On ''The Apprentice,'' the teams try to expose old people to new electronic wonders, but the boardroom is all about spelling and looks
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The Apprentice (Season 4)
Credit: The Apprentice: Virginia Sherwood

”The Apprentice”: Teaching old folks new tricks

Okay, let’s make this short and sweet:

Last week, Chris brought Markus — a massive tool and ginormous team distraction — into the boardroom, because he made people nuts and everyone hated him. Trump told Chris this was a mistake, because Markus did not cause the loss, and fired Chris.

This week, Rebecca did not bring Toral — a massive tool and, apparently, ginormous team distraction — into the boardroom, because she didn’t necessarily cause the loss, despite totally making people nuts and inspiring hatred. Trump gave Rebecca hell and, I think, would have fired her were it not for the whole ”I broke my ankle while on your weak hockey reward” thing.

If you’re still questioning Trump’s weakness for pretty girls, you are dumber than Toral with a high-definition TV.

Welcome back to the worst show on television, kids, where nothing much happens for a long time and then people talk about it. This week’s challenge: Teach old people how to use technology. Anyone with parents over 60 who are still calling for help with e-mail on a weekly basis knows this is a losing proposition. (Hi, Mom! Love you!) The challenge was sorta sponsored by Best Buy, but sorta not, and I felt this strange void where usually the blatant product placement would have lived. Sitting there in my living room scarfing down Domino’s while thumbing through Lamborghini catalogs, it was like I no longer had a reason to live. But as Trump explained, tonight was about do-nate-ing your time, about giving back, about building parks under freeways on New York’s West Side. About capitalizing on dead grandparents — did you know the last thing Randal did with his grandmother was take a picture of her on his cell phone? don’t you wish you had some Sprint stock with which to wipe away the tears? — and declaring your undying love for old people.

I hate to say this, but the women’s assertion that they had this one in the bag was just as numskulled as the men’s annual car-commercial declaration.

Things I learned tonight:

1. Dirty old men are not a myth; they are reality.

2. Black ankle casts read really well on TV.

3. There’s a girl named Jennifer M. on the women’s team, and her spinal column has somehow been affixed to a wall with crazy glue.

4. Computers might be from the devil.

5. Don’t call George old.

6. When you’re motivating your older, balder employees to work, knowing Miss Universe helps.

7. Rebecca — ”Ankles”! — is kind of a bitch.

8. Boys can make a cheer out of anything.

9. Techno is spelled T-E-C-H-N-O.

10. Seven brilliant women can be wrong.

The men won, with an elderly survey score of 8.1 to 7.9. Their reward: giving Xboxes to sick kids. I’d say this was a marvelous and touching reward, the best one yet, except that previous rewards have included free diamonds. Randal, the Team Excel project manager, was voted exempt unanimously. Everyone sort of decided Markus wasn’t so bad. Apparently some dude named Clay is a bitch. Jason Schwartzman was strangely MIA.

In the boardroom, Toral pitched a fit that made me miss ‘Roid Rage Chris from last season. Seems she’s the only one — well, she and Rebecca — with any worth as a human being, because she speaks less and thinks more, which is always an amusing phrase to hear anyone say out loud. Toral also exhibited a strong head-jerking hair flip that I found mesmerizing. During her little fit, all the other women — straight-haired, Ann Taylor-clad automatons — started murmuring negative things about her in business-speak and saying ”Mr. Trump!” a lot. I have the fleeting insight that the reason I hate this show so much right now is all the business-speak. It’s like English has become a second language for these people, all of them, replaced with some sort of dialect where the more syllables you use — regardless of whether or not you use them correctly — the smarter you are. I fear this.

Anyhoo, in the end, Ankles survived, and Jen W. — the woman responsible for the ”Tethno” cake, a woman I also suspect may have been a very poorly built robot still learning the subtleties of human interaction — got fired. Yay! Prior to today, I’d never seen you before! You suck at event planning! Have a good life!

Um, that’s all I got. Told you it would be short and sweet. I’m calling this season right now. Winner? Josh the beauty shop owner. Okay, thanks.

What do you think? How is this season turning out compared with previous ones? And who do you pick to win?

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