The Apprentice 2, Episode 12: On the Edgeby Betsy Wasser -- 11/27/2004
In the suite, the candidates set the table for dinner, not knowing that they have one place setting more than they’re going to need since both Maria and Wes have been fired. Jen thinks Wes will be the one to go, but says that the boardroom can be very unpredictable. She learns just how unpredictable when Andy and Sandy return and tell everyone what happened. Andy says he’s still shell-shocked at seeing two people get fired. Sandy says that a whole new game has emerged, and points out that they are the final six. She is determined to break away from the pack to prove herself. In an interview, she says that she is the only candidate left without a college degree, but thinks that her performance is more important than whether or not she has a diploma on her wall. I wouldn’t be so sure about that one, Sandy – just ask Troy.
Apex has a team meeting, and Ivana volunteers to be project manager. Jen says she wants to be the leader, and the two of them argue about who should get the job. Ivana thinks she should get it because she really stepped up and worked hard on the Levi’s task, which is true. Jen counters that just because Ivana wants to be PM doesn’t mean she gets to be, which is also a decent point. Ivana tells the team, “I need a shot,” which is nice for her, but I don’t see why anyone else should be knocking themselves out to give Ivana a chance to impress Trump.
Kelly throws in that he’d like to lead, too – he wants a shot at an exemption. Finally, Kevin (who was project manager in the last task) says he’ll just choose a name at random. Kelly is the lucky winner, and suggests a group hug to ease any tension, which is kind of funny. Ivana is disappointed that she’s not in charge and says that if it weren’t for that pesky Jen, it would be all hers. Err, not necessarily, because Kelly wanted it too, but far be it for me to get in the way of your Jen hate. Ivana says she really wants to be on a different team from Jen. In an interview, she says that Jen has been kept in the game for two reasons, and gestures towards her chest and her face. She thinks Jen has been able to “get away with murder.”
Kelly, Kevin, and Ivana have a talk while Jen works on the computer (reading my recaps, I’m sure). Kelly says he doesn’t like working with Jen – he thinks she’s stupid. Kevin and Ivana, as we already know, are also not Jen fans. Jen says in an interview that she can hear them talking about her. She knows she doesn’t have any allies, but that doesn’t matter, because she’s there to win. That’s right, my friends – it’s another reality TV contestant saying they didn’t come to make friends!
The next morning, the Trump Phone rings, and thankfully, we’re back to having a shirtless boy answer the phone, Kelly in this case. One of my readers pointed out that the person who answers the phone also seems to be the project manager for one or the other of the teams, a fact that I seem to have missed while looking at the topless boys. Shirtless Kelly gets the instructions to meet Trump at Trump Place at 9:00. Andy tells us in an interview that he is the project manager for Mosaic. He says that he’s only 22, and that Kelly, at 37, is old. Yes, it’s a wonder Kelly can get around without a cane. Andy says that he’s ready to prove himself, and that he really wants to win.
The candidates gather at Trump Place, and Trump immediately has Apex even out the teams. Kelly sends Jen to Mosaic without hesitation, and says that eliminating her makes the team stronger. Trump notes that is, “not too complimentary.” He then introduces the challenge. Branding, Trump says, is very important. “People love the name Trump,” he claims. I think we all know who loves the name Trump the most, don’t you? He says that people also love the name Pepsi, and that the candidates will be working on a new bottle and marketing campaign for Pepsi’s latest soda, Pepsi Edge. The team with the best plan will win.
Sandy welcomes Jen to Mosaic. Meanwhile, Ivana is celebrating. In an interview, she says, “I felt lighter… I wasn’t carrying this blonde Barbie anymore.” At this point, I’d like to officially say enough already with the blonde, Barbie, fembot comments about Jen, Ivana. If she’s not as smart as you are, if she’s not creative, if she’s lazy, if she’s a bad performer, then talk about that. Don’t focus all of your energy talking about how pretty she is. It just makes you come across as petty and mean.
