The Apprentice 2, Episode 4: Eating Their Wordsby Betsy Wasser -- 09/30/2004
Mosaic is alone in the suite, since all of Apex gathered in the boardroom for the firing/witch hunt of Stacie. They’re all pretty sure Elizabeth will be the one to be fired. Apex returns, and of course, they are minus one Stacie. Jennifer tells them what happened in the boardroom. Raj can’t believe they all got together, said Stacie was crazy, and got her fired. Kevin is equally aghast, saying, “None of you guys are equipped to say whether or not she’s actually psychologically unstable.” In different parts of the country, Mike DeGeorge and I cheer at our TV’s, since I said very much the same thing last week in my recap, as did Mike in his performance appraisals. Mike and I know that the show was filmed ages ago and that the candidates aren’t actually reacting to what we wrote, but we like to pretend.
The women say they all felt threatened by Stacie’s outburst, but Jennifer C. points out that no one said anything about it at the time. Kevin thinks that’s wrong, and Jennifer M. agrees. Jennifer M. goes on to say that Elizabeth used Stacie as a scapegoat, when it was really her poor leadership that lost them the task. Too bad you didn’t say so in the boardroom, Jennifer M. Instead, you called Stacie’s behavior erratic. I am not impressed. Elizabeth insists that she wasn’t just using Stacie as a scapegoat. Stacie was in charge of getting and distributing the samples, and she failed. Jennifer M. correctly points out that that is not the reason the team lost.
Elizabeth is clearly upset and says that the rest of the team just doesn’t understand why they lost. She feels unfairly targeted and just isn’t sure if she can go on with the team like it is. She looks like she’s about to cry. Jennifer M. says Elizabeth was a bad leader. Maria tells Elizabeth to “get off my designer suit.” Oh, Maria. I wanted to like you, but that clearly isn’t going to work out, is it? Maria says in an interview that Elizabeth has apparently never had people not like her before and doesn’t know what to do with herself. Maria turns on Elizabeth and says she could name an array of times that Elizabeth didn’t know what was going on. Well, that’s interesting, considering that Maria’s mishandling of the print pricing is what put the team over budget and caused them to lose the task. Funny how Maria doesn’t seem to recognize her role in what went wrong. Elizabeth says that she feels uncomfortable and frustrated.
The next morning, the Trump phone rings. A groggy Raj answers it, clad only in boxers. He learns something or other about where to meet Mr. Trump, but I’m rather distracted by the unexpectedly smokin’ body that was lurking under those bow ties. Good for you, Raj! Where were we? Right – the candidates meet Trump, Carolyn, and last season’s winner Bill at Jeann Georges. Trump explains that George is away on business, so Bill will be filling in for him. Trump tells the team about the task: each one will get a chef and an empty restaurant space. They’ll have to transform the space, set a menu, manage, and operate the restaurant. They’ll be judged by the Zagat’s reviews of the restaurant, which are determined by customers. They’ll be judged on food, décor, and service.
Apex team leader Jennifer C. says that the team needs “simple creative thinking” to win the task. Lil Stacy suggests a traditional Italian menu. Jennifer C. says absolutely not- she grew up with Italian food and is sick of it. Well, that makes sense for the rest of the universe, doesn’t it? She says the menu will be Asian fusion, and that’s the end of the discussion. Lil Stacy continues to chime in with more ideas, much to the annoyance of Jennifer C.
Over at Mosaic, they chose the project manager’s name from a hat, and Raj was the winner. Chris is disappointed that he’s not in charge because he has lots of restaurant experience. Well then, Chris, you should have volunteered your services! Chris trains the guys on the basics of customer service, but interestingly, he sprinkles his lesson with healthy doses of both profanity and disdain for the customers. He tells the guys, “I f*@#’in hate the public, bro.” Raj is understandably worried and says that he hopes Chris can “swallow his disgust and make nice.” Chris swears he can turn on the charm when he needs to. We’ll see about that – something tells me he’s not quite as charming as he thinks he is.
Apex goes to check out their restaurant space. Jennifer C. loves the simple layout. However, she needs another phone and a computer to get her work done, so she herds everyone back to the suite. Well, that was poor planning, wasn’t it? Let’s all troop down to the restaurant, look at it, then go home! Ivana thinks that’s poor planning. Jennifer C. rounds everyone up and wonders where Lil Stacy “the little munchkin” is. That’s not appropriate. Sure, I refer to Lil Stacy as Lil Stacy, but she doesn’t work for me, so I don’t need to show her the respect that Jennifer should be.
