The Apprentice 4, Episode 4: Bitch Coatby Betsy Wasser -- 10/14/2005
A sneaky thing that both this show and the Martha Stewart version have been doing is putting a little bit of new footage in with the previously, so I find myself actually paying attention. While the three members of Capital Edge are in the Boardroom, Alla tells her team that she does not want to lose again. Kristi says she’s sure Rebecca will be the one fired. Felisha says that Rebecca’s decision to not bring Toral back to the Boardroom was “not loyalty, but stupidity.” As we now know, Jen W. was fired, and Trump predicted that Rebecca would either be great or a disaster. There is no middle ground with Trump, is there? Couldn’t Rebecca be just okay?
Rebecca and Jennifer M. (now known as Jennifer since Jennifer W. is gone) return to the suite, Jennifer kindly carrying Rebecca’s bags. Kristi tells Rebecca she did not think she would be back, which might be just a smidge too honest. Rebecca says that as a team, they have a lot to discuss. And you’ll never believe what happens next: the team sits down as a group and has a civil and fairly productive conversation about what’s going on. I know! What kind of reality TV is that?
Felisha says that she doesn’t understand what Rebecca sees in Toral. Rebecca says that she personally guarantees that in the next task, Toral will step up to the plate. Toral is quiet through the whole discussion until Kristi asks her if she has given her all in the tasks. “Probably not,” says Toral. Well, that’s impressive. In an interview, Toral says that her strategy has been to be passive and let the rest of the team implode. I’d say that was a lousy strategy if it weren’t so close to Kendra’s from last season (and yes, I realize that Kendra did turn it on later, but she started passive). Anyway, Toral thinks that her strategy is working so far. Kristi asks if she will step up in the next task, and Toral says blandly that she will if she has to. Kristi tells her that she owes the team – and Rebecca, her defender most of all – to really “bust your butt” on the next task.
The next morning, Marshawn answers the Trump Phone. The candidates are instructed to meet at the Trump Tower ice cream parlor. There we meet Dairy Queen executives Michael and Eric. Trump says that Dairy Queen is the biggest ice cream retailer in the company, and the Blizzard is their biggest brand. The candidates will work with costume designers to come up with mascots for Blizzard. Michael and Eric will judge the best one. Randal, Trump reminds us, was given an exemption by his team. No one else is safe. Trump’s parting advice is for Toral to show her talent. She assures him she will.
But back at the suite, Toral says that she doesn’t really want to be project manager, but she will if no one else wants to do it. The rest of the team looks stunned. In an interview, Alla speaks for all of us, saying, “What the hell is that?” Never did I think I would love a Russian ex-stripper as much as I love Alla. She is awesome. Toral says that she doesn’t have a background in advertising, so she does not want to lead this task. Felisha says she does have such a background, so she offers to lead the team. Rebecca says in an interview that she is disappointed in Toral.
Meanwhile, over at Excel, Clay says he’ll lead the team, but under certain conditions only. If he tells his team members to do something, they better do it. The second rule is a little harder to follow, but the gist of it seems to be that if he has something scheduled, they’d best not schedule something that conflicts with it, such as eating. In an interview, Clay says that he showed the team that he will lead, and that he will put them in their place if need be. Or another way to look at it might be that he showed his team that he is a micromanager and a bit of a control freak, but whatever. You say tomato.
Clay’s fury comes out almost immediately when Markus schedules a meeting for 11:30. Clay says he wanted it ASAP, and 11:30 is not good enough – he wants 11:00. In an interview, James says he was being ridiculous, a point that’s hard to argue against. Clay says he wants their pitch ready at 1:00.
The women start brainstorming. Felisha says that they are Dairy Queen’s target demographic, so they should think about what they’d like. Marshawn suggests something with Dairy Queen’s red spoon. Toral throws out words seemingly at random that start with B. Felisha is not impressed, and says in an interview that Toral was “a non-factor” in their team. They hit on the name Zip, and they all like it… except for Toral, who thinks it’s goofy. Toral, it’s a mascot. It’s not supposed to be serious. The other women start enthusiastically sketching Zip. Jennifer suggests he wear a shirt with a Dairy Queen logo, but the rest disagree, saying they don’t want to be so blatant about it. Ooh, either that’s a bad idea or Ronald McDonald needs to seriously rethink his wardrobe. In an interview, Jennifer says, “The fact that I was a beauty queen makes people underestimate me all the time.” Wait, what? I haven’t seen anyone treat her like she’s dumb so far. We’re going to need to keep an eye on this.
