The Apprentice: Los Angeles, Episode 13 – What Stinks?by Betsy Wasser -- 04/16/2007
Last week, all of the candidates moved into the mansion, then competed as groups of two. It was without a doubt the most interesting episode of the season. Surprisingly, Trump fired Heidi and Kristine, making four Arrow members - Nicole, Frank, James, and Stefani - the final four. They return to the mansion and congratulate each other. Stefani tells Nicole, “We’re all Arrow,” no matter that Nicole spent a little time on Kinetic, and Nicole agrees. James says they had a rough ride, but they can be proud of what they’ve accomplished. Nicole tells James and Stefani that she’s surprised they did so well in the task. She didn’t think they’d be as organized as they were. That’s pretty rude, considering how hard James and Stef kicked everyone else’s butts.
Meanwhile, Trump and Don, Jr. sneak into the house. Nicole offers to make them dinner, which the two Trumps pretty much ignore. Trump tells Frank, who is the only one to have changed out of his suit, that he’s “a tough guy to fire.” Frank did an impressive job defending himself in the Boardroom, that’s for sure. Trump tells them he’s happy with them as a final four and “there is no loser here.” That sure doesn’t sound like the kind of think Donald “I Hate Losers” Trump spouts at every Boardroom. In fact, just this week I was watching an episode of Sesame Street with my son. There was a song all about how “you win some, you lose some,” but it’s always important to try hard and be a good sport. Made me think that little Barron Trump would do well to show that episode to his daddy. But I digress.
Trump tells the candidates that they’ve got some fun ahead of them. They’ll attend a cocktail party at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel with the previous five winners – Bill, Kendra, Sean, Randal, and Kelly. He tells them to have fun, as they’ll have some tough weeks ahead of them.
Nicole spazzes out with excitement. James says this is a great reward, and that he had thought his only reward was not getting fired. Frank admits that he’s still in a bit of a daze. The four arrive at the hotel by limo. The Apprentices compare records, and Randal thinks Kelly’s is pretty impressive. Randal himself had a pretty strong winning record too, as I recall. Frank tells us that Bill isn’t there because he was called away at a last minute business meeting.
Once the cocktails are poured, Frank asks the Apprentices what they thought when they were down to the final four. Kendra says, “It’s now or never.” Sean says that’s the time when you start to think you could really win. Randal agrees and says he felt like he had a real shot at it. Kelly congratulates them and tells them to stay true and put their best foot forward. Frank says it was cool to learn how they felt when they were in their shoes.
But it turns out that this was not just a social event. Kelly asks the candidates to move into their teams. He then tells them that there will only be one more task. They have 30 seconds to decide which two fired candidates per team to bring back.
Wait, there’s only one more task? Maybe he means “one more task before the final task.” Surely this isn’t it, is it? Or maybe I should just calm down and let the television explain it to me.
Nicole and Frank immediately decide they want Tim. Well, there’s a big surprise. James and Stefani think Angela could be good. They also consider Aaron. Both teams briefly consider Michelle, who quit, though Frank and Nicole are really just kidding. Stefani and James wonder if they can trust Surya.
Decisions are made, and the two teams rapidly throw out their picks. There is no conflict between the two of them. Nicole and Frank pick Tim and Surya. Stefani and James go with Angela and Aaron. Kelly laughs, because both teams clearly think they got the better bargain. Is it just me or has Kelly gotten a lot better looking and a lot more relaxed since his season? Nicole asks why they picked Angela, who they don’t know. She thinks it’ll be tough to pick a team member whose strengths and weaknesses you don’t know. Nicole says they picked Surya because he’s a team player and a fighter. Stefani thinks that’s crazy, because they couldn’t get along with him when he was on their team. She figures they either need “the chalkboard master” to organize them or “you’ve lost your mind.”
The next morning, a shirtless James answers the Trump phone. They’re to meet Trump at Universal Studios. Their teams show up to join them, and there are big hugs all over the place. All Tim can think about is finding his girl, and he wanders through the mansion looking for Nicole, pausing only briefly to hug Frank. James tells Angela that he just had a feeling about her. Tim finally finds Nicole. She says it was “awesome and amazing” to run into his arms. He was the one she felt comfortable around. It was “the pump up that I needed.” As Michael Scott would say on The Office, “That’s what she said.”
