The Apprentice 2, Episode 5 Extras: It Works, but Apex Doesn’tby Betsy Wasser -- 10/11/2004
If you’re like me (and I’m sure you at least wish you were), you cannot get enough of Trump-tastic Apprentice goodness. That’s why I was eager to check out the bonus footage from the show on Yahoo. Plenty of interesting stuff happened that we didn’t see on the show Thursday night. Here are the highlights.
The first segment shows Apex right after the previous week’s boardroom. All of the women are frustrated and tired. Elizabeth says in an interview that the women are each other’s worst enemies, and the team is tearing itself apart. What’s more, every time they go to the boardroom, it gets worse. Both teams hang out and make dinner, a shrimp and pasta dish that looks really good. Someone asks Pamela how she feels about her decision in the first task to join the men’s team. Pamela is diplomatic. Instead of saying, “I am so glad I don’t have to deal with you crazy people,” she says that she loves her team, loves the guys, and hopes she has a chance to work with the women sometime as well. Elizabeth says that she wishes the women could quit fighting, because she thinks they could be great together.
Next, we head to QVC headquarters where Mosaic is choosing a product to sell. Chris says in an interview that they had a choice between selling the It Works cleaning block and selling the panini maker. That’s interesting. My mom emailed me after she watched the show (hi, Mom!) and said she thought the women would have done much better if they could have sold a cute sweater set, jewelry… something more glamorous than the product they chose. Now we know that they didn’t have much of a choice. Anyway, Andy thinks the grill is the best choice, but John wants to make a case for the cleaning blocks. He thinks they demonstrate well and would look impressive on the air. One of the guys starts to interrupt him, and he asks for a chance to make his case. He’s nice about it at the time, but in an interview says that some of the guys just need to shut up sometimes.
Chris thinks the grill is a better choice because of the brand name and its commercial look. The team takes an initial vote, and they’re divided. Chris argues that the grill is a more practical purchase – how often do people really get crayon marks on the walls anyway? In an interview, he adds that as an Italian guy who likes to cook, he really thinks he could sell the grill better. The guys decide on the grill, but Chris is worried. He thinks the task is 80% about the product, and 20% about the pitch. If they chose wrong, it could be tough.
Knowing that the choice was between the cleaning blocks and the grill, there’s no doubt in my mind that the guys made the right choice. The grill is a total guy toy – it’s a fun kitchen gadget, exactly the kind of thing my dad might order. I could easily believe that a good looking young guy like John (the one that did the main pitch on the air) used that grill. It would be much more of a stretch to imagine that John has a problem with crayon marks on his walls at home.
We learn a little more about what went on behind the scenes as Mosaic tours QVC. Kevin is impressed with the sets – they basically have all of the rooms in a house – bedrooms, living room, home office, kitchen, and even a garage- in which they can demonstrate their products. Then, they go to the studio where they’ll be working, and it’s just an empty shell. Raj jokingly asks if they can just move the kitchen set into that space. Of course, it’s not that easy. They need to build a new kitchen set from scratch. Kevin, who is in charge of set design, is overwhelmed by everything they need to do. We get to see some fun speeded-up footage of the building process, and in the end, their blank space is transformed into a realistic looking kitchen. Neat!
The next clip focuses on what was apparently Apex’s downfall: selecting the price for their sponges. Lil Stacy suggests $19.99, but not in a very decisive way. Pamela is frustrated and wants Stacy to give her a firm answer. In an interview, Pamela says that the men are much more team-oriented. If she asked for someone to pick up dog poop, they’d all raise their hands, but that none of the women want to step up and be in charge of pricing. Curiously, this is Pamela’s second reference to dog poop on the show – in the gelato task, she said that if they mixed dog poop in with the ice cream, it would still taste good. Isn’t that odd? Anyway, Pamela and Stacy talk about the pricing further, and Pamela says that it’s a mistake to price your product too low. Stacy still isn’t convinced – she says that one of the things that’s important to QVC is value. It’s what the V stands for! Pamela decides to take charge of pricing and talks to Ivana about her plan. She figures they can sell the product for a buck a sponge, so they should set their price at around $30. Ivana strongly and clearly disagrees with her, and thinks $19.99 would be a better price.
Next, we see a little more of Mosaic’s tennis reward. After Raj loses his bet with Anna Kournikova, Anna and the rest of the guys dare him to take a lap of the stadium in his boxers. There’s just one problem, though – Raj is going commando. That’s right – he’s not wearing boxers. As Nicole Richie would say, that’s hot. He offers to do his lap wearing a towel, but the team deems that unacceptable. Finally, John McEnroe tosses him a pair of boxers to wear.
With fun and games over, it’s time to see a segment aptly titled “Plot Against Pamela.” Raj talks to several of the women about the upcoming trip to the boardroom. He stresses that they should get rid of Pamela, saying that if the guys had the choice, they’d have put her there after every single task because she didn’t contribute to the team. He also doesn’t like her attitude, saying, “She’s smug. She’s joked about Donald Trump being her apprentice.” Raj also says that Pamela smirks every time the women lose. Ivana says in an interview that all of the guys agree that Pamela needs to go. Raj puts it in his own unique way, saying, “You have a spider of great poison and cunning in your presence.”
Elizabeth says in an interview that she wants to base her opinion of Pamela on what she has personally seen, but does think it’s awfully interesting that all of the guys think she’s terrible. Pamela tells Elizabeth that women tend to be sensitive and have trouble accepting feedback. It would have been awesome if Elizabeth had burst into tears upon hearing that, but she doesn’t. In an interview, Pamela says that Elizabeth was in charge of production, but that it wasn’t that big of a job, and she really could have used more of Elizabeth’s help in strategy.
