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On ''The Apprentice,'' both teams fail miserably: Two horrible commercials -- veggie porn vs. a sticky, sweaty mess -- make the competition a wash

The Apprentice (Season 3) | CUT! Kristen had always really wanted to direct
Image credit: Kristen: Craig Blankenhorn/ NBC
CUT! Kristen had always really wanted to direct

''The Apprentice'': Both teams fail miserably

Hey, kids. I'm in L.A. right now, actually writing this at 4 p.m. Pacific time after watching the episode on a secret videotape the nice folks at NBC sent me because I was going out of town. And it's a little hard to get in the right mind-set — I mean, it's daylight, for one thing; also, I'm not drunk — but I'm gonna try to relay to you here just how very much the teams managed to, in the immortal words of Bart Simpson, simultaneously suck and blow this evening on . . . [insert Donald-size dramatic pause] . . . The Apprentice.

We opened on the suite and Erin Girl Bangs Ashlee Grudge Simpson Person saying (in her usual hyperarticulate style), ''Exemption schmazemption!'' The group was certain — certain! — that Michael, a.k.a. Exemption Boy, wouldn't be back, and they were in fact so stunned upon his return from the boardroom that not a single person got up to hug him in fake excitement. They just sat there. And then, like something out of a weird Fox special (When Republican District Attorneys From Tennessee Attack!), Bren just lit into the guy, telling him exactly what everyone thinks (everyone was not so thrilled with Michael), and Michael apologized for being a doof, which for some reason made everything all better, and that was that. Everyone was cool.

Cool as . . . cucumbers? (Baoom chicka baoom-baoom . . .)

Tonight's commercial — both literally and figuratively — was for Dove Cool Moisture body wash, and if we're talking commercials, that can mean only one thing: Donny Deutsch and his Ginormous Hobbit-Staffed Reception Desk are on the case! He wants the teams to think outside the box! To be creative! Oh, Donny, you're so edgy! And look at the way the women are practically drooling just to be near you! Even rational little Audrey was like, ''Pant pant pant omigodwegettoworkwithDonnyDeutsch pant pant pant!'' I don't much get that (Donny is no Raj), but whatever! Off our little teams went, hoping to change the way America looks at body wash forever!

Well. They got that part right, at least.

I'm not sure it's going to be possible for me to convey just how horrid these commercials were, people. Seriously, I'm going to try but, like . . . gah. I'm just one woman here all alone swimming in this sea of mediocrity, and there are not words.

Okay. Let's just do it in like a list thing.

NET WORTH (I.E., HIGH SCHOOL GRADS)

Leader Action! Kristen (Ms. Small Town X, if you're nasty)

Why her? Her boyfriend is a director, and she hangs around on set with him (probably stealing the craft services and yelling at production assistants just because she can).

Commercial idea A marathoner uses the body wash mid-race, splashes himself with water from cup, goes on to win.

Whose idea was it? The consistently excellent John and the suddenly Afroed Craig

Was the idea good from the start? Probably, yeah.

What went wrong? After bleeding every last drop of humor from the concept, Action! Kristen just walked around and said, ''Action!'' a lot, and Tana and Audrey sprayed models down with water bottles, and 30 seconds of bad music, one fake street scene, and like 17 weird graphickxs later (what was up with that sort of crooked shot of someone's kneecap?), we watched a man smear body wash all over his face and then sort of blot it off with a towel, all the while smiling a sort of I-just-ate-paste smile. Yuck.

Quotable quote ''This is the box.'' — Angie

MAGNA (I.E., COLLEGE GRADS)

Leader Erin Ashlee Simpson, High Princess of Bangsylvania

Why her? Why not?

Commercial idea A female cook is showing a scruffy male cook how to wash his . . . cucumber . . . and then she motions for him to follow her into the storeroom and gives him body wash, which he gratefully takes just moments before walking out arm in arm with . . . the cute male waiter.

Whose idea was it? Bren, a.k.a. the aforementioned Republican district attorney from Tennessee. That sound you're hearing is the scream of 12 million Americans suddenly being forced to reevaluate everything they believed.

Was the idea good from the start? Look, if the contestants themselves are calling it ''our little vegetable porno,'' I don't see why I have to respect it, either.

What went wrong? Aside from the idea being way too dependent on Donny Deutsch's relative appreciation of soft-core adult entertainment? Well, I did get a big kick out of the bitchy actress who griped about being made to wait for an hour and a half. As if it were possible for your life to get any more pathetic once you've signed on to do vegetable porn directed by contestants from a reality show.

Quotable quote Do we need one? Vegetable porn, people!

And so it came to pass that on a dark and stormy night (nice touch, Burnett), our two teams were both sent to the boardroom, where, in front of Donald, George, and Carolyn — who really does not like porn — they set about defending themselves. (I shall spare you all my rant about how, in not choosing a winner and dragging both teams back to the boardroom, Trump was, effectively, dare I say it, breaking the rules? Rules are rules, Trump!) (Additionally, I invite you to submit your guesses below as to what the unused reward might have been. Personally, I am hoping it was another visit to the outer edges of the front lawn of Trump's country home. That was craptastic, wasn't it?)

Blah blah blah. Action! Kristen got fired. But that's not the real story here, is it? No, my children, you know where I'm going with this:

I am not a homosexual!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, it's the return of 'Roid Rage Chris and His Incredible Detonating Boardroom! I sure as hell hope he keeps it up. He's funny.

Total project managers fired: 4 out of a possible 4

Cab that Kristen got into: 4X75

Cab that drove away: 4X75

Cab from which she delivered her confessional: 3L09! Whew! I was starting to worry the producers had become competent all of a sudden!

What do you think? Were the commercials actually equally bad? Are rules rules? Why do these dummies keep volunteering to be project manager? (And don't forget to submit your guesses for the unused reward.)

Originally posted Feb 11, 2005
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