Surya looks a lot more grave, sitting by the pool with Frank. Frank tells Surya he was his first choice. Surya says in an interview that it’s “incredibly awkward” because of the way Frank undermined him when they worked together. Yeah, no kidding, and at the time this was filmed, Surya probably hadn’t even seen the cartoons Frank drew of him. The two of them stare at the water, and Frank says he thinks Surya is a strong player. Surya says he doesn’t have anything to gain, but he wants to give it his all to prove himself.
The candidates arrive on the set of a western as fake shoot out music plays. Trump is joined by both Don and Ivanka, as well as two executives. Trump congratulates them again on getting so far. The task is to make a mini movie, which they will write, direct, and produce. It’s for Renuzit air freshener, which Trump says his mother loved. Draw your own conclusions about the state of the Trump home. The movie will be played for an audience at a movie theater, then the executives, Don, and Ivanka, will help Trump choose a winner. Trump wishes them all luck.
James and Stefani’s team goes to visit their sound stage. There are all kinds of cool stages there, so many choices that it made it harder for them to narrow their focus. They meet with the executives to get ideas about “the vision” behind the product and marketing.
Frank and Nicole learn that the target audience is active moms. Nicole says the meeting went well, that knowing the core audience was important. They’re going to have the star character be a working mom going to the hospital to comfort her kid. Because nothing will erase Mommy Guilt like a great air freshener! Tim thinks it has to be funny. Surya questions how cute a hospital will be. Nicole still likes the idea. Frank thinks the hospital is a dull scene. He and Tim are nervous. Frank wonders what odor is being eliminated at hospital – they’re clean places. Good point, but Frank doesn’t seem to be coming up with an alternative.
James and Stefani are planning a courtroom scene. There will be a dad charged with “stinking up the family home.” James delegates responsibility. She’ll work with the actors, he’ll direct. She says that they are managing the project together. Angela and Stefani hire actors. Angela says Stefani got every deadline on time. Angela says she was impressed by how clearly Stefani saw the big picture. Meanwhile, James says although he knows nothing about directing, he loves being creative. Stefani gets everyone rolling. Aaron says it’s a huge and complex task, but that it’s running smoothly. He can’t imagine Frank and Nicole doing as well.
Cut, of course, to Frank and Nicole. Frank says he didn’t want the hospital to be morbid, so he adds a funny “stinky bum.” Making fun of the homeless is awesome. Surya says that Frank did a great job. He can’t believe how much footage got shot in such a short period of time. Nicole interrupts a shot to put the product in the background. Frank notices that she did that just as the Renuzit executives showed up. The two agree that she will get “big brownie points.” She then goes over to quickly shake hands. Tim and Nicole giggle as Frank tries to get “quiet on the set.” He says he’s happy to carry the team, because now is the time for individuals to step up.
James and Stefani work on their movie as Don arrives to watch. Stefani keeps an eye on her watch, noting that James is being a perfectionist. They only have their film crew for so long, so she’s concerned about getting all the shots they need. He micromanages every word that the actress says. James says that he got a ton of takes because he really wanted to create drama. Stefani cuts him off and moves things along. She runs over the shots that remain to be done, and a guy on the crew agrees that’s a lot of work. She explains that they only have 45 minutes and need to get all of the footage for it.#@p
Frank and Nicole work on editing. Frank cracks up about his “stinky bum.” I should clarify that by bum, he means “hobo,” not “heiney.” Just for those of you just reading about this. Anyway, Nicole says that she loves editing, cutting down material to create a story. Tim says that Nicole really knew what she was doing. Frank tries to participate, but doesn’t seem to be helping… at least, that’s what Tim thinks. Frank insists that Nicole listen to him – can’t they work together on this? Nicole says she has all of the notes. In an interview, she says she wanted to tell him to back off and let her run with it. She doesn’t want to have to stop her mental track. Frank agrees to take notes on his clipboard. The two of them seem satisfied with this compromise.
James and Stefani go through their footage. Aaron is afraid it’s unclear what the roles of the characters are, and the team quickly realizes they didn’t get all of the footage they needed. James admits it was his fault and that shooting took longer than he thought. That said, he says that Stefani is not a creative person like he is. He messes with the editing while Aaron and Angela snooze on the couch. James says he had an idea of how to fix it, but it was nerve-wracking making it happen.
