The Apprentice 2, Episode 6: Dressed for Successby Betsy Wasser -- 10/15/2004
As always, the candidates are trying to predict who will get fired. John thinks that the women will gang up on Pamela, and that Trump will see through it. Shows what you know, John – the women ganged up on Stacie, and it worked great. Raj thinks Trump believes Pamela is the strongest woman, but he still thinks she’ll get fired. Well, they must wonder no longer – Lil Stacy and Maria return. Stacy gives an arrogant, “What’s for dinner?” and Maria does a victory twirl. Everyone cheers. Wes says that by getting rid of Pamela, the women did all of them a favor. Raj chimes in with, “Ding, dong, the ice queen is dead.” Lil Stacy repeats her line from the boardroom in which she compares Pamela’s reluctance to worry over the minutia of cleaning products to the Enron scandal. Everyone high fives her, but I think it’s a really, really overblown comparison. Kevin says that the women will be stronger without Pamela, but he’s not worried.
The men once again choose their project manager at random. I just don’t understand why they insist on doing it that way. Shouldn’t they wait to see if it’s a task that one person would do better than the others? Anyway, it’s John, and he’s confident that the team will do well again. Raj asks John if, when he’s delegating tasks, he’ll give him a good one. John says in an interview that he likes Raj a lot. He’s unusual, but a sharp guy.
While the men make decisions, the women mill around, trying to figure out what to do next. Elizabeth wonders if there’s anything they need to talk about, but the general consensus is that they should all just go to bed. Good plan. Maria says in an interview that Elizabeth wants to spend lots of time on unproductive discussions, and that the next project manager needs to find a way to minimize that, yet still make Elizabeth feel like she’s a productive part of the team. Lil Stacy concludes the night’s conversation by saying that while they’ve been hard core so far, “Let’s be harder core.” Yes, that’s clearly the strategy they were lacking. Hardness of the core.
I’d like to take a moment to applaud the efforts of the men of Mosaic for answering the phone in various states of undress (with the exception of Chris’s nipple ring from last week). Kevin is the one to answer the phone this time around, and let’s just say he works out. Bravo! Anyway, everyone is to meet at Trump Model Management. The men are especially pleased with this turn of events. Did they not know that men can be models, too? Chris suggests that the task will be to grease down the models. Shut up, Chris. I do not need to hate you more.
The next morning at the modeling agency, Trump lays out the task: the teams will work with a designer to produce a new clothing line, which they’ll show off at the Avon Fall Fashion Show in front of buyers for some major retailers. The clothes will, of course, be modeled by women from Trump Model Management. The team that makes the most money at the end wins.
Maria is project manager for Apex, and is confident that her team will do well – she studied home economics in college. Kevin, on the other hand, says that even though the men don’t have any experience with designing women’s clothes, they can still pull out a win.
Wes says that it’s essential to choose the right designer. They meet with a variety of different designers, but end up choosing Ilsa. John thinks her styles are a little eccentric, but that she’s really talented. The women also meet with designers and are impressed with Darren. Darren tells them that he likes to be at “the low end at high-end stores.” Elizabeth is concerned that they’re going to make a mistake by going for prices that are too long, but Maria makes it clear that the discussion is closed. Elizabeth still isn’t done talking, and suggests that they meet with buyers, since that’s their target audience. Maria tells her to make a list of questions for the buyers, then sends her with Jen to meet them. It’s actually a very smart strategy. Elizabeth does seem (like Lil Stacy) to be a bit of a naysayer, or at the very least the kind of person who feels like they always need to play devil’s advocate. Maria has given her a real task to do that will be worthwhile (and isn’t just busywork) that will relieve Elizabeth’s concern, yet at the same time will get her out of everyone’s way. Smart.
The rest of the team goes out for lunch with Darren to brainstorm their line. Sandy says that it’s important to them to design clothing that all of them would actually buy. Ivana says in an interview that because Elizabeth wasn’t there to second-guess everything, they got everything resolved in 45 minutes.
