Apprentice
Backs Against The Wal-Mart

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Lesson Twelve: Use Your Words

Weekly Wisdom: "Death To Traitors." I am totally down with this concept, and with Trump's incredible rhetoric: "If you think there may be some sabotage...get rid of them ruthlessly, viciously...just get rid of them, fast." Word, Trumpy. At the end of the day, I don't look as harshly upon the "traitors" in this episode as harshly as others do, because sin by omission is a titch less gross than what Lee and Tarek perpetrated a couple weeks ago, but I still agree. I really, really wish Pepi had set the precedent when he wanted to earlier, about just firing the fuck out of people. Did Kwame actually do that with Miss O? Or was it just a technicality? I can't remember. But anyway, she wasn't a candidate at the time, so it's different. Too bad he pulled back.

Showtime, Synergy! There's all manner of deliriously twee and fun Brini Maxwell music as Tammy investigates the space, talking a mauve streak about having a "red carpet theme," highlighting "entertainment" as something so transcendent that it doesn't approach the gaming thing at the heart of the brand. She talks about wanting them to "feel like they don't even need to leave their house," due to the wonder of the Xbox. And...sadly, this is a boy/girl thing. They're rare, but they happen, and not always when you expect. The thing is that Jay and Stephen and arrested-development Lee and Sean know a thing that Tammy does not know, which is: the Xbox is a gaming console. It's fun to say that it's all about home movies and DVD's of The Object Of My Affection and whatever, but the price alone dictates that it will be bought only by unmarried men. Married men are not going to sneak this whole "it's for the whole family" bullshit past their wives, and only the most overindulged children are going to be receiving it for their very own. By incorporating the huge lie of the "interactivity" marketing into their overall concept, while still marketing it as a big-boy toy, Gold Rush has already won. But the ugliness of this is that Roxanne and Allie both know this, as portrayed through their thinky faces, and they're going to let Tammy fuck this up, and that makes them jerks. Watching this show every week, as I was telling Joe R, you get used to the formula, and generally at this point in the formula, you see the dissenting team members giving other options and questioning the central thrust; there's no such footage in the episode here. Allie and Roxanne just roll their eyes and nod their heads. I'm not saying they didn't fight Tammy on this, but we don't see it if they did, and that stuck out on first viewing: not one second of dissent. Only condescension and "if you think so" bullshit.

Roxanne tells us that she didn't really like the idea, but that Tammy got really repetitive and overbearing about it. Which my ecomagination has a tough time picturing. They go shopping for crap, and Tammy asks if they should have mirrors, and they don't say anything, just look at each other, and then Allie fixes her hair in the mirror while Roxanne tells her they'll put mirrors on the "maybe" list, and that if she's a "good girl"...I dunno. I kind of blame Tammy for not outright asking what the fucking problem was, if this is how they were acting the whole time. It's Mean Girl saying-by-not-saying, and Tammy's a down girl, down enough to ask them why they're being so unsupportive, and when your employees are all but shouting their disagreement like this, it's kind of your responsibility to ask what's going on. And she doesn't, until it's too late. But you don't need a graduate degree in Why Girls Are Weird to know that this is them saying "No" in the language of passive aggression. So she's weak for that. Bill shows up, and Allie shoots him several eye-rolls and practically gives a Loser L Salute, which grosses Bill out. "I didn't like that...you should be working as a team." Of course, Bill doesn't speak Girl Bullshit, so he doesn't get that she's just doing what the most prickish person on the team does to the Viceroy every week, which is express worry and disappointment while mid-task as a misguided attempt to curry favor. Tammy leads them somewhere and they laugh and dally and say "Piso Mojado" over and over, punch drunk. Tammy thinks that their bullshit and obstructionism makes them look less professional, she tells us, over footage of them running around Wal-Mart sharing a hula hoop and laughing like idiots. Not that she listened to the signals, or anything, just that she kind of thought they were being jerks, and that somehow it had nothing to do with her. While they're running around in a hula hoop. It's kind of bleak.

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