While Marshawn, Rebecca, and Toral stay behind, Felisha, Kristi, Jennifer, and Alla go to meet the designers. Carolyn is there to watch, and notices that Rebecca and Toral are definitely on the outside. She’s dead-on, of course – the other women applaud their group effort, but note that the four of them did more than the others.
Over at Excel, the guys have decided that their character will be a genie. My boyfriend Josh says that she can be either motherly or sexy. They design her with hair that looks like soft serve ice cream and a big DQ belt buckle. Dude, I would totally wear a DQ belt buckle. I wonder if after the show there will be an ad urging me to go to Yahoo to buy one. Randal says in an interview that he hopes Ginnie the Genie will become a beloved character.
Clay and team head for the costume consultation. Clay wants Ginnie to look like an Alaskan genie, to look edible, and have hair like ice cream and big breasts. She also should be wearing “lots of Dairy Queen bling.” The guys are a little taken aback when they realize that one of them will have to wear this sexy genie costume. Mark volunteers to do it. Clay says in an interview that he was surprised that Mark, a man’s man, would be willing to dress up in drag. Mark tells the designer, “Give me big boobs and a nice mask.” He says if he’s going to have breasts, they might as well be big.
Felisha specifies to the designer that she doesn’t want any logos on Zip. This is not going to go well. Felisha decides that this is the time for Toral to contribute to the team, so she asks her if she will wear the costume. Toral says, “I would prefer not to,” and literature geeks everywhere make their own “Bartleby the Scrivener” jokes here. Toral says in an interview that the character is childish, so she’s ignoring Felisha. Felisha asks Toral to step up to the plate, and Toral again refuses, but says she’d like to be part of the presentation. Kristi can’t believe Toral’s nerve and says, “I’m done with her.”
It’s time for the Trump Lesson of the Week. Trump says, “Maximize Potential.” Trump tells us that a good leader finds the talents of everyone on the team and maximizes them. Good advice, and for once it doesn’t seem to directly telegraph who is going to win this week. And now it’s time for the Betsy Lesson of the Week. This week, I learned that if you’re going to start an Apprentice drinking game in which you drink every time someone says “step up to the plate,” be sure to make a beer run before the show starts, or you will run out.
The rest of Excel is at Dairy Queen headquarters (or as I like to think of it, DQHQ) working on the rest of the campaign, a jingle in particular. My boyfriend Josh starts singing the jingle, and he is adorable. Randal comes up with some great lines, and Adam sings it perfectly. George is watching, and he says that they showed great teamwork, but writing a song is tricky.
While the guys at Excel are all smiles and high fives, tension is high at Capital Edge. Felisha rants about Toral, saying she will put on that costume because Felisha is her boss. She says again that Toral needs to step up. Toral repeats that she would prefer not to. Alla says that they just want to know why. Toral answers that her dressing as Zip would embarrass her family and her employer. It could be argued that going on a reality TV show in the first place is going to embarrass your family and employer. And has Toral never watched this show before? Dignity is not exactly a hallmark of things.
Alla asks if she puts on the costume, should she be embarrassed? And what else might be embarrassing? If they work a construction task, is Toral going to refuse to clean toilets because it’s beneath her? Toral says that’s different. In an interview, Toral says that if Trump asked Carolyn to wear a silly costume, Carolyn would tell him to take a hike. That’s a decent point, other than the fact that Toral’s job at this point dictates that she might have to wear a silly costume, whereas Carolyn’s does not. Kristi, as usual, is furious with Toral. Rebecca watches the whole thing and looks sad. She thinks the rest of the team has already made up their minds about Toral. Jennifer notices this and tells Rebecca not to feel badly for Toral.
Over at Excel, Clay asks James to pitch the campaign to him. Clay says their concept is too complicated. It really didn’t seem too complicated. Randal says in an interview that he could hardly believe it, but Clay scrapped all of their ideas. That’s pretty harsh. Markus starts to say something, but Clay commands him to not speak until he’s given permission. All of the other guys have been wanting Markus to shut up for weeks, but this is taking it a little far.
In an interview, my boyfriend Josh says that Clay is being a dictator, and that he is wearing his “bitch coat.” Up until this moment, this article was going to be called The Plate, in honor of the one everyone wants Toral to step up to, but how could it not be Bitch Coat? My husband and I like to imagine that Clay is wearing the bitch coat, but that he’s sharing it with Toral. Imagine Clay passing Toral in the hallway of the suite, saying, “Honey, can I borrow the Bitch Coat? I’ve got to go talk to my team.” Or imagine Felisha telling Toral to wear the Zip outfit. Toral holds the Bitch Coat in front of her and says, “Do not make me put this on.”
