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The Apprentice 2, MVPs and LVPs – The Corner Office or the Mailroom for the First Ten Episodesby Mel Ellis -- 11/18/2004
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I'm spreading through RNO like a fungus, it seems. First I was isolated with Dog, the Bounty Hunter, then I spread to Surreal Life 3, and now I have my claws on The Apprentice. I was asked to take on a column looking at the most and least valuable players (or workers) of the Apprentice candidates, as Betsy Wasser does so wonderfully for Survivor and The Amazing Race. I can only hope to fill Betsy's shoes (not that they are large or anything), so you gets what you get.
Since I only just got the gig, I'll give you a brief encapsulation of my thoughts from the start and we'll start fresh next week. I will place the least valuable players in the mail room for the week and the most valuable players in the corner office. Each team gets one promotion and one demotion, or none, if the circumstances so warrant. Our esteemed editor-in-chief warned me to be prepared for emails disagreeing with me and I say, “Bring it on!” Without further ado (as I've already given you enough ado for the time being), here are my short short takes on the first weeks:
Week 1: Does it Need Batteries?
As far as I am concerned, whoever thought of "Mosaic" as a team name should have been sent straight to the boardroom, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. However, memory fails me on who that was. The teams, as you may remember, were split up yet again along gender lines. Pamela and Bradford volunteered as team leaders and switched sides, Pam to the men and Brad to the women. After the naming ceremony, the teams headed to Mattel to develop a new and innovative toy. The one with the best idea would win. My memory gets worse as I get older, but I distinctly remember Ivana coming up with a "junior drag queen" kit for little boys. Bradford's remote control football player idea was actually kind of neat, in my humble opinion. And I appear to be in a growing minority who doesn't think Stacey's 8-ball antics were that psychotic. As no one else springs to mind, of those three, Ivana definitely sorts mail for a week. Best player is harder, though, as only Bradford said anything of substance. Actually, he stifled any other suggestions and opinions, so I refuse to award him a corner office for worries that he'd stage a coup and overthrow the president.
With regards to "Mosaic" (how do I hate that name – let me count the ways), Pamela's unpleasant and unapologized-for remark about the chubby kid with the Dumb and Dumber haircut doesn't warrant a trip to the mailroom, although I would make her sit through sensitivity training. I remember no one coming up with an idea except Andy, who asked the classic question, "Is anyone else obsessed with crustaceans?" I often use that as an ice-breaker at parties. Andy's weird fascination turned into the poorly executed "Crustacean Nation," which in my mind forces Andy to haul packages for a week. (I know Rob got fired, but The Donald is applying different and far less snarky criteria than I.) As with the other team, there is no winner of a corner office. I was tempted to award it to Raj to see how he'd decorate it after looking at his clothing, but his attitude got to me first.
Week 2: Are you lactose intolerant?
Kelly, the ex-GI, led team Mosaic (oy, do I hate that name!) and Ivana was named project manager of the Apex team. The task was to create an ice cream flavor and sell it. Sounds simple, no? What's the old joke about how many MBAs it takes to sell a bowl of ice cream? Kelly and his team split into marketing and production divisions, with Kelly, Pam, Chris, and Andy heading to the ice cream factory while Wes, Kevin, Raj, and John (who I barely remember) worked on trying to arrange distribution. The team settled on donut-flavored ice cream and spilled out like the A-Team to hit every donut shop within a mile's radius. How was the distribution side? Well, as I remember it, everyone sat on their Brooks Brothers and watched Wes cold-call a number of restaurants. I was torn between making Pamela work the mail room as punishment for her excruciating 20-questions session with the ice cream maker, but she hauled donut when there was a time crunch. Granted, she can't sell ice cream on the street, but I still couldn't make her lick stamps. Easier to place in the mail room slot (get it? I crack myself up) was Wes. Wes has a hang-dog expression that accompanies his energy-less approach to things. How on earth could he expect to sell ice cream to people he doesn't know, who don't know him or any company he might claim to represent, over the telephone? Wes, be careful of paper cuts. On the other hand, Kevin had the brilliant idea of making the sales all about charity. I believe that, more than anything, attributed to the team's win and I liked that they asked for all their winnings to be donated. Kevin, be sure to water the ficus near the corner window.
Apex presented a harder choice. How can so many women, even as skinny as they are, fit into the mailroom? I had to make some tough choices. I was tempted to demote whoever had thought of "butter" as a good ice cream flavor, but I couldn't remember who suggested it. Stacie J. was also an easy target, a New Yorker who doesn't know where she is or how to give directions. However, looking at the team's efforts in toto, Ivana got the stool in the mailroom for the second straight week. Ivana, Ivana – you had 4,569,999 suggestions for ice cream. PICK ONE! When your team got separated, how could you not find a group of improperly dressed (for ice cream vending), ultra skinny women hauling around a huge cart and red and white striped umbrella? For TWO HOURS? Words fail me (and that takes a lot). I'm tempted to order you a nameplate for the mailroom door. I know Bradford was Bonehead when he gave up his exemption, but anyone in business will tell you, an overactive ego doesn't normally earmark you for mailroom duty. The mailroom's all yours, Ivana. As for the corner office, it was a clear choice. Jennifer C. arranged for restaurants to come by and sample the ice cream, which was a smart move (take a clue, Wes) and resulted in the team's biggest sales. Jennifer C. claimed the corner office for Apex for Week 2.1 2 3 4 Next-->
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