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The Apprentice: Los Angeles, Episode 7 Performance Reviewsby Brian Towers -- 03/08/2007
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What a strange episode of The Apprentice: Los Angeles this was! Or was it a tryout episode of a new series called Randal Pinkett’s Boardroom? Firstly, neither team seemed to be doing very well on their task. Secondly, the duo that were fooling around were commended for it. Next, I saw large budgets resulting in balloons, and that was praised. Then we had a barely-explicable firing of one contestant, and the rest never made it to a second Boardroom. To try and make some sense out of all this hullabaloo, its time for “Performance Reviews” of the remaining applicants!
This week’s task was to promote a new model of Lexus (“LS 460”) to a select group of their customers and score higher on satisfaction surveys completed by the attendees.
For what I think is the first time this season, we learned how much of a budget each team had – $50,000. From what we saw, I shudder to think how either team used those funds.
One thing I learned from the web material was that there was very limited space to drive the cars. However, Arrow was able to work within that constriction, whereas Kinetic assumed the space was insufficient and responded with their goofy go-carts.
The episode opened with the other three male team members all taking shots at Surya in his absence, who they see as riding their efforts to success. I can say two things about that: (1) I agree; and (2) welcome to the world of business.
The trio of James, Frank, and Stefani did yeoman’s work this week. With Tim and Nicole on an extended date and Surya in love with the planning process yet never accomplishing tasks, the trio was essentially working alone.
When I look at what Arrow did, I’m not really sure why they scored so high. Actually driving the cars had to help, and the setup looked pretty snazzy. We know this team is pretty personable in one-on-one contact. But when car batteries ran down and they couldn’t show off the car’s features, this left people standing around with nothing to do. I have to assume that not every vehicle suffered battery failure. Still, how did they score a near-perfect 96?
Frank: Frank has proved himself to be a far better worker bee than a leader. Teamed with the efficient Stefani, he was in charge of event planning and that’s what won them the task. So, big kudos for Frank and he gets a GOOD rating this week.
James: James took over the “ride” part of the event, which was where the attendees got to ride in the car. They actually had three separate stations set up to show smoothness of ride, its self-parking ability, and to hint at acceleration. I applaud his imaginative use of the space. Web clips indicate that it went very well.
On the reward, when Snoop said “The sky’s the limit,” and James fawned, “I love that line,” he needed to be wary. James ought to know that only The Donald’s a$$ need be kissed! All right, I guess that’s not such a serious thing and digging deep, I can certainly find it in my heart to overlook it. So it’s a VERY GOOD week for James.
Stefani: Stefani took on event planning tasks, along with Frank, and we saw her ordering food (shrimp and pastries) and, on the web clips, beautiful flowers. I’m sure there were a hundred other things, too, and to me, it looked like a first-class setup in all areas.
Stefani went one step farther – she also made the oral presentation. We’ve seen Stefani make oral presentations before and it seems to be a forte of hers. This time was no exception, and as one who has no such skills, I am impressed.
Taking all this into consideration, an EXCELLENT rating is the only appropriate one.
Nicole and Tim: The two of them worked well initially, brainstorming ideas and planning a solution while Surya was busy amusing himself at the whiteboard. Nicole even came up with the theme ,“Bringing Luxury To A New Level.”
However, the “Showmance-lite” came into play again in this episode and resources and time were diverted when they ought to have been spent on the task. Even James noted, “Their relationship is making them soft.” I feel I must continue to rate them both as NEEDS IMPROVEMENT. As Hattie McDaniel said in Gone With The Wind, “It jes’ ain’t fittin'... it ain’t fittin’.”
Surya: Again, Surya over-managed his project. I think he’s been sniffing too many of those whiteboard markers! However, one thing I saw on the web clips was that Randal took a ton of notes and said that’s what Trump taught him to do. Hmm, does Surya have secret inside info here?
Despite all his planning, Surya still managed to find himself managing a project where he didn’t really know what was going on. That, my friends, is a gigantic problem. Assign tasks, but monitor progress – I think I could type that every week!
Fortunately, Surya was still able to force himself to accept Trump’s kudos in the Boardroom when the victory was announced.
On the reward, despite claiming to be a big fan, Surya refused to get into the spirit of things and hung back. Maybe he got confused; maybe he thought he was going to meet Charles Shultz’s Snoopy dog?
Even on the webisode (which showed more of the recording session), the other five were participating fully, yet the only time I saw Surya he was trying to get farther away from the action. Consider this an excellent team-building opportunity, lost.
In the Kinetic Boardroom, even Trump commented that Surya was not contributing much. Okay, maybe Randal didn’t make that easy, but this is a critical time for Surya to make an impression on Trump and again, it went a-wanting.
For Surya it’s a UNSATISFACTORY rating. Except for accepting praise and writing on a whiteboard, I find it difficult to list a single positive skill in his arsenal.1 2 3 Next-->
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