Apprentice
Backs Against The Wal-Mart

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Jacob Clifton: B- | Grade It Now!
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Lesson Twelve: Use Your Words

Adrian calls the very excited Sean, who is very excited, and tells him they're actually going to have the ceiling and floor ready around 7 AM. Sean very excitedly wigs, screaming at Adrian about how seven hours' difference is a huge difference from the quote on a rush job, and interviews that they can't very well do a whole lot without the floor on which to put things. Sean and Lee toss the phone back and forth as Adrian obnoxiously screams over and over in a broken CYA loop about how he can't do it. Finally Sean interrupts the uninterruptible and tells him to just get it done as early as possible. I do like these last-minute things, like how the final task the candidates lose the use of their limbs or they run out of oxygen in the stadium or whatever. Nice show of character in a show that is rarely about character. Lee freaks out: "This is a disaster right now with this guy."

Commercial. Sean is pantsing around in a backwards cap, 2.5 hours before Jay and Stephen show up, Sean and Lee K-I-S-S-I-N-G desperately about how smart they (Lee really, of course) are for having all the other associated products (digital cameras, storage, etc.) out and around, with their prices visible. Basically, a Showcase Showdown for boys masquerading as men; in other words: brilliant. They wait and they wait and they wait, and Adrian shows up bearing only the floor. Sean claps and Lee tells Adrian they never doubted him, calls him "good buddy," and Sean does stupid dances while they lay it down. Lee asks the other production guy how "sexy" the outer wrap is -- and what do you say to that? "Moderately sexy"? -- and Adrian tells them he'll bring the roof in two hours, with a half-hour installation time. But because of this thing called "gravity," they can't do the wrap without the roof, so everything depends both literally and figuratively on the roof, which is going to show up at the last minute, because Adrian is tragic. I picture him standing with Mark Burnett's gun to his head, ceiling ready to go and in the truck, shaking his head madly as he lies into the phone with tears streaming down his face. "I don't even speak broken English! This whole show is a lie! My name is Adrian Schwartzman, I'm from Peekskill!" Sean begs Adrian to hurry and interviews that his fate is right now "in this man's hands," and that if Adrian comes through with the ceiling, he's going to win. It's true, kind of, because he has no idea how terribly bad Tammy's doing, both individually and with the double albatross squawking 'round her neck.

Setting up the Synergy environment, which is awful, Tammy realizes that the eyespace in Wal-Mart is 100% composed of: signs, advertising, numbers, smiley faces, ugliness, kitty-cat sweatshirts, the bedazzled, thousands of dirty-faced screaming children, entire claustrophobic aisles about to fall on you, velour clothing by Kathy Ireland, people ramming you with their carts, people eating those ball-shaped puffy Cheetos out of cans, bare feet and those in flip-flops, stripper clothing for tweens, sweatpants and big combs and Jordache jeans, and always the signs -- and you have got to compete with that shit. Roxanne's banner shows up, the size of a postage stamp and with the design élan of generic governmental canned goods amidst this visual cacophony, and Tammy realizes: "Roxanne [can]not execute the signage." There's a cool juxtaposition between their difficulties attaching the stupid sign to their stupid tent, and the she said/she said of attacking and half-justifying the dumb-ass sign. "The sign maybe have been too simple for Wal-Mart," Roxanne lowballs, "but ultimately I got the damn sign delivered so I don't wanna hear shit about signs!" This is a nonsense non-point but she delivers it with a cute face that, to me at least, acknowledges the nonsense of what she's saying. See, Roxanne and Allie are both that kind of person that I do not trust to be honest in these interviews. Like when Roxanne was all, "Outsteak is GRRRRRREAT!" or all those times Allie "accidentally" called somebody an asshole in a particularly adorable and scathing way. So that's how I read the whole eye-rolling ass-cover, as a way of saying, "Yes I did, and so would you have" and "No I didn't, and furthermore I don't even have eyes, so thanks for making me feel self-conscious about that" at the same time. Which may seem apologetic, but I just don't believe in the power of editing to such a degree that I can buy Roxanne (or even Allie) just became this disingenuous asshole by walking into a Wal-Mart one morning -- or that America was just so terribly fooled that this is the veil finally being lifted. If you're looking for people to be that uncomplicated, though, I guess this is probably the show for you anyway.

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Apprentice

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