The Apprentice, Episode 11: Eye of the Tigerby Betsy Wasswer -- 03/26/2004
Thanks to last week’s clip show, it feels like ages since we’ve had a new episode of The Apprentice. But before we get started, I’d like to invite all Apprentice fans to check out the most recent inductee to the Reality TV Hall of Shame. None other than Omarosa has won this dubious honor. With that, on with the show!
In the suite, the candidates are wondering who will be fired – Heidi or Troy. Everyone seems to think it will be Heidi, so they’re not at all surprised when Troy returns. Kwame congratulates him and asks him if it “got hot.” Troy said that it almost did, and then jokingly says that he told Trump, “everyone sucks and I’m the best.” The rest of the candidates laugh.
The next morning, Kwame answers the Trump Phone and learns that the candidates should meet Trump in the lobby of Trump Tower in one hour. There, Trump introduces the team to Mark Brown, who runs Trump’s hotels in Atlantic City. Mark will be filling in for George, who is away on business. Doesn’t Carolyn ever go away on business? The first thing on the agenda is to even out the teams again. Troy and Kwame choose Bill to join Protégé. Trump asks why they didn’t choose Amy, since every team so far has picked her. Troy says, “Amy’s got enough kudos as it is.”
Trump tells the candidates that when he built Trump Tower, he wanted it to be the best building in the world. He had a six-story high waterfall put in that he says people come from far and wide to see… and that they then stay and shop and eat at Trump Tower. Trump says that his Taj Mahal casino is the number one casino in Atlantic City, but that he always thought it could do better. To that end, the competition this week is for the candidates to bring in and register gamblers over a twelve hour period. The team that brings in gamblers that spend the most money wins. Trump says that he has a bus waiting for them outside. A bus? Surely he means limo, right?
Katrina says in an interview that Amy is their project manager, and that this will show if she deserves all of the hype she’s been getting. Katrina turns to Nick and says that it’s just him and the girls. Nick and Amy smile at that thought, and Katrina looks like she just sucked a lemon. In an interview, she says that since Nick and Amy have some kind of romance going on, she’s not going to try to be anyone’s buddy. She’s just there to do a job. That’s funny, because I remember her being Best Friends Forever with Ereka and several of the other women. I guess now that all of her friends are gone, she’s all business. How convenient.
Over in Protégé, Bill is surprised that he was the chosen one. He says that he and Troy have incompatible business styles, and to be honest, he doesn’t like the way Troy does business. I think this little rivalry harkens back to the Planet Hollywood challenge when Bill didn’t approve of Troy’s Kwame Jackson autograph scheme.
The candidates climb aboard the bus. Yep, it really is a bus and not a limo. Kwame suggests that the three of them brainstorm independently for 20 minutes and then talk. He says that his management technique is to hire good people, give them direction, and get out of the way. It’s not the flashiest style in the world, but it shows a heck of a lot more respect for your staff than micromanaging every detail, so I respect Kwame for it. He says that his style works well with Bill, which is why they picked him.
On the ride to Atlantic City, Protégé makes phone calls, works, and makes plans. Versacorp… takes a nap. Katrina, Nick, and Amy are all sacked out in the front of the bus. Troy can’t believe they’re squandering their opportunity. Me neither. Protégé now has a serious time advantage on them.
At the casino, the candidates meet up with Mark and Carolyn. Mark says that customers in the casino are looking for a fun, entertaining experience. In an interview, Bill says that he thinks the key to winning the challenge is not to sign up a huge volume of players, but to sign up people who are willing to spend a lot of money.
Versacorp finally starts making plans. Amy says they need to find something to generate hype. Katrina says they could have belly dancers. Or a tiger. Or a boat. Or a car – she says that a car always catches her interest. Nick and Amy don’t exactly jump all over Katrina’s ideas, and she doesn’t appreciate it. In an interview, she says that Amy blew her off. Sorry, Katrina, but if you just throw out half-formed ideas, nobody is going to get excited about them. Did you learn that last week? Just saying, “Maybe a boat,” isn’t exactly a killer idea that your team will be excited to get behind. If you have a great idea, you have to sell it. Amy says, “We can pay for a weekend car rental of a luxury vehicle.” The team agrees to her plan. In an interview, a bitter sounding Katrina says that if the plan fails, as project manager, Amy should be held responsible.