Mosaic hires professional cleaners to get the restaurant in top shape. Good idea. They feel confident that the place will be ready to go. The men head back to the suite, where Kevin mentions to Apex that they just had the place cleaned. Jennifer C. says they haven’t done that yet – they haven’t had a chance. Really? You couldn’t have split up your team and had some people do the cleaning? I suspect that the reality is, it didn’t occur to her until now. At 4:00 in the morning, while the Mosaic team sleeps, Apex scrubs down their restaurant. Ivana is annoyed and thinks they’ll be in bad shape the next day due to lack of sleep.
And now for the Trump Lesson of the Week: “Be Respected.” Trump says that there are lots of different kinds of leaders in the world, but they all have one thing in common – they are respected. Do you hear that, Jennifer?
The alarm clock goes off at 6:00 the next morning, and Sandy is really jealous of the amount of sleep the other team got. The women are all cranky and are already sniping at each other. I can see why. If I got that little sleep, then had to get up and get to work right away, no one had best talk to me except to say, “Here’s your coffee.” The women head to the restaurant and start setting up the tables, dishes, and so forth.
At Mosaic, John is working on the “look and feel” of the restaurant. He’s outside, creating some quick paintings. Chris comes by and makes some profanity laced smart comments about John’s artistic ability. Chris is a jackass. John is a little worried because he knows that they’re going to be judged on the décor, so if the customers don’t like it, he’s in trouble. John hangs up his paintings, and the team thinks it looks great – even Chris.
Elizabeth asks Jennifer C. for a team of women to help her promote the restaurant. Jennifer can’t spare as many people as she wants, which sends Elizabeth into a tailspin. She actually starts to cry and says that she feels like she’s being set up to fail. Maria and Ivana try to reassure her, but Elizabeth is terrified that she’ll end up looking incompetent. Jennifer M., who seems to be the voice of reason, says Elizabeth needs to get over it.
Lil Stacy and Jennifer C. talk about the next item on the agenda. Jennifer says she needs to stay at the restaurant to “oversee” everything, then accuses Lil Stacy of rolling her eyes at her. Lil Stacy swears she didn’t, and as the two of them argue, Lil Stacy tells us in an interview that Jennifer C. is irrational and argumentative. Yep, I think I can see that. Jennifer orders Lil Stacy to get dressed, then complains that “this one” won’t listen to me. How condescending. Lil Stacy says that Jennifer must earn her respect, and that’s obviously not happening.
Apex’s restaurant opens. Jennifer M. says that disputes are brewing, but that the team is trying to come together to win the task. Maria works the crowd. Sandy says in an interview (in which her hair is in an exceptionally fluffy ponytail) that she was in charge of the décor, and she’s really happy with how it turned out. Jennifer C. points out the centerpieces to two older women and asks them what they think. The women admit that they don’t love the décor. They expect an Asian restaurant to be red. In an interview, Jennifer C. says that she backs Sandy’s choices, and she thinks the place looks great. In fact, she actually argues with the customers about whether or not the place looks good. Jennifer, leave them alone and let them eat. You can’t talk them into liking your color scheme.
At Mosaic, Chris has a really difficult table. The customers have litany of complaints about the food. In an interview, Chris says that the customers were “four gay guys,” so they’re just going to be too critical. Oh, really? He then goes into the kitchen, gossips to Wesley about the customers, and suggests that they send John there to give them… hmm… how do I put this in a family web site? Let’s just say that Monica Lewinsky would be considered famous for what Chris suggests. Wow, that is inappropriate – but it gets worse. Chris then suggests to John that he go to the table, pretend to tie his shoelaces, and give them a nice view of his heiney. I’m not sure if John is gay – Chris never says that – but Chris does say that John is the best looking guy and should go and flirt with the guys. John does serve the customers their next course, and although he doesn’t “accidentally” drop something, he does flirt a little with them. In an interview, he says that he has no problem whatsoever with using whatever assets he has to succeed. He gives the customers complimentary t-shirts, and the men leave, apparently charmed.
Jennifer C. fawns over a table of customers, telling them about a billion times that it’s “good” that they’re happy with their meal. She totally hovers over them and really needs to back off. Ivana says that the women have a tendency to stand in clumps and that there’s too much chatting going on. She tries to disperse them and send them off on different tasks, which is smart. Ivana is actually showing more leadership than she did when she was in charge.
