The Apprentice, Episode 3: Put up or Shut Upby Betsy Wasser -- 01/22/2004
This week’s episode of The Apprentice begins with everyone wondering who won’t survive the previous episode’s visit to the boardroom. Most are pretty confident that Sam will get the axe, but Ereka wonders if he can “weasel his way out of this.” That question is quickly answered when Sam and Nick return – Jason is gone, and Sam lives to fight another day.
Everyone is shocked to see Sam again. Troy muses, “Old D.T., he’s connected with that guy.” He figures Trump must see something in Sam that he likes. Meanwhile, Sam lingers in the hallway while the rest of the group hangs out in the kitchen. Sam is offended. He says, “I’m not moving until someone comes and greets me at the door.” He says that when he goes to his parents’ house, someone greets him at the door. I’m sorry, but Sam is making no sense. If you go to someone else’s house, then, yes, you should expect someone to greet you at the door. But if it’s your own house, you should just go on inside. Sam is under the impression that everyone is talking to Nick because they like Nick better. But the reason Nick is surrounded by people is that Nick walked into the house, found the others, and stared talking to them. It’s just that easy.
Nick says that Sam’s performance in the boardroom was brilliant. He thinks, “Either Sam is incredibly brilliant, or he’s half nuts.” Sam’s actions seem to support the “half nuts” theory, as he is still in the hallway and has chosen to remove his shoes and pants. In an interview, Sam says that his “wild man” antics are not just strategy. Whatever, dude; put your pants on.
Troy has a different perspective on things. He says, “We are playing this game wrong.” He thinks that Trump likes Sam and has given him so many chances because he’s a risk taker who the other guys don’t like. If the guys made their feelings about Sam less obvious, Trump would be less inclined to keep giving him chances. Bill says that Sam has “entertainment value,” but he’s had enough of it – he wants to win a challenge. Bill boldly suggests that they make Sam their next team leader. Either he’ll prove himself to be the genius that he claims to be, or he’ll fail miserably and they’ll be rid of him. Bill says, “It’s time for Sam to put up or shut up.”
Meanwhile, Jessie calls a meeting of all of the women to talk about the tension between Ereka and Omarosa. She says very calmly that she’s worried that if they’re divided, and if there is constant bickering, they will not work well as a team. Ereka nods, but Omarosa immediately takes offense. She says that she does not want to sit in a group and have this conversation. If Jessie has something to say to her, she should talk to her alone, not in front of everyone. Katrina chimes in to say that she has been embarrassed by the squabbling between the two women. She says that when they argued in front of a pilot at last week’s challenge, he looked utterly disgusted with them. Omarosa has had enough of this conversation, and gets up to leave. Katrina says that Omarosa never lets her talk and always talks over her. Omarosa leaves the room.
Omarosa comes off incredibly badly in this exchange. I think that Jessie was well within her rights to call this meeting. Omarosa and Ereka’s arguing has been a real distraction during the challenges and has made it harder for the women to come together as a team. Jessie also never showed any indication of taking anyone’s side or telling anyone that they were wrong. She held both women equally accountable. Ereka looked like she was willing to hear it, but Omarosa chose to storm off. That doesn’t exactly prove Omarosa’s point that she’s better, smarter, or more mature than the others.
With Omarosa gone, the meeting dissolves pretty quickly. Kristi suggests that they try to ignore the conflict and move on. In an interview, Amy says that in general, women tend to hold grudges. Men, on the other hand, can yell and scream at each other, but they’ll get their anger out of their systems and move on. I think, for the most part, she’s right.
The next morning, the Trump phone rings at 6:00. The candidates are to meet at the Westchester airport at 8:00. Katrina wants to talk to Omarosa about the Ereka situation before they go. Omarosa says that Katrina should have said something to her before, since they are roommates. Katrina thinks it would have been fake to say something before, and Omarosa counters that it was fake to talk in front of the group, but not in front of her. I’m really not following why either of those things is particularly fake. Maybe Katrina is nice to Omarosa when they’re alone, but then in front of the group, confronted her, which Omarosa found fake. Maybe Katrina meant that even though they are roommates, they have no special bond, so it would have been fake to have a heart-to-heart with her.