Mosaic divides into two groups. Kevin, Wes, and Andy go to meet with the buyers, while the rest of the team gets to work with Ilsa designing the line. Raj says that he’d like to find clothing that shows off the female form. As the brainstorming session goes on, it’s clear that the men have given almost no thought to women’s fashion, and Ilsa seems frustrated. Really, I don’t know why the guys feel like they need to be so involved at all. They don’t have to design the clothes – Ilsa does. Didn’t they choose her because they thought she knew what she was doing? They should get out of her way and let her get to work.
Kelly says in an interview that Raj and John “futz around too much,” so when they’re out of the room, he tries his hand at sketching an outfit. Ilsa likes it. Chris can’t believe that “the Army guy” is designing women’s clothes. He says, “After that, I’m surprised he’s not wearing pink camouflage underwears.” Chris? I thought we agreed that you were going to shut up.
It’s time for a quick Trump Lesson of the Week. This week: “Know Your Market.” Trump says that when you’re selling something, it’s very important to pinpoint your target audience. If you can’t focus, you’re sunk.
Elizabeth and Jen meet with the buyers and learn a few key lessons. It’s important for each line to have a focus. Quality and luxury will sell. What about cost? Jen and Elizabeth learn that it’s important for the pricing to be in line with the competitors.
Mosaic goes to meet with buyers as well, and Kevin explains that they want to “set the bar low” so that they can generate sympathy from the buyers. Wow, that’s a really bad plan. I’ve worked with buyers before, and they’re not going to spend their money on your product because they feel sorry for you. Really, the guys should be asking questions, and talking up how great Ilsa’s designs are. Kevin, instead, tells them that they might not know a lot about fashion, but “We know what we like on the ladies.” One of the buyers makes a snarky comment about the dearth of successful straight male designers. Heh. The men look worried.
The design team goes to buy fabric. Raj keeps pulling odd patterns and colors for Ilsa’s approval. She dismisses the pink polka dots, for example, as “too goofy.” The guys continue to pull bolts of fabric at random to show her, and Ilsa looks more and more annoyed. Carolyn, meanwhile, is just about ready to die laughing. Carolyn tells us that the men are really out of their element, but that Kelly is doing a good job of organizing them. And indeed he is – Kelly makes the guys focus and bring Ilsa only what she needs. He adds that Raj, with his weird fabric choices, is not helping, and that by whipping everyone into shape, he feels like he’s the project manager. Between this and his successful design, Kelly is doing a great job at this task.
With considerably less fanfare, the women buy their fabric. Elizabeth and Jen return, and Elizabeth immediately begins questioning things. She wonders if the fabric is rich enough. Ivana is exasperated. The team, she says, has had problems in the past with over-thinking things, and much of it comes from Elizabeth. Elizabeth proves her point by talking about how important it is to have a focus item in the line. The women tell her they have one – the capelet. Elizabeth argues that it should be something else, but Ivana shuts her down.
With that, the women head off to meet with the people doing the sewing. Darren tells them that they don’t need to have the models come in for measurements, that he’s fine with using the information from the modeling agency. This feels like foreshadowing, but I don’t think this is necessarily a disaster. All models have cards with their measurements on them, so the tailors can work with that. And I believe it’s common to do some last-minute alterations right before a runway show.
Mosaic returns to the Parsons School of Design to get to work. They immediately descend on the model cards and decide that it’s very, very important to call the models in for measurements. Ah, so I believe we are setting up a contrast between the guys and the women. The models arrive, and John says that the team buzzed around the women like bees around a hive. Ilsa rolls her eyes. Raj says that, despite his Harvard education, Andy has nothing to say to the women, and just giggled. Raj admits that he was in “a chemical haze” around the women. We see him speaking German to one of the models, who seems charmed by him. Ilsa clearly thinks they’re all a bunch of morons.
