The Apprentice 2, Episode 3: The Brush-Offby Betsy Wasser -- 9/24/2004
Just like in every episode of The Apprentice, we begin with the candidates wondering who will survive the boardroom. Lil Stacy tells Mosaic about how Bradford gave up his exemption. Everyone is stunned. Pamela says, “It’s like a stroke of crazy non-genius!” and I am so amused that I rewind it and watch her say that again. Hee! Andy says he can’t believe Bradford would give up his advantage like that. The suspense is over for them, as Ivana, Stacie, and Jennifer C. return. Maria says, “No freakin’ way!” Sandy says she’s disappointed that Bradford is gone, but it makes her realize, “It’s do or die.”
Lil Stacy calls a team meeting to clear up any unresolved issues. Stacie says that it was unfair for Ivana to take her into the boardroom because she performed really well at the ice cream task. Maria tells her that the women are still reacting to her freak-out with the Magic 8-Ball at Mattel in the first challenge. Stacie says that it was a moment of weakness and that she reacted badly to the stress. Lil Stacy says that if she’s unable to handle herself under pressure, that’s a real concern. In an interview, Stacie says that she realizes she has to prove herself to the rest of the team, but that it won’t be easy because at this point, they’re enemies. Maria tells her that they can’t have another outburst like that, then adds that the question is whether or not everyone will be able to give Stacie another chance. I’m going to go ahead and predict no. I know, I’m going out on a limb here.
The Trump phone rings the next morning, and I notice for the first time that it is on its own shiny gold pedestal. That is excellent. The candidates meet Trump in the lobby of Trump tower, and once again, the trumpets sound as The Donald, along with George, Carolyn, and two other people, makes his way into the lobby. I love it. Trump tells them that they’re in the big lobby of big Trump Tower because he likes to think big. And for their next task, he’ll need them to think big as well. He introduces the two executives, who are from Procter & Gamble. The teams are in charge of promoting a new flavor of Crest – Vanilla Mint. They’ll have a budget of $50,000 each. The two P&G executives will judge them on which campaign creates the most buzz.
Mosaic once again chooses their project manager at random, and this time Kevin is the leader. John thinks he’ll do a good job, and I must say, I’m impressed with the way he begins the task. He gathers the team together and tells them that they’ll spend half an hour brainstorming, then they’ll determine their strategy. See how that was direct and focused? Why on earth can’t Apex do something like that? The brainstorming begins, and the ideas that storm out of everyone’s heads are… a bit odd. John suggests coloring the river to match the toothpaste. Kelly thinks they should somehow dress up as teeth. Pamela is confident that if they figured out a way to scent the subways, it would be memorable. Raj says, “We can get a blimp in the air,” then adds, “Shh! That’s a good idea.” Raj has totally become my favorite candidate to watch. He’s funny, but that’s also a pretty solid idea.
Andy has a different idea. They’ll use $40,000 to buy an insurance policy for a million dollar sweepstakes. He goes on to explain that companies with sweepstakes drawings usually don’t actually give away that amount of money, but rather buy insurance to cover it in case they do. He explains it better than I can, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that’s how it works.
It’s time for the Trump Lesson of the Week. This week: “A Penny Saved is a Penny Saved.” Trump says that it’s vital in business to stay within your budget. I hope you’re all writing this down.
Over in Apex land, Jennifer C. and Elizabeth carefully review the dossier in the van on the way to an appointment. Elizabeth says that she’s the project manager because she used to work for P&G and thinks it would be frowned upon if she didn’t volunteer. Well, yeah, it would be, but it’s kind of sad that she volunteered because she feared repercussions if she didn’t, not because she wanted to use any advantage her experience might give her. She explains to the team that the way she likes to lead is to give everyone a task and let them get to it.