Regardless, the conversation has taken a turn for the worse. Katrina points out that unlike Omarosa, she gets along with everyone. Omarosa says, “I did not come here to make friends.” I’ve watched enough reality TV shows at this point to know that the minute you find yourself saying, “I did not come here to make friends,” you are officially the bad guy. Katrina tells Omarosa, “Life is too short to be a bitch,” and that she will never be successful if everyone around her hates her. Omarosa counters that she already is successful; she has gone from the projects to the White House. Katrina counters that she’d rather be less successful and still be able to look herself in the mirror every day. In an interview, Katrina says that if Donald Trump is looking for someone who will manipulate and backstab others to win, Omarosa is that person. Omarosa, on the other hand, thinks that Katrina is being naïve for trying to make friends rather than trying to win.
Amy enters the room and tells Omarosa and Katrina to stop fighting. Amy admits that “it might be worth losing to get rid of Omarosa so we can move on and make more progress.” The women should resist that temptation, because if Trump gets the faintest impression that anyone deliberately tried to lose a challenge, he’d go ballistic.
It’s time for our Trump business lesson of the week, this one entitled “The Art of the Deal.” Trump says that negotiation is “a delicate art.” Sometimes you have to be tough, other times you have to be sweet. He believes that negotiating skills are innate. Is it just me, or are these the least interesting segments of an otherwise exciting show?
The candidates meet at the airport in the shadow of Donald Trump’s jet. Trump tells the group that people pay a lot of money for airplanes, but that you can get one for a lot less if you know how to negotiate. This week’s challenge will test their negotiating skills. Each team will be given a list of items to buy. The winning team is the one that saves the most off of the retail price. They’ll have between 8:30 and 5:30 to complete the task.
Amy says in an interview that she’s worried about this task. Several of the men negotiate for a living, so she thinks they’ll have an advantage.
The men get started and Sam is thrilled to pieces to be Project Manager. He reads the list of items to his team: a block of 24 karat gold, a Callaway golf club, 5 pounds of squid, cigars, a camera, and a leg wax. Sam is positively bouncing with excitement – he’s certain they have this one in the bag. He tells the guys that they’ll be playing this challenge like a football game and goes into a long explanation of which position each guy will be playing. The short explanation is that Kwame, Bill, and Bowie will be out buying the items while Sam, Troy, and Nick stay behind to do research. Troy compares Sam to Picasso, saying that he paints “colorful, disturbing pictures,” that aren’t always easy to interpret.
On the women’s team, Jessie is the Project Manager. She divides her team into two groups and tells each group which items to search for. Not surprisingly, she puts Ereka and Omarosa on two different teams.
Both Project Managers have good ideas on how to complete these tasks. Sam’s plan is not bad. I thought it was smart to have someone on the team devoted to doing research so that their search is focused, rather than being a bunch of people driving around looking for the items. What seems less smart to me is that he had fully half of his team doing research. His resources would have been better allocated if he had more of his team members doing the legwork. Jessie’s plan is simple, but effective. She divides the list in half, and divides her team in half. She might have benefited from having someone do research, like Sam did, but on the other hand, with all of her players out negotiating, she doesn’t have to worry as much about the time factor. What would have made the most sense would have been to have one or two people devoted to doing research, and have the rest out running.
Sam, Nick, and Troy begin their research. Sam asks Nick if he knows how to do an internet search, and Nick looks at him like he just asked if he could tie his own shoes. Sam, still excited about his sports metaphor, talks about his advance team and his field team.
The women hit Chinatown in search of squid. Amy asks the fishmonger if he has any especially nasty, bloody squid that he’d care to part with. She then tells him that her friend is hungry and orders Kristi to show her “hungry tummy.” Obediently, Kristi pulls up her shirt to show off her rock-hard abs. Omarosa makes a face in disgust. The fishmonger isn’t impressed either – he won’t give them a deal.
The men also go to Chinatown, figuring that it will be a good source both for the squid and the leg wax. Meanwhile, Troy calls someone for advice on how to buy the gold. Nick tells him to ask for the best way to get a good price on gold. Troy learns that your best bet is to avoid buying it at the end of the day. Nick is proud of himself for coming up with that great question, and Sam thinks it’s great. He quickly puts in a phone call to Bill directing him to leave Chinatown to go buy some gold.
