The Apprentice: Los Angeles, Episode 2 - Making a Splashby Betsy Wasser -- 01/15/2007
Before we dive in to the second episode of The Apprentice: Los Angeles, a little news. Last week’s episode had some of the lowest ratings of any season yet. Why? My bet would be that the novelty of the show has, after five seasons of Trump and one of Martha Stewart, has worn off. Last season was a bore, so no one is tuning in. Moving to Los Angeles wasn’t a big enough twist to pique people’s interest. That’s my guess, anyway. Next, you may have noticed that last week, there was no Trump Lesson of the Week, and consequently, no Betsy Lesson of the Week. I’ve had a few requests to include a Betsy Lesson regardless of whether or not Trump shares his wisdom with us. Flattery will get you people anywhere, so I will include a Betsy Lesson regardless of whether or not Trump has anything to teach us. Finally, Trump and Rosie O’Donnell continue their war of words, with Barbara Walters weighing in. Trump and Rosie, can we just agree that you’re both loudmouths who need to pipe down? Thanks.
Nicole thinks there’s more than a 50% chance that both Frank and Martin will be gone. Their fears are relieved when Frank returns. There are hugs all around and Carey hands him a cold beer. Franks says in an interview that he’s never experienced anything like this in his life. He says he proved to Trump that he wanted the job, that he showed Trump his inner fire. Frank vows to prove himself. On the other side of the fence, the others eavesdrop. Derek thinks they’ll be out for blood.
Morning dawns, and New Rhona (also known as Andi) tells the candidates where to meet Trump. Carey says that living in “Trump trailer park” is really rough. Just try sleeping on your lawn every night, and you’ll wish you had your bed. The candidates meet Trump and Ivana. Trump points out the lovely ocean view and tells them that the bathing suit business is a big one. The designers will make men and women’s swimwear for Trina Turk, and they’ll put on a fashion show for prospective buyers, mc’ed by Turk. The team that makes the most money selling their suits to buyers wins.
Trump then tells them that the winning team will be exempt from the next task – they cannot be fired. Kristine says that the stakes are huge. If they win, they will get to stay in the house and not lose a team member. Isn’t that going to make next week kind of boring?
Arrow, formerly known as Frank’s team, gets ready to go. Nicole gives a big speech to get everyone ready. Nicole says her leadership style is to motivate everyone. Carey says their line should be young, fun, and upscale. He’s always wanted to do something like this. Carey shows off an initial design. Aaron says that the print has to be masculine if the trunks are as small as Carey has sketched. “Not if your market’s gay,” Carey counters. Aaron grins – point taken. Aaron says that all of Carey’s styles are short tight trunks. He figures Carey’s style of swimwear is different from what most men wear. He says he wants to give his opinion as a “straight male.”
Kinetic is lead by Heidi, since she won last week. Jenn says their stuff is “beachwear, but kicked up a notch.” Jenn models the first suit, and Heidi doesn’t like it – she thinks it’s “too Ralph Lauren” when they’re not going for classic. My husband insists on seeing the bikini again to really make a judgment. I ignore him, and continue to ignore him when he says we should have gotten a bigger TV. Marisa says that Heidi is just basing this on her own opinion. Marisa says it’s the first time they’ve disagreed. Heidi says they should focus on one-piece suits. She’s going to let Marisa have this one, but if it’s considered too plain and mainstream, Marisa will be accountable. So much for the lovefest on team Kinetic.
Arrow starts cutting patterns. Carey is excited to see the first suit, which is a tiny pair of pink paisley trunks. Carey says that the trunks are designed for one consumer – the one who has a great body and wants everyone at the beach to see it. Apparently Carey has not seen most of the men in America, because there is no way in hell 98% of them could pull that look off. Carey, for those of you keeping score at home, looks totally hot in the trunks. Aaron politely calls it “different.” Tim says that at first he thought it was a female bikini bottom and that Carey was just being funny. Michelle doesn’t like them. Nicole thinks Michelle should learn to censor herself sometimes, to not tell everybody every single thing she doesn’t like. As a result, Nicole says, some of the guys are not connecting with Michelle.
Michelle thinks that Carey is pushing his own ideas too hard. She doesn’t think he even consulted with Nicole. The team works on pricing. Nicole says that it’s very important and wants her team behind her. She asks everyone’s opinion. Leading by consensus – never a good idea on this show. Michelle doesn’t feel comfortable offering her opinion. Carey pushes her to give an answer. He can’t believe she won’t take responsibility. He is sure she’s doing that to avoid culpability in the boardroom. Nicole says that’s fine, they’ll just go with what they have.
