Angie: Craig Blankenhorn/NBC
Whitney Pastorek
April 08, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

”The Apprentice”: The tragedy of errors

Don’t mess with the mom from Iowa, kidlings. Tonight, Tana proved her worth, and not just in a sound-bite capacity. Yes, the woman who will say ”piece of s— on a platter” but will not say ”Jesus Christ” (she prefers the more demure ”Jiminy Christmas”) showed herself to be a serious competitor in what’s left of this game.

Maybe I should stop watching Survivor before writing these, though, because actually, I’m now voting for Stephenie to become the Apprentice, too.

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there.

Tonight’s American Eagle commercial kicked off with the usual Boardroom Story Time, and . . . wait, I’m sorry, did I just hear Tana call Chris ”Schmoopy”? Sigh. Okay, ignoring that . . . Tonight’s American Eagle commercial kicked off with Boardroom Story Time, in which Chris explained how Trump put him in his place, telling him ”Chris, you are a mess, heh-heh!” I didn’t have the heart to tell the kid that what Trump really told him was that he is mentally unstable. And is it just me, or is he a lot calmer since he stopped chewing tobacco? Ahem.

So the task was, according to Trump, to create ”or-eee-ginal pieces of wearable technology clothing” (a.k.a. ”things with pockets”), in order to help the kids hold all their crazy ”gadgets.” (Thanks, Gramps!) So everyone got a $5000 Visa and . . .

We interrupt this commercial . . . er, television program to inform you that last week, when the contestants made meatball pizza because Trump basically told them to, that was wrong, and in fact what the American Consumer is craving happens to be cheeseburger pizza, and if you didn’t buy Domino’s at some point last week after all the brainwashing, please, please consider buying it tonight because clearly we have not milked their ad dollars enough already. Thank you. We now return you to your regularly scheduled commercial . . . er, television program.

. . . headed out to Best Buy to pick up iPods ‘n’ stuff.

Your project managers for tonight: Tana, because she once sold clothes over eBay (of course she once sold clothes over eBay), and Alex, who is good at designing clothing because he is a metrosexual. Chris! Would you like to explain ”metrosexual” to the class? On second thought, um, never mind. How about you just be in charge of buying stuff, Chris? I’m sorry, you what? You lost the credit card with the $5000 on it? Oh, man. Well, then you’d better stand around at Best Buy for two and a half hours until they find it, then! How’s that rage problem, Chris? ”I hope they find the credit card so I don’t have to find an aluminum bat and break somebody’s kneecaps.” Um, super! Seems like getting off the chaw is really working out for ya!

Tonight’s Trump Lesson was ”Let Nothing Get in Your Way,” but honestly, I think the most important thing to take away from tonight’s show is ”Never, Ever Lose Your Credit Card at Best Buy.”

The teams puttered about, making pockets, helping to provide a steady income for the possibly pot-smoking silk-screeners of Brooklyn (HCET ELBARAEW!), dressing age-inappropriately in American Eagle clothes, and hassling teens to find out what they like. (”Oookey!” said Tana. ”Theynks! Teyk keer!”) La la la it’s a happy day and then . . .

Oh God, say it isn’t so: Did Kendra — ”Future Apprentice As Declared by Me Whitney Pastorek” Kendra — just complain about her blood sugar?

I’m going to pretend that never happened. I’m going to blame it on Craig. Sometimes in your life there are just people who needle you, ya know? Sometimes, you try to keep it all together, but certain people cause you to fly right off the handle. Why, just today, my coworker Raymond belched in my face, and I was trying to be professional about it, but . . .

Well, that, too, is neither here nor there.

Off to the presentations the kids went, with Tana’s team (seriously, I’ve given up on who’s Magna and who’s Net Worth at this point) turning in a smooth and fun fashion show and Alex’s team . . .

Hello? Paging Alex’s team? Oh, you’re late. Oh, and Angie has lost her ability to speak English. You ”may” have ”uh-ed” during the presentation, Angie? Right. Like I ”may” have had a couple beers. Yeesh. No amount of whited-out bad silk-screening could ever be worse than Angie’s presentation. ”Technology is the language of the new people”? Perhaps she should have spent some time mastering the language of, you know, language.

So Tana’s winners headed off to Bergdorf Goodman’s for a shopping spree (and they bought so much, they needed a cab to help them carry it across the street!) and everyone else trotted down to the boardroom — Chris and Angie for what was their sixth frickin’ week in a row. Angie spluttered, Chris lost his temper (but really failed to say anything funny, which just made me wonder, seriously, if he’s not going to make homophobic comments or say ”spittoon,” what good is he?) and Alex kept quiet enough to stay in everyone’s good graces, even when Carolyn inexplicably turned on him halfway through. And then Trump asked one of his famous rock and a hard place questions: ”Angie: Do you agree that you choked?” and she answered wrong, and so, bye-bye, Cruella De Vil. I will miss your hair the most.

For the record: Trump’s likes = European women; gold. Trump’s dislikes = chokers.

And in the end, it turns out even Angie is rooting for Tana. C’mon, Kendra! Eat some crackers and get back in the game, woman!

Finally, as you know, I’m quite fixated by Robin. But I have to say, tonight’s Receptionist Improv Hour was the best ever: ”Mr. Trump’s ready for you to . . .” she said, and then she paused, and my breath caught in my throat! To . . . ? To . . . what? To sing? Shop for more gadgets? Lick the gold leaf clean? ”. . . go back in.” Aw, Robin. So predictable.

What do you think? Has Tana moved up in the pack? Is Kendra fading? And how did Alex suddenly become less macho again?

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