The Apprentice, Episode 9: Catty Gamesby Betsy Wasser -- 03/05/2004
As usual, the candidates are hanging out in the suite wondering who will go home next. Katrina says that she supported Ereka, but Nick and Bill turned on them. She says that it was boys against girls in the boardroom. The very fact that she said that just reinforces Trump’s theory that Katrina and Ereka let their friendship dictate their decisions. Nick walks back into the suite, remarking to Bill that if Ereka had chosen Katrina instead of Bill to accompany them to the boardroom, he would have been the one fired.
The two guys round the corner, and Omarosa squeals when she finds out that Ereka is gone. Katrina looks distraught. Things just got lonely for her on her team. Omarosa says, “The game has changed significantly.” Katrina says in an interview that she hates Omarosa’s smugness, and that it’s not fair that Ereka is gone when it should be Omarosa instead. Technically, that’s not possible since they’re on opposing teams, but we’ll let it go this time, because we get her point. Everyone hugs Nick and Bill, and Katrina has a face like thunder. Bill tells everyone that things got very tense, and that Ereka refused to shake their hands at the end.
Katrina says that she believed in Ereka, and insists that she recommended Ereka take her to the boardroom. That’s not what Ereka said last week. Ereka said that she and Katrina spoke, and Katrina said that Nick did not give it his all. Nick says, “If she would have taken you with her, I would have been fired.” He’s probably right. Nick says that it was wrong of her to refuse to shake Bill’s hand. He says he can understand why she didn’t shake his hand, but Bill is a nice guy.
The Trump Phone rings. Kwame, in a short pair of boxers, learns that the teams need to meet in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. When they arrive, Trump begins by evening out the two teams, since Versacorp got “clobbered” in the last few challenges. Nick is Versacorp’s team captain, so it’s his choice. Trump notes that Nick needs to start winning. He chooses Amy to rejoin the team. Trump points out that Amy has been picked to even out teams twice now. He thinks she’s getting too much power, and if he were in Nick’s shoes, he never would have chosen her. Maybe, he suggests, he should go ahead and give her the job now.
Trump is so right. Amy is a very good player. She’s smart, she’s resourceful, and she gets along well with everyone. And now that she’s been chosen twice, Trump can see that she has the respect of the other candidates. If Nick chose Amy just because he has a crush on her, that’s not very smart. If he was just looking for a good player, he could have chosen Troy.
Trump explains the challenge: Each team will meet a group of emerging artists. They must choose one artist, then take their work to a gallery and sell it. The team that makes the most money wins. It’ll be a tough challenge because art is subjective, and it’s a product with no set market value.
Kwame is the project manager for Protégé. He says that it will be important to choose the best artist for the task. The first artist they meet is named Giles. In an interview, Omarosa mispronounces his name (just like she did with Isaac Mizrahi), and says that his art has a different edge. That edge is that he likes to put a piece of DNA into all of his paintings, whether it’s a hair, a toenail, or an eyelash. Omarosa says that she has connected with his work since she was able to touch it. Then she rubs Giles’s arm as Heidi rolls her eyes.
Nick and Katrina meet with an artist named Andrei. Andrei does nature-based abstract paintings, and tells them all about his work. Nick likes him a lot – he finds him sincere, and he thinks he did a great job of explaining his art to someone who doesn’t know much about painting.
Meanwhile, Amy and Bill meet with Leah. Leah does paintings of snapshots of her life. She says that people like her art because they can relate to it. Amy really loves her work.
Protégé next meets an artist named Meghan. Heidi says that Meghan’s apartment is crazy, and a little bit creepy. It’s stocked with her art, which is very unusual – filled with severed heads and naked bodies. Troy says that her art is weird, and wonders if customers will like it. On the other hand, her average price point is $4,000, compared to the $1,500 average they’ve seen with other artists.
Everybody get your pens ready, because it’s time for the Trump Lesson of the Week. This week’s lesson is, “You’ve Gotta Believe.” If you don’t believe in something, it won’t work. That’s the entire lesson. Is it just me, or are they getting progressively shorter as the show goes on? In the finale, the Trump Lesson will be, “Sell.”
Protégé meets to choose an artist. They are between Meghan and Leah. Kwame thinks that Meghan’s art is weird, but admits that he knows nothing about art. In an interview, he says that he signed up for The Apprentice to take a risk, so why not take a risk as project manager? Omarosa says that choosing Meghan would be a calculated risk. She says that from an art perspective, she has concerns with Meghan, but she loves Leah. But from a business perspective, “Tomorrow, Meghan is the only one that’s going to drive the numbers that we need to win.”
