The Apprentice 5, Episode 5: Crusin’ for a Bruisin’by Betsy Wasser -- 03/28/2006
Gold Rush makes dinner while Synergy is in the Boardroom. They figure they might as well go ahead and eat, because the deliberations will probably take a while. Lee says that Brent is a huge help to their team. Tarek hopes Brent isn’t the one fired for just that reason. Charmaine thinks he’ll make it again this week. Meanwhile, we watch Trump fire Brent. Sorry, Gold Rush!
The rest of Synergy returns to the suite, sans Brent. Tarek and Dan look positively goggle-eyed that Brent is gone. In an interview, Tammy says she was ecstatic when Brent got fired. Lenny tells the other team that Brent got on his nerves, too. And best of all, we end the scene with a shot of a pile of bagels, just like the giant bagel pile we watched Brent eat for a snack. It wasn’t exactly a subtle shot, but it made me laugh.
As you’ll recall, in the Boardroom last week, Roxanne said that Tammy was a better Project Manager than Andrea. Well, Andrea is smarting over that and immediately confronts Roxanne about it. Roxanne says that she didn’t say Andrea was bad, just that Tammy was better. Andrea thinks the entire thing was unnecessary and Roxanne shouldn’t have said anything. Roxanne says what we’re all thinking – “He asked me.” She’s right. Donald Trump asked her directly if Tammy was better than Andrea. Roxanne explains to Andrea that Tammy is very good at motivating the team to do what she wants, more so than Andrea. In an interview, Roxanne says she’s sure she’s not the only one who thought so, but she is the only one with the guts to admit it. Andrea thinks that Roxanne just wants to be coddled. Andrea tells Roxanne that she is very direct, and that if Roxanne can’t handle it, she’s not tough enough to work for Donald Trump.
The entire conversation is just dripping with irony, as far as I’m concerned. Trump asked Roxanne her opinion, and Roxanne answered it- that’s right- directly. And now Andrea cannot handle it. Perhaps she’s the one not tough enough.
Trump, Carolyn, and Bill are on a gigantic cruise ship, and Trump is making fake small talk about the ship. The candidates arrive, and Trump welcomes them to the Norwegian Jewel, a brand new boat for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Cruises are “big stuff,” worth $10 billion a year. For this week’s task, the candidates will put together a 30 second commercial to promote Norwegian’s “freestyle” program. Two executives from Norwegian (and if Trump isn’t going to bother to learn their names, I’m not either) will judge them. The “most original” concept will win.
I kind of doubt they’re really going for originality. For example, I bet there has yet to be a cruise line commercial in which the ship is attacked by ninjas. That would be totally original, but I don’t think I’d win. But I digress.
The added challenge is that the teams only have three hours on board the ship for filming before it sets sail. That’s not a lot of time.
Dan is the Project Manager for Gold Rush. To say he hits the ground running is an understatement – he hits the ground sprinting, delegating tasks at a mile a minute. In an interview, Lenny says that Dan was just ridiculously frantic. He was shaking, and Lenny wondered if he was going to have a heart attack. The team quickly arrives at the point. Only Norwegian offers freestyle cruising, with no set schedules. Dan wants to do a montage of the things you can do on board. Lenny suggests that they show a guy in a little boat who flags the ship down, boards, and is amazed with all of the great things he finds. Dan declares it “not that bad of an idea,” and before you know it, that’s the concept. In an interview, Dan says that he likes it because it will give them reason to show all of the different locations on the ship.
Synergy decides to contrast a traditional scheduled cruise with Norwegian’s freestyle idea. They film a couple in a restaurant enjoying a meal. Roxanne is the project manager, but Andrea isn’t impressed so far. She says the team is in chaos and that Roxanne is not leading. She didn’t delegate or schedule anything. Sorry, but I have to take everything Andrea says about Roxanne through the Andrea Hates Roxanne filter, so I’m not sure what to believe. As they film the scene, Sean yells words of encouragement including (I kid you not) “Keep acting!” Tammy is worried. They only have an hour and 45 minutes to get four more shots. That’s not a lot of time. The director asks that they have one person that they listen to, which I guess is an indication that Roxanne needs to take charge. That one gets through my Andrea Hates Roxanne filter. Tammy says that she’s worried that no one knows what their roles should be.
