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Friday, April 02, 2004


Apprentice Friday: End of the Affair Edition

To Briefly Quote myself, "Whew!" I don't know what got into me yesterday...the prolific posting, an untoward concern with actual news, a strange, confessional tone. Let's just say that it was a passing phase and be done with it, shall we?

Back to the business of make-believe business.

This morning, we must shed a tear for the dissolution of one of television's great onscreen romances. Over the years, we've had Lucy and Desi, Sam and Diane, the first Joe Millionaire and the chick who blew him in the woods. These legendary pairings can now all retreat into the squiggly-line fades and sepia tones of the flashback episodes of our collective memory.

For now we have the tragic decoupling of Kwame and Troy.

Last night's episode of The Apprentice taught us that love and business simply do not mix. Donald Trump, iconographic mogul and manager of supermodel (ahem) assets, knows this. What do you think stops him from throwing his high-backed leather chair to the ground and lustily mussing the hair-helmet of smoldering ice-queen Carolyn, prone on the boardroom table? The Donald smartly hires a fake receptionist to tend to his offscreen needs.

After Protege's fine performance in this week's task was (ahem) trumped by Versacorp's eleventh-hour, faux-romance-saving deal, Kwame and Troy seemed assured of letting their mutual passion continue to boil. Their mission debriefing was a squandered opportunity to gang up on Bunsen-Anointed Apprentice Bill and dress him down in front of the Trump tribunal, paving the way for the frontrunner's dismissal.

But it was not to be. Say it along with me, kids: Love and business simply do not mix. Without the pressure of The Donald's appraising stare and the heat of the stage lights, Kwame's self-preserving admission that he was a better candidate than Troy would not have wrecked the home that love built. But we all saw the flickering sadness in the corners of Troy's hound-dog eyes, the twitch in the corner of his mouth. Oh, so THAT's how it gonna be? In a more innocent television era, an aproned Troy would have slightly sped up his onion-chopping and clanked down the table setting in front of Kwame and his afterwork newspaper. And we'd know there was trouble in Paradise.

Instead, Troy takes Kwame to the boardroom, and a shocked Bill retreats to the safety of The Suite.

Trump himself, who'd for weeks seen Kwame and Troy's slow-motion montage of the couple's back-clapping, one-arm-hugging, finger-pistol-blasting courtship waltz, was stunned. Like a New Paltz or San Francisco mayor, Trump seemed eager to preserve the couple and keep the crackling sexual tension in play, just as he had saved Nick and Amy's ersatz romance a week earlier. But the spatters had cast their lots and headed into the boardroom as the Redhead and The Dame private-jetted off to an incredibly opulent lunch at Mar Lago. Trump's amorous Midas hands were tied.

In the boardroom, the odd couple let it all hang out. Kwame is book-smart, Troy ain't much for the book-learnin'. Troy's a leader and Kwame's a follower. A quick cut to Carolyn, then the sound of two thumps as manhoods hit the table. Carolyn's eyebrow raises. Cut to Trump, who's seen all he needs to see, sharpening his Downsizing Pinky of Death on a whetstone.

Troy's fired. It's over.

The separated duo retreat from the boardroom and engage in one last, teary tango of hugging, back-clapping, and audible finger-gun click-clicking. Mark Burnett, The Apprentice's wily behind-the-scenes mastermind, somehow subliminally inserts the Paul McCartney/Stevie Wonder classic "Ebony and Ivory" under the tableau.

Even fake receptionist Robin seems to mist up as Troy takes the elevator down to the street.

"That was the toughest one yet," reflects Trump, and we're inclined to agree. We've seen reality television tear asunder so many relationships over the years, but this one stings sweetly like Eric and Julie on the first Real World.

Excuse us, we need to curl up with a pint of Ben and Jerry's and a fuzzy VHS copy of Breakfast at Tiffany's.

[A note on last night's program: Upon Amy's return to the suite after escaping elimination in her first trip to the boardroom, Kwame remarked, "Popped your boardroom cherry, isn't that great?" This is perhaps the filthiest thing to elude network censors since Milton Berle dressed his penis in a wig and chased around a cameraman on an early installment of Texaco Star Theater.]

See previous Apprentice Friday entries:

Bunsen handicaps the remaining Apprentice hopefuls
Drink Trump Ice
Goodbye, Omarosa: A Recap in Haiku
Fire & Ice: An Appreciation of Carolyn
You Can See Mr, Trump Now: Robin the Fake Receptionist's Fake Receptionist Job Duties

About this site

This is the internet home of Mark Lisanti, a Los Angeles writer sometimes known as Bunsen. He is the founding editor of Defamer, a weblog about Hollywood, where he now serves in the nebulous capacity of "editor-at-large."
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