The Apprentice 5, Episode 6: Feels Like an Arby’s Nightby Betsy Wasser -- 04/04/2006
Darn you, NBC, for your Deal or No Deal marathon! It’s late!
We pick up in last week’s Boardroom. Trump says that Tarek is “exceptionally poor.” Dan should have brought Lenny into the Boardroom instead of Lee, so Dan is fired. As the two men return to the suite, inside, Charmaine says that it would be strange to see Tarek again. Well, get ready, baby, because there he is. Lee and Lenny exchange hugs. Charmaine says in an interview that she’s disappointed that Tarek keeps coming back. “He doesn’t play well with others,” she explains. The team would be stronger without him. Meanwhile, Bryce tells Tarek that the team needs to regroup, and that Tarek needs to make sure he doesn’t “piss off the women.”
Bryce calls the team together for an impromptu meeting, his first action as “self-elected Project Manager.” He wants to get all of the issues out in the open and take care of it all in 15 minutes. I don’t think it’ll be so simple. Tarek says that he is frustrated because no matter what, he gets called out in the Boardroom. He thinks that’s because he’s strong and they all want to get rid of him. Yes, and the other kids are mean to you because they’re jealous. Leslie responds with a heaping dose of sarcasm. In an interview, Tarek says that he is “a little bit honored” that they so obviously want him gone. Leslie tells him that it is “highly insulting” for him to say that’s why they’re going after him. None of this sinks in, and in an interview, he says that they are like “crazed coyotes” going after a buffalo. Charmaine tells him that he tends to roll his eyes and sigh at other peoples’ ideas. Tarek pulls out more sarcasm and says insincerely that he will change his ways. So, yeah. I don’t think that meeting went as Bryce intended.
The next morning, Lee explains that he won’t be participating in the task because it is Yom Kippur, a Jewish high holy day. He say that for him, it’s a day to step away from work and reflect on his life. He’s not sure how much his team understands, but it’s a big part of his life. He wishes them the best.
It’s time for the task. Many of the Synergy team member are wearing matching blue scarves. Interesting. Trump says that they are going to focus this week on Arby’s, a fast food place that he claims to love. I have a beautiful mental picture now of Trump greeting Melania in their shiny apartment with a bag full of four for five dollars roast beef sandwiches and a couple orders of curly fries. Arby’s has a new line of all-natural chicken , and the teams will have to write a jingle to promote them. They’ll have access to a recording studio and musicians. The two executives from Arby’s, Debbie and Doug, will chose the winner.
Charmaine schedules a meeting with Debbie and Doug for 10:15, then tells the rest of Gold Rush that they need to leave as soon as possible. Bryce says in an interview that his meeting of the night before didn’t work out (understatement), but he is trying to fix it. They need to work together as a team. He tells Tarek that if they lose, he could be going home, so Tarek should do this for him. Um, okay. Hey, speaking of working as a team, they better work as a team to get out the door, because it’s 10:05.
Synergy is excited about the task, and Sean, their Project Manager, is especially exited. He says in an interview that he knows his team well and can adapt his management style to suit them and get the best from everyone. He has the entire team meet with Doug and Debbie because he wants everyone to hear first hand what their client is looking for. Tammy learns that there are no competitors who offer a line of natural chicken products. In an interview, Allie, wearing a strange sequined blue shrug that seems out of place, says that they wanted to learn all of the demographic information about the customers.
After the meeting with Synergy, Debbie and Doug find themselves sitting around waiting for Gold Rush. It’s 10:39, and in the car on the way there, Leslie explains to Lenny what a jingle is. He doesn’t seem to get it. This could be a problem. The team finally rolls in to Arby’s headquarters and offer no apology or explanation for being late. Wow, that’s rude! Debbie says that she was wondering what happened to them, and Bryce ignores her question and wants to start the meeting. Doug tells him that ordinarily, he and Debbie would not have waited 25 minutes for them to show up. Only then does Bryce try to come up with a reason they were late- they don’t know the city well, and he had no idea when they were supposed to be there. Well, I heard Charmaine tell everybody, so I’m not buying that one. He should have paid attention. In an interview, Tarek says that they have started off by pissing off the executives and that the role of the Project Manager should be to make sure they’re on time. I agree with him. I mean, everyone else should have been mindful of the time too, but the ultimate responsibility for making the appointment falls on Bryce, who claims to not even know when they were supposed to show up. Not good.
Now it’s time for the Trump Lesson of the Week: “Command Respect.” Trump talks about how as a leader, you need the respect of your team, and if you don’t have it, you might as well quit. Far more interesting than what he’s saying is the fact that he is talking to the elevator repair guys in one of his buildings and is giving him crap about the fact that it needs to be fixed. That is a truly heroic level of micromanagement. Thus, the Betsy Lesson of the Week is: Don’t apply to be on The Apprentice. If you win, you’d have to work for this maniac.