Of course, as soon as we finish seeing Ivana complain about pretty Jen always squeaking through, we get a scene of Sandy and Jen vigorously brushing their hair, enthusing about how happy they are to be on the same team. Jen is determined to win and show ‘em all.
And now for the Trump Lesson of the Week: “Form Your Own Opinion.” Trump tells us that he listens to his team, but ultimately forms his own opinion and makes his own decisions. A leader who just wants to be loved ultimately won’t succeed.
Mosaic heads to the Pepsi headquarters to get to work. Jen says that the energy at Mosaic is much better and there’s no attitude there. Sandy talks about Pepsi Edge. She says people like Diet Pepsi because it has fewer calories, but like regular Pepsi because it tastes better. Pepsi Edge gives soda drinkers the best of both worlds. She and Andy start sketching out brainstorming ideas on a white board. Sandy comes up with the idea that consumers could collect bottle caps with different countries on them. As soon as you get a whole continent, you’d get to go there. Andy loves the idea, and points out that if you got Antarctica, you’d be an instant winner. Sandy says in an interview that Andy was drinking tons of soda and was getting rather hyper. We then see a hilarious montage of Andy sucking down Pepsi like there’s no tomorrow, talking a mile a minute. Sandy thinks Andy is showing a slight lack of maturity. I agree, but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.
There has been a bit of debate among the RNO writers about whether or not the collect a continent idea was a good one. Many have argued that it was too complicated. Much easier to just collect letters to spell out P-E-P-S-I or even E-U-R-O-P-E, or similar. Some continents have quite a lot of countries that you’d have to collect, whereas others would have comparatively few. And there are some countries that could be considered part of either one of two continents. As far as I’m concerned, those are just details, and Pepsi could make this idea work. I think the “best of both worlds” tagline is a good one, and I like the way Sandy has tied it in with going to the edges of the earth. The details of how exactly it would work could be simplified later – maybe you wouldn’t have to collect every little country in Europe, but would try to collect maybe five countries in western Europe for a western Europe trip… something like that. In general, I think the idea was fun and dynamic, and with the right marketing (say having consumers download a map from the Pepsi web site or including one in the Sunday newspaper inserts like McDonald’s does with their Monopoly board), they could make it work.
Apex is brainstorming also, but their storm is more like a trickle. Ivana suggests having the bottles shaped like an Oscar, and says that lots of women and gay men love the Academy Awards. Kelly shuts that idea down pretty much right away as impractical and not clearly related to the product. He comes up with the idea of having the bottle spell out the word Edge, including putting a hole through the letter D. They could even stick things through the hole in the D. Ivana chimes in with some rather weird suggestions about what they could put there, including a hot dog at a sporting event, a small woman with a gold-capped tooth, or “a piece of a boob.” What? I guess this really shouldn’t surprise me, considering that this is the same woman who suggested a junior drag queen dress-up kit as a potential product for Mattel to market to young boys. Kelly says that Ivana has a tendency to throw out lots of strange sexual connotations. I look forward to reading with Mike DeGeorge has to say about Ivana’s “ideas” in his next Performance Appraisal article. I have a feeling he’s not going to be impressed.
At Mosaic, Sandy suggests that they make the bottle totally round, like a globe. It would be the first round Pepsi bottle ever! The designer doesn’t look too impressed with the idea. For one thing, it would be hard to, you know, hold the bottle in your hand and drink from it. Jen comes up with an alternative, which is that the top and bottom of the bottle would be rounded, with a band in the center with the Pepsi logo. That makes much more sense, and the designer is all for it. Sandy is frustrated. She feels like no one is hearing her ideas and that she’s being underutilized. Ah, that’s not quite it, Sandy. They heard your ideas, they listened to them, and they determined that they weren’t good.