Meanwhile, Maria cuts her own hair with a pair of clippers as Sandy looks on. In an interview, Sandy says that Maria has a strong sales background, but a tendency to talk really fast. Sandy thinks she overhyped her public speaking abilities, and thus let Pamela down. Maria says that she thinks Pamela is safe. Trump seems to like her and thinks she’s direct and strong.
In the extended boardroom footage, Trump tells Pamela that he thinks the grill was a better product than the sponge. He can’t say why exactly – just instinct. Ivana jokes that it’s because Trump doesn’t do much cleaning of his own. Pamela thinks the sponge played well to QVC’s main audience – women in the “elderly stage of life,” and that the panini maker was too sophisticated for them. I’m not sure why she’s making that argument, since we saw that the panini maker sold just fine. Jennifer says she thought the grill was a better choice, and that it would have more impact on TV and would make for a more interesting demonstration.
Jennifer then says that she was “a broken record,” recommending repeatedly that they set the price lower. She liked that Pamela was a calm, cool, and collected leader, but thinks she made a mistake setting the price where she did. Pamela disagrees. She says that the biggest obstacle to getting someone to order off of QVC is to get them to overcome the inertia and make the effort to pick up the phone. Price, she says, isn’t an issue – once someone decides they want something, they’ll buy it regardless of the price – it doesn’t matter if the item is $20 or $27. Literally everyone at the table disagrees with her, including Carolyn who says that the price was way too high for a cleaning product.
Ivana says that she recommended the $19.99 price point, but that because she was busy writing the script didn’t have time to make the final decision and suggested that Pamela have Stacy decide. Pamela says she didn’t want it to be up to Lil Stacy because she has no business background. She’s very thorough and is a great lawyer, but pricing is an art, not a science. George says that Stacy’s opinion was valuable because she spent a lot of time on the computer researching competitive product pricing.
Elizabeth says that as a leader, Pamela was fair. But she thought the pricing decision was terrible. She says she has a background in similar products, and that that price was way too high. Trump points out that it sounds like everyone recommended that Pamela choose a lower price. Pamela asks, “Was I deaf?” Well, apparently she was – or she’s lying now - because we saw at least two people (Ivana and Lil Stacy) suggest the $19.99 price point.
Ivana says that she personally tends to lead by consensus, which doesn’t work well for this group (as we saw when Ivana was project manager). Pamela is much more decisive, but as we saw from the results of this task, that doesn’t necessarily work for the team either. They need some kind of balance. Ivana goes on to say that when Pamela got feedback from the team, she ignored it.
Trump tells Jennifer that she did a great job on the air, but heard that other than that, she didn’t do much. Jennifer disagrees – she did legal, worked on promotion, helped choose the product, and an array of other little tasks. Maria says that Jennifer did a great job on camera and also contributed well to the team overall. She explains that she and Jennifer were primarily charged with doing the show, but that before that, they acted as support to the rest of the team.
Stacy says that Pamela delegated tasks to them, but then didn’t trust them to do the job. For example, Pamela ignored all of her legal advice. Pamela says that she really just wanted “a checkbox” as far as legal went, because legal issues were really no big deal. Carolyn says she’s wrong. Trump surveys the room and asks who the women would fire. Everyone chooses Pamela. Pamela chooses Lil Stacy and Maria to return to the boardroom.
When the three women return to the boardroom, we see some more new footage. Trump asks Pamela why she didn’t bring Sandy to the boardroom – apparently the people at QVC hated her. Carolyn says Sandy was “worthless.” Oooh, interesting! Pamela says, “She was useless, but she was out of my way.” Maria very sarcastically applauds that leadership from Pamela, and adds that it was typical of the disrespect Pamela showed the team.
George asks Pamela if Lil Stacy was in her way. Pamela says that Stacy doesn’t bring much to the table. Stacy objects and says that she’ll happily do whatever task she’s asked to do. In this case, it was to handle legal, and she did it well. Pamela says that she has to think about who she needs on her team going forward, and right now she has two lawyers – Stacy and Jennifer. Stacy is a great lawyer, but Jennifer is better as a businessperson. Lil Stacy says that she worked in an auction house before she became a lawyer, so she does have business experience. George, who you might recall is legal council for Donald Trump says that, on behalf of lawyers, it is not reasonable to assume that they have no business knowledge.
In the end, as we all know, Pamela is fired. In her cab ride home, she says that she should have let someone else pick the price, but that she stuck her own neck out. She says that what she experienced was politics, not business. What Pamela doesn’t seem to recognize that the two are often intertwined. Pamela says she’d love it if a woman won, but she doesn’t think it’ll happen. She says that she enjoyed her experience and hopes to work with some of the people she met in real life.
A final note on this episode. Several people – including David Bloomberg – have suggested that the teams shouldn’t have been judged just on total sales, but also on how much profit they made. After all, that’s how real life business works, and if the women actually made more of a profit than the men, they should have won the task. While I agree that profit margin is important in reality, it just wasn’t a factor in this task. For one thing, I seriously doubt QVC wants all and sundry to know what their profit margins are, so they couldn’t address that issue on the show. And more importantly, fair or not, that’s how the task was judged, and everyone knew the rules going into it. The women brought in lower sales. It was close, but somebody had to lose. In this case, it was the women.
Betsy is the Associate Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.