The Apprentice 3, Episode 12: Drivenby Betsy Wasser -- 04/15/2005
First of all, big thanks to Jenn Brasler for stepping in and doing my recap for me last week. You can be the Michelle to my George any day!
Bren thinks Alex will be the one fired, while Kendra predicts it will be Angie. Tana wonders why Chris keeps escaping. She’d rather see him go and thinks he’s not right for the job. “He’s a virgin,” she says in an interview, then adds, “We’re all sluts.” I love Tana. The pure Chris and the trampy Alex return. Chris says that the boardroom was really tough, adding that Trump called them losers. In an interview, Chris tells us that after he’s lost so many times, Trump is disappointed in him. It’s time for him to lead a winning team and not only win, but kick the other team’s butts. Meanwhile, Kendra does the math and realizes that they are all the final six. Now is the time to be noticed and she intends to step up.
Now that Angie is gone, it’s time for Tana to answer the phone. Rhona directs her and the other candidates to meet Trump in front of the New York Stock Exchange. There, Trump engages in some of his patented faux business talk with some executives from Pontiac. It goes as it always does:
Trump: So, how’s business at your company name here?
Other exec: It’s going really well, Donald. We’re proud of new product name.
Trump: I’ve heard that new product name is going to be huge. Good work.
Anyway, Trump has Net Worth choose a new member. Chris and Alex immediately name Bren. This week’s task is to design a brochure for the new Pontiac Solstice. The guy from Pontiac describes it as “a sexy, gorgeous two-seat roadster.” Trump adds that the next Apprentice will get one of these cars, undoubtedly making season 1 winner Bill, who got the less sexy Crossfire, and Kelly, who just got the job, a tad jealous. The teams will have access to photographers, models, printers, and so forth for their brochures. The one judged the best by the Pontiac executives will win.
Kendra immediately tells Craig and Tana that she has put together product brochures before, so she’d love to be project manager. The team readily agrees to that. Kendra’s first idea is to add a pocket to the brochure for a CD. It’s a good idea, an inexpensive way to add another selling tool to the brochure. And hey, since the sky is apparently the limit, I would add as much stuff to this brochure as possible. Thick paper, gatefolds, die cuts, spot varnish… heck, I’d make it scratch ‘n’ sniff. Wow, I have been working with graphic designers for too long. Craig and Tana don’t see it the same way Kendra and I do. They think they should focus on just the brochure. Kendra is frustrated, and has the sinking feeling that she’ll be fighting her team for the entire task, and that they won’t respect her expertise.
Meanwhile, Chris is excited about his new team, and Bren is flattered that he and Alex picked him. Bren thinks they have a lock on this win. “It’s three guys and it’s a car,” he says confidently. And the other team? Why they’re nothing but two chicks and Craig. Girls, we all know, don’t like cars. Cars are icky and greasy, and we only like makeup and flowers.
Magna heads to Pontiac’s ad agency to check out the car. They all admire it’s sexy lines Kendra notes that it’s a cute two-seater car that retails for over $20,000, so it’s not exactly a practical purchase, but rather an emotional one. She wants their brochure to appeal to the customer’s emotions. I have to say, that’s a dead-on assessment. She says that they’ll use each page of the brochure to convey a different emotion. Craig isn’t sold on the idea and asks what the theme is. He sure hopes she has a plan, and adds, “She just doesn’t get it most of the time.” In this case, I’m pretty sure it’s Craig who doesn’t get it, since Kendra just said each page would convey a different emotion - that is the theme.