Synergy heads to the recording studio, and Roxanne has a line for the jingle, “When I’m thinking natural, I’m thinking Arby’s.” Everybody likes it, and before you know it, they’re all working together tossing out lines and coming up with a melody. Allie says in an interview that it was a real group effort. They all look like they’re having a good time with it. Sean says that it was a lot of fun working with the musicians to come up with the right sound. Carolyn watches, and I can’t read her expression. Michael will be the one to throw a wet blanket on things. He says that Sean is doing well, but he wishes he’d shared some more responsibilities. He’s worried that Sean has taken on too much and might forget something.
”This is hard,” Lenny says, summing up pretty neatly what the experience has been like for Gold Rush. He still doesn’t quite understand what a jingle is, and thinks maybe it has something to do with bells, like “Jingle Bells.” Or maybe it should. Charmaine gently shoots that idea down. Tarek tosses out an idea, but Lenny is still stuck on ringing bells. Bill Rancic is watching and looks a little baffled by the whole thing. In an interview, Lenny admits that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, and this is really hard for him. Leslie and Charmaine are increasingly annoyed with him. He tries to sing along with them, and somewhere, the word “ghastly” pops out of Simon Cowell’s mouth. His one suggestion is that they incorporate the sound of a chicken into it, an idea Charmaine isn’t ready to sign off on.
Bryce says in an interview that a good leader knows everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. He knows, for example, that he couldn’t write a jingle to save his life, so he put Leslie and Charmine in charge. The two women are trying to bang something out on the piano. Tarek, Bryce says, is his creative director. Tarek works with the musicians while Lenny stands around and yawns. In the end, Bryce is really happy with how the jingle turned out. He thinks Tarek has redeemed himself, and he feels “partially responsible” for how well the team worked together. He thinks they nailed it.
Trump tells his secretary that it’s time to see “the kids” and how they did. Lee rejoins his team, and Charmaine says he’ll love what they came up with. Leslie says that they missed him, but respect his beliefs.
Synergy is dressed in red and black t-shirts for their presentation. Sean introduces their jingle and says he hopes everyone has fun. The team dances along with the song, including Trump who should never, ever dance. I’m a bad dancer myself, so I’m loathe to mock someone else’s dancing, but wow. It’s bad. At the end, the crowd of Arby’s customers goes wild, and Bryce looks really worried.
Bryce thanks Doug and Debbie and says he’s proud of how his team worked together. Their jingle is performed, and Charmaine sings along energetically. Trump dances, but with considerably less energy. Considering what a bad dancer he is, this is a good thing. Sean looks pleased, a bad sign for Bryce.
Debbie and Doug take the stage and ask “the biggest Arby’s fan in the world” Donald Trump to join them. Trump asks the crowd for an applause-o-meter, and it looks like Synergy won. Sean tells Trump he thinks they won. Bryce says again how proud he is of his team. Now it’s time for the executives to give their verdict. Debbie likes that Gold Rush talked about their menu, but doesn’t like that they never mentioned that only Arby’s has natural chicken. Doug says that Synergy hit all of the key points and fit their brand personality- they win. For their reward, they will eat an absurdly expensive dinner of truffles. Trump says he likes Arby’s better. Take a moment and picture Trump, sitting on a chair trimmed in gold leaf drinking a Jamocha shake. Hee!
The reward, as always, is kind of boring. Everyone likes the crazy expensive truffles, Sean flirts with the women, Michael might be annoyed by that, and Allie is wearing Pebbles Flintstone’s necklace. That pretty well sums it up.
Bryce calls a team meeting, and I sure hope it’s better than the last one. He says they worked hard, and it was a tough loss. He doesn’t want to backstab any one. Charmaine starts to cry and wonders if just maybe Trump will decide not to fire anyone. Now that would be a twist. Bryce breaks it to her that not everyone is going to love all of them. Charmaine says it was a reality check, and that Bryce is not playing a game. Lenny says he’s willing to go, that he had less input. He just can’t write rhymes in English. Leslie’s not sure who should go. Lee puts himself forward, but no one really responds- you can’t go after the guy for practicing his religion, after all. Bryce says he hopes they can create a unified front.
As Bill and Carolyn arrive in the boardroom, it occurs to me that George is probably out this week for Yom Kippur as well. Trump asks Bryce why they lost. He says that their jingle just wasn’t as appealing. Tarek handled the music, and Charmaine and Leslie handled the lyrics, but he approved everything. He adds that if Trump is looking to hire a jingle writer, he’s not the man for the job. That’s why this task was so frustrating. Writing music is a very specific and challenging talent, one that Trump executives do not have to exhibit. It would make just as much sense to have the teams promote Arby’s using interpretive dance, then fire the worst choreographer.
Bryce says that Lenny contributed the least, a fact that Lenny does not refute. Lenny says that he is probably the first Russian jingle writer. Bill says that since Lenny has been in the United States for 14 years, he’s not buying it. I don’t know; Lenny speaks English well, but coming up with clever rhymes in a language not his own would be really hard. Trump tells Lenny he’s on thin ice.
Charmaine admits that she should have included the bit about all natural chicken being exclusive to Arby’s. I’m not sure why this isn’t also Leslie’s fault. Bill brings up the fact that they were 25 minutes late for the meeting, which Trump did not know. Bryce says he hadn’t realized that they were late, but that he apologized. He adds that Charmaine made the appointment. Trump says that mistake put them at an immediate disadvantage.
