestion that they shut down a power grid made me think, dude, I would so much rather be watching that show); but Craig was steadfast, tacking tiny little nails into his It’s a Stowaway Trunk, Dammit? and then providing the saddest cutaway moment of the season as we went to commercial with a shot of him sitting alone, forlorn, kind of gently stroking his handiwork. Sniff.

But then it was time for the clinics. And not only did Craig get families involved, but Alex freakin’ spoke Spanish, and it was all over. Where Craig’s audience was reveling in the magic of a tiny child’s handprint (puke puke puke), Angie and her redheaded stepchildren were over trying in vain to put together their project — a mobile kitchen island — and the audience was subjected to ‘Roid Rage Chris at his best. At least someone finally noticed that the only thing he’s good at is yelling.

The reward for NeMagWorth (Craig’s team, okay? Craig’s team!) was to go up in a zero-gravity plane, which was so awesome I don’t even have anything snarky to say about it. I will say this: before they left, Stealth Kendra acknowledged the fact that they’d all had a horrible attitude about the It’s Not Just a Box But Rather Your Child’s Innocent Soul Made From Wood?, and this gracious and articulate comment only cemented the following fact in my mind: I, Whitney A. Pastorek, do hereby declare that Kendra Whatever Her Name Is will be the next Apprentice.

What can I say about this boardroom? I was having enough trouble digesting Angie Hall’s suit-and-tie outfit, but then they started in on loopholes and spittoons and cursing and more pukey winking and presentation skills and how Trump uses foul language in front of George and Chris vowing to give up his chewing-tobacco habit right then and there and millionaires and then Stephanie went up to the suite to look at the moon and Trump declared he wasn’t a big believer in ”what we’re doing tonight” and I took another swig of my beer and wondered if it was just me or if these people truly deserve one another.

What it came down to: Trump saying he should fire Angie but he had to listen to George and Carolyn’s opinions, and Erin — ”poignant and accurate” my ass, Professor — saying, ”Do you have to? [smile, wink]” and then the lasers shot out of Carolyn’s eyes and Erin was gone, poof, like that. She had it coming. Sometimes, I suppose, what you perceive as electricity between you and the Donald could just be the heat emitted from Carolyn’s brain. Something to keep in mind, ladies.

So off she went, our little Professor, dragging her pink Barbie suitcase behind her, plus somehow changing from white to black shoes in the elevator. She took the time to toss off a few more pithy nothings in the cab (I was sorely disappointed when her list of construction skills she was willing to learn did not include screwing, by the way), but I was distracted by the scenes from next week. ‘Roid Rage is gonna burn this city to the ground, and I can’t wait. I hope he takes Angie and Stephanie with him. Families gotta stick together, after all.

Cabs: Same.

Rhona phone: Answered by Tana (???).

Robin: She could basically be a robot at this point.

What did you think? Did Erin have it coming? Do you have any new favorites? And how long will Chris be able to go without his chewing tobacco?

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