Ooh, it’s time for the Trump Lesson of the Week: “Pulling All-Nighters.” Trump says that sometimes, you have to stay up all night to get the job done. If you don’t have the stamina to do that, they you should be doing something else. Ironically, as Trump tells us that you should do something else, the live Trump tells a group of people to “never quit.” Hee! And now for the Betsy Lesson of the Week: “Don’t Stay Up All Night Unless You Have To.” Seriously, people, you are at your best – smarter, more creative, better mood, and so forth if you have had a good night’s sleep. And as the night goes on and you get more tired, you are a lot less useful than if you had taken a break to get some sleep. You have to take care of yourself or you will not be successful, and most of the time, if you’d planned ahead a little better, you wouldn’t have to stay up all night working. That said, occasionally it’s worth it to stay up late… like if you have an Apprentice recap that needs to be posted.
Magna heads to the studio, where Kendra puts Craig in charge of the indoor photo shoot. She tells the photographer that she wants to show the detail of the sexy curves. Craig is annoyed and thinks she’s micromanaging. If she wants him to be in charge, she should just let him be in charge. Kendra tells Craig to call her later with a progress report.
Net Worth drools over the car, which Bren says is “like a beautiful woman” who you can’t take your eyes off of. Bren notices a Solstice logo in the dashboard and tells Chris and Alex they definitely need a shot of that. Chris asks Bren to start doing research so he can write the copy. Alex will direct the indoor shoot, and he will handle the outdoor shoot.
Meanwhile, as passers by watch Magna’s outdoor photo shoot, Kendra and Tana ask them what emotions the car evokes in them. Kendra notes that most of them have to do with desire.
Chris is working with the photographers as well and asks for a “tweaked” shot. He reviews the photos they have so far and loves them. Inside, Alex finishes up a series of model shots. Apparently these boys think putting a hot blonde in a tube top on the hood of the car is creative and innovative. Chris asks Alex if he got a shot of the details of the tire, or of the logo that Bren liked. Alex didn’t get either and says there was just no time. Chris notes that Bren won’t be happy. He sure won’t, especially if he’s writing his copy with that logo in mind. Chris says that he’s disappointed with Alex’s work.
The guys of Net Worth review photos. Chris loves some fuzzy, out of focus shots. Alex says they need interior photos next, but only finds one good one. Bren is indeed distressed to hear that they didn’t get a shot of the logo because he thinks it would have been a great cover.
At Magna, Kendra energetically chooses shots while Tana yawns. Craig is worried about writing the copy, but Kendra wants to pick the photos first. Craig is still frustrated at what he thinks is a lack of direction, so he leaves to research the car for the copy. Kendra tells her team that the project will take all night, and she’s not worried about the text like Craig is. Craig says they still have no concept, and Kendra disagrees. In an interview, Kendra says that Craig doesn’t listen to her, and she feels like she’s all alone in the task.
Bren says that he’s going to have to stay up all night writing. The guys are getting a little punchy, and Chris actually falls off his chair, which cracks Bren and Alex up. Bren can’t imagine Tana and Craig pulling an all nighter. Chris agrees, saying that Craig in particular isn’t equipped for it.
Well, Craig is indeed still awake, but he’s not happy about it, nor is Tana. Tana says it’s easy for Kendra to say she’ll stay up all night – she’ll just drink four more cups of coffee. Tana says she can’t do that because she doesn’t drink coffee. Oh, Tana. Start drinking coffee! It’s good for you! Tana tells Kendra that she and Craig need some sleep. Kendra tries to butter them up by saying that she respects her team and wants their input. Craig tells her he doesn’t believe that, and Kendra looks shocked! Tana says slightly more diplomatically that they just aren’t seeing the years of publishing experience Kendra said she had. Kendra says stiffly that she appreciates their honesty, but she is offended. She then stalks off in a huff. Tana giggles.
Kendra gives an angry interview and tells us that Tana wants her to do all of the work. Well fine, then – she will. So, here’s the thing. It seems apparent that the candidates do need to stay up all night to finish the task. Kendra knows it because she knows more about what it takes to put together a brochure like this. But Tana and Craig don’t understand and think Kendra is working harder than she needs to. As not only the project manager, but also as the person who is saying they should lose sleep, Kendra needs to convince Tana and Craig that it’s important to stay up and finish the project. If she doesn’t convince them and does all the work herself, she might pull out a good product, but she’s not a good manager.
