The Apprentice 2 “A Look Back”: Ah, Memoriesby Betsy Wasser -- 12/06/2005
It’s time for the unfortunate staple of reality TV shows – the clip show. This week, in addition to a shiny new episode of The Apprentice, we were also treated to “A Look Back” at all of the previous episodes. But to tantalize us into watching (and in my case, recapping) the show, there is brand new, previously unaired footage. We’ll also get interviews with all of the fired candidates, plus Donald Trump will give his reason for firing each of them. And I have to tell you, some of it is quite interesting. I’ll be hitting the new stuff, because if you really wanted to read a recap of what happened on every single episode, I imagine you’d hit the RNO archives and read what I wrote every week. And now, on with the show.
In the first task, as you’ll recall, the candidates were challenged to come up with a new toy for Mattel to sell. It looked at the time like Rob, the first candidate to get fired, didn’t do much of anything. But in the new footage, we see that he actually was a little bit more engaged than we thought. Before Mosaic heads to Mattel, Rob and Raj do some “market research.” In other words, they talk to some kids to find out what kind of toys they like. Raj is sporting a typically natty outfit, this one complete with the cane. He leans on his cane and asks the boys if they like, among other things, battleships. Raj must love battleships, since he tried to convince his team to name themselves after a battleship. The kids look a little baffled by this strange man with the weird accessories asking them questions they don’t understand. Rob, in an interview, makes fun of Raj for his awkward ways with the children. Rob, though, doesn’t seem to be doing much better. Although he’s crouched down at kid level to talk to them, the kids don’t seem to be able to relate to him, either.
At Apex, we see even more bizarre behavior from Stacie than just the Magic 8 Ball Incident that we all know so well. Ivana discovers an 85 cent accounting error, and the team is trying to figure out where to come up with the lost change. Stacie stands at the window and says that there’s a man outside who is winking at her, and surely he’ll give her the 85 cents. She uses a series of hand gestures to convey “85 cents” to the man, who I’m sure has a totally different interpretation of what she’s doing. Then, she spots a Mattel sign in the conference room and suggests that they steal it as a souvenir of their first challenge. Everyone says no, including an indignant Maria who blinks that she has an “ethical issue” with taking the sign. This scene basically goes to show us that Stacie did indeed act very oddly in this task and made her team uncomfortable. I wouldn’t go on to call her dangerously mentally imbalanced, however.
In the end, Apex wins the task. Rob claims that he was underutilized, but Trump saw it as laziness and fired him. In an interview, Rob says that his strategy was to hold back at first, assess the competition, and then turn up the heat. In retrospect, he shouldn’t have held back. Trump says that he fired Rob because no one listened to his ideas.
In the second task, the teams are to invent and sell a new flavor of ice cream. Mosaic takes a “hands on” approach, literally squeezing and crumbling their doughnuts into the ice cream. And while Mosaic does all of their selling on the street, Apex convinces a store to let them sell some of their red velvet cake ice cream. The deal almost falls apart, though, because there is a misunderstanding between Apex and the store managers about how many candidates will be helping them staff the store. The store wants three people, but Apex only wants to give up two. Ivana eventually smoothes things over, and it looks like only two candidates stay to help sell ice cream. Maria stands in front of the store and tries to lure people in to try the new flavor, but it doesn’t look like she’s getting any takers.
Apex loses, and the team tries to pin the loss on Stacie. However, Bradford gives up the exemption he had from being the winning project manager the week before and Trump fires him for his rash behavior. Bradford says that it seemed like a good idea at the time, but obviously, it was a mistake.
After the task ends, the infighting on Apex begins in earnest. Stacie tells Elizabeth that Jennifer and Ivana were targeting her. Elizabeth is very upset because she trusted Ivana, but now she’s not sure it was such a good idea. The whole team winds up in a squabbling match while Mosaic eavesdrops from the other room. Pamela can’t believe they’re missing the show.
When the teams are charged with creating a buzz for Crest Vanilla Mint toothpaste (which, by the way, I’m using right now and find delightful), Apex has a great idea, but they ultimately lose because Maria fails to get a bid in writing from a print vendor. That doesn’t matter, though, because the women all team up in the boardroom to talk about Stacie’s erratic behavior. Trump fires Stacie because he can’t have a loose cannon running one of his companies. In an interview, Stacie says that it was a great experience, in spite of some bad people she had to work with. She’s a much better sport than I would have been. Trump says that a lot of people criticized him for firing Stacie, but that he had to listen to her team.
After Stacie gets fired, the men are pretty shocked at how the women got rid of her. Jennifer M. says that Stacie was never a real danger to any of them. Elizabeth says people don’t understand why she brought Stacie into the boardroom in the first place, and ends up loudly arguing with Jennifer M. about it. Then, Maria gets into it and says that Elizabeth made up stories about her and the way she’s talked about the other members of the team Tension is very high.
The restaurant task comes next, and Apex project manager Jennifer C. isn’t impressing anyone. In the middle of the night, she calls the team members who are working at the restaurant and tells them that she wants them to handle beverages because she doesn’t have time. In an interview, Ivana basically says that Jennifer C. is lazy and doesn’t want to do the work herself. She asks Jennifer C. what Sandy and Elizabeth are doing, or if Jennifer C. herself can do this, because they don’t have time for any more responsibility. “If you give it to us,” she says, “we’re going to #$%^ it up.” Then, much to Jennifer C.’s shock, she hangs up the phone. Ivana was on the rude side to Jennifer C., but I can’t say I blame her.
