The Apprentice: Los Angeles, Episode 3 - Take This Job and Shove Itby Betsy Wasser -- 01/22/2007
While Nicole, Michelle, and Carey are in the boardroom, the rest of Arrow wonders what will happen if “Johnny” returns. Who is Johnny? (sorry if you now have that song from Short Circuit running through your head… “Who’s Johnny, she said, and smiled in her special way! I gave her away!”) Frank tells us that they have given Michelle the nickname Johnny because she is an annoying “Johnny Come Lately.” That’s kind of lame, as far as nicknames go. There seems to be a real vacuum of good nicknames on TV since Lost’s Sawyer has been away from us for so long. Anyway, the guys giggle about how obnoxious Michelle is and how they don’t like her, while Kinetic eavesdrops. Too bad for them, because Carey is the one fired.
Michelle and Nicole return, and Tim says that it’s awkward having her back. She creates tension in the team. There are hugs all around, some more sincere than others.
In the mansion, Heidi returns and tells everyone the scoop. Carey got fired, but the team thinks Michelle is disruptive. She asks too many questions. Heidi doesn’t think that’s such a horrible challenge. There will be disruptive people in any business, and you just have to learn to roll with it.
Outside, Tim and Nicole gossip about Michelle. Tim says she’s icy cold. Michelle says in an interview that the camp revolves around politicking, and if you’re not in the right group, you’re an outsider.
The next morning, the candidates get the call from Andi, who directs them to meet by a hotel pool. She reminds Kinetic that because they won, they will not be taking part in the task. That really seems like such a bad idea, I am still waiting to see how they’ll make this particular twist interesting. The mansion dwellers get ready with the lovely comforts of coffee and running water. Mmm, coffee! Things are not so nice outside, where Aaron makes a campfire. Aaron says that sleeping outside isn’t so bad, but getting up in the morning and taking a cold shower is pretty lousy. They definitely aren’t tasting “the Trump lifestyle.” Michelle says that the impact of sleeping outside is greater than she’d realized. They are determined to win. How that’ll work without the other team competing I don’t know.
Trump has another one of his fake conversations with a group of executives about how business is booming, blah, blah, blah. The teams arrive, and Trump is flanked by Ivanka and her brother Don. Trump tells Kinetic that they don’t have to participate, and they all laugh. They get to spend the day at the hotel being pampered. Frank looks sad.
Trump tells Arrow they’re losing too much. He tells them to split into two teams. Aaron volunteers to lead, and when no one else volunteers, Trump picks Michelle. “I can’t say no to Mr. Donald Trump,” she explains in an interview. She feels cornered, but has no choice. I can’t believe no one else volunteered. Michelle chooses Tim (who hates her), then Nicole (who also hates her). Aaron goes with James and Stefani. Frank, Trump points out, is last picked, and will be on Michelle’s team. Frank shrugs it off. Aaron says he still likes Frank. Trump so loves to create discord; I mean, really – someone had to be last!
Trump lays out the task. The candidates will create a themed tour to be held on a double-decker bus and will be judged by a focus group. Don is wearing a lilac colored dress shirt and a tie with a subtle lilac pattern on it, and it is gorgeous. Just thought I’d mention it. Losers will go to the boardroom. Trump says he’s never made this switch before, “but it’s deserving because you guys have been doing a lot of losing.” For the record, they’ve lost twice. That’s not exactly the worst record in the world.
Michelle says that her team will probably want to fire her if they lose, so they really need to win. The stakes are very high for her. It doesn’t speak well for Michelle that she is only so concerned now, when she knows that he’s on the chopping block.
Aaron’s team tries to think of a theme. Aaron mentions tours of celebrity homes. James suggests they do something with the Laker Girls. He says they’d be a hot choice. He makes a call to set it up. Stefani thinks James’s idea is great. He’s energetic and has great ideas. She’s confident they’ll win.
Michelle’s team begins with the incredibly obvious task of selecting a theme. Michelle likes the idea of “A day in the life of the rich and famous,” which is not a bad idea. Frank and Tim agree. Tim asks Nicole if she loves it. Nicole hedges, and Michelle says that she doesn’t want to pick something that the rest of them aren’t behind. Michelle explains in an interview that after the last Boardroom, she thinks it’s important to get the support and consensus of her team. Leading by consensus is not usually a good idea, but I think in this case, Michelle is on the right track. If she is too strong of a leader, her team will turn on her. Now if they lose, she can say that the rest of the team supported her loser idea.
Frank says that he’s behind the idea 100%. Michelle then takes things a little too far, saying that “if this ever came up,” Frank would then be willing to say that he stood behind the theme wholeheartedly. It’s absolutely the wrong attitude to take. You need to enter into the task confident that you’ll win, not looking to protect yourself when you inevitably lose. Frank says in an interview that Michelle is scared and too caught up with what people think of her He says he’d respect her more if she’d just stand up for herself. Nicole finally says she loves the idea.
