February 27, 2006

"The Apprentice" is back again already.

Are you going to watch? Funny that they don't give you time to miss it, the way "American Idol" does. It seems the last season just ended, and last season was the one with two versions, the Donald and the Martha. "American Idol" actually did do something like that once, when it ran the "juniors" show, which was even more of a horrendous distortion of the original than Martha's show was.

Anyway, the new "Apprentice" has moved to Monday, which is a great place to stick it, since we're all watching "American Idol" on all those other days.

Donald is implying that he knows that the last season was too tame:
"We've got great new characters," he said, touting the addition of some foreign-born "Apprentice" applicants this time, including Lenny from Russia and Sean from Britain.

Then there's the inclusion of a couple of other characters, who had a certain in with the star. Ivanka Trump, Donald's daughter, will fill in for Mr. Trump's sometimes acerbic aide-de-camp, Carolyn Kepcher, for five episodes; and his son Don replaces the other assistant, the gently curmudgeonly George Ross, for two episodes.
No Carolyn?! Nooooo! Donald's daughter??? Right after we suffered through Martha's catatonic daughter! I am going to be hypercritical of the deserves-no-sympathy Ivanka. Ivanka must deliver or be rudely skewered!
[Trump] acknowledged, that the third edition of "The Apprentice," which concluded last spring, contained a cast "full of marshmallows," a result, he said, of his not taking a stronger hand in casting. For the fourth go-round, last fall, and the fifth, starting tonight, he said he had been extremely hands-on with casting....

He would not reveal how his consulting efforts turned out, only that "nobody's going to believe it."
Okay, this better be good. Now, go watch it, everyone. I will. Look for a quick update to this pose.

UPDATE: The contestants have to walk up the steps into his plane -- the plane that says TRUMP on the outside. They meet Trump, who mainly says I wanted you to meet me here so you can see how expensive my plane is as you begin your journey on this show which is all about how you can become rich and have a plane like this.

Then they get out of the plane and line up next to it, in extreme wind, where they must quickly summarize their bios, while their hair whips them in the face. Trump selects team leaders: the guy who says he's in Mensa (Tarek) and the girl who went to Harvard Business School (Allie). (What's with Mensa? People are proud to be in the top 2% of IQs, but not too proud to join an organization about just that?) The Harvard Business School girl is, in my mind, distinguished by the fact that she's the only person who chose to use her hand to grip her hair and keep it from whipping her in the face. Well, that's management!

The two who suddenly find out they are the leaders now need to pick their teams. Were they listening, in all that wind, to the bios of the other contestants? Neither leader remembers anyone's name, so they're both, I'll take the gentleman in the pink tie.... The fat guy is chosen last, and we see him interviewing about how he was always chosen last in high school. Oh, the team choosing ordeal! It's designed to dredge up all your old high school nightmares.

The fat guy, Brent, destroys our sympathy for him by pushing the team name "Killer Instinct." His team rebuffs him and chooses the dorky all-purpose business word "Synergy." The other team, someone Brentishly, calls itself "Gold Rush."

The task is dripping with product placement: Goodyear (the blimp) and Sam's Club (they have to promote it). We see the Gold Rush contestants laying into typical Sam's Club customers. Lots of high pressure sales talk. In interviews, they rave about what high energy go-getters they are. Lee wore a suit! What a creative idea -- we're told. What a way to command respect. The Synergy folk are pushing manicures and massages -- you know, what women want. Even though the teams aren't all-male and all-female this season, there's a masculine vibe to Gold Rush, and a feminine vibe to Synergy.

We get mercifully quickly to The Boardroom. The teams do almost exactly the same, but Gold Rush loses. We see the team conspiring to oust Summer, who does seem like a bit of an idiot. But Lee doesn't like this ganging up. He wants to blame Tarek, the team leader. And he's right. The team had no idea. All they had was a gift bag, but it was a gift bag with no gifts in it. The gift was the bag.

The firing scene unfolds brilliantly. We start by not wanting Summer to lose, because of the way the team plotted against her. But Carolyn pins her on the question: what did you do for the team? And then, when Trump is focusing on Tarek, getting ready to fire him for having no idea, Summer starts annoyingly butting in. So he fires her for being such an idiot as to keep interrupting when he's getting ready to fire someone else. Lots of big laughs here! She tries to spin her idiocy as truthfulness. And so, truthfulness is the joke of the night.

In the cab confession, Summer says she is happier with herself than she's ever been.


MadisonMan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MadisonMan said...

I so do not care about Donald. Now, martha I might watch. But Donald and his hair? It's not entertainment, it's agony. But maybe I'll tune in to watch Ivanka -- I saw an interview of her and Donald Jr and they came across as remarkably sane, given their upbringing.

