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The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, Weekly Performance Appraisal, The Finale: Sweet Dreams are Made of Theseby William Ingram -- 12/28/2005
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Only if you want it to be
Are you gonna wait for your sign, your miracle
Stand up and fight.”
-- “This Is It,” Kenny Loggins, 1980
Welcome to the final evaluation of the contestants on Apprentice: Martha Stewart. Each week, I have looked at each remaining contestant and gave my appraisal of his or her performance. Now, we are down to the final two. Frankly, I cannot say a whole lot of bad things about either of these two, since they each beat out fourteen other players to get this far in the game. In any case, here goes.
Bethenny: You picked Ryan, Jim, and Carrie. As with everyone else, I thought this was a strange choice. But, Jim hit the nail on the head when he pointed out that you have no friends in this game, except Jim. You and Jim worked together to sabotage almost all the other players in the game. You can take heart in the fact that, if Jim were in the finals, he’d have an even tougher time finding people that liked or respected him.
Even so, though, Carrie was just a bimbo and Ryan was a dimwit. Right off the bat they started disrespecting you. Ryan couldn’t get past his jealousy that you made it farther than him. Carrie even demanded an apology (or, at least, a justification) for you making it farther than she did.
This is a clear sign that you have to manage your team. Your first step should have been to sit down with each team member and clear the air and give them a reason to help you. Fortunately, Carrie brought up the subject. Unfortunately, you didn’t handle it like you should. As on the show Survivor, you need to be absolutely remorseful when dealing with players who have been kicked out of the game and then return to determine your fate. You tell them that they are the better person and that you just got lucky to have beaten them and blah, blah, blah; whatever it takes to get the job done.
Then there was that fund-raising sidetrack. Yes, it would be great if you raised more money than expected, but that’s not the stated goal of this task. The goal is to organize and run the event smoothly. By concentrating on one tiny aspect of the event, you left most of the others dangling.
Unfortunately, this left your team completely without direction. Jim and Carrie even had a discussion where they compared notes and found that you didn’t really give them any instructions. Jim even called you a mess.
As it turns out, everything did come together and your silent auction items were a hit. And the circus went off without a hitch. Everything turned out grand. You really couldn’t have done a better job. Jim and your team members couldn’t say enough great things about you at the reunion.
Alas, you were doomed right from day one. Martha was looking for an apprentice that would not rock the boat and would do things the corporate way. She did not want someone like you or Jim who would want to spice things up and add flair to the job. So, even though you did far better in this final task than Dawna, you just weren’t going to get the job. Sorry!
Based on your appearance, however, I am sure there are dozens of good companies who will immediately offer you a far more-interesting job than you would have had with Martha.
Dawna: You picked Amanda, Sarah, and Howie. This was a good selection. None of them were fired for not trying hard enough at their task. Each of them was fired for simply going with a poor idea at the time. They are all good workers if you have the overall ideas.
Unfortunately, the director was worried that you don’t really see the big picture and are too focused on the details. Keep in mind that your team will think up stupid ideas if you don’t give them good and specific ideas of your own.
As we saw, you sent Howie and Amanda to pick out fashions and they met with disapproval from the resident fashion experts. You got lucky someone was there to override their decisions. Even still, they still managed to make more poor choices. Again, the clothes director had to come to their rescue. Frankly, though, I don’t think really bad choices could have been made. The clothes you had to pick from were all designer clothes from Liz Claiborne, so there probably wasn’t anything really bad in the lot.
As for Amanda herself, well, she is pretty driven. The best you can do in her case is to give her guidance, tell her exactly what you want, and then let her go off and do it. Amanda might leave you hanging for a long time, but I think she’d always come through in the end.
And, as it turns out, she did do a pretty good job. Linda, the supervisor, did not veto any of her choices for outfits. Instead, she just nitpicked at Amanda’s choice of words for the brochure (she called a sweater “pink” when it was actually “coral”, for example). Those seem to be very minor concerns that were fixed up quickly.
Unfortunately, the programs turned out poorly anyway. But, they were passably good enough. Apparently, as you told the cameras, there were forty other things that didn’t get done properly, but only you and Sarah knew about them. Shhh!
As for the event, your fashion show worked out well enough. But, it just didn’t “wow” me. I mean, yawn, some women paraded up and down the runway. It’s not like anyone was flying through the air like at the circus.
The only thing you had going for you in this challenge was the fact that your team members actually liked you, whereas Bethenny’s did not.
Fortunately for you, Martha was looking to hire somebody who came from the same mold as you did. You even said it yourself in the conference room – you would fit in perfectly with Martha’s companies. Luckily, Martha wanted someone who would just blend into the woodwork and not rock the boat with new ideas or anything. In fact, even Alexis said that you were dispassionate and uncreative, on live TV. Martha herself even pointed out that the Liz Claiborne executives were displeased with your results. But, it didn’t matter much that you screwed up almost everything in your final challenge, you were destined to get the job.
Congratulations. I do find it a little bit amusing, however, that Martha gave you a job running one of her magazines, when you were actually a magazine publisher before this show started. Somehow, I can’t see that this new job is going to stretch your horizons at all or that you will bring anything really special to the job. Good luck, though.
Now, I’ve got some bad news for everybody. This company has gone out of business. I’m going to have to lay off all of you, even the winner. I’m not really sure what went wrong. Perhaps there should have been an evaluator evaluating the evaluators.
Seriously, though, Martha’s Apprentice has not been picked up for a second season. What went wrong? Maybe Martha’s time in jail just gave her a harder edge that the viewers just didn’t like. Or maybe the show just felt like a tired old retread of Trump’s version. In fact, they did the exact same airline-promotion task in Trump’s version a year or so ago.
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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