The Apprentice 3, Episode 1 Extras: The Blame Gameby Jenn Brasler -- 01/24/2005
Welcome back to the Apprentice extras column! Did you have a nice three weeks? If the stories are correct, Trump and Melania are getting married as I write this. Congrats to the bride and groom, and let’s hope Melania signed a pre-nup.
We start off seeing all of the candidates arrive at Trump Tower to meet Trump for the first time. Erin has a pink ultra suede suitcase. She wants to challenge stereotypes and show “male chauvinists” that women can be sexy, powerful, and smart. Chris says that he likes Bren immediately; he thinks he looks like Colonel Sanders without the gray hair. Bren believes that he’ll have an advantage over everyone else because they’ll be judging him by his appearance. Michael thinks that Erin looks like a pampered princess. John says that even though Danny doesn’t look smart, he must be, or he wouldn’t be there. I’m not going to touch that one with a ten-foot pole. Danny recognizes that he makes a strange first impression. The candidates go into the boardroom as Todd says that they’re all sharks. In the boardroom, it’ll be survival of the fittest. Knowing what we know now, that’s pretty telling.
After meeting Trump, the candidates head up to the suite, which impresses them. Tana says that she’s like a pet off of its leash. She wants to pee in all of the corners. Considering what happens when she and Kristen go to get the plane tickets later, that’s incredibly ironic. John opens a bottle of champagne and proceeds to drop it. Everyone introduces him- or herself to others. Tana’s way too excited. The teams start to split up and Verna asks Tana if she’s a college grad. Tana responds in the negative, saying that she’s one of the rich ones. Do you think maybe they took this too far?
The teams separate and try to come up with names. The college grads quickly agree to call themselves Magna. Alex says that the name fits because they’re the “educated elite” and are second only to Summa. I like Alex, but for the record… “educated elite”? It’s not like these nine are the only people in the world with college educations. Also for the record, I have a college degree, but that in no way means that I’ll be rooting for Magna. I’m most likely going to root for individuals rather than teams. I’m worried that this “educated” vs. “uneducated” thing will get old fast.
Speaking of things that are getting old fast, Magna starts their strange “unbelievable!” thing. From the next room, the non-college grads overhear and start yelling back. I would comment on the maturity of that, but I don’t want to be accused of calling the non-college grads immature. John says that yelling means nothing - it’s about your actions on the tasks. The team chooses the name Net Worth. Magna tries to come up with a team song. Bren jokes that we shouldn’t expect a CD any time soon. Net Worth hears the singing and Kristen comments that they must have sat around singing in college while her team was out working. Don’t be a snob, Kristen. I remember you from Murder in Small Town X, and I didn’t like you on that show, so you have a long way to go to earn my favor.
Project managers are chosen. Magna nominates Todd, since he has restaurant experience. Danny and Stephanie offer to work on marketing. Bren interviews that Danny positioned himself and had better step up. John offers to be the project manager for Net Worth and everyone agrees with this decision. He wants to lead the team in a democracy. As Betsy said in her recap, it’s a little kindergarten, but it’s better than a dictatorship. Tana decides to announce her areas of expertise, but her teammates don’t exactly appreciate what they see as bragging. Audrey tells her to stop talking about how great she is, since she’ll be utilized no matter what. Suddenly I really like Audrey. Tana interviews that she thought Audrey was rude but didn’t want to say anything. Kristen announces that they need to respect each other. John tells his teammates that if they listen, they’ll win. They head off to meet their chef.
Danny and Stephanie meet with Russ to discuss marketing. They obviously don’t know what they’re doing, but, to his credit, Danny is bluffing pretty well. They talk about doing a promotion with photos. They talk with Mike, the “graphics guy” who will be printing up their fliers, and he does some brainstorming. Danny and Stephanie decide to start over (or, according to Stephanie, Danny decides to start over). The brainstorming doesn’t go very well, and when Todd calls to find out what’s going on, he gets no feedback. That should’ve been his first clue that Danny wasn’t going to work out.
During the promotion itself, Alex says that Magna’s ideas are crazy. Todd says that Danny looked awful - he was disheveled and wouldn’t wear a Burger King shirt. Stephanie says that Danny is actually scaring people away. I’m not surprised. Would you go near a restaurant where a possibly crazy street performer was trying to get you to buy something?
For some reason, we rewind to the night before. Todd, Stephanie, and Danny go to a party store to get decorations for their promotion. They call Mike, and Danny tells him that he’s “unbelievable!” Seriously, enough with that. Mike hasn’t started the printing yet, and Stephanie says that it’s because the legal department hasn’t approved their ideas yet. It’s 10 p.m., by the way. Todd asks if he should call Russ and Danny says that he’ll do it. He says that Todd is bothering him. Well, you’re probably bothering him, so you’re even.