I've been meaning to ask, Prof. A., about your new picture. Is your hair crimped in it, or is it some weird cropping thing in my browser?

Ann Althouse said...

Madison Man: Maybe a trip to the optometrist is in order. As to Donald, he's a great reality show character. Martha has already tried and failed at it.

Anonymous said...

"The Apprentice" is back again already." Funny that they don't give you time to miss it.

When you're right, you're right.

Glenn Howes said...

My wife and I played our little side game where we judge who's going to win based solely on the video clips in the credit montage. I picked Tammie who appeared to have a Rebecca like intensity in the clip. My wife picked Dan for reasons of her own. Perhaps not coincidentally, these were the two picked first by the project managers.

Unknown said...

Long time lurker here. I've always enjoyed reading your liveblog/recap posts of The Apprentice and American Idol. I just tried to liveblog tonight's Apprentice and it's hard work! Thanks for your efforts on this stuff!

tiggeril said...

"Synergy" was the name of the computer in the '80s children's cartoon "Jem" which I loved when I was wee.

I'm glad the Apprentice is back. I'm tired of American Idol. The Amazing Race is back tomorrow too!

JodyTresidder said...

The MOST cracking start to the series for ages, and what fun to see a cult born in one show with the villainously charismatic Lenny-the-Russian!

His imepeccably timed over-the-shoulder last line "not for long!" a split second after Trump opined that the losing team leader's ass had only just been saved...

I'm starting to gush but I also thought the editing was almost flawless.

Dave said...

I've seen Ivank apeak before; she's quite bright.

Whether she will be effective is another matter entirely.

Doug said...

Yeah....The Apprentice is back. I hear Donald will have his vacuous children substituting for George and Carol during the season.


Doesn't matter.

Mondays ? 9pm ? Sorry, but that's Jack Bauer time Donald.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

If Lenny-the-Russian lived under the Soviet boot, it's no wonder he sticks up for a downtrodden woman.

Plus, she was quite lovely what with those puffy, oversized......lips.

Didn't another Russian just go all chauvanistic on Condi Rice? Maybe it's in the wodka.

I loved Lenny.

Ricardo said...

"The Synergy folk are pushing manicures and massages -- you know, what women want."

Since you opened the door to this line of questioning, Ann, would you please tell us what women really DO want? And I don't mean at Sam's. Has anyone ever figured this out?

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Wasn't the word Summer was looking for "truthiness?"

Simon Kenton said...

Ricardo, here is Chaucer:

"Women desiren to have sovereigntee
As well over hir husband as hir love,
And for to been in maistry him above."

It takes years in some marriages to settle the dominance issue.

vbspurs said...

Are you going to watch?

*covers eyes*

I recorded it, since I am watching the second day of the Brazilian Carnival. I'll be here shortly. :)

I've never watched this programme, and though my boyfriend says that last season was really disappointing, I hope this season might yield better entertainment.

Although I'm pretty sure the Donald's hair could be a destaque in Imperatriz Leopoldinense...


Rick Lee said...

Madison Man... it's not your eyes... it's the way the image is reduced in size, it gets jaggies in the texture so it makes her hair look like it has little waves crimped in it. If you keep clicking on the image until you finally see the full size image, you'll see it's just straight hair.

Kurt said...

Oh dear, not the Apprentice again so soon. After the Randall debacle at the end of the last series, I don't think I have too much patience for another run already. I'll probably save my reality tv-watching energy for American Idol.

Beau said...

Two things are inevitable each series: that someone will suggest a massage as a selling point and, the irritating loose cannon of the team will suggest that no one likes them because they are a 'threat'.
I can't think of anything I'd want less than a massage in the chilly cement foyer of a huge warehouse.

LoafingOaf said...

I've watched each season so I must like it. But it always makes me sick how they all kiss Donald's ass. I think I keep watching because I'm hoping that one season a contestant will make a name for himself in the boardroom by hurling some insults back and declaring, "Mr. Trump, I've discovered I don't wanna work for you. I quit!"

XWL said...

I only watched the first half, but I was struck by how incredibly successful they made each contestant seem.

Why the hell do they want to go through this if the businesses they've already founded and nurtured are worth millions and thriving?

And I'm ashamed to say I caught Donald Trumps appearance on Deal or No Deal before The Apprentice.

Because I read Defamer far too much, the first thing that popped into my mind (and out of my mouth) was that this was a perfect example of 'shitergy' (pardon my working blue for a moment).

Another quibble, when he talks about how he'll make these folks rich, how many of his employees, or ex-employees own their own jet, also?

