Apprentice L.A.: Episode 12

After this week’s episode, there are only four unimpressive contestants left on The Apprentice: L.A. And, somehow, Nicole and Frank are still among them.

The episode began with Team Arrow moving back into the mansion for good. The teams were dissolved, and six remaining candidates were instructed to pair up. James and Stefani quickly announced they’d work together, indicating some kind of friendship or working compatibility that hasn’t been shown too much onscreen.

Kristine was faced with a dilemma: work with her long-time teammate (and season-long frontrunner) Heidi and risk remaining in her shadow forever, or work with Nicole and risk losing. Kristine desperately wanted to outshine Heidi for a change, so she chose Nicole, forcing Heidi to work with Frank.

The task was to design a promotional video and brochure for Trump’s new resort condominiums in Las Vegas. A presentation of these materials would then be judged by Trump and his son, Don Jr.

Based on their performances on this task, I have no doubt that, had they been paired together, Frank and Nicole would have lost by a landslide. Instead, Heidi had to keep Frank from trying to goof around with James, and Kristine was forced to do almost everything by herself as Nicole slept.

James and Stefani were the first team to present, and they displayed remarkable competence. Their promo package and marketing plan looked like they’d had more than 24 hours to prepare it.

Stefani remains the best presenter in the group — maybe the best in show history — and the occasionally manic James was calmed by her delivery. I don’t know if either of them is qualified to run a company, but they’d certainly be able to fake it for a while.

Then it was time for Nicole & Kristine to give their presentation. Nicole, who’d been so overconfident that she didn’t bother to do any preparation, spent several minutes just trying to get PowerPoint to work before fumbling her way through an awkward, improvised presentation.

After that disaster was over, Kristine gave the Trump’s her brochure. While it looked lovely, the phone number on the back of the brochure was incorrect, rendering the whole thing largely useless, in Trump’s estimation.

Frank & Heidi did just as poorly as the team before them. Maybe worse.

A nervous Heidi skipped over the presentation she was supposed to give and went right into Frank’s video, which was little more than shaky shots of bathroom tiles. Their brochure was text-heavy and had no pictures — not exactly the best way to sell luxury condos.

Heidi wouldn’t give a straight answer when Trump asked if she was responsible for the brochure (she was). When she said that Frank monopolized the graphic designer’s time working on the video, Frank shouted, "You just type it in a Word document" — hence why their brochure looked like crap. I wonder if he suggested Comic Sans as the main font (with Chiller for headlines), too.

Then, Heidi did the stupidest thing she could have possibly done at that moment, and told Trump that, if he wanted to fire her over this one task, he was welcome to. Trump’s response: "Heidi, you’re fired."

Then he fired Kristine for printing the wrong phone number on her team’s brochure.

In the car on their way home, Kristine admitted she’d made a mistake in choosing Nicole, and apologized to Heidi for sticking her with Frank. Heidi smiled and joked, "It’s all right. I’ll get you back."

With two episodes to go, Trump’s choices are limited to Stefani, James, Nicole, and Frank.

Stefani seems the most capable of the bunch, but she’s been invisible for most of the season. If she was going to win it all, I would have expected the editors to give her more screen time.

There’s James, who seems like a decent motivator (if not a big idea guy), but is too much of a loose cannon to be trusted with any real responsibility.

Third up is Nicole, who’s not nearly as smart, funny, or cute as she thinks she is. If you’re looking for an overcaffeinated sorority girl to run your business, then Nicole’s your gal.

Lastly, there’s Frank. After everyone left the Boardroom, Trump and Don Jr. said they’d be comfortable with Frank as a foreman at one of their construction sites, but that he was seriously lacking in sophistication. Putting Frank in the Finale would be like playing a joke on someone who didn’t know any better.

I hope that the end of this season marks the end of The Apprentice. The quality of potential candidates has been declining since the early seasons, and this crop of Trump wannabes is the worst yet. All that winning qualifies you for is appearances on subsequent seasons of The Apprentice, and I’d be happy if I never saw any of these dopes again. That includes Trump.