Tana and Craig take off for sleepy-bye town. We see a montage of Kendra and Bren writing. Kendra has a list of emotions, and their dictionary definitions. Bren is writing about how jealous your neighbors will be of your cute new car. Alex falls asleep, and Bren and Chris call him a sissy. I’m hoping that in the extras footage, we’ll see them putting Alex’s hand in a bowl of warm water.
Kendra finishes her work and walks back to the suite in triumph. She’s thrilled with her brochure. She wakes up Tana to tell her that she just got back (it’s 8:30 in the morning), and that she has a goofy, almost post-coital grin on her face. Tana tells her good job, then rolls over and goes back to sleep.
Net Worth checks out their new brochure. Chris thinks it looks great, but Alex isn’t convinced. In an interview, he says that he found the copy to be boring and flimsy. While we’re on the subject, I think the cover is terrible. It’s black with the Pontiac logo – that’s it. I think that’s a misfire. They’re not selling Pontiac; they’re selling the Solstice.
In matching pink outfits, Magna is excited to see the brochure. Kendra can’t wait to show it off to Tana and Craig. It’s round, and the cover features a close-up of the grid of the car. Just at a glance, it looks really cool. Craig and Tana are happy with the brochure, and Craig notes in an interview that they all did really well. Kendra, on the other hand, is really resentful of Tana and Craig and wishes they’d shown more appreciation for her hard work.
Tana begins the presentation, which also annoys Kendra. After all, this is her baby, and she wishes Tana would just shut up. The two of them interrupt each other fairly politely in the course of the presentation. Kendra tells the execs that they had a “focus group” and that everyone had an emotional response to the car. I think “focus group” is a bit of an exaggeration, since they just pulled random people off the street. If anything, it was an unfocused group. Kendra shows the execs that her brochure not only has a pocket for a CD, but also business card slits. Apparently Kendra went nuts with the extras while Tana and Craig slept.
Trump’s limo heads to Pontiac.
Net Worth is next with their presentation. Chris says that he thought both “exteriorally and interiorally” about the car. In an interview, Alex is less than impressed with Chris as a public speaker, noting his made-up words. Then, to make matters worse, Chris mispronounces Solstice. Ouch. The execs hate the blurred shot, even after Chris tells them that he thinks it’s cool and will make the customer want to turn the page. Alex says that he loves “the shape” of the brochure. That shape, by the way? Is a rectangle. Ooh, fancy!
Trump arrives for the results. Is there really any doubt? Net Worth did an okay job, but didn’t deliver enough information to persuade a customer to buy the car. Magna got it exactly right – so right, in fact, that Pontiac intends to produce the brochures that Kendra designed. Kendra is thrilled that she won, despite the fact that her team abandoned her. She’s exempt from firing and is guaranteed a spot in the final four. For their reward, Magna will go to Madison Square Gardens to play basketball with some famous Knick players, including Isaiah Thomas. As for Net Worth, Trump says the only slam dunk will come when he fires one of them.
It must be really frustrating for Kendra to have to share her reward with two people who didn’t believe in her concept from the beginning, didn’t support her, then were more than happy to reap the benefits of her hard work. It would be like if you had to come up with a Home Depot seminar and everyone hated your box idea, which ended up being really successful. Ahem.
Chris, Bren, and Alex go out for drinks together for one final time. Chris is bummed and says that the other team was much more creative. He’s now lost seven times in a row. Worse, he tried to prove himself as project manager and failed.
Magna goes to Madison Square Garden. Clad in ridiculously big Knicks jerseys and shorts, Kendra, Craig, and Tana meet several players. Trump and Melania join them. Isaiah Thomas suggests that they make Trump shoot a free throw. Trump nails it, of course, and I’d love to know how many takes they did that in. The players have the candidates run some drills. They’re pretty lousy at it, due in no small part to a lack of teamwork. Huh, go figure.