The next morning, Apex arrives and sees all of their clothing ready to go. Maria tries on a jacket, and admits that her vocabulary has been reduced to “fabulous” and “love it, love it, love it!” Sandy does a runway walk, and all of the women play dress-up with the clothes. Maria is happy because Darren already has the line sheets done, and she’s confident that the buyers will be impressed.
Things aren’t so good for Mosaic – they still need to get a lot of sewing done. Kelly says that it’s important for Ilsa to focus. Raj is in charge of writing the line sheets, and he doesn’t know what he’s doing, so he keeps asking Ilsa for advice. Ilsa brushes him off, saying she needs to work. Kelly finally pulls him aside and tells him to leave her alone – after all, only Ilsa can do this part of the job. Kevin takes all of this in, and says that as project manager, John should have taken control of the situation.
While most of the women of Apex head to the St. Regis hotel to get the models ready, Elizabeth and Lil Stacy stay behind to attach swatches to cards. Elizabeth says that she wishes she could have gone with the rest of the women, but that she isn’t in with the rest of the group. Poor Cinderella.
Mosaic is scrambling to get ready. Kevin and Wes are in charge of pricing, Andy is handling the line sheets, and the rest of the guys take off to get the models ready. Kevin thinks John should have stayed put to help them with these more crucial tasks. Good point – how many guys does it take to supervise the models getting their hair and makeup done? Kevin reviews the pricing with Ilsa, then he and Wes increase the prices where they see fit. Meanwhile, at the hotel, Raj is sporting a smoking jacket and talking to one of the models about the tragic lack of bow ties in the typical man’s closet. John says that he’s nervous, but confident.
It’s time for the fashion show! The men and women get front row seats on one side of the runway, and the buyers take the other side. Donald Trump arrives to the usual hail of trumpets, a bit that never fails to amuse me. Isaac Mizrahi announces the fashion show, and fans of Season One recall Omarosa’s fatefully calling him “Isaac Miz-a-ra-hee.” The women’s line is first, and I must say, it looks like they met Sandy’s goal of producing clothing that is fashionable, yet accessible. The guys think the women made bad choices – buyers won’t buy backless dresses and mini skirts. What? These guys don’t know what they’re talking about, I’m afraid. The men’s line is up next. Ivana says that her first reaction was, “Who raided my father’s attic and who cut up my sofa?” Indeed, Ilsa’s clothes are fashionable, but not wearable for the average woman. Jennifer tells the guys that the clothes are “so couture,” then has to explain to Wes what that means.
The buyers work away at their calculators, and Raj looks nervous. Once the buys are in, the teams meet to go over the results. Carolyn reports that the men sold $7,735 worth of clothes. Ooh, that feels low, especially considering how many buyers were there. George says that the women outsold them by far with $22,060. Trump says that the women gave the men “a big thrashing,” and that the men priced their merchandise too high. The women’s reward will be a celebrity party at Hugo Boss featuring performances by Cirque de Soleil. The men have won an all expenses paid trip to the boardroom.
The men head back to the suite, downhearted. John talks to Raj about strategy. Kevin and Wes were responsible for pricing – maybe he should bring both of them to the boardroom. Raj thinks that makes sense. Chris joins them and agrees. Then, Chris says that this specific task aside, he’d fire Andy if he could. John says that he feels confident with the job he did, then heads inside so that the other guys won’t think he, Raj, and Chris are conspiring. Raj looks down at the Hugo Boss party and declares that it looks boring.
Meanwhile, the women are not bored at all and are having a great time. They’re finally bonding over something positive. Ivana says that their real reward, though, is not having to go to the boardroom again.
John is still trying to figure out who to take to the boardroom. He mentions his idea of Kevin and Wes to Kelly. Kelly says the two guys might gang up on him if he did that. John suggests maybe Andy as a choice instead – he didn’t contribute much. Kelly says that he’d fire Andy if he were in Trump’s shoes.
