The Apprentice, Episode 12: Mile-High Clubby Betsy Wasser -- 04/02/04
It’s quiet in the suite as the candidates wait to see who will return from the boardroom. Nick is sure Amy will prevail as long as she stays calm. And he’s right – she’s back, and is a little surprised that no one is there to greet her at the door. Unlike Sam, though, she doesn’t camp out in the hallway waiting for it to happen. In an interview, Amy says that she was confident going into the boardroom. She thought Katrina was ready to go and that she would be the last woman standing.
Amy tells the men how she saved herself. She says that she reminded Trump of her winning record. As she talks, Bill says in an interview that Amy’s ego is growing and that she’s developing a bit of a God complex. Just as he finishes trash talking her in his interview, we go back to Amy, who tells Bill that she tooted his horn while she was there and said what a great player he is. She reports that Trump asked if he should just end the contest and give Bill the job. Bill says that would be fine with him.
Amy wonders in an interview if Nick was offended that she said that Bill, not Nick, was her toughest competition. But, she figures Bill really is a better competitor, and if Nick can’t see that, he’s not as sharp as she thought he was. Ouch. Nick isn’t too thrilled about Amy’s praise of Bill. In an interview, he says, “She didn’t have to say that.” He wonders what her angle is – does she really mean it, or is it some kind of strategy on her part? The two of them say good night, and there is definitely no romance in the air as they part.
The next morning, Amy answers the Trump phone. The candidates are to meet Trump at the penthouse at the Trump World Tower at 8:15. Kwame and Troy hang out together, and Troy asks Kwame what he’s wearing. The two of them talk about fashion (no, really), and Troy says in an interview that the two of them have bonded. He thinks that the toughest competition is also one of his closest friends. Kwame agrees, and says in an interview that they’re friends, but they also look out for each other. Bill, the other member of their team, says that he feels like an outsider. They’ve been together for twelve weeks, so a lot of bonding has been going on. Wow, twelve weeks? That’s a long time. That’s longer than it takes to play Survivor!
Trump, Carolyn, and Bernie (filling in for George) meet the candidates outside the penthouse of the Trump World Tower. Trump opens the doors and says, “This is Trump luxury.” The space is just stunning, with high ceilings and walls covered in windows. You can see Central Park, the river, and the ocean. Trump says that he rents the penthouse for special events only. The teams are challenged to rent it for one night for a minimum of $20,000. They have ten hours. The team that rents it for the most money wins. The winning team will take a jet to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, for lunch. Trump says that it would be very romantic if lovebirds Nick and Amy won it. He asks Nick the nature of their relationship. Nick says, “We have a good business relationship and sometimes we engage in meaningful conversation.” Sexy! Trump laughs and says that it was a good, diplomatic answer.
Troy is the project manager for Protégé. He says that because he only has a high school diploma, other people might not take him seriously. As a result, he has to make a good impression whenever he has a chance. He tells Kwame and Bill that they need to be sure to offer top service to their potential renters. He’s determined to win.
Both teams go downstairs to the lobby and start making calls. Troy says that they’re setting appointments with event planners. Kwame says that they need to know how best to make the sales pitch. They meet with Elaine, the director of sales. She says that the penthouse usually rents for $40,000. Bill says in an interview that the key is to find the right person at the right time.
Over at Versacorp, Amy and Nick are hard at work as well. Amy says that the best way to rent a place like that is to just open the door and let the client come up with his or her own vision for the place. But Nick does just the opposite. As he leads people through the space, he suggests how the place would be set up – where the band would be, where you could set up couches, and so forth. Amy thinks that spelling it out like that hinders the imagination of these creative people. In the lobby Amy asks Nick if it might not be better to just “shut up and listen.” Nick says, “Trust me. That’s the way you operate.” Amy just says, “If you say so.”
I think that they’re both right; it depends entirely on the customer. Some people can walk into an empty space and immediately figure out how they’d set it up. I knew the first time I walked into my house where I’d set up the Christmas tree every year. But other people have a harder time visualizing and would find Nick’s cues helpful. The best thing to do is to quickly ascertain what kind of person you’re working with. There’s my lesson for the week.
And with that, it’s time for Trump’s lesson of the week. This one is called “Passion.” Trump says that if you don’t love what you’re doing, you won’t be successful. Quit and find something that you’re passionate about.