The models get dressed, and Arrow decides to have Carey and Nicole model in the show. Trump wears a suit and kicks off his shoes. He looks totally out of place and ridiculous. Trina Turk introduces the two collections. Kinetic is up first. Kristine models a one piece halter in brown and turquoise that’s totally cute. Next up is a guy in a pair of classic board shorts. They are pretty much the opposite of Carey’s trunks. Marisa’s coral bikini looks great, as does a pair of long shorts on Surya. That boy has some serious chest chair. The next is a turquoise bikini, also cute. We see a pair of yellow board shorts. Carey is unimpressed with the showings, saying, “Aw hell, no” to one of them. I think the collection is very safe and middle of the road. On Project Runway that would be serious trouble, but I don’t think it’s so bad here. They really don’t need to innovate; they need to see to a mass market. This collection will absolutely appeal to a broad audience. Frankly, that’s a strength to the coral bikini that Heidi so disliked.
Let’s see what Arrow’s got. Carey feels confident. They have an ivy print boardshort, then a tiny brown bikini, followed by a very tight brown pair of trunks. Carey struts onto the runway in his tiny shorts. Trump can do nothing more than blink in shock. Derek cracks up over it in an interview. He says that although he himself is gay, it seemed like too much, though that said, Carey looked good! “They needed to get a fire extinguisher on that runway, because he flamed it up,” says Derek, “I mean, on fire!” A buyer makes the note that the men’s suits are unwearable. Next up is a white bikini with turquoise accents. Trump says he likes it better, least any of the scary gayness be contagious. Nicole comes out in a bikini, saying she had a lot of guts to model swimwear. Muna says she would never buy one of the men’s suits for anyone she knows, then adds that she knows a lot more about Carey than she did before. I don’t think there’s much doubt that he’s getting fired. The women’s suits, for the record, were pretty standard. The bold moves were all in the menswear, which is especially risky as I suspect it’s a much more traditional market. Men tend to be a lot less daring in their fashion choices.
Trump heads backstage to tally the orders. James is nervous, saying they worked hard. Were the buyers interested in something progressive or safe? While we wait, let’s enjoy the Betsy Lesson of the Week, words of wisdom from me to you to make your life easier. This week’s lesson is “Keep it in your underwear drawer.” No, this is not a Betsy Lesson that Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan have obviously been following. What I’m saying is that if you have important paperwork – say concert tickets or a flight itinerary – that you’ll need in a few weeks, keep it in your underwear drawer for safekeeping. Why your underwear drawer? Why not? You’ll remember it’s there. Instead of rifling through a stack of papers on your desk, you’ll head right to the trusty underwear drawer and will know just where those plane tickets are.
And now for the results. Trina says that the strongest items were the bikinis. Arrow sold $19,616 worth of swimwear. Kinetic did $20,000 (and the rest can’t be heard in the midst of celebrating.) Kinetic will be exempt from the next task, which Trump says is a big deal. Trina says that Arrow lost in men’s. They only bought one suit, and in a very low number. The reward will be a trip to the Playboy mansion to meet Hugh Hefner for a pool party. What a disappointing reward for the women and Derek. Heidi will lead the team and join Trump in the Boardroom again.
Carey tells the group that he’s not going to spend the next few days trying to jockey for position. Frank says that he felt nauseated. Aaron agrees, saying losing an ache that doesn’t go away. Frank really wishes he could have that reward, not to mention not sleeping in the cold backyard.
Kinetic arrives by limo at the Playboy mansion, where they are greeted by Hefner’s girlfriends. Hef joins them, clad of course in his pajamas. He notes that there are more women then men on the team, saying it looks like a typical party at his house. Kristine says that Hugh Hefner can have anything he wants in life, including three girlfriends. Hef tells them that he started the magazine with no money, putting his furniture up as collateral. He says that it worked out, of course, very well. They all go to the pool, where they are surrounded by Playboy bunnies. There area bout a zillion shots of boobies and booties. Classy!
Trump arrives, again looking out of place in his suit. He introduces Heidi to Hef. In an interview, Marisa says that she really doesn’t like Heidi being in charge all the time. Other people should have a chance. Derek dives into the pool with two bunnies, which is kind of funny given the gayness.
The team walks over to the Boardroom, where Ivanka and Heidi wait. Trump arrives and asks, “What’s wrong with you?” Nicole says that they took a risk. Trump says the women were fine and the men were terrible. Whose idea was the tight suit? Nicole names Carey. Trump then lies to us and tells us that he has “a great body” and could wear that suit. Yeah, I don’t think so. And please don’t prove it to us. But, Trump says, no one else could pull it off. Heidi says maybe they could, but they wouldn’t.
Carey says that he wanted to cater to gay consumers. Ivanka says it wasn’t about catering to the consumers, but to the buyers. Trump says that the buyers didn’t want the suit. Carey says the realized that in retrospect. He says they tried to bridge the gap with a gay suit, a metrosexual suit, and a more straight suit. Trump asks Carey if he’s gay, and he proudly says he was, and that he tailored that suit to other gay men. Trump thinks that bathing suit put him at a disadvantage. Ivanka says that the suit was only Carey’s taste, no one else.
