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The Apprentice, Episode 1: When Life Gives You Lemons…Page 4
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In the boardroom, the mood is somber. George immediately criticizes Kwame’s choice of location. Kwame defends it, saying that it was a good, high-traffic area where they could expect a lunch rush. Trump disagrees with him, saying that the fish smell was unappetizing. Trump then asks David if he would have been a better leader than Troy. David says no, because sales are not his forte. Bad answer, David. Sam pipes up and says that he would have done better. Trump asks him why. Sam follows his praise before criticism technique and says that Troy is an excellent hustler, but that he has the same problem Sam has—that he lacks listening skills. So, Sam, if you have the same negative, what makes you think you’d have done better?
Trump asks Jason what makes a good leader. Jason starts to answer the question, and then Trump interrupts him to ask a follow-up question. Jason interrupts him to say that he wasn't finished answering the question. Trump, not at all pleased, lectures Jason that he should not interrupt his potential boss and that Jason needs to show more respect. Tail between his legs, Jason says that a good leader listens to his team, takes in their ideas, and then sets a plan in motion. They'll listen to him because he has already listened to them. Trump disagrees, saying that sometimes you have to take action.
I felt sorry for Jason in this situation. We've hardly heard from him at all this episode, and the time he gets the most attention is the time when he gets a humiliating lecture from Trump. While in general it's not good policy to interrupt a man you're trying to impress, Trump did not let Jason finish his answer, but rather interrupted him first with another challenge. I have the distinct impression that Donald Trump is not a man used to being interrupted.
George notes that Troy was not afraid to delegate tasks to others, but that it’s a risky proposition. If the person you delegated to does well, then you’re a hero, but if he doesn’t, you’re a bum. Carolyn thinks that as a leader, Troy was inconsistent. He backed up Kwame’s location decision, but didn’t back up Sam’s sales ideas.
Trump asks each of the men to name the worst leader. Everyone chooses Sam. Troy explains that Sam did not earn the respect of the team. Sam thinks that David was the worst leader, and I’ve noticed that he didn’t bother to praise David before saying so. All of the men agree that Sam went over the edge.
With that, Sam goes on a weird rant about how he’ll stand before Donald Trump some day as president of his company, and how he will follow the rules. As he speaks, he haltingly starts to stand up, to illustrate his point, gets uncomfortable and starts to sit down, then stands up again. By the time he’s worked out that he wants to stand up for this little diatribe, his speech is over, and it’s time for him to sit down. It’s incredibly awkward, and his speech made no sense. The gist of it appears to be that if he’s given the opportunity to work for Trump, he’ll toil day and night to prove his worth. Trump asks if hard work is really enough or if at some point, it comes down to what you got in the gene pool. Sam says that he did very well genetically, just as Trump did. Then he names Trump’s mother and father, which just comes across as creepy.
With that, Trump asks Troy, as project manager, to name the two men who should go to the boardroom with him to face potential elimination. So, it looks like if you are the project manager of a losing team, you are automatically at risk of going home. Interesting. Troy selects Sam and David. The other five men head back to the suite while those three sit outside to await their fate.
Outside the boardroom, Sam is geared up. He tells David that there is no way David will win and that he might as well get used to the idea. He then continues his strange behavior by crawling on the floor, apparently an indication that he is now crawling but soon will be walking. Inside, Trump, George, and Carolyn talk about the three men. Carolyn thinks that Troy was an inconsistent leader. George says that Sam is more of a risk taker than David, but that he’s also a loose cannon. They come to a decision, and Trump sends for the three men.
Trump begins by asking Troy why he chose David and Sam. Troy picked David because although he’s great at logistics and numbers, he’s not a good leader. He says that Sam is a maverick. Would Troy trust Sam with his bank account? Troy says no. Sam takes offense to this, saying shakily that the fact that Troy wouldn’t trust him with all of his money implies that Troy finds him dishonest, which he is not. David quietly says that the concern might not be so much a lack of honesty as a lack of discretion. Well said, David. Trump addresses Troy first. Although his mission failed, Troy has potential. He’s staying. Sam is next. Sam, tool that he is, stands up. Trump tells him to sit down. He says that Sam is a risky person to have around. He’ll either be a great success or a total disaster. David is next. Trump says that David didn’t impress him. He didn’t step up, and he admitted that he would not have done better in Troy’s shoes. David is fired.
As the three men leave, Sam actually bows to Trump, George, and Carolyn. This guy could not be weirder. As David gets in a cab to go home, Trump says in a voiceover that although David is very smart and a good guy, he doesn’t have what it takes.
Well, I loved this show. The concept is brilliant—take sixteen very smart, very ambitious people and give them a huge challenge with a very appealing payoff. Have someone tough and intimidating like Donald Trump hold them responsible for their actions. I found the first episode smart, engaging, and exciting. If you agree, be sure to tune in to next week’s episode of The Apprentice at its regular time on Wednesday at 8:00 Eastern. See you then!
Betsy can be reached with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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