Troy says that Protégé is looking for ways to attract attention. He says that on the way to Atlantic City, he spoke to one of the employees and asked him what has worked in the past. The man directs him to a giant spinning wheel used in a past promotion. Troy is thrilled. He says the wheel is just what he wanted, and he thinks it’s great that they don’t have to spend any time or money putting one together.
Versacorp goes to a Chrysler dealership to secure the car rental. Katrina says that she pre-negotiated the deal, but when they arrive, she mainly giggles and flirts with the dealer. Amy looks on, visibly annoyed. In an interview, Amy says, “I think Katrina has a tendency to use sexuality as her prime negotiating tactic. And when it wasn’t working for her to secure our deal, her strategy was to just flirt a little more.” Amy’s statement is so awesome that I have almost nothing to add, except perhaps one thing… which Amy kindly says for me. “You know what? Turn off the sexual bull***t and let’s talk business.” Well said, Amy.
Katrina’s flirting is getting nowhere, and the dealer asks what’s in it for him. Katrina starts to answer, but Amy interrupts her. She tells him that she wants the dealership to co-sponsor the event, and in return they’ll get 12 hours of free marketing. He says yes. In an interview, Katrina says that Amy always has to be the star. Katrina sounds pretty jealous to me.
Protégé meets with Fitz, the ten-year-old executive producer for the Fercos Brothers Circus. Troy negotiates a cross promotion with him, and Fitz loves the idea. He’s willing to loan Protégé one of his tigers and suggests using dancers from the show to help as well. Troy tells him that it’s a great deal that will benefit both of them. Fitz interrupts to give Troy some advice: Don’t sell when it’s already sold. That’s good advice, actually. I think Fitz would have done a pretty good job on this show. Fitz says that he’ll help, provided someone goes to his show. Troy says he will, and Kwame says he’ll join him. Bill is not pleased – it doesn’t take two people to choose a tiger. In an interview, Kwame admits that he knew as much, but wanted to see the show.
Nick and Amy make eyes at each other by the elevators. Amy says in an interview that it’s obvious that Nick has a crush on her, and that she thinks he’s handsome and enjoys spending time with him. In their hotel suite, Katrina asks Nick and Amy if they want to sleep in the same bed while she crashes in the other room. Isn’t that a bit presumptuous? It gets worse – Katrina asks, “Nick, where are you sleeping?” Nick turns red and stammers. Amy says that their mothers would not approve of them sleeping together. As the lights go out, Amy says that she doesn’t know what’s going on with their relationship, but maybe she should find out.
It’s time for the Trump Lesson of the Week: “It’s Easier to Think Big.” Trump says that he’s had more success with big projects, and that it’s easier to secure support and financing. He shows us a 500-acre golf course he’s building in New Jersey. It’s windy outside, and Trump’s helmet hair blows in the breeze. Trump says that’s proof that it’s real. I guess that answers that question!
The next day, the challenge is on. Protégé sets up their wheel, which gives customers a chance to win an array of prizes, including a raffle ticket for a chance to win $1,000 cash. Troy is excited to see a line out the door at only 10:00 in the morning. Versacorp plans to raffle off chances to win a luxury car rental, valued at $300. They have hired models to help them work the crowd. Versacorp members explain the prize to passersby, and no one seems excited at a chance to win a car rental, rather than a car. Protégé sees what Versacorp is doing and does not look worried.
I was in Atlantic City a few weeks ago, and I can tell you, a $300 prize isn’t going to impress anybody. One casino was giving away $1,000 cash every fifteen minutes. And a rental car in Atlantic City also wouldn’t be very useful. Most of the casinos are in one central location, and you’d have an easier time walking on the boardwalk from one to the other than driving. In short, I’m not impressed by Versacorp’s plan.
Bill introduces himself to two men checking into the hotel in the VIP area. He invites them to enter Protégé’s contest and has a showgirl escort them to the sign-up area. In an interview, he explains that he negotiated the exclusive rights to sign people up at the VIP check-in. Wow, that’s a great idea.