Kinetic is busy doing nothing. Heidi and Surya sit by the pool looking hot. Derek does an imitation of Shamu that involves him beaching himself on the side of the pool. It’s pretty funny. Kristine says she doesn’t know or care what the other team is doing. They decide to go get massages.
Aaron’s team is still working on a theme for their tour. Aaron is thinking famous murders – the Menendez brothers, O.J. Simpson, and so on. Stefani doesn’t like the idea. It think it would be pretty darned weird to have the Laker girls touring a murder scene. James suggests that they focus on places that have been seen in movies, coming up with the title “Famous Places, Beautiful Faces.” James is adorably excited about the idea. He says in an interview that he feels really good, that this is his opportunity to impress Trump.
Aaron’s team sends James to take a tour for himself to find out what people like and don’t like about the tour. Man, this is a lot of set-up for the task. James says that they need to avoid unfunny jokes, which is certainly a good plan. He talks to the other people on the bus, and they agree that it would be great to have refreshments. Water, candy, something like that. Aaron loves the idea, and plans on Perrier and popcorn.
Back at the hotel, everyone is downing mojitos and giggling. Muna basks in the pool while other team members get poolside massages. Marisa thinks that the rest will restore them. They’ll be even more positive going into the next task.
Michelle’s team scopes out potential landmarks. Michelle tells Tim to write down what he sees. Tim dutifully notes a strip club. They pass cheesy gift shops and massage parlors. Michelle realizes that Hollywood isn’t the right place for this kind of tour. Right, Beverly Hills would be more apt. She asks if it’s okay to be second-guessing. Tim agrees, and Michelle says they should do Beverly Hills. But a two-hour drive through there is “boring.” Tim says they need to make a decision. Michelle continues to hem and haw.
Meanwhile, Frank tells Nicole that if he needs to be “a solider,” he’s glad to do it. Maybe instead of being a soldier, he could drop the corporate babble and just do some work. Dial it down several notches. I know we viewers would appreciate it. Frank is frustrated because they’re not getting things done. Nicole says that the two of them took over and started solving things. They get some tuxedos to add an ambiance of class. They then create banners for the bus with the name of the tour. Nicole and Frank say they’re doing whatever they can to win.
Michelle, meanwhile, is still trying to decide if the tour should be in Hollywood or Beverly Hills. This has been going on for so long that it’s dark outside. Tim says that if she wants him to make the decision, he will, but he thinks she should be the one to do it. Michelle finally decides on Hollywood. Tim says in an interview that they wasted a lot of time. They’re going to have to pull an all-nighter.
Kinetic snores away, a long day of relaxing behind them. Aaron’s team returns to camp and creates an office to plan their route. Stefani says that the three of them just kept their mouths shut and got to work. They finally reluctantly get some rest.
Michelle’s team debates whether or not they should sleep. Tim is just thinking an hour or so, but Michelle says it’s a mistake. Nicole is furious that they wasted so much time during the day and now have to lose sleep. Michelle goes into Nicole’s tent and asks her to rally. Michelle says that they are going to “create a process” and get something done. They shouldn’t just give up. Nicole protests that she hasn’t given up, and Michelle makes the obvious point that she’s lying in bed, which doesn’t exactly project a feeling of confidence. Nicole gets mad and says that’s not the point. Michelle says that if they lose, she’ll recommend Nicole be fired. She can’t believe Nicole doesn’t want to work.
The next morning, Aaron’s team gets ready. Aaron and the cheerleaders arrive and get the crowd excited. Aaron says that it’s “almost a mob scene,” and that they want to make their focus group happy. Stefani passes out snacks and drinks. Ivanka arrives and James ushers her onto the bus. James has a microphone and talks up the crowd. Aaron says in an interview that James is a loud and exciting personality, which has its good and bad points. He says that James needs to tone it down just a little bit. Stefani says he’s got a lot of energy, and she wanted to wring his neck. If they lose, she says, he is gone.
Michelle’s team creates a much more subdued atmosphere. She thinks that once they get started, things will be great. Michelle welcomes everyone and stammers out the theme. James might be nutty, but at least he’s a clear speaker. Nicole says in an interview that Michelle is so discombobulated that it seems like she could have used that sleep! Tim tries to talk to the crowd, and his microphone has horrible feedback. Everyone cringes and grabs their ears. Tim shows everyone the Chateau Marmont and explains that it’s famous because it’s where John Belushi died of a drug overdose. We cut to several young children in the audience, which is supposed to indicate to us that this was a bad story to tell. Yep, should have focused on the teen friendly substance abuse of Lindsay Lohan, right? Okay, maybe not. Tim says that he regrets telling the children about the heroin.
Meanwhile, Aaron’s team rolls by the Hollywood walk of fame. Stefani grabs the microphone and teases James about being “a shy guy,” working on “only two cups of caffeine.” The crowd laughs. Stefani is an outstanding public speaker and gives an interesting and professional tour. Aaron is impressed. Stefani feels like she bailed them, especially James, out. She wouldn’t think that if she knew how bad the other team was doing.