Meanwhile, Kelly explains to a designer how he wants a hole through his bottle. The designer isn’t sure if they can pull it off, but Kelly insists they try it. They watch the bottle being made, and Kelly says it’s cool to see his idea coming to life. The team heads home for the day, since their work there is done. Ivana says she feels uneasy with the fact that they aren’t all frantic and crazy and thinks they might be missing something. Kelly and Kevin don’t have much patience for her vague worry and ask what she thinks they might be forgetting. She’s got nothing to say. Her attitude irritates me. Don’t try to work your team into a state of worry for no good reason. That demoralizes everyone. And isn’t it possible that your team isn’t in a state of frantic activity because you’re doing a good job?
At Mosaic, Andy is concerned about meeting their deadlines for designing the bottle and label. He gives each member of the design team a hundred dollar bonus for their hard work as Carolyn looks on curiously. Sandy thinks it was an odd thing to do and came across as sleazy. Andy disagrees, since everybody loves money. Then, Sandy suggests they bring in dinner for everyone, and Andy says no. He won’t let her bring the pizzas into the room until the project is complete. The pizzas are actually sitting out in the hallway, getting cold, while everyone works. Sandy says that everyone would feel a lot better and be more productive if they had some dinner, and Andy counters that they should be feeling pretty darned good with a hundred bucks in their hands. Sandy says that Andy is acting like a slave driver.
In my opinion (and I seem to have a lot of them this week), Andy made a bad choice here. He handed everyone money, which, of course, would be a great motivator. But if it’s late, and you’re cranky and hungry, having a couple of slices of pizza would also be a morale boost. It also would have cost a hell of a lot less money. Plus, actually telling this room full of people that they can’t have dinner yet would undoubtedly lead to resentment, especially if they can smell the pizza just out of their grasp.
The next morning, Apex checks out their new bottle. Kelly loves the hole in the D, and Kevin and Ivana are thrilled, too. Ivana says it’s beautiful. Meanwhile, Andy says that he really wants to beat Kelly to put a hole in his giant ego. He and Sandy have a huge map of the world that they’ll be using in their presentation. Apex is preparing, too. Ivana, Kevin, and Kelly pace around the room, muttering their parts of the presentation to themselves. All of them are psyched about presenting their ideas.
Apex walks into what they thought would be a typical conference room to make their presentation and are very surprised to see that it’s a huge auditorium, full of Pepsi marketing people. Ivana feels like she’s in the amphitheatre in Gladiator. Dave, the chief marketing officer for Pepsi, closes the blinds and instructs them to begin. Kelly, Kevin, and Ivana make a confident, upbeat, and enthusiastic presentation. And, happily, Kevin’s flop sweat from the Levi’s presentation has apparently disappeared. The three of them show off their bottle design and talk about how they can put different promotional materials through the hole. They emphasize that the design is a versatile – they can use the hole for any number of different things (though “a piece of a boob” is not specifically mentioned). The design, they say, will work over the long term. The people in the room seem to be responding well to their ideas, and Apex walks out feeling confident.
Mosaic is up next, and they too are surprised at how big the room is. Andy seems nervous at first, but quickly recovers and shows off the globe bottle and points out that the cap has a compass in it. He passes around the bottle, and no one seems too impressed by the design – a bad sign. Sandy then stammers and stutters her way through her description of the concept. When she came up with the idea, she explained it so well and so clearly, and now she is totally falling apart. It’s a little painful to watch. Jen then explains how they’ll do in-store promotions and does a fine job. In an interview, Andy says it was like the ultimate debate room.
With both presentations over, the Pepsi people talk about what they just saw. They totally pan Mosaic’s idea. The bottle looks like two blobs of tennis balls stuck together and doesn’t show the youthful spirit they want associated with Pepsi. Plus, the whole concept relies entirely on people getting excited about geography, which doesn’t seem like an easy sell. Apex’s design was much cooler and more on target. Everyone in the room seems to agree that Apex ran away with the win. They bring in the two teams and get Trump on speaker phone. Dave tells Trump that Apex’s idea was innovative and contemporary, and that Mosaic’s, while offering a consistent promotional idea, was rather boring. Plus, he adds, because of the globe design, you can’t see the liquid in the bottle. Apex wins.
