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The Apprentice 5, Episode 2: Razor Burnedby Betsy Wasser -- 03/07/2006
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Tarek, Lee, and Lenny return to the suite, having escaped firing. Dan seems especially happy to have Tarek back. There are high fives all around, and the team seems pretty happy with the results. Tarek is feeling relieved and says that if not for Summer, he’d be gone. He says he’s not going to make excuses or tell Trump that he was wrong. He’s just going to do better and win.
Trump meets the candidates, but George and Carolyn are nowhere in sight. Instead, he has with him former winner Bill Rancic, and his daughter Ivanka. Trump says that Ivanka is a graduate of the Wharton School, works for him, and is “a true apprentice.” Trump tells the candidates that even though they’re outside, there are people all around him doing business. We see shots of people calling and text messaging on their phones, no doubt voting for Paris Bennett. Trump says that text messaging is a new thing all of the kids are doing, sending messages on their phones. Trump totally sounds like an old man here, but to be fair, I can’t be too critical. Last year, my friend Dan (Hi, Dan!) sent me a text message that totally shocked me. Not because of what the message said, but because I had no idea that I could receive text messages on my phone.
For their task, they’ll be working with Gillette, whose razors Trump personally endorses. I think having Trump endorse razors is a world different than him tout, say, shampoo. Gillette has a new shaving system called Fusion, and the candidates will be using text messaging to promote it. Fusion is part of Gillette’s quest to get as many blades on their razors as possible- we are now up to five. Teams will choose a key word and have people text that keyword. The team that gets the most people to text wins.
Pepi volunteers to be the project manager for Synergy. He notes that they should look for a place with good phone reception, which I suspect isn’t that big of a deal in Manhattan. He wonders what might make certain people stop and text. The team agrees that certain people use text messaging and some don’t (see the above example with Dan and me). Roxanne thinks they need something with shock value.
Brent, the king of shock value, starts to make a point, but Stacy interrupts him, saying she wants to finish her point. In an interview, Stacy says she can’t imagine how someone with “zero skills, zero ability, who constantly has to be the center of attention” like Brent could have come so far in life. Brent throws out the idea of having someone with shaving cream on his face out on the streets. Stacy hates it, and I suspect that it’s not because it’s a bad idea (which it kind of is), but because it was Brent’s idea. Brent says he’s not done, and keeps talking. Roxanne bends over to give Stacy a comforting hug. Things are bad for Brent already, and they’ve barely gotten started. In an interview, Brent says that his team doesn’t know how to handle him. He stands out, he always has, and he’s proud of it. Dude, it’s great to be an individual, but we as a society have in fact agreed on certain norms that you’ve chosen to ignore. And don’t pretend it doesn’t bother you, because obviously, it does.
Brent decides to confront Stacy about her cutting him off, so when she leaves the room, he follows her. He is confrontational and clearly upset. Stacy is still not interested in his point of view and does everything she can to physically get away from him and avoid having to listen to him.
The two return to the conference room, and Stacy asks for “some team support.” She says that Brent put his finger in her face, “basically” pushed up into her, and “essentially threatened her.” She wants him out. Pepi is taken aback and wants to know exactly what happened. Brent says he stands by what he did, adding, “If you’re going to treat me like a piece of crap, you better be prepared to get a response.” He says that Stacy is overreacting. Stacy counters that she will not be physically confronted.
I think both of them handled this poorly. Let’s look at Brent first. I can understand why he felt frustrated and undermined by Stacy. Her disrespect for him oozes from her, and he’s right- she does cut him off. Since the two of them have to work together, he was well within reason to talk to her about it, and if he wanted to talk to her about it in private, I think that’s okay, too. But instead of launching into a confrontation, he should have taken a softer approach. Had he told her that he needed to talk to her, and then with respect, asked her not to cut him off and to give him a chance to express his ideas, she might have listened to him. If she hadn’t, he’d have had a much stronger case. He should not have followed her around, put his finger in her face, and invaded her personal space.
Stacy was also well within her rights to feel uncomfortable with the way Brent talked to her. But I think she should have been very reluctant to use the word “threatened” to describe the way she felt. That’s a loaded word, especially when a woman is talking about a man and should not have been used lightly. She should have told him that the way he was talking to her was making her uncomfortable and demanded that they have the conversation in front of Pepi at least. Had she come to the team with a little more calm and a little less drama, it wouldn’t have been such a huge deal.
Now it’s time for the Trump Lesson of the Week. This week’s lesson is “People Are Strange.” Trump says that sometimes, you’ll see a person who looks very polished and put together, but they turn out to not be very talented. Conversely, sometimes a person will look like a mess, but will be very smart. The fact that almost all of Trump’s candidates have been smokin’ hot is something that perhaps we should not notice. And now for the Betsy Lesson of the Week. This week’s Betsy Lesson has been inspired by this week’s task: Don’t buy cheap razors. Seriously, the amount that you’ll save will more than made up for with the money you’ll have to spend on band-aids.
Over at Gold Rush (remember them?), project manager Lee (and yes, I agree, he looks like former candidate Andy) puts some of the razors on the table for inspiration. He gets the team to brainstorm potential keywords. Tarek thinks that because Lee is just 22, he’ll have trouble being in charge and will feel overwhelmed. The team comes up with the word “Closer,” and he asks for a show of hands of who likes it. When Lee eventually gets fired, I predict that the fact that he leads by committee will be part of the reason.
Lenny thinks the entire thing is ridiculous. They’re spending too much time focusing on the word. The word itself doesn’t even matter- it could be a single letter. All they have to do is get people to text it and they’ll win. “What else could be simpler?” he asks. He’s ready to get out and start having people text. He, Charmaine, and Leslie take off while the rest of the team stays behind to come up with a plan. I think Lenny’s one letter idea is actually brilliant. He’s right- they just need lots of texts. One letter would be fast and easy.1 2 3 Next-->
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