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The Apprentice: Why Jessie Lostby David Bloomberg -- 02/16/2004
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Regular readers of RealityNewsOnline and Foxes On Idol know that I write columns discussing why people lost on Survivor, Big Brother, and American Idol. As I’ve been watching people get fired on The Apprentice, this column seemed to be a good fit there as well – after watching six episodes, it has become clearer what Donald Trump is looking for, at least to us if not to the players themselves.
Jessie is the lucky one to be the first person addressed in this series, having been fired in Episode 6. Let’s take a look at why Jessie lost.
Early in the show, it was easy to forget that Jessie was even a participant. Part of this was because the guys kept losing, but even on the winning teams, Jessie seemed to have little impact in the first two episodes. Even when she was project manager on the third episode, she was, frankly, forgettable. Her team won big in a negotiating challenge, but we never really saw her negotiating and now we know just how well she does that – so did she even play a major role in that win?
In the fourth episode, the only thing that really stood out was that she seemed personally offended when Katrina told her to move the tables back upstairs at Planet Hollywood because the idea wasn’t working. And in Episode 5, as Mike DeGeorge said in his weekly performance review, “You seem way too timid to make any sort of impact.”
Part of this is likely due to age – Jessie is only 21. While her experiences have built some extra living into those few years, let’s face it, it comes back to the fact that she’s still only 21. Add to this that she lives a fairly rural existence and is probably not terribly accustomed to the pushier city life of NYC, and she comes off as being a bit timid compared to some of the others.
We saw this in how she acted throughout her time on the series, but especially when she was negotiating with Isaac Mizrahi. I’m not sure why she was talking to him like he was five years old, but it definitely was not the way to deal with a well-known person you’re trying to get something from! What made it worse was that even after Mizrahi made a comment about it, she kept right on doing it.
Now this last part may seem extremely odd to some people, but I actually work with somebody who is somewhat similar. I won’t go into all the details, but this person has issues in the way she talks to people, and even when people have asked that she stop it, she doesn’t quite get it. It seems to be so ingrained that she doesn’t get it, and I wonder if this is perhaps the case with Jessie as well.
But regardless of the reason, the fact is that she shouldn’t have done it. I’m not making excuses for her – just trying to find a possible explanation to what might seem to be inexplicable behavior.
That said, as Betsy has pointed out in her recap of this episode, that wasn’t really the specific reason that Jessie’s team lost this week, any more than Omarosa’s inability to pronounce Mizrahi’s name was. Frankly, it seems to me that the reason they lost was that they were given celebrities who just weren’t quite as universally known. Indeed, when the lists of names were read, I recognized one on the Protégé list, but four of the five for Versacorp – and the one I didn’t know was the executive producer of Third Watch, a show I obviously recognized even if I didn’t know his name in particular. Let’s face it, Regis, Rocco, and Carson are going to be bigger draws than Kate and Nicole.
So Jessie was not the cause of the loss, but neither were any of the others. Troy was the MVP this time around, and Kwame was just sort of there. So I think Omarosa made the right choice in who should go to the boardroom with her – Jessie because of the Mizrahi incident and her quiet nature, and Heidi because she’s just generally a bitch and that might deflect some attention from Omarosa’s own bitchiness.
This put Trump in an interesting position. Obviously, one thing that differs about The Apprentice as opposed to many other games is that the final decision is solely in his hands. You can’t form an alliance to vote somebody out. You can’t rely on the people at home liking you more and therefore phoning in their votes for you. You have to impress Donald Trump, period.
So who did he have to decide from? There was, of course, Omarosa, who slammed her teammates in front of him and has been, overall, a bitch. There was Heidi, who pretended to take Omarosa’s slam happily before Omarosa chose her to go to the boardroom, but then had a sudden turnaround to open fire after the decision had been made and she no longer had anything to gain by pretending to be nice. And there was Jessie, who continued to pretend to like Omarosa even after Trump made it clear that he thought it was ludicrous for her to do so.
Considering that the prize for this game is to work for Trump, Jessie tried to make a case that she shouldn’t be fired because he should want somebody with good character – and Omarosa (and Heidi, for that matter) doesn’t have it. But the problem is that Trump is also looking for somebody with a backbone. He has certainly never let anybody walk all over him, and he doesn’t want somebody working for him who will allow that to happen. He didn’t get where he is by letting people slam him and not fighting back.
In the fifth episode, Jessie advised Kristi not to be confrontational in the boardroom. Kristi was sent home by Trump largely because she took Jessie’s advice. Unfortunately, it appears that Jessie didn’t really learn anything from this, because she pretty well stayed on the same path. As Omarosa fired round after round at her, she just sat there and took it. She didn’t stand up for herself at all until it was already obvious that Trump was about to fire her. By then, it was too little, too late. Trump may have seen that Omarosa was a bitch, but he also saw that Jessie was a doormat. That is why Jessie lost.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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