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The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, Weekly Performance Appraisal, Episode 4: Thirty Minutes or Lessby William Ingram -- 10/19/2005
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The devil take your stereo and your record collection!”
-- “Stand and Deliver” Adam Ant, 1981
Welcome to the weekly (some might say, “weakly”) evaluation of the contestants on Apprentice: Martha Stewart. Each week, I will look at each contestant remaining and give my appraisal of his or her performance. Some of them will shine like stars and others will flicker like fluorescent lights down at the warehouse.
This week, we start off with the thirteen contestants. Will any of them remember what I told them last week? Will any of them learn from their mistakes? Let’s find out.
Bethenny: You were given the task of selecting every piece of furniture for every single room. Yes, you weren’t given enough time to get everything exactly the way you wanted it, but that’s part of this challenge. You just needed to suck it up and do a great job.
I wasn’t impressed with your complaining, but you did come through and pick out everything you needed in under eight minutes. See? You can do well when you have to. Alas, the furniture never arrived, so all your work was for naught.
David: After a week as the project manager, you somehow managed to fade back into the woodwork again. I can’t say that this will be a winning strategy for you.
Dawn: You were partially right and partially wrong when you complained about Leslie wanting to design the whole project before starting work. Yes, it eats up a lot of work time, but it could save a lot of time correcting problems that you hadn’t anticipated. But, you were right in that the team probably should have gotten some of the essentials out of the way early on.
But, when it finally came down to it and you were forced into staying up all night to paint, instead of refusing to work you should have just shut your mouth and worked. Your attitude this week made me start to think that maybe Jim has been right all this time. And you made it even worse by oversleeping the next morning. You are the weak link on the team.
As I’ve said all along, the Matchstick team will never be a healthy unit until you, or Jim, or both of you, go home.
The funny thing was that you and Jim were not at each others’ throats this week, and you lost. You were not responsible for your team’s loss this week, but you were brought into the conference room. But, every week so far, everyone else blamed you as the disruptive force on the team. Martha did the smart thing by packing you up in the delivery truck and shipping you away.
Yet, I have this sneaky suspicion that your eviction will not help this team win another task. This team is dysfunctional from top to bottom. Only a mass reshuffling of the teams will change your team’s luck.
Jim: You were pretty silent this episode and that’s a good look on you. You came up with the F.L.O.W. moniker, which united the team (not counting Dawn) and propelled them on to a good showing. If the furniture had actually arrived, I think your team would have won.
Leslie: I am proud of you, Leslie. When George asked who was a strong leader, everyone put up their hand. When George asked who was a strong enough leader to lead Matchstick to a victory, you were the only one to raise your hand. Martha will like your confidence, even if Matchstick loses again.
Unfortunately, you quickly discovered that team Matchstick was like a roomful of cats. Each one of them had drastically different ideas as to what to do and none of them liked working with each other. What you should have done was to send two of them off to start the basic work, such as measuring the room and looking for suppliers for whatever the rest of the group picks out. You did not lead the group.
Unfortunately, when it came down to the end, you had no couch. You were left “selling air,” as you so aptly put it. What you should have done instead, was point out where the couch will be and that the delivery truck is running late. Describe the couch, but don’t make a really big deal that it isn’t actually present. Hopefully, you would have a picture of the couch and missing furniture. If the reviewers take off points for not physically having the couch, so be it.
Marcela: You should have been a little more forceful with Leslie and made her completely understand that the contractors were going to leave at midnight and that some work had to get done before then. As it turns out, the team was able to do most of the work anyway, so this was not a huge problem.
Amanda: You were pleased when Leslie volunteered to lead the opposition this week. You also stepped up and asked to be project manager. Martha will respect that, but only if you make good choices.
For whatever reason, you decided to over rule the interior designer and select a mostly gray color scheme. Personally, I don’t see gray as a wonderful base color. But, you sealed your fate when you announced to the cameras that paint color was just not a “big picture” item for you. As soon as I heard you say that, I knew that the statement will come back to haunt you sooner or later. That’s just something Martha will not want to hear. Must I remind you that Martha’s office has a wall hanging made up of paint chips? Paint is, indeed a “big picture” item for Martha.
Pencils?!? That was a hokey idea. Then again, Ryan did say that, somehow, the pencils did manage to galvanize the team into one solid unit. So, I may have to give you a “pass” on that.
But, the bottom line is that you won. I thought you were a poor leader, but you somehow managed to limp over the finish line first.
Carrie: You tried to made some decent color choices right up front. You also tried again later to make good choices. But, you also let Amanda step all over you. Granted, Amanda was the project leader, but you needed to speak up when you saw a fatal problem.
Dawna: As long as your team keeps winning, we really won’t be seeing much of you. Keep up the good work.
Howie: I’m disappointed in you this week. You didn’t like the direction the team was going with the gray wallpaper and gray scheme, so you should have spoken up. As Martha said in the episode, if your team doesn’t have a vision and doesn’t all love the product, the team is doomed to fail. Your team was very fortunate in that, no matter how much you screw up, Matchstick will always screw up even worse.
Jennifer: Why don’t you see if you can go out and create a montage of you doing something. I really don’t recall who you are.
Ryan: You had a few good moments this week. You picked out a decent interior designer who gave your team some good advice.
Sarah: You recovered a bit from last week and had no fist fights with anyone this week. Otherwise, you didn’t have much of an impact this week.
Now, everybody get the hell out of my office. I’ve got real work to do. I’ll call in the twelve remaining players for another performance review next week.
Bill (email@example.com) is a huge reality show fan. He often wears his Survivor dog tags. He’s wearing a set of Guatemala tags right now, as a matter of fact.
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