Trump tells Apex that because they came up with a good idea so fast, their reward will focus on speed also. They’ll take his private helicopter to the Pocono racetrack to race Lamborghinis. And since Kelly, as the project manager of the winning team, will be exempt next week, he’s guaranteed a spot in the final four.
I have to say, the reward part of the show is usually the least interesting to watch, and this week is no exception. Ivana, Kelly, and Kevin fly to the racetrack and drive around having a great time. Ivana says that driving fast is, “almost like having sex.” Whatever.
The next morning, Andy is bundled up in bed, with his blanket pulled up to his ears, looking groggy and sleepy. This doesn’t stop Ivana from perching on the bed next to his and telling him all about how he needs to get rid of Jen. Ivana says that Jen is really good in the boardroom, so Andy should beware of her. She adds that Sandy has really proven herself in recent weeks. She blathers on some more, then tells Andy that they can talk more about it later. Yeah, maybe after Andy wakes up and has a cup of coffee.
Andy says that he thinks Ivana wants to get rid of Jen because it would benefit Ivana. Andy, however, isn’t so interested in what’s best for Ivana. He finds Jen and tells her about the conversation, and that he thinks Jen did a better job in the task than Sandy. He says he plans to go after Sandy in the boardroom and hopes she’ll do the same. Andy says he doesn’t want to talk to her for long so Sandy won’t think they’re plotting. He concludes by saying that if Jen takes shots at him in the boardroom, he’ll shoot back to defend himself, but he’d rather they present a unified front. Jen nods in agreement, and Andy walks away.
Sandy, of course, has a different idea of how things should go. She asks Jen what she thought of Andy as a leader. Before Jen can answer, Sandy says that she thinks Andy was hyper and immature, and that he was distracting at times. Jen says that it’s getting tougher as the challenges go on, and that things are starting to feel more personal.
Mosaic files into the boardroom. Trump asks who came up with the idea. Andy says that he thought of the “best of both worlds” concept and that he liked their bottle design. George is much less impressed and points out that the bottle wouldn’t fit in the cup holder of your car, which is definitely a miss on Mosaic’s part. Trump thinks it works better as a barbell and demonstrates by doing some curls. Andy still thinks their design was better than Apex’s. George says it was too complicated and relied entirely on the promotional campaign to even make sense, which is a good point.
Sandy says that Jen came up with the bottle design and that she did the label and thought of the game idea. Trump asks Andy which of the two was more creative, and Andy says it was Jen. It was? It sure looked to me like Andy and Sandy were coming up with most of the ideas on the white board. Sure, Jen came up with the ultimate shape of the bottle, but she mostly took that idea from Sandy’s unworkable round idea. Sandy, like me, disagrees with Andy. She is more charitable than I am, and says that the idea was a team effort. Andy then accuses Sandy of taking credit for his ideas. Then, to make matters worse, Jen claims that the trip idea was hers. I know we didn’t see their entire brainstorming session, but it sure looked like Sandy’s idea to me. Trump asks Andy which of the two women is smarter and which is harder to manage. Andy says that Jen is both smarter and easier to manage. Wow. I’m not a big Sandy fan, but I have to say, this is unfair.
Trump asks how Andy was as a leader, and Sandy at last gets to make her points. She says that Andy was immature and at times embarrassing. Andy says that he motivated the design team by both saying thank you and by giving them money. Jen says that Andy was a fair leader. His weakness was that he was frantic at times, but he was enthusiastic and motivated. Trump asks if “frantic” might also be described as “energetic,” and Jen agrees. Carolyn, whom I don’t think is impressed by Jen, says that was a safe answer. Jen concludes that Andy isn’t the greatest – they lost, after all – but that he’s better than Sandy.