Versacorp notices what Bill is doing, so Amy sends one of their models over to compete with Bill. Bill is irritated, and says that it’s like a used car lot, with someone jumping all over a customer as soon as he sets foot in the area. He tells the model to stay 50 feet away from him at all times, because having so many people swarm on the customers is not professional.
Versacorp isn’t done poaching yet. Katrina tells one of the models that she can go ahead and take people out of Protégé’s line and send them over to Versacorp. Troy notices and tells the model, who he calls “sweetheart,” to step away. She’s pretty as a peach, but she needs to step away. Heh.
Versacorp looks really desperate. They had exactly one idea – the car rental giveaway. To promote it, they had – that’s right – one idea, to hire models. When they saw the great ideas Protégé had, all they knew to do was try to steal them. But the actual members of Versacorp didn’t even have the nerve to do it themselves; they just sent the models. It’s a pitiful display on Versacorp’s part.
Next, Amy notices that Troy is getting a good response by using a microphone. So she get her very own microphone and walks into the casino, inviting people over the loudspeaker to come see the 2003 Chrysler Crossfire. Carolyn and Mark watch, unimpressed. Carolyn points out that Amy is actually luring people away from the casino floor. Mark adds, “And she’s screaming into the casino.”
We’re treated to a montage of Amy and Troy dueling with their microphones. Katrina thinks the microphone is a bad idea, and that they need something with shock value.
Did somebody say shock value? That’s Protégé’s cue to bring out the tiger. Katrina looks stunned, and Nick looks very worried. Nick is on the microphone, promoting the car and says, “Please direct your attention to the 2003… well, I can’t really beat the tiger.” Hee!
Kwame says that the tiger was great, and that it really demoralized the other team. Bill isn’t so sure if it’ll work, though. If people come to look at the tiger, they’re not on the floor gambling. Versacorp, of course, thinks that it’s terrible strategy. Nick says that they want people signed up and playing, not looking at animals. Right, because looking at a car instead is a much better option.
Trump arrives via helicopter and first visits Protégé. Kwame introduces Trump to the cheering crowd. Trump then goes to Versacorp to say hello to Amy. Amy says that they’re focused on getting people registered, not on stunts. She asks, “Do you want people watching lions for two hours or do you want them gambling?” Trump says he’d prefer that they gamble… although I bet he’s not opposed to having the magic show that’s playing in his hotel promoted.
Versacorp and Protégé end the night by choosing their winners, and then head to the blackjack area to hear the results of the challenge. Carolyn reports that Versacorp registered 1,337 players who gambled $105,362. Mark says that Protégé only signed up 776 players, but because they concentrated on high rollers, they got $123,159. Protégé wins, and, as Trump says, “Amy, you finally lost.” The winning team’s reward is a night in the penthouse suite of the hotel, plus $3,000 gambling money. Now that is a reward! Much better than ten minutes alone with Trump or the opportunity to see his apartment.
If you do the math, there is no question that Protégé’s strategy of targeting high rollers won them the game. Versacorp’s players spent an average of $79 each, but Protégé’s spent $159. In other words, the average Protégé player spent twice the that money the average Versacorp player did. Good job, Bill.
Protégé is thrilled to pieces. They head up to the penthouse, which is lavish and fabulous. Bill immediately hits the bar and says, “You want a man drink, McClain, or do you want a girl drink?” Troy responds, “Man me up!” Hee! The men are giddy, having worked hard all day with nothing but chocolate to eat. The three of them play blackjack and look like they’re having an absolute blast. Bill says that the team is putting on a happy face and that the past conflicts are water under the bridge.
Back in the suite, Amy is a nervous wreck. She can’t sleep, so she’s at the computer typing up her strategy for the boardroom. She realizes that as project manager, much of the responsibility for the loss is on her. Nick thinks that since she’s never had to go to the boardroom before, she’s at a bit of a disadvantage. She has no idea what to expect. Katrina is worried. She thinks that because of Nick and Amy’s relationship, neither of them would take the other to the boardroom. She adds that Trump thinks Amy is an all-star because the teams have given him that impression by always choosing her.
In the boardroom, Trump asks Amy how she feels about losing. She hates it and admits Protégé’s strategy of attracting big spenders was a smart one. Nick adds that Bill pre-negotiated exclusive access to the VIP customers. Amy says, “I think Bill is my biggest competition.” Nick looks absolutely crushed, and then he actually lowers his lip into a pout. It’s hilarious; I watched it three times.
