The Apprentice: Los Angeles, Episode 12 – Trumped Up Chargesby Betsy Wasser -- 04/09/2007
Welcome to another episode of The Apprentice. In the last Boardroom, Frank and Tim clashed about Tim’s relationship with Nicole. Meanwhile in the mansion, Nicole reads a letter from Tim. She says he poured out all of his feelings. She then shows a complete and utter lack of respect for those feelings by reading the letter out loud to Kristine. She clutches the letter to her chest and talks about how sweet it is. You guys, I think he’s totally going to ask her to the prom! Trump, as you’ll recall, fires Tim for “being distracted” by Nicole. Heidi returns from the Boardroom, and Nicole can immediately see on her face that Tim is gone. Heidi tells her everything that happened, in particular what Frank had to say about Tim. Nicole is good and mad about that. Outside, Arrow’s talking is interrupted by a mouse running through the camp. Stefani freaks out and stands on a cooler, and I can’t make fun of her, because that’s exactly what I could have done. She says in an interview that she really, really wants to get out of camp.
The Trump phone rings, and Andi tells the candidates that Arrow will be moving into the house – no more sleeping in tents for anybody. Stefani is very happy to hear that, and I know I am too, since I really didn’t like that particular twist. The teams are to divide into three teams of two. There will be no more project managers. Finally, Trump wants them to meet in the Boardroom the next morning.
Heidi tells the rest of the team what’s going on. Kristine and Nicole aren’t happy to hear about the three teams of two, nor is James. Frank says he’s had a lot of good times back in the camp, and that really, it wasn’t so bad. Apparently sentimentality has already erased the memory of a mouse scurrying by him not minutes before. The three Arrow members leave camp like any kids leaving camp, promising to be friends for life. Hopefully the Apprentice extras on Yahoo will show them exchanging friendship bracelets or becoming blood brothers.
Kinetic is not feeling so lovey-dovey, and they decide not to stand up when the other team arrives, which is totally petty. James suggests they all be straight up and say who they want to partner with. He wants to work with Stefani. Kristine wants either Heidi or Nicole. Frank wants to work with Nicole. Nicole says she’s still thinking about what she wants. She’s not happy with what Frank said in the Boardroom. It’s not that Tim’s gone, she says, though Frank asks her if she’s emotionally affected by it. Nicole says that Boardrooms are always hard, adding that Kristine cried when Angela got fired. Frank says she’s beating around the bush. Nicole says she’s shocked that he’d think that and tells Frank he’s retarded. She is a classy, classy girl! Kristine says in an interview that this is the opportunity to beat Heidi, Trump’s “super shining star.” To that end, she tells the group that she wants to work with Nicole. That leaves Frank and Heidi, the original two project managers, teaming up.
The next morning, the teams arrive in the Boardroom. Trump enters with Don and welcomes the candidates. He reminds them that this is week 12 of their 14 week job interview, a fact that has me very happy because that means that there are only two more episodes of this tedium left! Trump says that they’ll be working at his new building in Las Vegas. The teams will fly to Las Vegas in his personal airplane (Nicole is gobsmacked by this fact and gawks like a big dork), where they’ll create a promotional campaign for the hotel. Trump and Don will choose the best campaign. The team that produces the worst campaign? Both candidates will be fired.
The teams fawn over Trump’s very shiny airplane. It features white damask seats and a whole lot of gold trim, and, like his apartment, isn’t exactly subtle. Nicole says it’s “a total reminder for why I’m here” and wants to live a life like Trump’s. She and Kristine are inspired by the setting and decide to go with a theme of height and gold, since Trump loves gold so very much. He’s like a magpie, pecking away at shiny objects.
Elsewhere on the plane, Heidi tells Frank they need to look at Trump as a consumer. Stefani wants a killer sales brochure. James says Frank has a huge advantage, since he’s a developer. “No pressure, buddy,” James says with a grin. Frank starts to go over to talk to James, presumably because old habits die hard. Heidi tells Frank not to be distracted by him. In an interview, Heidi sighs that the two of them are “polar opposites.” He gets distracted easily, so she’s been trying to rein him in. Her frustration is evident.
Trump tells us that the candidates will be in Las Vegas to see the sales office and two model rooms. We begin with James and Stefani. Stefani suggests “the height of luxury” as their tagline, and James thinks that’s great. Trump is all about luxury. At the sales office, they learn about the concept and vision behind the hotels. Trump wanted it to be the best building in Las Vegas and had a hand in all of the details. Kristine and Nicole go to the building site and learn about everything. But Kristine notes that Nicole wasn’t asking a lot of questions, “just resting on the fact that she sells these for a living.” Kristine says this is their last chance and she doesn’t want to go home.
