A 'doggie day spa' challenge leads to James and David acting like rabid beasts

By Annie Barrett
September 30, 2010 at 07:18 AM EDT
Douglas Gorenstein/NBC
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A puppy is running away from something on a New York City sidewalk. Someone told him he’d have to watch The Apprentice!

“FOR THIS TASK, YOU’LL EACH RUN. A HOTEL AND SPA. FOR DOGS,” Trump booms out. They’ll be judged on execution, a “value incentive” for customers, and their ability to flirt with world-renowned dog-behavior specialist, Cesar Millan.

Right away, David a.k.a. Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) from The Office — good call, commenters! — announced his intent to ruin James. “I am so fired up to actually lose this task so James can go home.” James is a terrible manager, but shouldn’t David go home just for being this David-y? He wants his own team to lose? Come on. This isn’t Hell’s Kitchen, there are rules! These vindictive wretches all want to go to the boardroom, just to stick it to each other. It’s no longer about winning; it’s about who can be the biggest little bitch.

Rant over! James is a mess. Naresh from Dog Spa tries to take them through training courses and James brushes him off. That’s it. James, you’re fired. I literally said this.


Whew, sorry! Allow me to come down from that power trip. Where was I? Wade has thousands of hours of experience with dogs, so naturally James assigns him to decorate the entrance. He will later criticize Wade’s willingness to “take a backseat” during challenges. YOU JUST ASSIGNED THIS TO HIM, JAMES. Consult the court records. Read the deposition. Bang the gavel! Okay that’s all the lawyer words I know. Team Octane goes shopping, but they forget to buy nails. So David gets on his hands and knees and attempts to fashion nails out of binder clips. “I don’t know what planet Dave lives on where he can turn a binder clip into a nail,” James says. It’s probably his best showing-off-my-personality moment of the season. But then he follows it with a freakout! I can’t tell who’s more off-putting — David or James — throughout most of the episode. David is spectacularly unsettling in general, but I’m pretty sure James maniacally screaming “A BINDER CLIP INTO A NAIL!” will haunt me for weeks. I’m also haunted by….

A CRIPPLING FEAR OF DOGS. Just like Mahsa! You know Mahsa, right? Have you been to her mom’s salon? She’s worked at the front desk for the past 100,000 years in what we can only assume will be the greatest leading role of her lifetime. Let her tell you more about it. She worked the front desk at her mom’s salon. She worked the front desk in her mom’s salon. Shut up, Mahsa! Anyway, Fortitude’s project manager, Tyana, has no interest in watching Mahsa sex everyone up in a little black dress. Tyana would get to play pretty pretty receptionist, and in a stunning display of viciousness, she assigns dog-fearing Mahsa to A BACK ROOM FULL OF BIG DOGS.

I’m probably supposed to be on Tyana’s side here and delight in her wicked game because Mahsa is such a tool, but I just can’t with this one. When you’re afraid of animals, even adorable puppies can be terrifying. Big dogs? I would have walked out on the spot — that is, if I hadn’t had the sense to leave the competition sooner…i.e. the moment I realized I had been cast on The Apprentice.

NEXT: Let’s use “Princess Package” as a nickname for the annoying dude, yes?

After initially just threatening to “bench” David back when David muttered an unprofessional swear word in front of the client, James goes ahead and throws David out of the game. “Managing this team is like herding cats. It’s miserable,” complains James. Does he use similes this brilliant in court? Visiting judge Ivanka is not impressed. “[James] was a bit inarticulate. I don’t know if he lacks sense, in general.” There has never been a more apt video component to the second part of her comment than the delightful footage we get a bit later, of James trying and failing to get a dog to run with him on the sidewalk.

The men’s doggie day care offers webcams (so customers can stalk their pets online all day) and something called a Princess Package. And just like that, Princess Package becomes my new nickname for James. The women have puppycakes, cupcakes, photos of the dogs, report cards for the dogs, and an disastrous banner designer named Liza.

Boardroom. Trump asks if James likes dogs but he doesn’t really care about the answer — this question was a mere setup to his staggeringly clever next one, “WAS YOUR TEAM A DOG?” James and David start bickering, and James holds up a binder clip for dramatic effect. Nothing happens.

The women once again berate each other before learning who won the challenge. Mahsa keeps bragging about WORKING AT HER MOM’S SALON and complains about being thrown in a pit with “twenty vicious animals.” Okay, even I know that a simple “I’m uncomfortable around dogs, Mr. Trump, your majesty” would have been sufficient. Stephanie calls banner-failure Liza the weakest link. Liza gets called out for calling Poppy a bitch, and becomes my favorite person of this episode (low standards, guys) with her explanation of why. “Because I was really feeling it.” I am so using this as the excuse for my next few hundred poor decisions.

The women win! Off to the champagne and strawberries room, bitches! I’m allowed to call them that because I’m really feeling it. The men stay behind. Steuart stands up for James, pointing out to Trump how offensive it was for David to swear in front of poor Naresh. Anand, however, scoffs at James’ claim that before becoming project manager, he had learned that he had to show respect in order to earn respect. “How do you earn respect when you can’t even respect the owner of the business?” wonders Anand. Who disrespected harder: James or David? Will you be happy if you never read the word ‘respect’ again? Do you think Trump sometimes sings “Respect” in the elevators of his MANY TOWERS?

BAM. James. You’re fired.


James chirps cheerfully from his new job: “I couldn’t do what I do at the attorney general’s office had I not run a doggie day care center!”

Sorry James! David is better TV (but just barely). Next time, look and act almost exactly like a character on an NBC sitcom.

Do you think Trump made the right call? Could you fashion a nail out of a binder clip? Are you really feeling it? How horrible of an excuse for a human being am I for not loving dogs? Sound off below!

DON’T MISS: Embedded below, listen to the first edition of EW.com’s TV Insiders podcast. Dalton Ross, Michael Slezak, Annie Barrett, Michael Ausiello (who also gives his picks for best and worst new show of the new season), and Jeff “Doc” Jensen break down the week in television and present it to you in an easily digestible audio format. Or click here to download TV Insiders to your MP3 player!

Last week’s ‘Apprentice’ recap: No one screams

Annie on Twitter: @EWAnnieBarrett

Donald Trump, “you’re fired” — you know the drill.
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