The Apprentice 4: Why James Lostby David Bloomberg -- 11/02/2005
We have already discussed why Josh lost and why Jennifer lost. Both of them deserved to be fired. But what about James? Did he deserve it too? Frankly, no. But with that said, there were some definite reasons to explain why it happened. So why did James lose?
Whether I believe James deserved to be fired or not is irrelevant. It’s not up to me, it’s up to Donald Trump. Furthermore, it cannot play a role in our examination of why it happened. So we will take our usual look at What ‘Apprentice 4’ and ‘Martha Stewart Apprentice’ Applicants Should Have Learned.
The first rule talks about the importance of showing leadership. However, here we were at the sixth episode, and James had yet to be the project manager. Not exactly stepping up.
However, at least James took on a leadership role outside of project manager. It was his idea to go with baseball and he had the idea of the batting cage. Unfortunately for James, neither of these were great ideas. I already discussed why baseball was not the sport of choice for this challenge when going over why Josh lost, so I’m not going to rehash it here (click on the link above if you want the full scoop). As for the batting cage, well, it was a good idea in theory, but in practice it pushed aside the merchandise and made it more difficult to sell.
James did follow the part of the rule that says, “If you take a leadership role and you screw up, be prepared to defend yourself…” James did indeed defend himself well and point out the problems with others. There was no way he could have foreseen Trump firing four people.
The second rule says to stay cool under fire. As I just noted, James did well in the Boardroom, staying calm even when he was asked about the batting cage idea. He also was fine during the task, focusing on the matters at hand and not becoming unglued with all the people around. Alas, the matters at hand on which he was so focused were the wrong ones – but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Third is to have a backbone. I don’t know that anything related to this rule actually came up, other than James pushing for the team to focus on baseball. In that case, he did well by standing up for his beliefs – the problem was they were wrong.
The fourth rule says scheming and plotting usually doesn’t work. Not an issue with James, so let’s move on. Fifth is to play well with others. Again, not an issue.
Sixth is to focus on the long-term. Not to repeat myself, but I don’t really see this one as an issue either. James stepped up and helped (though he wasn’t project manager), and even took responsibility for some of his mistakes. In any other situation besides this episode, he would have been fine.
James had his most difficulty – as with his fellow firees – with the seventh rule, understanding the challenge. As Trump & Co. pointed out repeatedly in the Boardroom, this task was not about the batting cage or about coaching kids to play better baseball. This task was about selling, and James barely sold a thing. He was too busy working with the kids, which is a worthy way to spend time under normal circumstances – but these were not normal circumstances.
James could have used his time in the batting cage to promote sales. He had the perfect opportunity to show parents how a certain bat was better for their child, or to explain how the child could benefit from using batting gloves or their own helmet. He could have worked the crowd as well as the parents of the kid in the cage at the time. But he didn’t – at least not to any real extent.
Mind you, James was not the project manager – Josh was. Josh was therefore in charge of determining who should have been doing what. If Josh felt that James’ time could have been better spent, he should have done something about it. Thus the main reason that Josh definitely deserved to be fired while James did not.
The eighth rule says to be creative, but not insane. The batting cage idea in the middle of a faux baseball diamond with selling stations at each base was a good creative idea. Making the cage so big that it pushed everything aside – not so much.
Ninth is to not be one-dimensional. In this particular task, James was very much a one-dimensional guy – he was basically a little league baseball coach. While admirable in real life, that’s not really what Trump is looking for.
Finally, we get to the rule that says to use common sense. Somewhere along the line, common sense should have told James that he needed to do something besides coach kids. Sure, he might have figured Josh had it covered, but he should have at least looked into it. He never did.
Even with the problems mentioned here, James would have been safe under normal circumstances. But Trump decided to make an example out of the team that caused the worst loss ever on this series. James failed to sell – indeed, he failed to even understand that this was a sales task. His project manager should have taken the fall, but there was more than enough blame to go around. Because of his focus on coaching over sales, James was splashed by that blame. That is why James lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our other Apprentice 4 Episode 6 articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.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: Guatemala and The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!
For more news about The Apprentice, be sure to check out SirLinksALot: The Apprentice!