The Apprentice, Episode 7: Duped!by Betsy Wasser -- 02/20/2004
Once again, The Apprentice opens with the candidates wondering who has been sent home. Katrina figures it’s between Jessie and Heidi. Troy thinks Omarosa might get fired.
Their questions are answered when Omarosa and Heidi return to the suite – Jessie is gone. Omarosa says, “It got hot, but I’m here.” Heidi tells everyone, “It got really ugly.” That ugliness, of course, stemmed mainly from the many patronizing and rude things that Omarosa told Trump about her teammates. Heidi tells everyone about how Omarosa called her unprofessional. Omarosa tries to blow it off, but Heidi maintains that Omarosa had never called her unprofessional to her face. She then reminds Omarosa that Trump called her “repulsive.” All Omarosa can say in her defense is, “Whatever. I’m still here.” In an interview, Heidi says that she thinks Omarosa’s behavior in front of Trump made her look bad and will hurt her in the long run.
I am not a Heidi fan; in fact, I found myself in the odd position of agreeing with Omarosa when she called Heidi unprofessional and classless. But Heidi handled herself beautifully in this scene. She made it very clear that what Omarosa said to her in the boardroom was unacceptable, but at no point did Heidi turn into the shrieking harpy that we saw when Kristi sent her to the boardroom a few weeks ago. In this scene, Heidi was tough, she stood up for herself, and she let everyone know what Trump thought of Omarosa’s behavior. In other words, she did not let Omarosa get away with talking so badly about her.
Omarosa, on the other hand, came across as a fool. It’s true that Trump didn’t fire her, but he made it very plain that she was on warning. He called her behavior rude and repulsive and said he couldn’t imagine how anyone would tolerate it. If Omarosa had been listening to anything he’d said other than the fact that she wasn’t fired, she would have changed her tune. But she didn’t, and it looks like she’s going to keep treating people just as poorly as she did before… that is, until Trump sends her packing.
The next morning, Amy answers the Trump Phone and learns that the candidates need to meet at the Trump Park Avenue at 9:00. There, Trump checks on the progress of his renovations, and then meets with the candidates. He says that in the past two challenges, Protégé has been “decimated.” To even up the teams, Protégé has two minutes to choose another candidate from Versacorp. To review, the choices are: Nick, Bill, Amy, Katrina, Ereka, and Tammy. After conferring briefly, they pick Amy. Really, other than Tammy, any of them would have been a good choice. Amy joins her new team saying, “I’m ready to win.”
Trump lays out the challenge. Real estate is his forte; in fact the Park Avenue building that they’re standing in is one of his current projects. Once his renovations are done, penthouses in that building will go for thirty-five million dollars. Their challenge will be on a smaller scale. The two project managers will visit two apartments in Brooklyn. Then, they will negotiate which one of them will get which apartment. Once that’s settled, each team will have 72 hours to renovate and rent the apartments for as much money as possible. Whichever team rents the apartment for the most money, proportionally, over its previous market value wins.
At Protégé, Amy thinks she was chosen because she can get along with Omarosa. She doesn’t like her, but she can get along with her. Nick says that he’ll miss having her on his team because she’s smart, pretty, and reminds him of his mom. That sounded creepy the way I wrote it, but trust me – it was nice.
While Protégé forms their action plan in the Park Avenue building, a piece of plaster falls and hits Omarosa on the head. Bill says it was just a small piece, nothing serious. Omarosa says that she’s tough and she’ll be okay.
Project managers Katrina and Troy head to Brooklyn to check out the two apartments. Katrina is excited about this challenge because of her expertise in real estate. It is her passion. Troy says that her experience makes her a tough adversary. An agent shows them the two apartments. The first apartment is on Court Street and has been assessed at $1,500. The second apartment is on 3rd Street and is valued at $1,200. Both of the apartments are pretty trashed and will take some serious work, but the second apartment has hardwood floors that the agent says will be a draw to potential renters.
Having looked at the two apartments, Katrina and Troy immediately get on their phones to talk over their findings with their teams. Katrina tells Versacorp that the second apartment needs a lot of work, but she knows that with a little vision, it could be great. Her team supports her decision to go for the second apartment. Troy tells his team that he was leaning towards the second apartment, but now that he’s heard Katrina say that she wants it, he’s sure it’s the way to go. Both Katrina and Troy promise their teams that they won’t back down.
