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The Apprentice 4 Corner Office and Mailroom Assignments, Episode 5by Gil Sery -- 10/27/2005
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Both teams were asked to design prototypes for floats for an upcoming fantasy movie called Zathura. The men impressed Jon Favreau, the movie’s director, and Geoff, the Sony executive who helped judge the task, and won yet again. Let’s see who blew away the competition, and who just got blown away.
It’s pretty obvious who the weak link on Excel was this week. Once again, Markus, the self-proclaimed Teflon Candidate to whom nothing sticks (apparently this includes his PM’s instructions), was shown procrastinating and not doing anything productive, while the other team members worked hard painting and cleaning.
Sure, Markus excelled (no pun intended) at getting the team’s lunch order, but somehow I doubt that’s the main reason he applied for this show. Part of me thinks Markus did the right thing by telling Brian that he was offended by the lunch comment. However, another part of me thinks he had no right to be complaining if what we saw him do - or not do - was indeed accurate. He is extremely lucky that his team won, or he would very likely have been eliminated, or at least have been brought into the boardroom. As it is, Markus just gets a cart of mail and a bunch of non-adhesive stamps. At least by adding stamps to the packages, his teammates won’t be able to say he didn’t do a lick of work.
It was a tough call deciding whom on Excel deserved the corner office this week. Perhaps Brian deserved it for leading the winning team. Then I remembered with a shudder how Brian asked Jon to explain the concept of Zarutha, thereby mispronouncing the name of the movie in front of the client, which made me consider giving him the Idiot of the Week Award. However, even Jon conceded that if a person only hears the name of the movie once, they’re not likely to remember it, so I decided to excuse Brian’s rather serious faux pas. That, and there’s someone even more deserving of the award this week. There’s also the fact that Geoff had to tell Brian to keep quiet while Geoff was trying to compliment him.
So who does get the corner office this week? One look at the Yahoo! Extras convinced me that Josh deserves the corner office this week. Sure, Mark came up with the concept of the winning float, but Josh stepped up and led his team during the team meeting when Brian’s leadership fell by the wayside. Stepping up was especially risky as it could be a double-edged sword. Josh could have been fired for being a pseudo-PM, as he personally pointed out in an interview. Enjoy your corner office, Josh. It comes complete with a new cappuccino machine.
Anyone remember the reason Kristi gave Trump for putting the “Edge” in Capital Edge? She said it was because, “We’re winning with an edge.” That just begs the question, “When does the winning start?” For the past four weeks, the (now mostly) women’s team has been more Blunt Edge than Capital Edge with Melissa, Jenn W., Toral, and now Kristi being fired in quick succession. However, it was almost Jenn M. who was fired this week and who survived, as Bill Rancic said, “by the skin of her teeth.”
What happened, Jenn? Did you have enough of the corner office? Did you decide you’d do anything to avoid going back there? If that was your plan, it worked amazingly well. The only person to be assigned the corner office twice is now the only person to be awarded two dubious honors in one week.
The first is the Bradford Cohen Idiot of the Week Award. While Brian mangled the movie’s moniker only once in the initial client meeting, Jennifer M. referred to the movie in the presentation as “Zenthura,” instead of its proper title, Zathura, no less than five times (yes, I actually counted). She stood right next to the float, which had the movie’s name spelled correctly, and she still got it wrong!
That was only one of several blunders Jen made as project manager. Another is that she failed to keep Kristi in control. Granted, she pulled Kristi aside and tried to address her disruptiveness privately, but when that didn’t work she should have sidelined her, or at least given her a timeout. Can you imagine how embarrassed, even mortified, Kristi would have been to be given a time out at her age like some naughty kid? It might have been a little extreme, but I think she would have gotten the message loud and clear. Then she could have come back and worked on the task, as Jennifer claimed in the boardroom that she didn’t have enough manpower to be able to sideline Kristi permanently. Jen also didn’t make sure that the name of the movie was visible clearly on the float. In the Yahoo! extras, Jenn realized in hindsight that the name was an important part of the float.
To top everything off, according to Marshawn, Jenn decided to go on a shopping spree with precious little time left to complete the task. Not only that, but it took four people to go shopping, as Jennifer took Marshawn, Randal, and Rebecca with her. Now, for those of you who have never been to New York City, let me tell you that I took my first trip there last year and discovered the hard way that getting from point A to point B takes a long time, regardless of where you travel. It’s just not one of those cities where, in a short time span, you can zip over to a store, get what you need, zip back, and use your purchases. Getting anywhere in New York means spending at least 20-30 minutes going in one direction, so it would have literally taken the team hours to go shopping, return, and use their purchases in the float.
What was so important to the float? What was so unwieldy that one person couldn’t manage it alone? It was red carpet – seriously! I shudder to think what they didn’t have time to do. Maybe figures of Joan and Melissa Rivers standing on the red carpet? This was one of the biggest mistakes Jennifer made in this task, as it sounds so irrelevant to the project. How does red carpet tie in with a float for a space fantasy anyway?
For bungling this task royally, Jennifer gets to join Markus in the mailroom, where she’ll learn the value of delivering mail to employees in a timely manner.
We didn’t get to see much of the other female contestants this episode, but Marshawn did seem to be the voice of reason this week, first trying to unite her fellow teammates in a more solid fashion, then trying to reason with Jennifer about not going to the store when the team didn’t have time for that. Enjoy your corner office, Marshawn. To help you keep your reasoning abilities sharp, you also get a $50 gift card to Logic Puzzles R Us.
Week Five Tally
So we come to another week’s tally. Both Josh and Marshawn have previously worked in the mailroom, but each occupies a corner office this week. Markus, as incredible as it may seem, makes his first trip to the mailroom, while Jennifer M. goes from one extreme to the other. Here’s how the assignments stack up so far. Remember that the numbers in parentheses are the weeks in which the assignments were awarded.
Corner Office: Mark (1), Randall (2, 3), Clay (4), Josh (5)
Mailroom: Josh (1), Chris (2), Clay (3), Markus (5)
Corner Office: Rebecca (1), Alla (1), Jennifer M. (3, 4), Marshawn (5)
Mailroom: Kristi (1), Melissa (1), Marshawn (2), Rebecca (3), Jennifer W. (3), Felisha (4), Jenn M. (5)
Gil Sery is a freelance entertainment journalist who loves watching reality TV. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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