Tim looks really, really tired. He’s still my Apprentice boyfriend, but the guy needs a nap. Ivanka says that Carey felt a lot of pride in his suit. He and Ivanka joke about his peacock like way of strutting down the runway. Carey says he’d blame Michelle for the loss. There’s always a piece of the team that keeps everyone from working together, and on their team, it’s Michelle.
Trump says that Heidi is living life well. What does she think? Heidi asks if Michelle had input in the design. The Trumps agree that the problem is with Michelle’s personality, more than in the work of the task itself. Heidi thinks the project manager should have made sure the designs worked. Nicole wants to know who everyone else wants to fire.
Tim blames Carey. Stefani would also fire Carey. Aaron would fire Michelle. Frank says they lost because of the men’s line, so he’d fire Carey. Carey picks Michelle, and Michelle names Carey. James says he’d put responsibility on the project manager. Nicole says if James had been in charge, they would have been guaranteed to lose. James says it’s not personal. Trump says that James thinks Nicole should have reined Carey in. He asks Nicole to choose two people to return to the Boardroom. She, of course, chooses Carey and Michelle. The rest return to their “terrible, leaky, disgusting, hot tent.”
Heidi wonders if Nicole approved the designs. If she did, she’s responsible. Ivanka agrees. Both are likeable and smart. The candidates return. Carey says that Trump is a businessman who takes risks, and that’s what he did. Trump says there’s a difference between a risk and a risk that can’t work. Carey says that the rest of the team approved the design. Trump asks Michelle if that’s true. Michelle says it’s not. She objected to several of Carey’s ideas. Why was the bikini pink? Trump is wearing a pink tie, but he’d never wear a pink bathing suit. Nicole says that pink is the new black, so they tried it. Trump says that a tie or shirt is different.
Why is Michelle there? Carey says that Michelle refused to have input in the price point. You can’t be indecisive. Trump says they didn’t lose this time because of price point. They might have last time, but not this time. Carey agrees, and says that’s all the more reason to stay off the fence. Nicole says they didn’t lose because of that, but that it was frustrating. Carey says that if you want to be a leader, you need to be decisive.
Michelle says she wasn’t being indecisive, she was being smart. She didn’t have any research, so she didn’t feel comfortable giving an answer. Heidi agrees with her. One group should be delegated for pricing, not everybody. She doesn’t think Michelle should be there. Michelle would fire Carey. Carey adds that his designs were approved by the rest of the team. Trump holds the suit gingerly and says it’s not for men. Be careful not to touch them, Trump, or you might accidentally turn gay! Carey says there is a marketplace for it. Ivanka thinks that it’s too narrow. If they only have three suits, they should do something more universal. She’s right. There is definitely a market for suits like that, and there are definitely guys who’d wear it, but if you’re not selling specifically to that audience, it’s just too small a group. Trump says he’s “a pretty wild guy” but he’d never wear a pink suit. The suit wouldn’t sell. Carey says that if the team had said no, he’d have designed something else.
Michelle says Carey ramrodded his designs down everybody’s throats. We will avoid any gay jokes and just let that one stand, shall we? Trump can’t believe Carey is still trying to convince him it would work. Trump then fires Carey, but says he can keep the suit.
Carey thanks Trump graciously, and the candidates leave. Trump says it was a tough call and that Carey is a great guy. Heidi says Trump made the right choice. Michelle and Nicole wish him luck. “This sucks,” sighs Michelle. The two watch him drive off.
In his final interview, Carey says he’s disappointed. He never ramrodded anything, and he thinks Michelle will continue to be a hindrance.
Despite what Trump said, this was not a tough call at all. Carey may be a nice guy and all, but the team lost because of men’s wear – in fact given that they only sold $300 some dollars in men’s wear, they must have done very well with the women’s. Carey designed the men’s suits, and he targeted too narrow an audience. It was his fault that they lost. As for the other two, I’ll be interested to see if Michelle tries to make nice in upcoming tasks. Nicole wasn’t great as a project manager and should have nixed Carey’s idea, but given the success of the women’s line and the support her team gave her, she must have done something right.
I am really fairly disgusted with the turn that this season has taken. This show is supposed to be about business. Trump says repeatedly that it is a job interview. Since when is it appropriate to take job candidates – especially a primarily female group – to the freaking Playboy mansion for a pool party? Since when is it appropriate for there to be a swimsuit portion to a job interview for something other than Miss America (or Trump’s own Miss USA)? And now, next week the task somehow relates to the LA Laker cheerleaders. Our female candidates, who are smart and have amazing resumes in business, are forced yet again to hang around women in skimpy outfits who are marginalized to entertaining men by being sexy. The lack of respect this show is giving to women in business is absolutely appalling. Why any of these women would want to work for someone like Donald Trump is beyond me.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with any comments at email@example.com