James and Stefani hire a videographer and photographer, figuring they don’t have the skills a professional does. Frank is there too, and tells his videographer very quietly what to shoot. Frank says he’s not bothered by their presence, because he’s sure they’ll win. He says they’re too cocky, and when he and Heidi win, he’s just going to turn to them and smile.
The candidates return to Los Angeles. Kristine and Nicole talk about the next steps to take. Nicole says she has the whole presentation in her head, and she thinks that’s very important. Nicole thinks it doesn’t matter how strong their DVD is unless they present well. She says that she and Kristine have different thought processes. Nicole thinks she really needs to just show her passion and it will sell itself. She seems to think the whole thing is really simple.
James and Stefani work with a designer. James says that Trump is their client, and he’s not looking for a gimmick, but for something solid. Stefani says they’re of the same mindset and get along great, so they don’t waste any time. The two of them exchange a high five. They are clearly having the lowest amount of tension of any of them, probably in no small part because they’ve worked together the most.
Kristine puts together their first shot, which shows the two towers in gold.. Nicole is asleep on the couch, and Kristine is frustrated. She tells us that Nicole wanted to take a 20 minute nap, but after that time, Kristine didn’t wake her. She’s not happy with how Nicole’s been doing, so it’s better to just do all of the work herself “and own it all.” Kristine tells the artist that she’s as happy as she’s going to get, which is “not real happy.”
Frank and Heidi are working, too. Frank says that it’ll be half presenting the brochure, half the video. Frank will do the video, so Heidi will do the brochure. She is struggling with the copy, and Frank is worried that they won’t finish. He says he expected more from her, given her reputation. He offers to help her, but she declines, burying her head in the copy.
The next morning, Heidi is animatedly practicing her presentation, as are James and Kristine. Stefani, as always, sounds amazing. James says that Trump values charisma and someone’s ability to hold a room. We get a montage of everybody grooming, including some very vigorous shaving from James with an electric razor. It looks like he’s about to scrape the skin off of his lip.
The candidates arrive at the Boardroom, huge presentation boards in tow. James says it was a fun project, and he appreciated the opportunity. He loved working with Stefani. Nicole says she and Kristine had different focuses, which wound up being beneficial. Kristine says Nicole has amazing energy that needs to be “focused down.” Heidi says that Frank is a ball of energy. Trump isn’t so sure that’s a compliment. Even horses are energetic, but he doesn’t want to hire one. Heidi says that Frank needed to be focused at times. Frank says Heidi was a great team member and that Trump will be impressed by what they’ve pulled together. I think it is a real misfire for Kristine and Heidi to begin trashing their teammates before they’ve even presented. Trump loves to look for weaknesses (almost as much as he loves to look for shiny objects), so that kind of negativity might really stick with him.
Stefani and James begin. Their campaign is “The Height of Luxury.” Stefani says that it was all about big images and grand imagery. Stefani talks about a five star lifestyle. As always, she sounds and looks fantastic. Stefani is probably the strongest presenter we’ve ever seen on this show. James says that they wanted to show a full marketing plan to extend the brand. He and Stefani show a chart indicating where the new Las Vegas properties will fit in with the rest of the brand, giving a real big picture to the marketing. Heidi says she was “100% impressed,” but it didn’t worry her. Perhaps she should be worried, because Trump says they’re the team to beat.
Kristine and Nicole are up next. They are wearing matching outfits of black scoop necked shirts, gold beads, and tan skirts. It looks dumb and amateurish to me. You don’t sell high end real estate on the strength of matching outfits. Kristine sets up presentation boards while Nicole pulls up the computer. Trump is impatient with the delay. He tells her not to get nervous, then says she’s not making much of a presentation. James actually gets up to help her out. Kristine is incredulous, saying she did everything else. Heidi looks smug. Kristine begins her presentation, explaining that she came up with the tagline, “Las Vegas Is Turning Gold.” Her speech sounds so informal and off the cuff that at first, I think we’re listening to an interview and am surprised to hear that it’s the real thing. She says people don’t want to know what the faucets look like, which Trump disagrees with. Nicole sounds even worse, stammering all over the place. Frank says in an interview that the whole presentation was a bomb. Trump says that it’s choppy and broken down.