A bunch of the guys go to check out the Ginnie costume. Mark has, and why put this delicately, a huge bulge in his man region that makes the genie seem a wee bit less feminine. James says that Mark is “the most intimidating genie I have ever seen.” Clay suggests that Mark hide his lad with duct tape, but that is where Mark draws the line. And the DQ belt buckle rocks just as much as I thought it would.
At Capital Edge, Felisha demands that Toral smile during the presentation. Kristi puts on the Zip outfit and says that he has no respect for Toral at all. Or in her own words, “Toral is a friggin’ goober.” Meanwhile, Toral says the costume is “an embarrassment.” She says, “Again, my judgment was 100% on target.”
The women begin their presentation, and Zip is… kind of freaky looking. I think this giant, silver backed, spoon wielding, giant eyed… thing would frighten children. Jennifer gives the presentation, pointing out the compartments on Zip’s back that hold Blizzard ingredients. She says he can zip off to anyone who needs a Blizzard. Rebecca says that watching Jen, she realized that the presentation was absolutely ridiculous. The executives don’t seem impressed either. Zip will appeal to kids, but what about to teenagers? Jennifer thinks Zip’s gadgets would impress teenagers. The giant spoon isn’t exactly a Nano. Then they ask the big question – why isn’t Zip branded as DQ or Blizzard? There is an awkward pause, and Marshawn finally breaks the silence. She says that between his iconic swirl shape and red spoon, he is clearly a Dairy Queen product. It’s a totally decent attempt at answering the question – good job, Marshawn.
Excel arrives next, bearing a fruit and cheese plate! That’s funny. Clay introduces Ginnie the Genie. The costume looks pretty good, actually. Ginnie’s hair really does look like soft serve ice cream. As Clay gives the presentation, Randal notices a lot of excitement in the room – not just from his team, but also from the executives. Clay ends the presentation by pointing out Ginnie’s Dairy Queen colors and logos. Nice. One of the executives asks why they chose a female mascot, and I can’t help but notice that they did not ask the women why they chose a male mascot. And isn’t it Dairy Queen? Clay answers that girls will find Ginnie appealing and that men will find her sexy. He also points out that if Mark can wear the costume, anyone can. The executives thank them.
The executives talk and quickly agree on the results. They bring in the teams and call Trump. They start with Capital Edge. They’re not sure what exactly Zip is supposed to be. He’s too cartoon-y and too childish. Worse, there are no Dairy Queen colors or logos on him. Felisha looks like she’s about to cry. Excel, on the other hand, got the magic of Dairy Queen, came up with a character with wide appeal that would reach their target audience. Excel wins.
In an interview, Toral gloats about Capital Edge’s loss. She says they had a very superficial analysis, and she’s pleased that they lost. Did Toral not realize that she was part of the losing team?
The men quickly agree to give Clay an exemption, which surprises me. My boyfriend Josh explains that at this point, they’re more likely than not to give exemptions to the project manager, and that Clay did a “decent” job. For their reward, they’ll go to Shea Stadium, meet Mr. Met, and play baseball with some members of the Mets. The women will go to the conference room, and someone whose name rhymes with “floral” will be fired.
Just a hunch.
In the suite, Toral and Felisha argue about the costume thing. Toral says that she has “a personal and spiritual belief about that stuff.” Felisha isn’t buying it, and asks why, if Toral has a religious reason for not wanting to dress up as a giant spoon-wielding blob, why she didn’t pull Felisha aside and say so. In an interview, Felisha says she thinks Toral wanted a bullet-proof excuse for not wearing the costume, so she picked religion. I think Felisha has Toral pegged on that one. We saw Toral’s reaction, and we saw her interviews. She didn’t want to dress up as Zip because it was undignified and embarrassing. She never said anything to imply that she was uncomfortable with it because of her faith.
Felisha reports all of this to Kristi. Kristi agrees that if Toral had a religious problem with it, she should have said so at the time. “It’s not against her religion,” Kristi says, “That’s bullcrap.”
I’m thinking about making a list of things that I think are stupid and forming a religion that prohibits me from doing them. It is against my religion now to do shots of Jagermeister or to wear pantyhose in the summer. If you want to join my religion, now is the time to do it, as I’m offering a discount on tithing.
The guys go on their reward, and Mark says that he’ll be a drag queen any time if it means he can play baseball with some pros. James played baseball in college and impresses his teammates with his moves. The guys have a great time, and it’s certainly better than Martha Stewart’s “victory is its own reward” attitude on Wednesday nights.
