With North Texans or former North Texans on America's Next Top Model, Hell's Kitchen, Top Chef Just Desserts and The Apprentice, I feel like I'm watching more reality TV than is healthy these days. And every one of these shows has a contestant (or two) with a persecution complex that's a) probably justified and b) something they brought on themselves.
Before I get to The Apprentice, let's revisit Seth Caro of Top Chef Just Desserts, who's undoubtedly the most prone to freakouts. (On the show, Seth is friends with Dallas-based chef Morgan Wilson, who does his best to keep Seth sane.)
On The Apprentice, there are a couple of contestants who look like they're about to blow a gasket at any moment: Liza, who is not getting along with the other women on the "Fortitude" team, and David, who has clashed with guys on the Octane team, including TCU/SMU grad Clint Robertson. During the past two episodes, however, Clint has been out of David's crosshairs, which have been totally trained on James. So much so that, as long as these two bozos are on the show, the other guys are probably safe.
Thursday's episode begins with Liza continuing her fit from last week. "Everyone was tired of hearing her scream like a hyena," says Stephanie, whose control-freak personality has created its own issues. Liza says she's just standing up for herself, because she has two boys and a husband to take care of. Perhaps she screams less at home.
After a brief interlude in which Poppy, last week's project manager, meets former GE chairman Jack Welch -- an interlude that's absolutely pointless except that it gives Welch a chance to plug the Jack Welch Management Insititute (oh, look, there's Poppy!) -- we get to the week's task at hand, which is for the teams to learn about small business by running a hotel and spa for dogs.
As a dog lover, I loved this task, if only because it featured a lot of dogs. Here's a bonus clip featuring the women's team gets trained in training (and gets an important tip about poop-scooping):
Although David is more prone to freakouts than James, nobody on the men's team likes James very much -- so naturally, he's this week's project manager. "Yay!," David says. "I can't stand James. I'm so fired up to actually lose this task so James can go home and I can smile bigger!" Yeah, kinda like the Jack Nicholson version of the Joker.
On the women's team, Tyana is the project manager. The teams then proceed to do dumb moves that are mirror images of each other: After Wade, a self-professed dog lover with experience dealing with trainers, comes up with the great idea of having a webcam so customers can follow their dogs at the day-care, James agrees -- and then pretty much puts Wade in the background for the rest of the task. After Mahsa says that she's afraid of dogs and that she has 15 years of experience running the front desk at her mom's salon (she actually says this over and over), Tyana decides that she wants to run the front desk and that Mahsa should be back with the dogs.
James, who appears to overplan everything, holds a meeting with the guys and, when David asks a question, James puts him off. David blows up, to the point where he and James have to go outside while the rest of the men look uneasy. The owner of the doggy day-care comes in to tell James he needs to get on with things, and James puts him off, too, while David mutters about James underneath his breath. One of the few times we hear from Clint in this episode, he's talking about how James shouldn't have been so dismissive of Naresh, the doggy day-care owner.
It becomes increasingly clear that James is in over his head. Ivanka Trump pays a visit, and when James tries to tell her what his team is doing, he can't articulate it. James and David get into an argument over the spa's entrance and James kicks David out. (Anyone else think David is 100 percent successful in his goal to tank the task?) Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan visits both spas, and although he sees things he likes in both, he also notes James' lack of articulation and direction. Millan speaks in dog metaphors, calling Tyana calm, assertive, definitely leader of the pack; but as the men interrupt James to help him explain things, Millan says, "There's too many leaders in one pack. A lof other guys are trying to run the show as well."
The Boardroom quickly becomes the James and David Show, as Donald Trump immediately pours fuel on the fire of their feud. Clint brings up James' dismissive attitude toward the doggy daycare owner, and Don Trump Jr. also calls him out on it. There's a brief turn to the women's team so that Donald Trump, who is clearly enjoying himself, can let the Tyana-Mahsa dispute and the Stephanie-Liza feud have their momenbts. "Liza tends to overreact a lot," Stephanie says. "She gets emotional and defensive." Liza responds to this by getting emotional and defensive, but in this case it's not an overreaction.
I tend to like money-based Apprentice challenges more than subjective ones such as this one, because when it comes down to dollar amounts, the winners are clear. But Millan and the doggy-daycare owners both vote for the women, who then go back to watch the Boardroom action, and seem at peace with one another. "Liza, isn't that nice?" the Donald says. "You still have to live with these bitches." The women find this highly amusing.
Ivanka Trump gets on the men's, and James', case, saying that the men lost because of a bad team dynamic and because they were so concerned with execution that they didn't really learn the business. She also calls out David on his attitude, and when he rolls his eyes at her, she calls him out on that as well.
When it comes down to the firing line, James unsurprisingly chooses to bring David back to the Boardroom and surprisingly brings back Wade, a completely left-field pick, probably because James knew that the third person didn't matter and it was going to be him or David. This gives Wade a chance to volunteer to be the project manager next week, saying that he'll show Mr. Trump that he knows how to handle a David.
James is fired. "Don't let the door hit you in the ass," David says. A paragon of originality, that David. Now that James is gone, can't wait to see if the top of David's head still comes off when he disagrees with others.
In a postscript, we learn that James, who has a law degree, has gone to work for the New York Attorney General's Office. "I couldn't do what I do had I not run a doggy-daycare center," James says. This gives me all sorts of weird images of stained floors and shampoo bins at the NY AG's office.