After Darryl Strawberry’s boardroom suicide, Trump brings everyone back in to select their Project Manager’s for the next task. Rod “disgraced governor” Blagojevich and Selita “Victoria Secret Something” Ebanks accept the dubious honor and are told that in an ‘Apprentice’ first, they’ll be separated from their team. An elaborate game of hide & seek perhaps?
Rod and Selita take a limo to Trump’s private plane and we learn that like Rod, Selita needs to prove something too. She’s fighting people’s perception that she’s just a dumb model, which can’t be true because, she says, “Everyone who’s successful has to be smart.” She’s clearly never seen the Real Housewives of NYC.
On the plane, Trump appears on video to explain the task. Rod and Selita will fly to Universal Studios in Orlando to visit the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction, for which their teams will then create a 3-D interactive display. The displays will be presented to executives and kids and then someone will fly home.
While waiting to hear from Selita, Cyndi Lauper brings in a white board and talks about how things are done at the record company when you need to shoot 4 music videos in a day. Hollyer-than-thou Robinson Peete has to argue with everything that Cyndi says, so she finds some made up reason why delegating responsibilities is WRONG. Cyndi’s all ‘who does this witch think she is’ and Sharon Osbourne speaks up to tell the others that they are really freaking boring and Cyndi’s going to be on this show for awhile because it needs to be moderately entertaining so stop being such a boring, stiff control freak, HRP.
On the plane we see Blago staring at modern technological gadgets like computers and blackberries as if he is an alien who has just arrived on a new planet. Meanwhile, Selita is working and watching the Harry Potter DVD on her computer, because she knows how to use that new technology stuff. See I am smart, she thinks to herself, before looking over at Rod and realizing she’ll have to modify her ‘all successful people are smart’ theory.
The plane lands and we see more examples of how Selita=technologically proficient=good for communication and how Rod=technologically incompetent=bad. Selita can use her camera phone to take pictures. Rod can’t. Selita can send a drawing to get her team started. Rod can’t. Selita can text message. Rod can’t. Rod can only communicate with his team by talking on the phone. Unfortunately, Selita is with him and he doesn’t want her listening in and overhearing his team’s secrets. Story of his life… Allegedly.
While waiting for Selita’s concept for the task, Holly Robinson Peete instigates more bickering that basically goes like this:
HRP: I’m not here to be entertaining. I’m here for autism. I’M here for CHARITY.
Cyndi: Yeah b*** we’re all here for our charities. Speaking of which, did Anna Paquin announce she’s bisexual in a video for your charity last week and cause the site to break down because there was so much traffic? No? I didn’t think so. Like I said, we’re all here for charity.
Sharon: I’m here for attention. I’m being sarcastic.
HRP: No one ever said you weren’t sarcastic Sharon, but you said I was like watching ice melt. You called me a glacier. And if I can make that mean that I care about my charity more than you, then bring on the ice storm baby!
After that, Holly Robinson Peete turned everyone on her team into ice sculptures and we didn’t see the women again until the end of the task.
Meanwhile, Bret was in his glory. Frantic with ideas, buzzing on the adrenaline of his own creativity, Bret was immune to the eye rolls and condescending looks of disapproval snooty Curtis was throwing his way. Curtis’ accent goes a long way in making him not seem like a total jerk right away. Meanwhile, Michael Johnson is sulking over the fact that Rod didn’t just give them his vision to execute and now he’s stuck watching manic Bret Michaels flit around and talk about all these different ideas.The painfully un-creative Michael “I-want-4-pages-of-copy-no-can-see” Johnson clearly is unfamiliar with the concept of brainstorming.
After Rod sleeps on the plane, dreaming of freedom and Quidditch matches, he joins his team and is very happy with their progress. However, he is not happy to see Curtis and Michael eating ribs while Bret and Goldberg are working. Curtis and Michael smirk and scowl until it’s time to go to the prop house, where they’ll find new ways to reiterate that they have no imagination and hate Rod for not being a control freak.
When we finally see Tenacity again, the ice has melted and aside from seeing Selita returning and vetoing the use of Christmas lights in their display, we have been spared what Sharon Osbourne promised would be extremely boring TV. Therefore, at their presentation, we don’t have a clue what they’re doing. Selita begins to speak in, what she tells us in her interview, was supposed to be a British accent. And although she knew it was dreadful, she just kept on going, because she’s just that kind of boobs-out- gotta-make-it-down-the-runway-no-matter-what kind of gal. Sharon Osbourne on the other hand does a very believable British accent as she sends the kids through the experience one by one. Cyndi “Muggles and wizards, muggles and wizards” Lauper is the first crazy sight the kids encounter, and we realize that we’ve missed Cyndi’s zany behavior so much this episode. Maria tries to commit to Cyndi’s level of craziness, but just feels a little too… well, crazy. There is a cool bit where the kids try out their wands, and wind blows them back … like magic! And then they get a lot of candy and merch on their way out. All in all, it looks like they did a really good job.
The kids then move on to experience Rock Solid’s 3-D Wizardance World of Harvey Potter or whatever Rod calls it. Everyone’s in costume except for Bret, who goes out as the regular, everyday, rock-star dad that he is and welcomes the kids to the Wizarding World which is really designed to make them all want to go to Universal Studios and experience the real thing when it opens in Spring 2010. The first kid, Farley, goes in and sees a sorting hat, while Goldberg, dressed as a “weeping whopper” tree, tells him which class or school or dorm he’s in. As more kids experience the sad castle, smoke meant to symbolize a dragon rollercoaster fills the space and Goldberg the Tree feels like he’s going to pass out.
Fortunately, everyone survives and the execs get feedback from the kids who say things like “The boys were funny but the girls were more true to the Harry Potter canon.” Okay there, Hermione.
In the boardroom, Trump tries to get both PM’s to sell out their teams before announcing that Tenacity was the winner. Selita pretty much says goodbye to Rod on her way out of the boardroom, because obviously he’s leaving. After all, he napped on the plane. She watched Harry Potter and took a Potions class on-line during that time. He’s done.
Rod talks and talks and talks and talks about who knows what beyond the fact that he thinks Bret was the MVP and Curtis and Michael didn’t do enough. Michael thinks Rod gave bad direction, lacked vision, sucks at communicating, and has weird hair. Curtis agrees. Trump wants to know if Michael likes Rod. He does even though he didn’t expect to. Trump says, that’s because he’s not being himself and he’s trying to be likeable to any juror, whether they are African-American, Jewish, Man-Whore, or Picture Perfect WASP like Curtis from Central Casting. Also, Trump thinks to himself, what if he’s not really computer illiterate and that’s all part of his master plan too? Or his hair is transmitting signals through my hair that will implicate me in his legal battles and totally absolve him. That could be what’s going on here.
Trump wants Rod to bring Bret back to the boardroom but Rod won’t do it. He’ll only bring back smug and smugger aka Michael and Curtis because they didn’t support Bret enough. Doesn’t matter because the biggest problem of all was the Harry Potter factual inaccuracies. How could they not know that Slytherin and Gryffindor are houses and not classes? Unforgiveable. Rod, you’re fired. Rod leaves the boardroom, and Trump’s henchmen tell him he made the right choice.
Rod leaves us with a final fortune cookie quote. “Life is filled with ups and downs. Sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. The real test of who you are is how you deal with it.”
Story by Elissa Farkas
Starpulse contributing writer