Nick gives Bill the address of the place to buy the gold and is about to give him the phone number. Sam tells him not to give Bill the phone number because Bill doesn’t need it. Once again, Bill is holding the phone listening to someone argue with Sam on the other end. Kwame points out that the price of gold is determined by the market and does not fluctuate much during the day. He thinks leaving Chinatown will waste precious time. Sam says that he doesn’t want to argue; they are to buy the gold right away. He hangs up the phone. Kwame, Bill, and Bowie still think that they’re making a mistake. Bill starts to call headquarters to discuss it, but thinks better of it. Sam calls again a few minutes later. He asks them if they can have the gold in five minutes. Bill says that they could, but they might not get the best price. Sam says, “I’m not sure if I even care about the price of gold any more.” The guys look incredulous. Has Sam completely forgotten the object of the challenge?
The women are also looking for gold. They find a jewelry store that they like. Heidi says that the owner was tough at first, but she knew he was the right one to deal with. She tells him that she wants to do business with him, and no one else. He tells them that the price of gold is $400. Katrina and Heidi employ the time-honored and respected negotiating tactic of whining in an attempt to get ten dollars off. When that doesn’t work, they do a little dance for him. Tammy stands to the side of them looking embarrassed. Finally, perhaps to get them to shut up, he sells them the gold for $390.
Meanwhile, the men aren’t doing so well. They save only a dollar on the gold. Bowie is worried because they have only purchased half of their items.
Trump surprises Sam by paying the men a visit in their apartment. He shakes Sam’s hand and comments, “I never knew you were so short.” Trump says that he heard that the men chose Sam as project manager and asks if they might be trying to get rid of him. Sam gives a big smile and says that it might be true. Trump leaves, and Sam looks like he’s about to piddle on the floor like an excited puppy. He goes on and on about how Trump shook his hand. Troy makes Sam sit down, close his eyes, and take a deep breath. He tells Sam that he’s going to focus, “and we’re not going to talk about anybody shaking anybody’s hand.” Once again, Troy is able to soothe the savage beast.
Several readers have written to me suggesting that one of the real challenges that the candidates face is how to best manage Sam. He’s hyper, easily distracted, and has trouble staying on task. If you can make Sam into an effective member of your team, you are an incredible manager and leader. Troy is the only member of the men’s team who has made an effort to get some use out of Sam rather than swatting him away like an annoying mosquito. I think that Troy is one to watch and has an excellent chance of winning this competiton.
Sam’s relaxation is short lived. Moments later, he’s babbling on the phone with the rest of the team about the “coordinates” for the golf club. He tells Bowie, Kwame, and Bill that his team will take care of the leg wax. Nick and Troy are ready to go, but Sam starts blathering on about how you don’t send a player onto the field without the proper uniform. What, exactly, is the proper uniform for having your legs waxed? Nick reminds Sam that there is a time limit, and steers him to the door.
Bill calls the “coordinates” that he got from Sam for the golf clubs and learns that they don’t sell golf clubs. His irritation is apparent.
Troy says that he is going to take one for the team and will succumb to the leg wax. He only asks that his buddy Nick not laugh at him.
Omarosa volunteers to have her legs waxed. Amy and Kristi note that she has been on her best behavior all day. Jessie says in an interview that Omarosa needs to be in a place where she can shine. Amy holds Omarosa’s hands while she undergoes the hot wax torture. The retail price of a leg wax is $80. The women pay $30. Impressive. If Sam is the management challenge for the men’s team, then Omarosa fills that role for the women. It looks like Jessie is doing a good job of making Omarosa feel like an important part of the team, so she does feel so much like she has to prove herself. Omarosa says in an interview that she has new found respect for the women in her group.
Troy presents himself to the receptionist at the leg waxing place. He tells her that he has to get his legs waxed and wonders if he can get it for free for being such a good sport about it. She tells him no way. Poor Troy undergoes the horrifying pain of having all of the hair on his legs yanked out, and the boys only save four bucks. In an interview, Troy says something or other about doing it for the team, but I am distracted by his lovely, smooth legs.
Next, the two teams go in search of the golf club. Both find golf stores – let’s see how they do. Bowie’s salesperson tells him that their prices are firm, and then Bowie gets him to admit that he gives discounts to good customers. Amy asks her salesperson why the clubs are so expensive. He says that Callaway is a luxury brand, like Chanel. Finally, Amy offers the guy his cost plus ten percent. He agrees, and she gets the $419 club for $300. The guys can’t get a deal and leave in search of another shop.
