The Apprentice 3, Episode 9: The Boxby Betsy Wasser -- 03/25/2005
It’s the beginning on an Apprentice episode, so you know what that means – all of the candidates are wondering who got fired. Everyone pretty well figures it won’t be Erin, though Trump did suggest she quit to become a VJ. Angie thinks it will probably be my ex-boyfriend John. Tana hears footsteps… who is coming back? Erin struts in first, followed by Chris, who does a little twirl and then finds himself tackle-hugged by Angie. Erin, wearing a green bathmat, says in an interview that she is excellent in the boardroom because she remains calm. She tells the other candidates about how Trump told her she wouldn’t get fired so long as she kept her mouth shut. Angie says in an interview that Erin is “a contender.” Amazingly, a little pop-up ad for The Contender does not appear on my screen. Angie thinks Erin is smart, good in the boardroom, and “It doesn’t hurt that every time you turn around you see her ass.”
Stephanie and Erin make really good looking ice cream sundaes and joke about Kendra’s gassiness. Interesting weakness on Kendra’s part. Will she be fired for it? Nah, probably not. Angie tells the kids to be nice, then says in an interview that she has indeed become an adopted mom to Chris, Stephanie, and Erin. If they’re not good, Momma Angie adds, “someone’s getting grounded.”
Craig gathers his team and says that he is the only person in the suite who has not yet been project manager, so he volunteers. He says he’s looking forward to it, then reads to them something he wrote called “The Company You Keep.” Among the things he reads is that it’s better to be alone than to be in the wrong company. Tana tries and fails in an interview to explain to us what exactly Craig was getting at. Hilarious. Finally, they all join hands and pray. Probably many of them are thinking, “Please, Lord, please grant me the wisdom to understand what the heck Craig is talking about.” Alex says in an interview that they support Craig because they like him, but that it’s hard to understand what he wants because he’s a poor communicator. Maybe if they could understand him, they’d like him less. Maybe what he’s trying to convey is really mean, and it’s just not coming across. It’s a theory.
The next morning, Tana answers the Trump Phone. What happened to Angie, our usual phone answerer? I’m left pondering this mystery as Rhona tells Tana that they should meet Trump at Trump Park Avenue. There, we see some fake executive patter between Trump and two executives from Home Depot. The candidates file in, wearing their Omarosa Manigault-Stallworht Memorial Hard Hats. This week’s task is to create a do it yourself clinic at Home Depot. They’ll be judged by the two execs, whose names are Jose and Christine. The criteria will be product involvement, customer involvement, and originality. The team with the best clinic wins. For leading the winning team last week, Kendra is exempt.
Angie immediately volunteers to be project manager because she considers Home Depot, “the happiest place on Earth.” Stephanie says she loves it too – not that she wants to be project manager, just that she’s excited and ready to work. Chris says they should look for something new, hip, and trendy that people want in their houses. Angie thinks maybe they should show how to install crown molding, and as she starts to explain why it’s a good idea, Erin interrupts to say that she doesn’t know anything about Home Depot and can’t help with the task. Angie says in an interview that she is not impressed with Erin’s defeatist attitude. The team decides to go to a store first before they choose a project. In an interview, Erin says, “As a former beauty queen, I know what a crown is, but I don’t know what crown molding is.” First of all, if you start a sentence with “As a former beauty queen,” you’re pretty much going to annoy me. Second of all, being gleefully ignorant about things is not cute.
Magna has the same idea, and also heads to Home Depot to brainstorm. Kendra suggests a clinic on how to put a mosaic on a table top. I like the idea, and the rest of the team does too – Tana suggests they could do mosaics on a cutting board, and Bren’s thinking on concrete benches. But Craig has another idea – a foot locker, and kids can participate also by helping decorate them. Tana doesn’t like the idea and doesn’t think it’s interesting or creative. Alex just thinks it’s boring. In an interview, he says, “Would you want to go to a clinic on making a box? That rocks, huh?”
Craig tells the team that the creativity comes in how they present it. Tana says that she’s not passionate about the idea. Besides, everybody has a box already. Craig lays it out – they’re doing the box thing, end of discussion. A frustrated Tana says she bets Angie has a better idea, so one of them will be fired.