Now it is time for the Trump Lesson of the Week. This week: “Listen to Your People.” Trump says that you should hire smart people, then listen to what they have to say. As he does his voiceover, we see him talking to Season 3 winner Kendra. So for all of you wondering what happened to her, there she is. Now for the Betsy Lesson of the Week. This week’s lesson centers on dealing with a cranky toddler in the grocery store. My son Jack will ride in the grocery cart and as we go through the store, will develop weird fixations with random stuff he sees on the shelves. Not even things he’d actually want, but he’ll suddenly start yelling and straining for, say, a package of napkins. My latest brainstorm has been to swing through the floral department of the store first to get a helium balloon. I’ll clip it to the cart, and Jack will be happily distracted by it for as long as it takes for me to go through the store. When we’re done shopping, I’ll put it back where we got it. By then, Jack is content to flirt with the checkout lady and doesn’t need further distractions. I’m willing to bet that, of the people who read this article, more will think, “I should try that balloon thing,” than will think, “I should hire smart people and listen to them.”
Gold Rush has 42 minutes to go. Tarek and Bryce are getting shots of the theater, and Dan figures they can handle it. As Dan sets up the next shot, Carolyn arrives. Lee tells her what’s going on. When she’s up to speed, Lee and Lenny chat about how Dan is doing. Lenny is not impressed. Lee isn’t either, saying that Dan is doing everything himself, not letting anyone else contribute. “We’re good quality people,” Lee sighs. Charmaine and Leslie chat in the ladies’ room (really) about how frustrated they are to not be involved. If Dan used more of them, the whole thing would be a lot calmer and less frazzled. Bill shows up, and Lee fills him in on the status of the commercial. Dan notices this and says that Lee really doesn’t contribute much, but does manage to talk to the viceroys every time they show up. Meanwhile, Leslie is still frustrated. She has a background in broadcast journalism and thinks that experience could have really helped her team.
With 23 minutes to go, Roxanne talks to her actors. She explains that she wants to show a contrast between a traditional cruise experience and a Norwegian one. She asks the cameraman to make it look “drab and disgusting.” She then takes a phone call from Michael. Andrea looks disapproving about the fact that Roxanne stepped away, and immediately takes over the shoot. She tells the couple to look like they’re having slightly more fun – it’s not a terrible cruise, just “standard.” Does Andrea not get the concept? Other cruises not fun. Norwegian fun. That’s it. Roxanne gets off the phone and Andrea tells her about the change. Roxanne is annoyed and says in an interview that Andrea has a tendency to be bossy and take over. She does not “know how to play in the sandbox.” Bill watches the whole thing and shakes his head.
An announcement comes over the loudspeakers that the ship is about to set sail, so all visitors must leave. Andrea gives an interview and says that she hopes they can put their footage into something good, but if they don’t, it’ll be Roxanne’s fault for being disorganized.
Tammy does a voiceover for Synergy’s commercial and sounds very good. Roxanne wants to show the boring, unfun cruise in black and white. Andrea thinks it will just look like the couple is not having fun. Right- other cruise not fun! Why is this hard to understand? Roxanne says that it will be less than five seconds, but Andrea thinks it’ll just look crappy. Roxanne asserts that her decision to try it is not a bad one. Andrea disagrees, but throws out a, “You’re the project manager, do whatever you think is right.” I’m impressed that Roxanne doesn’t smack her one. In an interview, Roxanne says that if she doesn’t stand up for herself, no one else will. She says that she respected the other players when they were project managers, though she didn’t always agree with them. She expects her team to show her the same consideration. Andrea makes a sour lemon face.
Gold Rush is happy so far with their commercial. Tarek works on the titles and explains that they’re just going to show text and leave the viewer “wanting more.” Bryce loves it, but Lenny is not so sure. He thinks the text goes too fast for anyone to read and that they might want to use a voiceover to make it less confusing. Tarek says that customers don’t see an ad just one time, so with enough impressions, it’ll work just fine. Lenny correctly points out that while that might be true in the real world, in this case, the executives will only see the commercials once. Dan declares that he likes the commercial the way it is. Lenny chews his gum in a vigorous protest and glares at them. I cannot help loving Lenny.