It’s show time. The candidates get to the movie theater, as does the audience, including the Renuzit executives, Don, and Ivanka. Stefani welcomes everyone, and on with the show. The movie is pretty cute, and the audience applauds. James feels good about what they did.
Frank and Nicole are up next. Frank introduces the movie, clearly reading off an index card the details of the product name. Their commercial seems pretty effective, too, but I don’t like it quite as well. It feels a little bit all over the place. They start with the woman working in the office, deodorizing her jacket, then ends at the hospital. It didn’t quite come together for me. Frank, however, feels like they really hit the mark.
The candidates return to the mansion, and Nicole crows about the fact that she predicted James and Stefani would do a courtroom drama. She thinks the two of them are “a complete bore.” She and Frank describe theirs as “a day in the life,” showing the busy mom with air fresheners. James says that the working mom with the hurt kid was a real negative. He can’t believe they did that.
Renuzit executives Cynthia and Marty fill Trump in on what happened, starting with Cynthia. She reports that James handled the directing, but made the actors feel great. He also has a lot of energy. Stefani was behind the scenes, running the show. It was an interesting dynamic, and they worked well together. Trump calls Stefani “a sleeper” because we haven’t seen much from her yet. That might be less true if Trump hadn’t had his dumb “project manager until you lose rule,” which really didn’t give Stefani many opportunities to lead. As for the other team, Nicole is enthusiastic and seems smart, but Frank handled the directing while she watched. He seemed to be running the show. Both Frank and Nicole, according to Marty, were lacking in some areas and didn’t work as well as a team as they should have. He likes Franks “can do attitude.” They agree that he’s a tough cookie. Trump says that Frank really comes through.
The candidates arrive in the Boardroom. James is happy with his performance. He says the task was hard to schedule, but they handled it well. He says that the whole team helped him. Stefani agrees and thinks they nailed it. Nicole says that they had “a dream team.” She says Frank directed everyone and everyone stepped up. She thought Frank did a great job. He can be loud and extreme, but he’s passionate, and she respects that. Frank says he thinks they hit the mark, and they worked well as a team. Surya says that the two of them did different things. Frank is good at putting together scenes, while Nicole did well in editing. Tim says that Nicole and Frank are team players, but that the rest of the team was happy to follow them.
Angela says that she didn’t know James and Stefani at all before the task. Trump makes some jokes about the hedge that I will ignore. Aaron says that he’s worked on lots of teams, but that he was impressed at how well they complimented each other well. James is a perfectionist, while Stefani “kept the train moving.” He thinks they’re both very competent. Trump thanks and dismisses the teams.
Trump tells all of them to go back to the mansion, get their stuff, and go home. He’ll meet them all in the Boardroom next week in front of a live audience. “We’re going to have a little fun.” From the group of four, he’ll choose the Apprentice. The candidates all hug it out.
Frank laughs at how much clothing Stefani has. James says it’s been great to compete and build friendships. It’s sad to see it come to an end. Nicole is done packing, but Stefani has a whole lot of bags. James can’t believe that the decision will happen live, next week.
As for me, I can’t believe how lame this was. This show always builds up to a huge task at the very end. The final two candidates have to manage bigger teams and bigger events. They are clearly in charge, no team approach, so they have more responsibility. This task, with the exception of bringing back fired candidates, felt no different from any other task. No one got a chance to shine.
Who will win? Honestly, we can count Nicole out right away. She’s just not as strong as the other candidates are. She has just never impressed me. James is a strong contender to win. He has an impressive record as project manager and did a good job on this task. Stefani has a shot at it as well. She presents herself extremely well and really took charge on this final task. The problem with Stefani is that she has never been project manager. As I mentioned earlier, the gimmick about keeping winning project managers has limited her chances, but I still think Trump will be reluctant to hire someone after never seeing them as the sole leader. As for Frank, I think he’s a dark horse. He’s rough around the edges, and other candidates have hinted that he’s not the brightest bulb. But Trump really seems to have taken a shine to him, so I can’t dismiss him outright like I can Nicole. Who will win it? I have to give the edge to James. And if James wins, I think he’ll be the least impressive winner we’ve ever seen on this show.
Well, we’ll find out next week if I’m right, when the finale comes to us live from the Hollywood Bowl. I’ll see you then!
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online and would love to know which candidate you think will win. You can email your predictions to email@example.com .