Protégé goes to a café to strategize. They have six and a half hours to go. Troy lays out the sales technique they’ll use, and it’s not one Bill is familiar with. The plan is that Bill will have the first contact with the potential customers and will warm them up. Then, Troy will close. They do just that with a man and a woman who are interested in the space. Troy tells them that they’re looking to rent the place in the $30,000 range. The woman says, “Oy, vey!” Troy repeats it and says that it’s his new favorite phrase. They teach him some more Yiddish phrases and joke about Troy’s sheltered Idaho upbringing. In the background, Bill looks embarrassed. In an interview, he says that he wonders how Troy can keep a straight face sometimes. Troy tells the customers that they already have two firm offers on the place. Bill notes in an interview that it’s just not true, and thinks that Troy is making too hard of a sell.
Meanwhile, Amy and Nick meet with more customers. She tells one man that they have entertained $40,000 offers. Unless by “we” she means “Trump World Tower,” that’s not true, either. The man tells her that no way is the place worth $40,000 for a night, but if she can get it, good for her. Nick looks worried. Apparently, he should be – Amy says that the most they’ve been offered is $10,000. But then, Kate, an event planner, and her client Ian come to look at the space. Ian loves it and is dying to have it for a New Year’s Eve party. But Kate reviews the contract and sees that the party would have to end at midnight, so a New Year’s party is out. So you’re telling me that you would be renting a place for one night and you’d have to kick all of your guests out at midnight like Cinderella? That doesn’t sound very appealing to me.
The people Troy was talking to make an offer of $32,500, but at the same time, Bill is meeting with customers who are also very interested. Bill takes Customer #2 to one end of the penthouse so Troy can talk to them while Kwame talks to Customers #1. With just one hour and twenty minutes left, the men of Protégé have a bidding war on their hands. Bill says that Troy, their closer, is “the guy who puts the heat on ‘em and sells them the undercoat.” Hee! Troy tells the man that an offer of $38,500 would make the place his. Bill says that Troy created a false urgency. The customer says that he feels like he’s being hustled and says that he’ll pass. Immediately the team shifts their attention to the first customers. They agree to sign for $35,001. Kwame says that the amount was “Price is Right style,” in case Versacorp rents it for $35,000.
As Protégé triumphantly strolls out of the building, Nick and Amy are still sitting in the lobby. Bill says that they looked panicked, but that he doesn’t underestimate either of them. Still, he’s confident, and says, “I think it’s time to gas up the jet.” Amy and Nick have fifteen minutes to go, and spend their remaining time on this “meaningful conversation” (as Nick would put it): Amy says that every redhead she’s ever known has only dated other redheads. Nick has never dated another redhead before in his life.
With just two minutes remaining, Kate and Ian return. Ian wants to make an offer. Amy and Nick quickly confer on price, and Nick gets Ian to sign what Amy describes as “an extravagant offer.” Nick says that their return at the 11th hour was like an act of God, though he likes to think his salesmanship has something to do with it. Personally, I think that the fact that these two swooped in at the last minute and kept Amy and Nick from having no offer at all felt like less an act of God and more an act of Mark Burnett. It just seems awfully convenient. We’ll see if, in the next few weeks, any news comes out suggesting a bit of tampering by the producers. Let’s just say I’m skeptical.
The teams head to the boardroom. Protégé tells Trump that they feel confident. Bill says that the product sells itself. Trump asks Nick and Amy if they’ll live together in a place like that someday. Amy says that she told Nick he’s going to have to sell a lot of copiers to make that happen. Carolyn and Bernie have the totals: Protégé rented the place for $35,001. Versacorp beats them with $40,800. Well, that is an extravagant offer!
Bill says it was a tough loss, especially because he was so confident. In an interview, he says, “I said to gas up the jet. I’d like to retract that statement.” Hee! Troy says that they were shocked, and he doesn’t know what else they could have done in order to win. Kwame says that he really thought the offer was enough to put them over the top.
Bill teases Nick that he had best put that luxury jet trip with Amy to good use, or people are going to start to wonder about him… not that there’s anything wrong with that. Then, Bill tells Amy that Nick is planning to “make a little magic” on the plan, otherwise people will think he’s gay. Amy says that Nick must be planning to meet an attractive flight attendant. Bill! What are you doing? You have just greatly reduced any chances Nick might have had… unless that’s what you meant to do.
Amy and Nick board Trump’s jet. In an interview, Trump wonders if they’re in love, and adds, “They better not use my bedroom.” It’s funny that the two people least interested in Amy and Nick joining the mile-high club are Amy and Nick. The two of them check out the jet, which is fabulous. There are wood paneled walls, damask seats, and there is indeed a bedroom. The pilot has them take a seat and says that the other guests will be joining them shortly. Amy tells Nick that the jet features a bidet. Awesome.