Heidi says in an interview, “You cannot look at this task in an artistic way. If you do, you’re screwed.” She adds that she doesn’t think Donald Trump gives “a rat’s ass” about the art in this particular task; it’s all about money. Omarosa says in an interview that she tried to warn Kwame against choosing Meghan, because “the art world is very finicky.” I watched the scene three times, and Omarosa most certainly did not make any big effort to warn Kwame against choosing Meghan. She said that she had some reservations from an artistic standpoint, but that from a business standpoint, Meghan was the way to go. The Protégé team puts their hands together and cheers for “risk.”
Versacorp is trying to decide which artist to choose – Andrei or Leah. Katrina and Nick want Andrei, while Nick and Amy, on the phone with them, prefer Leah. Nick makes an executive decision and chooses Andrei. Bill asks if it’s really settled. Nick says, “It’s too late. It’s done.” Bill doesn’t like Nick’s unilateral decision, and neither does Amy, but they plan to support the team decision.
I think that Nick handled this situation just fine. The team was deadlocked, he was in charge, and he made a decision. When you’re in charge, that’s your prerogative.
The next day, Protégé members Kwame and Troy hand out invitations to the gallery show while Omarosa and Heidi go to the gallery to help Meghan hang her art and get set up. George visits them there and listens to Omarosa blather on about how Meghan has an “extensive following.” In an interview, George says that while art is subjective, it’s also a business. Choosing Meghan is a gamble. I love that George did an interview. I think that he and Carolyn are both very smart and observant, and I’d like to hear more from them.
And now it’s time for one of the most awesome moments of this episode. Heidi asks Meghan to tell her more about her art. That’s smart on Heidi’s part, because she wants to know as much as possible about the things she’ll be selling. Meghan says that this painting is about dark forces within, reconciling those forces, and so forth. There is a long pause, and Heidi just says, “Okay.” Hee!
Heidi goes on to ask Meghan lots of questions about her work. She jokes that the paintings are going to give her weird nightmares. In an interview, she says, “I’m just going to sell it and learn to like it.”
Omarosa and Heidi are on the street outside of the gallery. Omarosa says that her head is killing her (from the chunk of plaster that fell on her head two episodes ago), so she needs to sit down and have lunch. Heidi suggests that they grab a quick sandwich somewhere and get back to work. Omarosa says that she has a concussion and needs to sit down and relax. Heidi says they don’t have two hours to have lunch. The two of them proceed to have a yelling fight, all while Omarosa is holding the phone with Kwame at the other end, so Kwame hears the whole thing. Omarosa says, “I’m sorry, I can’t run like this with a concussion.” Heidi points out that Omarosa’s head always hurts when there’s work to be done. Omarosa tries to get Kwame to tell her whether or not she can stop for lunch, and he wisely doesn’t get involved.
Omarosa tells Heidi that she is rude and childish. She says in an interview that Heidi has a “trash mouth” and needs to keep quiet. Heidi tells her, “I can’t f***ing stand you,” and refuses to have lunch with her. Omarosa says in an interview that she doesn’t care what Heidi says about her, because “look at the source.” Omarosa storms off – presumably into a restaurant for a concussion cure – while Heidi fumes on the sidewalk.
Meanwhile, Troy and Kwame make fun of Omarosa’s convenient headaches. Troy says that Heidi and Omarosa will never get along, which puts the team on an emotional roller coaster.
At 6:00 in the evening, Versacorp sets up the wine and cheese. Bill says that it’s a tough challenge. The first hour, they’ve heard, is always slow. Nick wonders if it would help if he wore black, which is an adorable concern. Nick says that a good leader never lets his team know he’s worried. He says they’ll be fine. At 7:30, the gallery is hopping. Bill tells a customer that the paintings are being sold at a studio price, and that the artist will hang and light any paintings that are sold. His personal attention pays off, and he sells a painting. Katrina flirts with a customer, joking that he should buy her one of the paintings. Amy is confident, saying, “Tonight’s the night!” Versacorp sells several paintings. Nick congratulates Andrei on how well the challenge is going. He says in an interview that the challenge was all about leading people. He thinks he’s a great leader, bringing energy, enthusiasm, and confidence to the team.
At Protégé’s gallery, the food table is an absolute wreck, and Carolyn notices. Troy introduces himself to a customer and kisses her on both cheeks, saying that he learned that from Omarosa. Troy points out the details of a painting to a customer, but he doesn’t even come close to sounding like he knows what he’s talking about. In an interview, he says that he doesn’t know anything about art, and that this is his Achilles heel. But then our master salesman steps up. He tells a group of customers that the painting they’re looking at is all about the virgin/whore dichotomy (men want a virgin outside the bedroom, but a whore inside it). He might not know what he’s talking about, but the customers seem to like what he’s saying.
In an interview, Omarosa says condescendingly that Heidi and Troy know absolutely nothing about art.
