The Apprentice 4, Episode 7: Let’s Talk About Sexby Betsy Wasser -- 11/04/2005
It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for since Trump fired four candidates in the last episode – that is, all of the candidates hanging out in the suite waiting for someone, anyone, to come home. We see a bunch of clocks ticking away. The candidates suspect that at least two people will be fired. They figure Josh and James will make it. “Where are they?” Felisha wonders. They all look at the door, but there’s no one coming. Alla says that at midnight, she’s declaring them all done. The clock strikes twelve, and Alla can’t believe it. Everyone looks stunned. Brian says in an interview that, after seven hours, he has to concede that all four candidates are gone. He’s upset about the guys because they were like brothers to him.
The next morning, Adam is still stunned that none of the candidates have returned. He says in an interview that it’s still sinking in. As he fusses with his tie, he explains that he will be the next project manage for his team. He says that he’s seen everyone’s talents, so he feels certain he knows what they all do best. No matter what the task, they’ll win. They’re in especially good shape if the task is a David Schwimmer look-alike contest.
The candidates meet Trump, Carolyn, George, and Season 2 winner Kelly. Hi, Kelly! Trump says that Excel was decimated in the last task. Marshawn confirms that the other four are not coming back. In an interview, Brian says it was a devastating blow. Trump asks if Excel would like to choose someone from the other team to even the numbers a bit. Without hesitation, they choose Randal. Man, everybody loves Randal. In an interview, Brian says that Randal is analytical, smart, and all around a good guy to have around.
Trump says that as his apprentice, Kelly is learning a lot and having fun. Kelly agrees that he is learning a lot, and after a bit of prompting from Trump, says he’s also having a good time. The next task is about education. Each team will create an adult education class to be taught through The Learning Annex. They’ll teach the class to a group of students, who will then rate them on education and entertainment value. Alla is exempt from firing, Trump reminds us.
At Capital Edge, Adam asks Alla to lead the brainstorming session. He says that he wants his team to be very collaborative. Alla asks everyone to come up with five or more potential topics. Markus says he doesn’t want to do it that way and would prefer to pitch his idea. Markus apparently can’t play by the rules. He then proceeds to talk about time management, and in the interest of time management, I won’t even try to recount what he said, because it makes no sense. Alla asks him for four more ideas. Clay interjects that Markus doesn’t work that way. He comes up with one idea and that’s it. Markus says that he comes up with “blockbuster ideas.” I still have no idea what he’s even talking about.
Adam asks to speak to Markus privately. Markus immediately acts like he’s the one who pulled Adam aside to talk, much like he did to Brian in the float task. Adam ask Marks to please focus and be on task. In an interview, Adam says that Markus is funny, but when he’s in charge, he needs every member of his team to add value. Adam handled this situation okay, but he could have done better. Talking to Markus privately and making his expectations clear was good, but his timing was lousy. He pulled Markus out of the brainstorming session in front of everyone, and it was clear Markus was in for a scolding. Markus was immediately on the defensive and probably wasn’t as receptive to feedback as he might have been.
The two men return to the brainstorming session. Someone throws out the ideas of business etiquette and sex in the workplace. Everyone loves the idea but Adam, who feels uncomfortable using the word sex in the presentation. They go through a list of synonyms, my favorite of which is copulation. Somehow “copulation” sounds dirtier than sex. In an interview, Clay speculates that Adam has not only never had sex, but has probably never said the word more than ten times. Clay likes the subject, and Alla thinks a lot of people will be able to relate to it. Adam caves and agrees to the topic. Alla thinks it’ll be a fun subject, but in an interview says that Adam is going to have to relax so he doesn’t freeze up when he has to talk about sex.
At Excel, Randal volunteers to be the project manager and starts with a brainstorming session. Marshawn suggests negotiating and networking as potential classes. Brian says that they need something with a “wow” factor. He encourages them to “sex this up.” In an interview, Brian says that Randal is very analytical, so coming up with a creative topic is not one of his strengths. Randal comes up with the topic of making a lasting impression, leaving your mark. They decide to go with it, but Rebecca doesn’t like the idea. She thinks it’s boring. In an interview, she says that as project manager, it’s up to Randal to make this topic a hit. No, Rebecca, as members of the team, it’s up to each and every one of you to make this topic a hit. As project manager, it’s up to Randal to lead you. To Brian, she whispers, “We are so screwed.”
