The Apprentice 5, Episode 7: This One’s for the Childrenby Betsy Wasser -- 04/11/2006
Leslie and Charmaine return to the suite, waiting to hear Bryce’s fate. Leslie is clearly upset and sniffs, “I’m fine,” through her tears. She says it’s upsetting and that one of their friends will be going home. Charmaine cries too, because it’s not an episode of The Apprentice if Charmaine doesn’t cry. Charmaine says it’s just going to get harder with every Boardroom. Lee and Lenny return. Tarek is disappointed- Bryce was a good friend. Lenny says that since Trump told him he was on thin ice, he will be Project Manager. He declares, “We’re going to bury Synergy in the graves.” Awesome! I’d love an All-StarApprentice starring him and Alla. Who else? Who cares!
The candidates arrive at one of Trump’s buildings and don the Omarosa Manigualt-Stallworth Commemorative Hardhats. We meet Paula and Rich, who are executives from Ace Hardware, along with Glenn, an executive from Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Ace has a program called New Faces for Helpful Places designed to serve the community. For this task, the candidates will renovate a room in the Boys and Girls Club building and create a theme for the kids. They will be judged on creativity and functionality, and the three executives will choose the ultimate winner.
Gold Rush checks out their room, which needs a lot of work. Lee notes that it’s important for Lenny to win. What should they do with the room? Should the theme be dance, music, or art? Lee thinks that dance or music would be good choice. Lenny says they’re doing music. Charmaine thinks they should talk to the executives before making any big decisions. She is frustrated that Lenny doesn’t care about meeting with them. And how does she know that? Perhaps because he uses the words, “I don’t care.”
The executives arrive, and Lenny? Doesn’t care. There is a long pause, and Charmaine takes over, asking about the program. The only problem is, she gets the name of it wrong. Oops. She tries to get Lenny to talk, but he really doesn’t have much to say, just asking about the size of the hardware store they’ll have access to. There are lots of awkward pauses in the meeting, and tense music plays in the background. In an interview, Tarek says that Lenny should have asked more questions, that he never seemed to understand the objective. Oh, and Bill is there to take in this whole debacle.
Things are not looking good for Lenny.
And now for the Trump Lesson of the Week: “Be decisive.” Trump says that if you can’t come up with a decision in a timely manner, you won’t look like a leader. However, you should not be so quick that you might make a mistake. The Betsy Lesson of the Week was demonstrated on the show this week. That is, if you’re painting a wall red, plan on putting on about a billion coats of paint. Otherwise the color just isn’t as vibrant as it should be. Red paint is tricky.
Michael is the project manager for Synergy and is pretty much the exact opposite of Lenny. The first thing he wants to do is to meet the executives and to learn as much from them as possible. He asks lots of questions about the charity and about how important it is to include the Ace brand. That’s a good question, and it makes me think that Michael is going to win this week. The executives start to leave, but Michael has more questions. There’s a montage of everyone looking uncomfortable as Michael continues to talk. Andrea says in an interview that he tends to go on and on.
Andrea thinks that the room should be interactive. They start planning things out- a DJ booth and dancing, maybe. Michael wants four main areas- a TV, gaming, a spot for girls, and music. Because girls don’t like television, games, or music? Allie gently reminds Michael that the store closes in 4 hours, so they need to get cracking. But first, Michael embarks on the painful process of choosing the color scheme. Carolyn watches and says that time is ticking away for them to renovate. Allie says, “We should be shopping.”
Next, the show offers up a split screen of the two teams that is absolutely fascinating. Well done, editors. While Gold Rush loads up their cart at Ace, Michael ponders paint chips. Leslie and Charmaine quickly choose Gold Rush’s paint as Michael thoughtfully scratches his chin. Finally, Roxanne suggests that maybe just some of them go to the store. In an interview, Sean is incredibly frustrated. He says they need to “stop pissing around” and get to work. He then punches the air in a cute mini-tantrum and I am reminded of why he’s my TV boyfriend even though he is a shameless flirt.
Gold Rush starts painting, and Charmaine argues with Lenny about how many coats of red paint they’ll need. She’s right, of course- they’ll need at least two. Tarek says that she talks way too much and it’s like nails on a chalkboard.
