The Apprentice 2, Episode 7 Weekly Performance Appraisals: New Yorkís Finest?by Betsy Wasser -- 11/03/2004
First of all, big thanks to Mike DeGeorge for taking over this weekís recap of The Apprentice. Click on that link and youíll see that Mike did an awesome job. And even bigger thanks to Mike for giving me the opportunity to take over the performance appraisals for him this week. After watching the show, I have lot to say about how some of the candidates performed, and Iím glad to have a chance to say my peace.
As my most dedicated fans/stalkers may know, I work in marketing. Thus, I found this task to be very interesting. I liked it because it wasnít just a guerilla test of selling (like the ice cream and dog tasks were), but challenged the candidates to be both creative and to show some business sense. So, how did the candidates stack up? I thought youíd never ask.
Fans of The Apprentice often object when a task is measured subjectively. Itís much easier to compare facts, like who made more money selling ice cream, than opinion, like who came up with a better ad. But in this case, I think it was pretty obvious that Mosaic did a far better job than Apex. From the beginning, Donny Deutsch told you to come up with an emotional campaign. Your campaign did just that, coming to the heart of why a person might choose to serve in the New York Police Department. And the tagline ďWhen Was the Last Time,Ē was outstanding. It was versatile, so you could use it for an array of different messages while still showing a consistent image. Well done.
Andy: Youíve had a lot to prove since day one, so Iím glad you finally got the chance to be project manager to show what youíve got (although I donít know why you didnít volunteer before instead of letting PMís be chosen at random). For weeks now, project managers have been dragging you into the boardroom claiming that youíre young, inexperienced, and require constant babysitting. I never saw it, but I was starting to think that since so many people were saying so, there might be some truth to it. This week, you proved Ė to me, at least Ė that you can more than take care of yourself. If you didnít prove yourself to your teammates, I donít know what else you could do.
From the beginning, you took clear and decisive action. You came up with that great tagline, immediately understood the need to appeal to the emotions, and let that lead all of your actions. You were smart to ignore Mariaís suggestion that the campaign needed more sex, but in arguing with her, you werenít a jerk about it, which is good. You showed that you donít have to put down someone elseís ideas to advance your own, a lesson that many of your older opponents have yet to learn. Good job too compromising with Wes about presenting the ad. Iím sure you would have done a great job of it on your own Ė a good debater is more than just a good arguer Ė but this way, you allowed him to feel involved as well and kept the peace.
My only objection this week is that you didnít delegate enough. You came up with the concept, directed the ad, worked in the editing room, and did part of the presentation. Basically, it was The Andy Show. I canít argue with success, but in future tasks, and indeed in your future career, you canít always do everything. You need to learn how to use your team members to your advantage. Still, you did an incredible job as project manager. Well done.
Kelly: You didnít stand out as much this week as you have in weeks past, which may have been a product of how much Andy personally took on with this task. Still, you insisted on having an important role, that of presenting the ads, and you did an excellent job of it. You have a tendency to step up and take over where itís needed, which has been great in some past tasks (like in the fashion task when PM John was flailing). But remember that you donít always need to take over. You remain my favorite to win this whole thing, and I hope to see more from you next week.
Maria: You work in marketing and claim you would have done a better job than Andy did. Oh, really? Then why didnít you volunteer to lead the team? You also claimed that young men, your target demographic, needed a campaign with more sex appeal. I donít think you meant what Andy thought you meant Ė sexy bare-chested cops straddling motorcycles Ė but itís hard to see what you did mean, since you didnít explain yourself well at all. If you had pitched an alternate concept instead of just saying ďsex appeal,Ē Andy might have seen your point. But since you didnít, you just came across as a naysayer.
I also want to say a few words about your fashion choices in this episode. A strapless tube top is never appropriate in a business setting, not even in a casual, creative field in which Donny Deutsch wears jeans. This isnít a matter of taste (like with the silver studs on your black suit or the flower pin you wore last week that was the size of your head); itís a matter of what is and isnít proper business attire. Hereís a hint: if it requires specialty undergarments Ė like a strapless bra Ė donít wear it to work.
Sandy: Near as I can tell, the only reason youíre still around is that your project managers have yet to bring you to the boardroom. Remember when you washed dogs last week? That is absolutely the only time I have seen you make a positive contribution to your team. This week, once again, you did nothing. You are also one of the few people left who hasnít served as project manager. Volunteer to take charge next week, and please, show us something. And what I said about Mariaís strapless top goes for your one-shoulder hot pink top as well.
Wes: Jennifer objected when you gave Elizabeth advice on how to survive the boardroom. I donít think there was anything wrong with the few tips you gave her Ė they werenít exactly earth-shattering Ė but do remember which team youíre on.
Oh, Apex. Did you not watch the first season of the show? Because if you had, you would know that the men lost the Deutsch Agency task because they didnít meet with the client and thus didnít take into account what they wanted. This time around, Donny told you what the NYPD wanted: an appeal to the heart. And yet, your campaign still looked like an action movie. Not good at all.