It’s time for the Trump Lesson of the Week: Sell Your Ideas. You can have the greatest idea in the world, but if you can’t sell it, you won’t be successful. I’m pretty sure we’ve had this Trump lesson already. So here’s your brand-spanking new Betsy Lesson of the Week. If you’re baking, put a paper towel on the counter and measure your dry ingredients over it. When you level off the top of the measuring cup with your flour, sugar, or whatever, the excess will land on the paper towel and it’ll be easy to clean up.
Erin and Chris wander around Home Depot as Erin blathers about how she could design shoes or a line of clothing, but not something for the home. She notices a toilet seat for sale and proclaims it “gross.” Oh, please. She says that Home Depot is like a foreign country to her. Then she tells Chris that she does know how to replace a door knob. Chris looks at her and says flatly, “That’s what we should do then.” In that moment, I love Chris just a little bit. Yes, I think he’s an obnoxious hothead, but can you imagine how freaking annoying it would be to listen to Erin going on and on about how she doesn’t know how to use a hammer? He’s not going to be my new TV boyfriend, ut with those words, he shut her right up. Well done, Chris.
Finally, the team starts flipping through project books looking for an idea. Stephanie likes the idea of a mobile kitchen island, basically a cart on wheels. Everybody likes the idea, so they get started by building their own. Chris and Stephanie work together and bicker cutely. Angie says they’re pathetic. They finish the island, and Stephanie says it’s cute. Angie says in an interview that it is indeed cute, but that it took them way too long to put it together. Erin puts on her Chanel sunglasses to saw wood and says, “As long as I can dress up, I’m fine.” Angie says that she kind of hates everyone on her team right now, but cheers herself up by making fun of Erin with Stephanie. That would do wonders for the morale.
At Magna, Craig has a request: “Can we not call it ‘the box’?” He’d prefer to call it a “space-saving trunk.” How about doing a Eeyore tribute and calling it A Useful Box To Put Things In? Alex thinks it’s rather silly to call it something other than the box, since that’s what it is, but whatever. Bren suggests that they use it as a pet coffin. Craig says in an interview that he thinks they’re hoping he’ll change his mind on the box – sorry, space-saving trunk , but it’s not going to happen, so they should move on.
Tana and Kendra talk about how hard it is to follow what Craig is talking about. Alex and Bren think that the whole idea is really bad. Should they sabotage the other team instead? Alex jokes that they should shut down the power grid. Meanwhile, Craig is alone building his boxes. He figures they’re all talking about him, but he doesn’t care. He’s busy, and his team is failing him.
Craig does not just sit back and wait for everyone else to screw up. He talks to Alex and Bren and asks them to be more positive. Alex promises he will be, and that he’ll make sure everyone has a good attitude. Craig swears they can make the project exciting. Bren jokes that if they focus on how to decorate the boxes that they will literally be thinking outside the box. The team has a renewed energy. Tana makes the guy helping her set up do a little dance. Bren says in an interview that the challenge is to make the project exciting.
Over at Net Worth, Erin tells a customer that she thinks it’s really sexy when men do work around the house. Angie explains in an interview that she put Erin in charge of promotion and marketing because it’s all she can do. She seems to be doing well. She’s working the crowd, passing out flyers, and talking about how this is a great project for women to do. Angie and Stephanie work with a customer on staining, and the Home Depot judges note their good energy. Because you need to talk loudly in this demonstration, Angie brings Chris out, then quickly discovers that he’s not very good. In fact, he puts a shelf on upside down. Then, Stephanie drops one of the pieces on the floor. A customer says that he likes the product, but think it looks hard.
Magna has a bunch of boxes put together and has customers working on decorating them. Tana does a great job of working with kids and helping them put handprints on the boxes (sorry, Craig, I’m not going to write “space saving trunk” over and over again). Alex talks to a customer in Spanish about the project. Another box is painted with chalkboard paint, so Kendra is helping some kids draw on it. Craig thinks the handprints are especially appealing because your kid’s hands are only that little for a short period of time. Carolyn is watching the team and thinks that Tana, Alex, and Craig are really doing a good job.