The two project managers argue about which one of them will say first which apartment they want. Katrina tells Troy to be a man and say which place he wants. He counters that she should be a woman and do the same. Katrina pulls out a notepad and says that they should each write down which apartment they want. Troy thinks it’s dumb, but agrees. Katrina writes “3rd Street” on her paper, and Troy writes, “I want what you want.”
In an interview, Troy says that he wrote what he did to wind Katrina up, and it certainly worked. Katrina is livid. “That’s not ethical!” she tells him. In an interview, she says, “Troy is a sleazeball.” Neither of them will bend, so the agent settles their dispute with a coin toss. Troy wins, and Katrina is, as Troy puts it, “mad as a wet hen.”
Okay, let’s take a minute here to look at what happened. Let’s look at Katrina’s side of things first. She knew that neither of them wanted to be the first to admit which apartment they wanted, so she came up with the compromise that they’d each write it down, swap papers, and move on from there. While she was straightforward and wrote what she wanted, Troy just wrote that he wanted what she wanted. This bothered Katrina for two reasons. First of all, Troy agreed to write down the apartment he wanted, and he didn’t do it. He was dishonest and didn’t follow the rules that they had just agreed to. Second, and probably more importantly, Katrina and Troy both know that she knows more about real estate than he does. She knows which apartment is the better prospect due to years of hard work and experience. Troy knows which apartment is better by listening to her talk. It’s like she stayed up all night studying for a test, and he just cheated by looking over her shoulder at the answers.
Then there’s Troy’s point of view. He knows that Katrina has more expertise than he does in this field, so her enthusiasm about the second apartment confirmed his suspicions that it was the one with the most potential. If Katrina were smarter, she wouldn’t have made it so obvious to Troy which apartment was best. When it came time to write down their choices, Troy already knew that she was going to write down 3rd Street since he heard her telling her team she wanted it. No, he didn’t literally write down 3rd Street, but he knew that he wanted the same apartment she did (in fact, he was digging in his pocket for a coin to toss to resolve the dispute before she came up with her paper idea), so he wrote a more teasing response. He probably hoped that teasing her like that would throw her off balance, giving him an edge in the negotiations.
In the end, I think that Troy was obnoxious and a little bit dishonest for not playing by Katrina’s rules in writing down the actual apartment that the wanted. As fellow RNO writer Donna Reynolds put it, “I don’t think it was unethical really, just kind of childish.” If you want to examine unethical behavior by Troy, this pales in comparison to his implying that Kwame was a celebrity in the Planet Hollywood challenge. I also think that Katrina made a big mistake by showing her cards. She made it far too easy for Troy to see which apartment she, the expert, found most desirable, so he was able to snatch it away from her.
The Versacorp team checks out the apartment. Tammy says that it’s going to need a lot of work. Katrina says they’ll need to do lots of painting, and new cabinets will help, too. She tells her team that the other apartment was much worse. Sounds like sour grapes to me, since we just saw her fighting to get it.
Protégé gets to work in their apartment as well. Heidi says that the place is absolutely disgusting, especially the bathroom. They quickly roll up their sleeves and get to work painting – all, that is, except for Omarosa. Omarosa interrupts everyone’s work to call a meeting to review the lists of what she thinks they need to do. Everyone is irritated, including me. They were working, and Omarosa stopped them so that they could talk about how much work they needed to do. It totally reminds me of how on Trading Spaces Paige will interrupt the teams to talk about how time-consuming the projects are, and how she’s worried about the schedule when if she’d shut up and let them work already, they’d be done. Amy says in an interview, “We have meetings for meetings’ sake, and I think it’s because Omarosa didn’t want to get down and dirty.” The meeting is over, and everyone gets back to work, except for Omarosa, who sits on the floor and watches them.
