Friday, December 16, 2005

Randal Scandal On "The Apprentice" as King Of Nice Turns To Ice

Sore Winner Comes Out On Top As Latest Trump Butt-Kisser
No doubt, "The Apprentice" made a comeback this season, if not in the ratings -- which are down, but still respectable -- but in the creative ways Donald Trump got rid of competitors, not to mention new levels of bitchiness and hissy fits (thanks for that, Clay).
Through it all, Randal Pinkett rose above it all. Initially, he got the sympathy vote early on when his grandmother died suddenly. More importantly, he was the focus of a love fest among his teammates, managing to fly under the radar when the ca-ca hit the fan, while being firm but fair as project manager, when he had a 3-0 record.
So, perhaps the least-surprising aspect of this "Apprentice" was that Randal would make it to the final. Same goes for Rebecca Jarvis, the 24-year-old wonder on crutches, who Trump was constantly making goo-goo eyes at.
The gimp factor notwithstanding, Rebecca established genuine cred, and going into the final boardroom, there was no clear-cut winner, even if you leaned a shade toward Randal because he's a decade older, has five college degrees and is a Rhodes scholar.
And that may have been enough to convince Trump, who hired Randal to help oversee the renovation of his Atlantic City properties. But Trump wasn't done yet. As Randal celebrated, Trump called him back to the table and asked if he would also hire Rebecca. That's when the man who went all the way being nice, turned to ice.

“Mr. Trump, I firmly believe that this is ‘The Apprentice,’ that there is one and only one apprentice, and if you’re going to hire someone tonight, it should be one. It’s not ‘The Apprenti,’ it’s ‘The Apprentice.’”

Incredibly enough, Trump bought that argument and meekly conceded the point to Randal. Rebecca looked liked someone had just taken away her puppy. Even Trump appeared to be a bit stunned as the band was cued and the show came to a chaotic end.
He desperately wanted Apprenti this Thursday night, and Randal -- no doubt helped by time constraints that prevented Trump from cajoling/goading Randal into a change of heart -- revealed a heretofore unseen selfish streak. Machiavelli would've been proud.
Quite possibly, Trump admired Randal's set of cojones to deny Rebecca, even though it was of no consequence to him.
Randal heard his 15 minutes ticking away loudly, and the thought of sharing them was simply too much to bear. That he sacrificed the integrity that was his ticket to the finals in the process was irrelevant. It was a game, he had won. The spotlight only burns so bright.
In the end, blame Trump. The man who prides himself in being a control freak lost the reins of his own show. If he wanted to hire both -- and he desperately did, especially when they each preferred different projects -- Randal should never have entered the equation. Clearly, he was expecting some feel-good ending to put a warm, holiday glow on "The Apprentice."
But Randal turned Scrooge on The Donald, who can only hope he'll be as big a bastard with the contractors at his faltering casinos.

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