Life Continues

After nearly one-and-a-half seasons of avoiding The Apprentice: Trump, The Donald finally got me to watch an episode again. How? By doing something totally shocking!

At least that’s the way the promos played it. One of the teams failed so badly that Donald had to rush back from a golf trip to, gasp, do his job. I didn’t watch the show on Thursday night, but heard enough good things about it to catch tonight’s rerun. It was nice of CNBC to stop airing Mad Money for an hour to replay the episode.

Donald spent most of the show on the golf course, leaving Carolyn in charge. George, the other viceroy, was also out of town, so pinch hitter Bill Rancic filled in. Bill’s done a great job of improving his on-camera performance since he started filling in during Season 2. It’s actually possible to see him breathing now, so there’s no doubt that he’s alive and not a robot.

When Carolyn is on top of her game, she’s the best part of the show. She’s super intimidating but remembers what it was like to be a young professional learning the ropes. Contestants would probably learn more as Carolyn’s apprentice than Donald’s.

The challenge to boost sales in one department of a Dick’s Sporting Goods store was fraught with the danger of trying to sell equipment for a sport that the contestants liked, rather than one that they could sell. James encouraged Excel to pick baseball so that he could bring his Little League fantasies to life. The problem is that all it takes to play is a bat, a ball, and a glove. Oh, and a radar detector, according to Jennifer.

Capital Edge, on the other hand, chose golf, a sport they knew nothing about. Markus identified the key to their success: the people that play golf are crazy for it. It’s an expensive hobby that requires you to dress a certain way and carry a bunch of expensive equipment; golfers expect to spend lots of money. All Capital Edge needed to do was build the putting green to occupy the kids while the parents shopped. It was a brilliantly simple strategy.

Excel got crushed worse than any defeat in Apprentice history, going so far as to actually lose revenue in the Baseball Department by over 30%. They’d have been better off not showing up for the task. Trump picked three people, James, Jennifer, and Mark, to come back into the Boardroom with Project Manager Josh. Trump promptly gave them all the boot, even Mark, whose sole crime was spending too much time by the pitching machine. The four crammed into the back of one cab and brought new meaning to the phrase “uncomfortable silence.”

Now I’m going to have to watch the next episode just to see how the remaining members of Excel react. Brian, Marshawn, and Rebecca went up to the suite expecting three of their teammates to return from the Boardroom. Did they have to wait all night, wondering why no one came back? Did Robin send a note up to them telling them what happened? Did Trump himself deliver the bad news? Viewers will just have to wait until next week, and I guess I’ll be waiting, too.