The women are still talking about the task. Felisha says that Toral screwed up. Jennifer, though, thinks Toral is not the reason they lost. She tells Felisha that they needed to show a logo and asks who was in charge of strategy. Felisha non-answers that it was such a big job that they all were. Toral says in an interview that the executives were not impressed with their presentation. She says that the team got what they deserved, and she’s happy that “they” lost. Note again that she said “they” and not “we.” Toral thinks the rest of her team is stupid and adds that this is not a popularity contest.
The candidates head to the Boardroom. Trump asks why there were no logos. someone tries to argue that it was on the spoon, but Carolyn’s not having it. George says DQ’s brand was not there. Jennifer says that she tried to tell them to put a logo on his shirt. Marshawn says that it was a group decision to not put a logo on him, but adds that Jennifer did oppose it. I think I like Marshawn. I hope we can see more of her. Trump asks why they didn’t have any logos, and Marshawn makes me like her more by saying there is no excuse.
Toral says that her group is great at putting up balloons and setting up cheese trays, but they’re not good at much else. Actually, last week’s task would indicate that they’re not good at balloons and cheese either. She says that they had no strategic marketing in their decision, and suddenly starts to sound very knowledgeable about marketing for someone who opted not to lead because she didn’t know marketing. She claims that no one listened to what she had to say. The group is politically divided, and the other group of women roll their eyes at her. Toral then claims she wouldn’t wear the costume for “personal and cultural reasons. She adds that a bad decision like that can haunt you. Trump says that he went on Saturday Night Live in a chicken suit, but Toral makes the point that he is Donald Trump and she’s not.
Toral says that she did not want to wear the costume because of “cultural and religious” reasons that she does not want to discuss. Trump says that he respects other people’s religious beliefs, but suspects she’s making excuses. He asks the big question – did she tell the rest of the team that her religion dictated that she not do this? He thinks they would have respected her beliefs. The other women say she did not. Toral says “I believe I did,” which Trump says means she didn’t.
Trump asks Rebecca if she is still a Toral fan. Rebecca says that she had hoped Toral would show leadership on this task, but she did not. Toral says that Felisha claimed to be a “marketing genius,” and everyone else says that is not true. Trump accuses her of making statements and then changing them. Rebecca agrees with the group that Felisha never claimed to be a genius or expert.
Trump asks Rebecca who she would fire. Rebecca says she is disappointed that she didn’t get to see Toral lead. After some arguing, Toral admits that it was a mistake not to volunteer to lead, and she regrets it.
Trump asks Marshawn if Toral is the reason they lost. Toral starts to answer, but Trump shuts her up. Marshawn says that Toral did not contribute. Toral agrues that she was sidelined on the task. She says that they did not have strong background information, and that she had to beg for competitive research. Once again, Toral suddenly seems to know an awful lot about marketing for someone who claimed she couldn’t do the task. Trump isn’t buying it either. He asks Rebecca again who she would fire. Rebecca reluctantly names Toral, saying, “The team won’t work with her on it.”
Trump says that he’s heard enough. He’s not even going to ask Felisha who she’d bring back. Toral is fired. “Go. Out,” he commands.
After the candidates leave, Trump says that Toral divided the team. Carolyn says Toral did not step up to the plate (drink!), and George adds that she should have worn the costume. Also, we don’t see it, but I’d like to believe as Toral leaves, she hands the Bitch Coat to Rebecca, saying, “Give this to Clay. He needs it more than I do now.”
Toral is not the reason the team lost this task – Jennifer is dead right that they should have had a logo on their character. That still might not have given them a win, but at least they would have had a fighting chance. And I can understand Toral’s desire to keep her dignity (even though I myself might not have that same desire), but this week, she was challenged to show the team what she had. She didn’t volunteer to lead the team, so she should have shown them what a great team player she can be. Putting on that Zip outfit wasn’t about big gloves and a silly costume. It was about being part of the team, and Toral refused to do it. Trump was right to fire her.
In her cab ride home, Toral says she takes her “personal dignity” very seriously. She thinks the women on her team are morons, and she wouldn’t hire Kristi or Felisha as her administrative assistant.
Next week, the candidates promote a movie, the name of which Jennifer can’t pronounce. And there’s a shocking ending! I will be on vacation next week, so I leave you in the capable hands of Jenn Brasler. See you in two weeks!
Betsy Wasser steps up to the plate every day as the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She is currently looking for a Bitch Coat of her very own. She can be reached with any comments at email@example.com