Then, Amy squeals like she’s in sorority rush as her sister joins them on the plane. With her is Nick’s dad. And check this out: Nick’s dad is named Moose. Excellent. Nick is giddy with excitement and is thrilled to see his dad. Moose asks Amy and Nick if they are “sweethearts.” Amy says that Nick has talked a lot about his family, so she isn’t surprised to see the way his dad teases him. Amy jokes that maybe she’s meeting her father-in-law early. Dude, we haven’t even seen them kiss yet. Why are they getting married already? In an interview, Moose says that Amy seems great, but that Nick has a bad history with women. Amy’s sister asks Nick if he’s single. He says he is, but Moose interrupts to ask about “that girl on the west coast.” Nick denies it, but Amy does not look amused.
The four of them arrive at Mar-A-Lago in a limo. The place definitely looks like something Trump would go for – it has the same ornate style as his apartment. The historian gives them a tour and points out the antiques and tapestries, but he doesn’t point out my absolute favorite part of the place. It’s a great big oil painting of Trump in tennis whites in front of a sky with God-like rays coming from behind the clouds. It is absolutely hysterical. I totally want one. Everyone enjoys mimosas and caviar, and Amy declares this the best reward ever.
Back in the suite, the men of Protégé enjoy some cereal. Kwame says that the day before was tough, but he doesn’t want to be disgruntled anymore. Bill says that he’s a nervous wreck and didn’t sleep a wink the night before. The two of them go together to get haircuts so they’ll feel more confident in the boardroom. Bill tries to keep the stylist from putting too much gel in his hair. He’s finished before Kwame, so he decides to read their horoscopes. Bill’s is a good one, and says that the last few weeks have been productive, and that there are promising things ahead. Kwame says that he believes in astrology to an extent and often finds truth in his horoscope. He’s an Aries (and must have a birthday coming up, so happy birthday, Kwame), and his horoscope is not so good. Bill reads that someone Kwame loves and respects will let him down in the next 24 hours, and that he shouldn’t let it affect their relationship. Wow.
The men go out for one last dinner together and decide to live it up. Kwame says that he believes one of them will win the game. He wonders which of them Troy will choose to go into the boardroom. He and Troy are friends, so Troy might save him in honor of their friendship. But, on the other hand, Bill has a better record in challenges, so Troy might not want to go up against him.
Well, the suspense will end soon, because it’s time for the boardroom. Trump asks what happened. Troy doesn’t know – he says that the team had great ideas and executed them well, but in the end, they lost. Trump says that he’ll still take the offer the customer made on the penthouse, because he loves a good deal. Carolyn asks the men what their initial minimum price was. Kwame says that they were looking to rend the place in the $35,000 to $40,000 range. Trump points out that they were aiming too low – even if they’d received their maximum price, they still would have lost.
Trump asks Kwame who he’d send back to the suite if he were project manager. Kwame says he’d send Troy back. Bill points out that Troy is about to make that very decision, so Kwame might have an ulterior motive in saying so. Would Bill hire Troy? He says he would, depending on the position. No, he wouldn’t hire him as his CFO. Would he hire Troy as his CEO? Bill says he might, but he’d have to get to know Troy better first. Kwame says that he would not hire Troy as his CFO because his strengths lie in sales and motivation. He would hire Troy as the CEO of an appropriate company. Bill says that of the two, he would fire Kwame because Kwame needs more experience to go with his education.
Trump asks Bill what his background is. Bill has a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University. Troy says that he only has a high school diploma and has made his own success. He passes Trump a copy of his senior yearbook quote, “Look out, Trump!” He says that his only education came from reading Trump’s book, The Art of the Deal. Trump points out the dichotomy in front of him: a Harvard MBA, a degree from a good college, and a high school diploma. He points out that Kwame works for a very prestigious company – why would he want to work for Trump? Kwame says that you only have a few opportunities to do something extraordinary.
Who will Troy send to the suite, and who will he take to the boardroom? Troy invites Kwame to go head to head with him in the boardroom. Kwame high fives him. Bill is safe, and wastes not a minute beating it out of there and back to the suite. Trump is surprised that Troy chose Kwame, but Troy says, “Business is business, friends are friends.” The two friends wait in the lobby and reminisce about all they’ve been through together. Kwame hugs Troy and says, “May the best man win.”