At the end of the day, everyone is exhausted (except, presumably, for Omarosa, who should be fresh as a daisy). Heidi calls home and, after a few minutes of talking to her dad, starts to cry. Her mother has just been diagnosed with stage 1 colon cancer. She tells her dad that if he wants her to, she’ll leave the show to be with her mom. Troy hears her on the phone and comes by to give her a hug. He says in an interview that he feels really bad for the choice she has to make.
It’s time for the Trump Lesson of the Week. This week, we learn that “God is in the Details.” Trump says that people notice details, and that if you’re going to offer a good product, you need to pay attention to the little things. For example, if you’re selling a used car, if you spend ten dollars to have your car washed, you might sell the car for two hundred dollars more than you otherwise would have. Or you could wash your car yourself for free, a possibility that probably never occurred to Trump. Thus endeth the lesson.
The next day, Versacorp meets to talk about how to market the apartment. Ereka is on the internet researching how much they might be able to rent the apartment for. Tammy thinks that it’s likely that neither team will rent their apartments in the time given because “there’s so much inventory out there.” Does anyone refer to apartments as “inventory”? Why is everyone calling Kwame “an MBA robot” when Tammy’s there saying freaky things like that?
Ereka says that she lives in the New York area, so she knows how hard it is to find a nice place, and how quickly they get rented. I don’t live in New York, but I have watched enough TV to know that what Ereka’s saying seems to be true. Besides, would Trump really set up a challenge that both teams were likely to fail? A frustrated Ereka tells Tammy, “You’re setting us up to lose, and I don’t get it.”
Protégé returns to their apartment to get back to work, except of course, for Omarosa, who comfortably sits down on the floor. Ahh! Heidi says in an interview that her mother is having surgery soon, and that working will help her focus on something else. Omarosa says that her head hurts from the plaster, so she goes outside to sit on the steps. Heidi and Amy can’t believe how little work she’s put in. Heidi says, “I think she’s worthless and useless.” Meanwhile, Omarosa joins a group of kids in a game of basketball. I guess her injury wasn’t quite so bad after all. Heidi tells Amy that she needs a break, so she’s going to go for a quick walk. I immediately get all geared up for a Mega Turbo-Bitch Screaming Match when an already emotionally edgy Heidi finds out that the woman who called her classless and unprofessional is blowing off work to play with a bunch of kids. Alas, we get no fight, so we can only assume that Heidi’s walk took her in a different direction.
At Versacorp, Katrina is excited because she was able to hire a general contractor to do some of the work in the apartment. For the bargain price of $1,500, he’ll install new kitchen cabinets and do some work in the bathroom. Nick and Bill can’t believe the great deal Katrina got. “It’s a woman’s world we’re living in,” Bill says wistfully.
As the rest of Versacorp works, Tammy is underfoot. She pesters Bill about how the paint will dry on the wall and seems to somehow start a dispute with the contractor about how much the job will cost. Katrina asks Tammy not to talk to the contractor because she’s afraid Tammy will say something to offend him. Katrina then directs the workers to avoid Tammy because, “she’s the craziest of us all.”
The renovations are done, and it’s time to rent the apartments. We get before and after shots of both apartments, and the changes are impressive. Protégé has helium balloons on the railing leading to the apartment, a festive touch. Kwame gives a tour of the house. A prospective renter touches the curtains under the sink and they immediately fall down. Oops. Troy says that the key at this point is simply to rent the apartment.
Versacorp arranges a welcome mat outside the door. Katrina thinks it would be overwhelming and inefficient if the entire team was there to show the apartment, so she puts Bill in charge. Outside, Ereka passes out flyers inviting people to the open house. Ereka comes back inside for a quick break and ends up arguing with Bill. He says that they need more prospective customers and she should be outside looking for them. She says that she just came in for five minutes. Bill is worried that they won’t find a renter.
A few hours later, Bill’s mood turns around. A potential tenant offers $1,600 a month; Bill talks her up to $1,650, and she signs a lease. That’s a ten percent markup from the original assessed value of the apartment, so Bill is confident that Versacorp will win.
Nine minutes before time runs out, Protégé is ready to admit defeat. Just then, a tenant comes in and signs a lease. Amy is thrilled, saying, “She was meant to be the person who occupied the apartment. Heidi is happy that the task is over and says that she is always thinking about her family and what they’d think of her work. Troy congratulates her on a job well done and gives her a hug.