Then, Trump notices something even worse. Kristine and Nicole’s brochure shows a different phone number than James and Stefani’s. He sends James and Nicole out to the hallway to check the phone numbers. While they’re out of the room, Trump disparages the presentation. Kristine admits that she was “not so thrilled.” She says that Nicole takes for granted that she sells condos for a living, and pretty well proceeds to trash Nicole while she’s out of the room. Meanwhile, Nicole realizes their brochure had the wrong number. Nicole says it was Kristine’s fault. In the Boardroom, Kristine tells Trump that she did everything while Nicole slept. Oops, time to stop talking about Nicole, because she’s in the room. Nicole admits it was the wrong number, which she pins on Kristine. Trump says he likes the brochure, but the presentation “sucked.”
Frank and Heidi are up next. Heidi starts off by saying that it was an honor seeing the ground broken for the first tower. Trump immediately corrects her, saying that happened over a year ago. Heidi completely falls apart from there on out, tripping over her words and generally making a mess of things. Frank is horrified. He thinks she choked under pressure. Frank takes over, presenting their DVD, and he sounds rattled, too. Kristine says that she felt a glimmer of hope when she saw their presentation. She says they had no concept. The video is very detailed – I mean, it shows the showerhead. Trump may be proud of the fact that he “hand selected” that showerhead, but that doesn’t mean we need to see it quite so clearly. Frank concludes the presentation by saying that the hotel will be a Trump masterpiece.
Trump asks what their theme was. Heidi tells him it was “world class luxury,” and Trump and Don are immediately all over her, because they never actually said that. What’s the campaign? Frank says that the towers sell themselves, which Trump immediately disagrees with. Trump doesn’t like the brochure, and Don points out that there’s no picture of the building. He says it’s too wordy, that he doesn’t want to read a book. He asks whose idea it was. Heidi starts to answer, but Trump doesn’t want to hear it.
James thinks everyone is in “big, big doo doo,” and that Trump may fire a lot of people. Trump says the presentation was a disaster. He adds that things have gotten complicated. He says Stefani and James did a great job. Stefani presented very well, and it’s “highly unlikely” that they’ll be fired. He says he should probably fire both teams, but instead, he’ll fire one person from each team. Way to bend the rules there, Trumpers.
Trump says that Kristine and Nicole’s brochure was good, save the phone number. Nicole says that Kristine put in the wrong information. Trump then tells Nicole that Kristine said bad things about her while she was out of the room. Kristine admits that, and says Nicole was unfocused, so she just let her sleep. Nicole says it wasn’t an issue. Kristine says Nicole’s head wasn’t in the game, that she wasn’t the person she worked with before. Trump says the mistake was bad with the phone number, but he likes the brochure and video better. Heidi agrees that the other brochure looks better.
I can’t help but wonder if Kristine is trying a bit of strategy here. She already knows from Heidi what went down at the previous Boardroom. She knows that Trump believed that Tim was distracted by Nicole, and that’s why Tim got the axe. If she paints a picture of Nicole as equally lovelorn, maybe Trump will fire Nicole, too.
Trump asks Heidi whose fault the bad brochure was. She says that Frank is easily excited and needs “a lot of focus.” She pulled the brochure together at the last minute. Frank can’t believe what he’s hearing. He asks who designed the brochure, and Heidi doesn’t give a straight answer, saying that Frank pushed it on the designer at the last minute. Frank says that Heidi wrote the brochure, but she says it was a team effort. Don demands to know who wrote it. Heidi stays firmly on the fence, saying that she’ll “take credit” for “some of” the brochure. Trump says Heidi doesn’t sound very sure of herself. He thinks the other brochure was great, except for the stupid phone number thing. If not for that, he’d just fire Heidi and Frank. He says he’s torn. Why be torn? I say just fire all four of them and save us a week of this show, but that’s just me.
Trump says that he likes the fight Frank put up, but he wonders if Frank is sophisticated enough to work for him. Frank says he thinks he will sit with anybody in any room and can handle himself. James says he’d get rid of the person responsible for the theme (or lack thereof) in Frank and Heidi’s group. Heidi says she was supposed to start out the presentation with that phrase but didn’t. Frank says she didn’t give the good presentation. Heidi claims she was going to touch on everything, prompting Frank to ask why she didn’t just do it, then. Frank is incredulous. He says she dropped the ball with the presentation.