The plan is to arrange for a celebrity personal appearance, and they’re meeting with an agency to make that happen. Jennifer C. and Sandy think LL Cool J would be a good choice, but Elizabeth isn’t so sure. She says that P&G is a conservative company, so they want to make sure they pick someone with a squeaky clean reputation who hits the right demographics. In an interview, Jennifer complains that Elizabeth is a little too rigid and is holding them back. Sandy suggests Mets catcher Mike Piazza. Everyone thinks he’s a great choice. Men like him, women like, him, even Yankee fans think he’s an all right guy. His price for a half hour appearance is $20,000, which is more than they’d budgeted, but they think it would be worth it. Elizabeth asks if he’d be willing to kiss someone in the audience. He’s not, but he would brush his teeth. I would prefer not to brush my teeth in public, but for $20,000, I’d make an exception. Heck, I’d do it for the bargain price of $250. Call me, Crest.
Mosaic meets with a PR company to talk about the million dollar giveaway idea. Madeline, the CEO, says that it would be almost impossible to pull it off in such a short period of time and suggests that they call legal to discuss it. Pamela says that the plan might not work – “I better check with legal” is rarely a good sign. Everyone thinks Andy should be the one to talk to them, since he’s the most enthusiastic about the idea. He does, and gets off the phone saying that it looks good. It better, because as Pamela tells us in an interview, they have no backup plan. She says they’ve put all of their eggs, chickens, and the chicken coop in this one basket. Uh-oh.
Over at Apex, Stacie and Jennifer C. go to pick up samples of vanilla mint toothpaste to give away. I’m glad to see that they’re planning on handing out free samples, because that was the very first thing I thought of that the teams should do. It’s 20,000 tubes, and Stacie assumes that they’re the travel size, so she figures that between her and Jennifer, they can load them all into the van. Then, in the elevator up to the storage room, they learn that the tubes are full-sized. Oops. The P&G rep says that she sent Stacie the dimensions for the tubes, but Stacie admits that she didn’t look at them. Well, that’s not good. When they see the 834 huge cases of toothpaste, all they can do is laugh. Jennifer is annoyed and says, “Did you even think?” They have three minutes until the storage facility closes, and they realize there is no way they can load up all of that toothpaste in time, so they head home empty-handed. Jennifer says that Stacie is dead weight – she can’t even get the samples to the event.
Meanwhile, Maria is arranging to have promotional flyers printed out and is on the phone with the print rep. It’s late at night, and they finally make arrangements to have the flyers printed. Maria asks about the price, but does not get a final cost from the vendor. Ivana is in charge of handling the budget, so she’s very frustrated that Maria doesn’t know exactly how much the flyers will cost. I can tell you right now, though, that if they’re running a rush job that will run on the presses all night and needs to be delivered early the next morning, it’s not going to be cheap.
Mosaic is excited about their sweepstakes, and Andy feels confident that this great idea will earn him the respect of his team. At 2:00 in the morning, Madeline calls and tells them that the plan won’t work – they have too many concerns and not enough time to resolve them all. The team looks totally panicked – all of their marketing materials talk about the million-dollar prize, and they have no backup plan.
The next morning, they have rallied. They’ll be giving away $5,000 three times a day. Pamela explains that for an amount as small as $5,000, there aren’t nearly as many legal concerns. They’re also handing out samples of toothpaste and have a total circus atmosphere going, complete with people on stilts, jugglers, and fire-eaters. Kevin is happy with how things are going – they’ve created a spectacular spectacular. (No word in the vernacular can describe this great event. You’ll be dumb with wonderment.)
At Apex, Mike Piazza is there, and Jennifer C. is in a near-constant swoon. Mike brushes his teeth for the crowd and tells everyone that he’s been brushing with Crest for years and has never had a cavity. He tries the toothpaste and loves it. Then, he signs autographs – but only on Vanilla Crest flyers and toothpaste boxes (which apparently they somehow transported to the event). It’s hard to tell on TV, but it looks like Apex has a smaller crowd and less energy. We’ll see how this plays out.
