On ''The Apprentice,'' after we watch the two teams attempt to write a fast-food jingle, Mr. Trump teaches us an important lesson

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The Apprentice (Season 5)
Credit: The Apprentice: Virginia Sherwood
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”The Apprentice”: The world according to Donald

Hello, my ducklings, and welcome back to The Apprentice, this week featuring everyone’s favorite game, Let’s Write a Jingle! Everyone’s favorite, that is, except for Lenny. He might be Russia’s first ever jingle writer, though, so a little respect! Would it have killed them to throw in some bells?

We started by wrapping up the highlights from last week’s boardroom, in which we were reminded that Tarek still sucks. Then Goldzinger project manager Bryce decided to give a motivational speech, during which Tarek pointed out that Tarek is a threat, like a buffalo being hunted by crazed coyotes. Because the buffalo so frequently wins in that scenario, dude. Nicely done.

(Happy Yom Kippur, by the way! Lee trotted off to write another chapter of his Brighton Beach memoirs, and I know what you’re thinking: This is gonna come back to bite him in the ass. No such luck. Religion is the most important thing, according to Trump. Also, life sucks. More on that later.)

So. Trump’s brand is hot and only getting hotter! Much like Arby’s! I tell ya, there is nothing I like better than some horsey sauce. I think the late, great Ray Charles said it best when he said, ”Horsey sauce!” Seriously. That’s all I remember: being in my car and hearing Ray Charles repeatedly inform me about ”horsey sauce!” Can’t believe they left that out of Ray. But anyhoosiers, the kids set out to write a jingle about Arby’s new all-natural chicken product, and man oh man, if there’s a word I want to hear right after ”natural,” it’s ”product”! The Arby’s execs were also quick to emphasize that Arby’s is the only restaurant with all-natural chicken product. I’m going to try not to dwell on what I’m getting next time I hit KFC and just move on here, but really — what am I getting at KFC?

As Goldspanky and Synergy sat down to write their jingles, a couple of things became clear. First: All the women in this competition have the same handwriting they had when they were 14. Second: No one should sing on this show. Ever. (Ladies! If you see us in the club! Freakin’!) Third: It must just be really hard to navigate Manhattan, and I should stop giving people crap about this. I mean, how many times can I say, ”It’s on a numbered grid, and there is frequently bad traffic,” before they listen? The folks who get on this show and then wind up late to a meeting because they underestimated the time it would take to get where they’re going and/or get lost because they can’t add or subtract absolutely boggle the mind. Yes, I’m talking to you, Golddiggers. You’re like the people who show up on Survivor and then are shocked — shocked! — by the fact that they have to make fire. Just a little research is all I ask. Google Maps is your friend. (True dat. Double true!)

But okay so the final judging took place at the Knitting Factory (immediately crushing whatever indie cred that venue built up over the last 20 years) in front of a diverse audience of disproportionately peppy test subjects. Synergy went first and just rocked the roof off the joint, while Gabba Gabba Gold piped in with a slightly more country-fried ditty that did nothing at all whatsoever for anyone. Except Trump, who I’m fairly convinced has been known to dance dorkily to his alarm clock. (Think Seinfeld‘s Julia Louis-Dreyfus in a full-body cast.) For their efforts, Synergy got to go to Alain Ducasse and eat white truffles and drool all over project manager Sean’s British accent, which I am still not convinced is not fake. Meanwhile, the Gabbas headed back to face their awful, awful music.

Before that could happen, Bryce gave another speech. This one had to do with how he was raised, and it brought poor Charmaine to tears. But even Bryce’s super-positive attitude couldn’t save him from what was to come: Unwilling to play the game and sacrifice Charmaine or Tarek to the boardroom gods, he brought in English as a Second Language Even Though I’ve Lived Here for 14 Years Lenny, and Jewish Holiday Lee. Bryce knew he was going home, I knew he was going home, and I think Trump knew he was going home — although he took the time to make everyone feel kinda icky before he brought down the hammer. After all, life sucks, according to Trump. And if life sucks to Trump, dear God, I wonder if a leap from this apartment would kill me or if I’d just be really badly maimed.

Here’s what I want to say about this boardroom: For the first time in a while, I thought the right person went home, but I don’t like what Bryce’s firing says on a larger scale. He’s a smart kid — maybe a little too rah-rah for me — and he seems like a decent human being. Yes, I would have preferred to see that Mensa jackass Tarek taken out, but I really respected Bryce for not bringing him or Charmaine back for something the whole group agreed upon. So we were faced with a choice: Fire Lee or Lenny for weak reasons, or lose Mr. Integrity. And as is so often true in this world that is not fair (thanks again, Trump), Integrity got kicked in the you-know-whats. (I know some of you are going to holler that Lenny should have gone home, but screw that — he’s hilarious, and you know it.) So let’s pretend for a second that this is a real job interview: Trump just lost a pretty good man, and it wouldn’t — as Bryce pointed out in the cab — hurt him to listen once in a while. I would have hauled Tarek’s butt back down and fired it just for kicks. But I guess that’s why I’m over here typing this dreck at midnight and not rolling around in a million-dollar pile of Arby’s sandwiches, eh?

PS: Congratulations to the first-place Houston Astros on their 2006 season so far! Glad to see they’ve got those run support issues sorted out!

What do you think? Would you go to a club in New York to see performances of two advertising jingles? What’s better: roast beef or white truffles? And were you ready to try Arby’s until they ran that commercial in which the food made Joan Rivers all wrinkly?

The Apprentice
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