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

Half an hour left, Lee wandering around outside looking for trucks, Sean on the phone with poor Adrian screaming that he can bring the ceiling upside down, black without the designs on it, any other ceiling he's ever made. Adrian says he'll do it, and Lee comes back in -- with eight minutes to Jay and Stephen -- and they jury-rig a truly jank solution: cardboard tubes from the packing supplies aisle at intervals, with the wrap duct-taped to them, no roof, keystone-style, the wrap holding up the pegs by being held up by the pegs, like a tee-pee, or a wigwam. Sean's just too tense: "If Adrian shows up keep him away from me."

Commercial. Firing Allie at 27%, Lee at 21%, Roxanne at 18%. Exactly the opposite of what I expected, frankly, of those three, considering the blasting of hatred Roxanne received after the episode was over. And I mean, Lee deserves to win the credit for this task not only as a Rushee, but as Project Manager. I can admit that, not only because I feel that Sean deserves nothing in this world beyond the Ed McMahon Ass-Kissing Award for Misplaced Enthusiasm, but also that if my voodoo doll is working, Lee should be getting his face bitten off by a Bichon Frise in the next couple weeks anyway, so it's no skin off my face to congratulate him this week, knowing he'll get his. And really, "his" in this equation just amounts to a popping of the reality-check cherry, which will come whether I will it or no. And he's a genius anyway, so fuck it. Might as well root for Lee, given that he's the only person who has even Clue One at this point. But I physically cannot root for Lee, because I want to punch him in the box, so we'll call this one a Schrödinger for now and just, whoever wins, we can all say we were secretly rooting for him or her the whole time. That's my plan, anyway. I call it the Rancic Shuffle!

Synergy. Tammy tells the ladies about how she's doing the presentation and she hates using notes, but she has to because of all the technology. Which her entire setup is about minimizing, because she's in the weeds without aid. She interviews: "The vision is mine, the layout is mine..." And here's the vision: black walls, red carpeting, tiny statuettes everywhere, spotlights on the floor, flat-panel screens everywhere, mismatched chairs, papasans and fucking floor pillows and jank-ass-looking loungey crap. It looks like a gay fifteen-year-old's idea of their first apartment, it looks like $200 in the Ikea closeout aisle, it looks like the UPN's version of Big Brother, it looks like "A Crappy Movie Theatre Piece of Bullshit By Doug" from Trading Spaces like a hundred years ago. There are various little separate living room areas, with just enough sharp edges and crappy furniture to keep it from being a womb with cable. Which is sad, because that would have won so fast, if you think about it. It's got a name too: "Xbox 360: Entertainer Of The Year!" Jay and Stephen enter and fear and stare and take notes at the jankiness and bad idea-ness of the place. She goes on and on about how it's a "space that's warm and open." Dumb. This is a high-ticket item, not a day spa. Boys are so fucking easy, Tammy! What's the problem? Matte black and chrome, DVD player smell, moderately sexy edges and lines. You know that room at Best Buy or whatever where you test out the speakers and it's glassed-in and like something out of Wonka? There's a reason those places are lit like a romantic Italian restaurant or bordello. You have to fetishize something before you can spend that much money on it -- one word: Melania -- because those kind of extravagances are not made with the rational part of the brain. I always thought that you should market SUVs to women as Tank Girl behemoth boyfriend-beasts, the same way you sell more Corvettes if you fit them with bras. Instead, Tammy's like, she wanted to make it "comfortable," and make them feeling like it's not "too high-tech for them." Again: taking the rhetoric of the marketing over the concrete reality of the demographic. Nobody with tech fear is going to buy this shit, no matter how aggressively Jay and Stephen lie about it. Induce the tech fear -- "Can you handle this?" -- and boys will line up to defeat it. She gives them a tour, which is stupid and negligible except for how the theme is different awards for movie-watching and gaming and whatever, it's dumb, and Roxanne and Allie looking at each other bored and grossed out the whole time. For reals, I'm telling you that there is one station which just shows a succession of people holding the Xbox with smiles on their faces. What does that even fucking mean?

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