TV Article

The Hunk Flunks

On ''The Apprentice,'' Hottie John has a fashion emergency: The designing women show some style and win the catwalk fight; the men's clothes are duds

The Apprentice (Season 2) | JOHN D'OH! His team's designs didn't cut it
Image credit: Apprentice 2: Eric Liebowitz
JOHN D'OH! His team's designs didn't cut it

''The Apprentice'': Hottie John's fashion emergency

This time I know it wasn't the wine but rather the baseball playoffs that kept me from being totally invested in the episode — but dude, am I the only one who thought it was like hella boring? Wouldn't it have been way better if they really had that suggested ''Who Can Grease a Dozen Models'' contest instead? I think Maria would have really enjoyed that. She minored in home ec, after all.

Seriously, though, tonight I totally envy Dalton and his write-up. Survivor had a freakin' earthquake.

We opened on the triumphant post-Boardroom return of the Munchkin and the Dragon Lady to the suite, and we learned how much everyone really hated Pamela, which made me think the East Germans must have had a really crappy time in the Olympic Village all those years. ''Ding dong, the Ice Queen is dead,'' the children sang, and then they clapped for Little Stacey like she was some sort of dancing poodle as she regaled them with tales of how Pamela asked her to be unethical in an Enron sort of way. Enron made me think of the Astros, so I flipped the channel over, and my boys were winning, 3-0. Yay!

But now it was time to get ''harder core.'' Tonight's challenge was Project Manager Dragon Lady vs. Project Manager Official Hottie John, in an almost placement-free (good job, Avon!) fashion show. Each team had to pick a designer out of a pool of poor suckers and then come up with a line of women's clothes to sell to Bergdorf's and Bendel's and so on. First: Was anyone surprised to learn that Trump runs a modeling agency? If so, take seven steps back, do not pass go, do not collect any dollars at all. Of course Mr. Shiny Pot o' McGold Hair has models! Second: How much did we not recoil in shock when the men picked Pamela clone Ilsa to be their designer? They missed their mommy, and who can blame them? Without the debatable estrogen of Pam, these boys were lost at sea, a fact that was emphasized during the only remotely entertaining scene of the night: They headed to a fabric warehouse and started pulling out the ugliest bolts of cloth I have ever seen, driving Carolyn into a conniption fit that made me fall in love with her all over again. She laughed, then cried, then, I think, actually had to leave, and though her hair failed to move even the slightest bit throughout the spectacle, I found it totally endearing. She was totally right to break down, because it was ridiculous watching the boys pull polka dots and patterns that looked like silky Cosby sweaters from the shelves, all the while attempting to maintain their macho panini dignity. At one point, Chris, our resident homophobe, suggested that the design-talented Kelly might be wearing pink camouflage underwear. I changed the channel: 4-4, all tied up! Crap! Stupid Astros bullpen!

Over with the Pussycats, the Gap managers were clearly in their element, and by sending away the two borderline-intelligent women (Elizabeth and Jen M.) to do market research, they managed to design their line and semi-invent a dumb new word, ''capelet.'' As in ''little cape''! As in ''Stacey could camp out in this for days and never feel cramped!'' Nothing interesting happened with the women tonight. The belief that without the stabilizing influence of actual adults they would rip each other to shreds seems to have been unfounded. And that's why tonight was Dullsville, Capital of the Royal Province of Dullington: No one really fought with anyone else at all. You can't just pump us full of that drug and then take it away, NBC. And this is why I found myself back watching the Astros give up two runs in the sixth to make it 6-4, and this is why I needed an extra cup of pudding. Tonight, Al bought this really good caramel and vanilla kind of pudding. It's like she can read my mind. (P.S.: Mind-Reading Update From Last Week: No pony. Thanks a whole lot, Anna Kournikova.)

(Speaking of Anna Kournikova, I'd like to pause a moment and say that I don't care if he can speak German — Raj is officially off my list. Watching him drool gallons all over the models tonight was just disappointing. I'm done. Had I known he'd turn out to be just another bow-tie-clad modelizer, I never would have wasted those column inches confessing my love. Boys are stupid. Raj = Dead to me.)

When it was time for the fashion show, we learned that (1) Isaac Mizrahi (thankfully, no one tried to pronounce his name this time) will show up at the opening of a sugar packet, and (2) art doesn't sell. Ilsa's clothes, in my admittedly humble opinion (I've spent so much time in this Astros hat over the last few weeks that my forehead has actually developed a rash), were way more interesting but probably less commercially viable. Plus, Wes and Kevin, who were in charge of pricing, pulled a Pamela and shot too high. In the end, the women and their capelet outsold the men by nearly three times, and so the men (What to call them now? They need a nickname. Pls suggest options.) lost. And that seemed to make sense.

Who was going down? Why, Wes or Kevin, natch. They set the prices too high, after all. And I didn't like their attitude. But come Boardroom time — and here I interject a quick, frustrated comment about how Robin the Receptionist adamantly refuses to say, ''You can go in now, guys,'' this season — John brought in Recent Harvard Grad and Nationally Ranked Debater Andy so that Wes and Kevin couldn't gang up on him. But he forgot that, as Project Manager, it was mostly his fault they lost, and that Kelly did half his job for him anyway, and so the Official Hottie got the Cobra. Ooh, shocker.

Looking back through my notes on the legal pad, there were very few circled, starred, or exclamation-point-clad sentences this evening. It was drab, average television. And if Trump is just going to keep firing the Project Managers, it's going to get worse. (I sort of hoped he'd fire Andy, frankly, maybe create some buzz.) I am starting to agree with those who say he no longer seems all that interested in finding the best candidate to run one of his companies but rather the most innocuous individual in the game, someone who doesn't make mistakes because he or she doesn't take risks, someone whose butt-kissing skills are unparalleled. A couple weeks ago, I said I wouldn't hire these people to run a faucet. Now I'm starting to think that Trump should stay out of my bathroom, too.

Plus: The Astros lost. Final score, that same 6-4. First Raj, now this. What's a girl gotta do?

What do you think? Have the women cleaned up their act? Can Trump restore some excitement to the Boredroom?

Originally posted Oct 15, 2004
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