''The Apprentice'': An episode without end | EW.com

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''The Apprentice'': An episode without end

On ''The Apprentice,'' the penultimate episode, featuring a dopey challenge and no firing, just leaves a bad smell in the air

The Apprentice

(Nicole D.: Mitchell Haaseth)

”The Apprentice”: An episode without end

Hi, ducklings. What’s going on with you? Not much here. I’m just watching television and thinking about alphabetizing my bookshelf. I guess I could write the TV Watch, but I’m still waiting for tonight’s episode of The Apprentice to end.

Sure, they’ve cut to local news here in New York, but that’s okay. It’ll be back on any second now. No one’s been fired yet, see. Which means there are four people left going into next week’s finale. And next week’s finale, because it starts at 10 p.m., can only be an hour long. And that just doesn’t quite seem right. I mean, if I know The Apprentice — and I think I do — then I’m pretty sure there’s no way they can appropriately sort through four contestants in an hour’s time. Hell, most years they can barely get through two. And Trump certainly cannot think he’s got a handle on who deserves to be hired after tonight’s more-irrelevant-than-usual task. After all, last week’s job — to market the Donald’s new Vegas condos — was so spot-on, so professional, so job-interview-esque, that it just wouldn’t make sense for them go back to twiddling about. But I dunno…it kind of seems like that’s what happened. And yet there’s simply no way you can assess someone’s value to a real-estate organization based on their production of a Renuzit air-freshener commercial, especially given the fact that the contestants once again worked in teams of two — James with Stefani, Frankie with Nicole — and that Trump did not, to my knowledge, watch either of the commercials himself. Maybe something got cut off on the satellite or something. It sure has been raining hard here today. I bet that’s it. I bet they’re having technical difficulties, and the last hour or so of this episode is just taking a while to get to the airwaves. Because, gosh, I mean, we didn’t even get a real boardroom. Trump just told everyone they were extraordinary and then sent them home. And then we watched the final-four Apprentici hugging and packing and grinning, and that was it. That can’t be the end. The penultimate episode of The Apprentice cannot possibly consist of so much boring nothingness. I can’t believe that no one got fired, or even got chastised, or even really raised their voice. They just kept talking about how getting to the final four is just as good as winning. It’s not. It’s very different from winning. I can’t believe no one noticed that. I can’t believe no one seemed bothered by the complete deterioration of the structure of this show — a show that has very little going for it outside of structure at this point. You’d think this sort of cataclysmic structure change would at least be worth acknowledging for the benefit of the half-dozen or so of us who have been watching The Apprentice, week in and week out, for three years. Frankly, you’d think that Mark Burnett, surely one of the savvier men ever to produce television shows, would use all of his considerable power to stop such a limp dishrag of an episode from ever being seen in the first place. So there must be more episode left, and it just hasn’t come on yet. Because I cannot believe that, for all its faults, The Apprentice would so completely and utterly lose sight of the point. I cannot believe that, if that’s all there is, this program could ever maintain even a semblance of credibility, should it somehow magically get picked up for another season. And I especially cannot believe that this whimper, this sham, this incompetent marshmallow of an ending is what I get in exchange for giving up 14 hours of my spring. No. That would just be insulting.

Nothing to do but sit here and wait, I guess.