The Apprentice 4, Episode 11 Extras: Slinging Mudby Betsy Wasser -- 12/07/2005
First off, big thanks to Jenn Brassler for covering this episode for me and writing such a great recap. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. Jenn can be the Bill to my George any time! And now it’s my turn to be Jenn’s Bill, as I fill in for her on this week’s extras.
Alla is thrilled to see that Adam was fired instead of Felisha. She is not only Alla’s friend, but also the stronger player. The two exchange a long hug, then Felisha tells Rebecca and Randal that the boardroom was “brutal.” Even though she’s still in the game, she can’t be too happy, after Carolyn’s comment that she was one of the two weakest players left (Adam being the other). Felisha vows not to take any bad feelings from the boardroom forward – she is determined to win.
Our next clip shows Felisha and Alla working on their commercial. Alla will direct the shoot and Felisha will be the actress. Alla immediately takes charge, answering all of the questions about shooting, set-ups, and so forth. Bill watches all of this and notes that Felisha let Alla take charge of everything.
In one of the few clips we see of Rebecca and Randal this week, Rebecca is clearly frustrated with the actor they hired for the commercial. She keeps directing him to show more emotion, but he doesn’t seem to get what she wants. Randal pulls her aside to talk abut what to do. Rebecca thinks the actor’s energy is all wrong, and hates that they’ve spent half an hour on this shot. Randal says in an interview that Rebecca is worried since this is her last chance to win as project manager. Finally, she decides that Randal should replace the actor in the commercial. He does, and he’s much stronger. Randal is obviously multi-talented.
Next up is what Yahoo calls the “meltdown moment.” Alla directs Felisha in the commercial and asks her to appear to be under stress. That shouldn’t be hard, because that’s what Felisha is feeling. She wants to be heard in this task, but Alla, Felisha says, feels uncomfortable when she doesn’t have creative control. The production guy they’re working with says that one of them needs to be in charge of directing. Felisha tells Alla not to be a control freak. Alla says in an interview that Felisha just isn’t herself in this task. She is flustered and clearly upset by what Carolyn said. Meanwhile, Felisha feels like Alla is trying to take over the shoot. They argue about a shot. Alla says in an interview that she will do what it takes for her team to win, so no one should stand in her way. To do otherwise would be suicide.
After the day of shooting is over, Felisha says she “felt like crap” because she didn’t have any creative direction. Well, whose fault is that, Felisha? They go into the editing room, and Felisha once again has Alla take charge. Yeah, that’ll solve the problem. Alla explains the concept: They’ll show a word like “Tired?” then show a freeze frame of someone looking tired, and so on. Felisha expresses concern that they even have shots to convey all of those emotions. It’s obvious that she doesn’t feel like she knows what’s going on. They work on the commercial, and after it’s all put together, Felisha worries that they used too much text.
For the Trump Lesson of the Week, Trump says that family is very important. You can be successful, but without family, you won’t be happy. Word, Trump. I’ll throw in a quick Betsy Lesson of the Week: buy a programmable coffee maker. I honestly don’t know how I could live without mine. How on earth am I to be expected to do something complicated like make coffee first thing in the morning, before I’ve had any coffee? It’s a mystery I hope I never have to try to solve.
Felisha and Alla present their commercial, and the judges are not impressed. They relied on visuals, rather than telling a story – why? Felisha says that they are not actresses and decided to focus on the product. The judges tell them that their commercial was “very interesting,” which is never a good sign.
Remember Rebecca and Randal? It’s time to check in with them again. They’re on a sailboat, ready to enjoy their reward, when Randal’s wife Zahara (pronounced “Zenthara” by Jen, no doubt) and Rebecca’s boyfriend Matt surprise them. It’s nice to see how happy Randal and Rebecca are to see their loved ones, but luckily it doesn’t make me teary like the loved ones always do on Survivor. Randal says that it would be impossible to do what he’s done without his wife’s support. Rebecca says that Matt is the person who loves and supports her no matter what. Randal says he’s extra happy that they won they task since he got to see Zahara. Now he’s ready to put his game face back on, because he intends to win.
The next clip is “Alla Turns On Felisha,” and I’m sorry to report that it means that Alla attacks Felisha in the boardroom, not that Alla somehow excites Felisha; it’s much less hot. Anyway, in the boardroom, Felisha says that she wanted to prove herself, but that she let her team down again. She did not give her all, and she really regrets it. Trump asks her if she should be fired. I think Felisha is pretty sure she will be. Felisha, though says that she was great in the first nine tasks, but not in the last two. She says that Alla is not better than she is; they’re just different. She adds that Alla did better than she did in the two most recent tasks. I really applaud Felisha’s direct honesty here.
Trump asks Alla if she is difficult to lead. Alla says no, she has a great track record with all of the past project managers. Unfortunately in this task, Felisha’s focus was on not being overshadowed by Alla. She’d give Alla control, but then she’d stop her if she was afraid Alla was doing too good of a job. Felisha denies this. She says she wanted them to be a team. Bill says that Alla has trouble being led. Alla doesn’t see it, and asks for examples. Bill says that she tends to steamroll other people, and that in this task, she was the director and failed. Alla says that she always does her best, regardless of who’s in charge. Carolyn asks her if she felt like the leader in this task, and Alla says she did not. Carolyn indicates Felisha and says, “Obviously, neither did she.” Ouch!