Trump points out that their strategy actually got people out of the casino, but Amy says that she was just getting people from the upper levels to come downstairs. Carolyn says that a $300 rental car wasn’t enough of a draw. If they had been giving away a car, that would have been impressive, Trump says. Katrina agrees. Mark says that Protégé created a fun atmosphere, whereas Versacorp’s was more like a meat market. Katrina says that she wanted to create a fun, circus-like atmosphere, but that no one listened to her.
Trump cuts to the chase: whose dumb idea was the car thing? Katrina admits that she mentioned a car. Trump asks whose idea it was to give away just a rental. Amy says that she can’t remember who. Oh, you can’t? Well, I can. It was Amy’s idea. Amy’s exact words were, “We can pay for a weekend car rental of a luxury vehicle.” Just for the record.
Amy chooses Katrina to go to the boardroom with her.
Mark says that Katrina was blasé and uninspired all day. Carolyn agrees, but says that Amy made some big mistakes. Trump brings the two women back in. Carolyn asks Amy why she spared Nick. Amy says that Katrina and Nick did equally on the task, but that overall Nick is a stronger performer. Katrina counters that she has been underestimated and says that Amy cut her off at the dealership when they were negotiating the promotion. Katrina says, “I’m not the kind of person who’s going to wrestle somebody to be a star.” Trump counters, “Sometimes you have to.” He’s absolutely right, and in a fierce competition like this one, you absolutely should.
Katrina says that she was using her charm to get a deal from the dealer. Trump asks her if she believes in using her “womanly charm” to get what she wants. She says she does. Amy says that all of the men use their charm to get ahead, too. I think that those are two very different things. Troy uses his charm to show people that he’s a hell of a guy and to make them feel comfortable and as if they can trust him; Katrina flirts, giggles, and wears short skirts to show people how cute she is.
Katrina then tells Trump that she thinks Amy picked her because of her relationship with Nick. Trump had no idea anything was going on and says he’s surprised. Amy says that it was not a personal decision to bring Katrina to the boardroom. Katrina says that she thinks Amy and Nick are playing each other. Trump asks Amy how she feels about that, and she says it’s fine. She insists that Nick is not her boyfriend. Really, all we’ve seen them do is flirt. I don’t think they’ve even kissed yet, so I think Katrina is making way too much of their relationship.
Carolyn points out that Amy saved Nick, who she claims is the stronger competitor. If she wants to win, why not try to get rid of him? Amy says that she wants to keep the best players on her team. Not to mention the fact that if Amy had chosen to save the weaker player, she would have been savaged for it. She then points out that as project manager, she has won four challenges. Katrina dismisses it as luck, but Trump has made up his mind. He has to make his decision based on past performance, so Katrina is fired. As Katrina takes the down elevator, Carolyn says that Amy has proven herself much more than Katrina has. Trump agrees.
In her final words, Katrina says that she thinks Amy is using her relationship with Nick strategically. She thinks that the remaining men should open their eyes, because Amy is going to manipulate all of them until only she remains.
Did Trump make the right choice? The car rental idea was a really bad one, and worse, it was the only real idea Versacorp had. And, as we know, it was Amy’s idea. Katrina had some plans that would have generated more excitement for Versacorp, but she didn’t present her ideas well and she didn’t fight for them. Just saying, “Tiger!” isn’t enough. You have to say, “We can get a tiger from the show for free, and we can use it in this way to attract customers.” But even if Katrina had her way and those tigers were surrounded by belly dancers, Versacorp still would have lost because of Bill’s success with the VIP players. In this task, none of the players on the losing team really sank the ship, so Trump had to look at past challenges. The evidence was clear. Amy had been undefeated for the past ten tasks and had been chosen by her peers several times. Katrina, on the other hand, has suffered some embarrassing losses, including a real estate challenge that should have been an easy win for her. Trump absolutely kept the best candidate.
Next week on The Apprentice, tension is high as we are down to just five candidates. Can anyone beat powerhouse couple Nick and Amy? The task involves high-end real estate. And there are only two episodes left before the finale! I’ll see you here next week.
Betsy is the Assistant Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached with any comments at email@example.com.
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