I just want to take a minute to say how much I loved the attitudes of all three men in the boardroom tonight. All of them respected each other, no one put anyone down, and there was no rancor or ugliness when Troy made his decision. As the opening credits of the show remind us every week: it’s not personal; it’s business. No one took anything personally, and after so many very nasty boardrooms it was a breath of fresh air to see such civility and good sportsmanship.
In the boardroom, Trump says that he’s surprised by Troy’s decision. Carolyn says she’s not. She thinks that Kwame’s approach is very textbook and doesn’t stem from experience. Bernie says that Troy has great instincts, but can be a loose cannon. He needs to mellow out and get some experience. Kwame and Troy joke that they should be wrestling. They hug before heading back inside.
Trump opens with, “So, Kwame, your friend screwed you.” Troy explains that Kwame is fantastic in a supporting role but that over the past twelve weeks, Bill has had some great ideas. Trump notices that Troy is reading from his notes and tells Troy to get rid of them. Troy continues and says that while Kwame has made some good contributions, he hasn’t come out of his box yet. Kwame agrees that he has been a steady performer. Trump says that he’s not a leader, and Kwame argues that he has been project manager three times. Trump says that even then, he was rather laid-back. Carolyn adds that even when he’s in charge, he doesn’t really lead. Troy says that he has instinct and guts, which cannot be taught, no matter what your education. Trump interrupts and says that education is not a bad thing.
Trump says that he has to choose between a Harvard MBA and a guy with just a high school diploma, but with some terrific talents. It’s his toughest decision ever. He thinks that Troy can be a bit of a livewire, and if he’s going to run one of Trump’s companies, “the consequences… could be costly and devastating.” As a result, Troy is fired.
I can’t believe it!
I couldn’t help but notice that throughout Trump’s long speech about his decision, we never actually saw his face. We saw Troy, Kwame, Carolyn, and Bernie’s reactions, and we saw the back of Trump’s head, but we never actually saw him say those words. That makes me think that they dubbed that speech in later, so I wonder what he actually said. I don’t think there’s a scandal in there or anything; just some interesting editing. Back to the show.
Troy and Kwame hug and say they love each other. As Troy heads for the streets, Trump says that he’ll be a huge success one day, but he’s not ready yet. Trump says that it was a tough decision. Carolyn adds, “Good for him for lasting this long.
This is the first time I’ve really been surprised by Trump’s decision. I honestly thought that Troy had this game in the bag. He’s smart, he’s resourceful, he’s charming, and he could sell you a bottle of Trump Ice in a monsoon. Troy is also the only candidate who bothered to work with Sam instead of around him. No manager can count on having a staff made up completely of fantastic talented people, and it’s the hallmark of a truly great manager if he can get a good performance out of a difficult employee. Troy did that with Sam. Troy took some risks, sure, but he also made some tremendous saves for his team. He was the one who won the Trump Ice challenge for his team with his idea to sell the water a month in advance. He completely charmed the celebrities in the auction challenge, and although his team didn’t win that challenge, they would have fared much worse without Troy.
Kwame, on the other hand, really hasn’t done much to stand out. He did a great job last week by letting Troy and Bill run the show, but that technique wouldn’t have worked if he hadn’t had such all-stars at his side. He also led Protégé in making the big mistake of choosing the wrong artist in the art challenge. But for the most part, Kwame has faded into the background. He’s not a leader, and he’s not an idea man. He’s smart, and he’s capable. I like him, and I respect him, but Troy was a much better choice. I think Trump made the wrong decision. Is Troy a bit of a live wire? Well, compared to Kwame he is, but you have to take some risks if you want to win big. Kwame (with the exception of choosing the bizarre artist) wouldn’t take big risks.
I’m disappointed, but I don’t doubt Troy will come out of this on top. I’ve read that he has already gotten job offers in the event that he didn’t win, and now he can write his own ticket instead of being pinned down by a one-year contract with Donald Trump. Still, I’ll miss Troy. He was a lot of fun to watch. Troy, if you’re reading this, I want you to know you did a great job.
Next week is the penultimate episode of The Apprentice, and it looks like a good one. We’re down to the final four candidates, but two of them will be fired in the first half hour. And NBC has two little words for us: Oma. Rosa. Omarosa is back – look out! If you can’t wait until then to get your Omarosa fix, check out her induction into the Reality TV Hall of Shame! See you next week.
Betsy is the Assistant Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached with any comments at email@example.com.
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