Apex loses yet again, and Trump fires Jennifer C. Jennifer says in an interview that she’s used to being the smartest, strongest person around professionally, but that everyone was strong and smart in this challenge. Trump says that he fired Jennifer because everyone on the team hated her, plus, “She was an interrupter. She wasn’t good.” Ah, it’s simple, but it’s true.
With Apex falling apart, Trump puts Pamela on the team in the hopes of knocking some sense into them. On the way to the QVC challenge, Pamela tells them that she doesn’t want them to talk about hair, makeup, shoes, or boys – just business. It’s rather condescending, not to mention sexist that she’s assumed that these women who she hasn’t worked with yet are losing because they’re overly focused on their hair. In an interview, Pamela says that you have to talk to women a certain way to get them to respond, you need to show some finesse. Then, our friends the editors cut to her talking to them rather curtly and without finesse.
When the women lose, everyone goes after Pamela, including some of the men. Raj tells them, “She’ll suck your blood.” Lil Stacy says in an interview that knowing Pamela is so disliked is valuable information. Pamela, in the end, doesn’t get to stay and suck anyone’s blood – she’s fired. Pamela says in an interview that she pulled together a fractured team and lost by only the slimmest of margins. She was stunned to be fired. Trump says that Pamela was a dictator, but that no one on her team respected her authority.
We don’t see much more of the fashion task. Raj famously wears his smoking jacket, and Isaac Mizrahi initially thinks that this oddly dressed person might be the designer. After Mosaic loses, Trump says John was a lousy leader and fires him. John says in an interview that if you’re going to get fired, you can at least take some comfort in being fired by the very best. Trump says it was a tough call, but that Mosaic lost due to their pricing and John should have been more involved in that decision.
The next week, Trump restructures the teams. Andy and Wes think that the new Mosaic will be great. Wes says that Andy is “the smartest kid,” Kelly is very strong, Lil Stacy is annoying, but a tough negotiator, and Sandy will be a workhorse. When the teams are challenged to come up with a service business for dogs, Raj goes to talk to a groomer for advice. The groomer basically tells him that what they want to do is impossible, and that no one can groom a dog on the street. The groomer goes on to tell him how delicate dogs can be, including a rather gross description of how they might accidentally knock a dog’s eye out of its socket. Luckily for Apex, Raj chooses to ignore the guy. Apex wins the task, and at long last, Lil Stacy gets fired. In her interview, Lil Stacy says that she is a smart person with a lot to say, but that maybe she needs to be a better listener. Good plan, Lil Stacy. Trump says that Lil Stacy annoyed everyone, including him.
When the teams have to come up with an advertising campaign for the New York Police Department, Elizabeth is paralyzed with indecision, even from the beginning. Kevin and Ivana talk and agree that she’s just inept. When her team loses, Elizabeth is fired without a second act in the boardroom. In her post-firing interview, Elizabeth is quite insightful. She says that she allowed other people’s decisions to influence her so much that she couldn’t function. Looking back, she realizes this is a problem she really needs to work on. Good for you, Elizabeth. Trump says that she lost control, so he had to fire her.
The next challenge is to renovate a house, and one team discovers that the house is already occupied, by baby birds. Raj and his team save the birds, but lose the task. In a very honest interview, Raj says that he shouldn’t have changed the house from four bedrooms to three and that he picked the wrong darned contractor. He says he’s not broken-hearted and promises that America hasn’t seen the last of him. Trump says that he liked Raj, and that he was a character, but he screwed up and had to get fired.
In the bridal shop challenge, Kelly may be project manager, but Sandy is clearly the one in charge. She tells Kelly exactly what they need to do, including cleaning any and all dust off of the floors and making the bathroom spotless. Andy takes on the unpleasant task of cleaning the bathroom and even makes a lovely toilet paper pyramid. Before the doors open, Sandy gives the vendors a pep talk about selling all of the dresses so that no one has to take any gowns back to their showrooms. It’s a nice little speech, and when she’s done, it’s clearly time to get to work… but Maria has to jump in and give her two cents. Maria prattles on about her own home economics skills, experience with making tailored suits, and so on. It’s admittedly hard to focus on what she has to say, since I’m distracted by the flower pin the size of her head that’s on her lapel. Sandy finds Maria’s interruption “uncalled for and unnecessary,” and I agree.
Apex loses the task and blames project manager Chris. Chris says that he didn’t do a good job in the task, so he understands why he got fired. Trump says that Chris may have wanted to lead, but when he got the chance, he didn’t do a good job.
We learn of a little corporate espionage in the Levi’s task – Wes finds a prototype of Apex’s fit wheel in the copy machine. Whoever left it there is an idiot, because Maria immediately says they can use this information to their advantage. Sandy thinks they can do better and comes up with a different way to show the different fits of the jeans. When Mosaic loses, Trump can’t decide which was worse – Maria’s crazy power trip or the fact that Wes let it happen – so he fires them both. And for those of you who were amused by the fact that the two of them had to share a cab, they also have to share a final interview. Wes says that they over promised and under delivered. Maria thinks they were targeted because they took on a lot of responsibility. Well, that’s one way to look at it, I guess.
The only new material we see in the Pepsi task is that Sandy and Andy determined which of them would be project manager by a coin toss. And in case you’re keeping a stalker journal about Andy, his lucky side of the coin is tails. When the team loses, Sandy and Jen dominate the boardroom brawl, and Andy is fired. Andy says in his final interview that he regrets letting the two of them talk so much. Trump says that he hated to fire Andy because he’s smart and talented. However, he’s still young, and he let the rest of the team run over him.
At the end, we see some quick flashes of the challenges ahead. It looks like one will involve a basketball tournament, and another will include a polo match. Who will be the next Apprentice? We’ll find out in just a few weeks.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. You can reach her with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.