Finally, the producers of the show do a great job of creating a through story for each episode and an arc for the season, so that is admirable and obviously engrossing, but at this point I didn't see anybody from this crop that would get me to strongly root for or against so I probably won't be watching.

LoafingOaf said...

Why the hell do they want to go through this if the businesses they've already founded and nurtured are worth millions and thriving?

Yeah, my thoughts exactly when they said the one chick is worth $8million. But, ya know...she wants to be on TV.

at this point I didn't see anybody from this crop that would get me to strongly root for or against so I probably won't be watching.

The thing with shows like Apprentice and Survivor, though, is they get a lot better as the season progresses. And you should've watched the second half instead of the first! It's all about the boardroom. You don't have to do very well in the tasks if you can hold your own under cross-examination. I'm amazed Summer went on the show without studying what not to say in the board room. Kind of like how people go on Survivor without learning how to make a fire.

Pete said...

I've vowed not to watch this season so must. Try. To resist.


I put it on, I admit, but didn't watch closely. Sure enough, Donald was his usual blow-harded self and fired Summer for an arbitrary reason. The rest of the crew were blah, the usual crop of resume padding over-achievers. Lenny, though, seems interesting. He signed up because his kids suggested it so he's a man after my own heart. Plus, he made a promise while exiting the boardroom I'd like to see kept.

But, hey, I'm not watching it. No sir. Not me.

Ann, if I could be a little like quxxxo here, (Way to go, quoxxxo, staying on topic!) what's up with seeing you in an all too brief clip on Fox News? A story about Ford and how they allow religious meetings during lunch or some such. Saw you as an expert and blurted to my wife about how I read that woman's blog! (Oops. Sorry to go all Bill Clinton on you using "that woman.") Is there a future for you on Fox News as a legal analyst. Oh, I pray it's so.

Ann Althouse said...

Oh, now I remember doing the Fox News interview! What did they have me saying? They were in town for a story and they stopped by my office for some quick commentary.

Ann Althouse said...

I had "Special Report with Brit Hume" TiVo'd, so I checked it and saw the clip. I don't even get to finsh my sentence! That was kind of funny.

Pete said...

Yeah, it was quick, and like I said, I was too busy blabbing to my wife about who you were to hear what you had to say. Could you tell me what you said?

Ann Althouse said...

I said that if you allow one religious group to have meeting on the job site, you have to let them all. You can't discriminate among the groups. The harder question, which we talked about, but really got wiped out of the story, was whether a company can or should bar all religious groups when it has a program of on-site affiliate groups.

Sean E said...

Lenny cracked me up. Typical Donald, referring to him as "The Russian" during the Boardroom

Tough call between Tarek and Summer. I thought Tarek was doomed when he brought Lee back in, obviously out of spite. Then Summer opened her mouth just before the axe fell and she was done. Don't the contestants watch previous seasons?

Also loved Lee sitting beside Summer stage whispering "Just say sorry. Just say sorry and be quiet." or words to that effect as she kept trying to talk over The Donald.

Ann Althouse said...

Mary: Your assumptions about me have nearly always been ridiculous, but I will answer your question. Fox did not pay me. And I was asked by the University to do the interview after Fox called them looking for someone who could speak to the issue of law and religion. Your accusation that I'm recently "distancing" myself from The Federalist Society is factually wrong. By the way, I sat next to Scalia at that lunch because the Dean seated me there. I'm across-the-board not thrilled by meeting and interacting with celebrities and powerful people. Some people in that category turn out to be interesting to talk to, as Scalia was.

Pete said...

Thanks, Ann. As always, your legal comments are grounded in common sense.

PJ said...

I like Lenny, he is so different from previous contestants.

Freeman Hunt said...

Also loved Lee sitting beside Summer stage whispering "Just say sorry. Just say sorry and be quiet."

Oh! I loved that too. I also liked it when Trump said something like, "She saved your ass with her stupidity," to Tarek, and Lenny said gruffly, "Not for long." Sounded like he was going to crack Tarek over the head in the middle of the night.

Ann, I saw you on Fox too. I was watching with my in-laws, and when you came on I said, "Hey, that's neat. I read her blog everyday." "You read her what?" "Her website." If only I could convince them to read blogs--they'd love them.

stephen said...

As a recap to Episode #3 - I believe The Donald made the right call - but watch to see how the Suite reacts to Brent's return.

For the surviving candidates; they will have to change their tack if they don;t want to be run over by Brent. No he will not be the Appentice, I am sure - but he may cause some damage before reaching his own cab ride home. Watch for Andrea and Roxanne to step up.

And join us for the Live Blog at www.apprenticeviews.com Stephen