Time is running out for the men. As Bill, Bowie, and Kwame sprint to the camera store, Bill calls Sam and asks him to go get the cigars. Sam is not listening to Bill and asks him if he thinks they’ll win and wants to know when they’ll be back. As Sam tries to calm down, his team gets a $65 camera for $30. Their last task is to buy cigars, which apparently they didn’t convince Sam to do. Bill should do well at this, since he runs a cigar business. Bowie does his best to keep up with the others as they race to the cigar store. They get $140 worth of cigars for $80.
The teams meet back at Trump Tower. George and Carolyn tally their receipts and count the leftover money. With the results tabulated, everyone heads for the boardroom. George and Carolyn tell us that the total retail value of the items was $1,379.33. The women saved 22%, and the men only saved 9%. Trump says, “I’m starting to think that I may never hire a man again.”
The women will be rewarded with dinner at the 21 Club at Donald Trump’s father’s favorite table. I’m sure that Sam, who seems to have researched Trump’s family, is incredibly jealous.
The men gather back at the apartment. Sam looks despondent. Nick says that he’s sick of losing. Sam says that they’ve lost the war, but that they’ve won some battles. That makes absolutely no sense. What battles, exactly, have the men won? They’ve lost every challenge so far. Sam has lost his ever lovin’ mind.
The women put on cocktail dresses and hit the 21 Club. There, they toast their victory. Jessie says that she’s starting to get used to this lavish lifestyle.
Before the men go to the boardroom, the mood in the apartment is somber. Sam commiserates with the women, saying that he doesn’t know what he’s going to say to Trump. Heidi says in an interview that she thinks Sam is going to make it. Nick agrees, saying that Sam is the one who knows Trump best, and that there must be something about Sam that the big man likes. Sam is confident that he’ll make it because it’s not his time yet. Kwame wonders if Sam will convince Trump to get rid of Nick, since Nick got the advice to buy the gold as soon as possible. All of the men are nervous.
The men sit down in the boardroom. Trump tells them that he’s disappointed in them and asks Sam what happened. Sam says that they had a good plan, but that it wasn’t executed well. Kwame thinks that their loss was Sam’s fault. They might have been able to negotiate more on the leg wax and golf club, but they spent too much time chasing after the gold, a product with less room to negotiate. Bill tells Trump that Sam only gave them two numbers to call to find golf clubs, and that one of them was a dud.
Trump asks the men how Sam was as a leader. Nick very diplomatically says that Sam displayed leadership qualities but might not have made good decisions. Bowie says that Sam is not effective because the other guys are constantly trying to calm him down. Kwame agrees that Sam is a terrible leader.
Sam argues that Kwame and Bowie didn’t respect him, and that you can’t lead without respect. Trump whole-heartedly agrees. Carolyn says, “You have to earn it, and if you can’t earn it, you have to demand it.” Sam says that he wishes he had demanded it better.
It’s time for Sam to choose two guys to join him in the boardroom. He selects Kwame and Bowie. Trump isn’t surprised, saying that those two guys were critical of Sam, while Nick was nice. They file out. Trump, George, and Carolyn don’t spent much time discussing their decision. Trump thinks that the entire team made mistakes. George says that Sam disrupts the rest of the team. Outside, Kwame makes it clear to Sam that his assessment that he doesn’t respect him is correct. Bowie, on the other hand, does respect Sam and resents that Sam suggested otherwise.
As the three guys head in to face their fates, Sam tells them that it will be a loss regardless of who goes. Trump asks each man why he should stay. Kwame says that he never made a critical judgment error, and that if Trump is looking to send someone home for not respecting Sam, he should go ahead and call him a cab. Bowie says that Sam is not successful as a leader or as a follower. Sam says that given another chance, he can earn the respect of his team. Trump appears to feel sorry for Sam as he says, “Isn’t it over?”
It’s certainly over for Sam. He’s fired. Sam looks stunned. Apparently he is the only person in America who didn’t see this coming. Kwame and Bowie are halfway out the door when Sam finally slowly and dramatically gets up out of his chair. After they leave, Trump, George, and Carolyn agree that this was their first easy decision.
Next week: Everyone cheers when Kwame and Bowie return without Sam. The two teams are challenged to manage a restaurant. The men imply that Kwame is a celebrity, and the women once again follow their “sex sells” theory. Carolyn is just as sick of it, as I am, and tells them that they will not succeed in the business world with that kind of behavior. I predict that the men will finally pull out a win, and the women will send Omarosa home. We’ll find out if I’m right next Wednesday night.
Betsy is the Assistant Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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