Heidi says it was both of their faults. She says Frank was focused on the video. Frank asks, if that’s the case, what she did while he obsessed over the video? She says she wrote the copy for the brochure. You may recall that just a few minutes ago, Heidi claimed that was a group effort. Don asks if Frank did the video, shouldn’t she have been doing the brochure? Frank says that was the idea. He admits that he’s not a writer- if that’s what they’re looking for, then he’s not their guy. Heidi says he’s distracting. Frank counters her story keeps changing, and Don agrees.
Heidi says the task has been one of the worst in her career. She shares the blame with Frank. She says it’s his fault for spending too much time on the video, but admits that the presentation was her fault. Frank says she’s lied four times. Don agrees and says she’s contradicted herself a lot. Heid says she’s embarrassed by the task, and if Trump wanted to fire her based on the task, she’d agree. Before she can get out her next point, undoubtedly something about her past success, especially when compared with Frank, Trump takes her up on that. She’s fired. And while Trump’s in a firing mood, Kristine is unceremoniously dumped for the phone number mistake. Kristine can’t believe she doesn’t get a chance to defend herself. As I see it, there’s not much to defend – she scred that up. Besides, Nicole didn’t get much of a chance to defend herself when Kristine trash talked her when she was out of the room. Trump actually yells, “You’re fired” at her and tells them all to get out.
I bet he’s brokenhearted about Heidi, who he’s been enamored with since the first task. Don says Frank’s not polished , but he’d work well in on of their construction sites. Plus, he’s not afraid to fight. I know I wouldn’t have predicted that Frank would fare son incredibly well against Heidi Heidi and Kristine get into a cab together.
Heidi says she fumbled badly, though she’s not sure why Kristine got fired. She thinks she and Frank should both have gone. Kristine says she made the mistake of trying to take down Heidi in hopes that she wouldn’t have to face her in the final two. Kristine says the two of them should have been the final two, and she apologizes to Heidi for the fact that’s not going to happen. Heidi smiles and says she’ll get her back later. The two of them clearly get along well.
This was the most interesting episode we’ve seen in quite a while. James and Stefani totally dominated this one. Not only was their presentation a thousand times more professional and polished than the competitors, but they even had an idea for how this property would fit in with Trump’s other interests. It was very impressive, and not just because everyone else did so poorly.
Firing Kristine was a no-brainer. Printing the wrong phone number on the brochure was a bad, embarrassing, potentially deal-killing mistake. But I don’t think Nicole came across much better. She slept while Kristine worked, and she started off their presentation with a horrible first impression from which they never recovered. She did not sound remotely rehearsed and wasn’t nearly as impressive as Stefani or James. Firing Nicole would have been a good decision as well.
I am very surprised that Trump fired Heidi, as I thought she was the one most likely to win this thing. But she really choked on this task. She and Frank didn’t show any kind of theme. She claimed that all of that information would come later in the presentation, so why didn’t she present it? And even if that were the case, why would she wait so long to put such an important component of the campaign in front of her client? The brochure was abysmal. We learned before the candidates set foot in the Boardroom that she and Frank had an understanding that he’d work on the video while she hammered out the brochure, and that’s what we saw the two of them doing. The fact that she tried to share the responsibility for the brochure with Frank came across as really weak. She could have saved herself by talking up her outstanding past record and performances, perhaps claiming that Frank was such a terror to work with that she wasn’t able to shine like she usually does. But she failed on many levels, so it made sense for Trump to fire her.
And what of Frankie Suits? I think that Frank did an outstanding job of saving his own butt this week. Trump totally hated their brochure, and it was definitely Heidi’s fault, a point that Frank made very clear. Trump didn’t really have anything bad to say about the video, so perhaps he liked it better than I did. He did not present especially well, so that’s a point against him, so it doesn’t seem to me like a fire-able offense. That would leave me with three players – James, Stefani, and Frank. That’s a pretty strong final three.
Next Sunday, the final four face off with the last task. That must mean we’re in for another double firing. I think Nicole will definitely be one of them. She has failed to impress me at every turn. She doesn’t strike me as especially smart or creative, and she’s certainly not a leader. Sadly, Trump may also bid Frank farewell. I think he’s really concerned with Frank’s rough edges and lack of polish and will find a reason to fire him because of that. That leaves us with a solid final two of James and Stefani. Of the two, I have to give the edge to James, if for no other reason than we haven’t seen Stefani manage yet. We’ll find out in a few weeks.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with your feedback at email@example.com