Synergy’s theme is “The Lounge.” It’s a place for kids to hang out, and Allie says it’s “very interactive.” Michael, Andrea, and Tammy buy the items they need at the hardware store while the rest of the team buys electronic equipment. The hardware store is closing in 10 minutes, a perfect time for Michael to dither over what lighted fake palm tree to buy. Andrea is out of her mind with frustration because Michael can’t make decisions or delegate anything. I’m not an Andrea fan by any means, but girl, I feel you. I’d want to shake him at this point. Michael calls the rest of the team to review what they bought. They’re all annoyed- doesn’t he trust them? Sean figures this is his way of looking like he’s managing, and I think he’s right.
Michael has to choose a paint color and he is so overcome with indecision that he actually calls Sean to ask. Dude. Flip a coin and move on. Roxanne, Allie, and Sean laugh at Michael so hard that they can’t answer his crucial paint question. In an interview, Sean cries out, “He is a wanker!” and is adorably British.
Bill is waiting for Michael when they finally get back to the club. Michael says they’re going to work all night. Bill wonders why they’re so late. Poor Bill probably wants to go to bed. Michael says that they needed time to figure everything out. Bill quickly realizes that all they’re doing to the room is to paint it- why did it take so long to arrive on that? He asks Andrea how Michael is doing as project manager, and she cannot quite figure out a polite answer to that one. She says that he is “fine,” then stammers something about the new flooring they’re doing. She says she wanted to convey telepathically what a mess he is.
Sean and Andrea decide to take over and just pick a color scheme. Andrea says, “Is that so hard?” She says that everyone says she’s a dictator, but she’s just a decision maker. Honey, if everyone says you’re a dictator, then you might want to take a hard look in the mirror. The team works all night, and the room looks great. Sean fears, though, that they could still lose. If the other team is not as inept, they could win.
And who is more inept? Bill goes over to Gold Rush only to discover that Lenny is not there. He and Lee are out buying electronics. Charmaine calls, and Lenny is disgusted to hear that she, Leslie, and Tarek aren’t done yet. Charmine is frustrated- they can only go so fast. Tarek says in an interview that the electricity, floor, and stage are still not done yet. Meanwhile, Lee and Lenny are lost trying to get back to the club. Yep, they might be more inept than Synergy.
Lenny returns, and Charmaine starts arguing with him right away about what needs to be done. She says that a lot of the stuff that needs to be cleared is too heavy for her to lift. Lenny says that she is a very negative person, and he has no time for it.
The executives arrive at Synergy first. Michael explains how they tried to integrate the values of the club and points out the Ace logo on the door. It’s a “fully interactive space” with a big TV with “teamwork based” video games, karaoke, drums, a pink spot for the girls, a bunch of board games (including Trump’s). Michael explains that the kids don’t all have to be doing the same thing. A bunch of kids come in to check it out and they seem to like it.
The executives then head over to Gold Rush. The team, in matching yellow polo shirts, looks really tense and tired. Lenny talks about music and is a terrible public speakers. He is awkward and halting and clearly does not want to speak. Lee takes over a bit and talks about the importance of music and how they created a space that would encourage kids to perform. A group of kids comes in, and they love the space. The candidates look really happy.
It’s time for a decision. Synergy, the executives report, really understood the core values of the clubs. They liked the flexibility and the importance placed on teamwork. Gold Rush’s theme was more focused (and to be honest, Synergy really didn’t have a theme). If you don’t like music, one of them points out, there is nothing to do. Plus with all of the kids playing, it could be chaotic. Sure, they could keep things quieter with headphones, but that would mean shutting each other out. Synergy “hit the mark better” and wins. In an interview, Sean says that Michael is “a very lucky man,” and that he won because of his team, not because of his leadership. I’m kind of bummed that his team won, because Michael did a really awful job this week. For their reward, they’ll be taking a little girl with cancer on a Toys R Us shopping spree for Make A Wish foundation.
A limo pulls up outside Toys R Us with Dasheira, a little girl with a rare form of cancer. Trump arrives and encourages her to pick out more toys. Dasheira picks out a doll for her niece, which is really sweet. Her mom says how much this means to her little girl, and that she is in heaven.
Lenny says that he intends to defend himself in the boardroom, and he doesn’t want to, but he has to bring somebody with him. He says that Charmaine was the only issue, and that her negativity is probably the reason why they lost. Oh, Lenny. So confident and so wrong.
