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The Apprentice 2, Episode 11: Blue Jean BluesPage 3
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Apex comes in next, dressed all in Levi’s. Kevin starts off the presentation. I think he sounds confident and enthusiastic, but Jennifer doesn’t think so. She says he sounded overly aggressive and points out that he was sweating. She does have a point about the sweating – there is a sheen on his face. Ivana tells them that they wanted to show off butts, because everyone is looking for jeans that make your butt look good. She shows off the fit wheel and starts to explain the concept when Jennifer takes over. Jennifer says that it’s hard to find jeans that fit, so the fit wheel solves the problem. In an interview, Kevin says that Ivana should have been the one to talk about the fit wheel, since it was her idea, but that Jennifer was taking the credit for it. Ivana says that she was frustrated and ended up having to cut Jennifer off because the answers she was giving were wrong.
Trump, accompanied by Melania looking lovely in a pair of Levi’s, arrives to learn the results. Robert says that Apex reinforced their brand by focusing on the butt and by showing the range of styles and fits. He thinks their catalog showed less of a wow factor and wasn’t as sexy, but it was very good. Mosaic, on the other hand, was very sexy, but didn’t show a fit range and didn’t show the versatility of the brand. Apex wins. Ivana cries, “Finally!” Trump asks Robert which member of Apex did the best, and Robert names Jennifer, much to Ivana’s annoyance. For their reward, Apex will meet Billy Joel at the theater where his musical Movin’ Out is playing.
Apex arrives at the theater, and Kelly says that just as Levi’s is an icon for fashion, Billy Joel is an icon for music. Billy shows off the theater and says that putting a show on Broadway is a huge risk. But, he says, a big risk can lead to a big reward. He sings “She’s Got A Way,” and tells them to take risks.
In the suite, Maria tells the team that if they blame her for their loss, it’s like admitting that the rest of them were sitting on their butts. She punctuates that statement with a triumphant wag of her head and more crazed blinking. She says that she intends to go after Wes, since he’s the only one of them to lose twice as project manager. Their loss, she claims, was due to his incomplete plan and lack of leadership. It’s kind of funny that Maria seems to be saying that they lost because he didn’t rein her crazy self in. In another room, Wes says that he knows there’s plotting against him going on. He feels vulnerable, but thinks Maria should be the one to go because she’s not a team player.
The team, including Maria in that unfortunate suit with the silver studs on it, enters the boardroom. Trump throws his first question at Maria. Everyone knows that jeans are supposed to show off your butt, so why didn’t their campaign include more rear shots? Wes says that Maria nixed all of the butt shots that they took. Maria says that’s not true. Trump points out that Wes is supposed to be the boss, so he should have overruled her. Wes agrees that ultimately, it was his decision.
Bill asks why there was so much fighting with the team. Sandy says that, quite frankly, when Maria kicked her out of the room, it made her really mad. Trump asks her if she should call Bill “Mr. Rancic,” which his silly since none of the candidates call George “Mr. Ross” or Carolyn “Ms. Kepcher.”
Wes says that Maria over promised and under delivered. Andy says that when he was project manager of a similar task, he learned that Maria is very passionate, but needs guidelines. That was actually a very smart statement, because it achieved two ends. Andy reminded us that basically, he handled Maria’s “passion” by shutting her crazy ideas down, and that Wes was too weak to do the same. Both of them look bad with one seemingly innocuous statement. Nicely done. Maria says she feels like everyone is talking about her but her. Whatever, Maria. Wes says he tried to lead her, but Maria says Wes was asleep at the wheel and failed to come up with and execute a strong plan. When, exactly, he would have done that with her controlling everything, is unclear.
Carolyn wants to know why they didn’t all wear Levi’s for the presentation. Maria blames Wes for that one too, saying he planned poorly. I’m not sure how much planning it takes to buy a pair of jeans. Bill reminds us that Andy is a nationally ranked debater, so why didn’t he speak in the presentation? Trump agrees that Andy has been quiet and asks why he isn’t saying more? Is he just hoping to escape? Andy says that in debate, he learned not only when to talk, but when to listen, and that the rest of his team doesn’t know when to listen. Trump likes that answer.
Trump asks Wes who he wants to bring into the boardroom. Wes says he’ll bring his entire team back. I doubt Andy and Sandy are worried. After they leave, Carolyn says that Wes is a sharp guy, but a bad leader. Bill says that Wes failed to control his team, and that there was a major fight in the war room. No fighting in the war room! Carolyn says that Maria doesn’t work well with others, and that Sandy should work harder to get her ideas across. Bill agrees that Sandy was underutilized, which is partly Wes’s fault. Trump sends the candidates back in.
Maria says that Wes was a terrible leader, and Andy agrees. Wes says that when he tried to get Maria moving, she yelled at him to back off. Carolyn says that if one of her employees said that to her, that employee would regret it. I bet they would. Wes says he wishes he could have fired Maria. Bill, who learned a thing or two from Kwame’s experience with a similar situation with Omarosa, asks why Wes didn’t just bench her. Wes thinks it would have been irresponsible with so few people on his team. He admits that he may have given her too much freedom. Who would Wes fire? Wes names Maria, because she’s not a team player.
Trump summarizes what happened. Maria was difficult to deal with and lashed out at her project manager. And Wes lost control of the team and failed as a leader. Both of them did a bad job. Trump tells Maria that she’s fired.
Then, he tells Wes that he’s fired.
Really, either Wes or Maria would have been a good choice this week. Wes was a complete wimp when it came to managing Maria. He didn’t take charge of everything, and just let Maria run rampant, treat both him and Sandy with total disrespect, and let the fight go on for far too long. Maria, on the other hand, took charge of the task and executed it horribly. Her campaign didn’t take into account any of Levi’s brand positioning and wasn’t innovative at all. There’s nothing new about showing pretty people looking sexy. She was snippy with the models, rude to her teammates, and wouldn’t listen to anyone else. Trump would have done well to fire either one of them. How incredibly satisfying that he knocked out both of them.
Trump says the decision was a no-brainer. Carolyn adds, “Sometimes, it’s easy.” Both of them think that Andy needs to step up to the plate.
Maria and Wes, still clearly in shock over two firings, share a cab of shame. In their final interviews, they agree that both of them made mistakes, but that the experience overall was a good one, and that they learned a lot. Neither of them has ever been fired before. Wes concludes by saying that he does wish, however, that he had his own cab.
Next week, the feud between Ivana and Jennifer continues. The teams must design a new Pepsi bottle and present it to a room full of executives. And with only six candidates left, the winning project manager, thanks to their exemption, will be guaranteed a spot in the final four.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online and resisted the urge to title this recap “Butt Attitude.” She can be reached with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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