Chris: Craig Blankenhorn/ NBC
Whitney Pastorek
April 15, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

”The Apprentice”: Tears in the boardroom

Tonight my prediction that Kendra will win The Apprentice 3 was pretty much borne out over the duration of a very long car commercial. (And by the way, can I borrow $20,000 from someone? I’ll pay you back! I’m good for it!) I am so ridiculously brilliant sometimes I amaze myself.

So the kids came back from the boardroom amidst Tana’s complaints that Chris is getting through because he is a ”virgin” and Tana is a ”slut.” Yes, God likes the pure. Anyway, despite her strong feelings about his inadequacy, Tana (always the mom!) hugged young ‘Roid Rage upon his return, and the Apprentici got down to business selling the Pontiac Solster. Er, Solstice.

Kendra and Chris were project managers, Kendra because she’d made brochures before and Chris because, hey, what’s one more loss amongst friends? Bren moved over to the Boy Team, and they had a nice macho cackle thinking about Kendra and Tana and Craig trying to come up with an ad scheme for a car and how the Boy Team — comprising the 21-year-old rageaholic, the bow-tie-wearing Southern Republican, and the rampant, flaming metrosexual — was gonna kick ass. You see, this is because only boys like/understand cars. Insert cackle. Jeez, you’d think tonight’s commercial was for strippers.

What was gonna kill Kendra’s team, if anything, was Craig’s inability to shut the ever-living hell up. Instead, he took up everyone’s time and energy being mean to She Who Is Destined to Win It All. Basically: Kendra immediately had a theme for their brochure — emotion, passion, a love affair with the sexy, gorgeous, two-seat roadster. I mean, I heard the theme. The TV show editors clearly heard the theme. I feel confident that all of you out there in Land heard the theme. But Craig immediately pretended he wasn’t there for that conversation and spent the rest of the ep (when he wasn’t sleeping) complaining that they had no theme. This is when I started to realize: I hate Craig. Lots. Now I regret all the time I wasted bemoaning how awful it was that Burnett & Co. spent the first five episodes referring to him as a shoeshiner. Craig, I have decided, is a twit.

Meanwhile, the Boys were shooting a gray car in front of a gray building, twisting the camera to make it edgy, and Alex was neglecting to photograph the interior of the roadster in favor of barking, ”Playful kitty!” at a model. During this important picture-taking montage, we also learned that Fuzzy = Cool, Chris has equilibrium issues, and that men like to call each other ”brother.” (Why is that?)

The Trump Lesson: ”Pulling All Nighters.” (Uh, that’s not a lesson. That’s just, like, a phrase. Uh . . . never mind.) Immediately one has to believe the college grads are going to excel at this. And even though I cannot for the life of me remember who has a degree and who doesn’t at this point (the contestants having blurred into one fuzzy-cool beige blob of mediocrity), I knew young Kendra would rise to the top. She seems like she’s got an overcaffeinated soul. And sure enough, after a tiny coup attempt from Craig and Tana, the appreciative-but-offended K. Dawg basically said, okay, bitches, have it your way, I’m gonna win this thing. And so she stayed up all night, taping a dramatic voice-over reading of the brochure text (kudos to you, Burnett & Co., that voice-over ruled), while Mom and Craiggers drifted off to sleepy time. And at that moment I knew: Craig was going home.

Except, dammit, he wasn’t. Stupid Kendra. Why did you have to make such a good brochure all by yourself? You had a perfect opportunity to send Craig home, but no, you have to be all brilliant. And so it fell to the Boy Team, and especially Chris, to do a horrid job of advertising the Solster’s exteriorly and interiorly features and lose the task massively. It was, in fact, a slam dunk for Kendra. Oh, and please, can someone say ”slam dunk” 30 or 40 more times?

Off to Madison Square Garden the winners went, to play a little ball with the surprisingly short Isiah Thomas and other assorted Knicks. (Dear the Knicks: Next season, how about spending a little less time kissing up to Trump and a little more time making the playoffs? Love, Whitney.) I was worried that Tana was going to start talking jive again, but instead it seemed like fun. If you can call running suicides ”fun.” Still, there was my K. Darling, hustling like the champ she is. In my notes for this section, it simply reads, ”KENDRA!!”

But on to the losers: Trip Number 7 in a Row was not a good boardroom experience for Chris. And because he has his temper under control, it wasn’t a good experience for any of us out here in TV Land, either. I liked when Alex and Bren hugged, said the obligatory, ”I love you, man,” and then Bren said, ”Now let’s go slit each other’s throats.” I did not care for much of any of the rest of it. Snore snore snore. Fire Chris and let’s get to the good stuff! Let’s get to the moment we Just. Won’t. Believe! There’s gonna be rage! . . .

. . . or, hey, maybe not. Chris actually wept upon being fired, so much so that Trump had to bring him back around to the Trump side of the boardroom table, basically putting the failure of a lad on his lap and telling him he’s got a great future (so long as he stays away from the damn tobacco). It was touch and go there for a while; did anyone else think Trump was gonna stroke Chris’s hair, comfortingly? Shudder. Cringe. Ick.

So it was time for the Weepy McRoid Rage to go. He had to be a little sick of packing and unpacking that damn suitcase every three days, right? Whatever. Basically, tonight was another dull disappointment (I shake my fist at you, misleading commercials!), and to add insult to injury, I can’t even afford to buy the advertised product. Where’d I put those Domino’s coupons from last week?

What do you think? How do you rate Kendra’s performance? Will Craig or Tana eventually pay for coasting this week? Did you choke up or crack up when Chris teared up?

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