Heidi does her best, talking to a customer about the process Meghan uses to put her artwork together. Her time talking to the artist paid off, because she comes across as knowledgeable. Next, she shows the customer another piece of art, saying that it’s an old toilet bowl, and when you pull the chain, a picture is revealed. Then, a few minutes later, she hears Meghan tell someone else that it’s an old fireplace cover. Heidi just about dies laughing at her own mistake, which is really the only thing you can do in that situation. Omarosa looks on disapprovingly.
Troy and Heidi commiserate about the fact that neither of them has sold anything yet. Madalyn, the gallery owner, says that they need to have better communication with the artist so that they’ll know what they’re selling. Kwame is still hopeful, saying that they only need a few sales to win.
Omarosa finds a customer and says in an interview that her technique was to allow the patron to “explore the art.” The woman is interested in a photograph of a cat, and Meghan says that she took the picture at a taxidermist’s shop in Paris. The woman buys the picture for $869. Kwame figures they need to sell one or two more pieces to win.
Without further ado, it’s time for the boardroom. Trump asks first who chose the artists. Nick says that he made the decision himself, even though Amy and Bill disagreed with his choice. Trump summarizes, “Nick went against the advice of two people. Did it pay off?” Kwame says that their choice of artist was risky, but they chose her for her high price points. They made the decision as a team, even though they didn’t care for the artist’s work. She had a following, so they thought they could be successful.
Carolyn reports that Versacorp sold eight paintings for a total of $13,600. Protégé only sold one painting at $869. Trump says, “Wow. That is awful.” He says that Versacorp loved the artist they chose, but Protégé didn’t believe in their product, so they couldn’t be successful. As the project manager for the winning team, Nick gets a ten-minute meeting alone with Trump.
Nick meets Trump in his shiny gold apartment. Nick asks Trump what he’s looking for in an apprentice. Trump says that he assumes the person will be smart, but besides that, he’s looking for energy. He says that Nick has energy. Nick asks for a tour of the apartment, and as Trump shows him an array of shiny gold things, Nick asks him if he had a mentor when he first got started. Trump says that his father was an inspiration to him, and shows Nick a framed picture of his parents. From his living room somewhere, Sam pipes up, “His mother Mary Trump and his father Fred Trump!” Trump tells Nick that he’s liked him from the beginning, and thinks that regardless of if he wins the game, he’ll be a success.
Heidi calls her mom to see how she’s doing. She asks if the doctors are optimistic, and wants to make sure her mom has the best doctor. She says that she wants to win the game for her mom, and as a result, she won’t compromise her ethics. Heidi thinks that Kwame will choose her and Troy to go to the boardroom, which makes sense, since Omarosa got their only sale. She also thinks that Kwame might choose her and Omarosa.
Omarosa tells Bill that Troy is trying too hard to talk to everyone. She saw him talking to Heidi, and he and Heidi were never friends. Then she saw him making an effort to talk to Kwame. So, Troy has been talking to the other candidates and is being nice to them? That bastard! And, by the way, since when are Omarosa and Bill friends? She says that in this task, Troy offered nothing. All he did was carry the booze into the gallery and mop it up afterwards. Considering how many times Troy’s incredible salesmanship has meant victory for her team, Omarosa could stand to be a hell of a lot nicer about him. Omarosa says that she, on the other hand, contributed a lot. She was the financial manager and she handled the catering. Wow, so she kept track of their one sale and hired the boneheads who didn’t clear away the nasty dead grape stems. Hire this girl now! Omarosa tells Bill that she knows Kwame won’t take her to the boardroom because she was his artistic advisor, and they lost because they didn’t follow her recommendation.
Heidi jokes that she has to go to the boardroom all the time, just by default, so she’s fine with it. If she were the project manager, she’d nominate herself just to be consistent. Omarosa says that she wants Heidi to go to the boardroom for saying that she’d rather sell Tampax than art. She says that Heidi is the “least classiest” person she’s ever met. I’ll let that one stand on its own. Omarosa tells Bill that she likes Kwame, but if he takes her to the boardroom, she will “eat a brutha up.”
In the boardroom, Trump calls their loss “the worst disaster yet.” He asks Kwame what happened. Kwame says that choosing Meghan was a calculated risk that did not pay off. Three out of four people on the team wanted Meghan, and they thought it would work. Trump learns that Omarosa was the one who wanted Leah, and commends her. Omarosa says that she didn’t think they would succeed with Meghan.
So, Kwame just said that Omarosa recommended that they choose Leah, which wasn’t really the case. She said that she preferred Leah’s art, but thought Meghan was a better choice business-wise. And she said, “Tomorrow, Meghan is the only one that’s going to drive the numbers that we need to win.” So it’s not exactly true that Omarosa advised against Meghan; when she did, she wasn’t exactly forceful about it. I think that Kwame is playing up Omarosa’s objections for a good reason. If he said that everyone agreed to choose Meghan, she’d jump down his throat. Kwame gave Omarosa this little kernel so that if she attacked someone, it would not be him. That was really smart.