Synergy arrives for their commercial in matching black turtlenecks and blue scarves. Roxanne says that this commercial will help Norwegian reach potential customers who do not cruise. Andrea narrows her eyes unhappily, unable to hide her Roxanne Hate. They play the commercial, and it looks good. I think it’s clear that the couple at the beginning is bored, not that they just don’t like each other or something, as Andrea has been implying. I also think that the teams were able to use a lot of stock footage, as it seems unlikely that they could have filmed all of that in three hours. The executives praise their commercial, and Roxanne confesses that they debated the first four and a half seconds. But, Roxanne says, sometimes you have to take a risk, and she thinks this one paid off.
Gold Rush also has matching outfits, in this case black shirts with gold ties. I’m relieved to know that the teams have been able to coordinate outfits despite Brent no longer being around. Dan is a good public speaker, but he’s kind of talking crap. He goes on and on about how many of us are castaways “in life.” It’s a little too deep for a commercial. They show the ad, and the castaway guy appears covered in seaweed with no real explanation. It makes no sense at all. The rest of the commercial looks good, though. The executives ask Dan what the deal was with the guy at the beginning of the commercial. Dan says, “In reality, that floating raft is where you’re trapped, where you’re restricted… but here? He’s having the time of his life.” Looks to me like Dan missed last week’s Trump Lesson about the importance of keeping it simple.
The executives talk things over. Gold Rush’s beginning was “surreal.” They missed the connection and found it odd. The rest was good. Synergy started with a negative, which was jarring, but it picked up momentum. They appreciated the originality.
Trump arrives, and the executives say that they were impressed by both teams. One commercial used a voiceover, and the other used subtitles only. Using subtitles assumes that everyone is watching the commercial with their full attention, which is unlikely. If people are only half watching, they need a voiceover. Both commercials started with a bang and showed the Norwegian difference. But where one was intriguing, the other was confusing. Synergy wins. Roxanne smiles hugely, and Andrea looks a little disappointed. For their reward, Synergy will visit a “secret vault” with more than $100 million worth of diamonds in it. If that doesn’t sound like the set-up for an episode of Batman, I don’t know what does. Best of all, the candidates will get to take home $30,000 worth of diamonds. As for Gold Rush, one of them will be fired.
Synergy heads for the vault, which is heavily guarded. All of them are wanded before entering the vault. Roxanne is wearing an unfortunate pair of black gaucho pants with boots. Inside, the vault kind of reminds me of Costco- concrete floors, nothing appealing. But there are a bunch of loose diamonds, and the candidates learn how to pick them up with tweezers to look at them. Diamonds, according to Sean, are “slippery little buggers,” and the candidates keep dropping them. The candidates each get to choose a loose diamond, and Allie goes for the biggest one. Getting a loose diamond kind of sucks. I mean, sure, free diamond, but now you have to deal with getting it mounted. Roxanne tries on a tiara and is in high spirits.
Tarek looks totally different without his hair combed back. He tells Dan that the rest of the team will probably pile on him in the boardroom. They talk about the way Lee kept latching on to Bill and Carolyn and figure the two viceroys have noticed it. Dan thinks that Lee and Lenny are dead weight and should go. Tarek says he’ll do what he can to protect Dan, but adds that in the Boardroom, he has no friends.
In the Boardroom, Dan says that it was a close contest. Charmaine says that as a leader, Dan has room for improvement. Trump asks her what she thinks of the under the radar Leslie. Charmaine thinks that Leslie should have been more involved, especially given her background. Leslie says that she tried to step forward, but “It was unheard.” It was unheard by me, too, and Dan says that Leslie never mentioned her background. But the rest of the candidates disagree, so maybe Leslie did more than just complain to Charmaine in the ladies’ room. Tarek says that Leslie should have stepped up, but Lee and Leslie argue that she tried to. They all bicker loudly until Carolyn quiets them down and says they sound ridiculous.
Trump says that at least now he’s seeing some energy from Leslie for the first time. Leslie is near tears as she says that she is never heard. She also never wants to work for Dan again. She says she about wanted to jump off the boat.
Trump asks about the castaway they showed, mentioning someone waving frantically at the ship. Trump hates the idea, because it implies that the castaway’s boat sank, not something a cruise line wants you thinking about. Lenny says it was his idea. Trump thinks “it stinks.” Lenny answers that the team liked it.