The men go to the boardroom. Trump asks them how they went from four victories in a row to losing. John says he’s devastated that they lost. They were underdogs in the task, but they worked hard. He adds that it came down to a mistake in the pricing. Kevin admits that he and Wes set the prices, but thinks John should have been personally involved in such an important decision. John says he trusted them to do their job well. Trump thinks that was too important a task to delegate away completely, and adds that they should have used Ilsa’s expertise in setting the prices.
I’m not so sure that the pricing is really what made the men lose. It’s hard to say for sure, since I don’t know how they priced individual items, but I do know that the women’s clothing line looked more accessible and more wearable. Simple items like the satin camisole were far more likely to sell than, say, the pink plaid mohair cape that Ilsa designed. Kevin thinks so too, and says that Ilsa may have been the wrong choice, and it was John’s decision.
Trump turns to Raj next and says that he heard he was “totally a hound dog,” and that he drove both the models and the designer crazy. Raj has no response to that. Trump asks Raj who he’d fire, and Raj chooses Andy. Raj says that Andy doesn’t have the respect of the rest of the team, in part because he’s young. Raj then says that Kevin, on the other hand, was responsible for the prices. George demands to know which of the two Raj would choose. Raj says that overall, it would have to be Andy.
Andy says he’d fire John. Kelly chooses Andy. Andy asks why, if he was in such constant need of babysitting, was he in charge of printing the line sheets all by himself. Uh, Andy, that’s not exactly the most impressive role there is. John tells him that it was simple busy work. Chris says he’d fire John because he left too many loose ends. Trump asks John who he’d like to bring back. John chooses two people – Andy and Kevin. Trump is surprised that most project managers have only picked two people, but not surprised by John’s choices.
The men leave the boardroom, and Trump, Carolyn, and George have their weekly powwow. George says that of the three, he likes Andy the best – he has potential. Carolyn likes John, but he made too many mistakes.
Trump summons the guys back. He begins by telling Andy that he shouldn’t be there. John says he picked Andy because Andy is not a leader and doesn’t step up. Kevin disagrees. Then, Kevin asks, since he and Wes shared responsibility for the pricing, why John didn’t bring Wes. George says that if Wes failed at this task, he should be in the boardroom. John admits that was a mistake.
John then pretty much pleads for mercy. He says that Carolyn and George have seen in every task how hard he’s worked. He hates being in the boardroom, and he’s disappointed that his team lost. He apologizes for his mistakes. Well, you can’t say John wasn’t willing to take responsibility, that’s for sure.
Trump says that Andy shouldn’t be in the boardroom at all, that even John admits to his bad choices, and that Kevin made a critical error with pricing. However, Wes was equally responsible for the pricing, and Trump can’t hold him accountable since John didn’t bring him. John should have been a part of the decision on pricing. John is fired for “too many bad decisions.” As John makes his walk of shame, Trump says that he likes John, but that he really didn’t have a choice.
I’m a bit disappointed that John got fired, if for no other reason than that he was the cutest one. But I do think Trump made the right choice given his options. It wouldn’t be fair to single Kevin out for a bad decision that he shared with Wes. Andy actually has shown leadership qualities. In both the Mattel task and the Crest task, the team ended up following Andy’s ideas. Sure, neither idea was perfect, but to say he doesn’t have the respect of the rest of the team is just not true. And John not only didn’t get involved in the crucial task of pricing, but he also made the ultimate decision to choose Ilsa, both of which, I think, cost Mosaic.
And I thought, based on the promos for this week’s episode, that we’d learn why you shouldn’t annoy George. Sure, that’s good advice in general, but George didn’t seem that annoyed this week. Maybe we’ll see more in the extra footage.
In his final words, John says that he lost under unfortunate circumstances. He wasn’t expecting to be hammered by his team the way he was, and he thinks that he deserved to last longer than he did.
Next week, the teams have to suddenly return to the boardroom, and Trump shakes up the teams. And, in the final boardroom, Trump gets grouchy. See you then!
Betsy is the Associate Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.