George says that he’s not sure if the choice of artist really matters, because there was a lot of dissent in the team. Heidi tells Trump about the lunch argument. Omarosa says that she has a concussion, which Heidi chose to ignore. Trump wants to know why that means she needs to stop for lunch, and says that he has had many, many pieces of plaster fall on his head, and not once has he gotten a serious injury that lasted for days. Huh, maybe the plaster falling on his head explains the hair. Trump summarizes Omarosa’s point by saying, “Because you had this horrible concussion, you took lunch instead of working.”
Omarosa gets very touchy and says that she didn’t know she’d be accused of being lazy and that she did not expect to be attacked. Trump says that he just doesn’t get why it was so important for her to have a long lunch because of a bump on her head. Kwame says that Omarosa exaggerates her injury sometimes and can be overly dramatic. Trump has had enough discussion. Who will Kwame take to the boardroom?
Kwame says that Troy is his all-star, so he’s taking Heidi and Omarosa. It’s a decent choice. Troy has been an incredible performer for weeks, even though he didn’t do very well in this challenge. No way is Trump firing him this week, so Kwame’s chances are better against the two women.
Outside the boardroom, Omarosa starts to cry big heaving sobs. Kwame holds her for comfort as Heidi sits alone on the couch looking miserable. I seriously wonder if this was just a last-ditch effort on Omarosa’s part to get some sympathy from Kwame. Then, Omarosa barges right into the boardroom, wanting to talk to Trump. Trump is pissed, saying that he did not tell Omarosa she could come back. Seriously, I can’t believe he didn’t fire her on the spot. Then, Omarosa who was in such a rush to get back into that boardroom, asks if she can get a tissue, because her nose is running. She blows her nose and sits down.
Trump asks Kwame what he has to say for himself. Kwame says that he was in charge, they took a risk, and the risk didn’t pay off. He stands by his decision. That was the best possible answer Kwame could have given. If Trump is going to fire someone for the choice of artist, he’ll fire Kwame, since he was in charge. The only thing Kwame can do is be strong and own that decision. Well done, Kwame.
Omarosa sniffles that she worked very hard and doesn’t see what was so terrible about wanting to break for a short lunch. Heidi says that she thought it would take much longer than just half an hour for them to have a sit-down lunch, because the restaurants were busy. Omarosa (who is apparently no longer crying) says that if Heidi had been that eloquent then, she would have understood. Heidi, she says, tends to drop the f-bomb. Heidi says, “I don’t have time for these catty games. I just wanted to get the job done.” Trump asks what the f-bomb is, and Heidi explains that she has a tendency to swear a lot. Heidi says that Omarosa did an okay job. Omarosa says that Heidi did not make a significant contribution.
Trump says that Heidi has an edge about her, and that it tends to annoy people. He suspects that she has heard this criticism before. She says she has. Trump tells Omarosa that the challenge is about leadership and teamwork, and that she creates a distraction. Then, Trump tells Kwame that he took a risk, and it failed. He has taken plenty of risks himself, and thinks that Kwame learned his lesson. Trump says that he hates the constant fighting in the team, and he doesn’t like it when people make excuses. As a result, Omarosa is fired.
Did you want to hear that again?
Omarosa is fired.
Omarosa thanks Trump for the opportunity, and Heidi makes a joke about how she’ll try to be less annoying in the future. After they leave, Trump says that Omarosa had a chip on her shoulder, acted superior to everyone, and had a terrible attitude. He says, “I was a little tough on her, because she’s always making excuses.”
Trump made the right choice again this week. I don’t think his choice had much to do with this challenge. The team lost because they chose an artist whose work they were unable to sell convincingly. From what Trump heard, three out of four members of the team thought Meghan was a good choice. Omarosa was the only member of the team who sold anything, but with one sale of less than a thousand dollars, she didn’t exactly set the world on fire. This week, Trump based his decision on which of the three people would ultimately be less successful running one of his companies. Heidi has proven herself to be smart and resourceful over the past few weeks. Kwame isn’t setting the world on fire, but he was strong enough to admit his responsibility for the team’s loss this week. He won’t win, but he does deserve to stick around for longer than Omarosa. Trump told Omarosa a few weeks ago that he found her behavior “repulsive,” and she didn’t change it one bit since then. He knows that there has been fighting in the ranks, and he knows from his eyes and ears Carolyn and George that Omarosa was at the heart of much of that commotion. If Omarosa can’t get along with anyone in her team, how could she possibly manage being president of one of Trump’s companies? Trump made the best choice he could.
Things are going to start getting interesting now, because almost all of the remaining candidates have proven themselves to be real contenders for the prize. If I were Katrina or Kwame, I’d be worried right about now.
Betsy is the Assistant Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached with any comments at email@example.com.
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