Apex heads over to the agency to get their invoice. They discover that the printing cost far more than the $1,800 that they had budgeted. Maria, Ivana, and the rep from the agency call the printer and discover that the price was higher because of the overtime charges they had to pay their workers. Maria tries to argue with the guy, but to no avail. As a result, the team is over budget by $5,000.
The team meets with P&G to review the results. Mosaic, they say, created a buzz with their passion, fun event, which had a great interaction with the crowd. Apex also had a great event and created real excitement with their celebrity guest. However, Apex was over budget. Trump asks Elizabeth about it, and she says that she just found out. Naturally, Trump is not impressed that the project manager didn’t know about this major problem. The reps from P&G say that they would have given the prize to Apex, but because of the budgetary problems, Mosaic wins. Really? Because honestly, Apex looked pretty lackluster to me… but I wasn’t there. Trump says that for thinking big, Mosaic will get a big reward – dinner on the Queen Mary 2 as it leaves the harbor. He notes Ivana’s reaction and says, “Don’t cry.” Kevin, as the project manager of a winning team, is exempt next week. Trump advises him not to give it up, a mistake I doubt anyone will make ever again.
Mosaic boards the ship, and Wes marvels at how enormous it is. It’s also incredibly ornate – you can see why Trump likes it. I notice that Chris is wearing the same polo shirt that he wore to the last reward, and I really, really wish he’d ditch it and wear a sport coat like the other guys are, because he is seriously under-dressed. He’s a stockbroker – I’m willing to bet he has more than one suit. Raj proposes a toast “to the continuous defeat of the women.” After dinner, everyone heads out to the deck of the ship. Chris says it’s inspirational seeing the Statue of Liberty, and that it makes him think about his ancestors coming to America, which makes me feel a little bad for making fun of his outfit, but not really. He should wear a tie. The night ends with Mosaic drunkenly singing patriotic songs.
As usual, things are not so rosy back at the suite. Lil Stacy tells Elizabeth that some people on the team are a distraction and cause chaos. Some people whose names rhyme with “Lacie,” I’d reckon. Elizabeth says she’d like to have Stacie fired, but says that Stacie is not the reason they lost the task, so she doesn’t think she can take her to the boardroom. The reason they lost was Maria’s handling of the printing. Elizabeth lectures Maria about how she could have handled the situation better, and Maria says that the price was clear. If it was so clear, she would have had it in writing and the printer wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. Maria blows off Elizabeth, saying that she’s being made the scapegoat, but actually, it was a leadership problem. It was? What did Elizabeth do wrong? Sounds like Maria is looking for a scapegoat, too.
Meanwhile, perpetual scapegoat Stacie is in a corner alone, taking notes and drinking a bottle of Trump Ice. In an interview, she says that she thinks she’ll go to the boardroom because the other women have formed a sorority, and she’s not part of it. I like to call their sorority Epsilon Beta Sigma – EBS for Everybody But Stacie.
The team heads to the boardroom to meet their fate. Trump reminds them that P&G liked their promotion better, but because they were 10% over budget – a figure that Trump reminds them would be significant if running one of his companies – they lost. Elizabeth says that, “It’s unfortunate,” and that she was surprised, especially because she and Ivana put some padding in the budget. Even with the padding, Maria’s printing broke the bank. Maria blames the agency and the printer for the problem, and Elizabeth says she’s just trying to pass the buck. The two of them bicker back and forth for a while, and Maria claims that the problem was not her fault. George reminds them that that one item in their budget was six times over what it should have been.
What does the rest of the team think? Well, Stacie says that Elizabeth was disorganized. Lil Stacy says that because of Stacie, Elizabeth had to spend a lot of time putting out fires. Ivana agrees. What fires? Stacie screwed up the toothpaste samples, no doubt about it. Was there more? We don’t know, because Trump asks Elizabeth who she wants to take to the boardroom. She selects Maria and Stacie.
Carolyn says that Elizabeth was a terrible leader, but that Maria made a huge mistake and won’t take responsibility. George tells Trump that he wouldn’t trust Maria with the money involved in running one of his companies.