Lenny says that he would fire Bryce. He was in charge and ultimately made all of the decisions. He admits that he didn’t contribute as much this week, but he tried. Bryce was in charge and overlooked an important detail.
Lee won’t say who he’d fire, since he wasn’t around. Trump asks if it’s unfair that he missed two weeks, that he’d get a bye twice. Lee says he doesn’t want a bye, and he doesn’t know if it’s fair, but “this is who I am.” Good for you, Lee. Trump agrees that religion is important, but adds, “Life is not fair… Life sucks, you know that?” Oh, Trump. Take it down a notch, buddy.
Leslie says she’d fire Lenny due to his lack of input. Bryce thinks that Lenny is good at a lot of things, but this is not one of them. At least he was never a negative influence on the team. Trump thinks that Lenny acts the comedian to hide things. Interesting theory. Who will Bryce bring back? Lenny- that was a given. And Lee. Wait, Lee? Not Charmaine? Things are not looking good for Bryce. Bryce says that they lost on creative input, and though he respects Lee’s beliefs, he could have used them. Well, then, obviously, he does not respect Lee’s beliefs, or he’d know that a high holy day was more important to him that an a stupid jingle about chicken.
Charmaine cries in the elevator on the way up to the suite. I don’t think we’ll be seeing much more of her. We return to the Boardroom after the commercials without seeing any Trump-viceroy deliberation. Bryce explains that although Charmaine and Tarek did the jingle, he didn’t bring them back because he approved the music and lyrics. Without Charmaine and Lee, he’d have had nothing. They lost as a team due to lack of creative ideas. I disagree, but we’ll get to that.
Lee, they agree, had nothing to do with the task, and Trump makes it pretty clear that he’s not about to fire Lee for practicing his faith. Bryce says that he has to stand up for what he believes in, and that he knows Trump wouldn’t fire Lee. Seriously, his bringing back Lee makes no sense.
As for Lenny, while he didn’t do anything wrong, Bryce says he didn’t do anything. Carolyn says that the lyrics missed the mark. Bryce takes responsibility for that. Carolyn thinks he should have brought in Tarek and Charmaine and can’t understand why he didn’t. Bryce explains that because everyone worked hard, he’s bringing in the two people who contributed the least. He adds that he will not throw anyone under the bus. Carolyn thinks he’s pretty well asking Trump to fire him. Trump says it was terrible to bring Lee back, and Bryce suggests he send him back to the suite now. Bryce should have brought in Charmaine and Tarek. Bryce is fired. Trump tells him, before he leaves, that he has great potential.
Trump says that he didn’t like that Bryce brought Lee back. Lenny, sure, but he should have had the other person be Charmaine or Tarek. Carolyn and Bill agree that it was an easy firing.
In the cab, Bryce says that Trump and the viceroys don’t scare him. He thinks that no one else would have been as good of a hire as he would have been. He adds that it wouldn’t hurt Trump to listen once in a while. Heh, awesome.
This was an interesting week. Although Charmaine wished no one would get fired, there were actually several good choices on the team. Bryce thought they lost because they lacked creative ideas. I disagree. No one said that they liked the music better on the first jingle; the executives mainly preferred Synergy’s version because they got in all of the key messages.
Gold Rush lost due to a lack of attention to detail. Did they know how important it was that only Arby’s offered all natural chicken? They sure could have, since the other team got that information from their meeting with Doug and Debbie. But because Gold Rush showed up late, they probably didn’t get the best out of them. Or maybe in their haste, they missed that detail. For that mistake, you could either blame Charmaine, who made the appointment, or Bryce, who had a strange lack of concern about the timetable for someone who was supposed to be in charge. As for the lyrics, Charmaine and Leslie wrote them and missed the key point, then their boss approved it. Lenny contributed nothing to this task. And although he didn’t get in the way, he didn’t even help by, say, getting everybody lunch. I wouldn’t have liked to see Lenny get fired for this task because Trump is not hiring a jingle writer, but the fact is, he didn’t contribute, so I’d have understood if we said goodbye to Lenny this week.
Lee gets a pass this week since he was unable to participate. Leslie contributed to the lyrics, but not to showing up late at the meeting, so she squeaks through. Tarek handled the music and did a fine job- he was not the reason they lost. That brings us to Charmaine and Bryce. Charmaine really screwed up by scheduling the meeting when she did and not trying to foster a sense of urgency to get the team out the door. She also should have made sure that detail was included in the jingle. Bryce, as the project manager, should have been aware of both of those things, but he wasn’t. And his attempt to place any blame whatsoever on Lee for not participating was inexcusable. Trump is hiring a manager, and I would certainly hope that he’d prefer not to hire someone who’d discriminate in any way against someone who is practicing their faith. Ultimately, I liked Bryce, but Trump make the right call.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. There is a decent chance she’ll have a beef and cheddar for lunch tomorrow. She can be reached with any comments at email@example.com