Chris: Anyone whoís been reading my recaps knows that I canít stand you. You come across as a loud-mouthed, crude jerk. This episode was no exception. Elizabeth tried to argue for a more emotional campaign, and what did you say? You said it wasnít ďa tampon commercial.Ē Can you contribute more to your team than coarse jokes, swearing, and the occasional remark about how much money you make and how youíre better than all of this? If not, go home and get off my TV.
Ivana: When faced with Elizabethís unwavering incompetence (just about the only thing about her that didnít waver), you lead the charge to fire her and assign another project manager. Good idea. Better to try to change things than to sit in the boardroom, throw up your hands, and say, ďWe lost because our leader sucked.Ē At least you wanted to do something about it. In the final task of Season 1, Trump wondered why Kwame didnít fire the incompetent Omarosa Ė looks like you took a lesson from him. Iíve liked you more in the past few weeks than I did at first. Iíd like to see you lead the team again to see what you can do.
Jennifer: You were exempt this week, and we didnít see much from you at all. We saw you carefully reapply your lip gloss, argue with Wes about helping Elizabeth, and agree that Elizabeth did a lousy job Ė that was it. Maybe your contributions wound up on the cutting room floor, because Iíd hate to think you slacked off this week because you were exempt. You are, in my opinion, the strongest female candidate left. Stay strong Ė youíre our only hope.
Raj: The military theme to the campaign was your idea, and it was a bad one. You made New York look like a police state, and you made joining the police force look dangerous. Were you dazzled by the array of wonderful toys that the NYPD had at your disposal? On the other hand, you stuck by your bad idea and never dodged responsibility for coming up with it. Better to be spectacularly wrong, but strong than right and weak, as Elizabeth showed us.
A quick note about the joke you made about dressing up as a terrorist for the ads. I donít know why Elizabeth deemed it the rudest joke ever, as it didnít seem that objectionable to me. But be careful, Raj. Youíre a funny guy, and as your wardrobe shows us, a real individual. But donít let yourself get marginalized as the goofy, quirky guy, or youíll be stuffing a suitcase full of bow ties into the trunk of a cab.
Kevin: As Mike said in his recap, you were ďKing AwesomeĒ this week. You had your doubts about the military theme as well, and stayed up into the wee hours of the night helping Elizabeth come up with an alternate strategy. Then, after what had to have been only a few hours of sleep, you woke up bright eyed and eager to talk to the designers in an early morning meeting. Your dedication and passion for the task were impressive.
When Elizabethís waffling was at its absolute worst and the team was about to rebel, you gave her the chance to save herself. You are definitely the kind of person Iíd want by my side. And when she still couldnít make up her mind, you very firmly demanded that she make a decision. You were tough on her, but you really had no other choice. Without a doubt, you were the strongest member of your team this week. Keep it up and you could win this whole thing.
Elizabeth: Oh, Elizabeth. Where should I begin? Well, hereís the biggest and simplest part. You were the project manager. You were in charge. So you should have taken charge. From the beginning, you didnít like the military angle. You thought it wasnít the emotional appeal that you needed. Well then, instead of sending your team off half-cocked without a complete shot list to start filming stuff that you didnít like in the first place, you should have sat everyone down and brainstormed to come up with a better solution. But you forged ahead with a bad idea and no real plan to execute it.
That night, you got Kevin to stay up late with you coming up with an alternative. In the end, both of you were happy with it, but when you met with the slightest bit of resistance from the rest of the team, you caved. As a result, not only did you look weak in front of Chris, Ivana, Jennifer, and Raj, but you also lost a lot of credibility with Kevin, who had been your one ally.
Then, you came up with a third plan, and your attempts to articulate it were such a muddled mess that no one understood what you were getting at. For the first time in Apprentice history, your team was ready to fire their project manager in the middle of a task. And then when Kevin, your former right-hand man, asked for a direction on the print ads, you were so unclear in what you wanted that he lost his usual composure. What a mess.
As the time for the presentation neared, you should have just accepted the fact that your team was going to present a campaign with a military theme and made it the best damned military campaign it could be. Instead, you tried to find ways to water down the message, so you wound up with a weak, inconsistent mess.
You were so clearly the worst performer on your team that in the end, Trump wasnít even interested in hearing from your candidates for the boardroom and fired you on the spot. It was the right thing to do. The irony is that all of your objections to the military theme were right. It was too harsh and it did lack the emotional appeal that Deutsch wanted. But you never put forth a better idea, so your team had no choice but to move forward with the one idea that was out there. So long, Elizabeth. Your firing was inevitable.
It will be very interested to see what happens next week when the fired candidates come back. Sure, bringing back outcasts isnít a new idea, but it seems really appropriate in a show about business. Professionals learn that you never know which old coworkers might reappear later on down the road, so itís wise not to burn bridges. Those remaining candidates who did the most bridge-burning will likely be pretty worried when they see whoís coming back. Should be a good show.
Betsy is the Associate Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached with any comments at email@example.com.