The Apprentice 2 Weekly Performance Review, Episode 6: Fashionably Fired!by Mike DeGeorge -- 10/18/2004
Not the most riveting of episodes, at least for me, because unless it's Zoolander, I have no use for the fashion world. I could even care less about supermodels. Unlike most of mankind, apparently, I did NOT have an Olive Oyl fetish growing up and prefer women with a little meat on their bones and more skills than walking a straight line.
That said, this was a fantastic test for the men. Could they take a task that was way, way, WAY out of their element and be successful? Well, we know the answer to that one is "no." But did they at least perform well? Erů no, again. Let's get the details!
Boy, I just can't imagine how you sold so much, unless you learned the lesson from last week and cut prices to nothing. Your fashions were uninspired. A capelet? That's your signature? Yeesh. It just seemed dull and unimaginative, but I suppose it worked.
I also have to give credit to Pamela. She obviously did a great job in bringing this team together as a unit. Sometimes it takes an outside force to crystallize exactly how much better off you were before. You got lucky, though. If that sort of thing happened in the real world, you'd have been stuck with Pamela for a while, and we all know what a horrible fate that would be.
Elizabeth: Lord help me, I have to agree with Maria that your style just doesn't work in a high-pressure environment. You have to consider as many angles as possible, but when time is a factor, there are many instances where you have to make a decision and stick with it. As I told Jen C. a few weeks ago, there are times when you just have to shut up, and you don't seem to realize that. Arguing after a decision has been made is one of those times.
Ivana: I have to give you credit for recognizing the team's problem with overanalyzing everything. It took a little while, but the fact is, you actually realized the problem, which as everyone knows, is the first step toward FIXING the problem. For comparison, see Elizabeth, who can't seem to grasp the concept. I'd be interested to see your next stint as Project Manager, to see if you can put what you've learned to good use. A manager that makes mistakes is not an issue - a manager who doesn't learn from their mistakes IS.
Jennifer: I remain unimpressed. I have yet to see you make a significant contribution to your team.
Sandy: Remind us why you're there, again? I've yet to see any talent whatsoever.
Stacey: Yeah, get hardcore. And then don't do anything the rest of the task. Yeah, you were edited out, but I think had you actually DONE anything hardcore, we'd have seen it.
Maria: Let's get this straight - you think you would do well at fashion because you studied home economics? If your little black studded outfit from last week's boardroom was any indication, you should be the absolute LAST choice to have anything to do with clothes. I'd choose Raj over you. I also have to take issue with the way you treated Elizabeth. If you have a problem employee, you don't just shove them off to the side. You work with them, and give them tasks that work to their strengths, not give them busy work. Many a Project Manager has been fired for not figuring this out. You were lucky.
Treatment of Elizabeth aside, you had the team working well. How much that had to do with their excitement about the task and how much it had to do with you is a huge question in my mind.
I know jack about fashion, but I have to admit that I liked your stuff better. That dress with the leash was classy! Unfortunately, for the second straight week, you priced too high. Maybe you thought since it helped you win last week, it would work this week, but you learned a valuable lesson: in business, the phrase "jacking up the price" seldom leads to good things.
Chris: Boy, you're a cocky little ass, aren't you? The problem with you is, you haven't shown a thing that justifies your cockiness. I mean, Kelly makes a significant contribution to the task, and all you can do is make fun of him for it. Did the words "team player" ever come up in any of your experience?
Wes: Your only real contribution this week was setting the prices, which was pinpointed as a mistake. You DOUBLED the prices that Ilsa gave you. What were you THINKING? A nice markup is one thing, but come ON! We don't see much of you on this show, and what we see is invariably negative. Not good.
Raj: I said last week that your "differentness" might lead to your undoing, and it sure looks like you're heading down that road. Trump zeroed in on your hitting on the models and bugging the designer as proof of your poor performance. While this wasn't necessarily due to your "differentness," I contend that, had anyone else done it, it would have been a minor annoyance instead of a major problem. You're fighting an uphill battle, and unfortunately, much as I like you, I have to wonder if you have the skills to survive.
