Randal, who was hired by Donald Trump on last night’s finale of the fourth season of NBC’s <a href="The Apprentice, acted like a sore winner, upsetting viewers who have been in his corner all season long.
The highly-educated, kind-hearted, tall and lanky gentleman had achieved something that has eluded contests since the show’s inception: nearly universal respect. But at the very end of the 2-hour finale, Donald Trump offered Randal a test of his values which, according to at least one reviewer and several booing audience members, Randal failed. Trump asked Randal, after announcing that he had been hired, whether he thought Rebecca, his fellow finalist, should also be offered a position in the Trump organization. Instead of sharing the glory, Randal replied, “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,” Randal said. “It’s not ‘The Apprenti,’ it’s ‘The Apprentice.’”
The boos from the audience said it all. Once you’re hired, apparently it’s no more Mr. Nice Guy.
Does Christmas seem to get more complicated every year. Online? In-store? Happy holidays? Merry Christmas? Mid-shopping, take time out to review the culture’s excesses with the expert on the topic, John Waters, the auteur of such films as “Hairspray” and other underground film comedies. “I love how it makes people mental,” Waters tells San Diego City Beat in an interview this week, later admitting, “If I hear ‘Little Drummer Boy’ one more time, I feel like I‚m going crazy.” Waters is out flacking his antidote to the Christmas crazies, his 2004 album of kitschy carols, including “Here Comes Fatty Claus” and Tiny Tim’s version of “Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer.” In the interview, Waters muses, “There’s no irony in those songs [like] “Happy Birthday Jesus” by Little Cindy. They were all made to be good songs, something just went a little wrong.”
My vote for most annoying Christmas commercial this season should go to Old Navy for its latest cheesy ad campaign featuring “the gifties”–a mock award show highlighting various Old Navy products. However, I can’t bring myself to mock these commercials too much for one big reason: Old Navy was smart enough to hire Kristin Chenoweth as its spokesperson. I have been a fan of the perky singer/actress with the multi-octave vocal range since her Tony-winning role as Sally in “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.” She has branched out to star on TV (she can occasionally be seen as the new deputy press secretary on “The West Wing”) as well as film (she will be in “The Pink Panther” in February).
But the other reason I am a fan of Chenoweth’s is the way she has represented her Christian faith even as her celebrity has grown. At the same time she has taken criticism from the fundamentalist organization Women of Faith (who originally invited Chenoweth to sing at some of their events but then cancelled) for her willingness to sing at gay churches. She is making appearances on shows as diverse as “The 700 Club” and “The David Letterman Show” to promote her current CD “As I Am,” a collection of songs that reflect her gospel roots. So while I realize these over-the-top ridiculous commercials for Old Navy (which happens to be her corporate sponsor for a huge concert in Los Angeles early next year) are not the best addition to Chenoweth’s resume, I still respect the way she refuses to let her talent and her faith be put in a neatly defined box.
The New York Times catches up with Hanukkah hipsters in its Style section today. The reporter attends a bash in a trendy Manhattan nightclub thrown by Jewcy, a group that promotes Jewish cultural awareness among young Jews, and cites it as evidence that Judaism is experiencing “a Jewish hipster moment,” kicked off by Adam Sandler’s “Hanukkah Song” and prolonged by events like “A Jewcy Chnukah”—featuring SNL’s Rachel Dratch and Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog—and the traveling variety show “What I Like About Jew.” The Jewish revival centers on Hanukkah, says the article, because Jews must have some response to Christian inundation at Christmas. One attendee says he asks gentile friends to imagine “everywhere you go strangers say to you, ‘Merry Ramadan.’ … You can’t get into a store because people are bowing to Mecca. You’d be an angry minority.”