In the deathly dull season finale of ''The Apprentice,'' Trump unsurprisingly hires the love-struck Brit

By Whitney Pastorek
Updated June 06, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT
The Apprentice: Virginia Sherwood

The Apprentice

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”The Apprentice”: A foregone-conclusion finale

Let’s just get one thing straight right off the bat: Donald Trump might be ”America’s Boss,” but he is not the boss of me. He is now the boss of Sean, but that’s really Sean’s problem.

Welcome to another Apprentice finale, this time with 25 percent less airtime and 25 percent more boringness. I’ve decided that The Apprentice is basically the Hotel California of reality shows: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. Tonight’s snoozefest featured cameos from Omarosa, Bunker Bill Rancic, previous winner Randal, and even series creator Mark Burnett himself; they were all sitting there in the audience, impeccably groomed, but not a one of them was capable of stopping this from being the most anticlimactic, pointless finish in this show’s history. Ooh, who’s Trump gonna hire? The 22-year-old who prides himself on knowing what the cheap college students like and managed to annoy all the celebrities at his poorly attended event, or the 33-year-old who’s conducted million-dollar deals and staged a very high-class concert, despite the fact that the Barenaked Ladies were performing?

(Don’t get me wrong: I love BNL. I’ve been to not one but two BNL concerts. Still, a band that regularly gets pegged with macaroni and cheese doesn’t scream ”Trump International Luxury Show!” to me.)

I’d love to delve into the specifics of Sean and Lee’s events, but NBC didn’t bother, so why should I? Here’s a quick comparison chart for you:

Length of final boardroom: 2 minutes.

Length of time everyone but Sean spent standing around on the stage after Trump announced the winner, clapping half-heartedly to endless repeats of the Apprentice theme music: 5 minutes.

Does that tell you something? Hell, even the band looked bored.

But for those who didn’t watch:

Lee was running a charity hockey game for Denis Leary’s firefighter foundation; he’d planned it poorly, and Lys, the foundation lady (sorry we misspelled your name last week!), was so pissed she sent in a minion — Even Eviler Christine — to make sure the final preparations were not only stressful but snippy. The game seemed to go fine, but Lenny angered Jaime Pressly, Lee wasn’t there to meet Trump when he showed up at the venue, and I think Jason Priestley might still be wandering Chelsea Piers, completely unattended.

Meanwhile, Sean was in charge of a Barenaked Ladies concert benefiting the World Wildlife Fund at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. Despite the fact that Andrea broke a blood vessel in her nose (nice attempt to create unnecessary tension, Burnett) and the anal Pontiac guy was irritated by the lack of signage at the pre-party (and is it just me, or was the anal Pontiac guy played by John Michael Higgins?), the event came off looking polished and fun, and when Trump’s helicopter arrived, Sean was there to shake the man’s hand.

Again, I’m sure Lee’s failings were all exacerbated by the editing. I’m also sure they were exacerbated by Lee’s decision to pick teammates who would have a hard time running an electric fan. (Honestly, the employees of Chelsea Piers seemed staggeringly competent in comparison to Lenny and Pepe and their Cuban crack. And Roxanne did…what, exactly?)

But really, was it that tough a decision? Trump’s not a fool, and once the show was edited to demonstrate Lee’s cockiness/irresponsibility, it didn’t matter how ”America” ”voted” — Sean had it in the bag.

And you know, I’m glad. Seriously, lesser of two evils. Plus, darling little Tammy is now going to be a very rich woman. Oh, by the way, they’re getting married. Or at least Sean said they were. Aw. I’m so fond of that little British muppet.

So. Now. Let’s talk about the future.

This show isn’t on the fall schedule. And the version that is allegedly returning in the spring will be filmed in L.A. The finale even took place in L.A. as preparation, and so my first piece of advice is this: You’re gonna have to get new theme music. ”Dum-dum, dum-dum, dum-dum, duh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh” is not very California. I think they’re gonna have to go more emo. Second, I think they’re going to have to work very hard not to let this show become Laguna Beach: Even Stupider People. No idea what the candidate pool looks like, but I know the minute I set foot in La-La Land, all I cared about was shoes and eye brightener, and I’m just not that kind of girl. It’s gonna be hard to keep this sucker on track.

But in terms of the finale: Jesus, Burnett. You were there. Shaving a half hour off the running time does you no good if everything that happens is dull as bricks and we spend a lot of time looking at the Jumbotron hanging over the stage, where pictures of Sean and Lee ripple in slo-mo like the paintings in the hallways of Hogwarts. The Survivor finale is consistently entertaining, even when the winner is a foregone conclusion, and somehow Probst manages to keep us all engaged without hollering at us the whole damn time. I’ve been telling you this for four seasons now: Take a page out of your own Survivor handbook. Steal the whole thing if you have to. You can’t sue yourself, man!

Here’s a thought: Hire Ivanka and Don Jr. to run the show next year. When those two were talking, that was the only time I perked up all night. Well, that, and when I saw Brent. Brent has lost another 700 pounds, people! And that didn’t merit a single comment from Trump? Snore. Really. Boo-hiss. Go away, Apprentice, and think about what you’ve done.

As for you, ducklings: Thanks for sticking it out. Hope you enjoyed the mirrors on the ceiling, as well as the pink champagne on ice. We’ll see ya sometime in 2007.

Till then, what do you think? Did the right guy win? Were you too bored to care? And how would you fix the show?

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The Apprentice

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