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The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, Weekly Performance Appraisal, Episode 8: Take Off, You Hoser!by William Ingram -- 11/16/2005
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“Turn it down a little bit or turn it down flat.
Welcome to the weekly (some might say “weakly”) evaluation of the contestants on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. Each week, I will look at each remaining contestant 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 eight contestants. Will any of them remember what I told them last week? Will any of them learn from their mistakes? Let’s find out.
Howie: You did not come across well as an on-air personality during rehearsals. Bethenny made the absolute correct call in pulling your plug and letting you deflate to the ground. Even in the control room, you were a huge flop, getting all the camera angles wrong and sending the wrong messages to the wrong on-air personalities.
As Martha said, you were really lacking in drive and ambition. In short, you need to be more pumped up. That is why Martha is changing the flat tire on your team and throwing you in the nearest Dumpster.
Bethenny: You were the last person to be made project manager. This, unfortunately, comes with some baggage. Martha must wonder why you have never stepped up to the plate before.
You made the right choices, at first, in that Dawna and Howie could be a better presenters. Dawna is a good-looking blonde and Howie is a lovable oaf. Unfortunately, it soon became clear that Howie would be a huge fizzle in front of the cameras. Just as unfortunately, Jim would be right at home in front of those cameras.
That left you with the choice of either having a dud or a loose cannon as your pitchman. The choice was painfully clear and just plain painful. You made the right call in letting Jim run the segment. But at least you knew that you had to watch him like a hawk.
With that in mind, you did great. You supported your team in the conference room like a good leader should. Unfortunately, your team came up short. Howie and Dawna tried to attack your leadership skills, but it just made them look bad, since they were the ones you couldn’t handle.
Jim: Every week, you start off exuding confidence that your team will just crush the other team. Yet, almost every week, it’s your team that gets crushed. Sooner or later Martha is going to turn to you and point out that you may be a strong individual player, but you weaken every other person you come in contact with.
I thought you were kind of funny trying to assemble the hammock in the warehouse. I guess it was a good idea to pass on it, since you didn’t put it together right and then beaned Howie in the head! Still, I liked the idea of a hammock. I’d buy one.
But going with the air compressor wasn’t a bad idea either. I own one for my car and it was the best $39 I ever spent. I am always inflating my tires and helping out other people with flats. Showing a compressor on QVC should have allowed for you to make great displays out of inflating stuff.
And you performed great, despite scaring your team with displays of spanking and talk of your balls. On camera, though, you were cool and professional.
Unfortunately, you lost again. Aren’t you getting really sick of losing every week?
Dawna: As I said to Carrie last week, don’t say things in confessional that will make you look stupid later on if you fail at your task. This week, you said you wouldn’t know what to do if you had to work with Jim and Howie. And, as the god of foreshadowing demands, you were put on their team.
Unfortunately, you couldn’t really work well in an environment where everyone is having fun and enjoying their work. You do need a situation where everyone is deadly serious all the time. Later, Bethenny hit the nail on the head when she mentioned that you probably weren’t the coolest kid in school.
You did a passably good job this week.
Ryan: You stepped up and became project manager again. This week’s task was big because you had to control three women who were all very obviously going in three different directions. Amanda was the take-charge woman who tended to state her ideas and then suddenly declare that everybody agreed with her. Marcela had a few good ideas, but generally has a weak personality and lets others run all over her. Leslie was your good, solid worker.
As for the product you selected, I must admit that I had a bad feeling about it. A hose rewinder is a nice idea, but I don’t think that the large majority of QVC viewers really need it. As one of the women said, you can get one of those for $35. In fact, I’ve seen cheap ones for $19. Trying to sell them for $99.97 was going to be an uphill battle.
You decided on Leslie and Amanda as the on-air talent. I’m not quite sure I agree with that idea, since Leslie is kind of a bore and Amanda is a loose cannon. You should have gone on the air with one of the women, probably Amanda, to provide viewers with a balanced, male-female perspective.
Yet, despite these little problems, your team won. I have to congratulate success.
Amanda: Amanda, Amanda. The first we saw of you this week, you indicated that you wanted to just rush in and pick out a product to sell, based on some kind of intuition. Didn’t you see what happened to the dumb blondes last week when they just rushed right into their project without thinking it through? Of course, maybe you didn’t, because you were on the other team.
When you were selected as part of the on-air talent team, you seemed quite incensed that you’d have to share top billing with Leslie. That doesn’t really make you a team player. Charles picked up on that when he said that he thought you wanted to be the star of the show.
Also, notice that the editors of this episode used that same “dumb blonde” music from the previous episode whenever you were explaining a concept to the producers. This music doomed Sarah and Carrie at that point, and you are a blonde as well. You would do well to note that you are seen as simply another dumb blonde. Your team won the challenge, but if you’d lost, you would have been the easy victim this week.
Leslie: Right away, Ryan designated you the “expert” on-air personality. I guess that means you look the part of a studious, professor type who knows exactly how a water hose works and can easily explain it to the more dimwitted viewers. (“Water goes in that end and comes out over here. Any questions?”)
At least you took a more pragmatic attitude towards sharing the screen than Amanda did. You said you didn’t give a damn about how much face time you got as long as you sold more items than the other team. And when the time came to sell the product, you did very well and won the challenge for your team. Very good.
Marcela: As in previous weeks, your team does not respect you. They talk all over you and your ideas.
On the bright side, they left you alone to let your creative side shine though. You created a beautiful set as the background for the sales pitch. I commend you on your work, but I also note that a background isn’t what sells the product. A background is only noticed when it is bad. A decent background works exactly as well as a brilliant one. So a monkey could have arranged some potted plants, a flag, and some lawn furniture, and, as long as there were no flaming skulls or corpses hanging from trees, have had the exact same impact that your background did. Your work was great, but it was not really a major factor in the competition.
Now, everybody get the hell out of my office. I’ve got real work to do. I’ll call in the seven 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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