Stacie, Elizabeth, and Maria return. Elizabeth says that Stacie performed the worst in the task, but that Maria is the reason they lost. Wouldn’t that mean that Maria performed the worst? Elizabeth takes some of the blame for the team’s disorganization. Trump asks Elizabeth why she didn’t take Ivana into the boardroom with her, since Ivana was in charge of the budget. The answer – that it wasn’t Ivana’s fault that Maria went over budget – is never answered, because Maria breaks in to say that Stacie is crazy. Stacie says that she’s not, and that everything has been blown way out of proportion. Elizabeth says that’s true, and Trump says it’s the first thing they’ve agreed on. Maria tells him about the Magic 8-Ball. Trump asks Stacie if she believes in it, and she says she doesn’t. Maria shakes her head and says that Stacie does, and that the entire team saw her. Trump says that if that’s the case, he’d like to have the entire team come back to confirm it, and sends Maria to get them. As Maria stands up, she starts to speak, and Trump shuts her down, saying, “Maria, you’ve said enough.” Excellent.
Maria rushes to the suite and gathers up the team, some of whom have to put their suits back on. Trump tells Stacie that if she is indeed crazy, he can’t have her running one of his companies. Stacie understands. The team returns to the boardroom, and Trump tells them that he’s not happy with Maria or Elizabeth, but they both seem to be “almost afraid” of Stacie. He asks the group if Stacie has a problem.
Jennifer C. says that Stacie’s behavior was odd. Ivana says she was calm, then suddenly flipped out. Lil Stacy says that she feels sad to say that Stacie seems crazy and wonders if it’s a chemical problem. Jennifer M. says that Stacie behaved so erratically that she felt nervous. Sandy says she was horrified by Stacie’s behavior, adding, “I agree with Little Stacy.” Hee! She called her Little Stacy! It’s Lil Stacy, but I’ll accept it.
Trump says that this is serious. Stacie says that she’s not crazy. But Trump says that the entire team is concerned and nervous about her, and there must be a reason. He cannot have a loose cannon on the team, so Stacie is fired.
Trump, Carolyn, and George agree that they had no choice but to fire Stacie. The team was unanimous and, as Trump points out, “They don’t even like each other.”
This boardroom really didn’t sit well with me. If you’re judging based purely on this task, then there’s no question that the women lost because of Maria’s handling of the print pricing. But Trump doesn’t always judge just on the task – we saw that last week when he fired Bradford based on how he handled himself in the boardroom, and we saw it several times last season, such as when he fired Jessie for not standing up for herself in front of Omaroasa.
And without a doubt, Stacie was a problem on the team. It might not have been fair. In the second task, she seems to have sold well, and we learned from the boardroom bonus footage that Ivana actually asked her to call temp agencies. And this time around, she made a big mistake by not looking at the dimensions of the toothpaste, but by no means was that the reason the team lost. But fair or not, she didn’t fit in, and at this point in the competition especially, it’s important for teams to work well together. If the women had all said, “Stacie is weird and her personality doesn’t mesh well with the group,” that would be one thing. But instead, they’ve chosen to imply that she’s somehow dangerously mentally unbalanced. That’s not right. These women don’t know Stacie very well, and they’re not in mental health professions, and now they’ve slapped a label on Stacie that, sadly, will follow her in the years to come. If Stacie is weird and you don’t like her, then just say so – don’t pretend there’s more to it than that.
In her cab ride home, Stacie wonders what these women’s definition of crazy is. After all, she’s not blowing up buildings, killing people, or refusing to pay her taxes. Yeah, that might not have been the best argument, Stacie. I still think you were mistreated, though.
Next week, on The Apprentice, Bill is back to judge the candidates. The challenge is to open a new restaurant, and we’re promised another explosive boardroom. And, in the meantime, the Saturday repeat of the show will feature an additional 15 minutes of boardroom action. Keep an eye out right here for my recap of it! See you then.
Betsy is the Associate Editor of RealityNewsOnline. She can be reached with any comments at email@example.com.
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