Carolyn says that without the voiceover, they didn’t effectively communicate their point. Bill says that it was a fatal blow. Tarek says that the titles could have worked with the right execution. Lee is trying not to laugh. Trump goes back to his old standard and talks about Tarek’s Mensa membership. He asks Lenny if Tarek is a genius- after all, he makes a lot of mistakes. He jokes that Tarek must have cheated on his test. Tarek counters that he executed what the team wanted.
Trump wants to know whose bright idea it was to do no voiceovers. Leslie says she wasn’t sure who was in charge- Dan or Tarek. Lee says that Dan makes bad decisions. Dan counters that Lee is always trying to position himself best and to get face time with the viceroys. Trump asks what’s wrong with that. Lee shrugs that someone has to greet Bill and Carolyn. Charmaine thinks that Tarek is unable to listen to the rest of the team, and that’s how they missed the boat (her pun, not mine). Lee thinks that Tarek prevents them from working as a team. He’d fire Tarek.
Time to get to it- Dan chooses Lee and Tarek to go to the boardroom with him. Dan and Tarek are close, so I didn’t think Dan would choose Tarek. It was smart that he did, though- Trump’s got a mad-on for Tarek. Trump asks Dan if he’d like to add a third person. Dan considers Lenny, but decides not to. The candidates leave the room.
Carolyn says that the concept was bad, and Dan shouldn’t have chosen the castaway thing. It was Lenny’s idea, but Dan didn’t bring him back. Bill agrees to a point, but thinks that Tarek made a bad idea worse by not having a voiceover.
The candidates return, and Trump says he’s surprised Dan brought back Tarek. Dan says he struggled with his decision, but that before the Boardroom, Tarek told him he had no friends there. Dan kept waiting for an “except me” and never got one. Tarek says that he told Dan he’d defend him and that losing Dan would be a blow to the team.
Why bring Lee instead of Lenny? Dan doesn’t think Lenny should be fired for coming up with the idea, since they agreed on it as a team. Carolyn points out that Dan almost brought him back. Is he afraid of Lenny? Lee nods yes, but Dan says that Lee checked out on him. Trump thinks that Lee is “basically a politician,” which is why he tends to glad handle the viceroys. Trump doesn’t love or hate him for it.
Tarek, Trump says, has done “an exceptionally poor job throughout.” He has potential, though. Lee doesn’t deserve to be there- Lenny does. The bad concept was his idea. Dan should have brought him to the Boardroom, but he didn’t. Dan is fired. As for Lenny, Trump says, “Tell Lenny he doesn’t have long to go.”
I think Trump made the right decision for the wrong reasons. He says he fired Dan for not bringing Lenny back to the Boardroom. I don’t think the loss was at all Lenny’s fault- and I think Lenny would have done a great job of explaining that. Yes, the castaway was his idea. However, the entire team agreed to it- we saw no nay sayers. The cruise line people didn’t seem to have a problem with the fact that there was a distressed person on a boat so much as that it was never adequately explained what some guy with seaweed on him was doing there. Unless Lenny worked on editing, that was not his fault. Lenny is also the only person who spoke up and said they should use a voiceover in the commercial. Lenny was not the person who should be fired.
A strong argument could be made for firing Tarek. It was he who insisted on using the titles, for reasons that did not make sense under the circumstances. He must be kicking himself for presenting himself as having a high IQ, since Trump won’t let him forget it. Tarek certainly contributed to the loss this week.
But the biggest contributor overall was Dan. He didn’t delegate well and tried to do everything himself. As a result, Charmaine, Leslie, Lee, and Lenny didn’t seem to have much to do at all. They all seem to be capable enough people, and had Dan used them better, he might have had a stronger commercial and a less frazzled team. The fact that they were under such a tough deadline should have inspired him to use all of his resources, not to try to do everything himself. Had he listened to his team, he might have had a stronger ad. More than anybody, Dan deserved to be fired this week.
Dan says goodbye to Tarek and Lee. Trump says that Dan lacked leadership. Carolyn says it was an easy choice. Bill is less enthusiastic, but Trump gets him to agree that it was a good decision because he cannot deal with having his team disagree with him. Dan gets in his cab. He says that he’s eager to get home to his family. He’s especially excited to see his two boys.
Next week, there is bad singing. Plus, the previews tease, our votes will eventually help Trump choose a winner.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of RealityNewsOnline. She can be reached with any comments at email@example.com