Welcome to eight thousand, two hundred words – sixteen pages, according to MS Word – of Apprentice Episode 4 Summary. If reading the summary takes longer than watching the episode, is it still a summary? Perhaps a better title would be ‘Apprentice Episode 4 Extrapolation’. If my brother is reading this, I’m sorry. Short and punchy just isn’t in me – or at least, not when it comes to ‘The Apprentice’. It’s a very wordy show, and the participants say a lot of dumb, silly things that just have to be chronicled – or misstated, taken out of context, or just plain made up. Anything less, and the summarizer could be accused as being as shiftless and intellectually lazy as George W Bush.
As we all know, Apprentice series producer Mark Burnet is a very moral person. It is this quality that has caused all his shows to have a strong ethical or life-affirming message, if you can just decipher the clues. Hubris is punished, Envy is highlighted, and double-dealing is dwelled upon, and at the end we have learned a little more about our humanity. And the lesson of episode four of series 2 of The Apprentice is that women in groups are all backstabbing b!tches that cannot be trusted any further than they can throw each other. As Jeff Probst says, let’s see how that plays out.
Previously on The Apprentice...
• Both teams were trying to sell toothpaste. Mike Piazza – an obscure local baseball player - was procured by the woman’s team to shill for Crest. “I’ve been using Crest since I can remember,” he is shown announcing to a small crowd. “And I’ve never had a cavity in my life.” But this is a sportsman. How long can he remember?
• Jennifer ‘C’ – a woman who appears to be a refugee from the post WWII era, with her hairstyle and vivid make up - is shown gushing about the ballplayer. “Not only was that perfect for our campaign, but he’s just flawless!” She herself will turn out to be anything but flawless, as we'll see.
• Elizabeth, the PM of the losing team, chose Maria – whose budgeting error caused the loss - and Stacie J for the boardroom. “One by one,” Trump intones in voiceover. “Apex turned on Stacy J.” This ability to cannibalize their own – in keeping with the theme of the show - is a talent that the women will be shown to have in spades. There are tribes in the South Pacific who could learn a thing or three from this bunch.
• Elizabeth is shown saying, in the boardroom, “I would never have Stacie run one of your organizations, Mr. Trump.” That, as we will see later, is the standard code phrase for: “This woman is a dangerous nutcase, and I hate her more than the runs.” Ivana pipes up about Stacie’s ‘freak-out’. “It was borderline schizophrenic,” she says.
• Small Stacy speaks up – and she’s really small. She makes the rest of the women look like WNBA players. (The apprentice women are better-dressed than most female basket players, but they trash-talk better). “It was one of the most scary moments of my life,” she says, demonstrating that she’s never watched a Drew Barrymore movie.
• Trump goes into fire mode, as the music swells. “I’m not impressed with Elizabeth,” he says. “I think she stinks as a project manager. But beyond that, I don’t need someone who has a problem working for me. Stacie, you’re fired.”
And that concludes our summary of the summary. Now let’s conclude the rest of the episode, in something like fifteen pages from now.
The first shot of the episode proper is Trump Tower. It is night. The men, chopping vegetables expertly somewhere inside the tower, decide that Elizabeth is getting fired. “If I was a betting man,” says Raj, “then I would guess that Elizabeth would find herself with her head on the chopping block, with the guillotine coming down towards it.” As we’ll see in a second, it is likely that he would also be broke. The women return to the suite, and Raj can’t be bothered to perform a process of elimination. He asks the women who got fired, and Maria tells him it was Stacie J, because it came out that she had “that episode” during the first task. “And who said that she had an episode?” Raj asks. Ivana passes behind Maria and sneakily points a finger at her. Raj has his answer, even though everyone will forget it soon and start blaming someone else.
Kevin decides to stir it a little. He does a quick survey to check that no one knows what they’re talking about, then accuses the woman of not having the expertise to diagnose the departed Stacie as a whack job. He neglects to point out that the fact that she was on the show to begin with puts her in a very high-risk category, whack-job wise, but perhaps that was an understandable omission.
The first swirls of a blame storm coalesce, and they coalesce around Elizabeth. Kevin finally gets some of the women to admit that Stacie’s infamous episode was brought up to save Elizabeth and Maria’s skins. Kevin says to Elizabeth, more in sorrow than in anger, “So you used that to get her.” It seems that he’s as disappointed in her as if - after all his training - she had been found drinking water from the toilet.
Jennifer ‘C’ chimes in, “I think what Kevin’s saying is that you kept it on the back burner until you were ready to use it.” She goes on to say in confessional that; “Stacie J was not the reason we lost the task. I just think Elizabeth did a terrible job as a project manager.” For those of you with short memories or brains powerful enough to avoid watching ‘The Apprentice’, it was Maria’s mistake in spending three times more on flyers than she had said she would that caused her team to go over budget in their last task, and that was the only reason they lost. But an inconvenient fact like that would interfere with the Liz-pummeling that is about to take place.
The blame storm is now well-formed. The funnel cloud of sanctimoniousness and hypocrisy is descending, and it’s about to engulf Elizabeth. She is seen defending herself from a table around which are gathered most of the other contestants. Jennifer, having fully eclipsed Kevin as Chief Inquisitor, is still on the attack, with Elizabeth weakly sticking to the truth. The final shot of this scene is Elizabeth looking at Jennifer as disbelievingly as if Jen had just grabbed a rat and ate it whole. She is clearly thinking why are you so interested in this, who made you prosecutor, and why don’t you just eat crap and die?
Elizabeth confessionals, “There was this huge misunderstanding about why I took Stacie J into the boardroom. They just blamed everything on me.” Forget the misunderstanding. Her teammates just like to engage in blame games. Most of them probably find them more intense and dramatic than sex.
The eye of the blame storm is passing through. Elizabeth makes use of the respite to sit peaceably with Raj, Pamela, and Kelly: “You must have had an unpleasant day today,” suggests Raj, perceptively. “I can’t even talk about it, to tell you the truth,” says Elizabeth. As she walks away, Raj says “Wow,” to a stoic Pamela, then turns to Kelly. “Yee-hah!” he adds. Way to be articulate, Raj. Aren’t you supposed to be the intelligent one?
The respite is over. Elizabeth is arguing with Jennifer yet again. “We were all doing our jobs independently of any leadership,” says Jennifer. “You couldn’t make any decisions.” Elizabeth tries to break in at that point, but Jen is having none of it. “You tell me one thing I failed you on!” she exclaims. “This is crazy!” cries Liz. Maria puts in her own pissy little statement, too, though it seems she’s telling Elizabeth to get off her designer. Who he or she is, and when Liz was on him or her, we don’t know and we are not told. In confessional, Maria – who is generally even more made-up than the plastic-fantastic Jennifer, and consequently even less realistic – says, “It’s like she never had anyone not like her before, so I think it got her very burned and bruised.” Isn’t there a stereotype about women being more empathic and nurturing than men? You’d have to go to the local prison to find a bunch of males less empathic and nurturing than this bunch – and you’d probably have to be the maximum security wing. Maria continues bitching to Liz, and begins waving a finger in Liz’s face. Then Jennifer gets back in the act. “I’m not getting in the sandbox with you, Elizabeth. Grow up,” she declaims.
Finally the blame storm dissipates. A pillow shown on one of the beds has the last words. It has the words ‘envy’, ‘lust’, and ‘anger’ printed on it, and it makes a good point. Envy and anger are definitely big motivators of the women, and though we haven’t seen any lust, maybe sublimated desire is fueling some of their psychotic behavior. It’s either that or Mark Burnett is putting yaba in their water supply.