Kendra reveals that her strategy has been to be quiet at the beginning, observe, and learn the strengths and weaknesses of all of the other players. Then, at the end, she’d take her time to shine. She’s convinced she’s a force to be reckoned with.
Back in the suite, Bren says he was flattered to be asked to join Net Worth and was hoping to pull out a win with them. He and Alex hug it out on the balcony, calling each other “bro” several times, then joke that it’s time to kill each other. In an interview, Chris says he’s perplexed that he, “a brilliant young man” keeps losing.
In the boardroom, Trump immediately slams Chris for his seven straight losses. Bren says his new team brought him down, and that they weren’t as creative as the other team. Trump throws their brochure at them with disdain and says that the other team was better in every possible way.
Chris thinks the layout is great, but that the photography is no better. Way to swat the cobra, Chris – Trump and George are immediately all over him for the out of focus shot of the car. Alex defends it, saying he loved it too. Carolyn can’t believe that they wouldn’t have a decent, clear picture of the car on the first page. George can’t believe they had 150 photos to choose from and picked the one they did.
Chris says that he thought they’d win the task. Trump points out that, giving Chris’s record of late, that’s not really a fair assumption. Chris says he’s frustrated about it.
Bren would like the record to reflect that neither Chris nor Alex got the shot of the logo on the dashboard that he wanted. H e thinks it would have made a great cover. Trump asks why they didn’t show the car on the cover. Chris says he wanted to leave it “up for interpretation.”
Trump asks the guys what they thought of the car? Chris loved it and plans to buy one. Bren says he felt desire, and Alex says he loved the lines. Carolyn says they should have put those emotions in their copy instead of the boring text they had. Bren owns up to having written it. Alex agrees that it was boring, prompting Bren to ask why this is the first he’s heard of it. Why not tell him when they could do something about it? Alex says he was just focused on the art at the time. Chris asks Alex why he didn’t take responsibility and say something. Alex starts to explain that he was sleeping when they finalized the copy, an argument that Carolyn points out is pretty weak – that he took a nap.
Chris says again that the copy was a problem. Bren reiterates that someone should have told him it was a problem. Well done, Bren, making your lousy copy the result of lousy management. I’m not saying that’s totally wrong of him, but I will say that lawyers are awesome in the boardroom.
George adds that the photos were boring also. Those that weren’t out of focus featured a grey car in front of a grey building.
Trump reminds Chris again that he’s lost seven times in a row. Chris thinks it’s “insane.” Trump adds that he escaped all seven times because there was always someone worse. Chris looks like he might cry. Without even dismissing the candidates, Trump asks George who he’d fire. George picks Chris, and Carolyn does the same – he has seven losses, and he did nothing to improve the lousy brochure.
Trump lays it out: Bren’s writing was terrible. Alex didn’t do anything to solve the problem he saw. But Chris has been on many the losing team. Chris is fired.
Chris takes the new hard and starts sniffling and crying immediately. Trump wants to talk to him before he leaves. He tells Chris to watch his temper (oops, looks like that didn’t happen, given that he was recently arrested and to stay away from tobacco. Chris tearfully says he will.
Chris, Alex, and Bren exchange man hugs, and Chris heads down to the lobby. Trump says Chris was a good kid, but it was his time to go. I think it was. A strong argument could have been made against Chris, Bren, or Alex this week. Bren’s copy was boring, Alex didn’t get the interior shots they needed and didn’t speak up about the copy, but Chris was the captain of this sinking ship and didn’t prevent or solve either of those problems. Plus overall, Bren and Alex have proved to be stronger candidates. It was time (probably past time) for Chris to go. In his final cab ride, Chris is much calmer and says he appreciates the experience he had and the people he met.
Next week, we’re down to the final five, and it looks like the rivalry between Kendra and Craig is intensifying.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with any comments at email@example.com