On ''The Apprentice,'' the teams are assigned to promote Shania perfume, and no one comes out smelling too good
The Apprentice (Season 4)
Credit: The Apprentice: Virginia Sherwood

”The Apprentice”: Raising a stink

Hey, kids. I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving as much as I did. Must have been some powerful turkey I ate, though, ’cause even this morning I was hallucinating?.Could have sworn this episode opened with that awful Levi song again…but nah…they wouldn’t do that, would they?

Tonight’s Special Trump Message was ”Be a Gladiator,” and whaddaya know, it actually made sense this time. The task was to ”wrap” things — plaster them in a giant ad for a new Shania Twain perfume (it’s new, it’s good, and the Apprentici were gonna make it really hot!) — and get the most people to call a 1-800 number to order free samples. And in a kamikaze mission I can compare only to season 2’s Suicide Doughnut Run, project manager Randal and his able assistant, Crutches, proved their gladiatorial worth once and for all by swooping in and buying every megaphone on the island of Manhattan right out from under the other team’s nose.

You see, both teams decided that the best thing to ”wrap” was people — Randal, in fact, declared it to be ”the illest!” — and both teams decided they needed to give those people bullhorns. The Women, with project manager Alla in the lead, put a bunch of megaphones on hold at Radio Shack, which Randal discovered when he called in to buy megaphones, and then Operation Sabotage kicked into action: Randal and Rebecca posed as the other team and bought the bullhorns, as Alla, Felisha, and Jason Schwartzman drove around in a cab, trying desperately to find 17th and Broadway. This seems a good time to remind everyone that Manhattan is, essentially, on a grid.

So armed with bullhorns and 60 temporary employees, Team Excel blanketed the city. Meanwhile, the Women had 15 almost-English-speaking people and…14 carriages? Yes, Jason Schwartzman, in all his kitschy Rushmore glory, had decided that the best way to attract attention was to ”wrap” horse-drawn carriages and sort of clop-clop around. I guess this ties in with the perfume — Shania by Stetson, which sounds like a New York City marketing nightmare in the first place — but mostly it was just dumb. No one looks at horse-drawn carriages, because they’re just not that special anymore. I don’t think they’ve been special since the 1800s, at least not here in the city, where their only purpose seems to be ripping off tourists and making Central Park South smell like a stable.

Despite the discrepancy in numbers and common sense, the end result ended up being pretty close. Felisha, Alla, and J.S. worked it, wearing sandwich boards themselves and letting the women they accosted use their cell phones to call, even dialing the number for them. Meanwhile, Team Excel took advantage of their almost-English-speaking employees to sell Shania en Español up in Spanish Harlem, and stuck one really chatty dude in a van with a giant bullhorn to drive around and remind men that women who smell pretty are better than women who don’t. After Operation Sabotage went down, Alla murmured, ”Karma gets people,” but at least in this situation, it didn’t: Randal and Rebecca pulled in 978 calls, winning by 5, and trotted off to go horseback riding with Ms. Twain herself.

Meanwhile, pre-boardroom, Alla set about playing both sides. First, she conspired with Adam against Felisha, then she conspired with Felisha against Adam. And yet karma didn’t even get her: Trump sent her up to the suite, opting to quiz Adam and Felisha about who sucked more. It was Felisha’s job to hire the employees, you see, but it was Adam’s idea to dump $6000 on the stupid carriages. It was pretty boring, but there was a really nice moment where Carolyn criticized Felisha, so Felisha looked to Bill for help, and Bill immediately criticized Adam (by dropping a cliché, natch; he said ”fire in the belly” twice tonight). As usual, though, Carolyn’s misgivings about a contestant were completely ignored, and Trump opted to send the young, inexperienced, and, let’s face it, undeniably cheesy Jason Schwartzman home. I’m amazed he hung on this long. He kept talking about how he’d contributed the whole time, how Felisha and Alla had only seen him on four tasks, how he had so much to offer — I couldn’t help screaming at the TV, ”You didn’t speak for the first six weeks, dude!

Anyhoo. Your final four: Alla and Felisha (does anyone else think these two might be making out, btw?) vs. Rebecca and Randal. It’s the Bitchy Blondes vs. the Actually Smart People. And if history has taught me anything, the Actually Smart People don’t have a chance in hell.

What do you think? When did you realize the Women were going to lose? Could you tell Adam was doomed? And how do you think all this will affect sales of that perfume?

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