Back in the suite, Omarosa bemoans her injury, saying, “I’ve had a headache for three days.” Appropriately, she is wearing a tank top that says “Princess” on it, since she seems to think that she is one. Katrina says in an interview, “Omarosa got a bump on her head and created a drama series about it, whereas Heidi found out that her mom had cancer and was so classy.” Wow. Well said, Katrina. And speaking of Omarosa’s supposed injury, I’m fairly certain that it was hugely exaggerated. If she was really and truly hurt on a construction site, especially while surrounded by TV cameras, don’t you think she’d go to a hospital? After all, it’s not exactly like she had a paper cut; this was a supposed head injury.
Nick says that he’s not nervous at all about going to the boardroom. “Maybe it’s a positive attitude, maybe it’s crazy,” he admits. Katrina is sure her team will win and looks forward to rubbing Troy’s face in it. She says that the only way his team might win would be by pure luck.
In the boardroom, Trump immediately asks for the results. Carolyn reports that Versacorp impressed her with great renovations, then rented the apartment for $1,650, a ten percent markup. Bernie (filling in again for George) says that Protégé did even better, renting their apartment for $1,525, a 27% increase. Protégé wins!
Katrina stops the celebration, telling Trump, “Troy did not play by the rules of the game.” Troy says that’s not true, and, “[Katrina] got emotional and attacked me personally.” Katrina says that she was not emotional; she was not hysterical, and she was not crying, but she did get stern with him like she’s doing right now. Katrina asks Trump if he would ever do business with someone as shady as Troy. Trump says that he’d like to say no, but that sometimes it happens because you can’t always know who you’re dealing with. Trump tells her, “Business in New York is a tough deal.” Sometimes in business, you get duped. Katrina says that never in her life has she been duped. Trump incredulously responds, “You’ve never been duped? I have.” Katrina insists that she has not, and that Troy will not be the one to do it. The rest of her team agrees that Troy did not dupe them… until Tammy chimes in from the back row, “I think we were duped.” Katrina shoots a death stare in her direction.
What was Katrina trying to accomplish by telling Trump that Troy behaved unethically? Her team had already lost – was she looking to get Troy’s team disqualified? I don’t think so, and several of the other writers here at RNO agree with me. What seems more likely is that Katrina felt very vulnerable after this loss. She is, after all, a hot-shot real estate agent who should have been able to win this challenge. Because she didn’t, she probably thought – with good reason – that there was a good chance she’d be fired. By immediately telling Trump about how Troy behaved, she was trying to deflect attention from her own responsibility for the loss. Also, if she really does think that Troy is sleazy, she might want Trump to know it for future consideration.
Nonetheless, Katrina’s plea is unsuccessful – Versacorp must return to the boardroom, where someone will get fired. Protégé’s reward is a trip to Trump’s country house in Westchester for a picnic lunch. Trump asks to speak to Heidi alone.
Trump knows about Heidi’s mother’s illness and offers to send her home if she wants to be with her family. Heidi says that she and her mother have agreed that she should stay and keep working. She asks that he not hold her personal situation against her when making future decisions. Heidi thanks him for his concern. In an interview, she says that her conversation with Trump was very comforting, and that he treated her like a friend.
Protégé heads for their Trump-tastic reward. Trump’s country house is a fifty-five thousand square foot monster. The candidates enjoy hot cider, fruit, and cheese on the grounds of the estate. Amy toasts, “the first of many victories.” You’ve got to wonder what other Trumpy rewards Trump has up his sleeve because, let’s face it, eating cheese on the ground outside of his house isn’t the most thrilling prize in the world. Couldn’t he send them to one of his casinos?
The defeated Versacorp heads back to the suite. Katrina and Ereka are livid about Tammy’s telling Trump that they were duped. Katrina hisses, “What the hell was Tammy thinking?” The team gathers for a meeting, and Bill asks Katrina if she’ll tell them in advance which two people she’s taking to the board room. She doesn’t answer him, and Bill says they’ll love her anyway. In an interview, Katrina says that Bill was responsible for negotiating the rent. Ereka says the same, and thinks that since they didn’t rent the apartment for as much money as they could have, Bill shoulders some of the blame. Ereka then tells Tammy, “There was no duping going on.” Tammy tries to let that sink in. In an interview, she wonders, “Will it be me? Will it be someone else? I don’t know.” Yeah, but you know what? I bet it’s one of those two choices.