Trump asks Alla if she still thinks Felisha is stronger than Adam. Alla says she does, reassuring Trump that she did not deliberately keep the weaker person with her. Alla shares responsibility for their loss, but says that Felisha lost control of the task. Felisha counters that she lost control of Alla. Alla reminds Felisha that after the task was over, Felisha told her that she gave 100%. Felisha says that is true, but that they clashed over who was in charge. Alla always needs to be in charge, and Felisha says she just wanted to win, so she let it happen. I think that’s true. Felisha thinks it was a bad decision to take a subordinate role.
Trump asks about the video itself, adding that Randal’s bazillion degrees from MIT gave him an advantage in this task. Alla says that Felisha claimed to have technical expertise. Carolyn says the problem with their video was that it did not tell a story, and that the text was too fast. Trump shows the video, and Carolyn is certainly right. Bill says that the changes they made to the original footage were “catastrophic.” Felisha says that was Alla’s idea. Alla disagrees, adding “Shame on you.” They did it together. Felisha counters that Alla wanted the video cut the way it was. They’re both right – Alla edited the video, but Felisha put her in charge of it and never stopped her from doing it that way.
Trump asks Felisha if she was “outdone” by Alla. Felisha says she wasn’t, that they both have strengths. She says she should have been in charge. Trump says that Felisha is being truthful, but that she was overpowered. She’s being nice, but Alla is killing her, Trump says.
Alla says that she has a strong track record, but that Felisha has a history of clashing with project managers. Felisha says that’s not true, and that Alla is “getting dirty.” Trump says that’s life. Felisha says that she is not giving up, and she starts to cry a bit as she talks about how much she wants the job. Trump offers tissues all around and is rather nice about the whole thing. Alla starts to talk, but Trump shuts her up. Alla says she was going to compliment Felisha. He asks Felisha if she’s tough enough to work in New York. Felisha thinks she is. Trump says he has no doubt that Alla is tough enough. No kidding.
In the end, Trump tells Felisha that she’s great, but she’s not tough enough. Felisha is fired. Then in a genuinely shocking moment, he fires Alla as well for being hard to manage and for directing such a terrible commercial. They are both stunned.
In the cab ride, Felisha is philosophical – “It is what it is.” Alla says that the two of them had a pact from the beginning to be the final two, and they almost made it. They had a connection from the beginning. Neither of them was impressed with Rebecca, and they wonder if perhaps Randal is bringing out the best in her. Felisha says she did not perform her best and made bad decisions. She didn’t want to pretend otherwise in the boardroom. Alla hated being criticized for being too strong. She thinks that maybe she’s not hard to lead, but that other people are weak leaders. The two vow to go into business together and give Trump a run for his money.
In Alla’s exit interview, she says that her biggest strength is to maximize her teammates’ potential. In the final task, they lost because Felisha lost focus. Trump found her too aggressive, and Alla says that she does tend to take charge. Alla says that the process was hard, and it was difficult seeing people fired every week, especially the multiple firings. She liked the suite best when it was full of people and energy.
Alla was sorry to see Jennifer W. fired so early. She found my boyfriend Josh to be hilarious. She really admires Felisha and thinks she’s very well-rounded. Alla says that she has four kids and is eager to get home to them and her husband. They’re building a huge house, so she’s ready to get back into that project, spend time with her family, and see what’s next.
Felisha says in her exit interview that she’s very driven. She’s amazed at all of the different things she’s done in the process. In the final task, she just wanted to win, and ended up losing control. She didn’t want to sling mud in the boardroom, and admits that she thought she’d be fired. She wanted to be fair, and says slinging mud is unnecessary. It seems just to her that both she and Alla were fired.
Felisha didn’t expect to make friends, and it was a delightful bonus that she did. She loves Kristi and says they’ll be friends forever. She and Alla had an “earned friendship.” Adam was like a younger brother to her, though maybe not a younger brother she could imagine running one of Trump’s companies. She loved the XM task the most, and demonstrates by singing “Nothing Can Be Everything” again. She’s ready to move on and grow, maybe go into business with Kristi and Alla.
Finally, we see the two videos. Rebecca and Randal’s does indeed tell a story, whereas Felisha and Alla’s has slightly more warmth than a Powerpoint presentation. Rebecca and Randal ran away with this one.
I really wanted to see Alla in the final two and I’m disappointed she was fired. I’m not shedding any tears over Felisha and think she made it as far as she possibly could. The truth is, she was weaker than Alla, and I think she knew it. That was why she thought the best way to win was to give Alla as much control as possible. Unfortunately, Trump apparently doesn’t like Alla’s admittedly aggressive style. I’ll be interested to see how Rebecca does against fan favorite Randal. See you next week!
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org .