Back at the Burger King, Danny calls Russ (from inside the restaurant) and learns that they have approval to go ahead. He goes to find Todd but can’t. Todd is outside, on the phone with Mike. He tells Mike to ignore Danny and start printing only what’s been pre-approved. Danny comes outside and overhears the tail end of this conversation. He tells Todd that he shouldn’t do something like that if he trusts his subordinates. Connect the dots, Danny. Todd says that he had to make an executive decision. Danny says that Russ liked their ideas, but Todd points out that Burger King had to approve; if they hadn’t, Magna could have been disqualified. Danny says that he respects Todd, but Todd screwed up the ad campaign, which was supposed to be Danny’s department. Danny thinks that Todd doesn’t trust him, adding passive-aggressively that Todd’s the project manager, so it doesn’t matter. It seems like he’s saying Todd will be blamed if they fail, so he’s just washing his hands of the whole thing.
At Net Worth’s Burger King, John assures his teammates that they’ll be working with Burger King employees, not by themselves. He says that he split the team in half, sending half to train and half to work on marketing. Chris, one of the trainees, says that this is a humbling experience - he’s a millionaire, and now he’s flipping burgers. I’d love to see Trump flip burgers. That would be awesome. Sorry, that’s my train of thought getting away from me. John assigns Tara to work on the fliers. Brian says that John is doing a good job as project manager. Tana suggests the Las Vegas trip, and everyone gets excited. Net Worth meets with Russ to get approval; he seems fine with their ideas. We see the shopping expedition, where Kristen says that Brian is making too big a deal out of his Viking hat. Maybe she’s just jealous. She doesn’t have a cool Viking hat.
After the task, Net Worth gets ready to go to dinner at the 21 Club. There isn’t much new stuff here. John is impressed to be eating with one of the world’s most powerful men. There’s storytelling and swearing and toasting.
Magna heads to the boardroom. Todd says that his strategy was to divide the team; he wanted to have more people in the restaurant than there were working on marketing. Trump asks why there still weren’t enough people working the cash registers, a.k.a. point of sale or POS. George points out that Net Worth had three people on POS. Carolyn proclaims the promotion “horrific.” George says that he didn’t know what Magna was trying to promote. Danny argues that the people knew, but George says that’s news to him. He thinks they should have done something like report numbers to impress George. He didn’t know what they were doing until he had to dodge a ball. Yeah, I’m thinking that throwing a ball around on a busy New York street wasn’t the most brilliant idea.
Danny claims that looking like a street performer was the point. I don’t know many people who would by food from a self-proclaimed street performer. Todd says that Danny was abrasive. Trump asks if Danny respected Todd. Danny claims that he did in the beginning, but Todd blew his trust. Trump asks who appointed Danny in charge of marketing and Danny says that he suggested himself. Trump says that Todd shouldn’t have let Danny do that. Todd makes a good point that he didn’t know his teammates well enough to know who was the best for the job; Danny made sense. Trump asks Todd why he blames Danny when he himself was the leader.
The discussion turns to fashion. Trump asks Danny if he plays the guitar when he goes into his own boardrooms. Heh. Danny argues that his dress has nothing to do with anything, but Trump counters that it does. Either Kendra or Stephanie (I haven’t been able to distinguish everyone’s voice yet) says that you have to know your audience. Danny says that when he works for Trump, he’ll dress however Trump wants him to. Something tells me that he should be using the word “if,” not “when.”
Erin is asked for her two cents on Danny. She thinks he dressed inappropriately and would fire him. Trump asks if she believes this even though Todd was a bad leader. Carolyn asks if Erin thinks Danny is the reason they failed the task. She agrees, adding that Todd managed her “superbly.”
Everyone starts pointing fingers at either Danny or Todd. Trump thinks that Stephanie is selling Danny out, but she’s allowed to be disappointed in his performance. As we saw, the promotion was Danny’s idea, so it’s not like Stephanie is blaming him for her failures. Yeah, she said she’d go after Todd, but this is The Apprentice, after all. It’s not like no one’s ever blamed someone after saying he or she wouldn’t. Stephanie wishes that someone would have listened to her ideas. Bren would fire Danny. Kendra says that she would fire Todd, since he didn’t have any control over Danny. Donald asks if Danny is controllable. Kendra says that she could have controlled him, but Todd didn’t. She also blames their failure on the fact that Todd was away from the marketing team; she thinks that he should have met up with Danny and Stephanie.
Alex would fire Danny because he might be unmanageable. Danny disagrees (of course), arguing that he listened and took advice. Todd chooses Alex and Danny to go to the final boardroom.
George and Carolyn give their opinions, and Todd, Alex, and Danny return to the boardroom. They get into the discussion of whether or not Alex is to blame for the problems in the restaurant. Trump tells Todd that part of being a leader is dealing with difficult people. Sometimes the most difficult people are actually brilliant. Yeah, we’ll see about that.
So, Danny was a disaster, but Todd is fired. And that’s that.
Todd is “bummed,” but he hopes that some good things will come from this opportunity. He feels that Danny sold him out and notes that everyone else blamed Danny. The one time Trump didn’t go with the popular opinion, huh? He does recognize that the task was ultimately his own responsibility, though he still blames Danny. He wishes everyone luck and thanks Trump, George, and Carolyn. Todd is disappointed in himself and has to go get a job.
Next week, the candidates may be paying a visit to Heartbreak Hotel.
Jenn Brasler is an aspiring writer from Falls Church, VA. You can e-mail her at email@example.com. She’s trying to decide whether to use her powers for good… or evil.