Sandy says that she wants credit for the ideas that she came up with. Andy claims that he has a reputation for giving people credit where credit is due. Sandy is incredulous, as am I. This kid who just got out of college and hasn’t had a real job yet is claiming to have a reputation for giving people credit when they deserve it? Sandy says that in that case, she has a reputation for being creative. Trump declares, “Losing is a bitch,” and asks Andy what Sandy did do. He says that she came up with the label, which was pretty good. Trump tells them that since there are only three people left, all three of them will come back for the final boardroom.
George says that he admired the way Sandy defended herself and says that Andy didn’t impress him. Carolyn thinks it’s interesting that the project managers always defend Jen. She’s not convinced Jen is really that good. Out in the lobby, Sandy is livid that Andy suggested she didn’t contribute anything. The three return to the boardroom.
So, how does Jen keep sliding by every week? Jen says she’s not sliding by – she thinks her project managers appreciate her and think she does a good job. Andy agrees. Sandy, on the other hand, thinks Jen is flying under the radar and doesn’t take any risks. Jen counters that Sandy didn’t have any ideas. Sandy says she did – the label and the sweepstakes were her ideas.
Then, inexplicably, Jen tells everyone about how Ivana approached Andy about getting rid of her that morning. Sandy says she sees what happened – Andy and Jen have formed an alliance. The three of them argue back and forth, and Trump, taking it all in, notes that Sandy is clobbering Andy. Andy says he didn’t tell Sandy about his conversation with Jen because it was irrelevant. Sandy points out that Jen had all day to come up with ways to stand by him, and that the two of them are teaming up on her because of their alliance. Trump interrupts the discussion by saying that Andy, a nationally ranked debater, is being totally outclassed by Sandy. Andy? You’re fired.
Well, I wasn’t expecting that.
Sandy and Jen leave the room, then argue their way into the elevators. It ought to be interesting seeing the two of them trying to work together next week. Andy thanks Trump for the opportunity, then leaves as well.
Trump says that he thought he was going to fire Sandy, but that she showed some real spunk. He says it just goes to show that women are tougher than men. I don’t think he really believes that, but whatever.
I don’t know what to think of the outcome of this task. I think the way Andy and Jen teamed up against Sandy was unfair. Sandy did come up with some good ideas. The sweepstakes idea was hers, and she appeared to contribute far more than Andy did to the brainstorming session. She did fall apart during the presentation to the marketing execs, but Andy and Jen didn’t really focus on that in the boardroom. In this task, Sandy really appeared to contribute far more than Jen did. Andy was, for the most part, a decent leader. He kept everyone focused and on task, also contributed a lot to the brainstorming, and then had a real misfire by keeping the team from eating when they were hungry. As for Jen, I’d be hard pressed to say what she really did, good or bad. She did come up with a more practical way to show the globe idea on the bottles than Sandy did, but it’s hard to cheer that hard for her idea since Pepsi hated the shape of the bottle.
Ultimately, I think Jen did the worst at this task, but has had a more consistent record over the course of the show than Sandy, who has only begun to shine recently. If either of them had been fired, that would have made more sense to me than Andy. I don’t think Andy would have made it to the final two, but I did think he’d be around for a few more challenges.
Andy takes his final cab ride home and says that everyone thought he was too young, but that wasn’t the reason he lost. He thought Sandy would be the one to go, but realizes everyone was looking out for themselves.
Next week, there will be two episodes of The Apprentice! On Wednesday, there will be what looks like a clip show. I will cover any new footage that they show. And on Thursday, the teams work to promote a new product from M&Ms. Sandy and Jen revert to the popular “sex sells” mantra, but Ivana actually goes bottomless to win the task. Carolyn does not look impressed. I don’t think I’m going out on much of a limb here by predicting that Ivana better pack her bags. See you then!
Betsy is the Associate Editor of RealityNewsOnline. She can be reached with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.