In the boardroom, Carolyn asks why Katrina didn’t take charge of negotiating the rental price, since she works in real estate. Katrina says that they thought it would be more effective to have just one person showing the apartment. Bernie asks why she picked Bill. Katrina says that she was in charge of renovations, so she delegated the negotiations to Bill. Bill says that there weren’t enough qualified prospects for him to negotiate with, but Katrina says he could have done better with those they had. He then asks her why she didn’t step in and take over.
Trump turns his attention to Tammy, asking her why she went against the team and said that they were duped. Tammy says that she thought her team’s accusations were unfair to Troy’s credibility. She thinks Troy was smart, not dishonest. Tammy is totally trying to save her butt with that answer. If she thought her team was being unfair to Troy, she would have said, “That’s unfair to Troy. He’s not unethical,” not, “We were duped.” Katrina, Nick, and Ereka agree that Tammy was disloyal to the team by disagreeing with them. Ereka adds, “and I’m not surprised.”
It’s time to get down to business. Katrina chooses Tammy and Bill to join her in the boardroom. They file out so that Trump and the viceroys can discuss them. Carolyn says that she was not impressed by Katrina in this challenge, but that Tammy presents problems of her own. Bernie says he was bothered by Katrina’s attacking Bill. Trump sends the three back in.
Trump says that there is a lot of bad blood in the team, much of it caused by Troy. Katrina says that Tammy’s disloyalty was not the only reason she selected her for the boardroom. She constantly had to baby-sit Tammy because she hassled the workers and brought the team down with her negativity. As a result, Katrina says she couldn’t focus as much on her other responsibilities. Tammy says that Katrina is just looking to deflect the blame. Katrina offers to show Trump her business plan to prove her worth. Trump tells her it’s too late for that. Katrina should have handled both the renovations and the negotiations, and, barring that, Bill should have negotiated a higher rent. Tammy, on the other hand, is disloyal and “so obnoxious.” She’s fired.
As Tammy takes the elevator to the street, Trump says that Tammy was talented, but disloyal. Bernie puts it better, saying that Tammy never brought anything to the table.
Once again, I think Trump made the right choice. Bill was in charge of negotiating the rent, and in the end, the numbers just weren’t there. But he did get ten percent more than the previously assessed value of the apartment, which is impressive. Katrina should have done much better in this challenge. She made it too obvious to real estate neophyte Troy which apartment was the better choice, which may have cost her that apartment. And she should have used her negotiating skills and her ability to show the apartment rather than delegating to Bill. But Katrina had an incredible find with the contractor and really improved the apartment.
Tammy, on the other hand, contributed absolutely nothing. This was the first time she has ever been on a losing team, but I’d be hard-pressed to think of a way that she ever contributed to one of their victories before. In fact, Tammy’s team often seems to win in spite of her. Last week, for example, Carson Daly might have been insulted by Tammy’s suggestion that he alone did not make a compelling auction item. If he had taken offense, he could have refused to participate, and her team would have been in serious trouble. She is so clueless that she can’t pick up on any social cues, from asking Trump’s girlfriend how she keeps their apartment so clean, to asking George Steinbrenner about his “bling,” to calling Regis Philbin “Phil,”to saying that her team was duped. Katrina and Bill weren’t at their best this week, but they both have potential that Tammy simply does not.
Next week on The Apprentice, the contestants sell bottled water and Nick and Amy flirt. But more interestingly, we’re promised the “BEST BOARDROOM EVER,” which will include “a vicious attack.” That can only mean one thing, my friends: Omarosa is going home. We’ll find out next Thursday if I’m right.
Betsy is the Assistant Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached with any comments at email@example.com.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! And take a look at the rest of the site. You can find all of our recent articles on this show at our The Apprentice page and take a look at our sections on Survivor: All-Stars and Celebrity Mole. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!
For more news about The Apprentice, be sure to check out SirLinksALot!