Pamela feigns spilling a bright red drink on a customer’s white suit, and the customer seems amused. Andy says that he was in charge of serving, and that he was terrible, but that the customers seemed to be having a good time. The last customer leaves, and Mosaic celebrates.
Apex winds down for the night as well, polishing off the last of the food. Jennifer C. says in an interview that she needed to “nip in the bud the cattiness and backstabbing.” I pause my TV for a few minutes while I laugh my head off. Then, just as I was regaining my composure, she adds that she is “great at bringing people together,” sending me into gales of laughter once again. Jennifer M., voice of reason, says that the team is working in spite of Jennifer C., not because of her. I hope that Jennifer M. volunteers to be the next project manager, because I’d like to see more of her.
At this point, it really looks like Mosaic has things sewn up, doesn’t it? I really hope that they win, because it would be frustrating if we found out that those sneaky editors had led us down the wrong path. Go, Mosaic!
The teams gather in the boardroom, and Bill reads the Zagat’s results for Apex. He reads that they had creative food, a stark and uncomfortable setting, slow service, and “too many women in black milling around like a bunch of uptight stewardesses.” They scored a 22 for food, 16 for décor, and 19 for service for a total of 57 points. Carolyn reads that Mosaic had delicious food, a creative and stylish setting (in spite of some “itchy fur-covered chairs”), and “hot eye candy waiters” who were anxious to please. Mosaic scores a 22 for food, 18 for décor, and 21 for service. Mosaic wins! Jennifer C.’s mouth falls open in shock. She says that she ran a tight ship and can’t believe they lost. Trump tells Mosaic that they have the opportunity to meet a great leader, former New York City major Rudy Giuliani.
Mosaic gathers in Guiliani’s office. The former mayor points to a sign he keeps on his desk, which proclaims in bold letters, “I’m responsible.” He tells them that one of the most important parts of leadership is to know what you believe in. That will guide you. In an interview, John says that it was an incredible experience, one he’ll never forget.
Back in the suite, Jennifer C. brags about her own leadership abilities. Sandy says that Jennifer C. was the best project manager yet. That’s not saying much. Jennifer C. says that Stacy “kills me,” and she wants to get rid of her. Sandy says that since the last task, Elizabeth has been really weak. Elizabeth, meanwhile, is worried that Jennifer C. will support Sandy over her in the boardroom. Ivana tells her that she has her back.
Jennifer C. then goes on to blame “two old Jewish fat ladies” for the loss referring to the two women who didn’t like their décor. Jennifer C. says that there was nothing wrong with the décor, but that those two women were the wrong kind of people for the restaurant. Lil Stacy can’t believe the way Jennifer is going on about those two women, mentioning always that the women were Jewish. Lil Stacy says that she’s Jewish, and is offended by the way Jennifer C. is talking about them. Jennifer C. talks to pretty much everyone and her sister about the “two old Jewish women,” including that they were cheap. RNO Editor David Bloomberg sent me an email wondering just how many votes Jennifer C. thought those two women had.
Lil Stacy tells some of the other women how offended she is by the way Jennifer C. is talking. Trouble is, Jennifer C. is standing right behind her. Seriously, Lil Stacy should probably feel Jennifer’s breath on her neck. Jennifer C. gives Lil Stacy the finger behind her back, which is a very adult way to handle conflict. Jennifer C. then tells Lil Stacy to stop spreading controversy. Lil Stacy starts to deny it, but Jennifer says she heard everything. Stacy says she doesn’t want to talk to Jennifer. Jennifer says, “Want to know why we lose? It’s the havoc wreakers.” Yes, that’s why! Funny, I thought all of Apex’s problems were supposed to have been solved since they got rid of that crazy distraction that was Stacie. Funny how they still lost, isn’t it? In an interview, Lil Stacy says that she’s prepared for Jennifer C. to take her to the boardroom, and she’s ready to put up a fight.
The women file into the boardroom, and Trump asks how the leadership was in the task. Ivana says that it was lacking, and gives their lack of sleep as an example. Jennifer C. says that her father always used to say that if you slept the night before, you had more time to work. Right, because people whose bodies require them to sleep? Totally lazy.
