''The Apprentice'': The men have the women for lunch
There was too much this evening. Seriously. I kept having to put down the wine, pause the TiVo, and scribble things on my legal pad. We said they'd turn on each other, and they did: The Faster Pussycats began to Kill, Kill. But then there was the homophobia, the prejudice, the eavesdropping, the finger-pointing, Judith Nathan, some angry old ladies, blowtorch art, one very pissed-off Carolyn, and a cameo from last season's big winner, Bill, who, in light of everything that's transpired in the first three episodes of Apprentice Deux (Rhymes with Sucks), has to be thanking his lucky stars he got in on the ground floor. Yeehaw is right, Raj. And most important, get off my designer suit.
Tonight's show opened with the Stac-i-e J. firing fallout, and the kids found themselves dealing with the very real possibility that they'd made a mistake. Suddenly, from nowhere, Jennifer M. (M.? There's a Jennifer M.?) proved she's got half a brain and is no longer deserving of her Sorori-Blonde classification when she correctly pointed out that perhaps they should have mentioned, like, at some point ever, that Stacie was nuts before they ganged up on her. There was a brief moment of humanity, but not unlike Robin the receptionist, it vanished as quickly as it appeared. After all, there was no time to waste, because the downward spiral of madness was a-knockin' at the door.
The mission: Open a restaurant in a day and get the highest Zagat rating (that's pronounced za-GAT, Jennifer C.) from the customers. (Was this a self-hommage to producer Mark Burnett's failed series The Restaurant?) I really liked this challenge -- less product placement than one might expect but also totally engaging, even though our friends the editors skipped over all the cool details like menu planning and where one orders glasses and tablecloths on short notice. But when skipping allows them to include moments like Jen C. calling Stacy a ''little munchkin,'' I can't really complain, I guess.
The Pamendelas put together some sort of bistro thing, complete with modern art on the walls courtesy of John, who wins tonight's versatility award: Not only can he paint, but he makes excellent eye candy! Oh, I'm sorry, did I forget to mention the moment where Chris declares that a table of picky gay men isn't impressed and sends John over to ''maybe give them a [something that got bleeped out but begins with a b]''? My bad. So if you're keeping score at home, that's one point for ''Not that there's anything wrong with that.''
Over with the Faster Pussycats, we've got useless Project Manager Jennifer C. (who, I'm now quite certain, would probably bite the head off a pigeon if she thought Trump would like it) mandating that her team stay up all night to clean the restaurant and then taking on a pair of older customers who had problems with the decor. She went on to refer to them as ''old Jewish fat ladies,'' and so can everyone please update their scorecards to reflect a 1-1 tie between ''Not that there's anything wrong with that'' and our new dark horse, anti-Semitism? Yeehaw!
Basically, what it boiled down to was this: The men, as usual, had fun, while the women engaged in a furious round of Who Wants to Be a Gap Manager? Spazvana came out the clear winner when she instructed everyone to stop ''clumping,'' but Dragon Lady Maria's blood-sucking hostess skills and Jen C.'s endless chorus of ''Good! Good! Good! Good!'' really gave her a run for her money.
And so the men won. Shocker. Zagat (note again, Jen C., you put the emphasis on the second syllable there) gave them a 61 rating as opposed to the Pussycats' 57, and Project Manager ''Higher Octane'' Raj breathed a sigh of relief. (Oh. By the way. I would like to mention that three weeks ago, I said to my Apprentice-watching buddy Al that if Raj won the first time he was P.M., he'd go all the way. I didn't read those news stories about how gambling patterns revealed the final two contestants, so I have no idea if I'm right, but I would like to go on record as saying my money's on the man with the cane.)
The men's reward, unparalleled in its lameness by everything except last season's somnambulant trip to see George Steinbrenner, was a chance to sit down and chat with Rudy Giuliani (and meet wife Judith!). No indication as to whether, along with leadership skills, Rudy also discussed the finer points of pissing off constituents by shutting down art museums. But moving on . . .
The women -- or, as Zagat put it, ''uptight stewardesses'' -- were left back in the loft to rip out each other's throats, and they wasted no time. Elizabeth stressed because she was in charge of promotion and she thought she was being set up for failure by Jen C. (we shan't mention the fact that she deserves whatever she gets), but luckily, Spazvana announced that Lizzie could rely on her (questionable) loyalty. The Little Munchkin basically called Jen C. a racist, causing Jen C. to call the Little Munchkin a ''havoc wreaker.'' Jennifer M. (who had me at ''flyer girl'' tonight) wisely stayed out of it. And I think at some point I sensed Stacie J.'s presence, unloading whole-wheat loaves from the oven and shaking her head in relief to be rid of these freaks.
In the boardroom, it was Carolyn who finally said what we were all thinking. ''I'm embarrassed to be a businesswoman,'' she lamented, as she considered the seven (okay, six and a half, Jen M.) total disasters sitting before her, and that pretty much solidified that Carolyn is the person I would most like to make out with this season. (Sorry, Raj. But you're a close second. Please continue to answer the phone in your boxers. I like skinny pale boys.)
It was hard to say what came off worse: Sandy's desperate Trump Ice-kissing? Ivana's attempts to act like she knows anything at all about organizing a group of people? Stacy yelping, ''She's a finger-pointer!'' while simultaneously pointing a finger? But in the end, Jen C. got the Cobra and headed out the door. You'll be glad to know she seemed relatively unaffected and will no doubt return to doing whatever it was she was doing before this show in exactly the way she'd been doing it, none the worse for wear.
What continues to be the worse for wear, however, is my psyche. Even though this show redeemed itself a little tonight (I mean, what can beat the conga music playing in the background when the boys pimped out John?), I am still left with the sickening feeling that someday, somewhere, I am going to have to spend time in a building or resort or country club managed by one of these people. I mean, really, can you imagine? At the moment, frankly, with a few exceptions, I wouldn't let them run my bathroom faucet. We'll see what next week's Shocking. Twist. has in store. A little part of me hopes Pamela kills someone.
What do you think? Will any of the women survive? Will feminism survive?