On ''The Apprentice,'' the ice queens freeze out Toral when she claims that her religious scruples prevent her from wearing an ice-cream-mascot outfit

By Josh Wolk
Updated October 14, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT
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”The Apprentice”: The ice queens freeze out Toral

When the EW.com editors asked me to fill in for the vacationing Whitney this week, I really didn’t feel like it. But I knew they wouldn’t take that as an answer, so I tried some others. ”Look,” I said. ”I write the Amazing Race recaps, and my readers have come to expect Trump-free writing, and I can’t do this to them.” No go. So I tried, ”I am a professional recap writer, and I can not risk damaging my career prospects by writing about such dumb contestants.” Still not buying it. So I brought out my biggest gun: ”I am Jewish, and writing about Dairy Queen on Yom Kippur is about the most goyish thing you could do short of eating mayonnaise out of the jar while listening to Creed.”

As you can see, it didn’t work for me any better than it did for Toral.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. This week’s challenge involved Dairy Queen, which, of course, is the biggest, most chocolaty, Fudge Rippletastic cone jockey of a company in the free world, according to Trump. Personally, I think of it as the destination for people who think Baskin-Robbins is too hoity-toity, but who am I to argue with Donald Trump? He never lies, and there are 14 billion applicants to his show who will back him up on that.

And so the teams were told to come up with a new character to help brand the Blizzard treat. Thanks to — or in spite of — Clay’s rule-by-fear approach (which could be improved if he were even slightly capable of inspiring fear), the men won yet again by dressing Mark up as a woman, giving him ”largish” breasts but not disguising his package down below, and presenting him as Creamella, the Pre-Op Genie. The Dairy Queen execs liked it, no doubt convinced it would help them corner that elusive and lucrative sexually-confused-teenager market.

(Quick note about the men: They are killing the women, but I hope they realize that is only a result of the women’s incompetence, not their own skill. They all reacted to Adam and Randal’s jingle collaboration as if they were Lennon and McCartney, but have you ever heard a less memorable tune? You can’t get the best commercial jingles out of your head, but you couldn’t get this one stuck in your head if Randal and 12-year-old Adam stood on either side of you and screamed it into your ears for five hours straight.)

But now to the women’s team, where the task was secondary to the conflict between Toral and the blond Heathers. This was a battle where it was impossible to root for a side, since both were so reprehensible. It was like having to choose between lactose intolerance and an ice-cream headache.

Those four blondes are the epitome of every bad clique I’ve ever seen. If you went through each of their dressers at home and found less than three pairs of sweatpants each with Greek sorority letters sewed on the butt, I’d be very surprised. And do you notice the way the groups break down? The four blondes bind together, leaving alone who? The black woman (Marshawn), the Indian woman (Toral), and the girl on crutches (Rebecca). It was reminiscent of that rush scene in Animal House where the brothers keep steering Pinto and Flounder back to the outcast couch with Mohammed, Jugdish, and Sidney. I bet these ladies are bummed that they’re kept so busy doing business tasks, as it doesn’t give them a chance to show their real skills by giving their persona non hotties eating disorders.

And then came what may be reality TV’s most passive-aggressive move ever, when team leader and Retin-A spokeswoman Felisha (hey, petty is as petty gets) demanded that Toral dress up as their mascot, Zip, and her cadre berated Toral when she wouldn’t. First things first: What was Zip anyway? And why did he have rocket shoes on? That seems like an unfortunate symbol for how fast a Blizzard will rocket through your colon. ”Stay close to home, kids, because the Blizzard will go from our ice cream bowl to your toilet bowl in just 15 short minutes!” And with his big eyes and indeterminate body, he looked like someone melted a Tiny Toon.

The Heathers knew that dressing up as this hydrocephalic monstrosity would be the most humiliating and least desirable job, but they presented it to Toral as if it were an integral business task and she were a bad team player for refusing it. This is Evil Cheerleader 101: Torture the outcast by coming up with a demeaning request, then insist she is in the wrong for declining it. When they interview these meanies, why not have them standing in front of lockers holding pompoms just to make viewers’ awful high school flashbacks more complete?

But then there is the other side of the coin: TORAL IS AN ARROGANT, DELUDED BLOWHARD. And while she is right to hate the Heathers, this is a bit ”but” that must be added to every argument she makes against them. The other girls are stupid. True, but YOU ARE AN ARROGANT, DELUDED BLOWHARD. They are not professional. Good point, but YOU ARE AN ARROGANT, DELUDED BLOWHARD. And it’s not like she has anything to recommend her. She shied away from all responsibilities, and for all her complaints that the other women’s ideas stank, she was the one who suggested ”Blizzamarole.” Is that a mascot, or what a drunk person says when he’s trying to order guacamole?

Ultimately, the loss wasn’t her fault. As Marshawn said, Toral was a nonfactor. Certainly, blame should go to Felisha for not thinking it was important to put a DQ logo anywhere near Zip. She maintained that the spoon clued everyone in to the fact that it was Dairy Queen, because apparently at Cold Stone Creamery they make you eat ice cream with chopsticks. Nonetheless, the DQ execs’ rationale for axing Zip didn’t make sense: They said they weren’t looking for a cartoon. Didn’t Dairy Queen use Dennis the Menace for years as their logo? What was he, a Shakespearean tragic hero?

But Toral was so egregious in the boardroom that it was impossible for Trump not to fire her. I’m still curious what her religious objections were to Zip. I don’t know what her faith is, but I can’t think of any religion where it might be wrong. Does Christianity warn that the Antichrist will come armed with a giant spoon? Does Buddhism claim that the path to enlightenment can not be reached with rocket shoes? Who knows, maybe she’s Amish. I can’t imagine they’d be too thrilled with a hose that fires hot fudge and Reese’s Pieces.

Her ultimate mistake, however, might have been her flawed understanding of the Trump organization. She theorized that if Trump asked Carolyn to get in a chicken suit, she would refuse. Trump pointed out that he happily got in a chicken suit on Saturday Night Live. If you want to work for the Trump organization, Toral, you have to understand one thing: Employees don’t refuse to wear humiliating costumes because of their principles. They refuse to do it because if anyone is going to act like a jackass in a desperate bid for publicity, it’s Trump.

What do you think? Were you rooting for either Toral or the Heathers? Are the wrong people getting fired this season? And which candidate do you think is the next to go?

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