The team now finally understands what Craig was envisioning. Kendra says that Craig was right that the project is something the whole family can work on. Bren says in an interview that Craig is very smart, but he can’t communicate very well. We see a montage of kids having an absolute blast decorating the boxes.
Trump and the judges arrive to give the verdict. Trump asks how they enjoyed the task. Everyone but Erin says it was fun – she though it was hard. Jose and Christine give the results. Net Worth did not involve the customers enough in their presentation – they just put the thing together while people watched. But Magna got parents and kids involved. Magna wins. For their reward, they’ll experience weightlessness.
Right after this segment, there’s a really funny commercial about the box project. With dramatic quotes about how incredible this project is, we see an array of decorated boxes. Home Depot will be duplicating Craig’s initially unpopular idea at clinics across the country. That’s got to be gratifying for Craig.
Angie is really disappointed that her team lost. Stephanie asks how they could have done better. Angie thinks all of them could have, and she’s not sure who she’s going to take into the boardroom. She thinks if she takes Chris, he’ll get fired because he loves Erin. Hey, he loved John too, and he survived that one. Angie doesn’t think Erin will be fired because she has “electricity with Trump.” She’s also very jealous of the prize.
It’s reward time. Magna, decked out in flight suits, takes off in a plane that blah, blah, physics, blah, blah, and they’re weightless. They explained the science, but I didn’t write it down. The point is, it looks really, really fun. Kendra says that it was a great reward, but that honestly only Craig deserved it because the rest of the team had such bad attitudes. Very honest of her. Alex says that while his team experienced life in space, space cadets Erin and Stephanie are about to face the boardroom. He predicts that one of them will be fired.
In the suite, Angie tells Erin that she’s taking her to the boardroom. Bad idea, Angie – don’t give Erin more time to form an argument. Angie says that Erin is going to the boardroom because she didn’t contribute, and in fact checked out of the task early. Erin thinks it’s better to admit your weaknesses up front. She adds that the presentation was really the problem. Angie asks, then, if she should take Chris and Stephanie instead. Erin doesn’t think that either, and tells Angie that she’ll be just fine with going to the boardroom. In fact, she’s confident. In an interview, she tells us, “Every time I speak, it’s poignant and accurate.” Too bad sometimes when she speaks, she’s wearing a bathmat and it is thus impossible to take her seriously.
The candidates arrive in the boardroom, and I have to say no to the fact that Angie is wearing a man’s necktie. She tells Trump that they lost the task because from the beginning, they were short a player. Because Erin said she had nothing to contribute, the other candidates were forced to pick up her slack. Trump says he heard she was terrible. Erin insists that she was unfamiliar with home improvement, but that she tried. She says she’s familiar with Home Depot’s “corporate structure,” a statement which I highly doubt, but that she doesn’t know how to use a drill. Trump compares her to Paris Hilton, and Angie says Paris would have done better. We haven’t seen Paris use a drill yet on The Simple Life, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.
Erin tries to defend herself, but Angie isn’t done. She says that Erin claimed at the very beginning that she had nothing to contribute. Erin scoffs, “That is slander.” Trump all but rolls his eyes and tells Erin to sue her. Erin winks at him and says she isn’t in the mood. I’m sorry, did she just wink at Donald Trump? I’m afraid she did. I really hope this moron gets fired. Erin claims that the rest of the team is ganging up on her. Trump agrees that they all seem to think she was terrible. Angie says that she, Stephanie, and Chris weren’t perfect, but at least they tried. George tells Erin that part of the point of the 16 week job interview is to show your versatility. Erin argues with him that she is versatile. Chris says that Erin approached the task by being “indifferent.” That way, if things didn’t work out, she could always deny involvement. It’s a good point.
Erin says that she’s not a failure, though she was out of her element. Angie quietly says that Erin was out of her element in being there. Erin says Angie is the one out of her element.
Trump asks whose idea the project was. Angie says it was hers, and Trump says it was a bad one. Angie agrees that it wasn’t the best, but it’s better than checking out of the task like Erin did.