Carolyn says she knows why they failed. They had 7 women in chic black outfits in what was not a chic neighborhood (a fact backed up by RNO’s resident New Yorker C. Brian Devinney). It’s a blue jeans kind of neighborhood, so their restaurant just didn’t fit. Sandy admits that she was in charge of the décor, and Jennifer C. immediately chimes in that it was beautiful. Carolyn says it may have been beautiful, but it was wrong. That’s an interesting point, actually. Maybe the “two old Jewish women” were the kind of people who lived in the neighborhood and would be likely to go to that restaurant. Maybe Jennifer C. was wrong, and those two women weren’t wrong for the restaurant so much as the restaurant was wrong for them.
Bill says that the service was tense and too attentive – that would be the hovering Jennifer C, I’d bet. Jennifer C. says that the team lacked camaraderie. Ivana says that should come from a leader, and starts to cite Jennifer’s grandfather’s saying about sleep. Jennifer C. leaps down her throat and says it was her father, not her grandfather, “get it straight.” Wow, way to miss the point. Stacy says that Jennifer C. likes to point fingers, but never blames herself.
Carolyn starts to give her opinion, and Jennifer C. interrupts her. Remember at the end of the boardroom in episode 2 when Jennifer C. said she’d never speak up again? I guess that didn’t last, and Carolyn berates Jennifer C. for interrupting her. Carolyn says that the women of Apex seem incapable of working together, and they make her embarrassed to be a businesswoman. Jennifer C. interrupts her again to agree, and Carolyn says, “Can’t you be quiet for one second?” Laws, do I love Carolyn!
Trump asks Sandy who she would fire. After a few moments of waffling, she says Jennifer. Ooh, burn! Maria says that Jennifer’s leadership was all talk, no action. Jennifer C. insists that she made decisions and they stuck to them, no wavering. Trump has heard enough and asks who she wants to bring to the boardroom. To the surprise of absolutely no one, she picks Lil Stacy and Elizabeth. Carolyn says, “Sounds personal.” Bill asks her to reconsider, and says, “This is not a game,” and warns against choosing based on personal alliances. Jennifer, of course, interrupts him, which irritates Bill. He tells her she better be certain of her reasons for choosing those two.
The three women leave the boardroom. Carolyn says that since they got their lowest score on décor, Jennifer should have chosen Sandy, but obviously didn’t for personal reasons. Bill says that Jennifer needs to lead by example.
Trump sends the women back into the room. He asks Jennifer why she chose Lil Stacy. Jennifer says that she is “a living thorn in my side.” Lil Stacy calmly says that Jennifer picked her for personal reasons. Jennifer claims that Lil Stacy “wreaked havoc” on the team. Havoc wreaker! Stacy says that she would not choose to work with Jennifer C. Jennifer C. says again that her choice of Stacy is “nothing personal,” but of course has no examples at all of anything Lil Stacy did wrong.
Elizabeth says that Jennifer is just looking for people to blame for the loss. Jennifer says that since the last task, Elizabeth has been “on the verge of a breakdown.” Yes, the craziness attack! It worked in the last boardroom! Jennifer says she had to take Elizabeth by the shoulders and motivate her to focus on the task. Elizabeth practially snorts and says, “You never did that!”
Lil Stacy asks why Sandy isn’t there. Jennifer talks again about how beautiful the restaurant was, but Carolyn says she obviously doesn’t get it: “You failed.” Jennifer says she’ll take responsibility for Sandy’s decisions because she approved them. Lil Stacy adds, “because you’re friends.”
Trump tells Jennifer that her team hated her, and that she made a mistake not choosing Sandy for the boardroom. Jennifer says she regrets it. Trump says, “Jennifer, this is really easy. You’re fired.”
The three women leave the boardroom. Trump, Carolyn, and Bill agree that it was an easy choice to make. Trump says that it feels good. It felt good to watch it too, let me tell you.
In her cab ride home, Jennifer says that she’s happy knowing that she played honestly. Unlike Sandy, who betrayed her. Wow, Jennifer learned absolutely nothing, didn’t she? She says that she’ll still trust people, but that she’ll be more careful who she trusts. Or, she could take a tip from the freaking opening credits of the show and learn, “It’s not personal. It’s business.”
Next week, can anything save Apex? Maybe having Pamela join their team will be the major twist that they need. The teams will pitch products live on QVC, pinup girl/tennis player Anna Kournikova guest stars. And we’re promised another “great boardroom.” See you there, next Thursday night!
Betsy is the Associate Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached with any comments at email@example.com.