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The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, Weekly Performance Appraisal, Episode 11: Fly Away!by William Ingram -- 12/09/2005
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we'll find out I'm told, my mother she told me so
I just wanna fly
put your arms around me, baby.”
-- “Fly,” Sugar Ray, 1997
Welcome to the weekly (some might say, “weakly”) evaluation of the contestants on 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 five 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: I guess somebody finally lit a fire under you. You seem full of energy this week. Yet, I don’t know which side of the street you are playing. You tell Jim that you are in his corner and it’s you and him against Dawna, but you also tell Dawna that you will be paying Jim lip service and then simply ignoring his ideas.
But, you took control of the project quite well. You had some big ideas and you ran with them. You did a fair job of holding Jim down.
In the end, you created a very good commercial. It flowed exceptionally well. Even the executives were impressed and decided to use your commercial “as is.”
Jim: I still don’t know about you. For the whole series now, you’ve been treating this “interview” as a game to be won. Sure, winning this game gets you a good job for a year, but it really won’t get you any respect. In order to be successful, not only do you have to be the last player standing, but you need to get there by playing nice and earning everyone’s respect. You may actually win the game, but all of your fellow players will end up hating you for it.
And Martha will easily be able to see what you are doing and shouldn’t be fooled by your shenanigans.
As for the task, you picked on it beautifully. You did the research to find out what the airline was all about and helped build a commercial around that research.
In the reward, however, you seemed a little too eager to monopolize Martha’s time. I’m quite sure that Martha recognizes a suck-up when she sees one. Time will tell, however, if that’s the kind of person she wants to hire.
Dawna: You are taking Jim way too seriously. Jim has his own way of getting things done. They are very unconventional methods, for sure. You just need to figure out the best way to channel Jim’s enthusiasm into constructive directions. Oh, and by the way, Jim is purposely trying to get under your skin. That’s his game.
As for this task, I’m not quite sure what you did this week other than complain about Jim. Of course, I’ll grant you that complaining about Jim would take up a lot of anybody’s time.
In the reward, you were far too timid and showed no aggression at all. I don’t think Martha wants a complete bore as her apprentice. Remember, rewards with Martha are not “down time”, Martha is watching over you like a hawk and is noting every little thing about you. Timidness is not getting you any good marks in her book.
Ryan: Unfortunately, you were stuck with Marcela this week. She has lost almost all of her tasks and has been hauled into the conference room an astounding five times so far. Plus, no one respects her.
As project manager, you do have complete control over your team, but you really couldn’t have had a worse plan for selecting the theme for your commercial. You just came up with an idea and then, when Marcela suggested that you run it by the executives at the company, you balked and said you’d go with your idea no matter what the executives said. That’s really bad.
And, when you found out that the target audience would be women over forty, you remained stubborn and insisted on using the baseball theme. Let’s see, last time I looked, women over forty weren’t normally fans of baseball. You pretty much killed your chances when you said, “I don’t care about the target audience.”
During the filming of your commercial, I can’t help but notice that the editors decided to play the old “dumb bimbo” music. You should know by now that this music spells doom for your team.
And then, it became clear why they were playing the music, you were trying to do everything yourself. You wanted to design the commercial, act in it, and direct it. That’s way too much. As Charles said, that’s like the old baseball adage of the man who tries to pitch and catch at the same time. You can’t do it because the ball moves too fast.
Yet, in the end, you created a pretty funny little commercial.
Unfortunately, you ruined it with that stupid little tagline. Well, I guess that’s what you get for drinking on the job. At least you didn’t use the subliminal messages.
In the end, though, it just wasn’t a very professional commercial. It did not hit the target audience.
And you did use the subliminal message after all. Charles made a big deal about it by pretending to notice it. He, of course, didn’t accidentally notice it, someone probably pointed it out to him. Still, it was a very bad idea. The goal, simply put, was to get people to give the commercial high marks. Putting the company logo in as a subliminal message isn’t going to accomplish that at all.
In the end, you struck out. But, I have some good news. I know how you can fly home for only $99, one way! How do I know this? I just saw a great commercial produced by Primarius.
Marcela: Unfortunately, you were stuck with Ryan this week. Although he has won the two times he has been project manager, he has slipped badly in the more recent weeks. Most people have pointed to him as a reason for the team’s recent losses.
You had the right idea when you called the executives to ask about who the target audience will be. When you found out that the target audience would be women, you should have insisted that Ryan change the theme.
In fact, all throughout the task, Ryan kept coming up with bonehead ideas and you saw each one as a very bad idea. Yet, you almost never put your foot down and insisted that he not do anything really stupid.
In the end, you showed no real drive. You couldn’t hit one out of the park. You didn’t even go down swinging. I think there’s still an open seat on Ryan’s flight out of the city.
Now, everybody get the hell out of my office. I’ve got real work to do. I’ll call in the three remaining players for another performance review next week.
Bill (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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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