Trump asks Stephanie who she’d fire, and before she can answer, Erin jumps in and says that Chris is unprofessional. He swears a lot and chews tobacco. Trump has a real problem with the chewing tobacco thing and asks Chris if he has a spittoon under his desk. That’s gross, but not as gross as what he usually does, which is swallow the juice. Carolyn looks disgusted. Chris says that Erin is being vindictive, and that whether or not he has a tobacco habit is irrelevant. Erin says again that it’s unprofessional. Carolyn, who doesn’t miss a trick, says that what Erin is doing is “very convenient.”
Back to Stephanie – she says that overall, Angie is responsible for the loss, and before she can explain further, Trump cuts her off. Trump asks Angie who is not going back to the boardroom. Since Trump doesn’t take her suggestion of herself, she saves Stephanie, adding that after Steph blamed her for the loss, she’s having second thoughts. Stephanie says that she didn’t get to finish her thought. But it doesn’t matter – Stephanie is headed back to the suite.
Trump asks Carolyn and George what they think. Carolyn says that Angie was the only one who made decisions, and that she basically carried the team. George says she made some bad decisions, but that she was a good leader.
The candidates return to the boardroom, and Trump tells Angie that she could have done better, but that Carolyn and George support her. Unless she says something dumb, she won’t be fired. Erin says that she has consistently been a good player. Chris says he worked hard, and that Erin is by no means better than he is. She’s a well-spoken lawyer, but she is not tougher or smarter than he is. Naturally, Erin disagrees with that. Chris says she didn’t do her best on the task, and Erin counters that Chris “requires adult supervision,” a cliché I’d like to retire along with thinking outside the box.
Trump goes back to the chewing tobacco again. Chris says that if Trump doesn’t want him to chew anymore, he’ll quit, as of now. Trump thinks he’s an addict, and Chris says that if next week, Trump finds that he’s chewed again, he can fire him then. Well said, Chris. Erin says that Chris has an anger problem and swears excessively. Trump doesn’t really care about bad language, and says he and George basically paint the room blue together, which I bet is true. Trump does think Chris is an angry person, though Chris says that he’s aggressive. Erin believes Chris relies on anger and swearing because he’s a bad communicator. I’m sorry, Erin, but Craig is the one who will eventually be fired for being a bad communicator. Chris says that he is effective, loyal, and honest, and that by refusing to help the team, Erin showed herself to be disloyal. Erin says that she’s smarter than Chris, and Chris says that he wouldn’t be the youngest person in the suite, and a millionaire to boot, without brain power. Another good point.
Trump asks why Erin didn’t present. Erin says it’s because Angie doesn’t like her. Angie says that’s not true, that it’s because Erin checked out of the task. Trump says that despite her bad attitude, Erin is a good presenter.
Trump says that he thinks Angie made a mistake by not having Erin present, another strike against her. However, he says George and Carolyn support Angie, so he has to listen to them. Erin winks at Trump again and asks in a way that she thinks is cute, “Do you have to?” Trump says no, but that he will. Then he adds that Erin is a bit of a wiseass. Carolyn and George think it was a really dumb statement to make. Apparently Trump thinks so too, because Erin is fired. She flounces out of the boardroom. Trump tells George and Carolyn that Erin was too much of a smart aleck and hard to control. The two of them are more than happy with his decision.
I agree with this one completely. Is the mark of a good executive for the Trump organization the ability to conduct an effective seminar on home improvement? Absolutely not. But instead of spending the entire task talking about how she didn’t know what she was doing, Erin would have done better to tell Angie, “I don’t know much about home improvement, so I’m at a bit of a loss. I really want to contribute so we can win, so please tell me how I can be of help.” And if she wants to accuse Chris of unprofessional behavior, she should also look at herself. It is absolutely unprofessional to flirt with and wink at someone during a job interview.
In her final interview, Erin makes an array of home improvement related puns, and while we’re doing that, I’ll just say that she’s acting like a tool. She says that she had fun and enjoyed her experience. And now, she’s going to learn how to saw.
Next week, Chris’s anger reaches a new level. Looks like he clashes with Alex. We’re down to eight candidates. See you all next week!
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.