Charmaine and Tarek primp and chat. She has no idea who will go in the boardroom. Tarek says he has no choice but to be critical of Lenny. How can a Project Manager leave the construction site? Tarek figures since Lenny was on thin ice anyway, this is it for him.
Meanwhile, Lee and Lenny make dinner and Lee coaches Lenny on what to say. He makes a cheat sheet for him and everything. Lee tries to review a list of words that Trump likes to hear, then suggests they tackle the issue of why Lenny gave the presentation. Lenny shrugs and says that his mind a little off. Lee says not to say that. Lee says in an interview that he really wanted Lenny to win as Project Manager, and that he’ll do anything for him. His devotion is, at this point, a little creepy. Lenny asks if he’s willing to go to the boardroom for him, and Lee says yes. Lenny says in an interview that he has a lot of respect for Lee. I think Lee is crazy nutso. Sure, he loves Lenny. I do, too. But there’s only so much you can do.
In the Boardroom, Charmaine starts things off by saying that Lenny was ineffective and made the wrong decisions, which led to their loss. Lenny counters that she was surprisingly hard to manage, questioned everything, and didn’t listen. Charmaine protests that she never disobeyed. Lenny thinks she was very negative.
Charmaine points out that she tried to get him to prepare for the meeting with the executives. Kind of like she tried to get everyone ready for the meeting with the executives last week. When they got there, Lenny didn’t have anything to say, so she had to do the talking. The other team spent 45 minutes talking to the executives; Gold Rush spent less than 10. Ouch.
Lee thinks Lenny did a great job; he loved the room. Trump says it wasn’t as good as the other. Lenny says that his vision was simple- music. Bill thinks it was way too narrow. Charmaine starts to interrupt, but Bill won’t have it. He says Lenny should have been more prepared, asked more questions, and thought things through.
Lenny says that he’s not there to please the judges, but to make a great room for the kids. Trump says that it’s not up to the kids, but rather to the judges to determine a winner. That’s kind of a sad position to defend, isn’t it? Bill says that the kids don’t make the decisions, and Lenny, ever the diplomat, interrupts with, “We got it.”
Carolyn asks what happens if one of those expensive instruments breaks- they’d be expensive to replace. Lenny counters that the TV could break, too. Carolyn says that’s just one thing.
Lenny admits that his presentation was terrible. Why do it? Lee answers that it looks weak if the project manager doesn’t present. Bill says that they didn’t lose because of the presentation. Lenny, beyond being polite counters, “So why you bring it up?” Charmaine says that if not for her, they wouldn’t have accomplished anything. Lenny says he wishes she hadn’t even been there.
Charmaine says, no surprise, that she’d fire Lenny. Trump points out that Leslie is “quiet as usual,” then goes on a tangent about how she plays three sports. Oh, and she’d fire Lenny. Tarek says that the theme was okay, but was underdeveloped. He’d fire Lenny for misallocation of resources.
Lee, on the other hand, would fire Charmaine. Carolyn can’t believe it. Why defend Lenny? Is he his lawyer? Lee says he believes in Lenny. He let him present so he wouldn’t look weak for not doing it. Carolyn suggests that he would have looked strong for knowing when to step back.
Lenny wants to bring back Charmaine and Lee- Charmaine because he wants her fired, Lee to advocate for him. Trump can’t believe Lenny would expose his greatest ally. Lee says he agreed to it. Without going into a second boardroom, Trump fires Lenny.
This was really the only choice. Lee, Tarek, and Leslie worked hard. Charmaine was annoying, but she worked hard too. She was also completely right about the fact that they should have prepared better for the meeting with the executives. Lenny made me laugh and I’ll miss him, but this was a good choice.
Trump tells Lee that he likes his loyalty. They go into the lobby, and Charmaine tells Lenny that it wasn’t personal. He ignores her and says goodbye to everyone else. She cannot believe he’s mad at her and they’re “not going to be friends.” Lenny says that she has “10,000 faces.” She continues to harp on, talking out of all 10,000 mouths, about how wrong he is. Charmaine, not everybody is going to like you. It’s okay.
Oh, here’s a big surprise: Bill and Carolyn think Trump made the right choice.
Here’s another non-surprise: Lenny still doesn’t think he did anything wrong. He wishes Lee the best.
Ready for the next episode? Well you’re in luck, because we’ve got a double-header this week. Stay tuned for my next recap.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She thinks that in the battle of the evil Russian candidates, Alla would prevail. She can be reached with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org