Kelly: You seemed to be the MVP this week. Unlike last week, when I thought you took control when you shouldn't have, you actually stepped in when it was most advantageous, especially because it didn't seem like John was willing to. You even helped the designer by making a great suggestion that was actually used, and helped control the guys in the fabric store! I'm reminded of Bill's performance last season in the Planet Hollywood challenge. The team lost, just as with last year's example, but it sure wasn't because of you. However, you don't like Andy for some reason, and that puts me against you.
Andy: According to the Insider video footage, you actually suggested and fought for Darren to be your designer and disagreed strongly with Ilsa. I'm surprised this wasn't highlighted more in the show, because I'm sure - even though I thought Ilsa's designs were better - that Ilsa was one of the reasons for the team's loss.
This is the second time you've been brought into the boardroom and the second time you didn't deserve to be there. You can actually use this to your advantage the next time you're taken in, saying basically that you haven't deserved to be there before and the other guys are picking on you because they don't like you or are afraid of you. However, this could prove to be a double-edged sword. Obviously you don't have the respect of your team, and without respect, a leader is a higher-paid failure. Perhaps more than anyone else left, you would benefit from a change of teams.
Kevin: As Betsy pointed out in her column, trying to make the buyers feel sorry for you was about the worst plan you could have had. Very weak. However, for the rest of the episode you were like the Greek Chorus, pointing out John's mistakes left and right. And of course, I have to point out the horrible pricing strategy. Not impressive either.
John: If there is one prevailing reason you were fired this week, it's poor decision making. More than anything, your decision to bring Kevin and Andy into the boardroom led to your downfall. You had absolutely NO answer to the question of why you didn't bring Wes in with you. Andy simply did NOT deserve to be there, and you couldn't justify why you brought Kevin over Wes. And the one person whose presence you could have justified above the others, Raj, was safe and comfy in the suite.
There's one thing about this season's contestants I can't figure out. As anyone who watched the first season knows, there have been times that Trump gets a wild hair up his ass about someone and ignores a poor performer in favor of getting rid of someone he doesn't like. He did it with Kristi last year. He did it with Bradford a few weeks ago. And I firmly believe that, had Raj been in the boardroom this week, he would have fired Raj. He seems to have had a problem with Raj since day one, asking the women, "What's up with the guy with the cane?" He made disparaging remarks about Raj's flirting with the models and bothering the designer, and what's more, Raj was arguing with George! This all should have been a flashing neon sign to John saying, "Take Raj to the boardroom!" Just like with Sandy for the past two weeks, Trump gave the Project Manager a huge hint as to who he wants fired, and the PM ignored him every time. What's even more baffling, each time the PM only took two people back to the boardroom? How can these people justify not taking a chance and saying, "Hey, let's bring in this person that Trump doesn't like, who knows?" It's just not smart.
In any case, all things being equal, John, you were a poor Project Manager. You lost command of your team more than once, didn't control Raj at all, and basically lost the respect of your teammates. You delegated far too much, and sometimes didn't delegate enough. And, of course, you made the fatal mistake of letting Wes and Kevin control the pricing. I can't imagine what possessed you to do that, especially seeing how crucial the pricing was last week. You assigned Raj (and only Raj, it looks like) the task of writing the line sheets, a task which was clearly over his head. Why did he not get any assistance from anyone, when it was obvious that he was not succeeding on his own? Finally, I can only assume you didn't bring Raj into the boardroom because you like him. You see now how far that gets you.
One problem with the men taking on what some might see as a woman's task is that they may have given up and admitted failure before the task even started. I think you did a fantastic job of pulling the team together so that this didn't happen, and you took responsibility for the team's failure, possibly because you didn't have a choice, but still. Unfortunately, this wasn't enough to overcome your many other blunders. Whether the mistake was in the pricing, the choice of designer, or bringing the wrong people into the boardroom, the fact is, you screwed all of them up, and that does not equal success.
Mike DeGeorge has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, and has almost ten years of management experience. He is also Associate Editor of RNO. Email Mike at email@example.com.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! And take a look at the rest of the site. You can find all of our recent articles on this show at our The Apprentice page and take a look at our sections on Survivor: All-Stars and Celebrity Mole. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!
For more news about The Apprentice, be sure to check out SirLinksALot!