Tim decides to switch off the microphone and just yell. He realizes that he started talking about the stars on Hollywood Boulevard way too early, leaving him no choice but to focus on minutia to fill time. He thinks if Michelle had let them sleep, they’d all be a lot sharper. Michelle wraps things up and says that the people on the bus “felt for us,” and had some sympathy. Wow, that’s bad if that’s the best thing she could say. That maybe they’d get some pity votes.
The two Arrow teams head to the Boardroom. Stefani says she thinks their team won. Michelle says that her group had heart, which might have helped them out. The microphone was a problem, but the team stepped up. Trump asks Tim what he thought of Michelle as project manager. Tim tries not to answer, saying she had her moments. He asks Nicole the same question. Nicole again tries to hedge, saying that Michelle is a good person. But when Trump asks her directly, she says that Michelle was not a good project manager. It was hard for them to pull together as a team. Ivanka says they don’t have a lot of confidence. Frank thinks they might have won based on their creativity. But based on the project manager? Frank, bless him, decides not to trash Michelle and says he thinks they won. Good for you, Frankie. Frank says Michelle had trouble making decisions.
Aaron says his team did great, and he’s confident. Stefani and James say he was great. James says Aaron really listened well. Ivanka reports that Aaron’s comments included good interaction, fun, entertaining, and insightful. They had an 82% approval rating. Don says Michelle’s tour was called repetitive and lacked information. Their approval rating was 58%. Ooh, that’s bad! Michelle says that they had heart. Trump tells Aaron’s team that their reward is a mental victory. They don’t get to go back to the house, but they will get to… feel good about themselves. Aaron will help Trump decide who should be fired.
Michelle says that this is not what she’s signed up for. She doesn’t like living in the backyard, and she’d love to take the conventional route to work for Trump, but at this point, she doesn’t see the point of going back to the Boardroom. She’d like to “resign from the process.” Trump asks if that makes her a quitter. She says it doesn’t. Don says he can’t imagine someone working for them who wouldn’t be willing to do everything. Ivanka asks if she would have quit if her team had won. Michelle says she might have. Trump adds that she would have been at risk for firing anyway. Michelle tries her best to be gracious. She says she’s learned a lot from this opportunity.
I doubt Trump can let that happen. God forbid anyone should be professional and calm when there’s a chance for conflict. Trump says this is “a major opportunity.” Only one person has quit in the past, and he’s been amazed at that, since the process is so tough. He doesn’t think Michelle will be proud of her decision in the future. He says that when he gives speeches on success, one of the things he says is to never give up. If she wants to leave, that’s her choice. Michelle says she didn’t think it would be like this. Trump says if he were in her shoes, he’d rather be fired than quit. He hates that she’ll have to live with her decision to quit. Michelle says she appreciates his “candor.”
Michelle says she could have done more in the task, but her spirit is not what it was before. Don wonders what she’s really learned. Michelle tells him that this process doesn’t work for her naturally, and she wants to opt out of it. Trump says that real business is much tougher. What will happen when she meets an obstacle and decides to quit? She says she’s never done it before and may never do it again. Trump accepts her resignation and grudgingly wishes her luck. He tells the other candidates on her team that he’ll see them later.
Don says that she should have come to the Boardroom to take her medicine. Trump says it doesn’t feel right.
Stefani can’t believe what happened and says Michelle is out of her mind. Michelle tells her to just stand behind her. The guys wonder if Trump might fire one of them. Tim thinks that Michelle screwed them over, since now one of them might get fired. Kinetic listens over the hedge and can’t believe what happened. Michelle says she knew Trump would respond the way he did, and she doesn’t care. Michelle calmly packs her bags and leaves.
The phone rings, and Andi informs Frank that Trump has cancelled the boardroom. Frank jumps up and down like a loon. Michelle waves goodbye behind her back while the rest of them have a great big group hug.
I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but I have this to say about Michelle: Good for her! A job interview works both ways. Not only is the candidate trying to convince the employer, but the employer should be trying to convince the candidate. Michelle saw that in order to work for Donald Trump, she’d have to endure sleeping in a tent, taking cold showers, and a whole “team” full of people who hated her and wanted her fired. She decided screw that, no job is worth it. At no point did she put down the other candidates for still wanting to go through it, but she decided it was not for her, so she walked away, on her own terms.
The idea of someone quitting freaked Trump out. Not just because winners never quit and whatever else he’s spouting in his speeches, but because his ego is so gigantic at this point that he just cannot comprehend someone not wanting to work for him. If these candidates, who are smart and capable people with outstanding resumes start refusing to play his game, then what does he have left?
Trump’s maxim that you should never, under any circumstances, quit, is ridiculous in this case. Should you never quit, even if you realize that you don’t want the ultimate prize? To me, it’s much smarter to keep your eyes and mind open and to evaluate just what you’re fighting for. Sometimes, it’s better to just walk away.
Next week, Trump gets furious because of a big mistake that someone made. Plus, Apprentice romance.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with any comments at email@example.com.