Capital Edge meets to plan the class. They talk about having a crush on a coworker, chivalry, and gossip. Alla has done research about the double standard on men and women. Markus says something or other about a common thread and how everything he’s researched he could cover in more depth. And what would that be, exactly? In an interview, Adam says that Markus “has no meaning.” Once again, Adam pulls Markus aside to talk. He tells Markus that, honestly, he seems to have done the least amount of research. Markus replies earnestly that he won’t be the problem in this task. Uh… good?
The Trump Lesson of the Week this week is “Get to the point.” Does anyone else think that means Markus is going to get fired? Trump says that with so few hours in a day, people who work with him need to get to the point. And now for the Betsy Lesson of the Week. Don’t buy inexpensive ketchup. It’s just not as good.
Excel begins their presentation. Marshawn says in an interview that she doesn’t really believe in luck, but nevertheless, she hopes all the stars align for them today. Randal starts teaching the class, and he is outstanding. Very dynamic. George watches, then says in an interview that he was impressed by Randal, but he thinks the topic is on the dull side. The class is divided into three parts. First, students answer a questionnaire about their personal communication style. Second, they review the basics of “bold and assertive communication.” Marshawn leads that part and appears to do an excellent job. Finally, they have group practice in communication. Randal says in an interview that when people speak with passion, they stand out in a crowd. He says he felt like his group really knew the subject matter.
Over at Capital Edge, Adam starts by sitting in the audience, then pops up, saying, “Sex in the workplace.” He admits that he is a “nice Jewish boy from Atlanta,” and is a little uncomfortable talking about sex in the workplace. The team has a lot of audience interaction, including Clay asking anyone who has ever had a crush on a coworker to raise their hand up high and “say howdy.” Carolyn watches and says she can’t decipher their message. It’s funny, but not educational. As Alla speaks, Markus plays with some kind of toy. Nice
Clay goes off on a tangent about asses – noticing a guy with a nice one, then talking about a coworker who used to slap his for a job well done. I can’t believe how much I’ve talked about sex and asses. Hot! Felisha dubs Clay “the kind of awkward moments.” We then see a great example of one. Adam is talking about the stress of going out on a date, including that you have to pay for dinner. Clay interjects that Adam is a tight-assed Jew. There is a long pause, and Adam explains in an interview that he was taken aback by Clay’s remark. He thinks that Clay was making reference to the stereotype that Jewish people are stingy with money. He says that Clay is a loose cannon and you never know what he’ll say.
After the presentation is over, he confronts Clay. Clay apologizes, kind of, saying that’s not what he meant and he’ll apologize “if I have to.” Clay explains that he was playing off of the remarks that Adam made about being both Jewish and uptight. I believe him – I don’t think Clay meant at all that Adam, or other Jewish people, are cheap. It’s a really unfortunate coincidence that he made his remark after Adam said something about paying for dinner. Clay should have given Adam a better apology than he did, but I honestly believe he didn’t mean to offend.
In the Boardroom, Carolyn looks absolutely beautiful in a gold dress. Trump compliments her, then asks Markus how Adam did as project manager. Markus says that Adam was sometimes good, but at other times, his inexperience showed. Clay says that Adam really grew during their task. Excel has nothing but good things to say about Randal. Randal, in my opinion, has an excellent shot at winning. Not because, as some of my readers have suggested, Trump would love to hire a black male, but because he’s smart, a good leader, and is respected by everyone.
Carolyn reports that Capital Edge discussed sex in the workplace. Comments from students included that there was no agenda or flow, and that it was “boring, for a juicy topic.” Their average score was 6.98. George tells us that Excel’s comments included that it was lots of fun, Randal was a good coach, and that the presentation was dynamic. Their average score was 7.07. It’s closer than I would have guessed, but Excel wins. For their reward, they’ll have the opportunity to pick a wardrobe that stands out. They’ll meet with designer Michael Kors and each team member will get a complete outfit. Nice!
Capital Edge is really disappointed about their loss. Adam is upset that they lost. Alla says they just need to think of the next task and be strong. Admittedly, it’s easier for her to say that since she’s the only one guaranteed to be around for the next task. Alla is unhappy to not get that reward, though. She loves Michael Kors and admits, “I am jealous.” Rebecca confides that she’s really excited about her reward.
The team members are excited to have the store closed for them. Marshawn goes nuts, grabbing armfuls of clothes to try on. Rebecca makes an effort to go outside of her comfort zone and try on different things. Brian looks great in a bright turquoise sweater. Rebecca is beautiful in a short beaded dress. We briefly see Randal shirtless, and thank you, editors! He puts on a white suit and pink patterned shirt and looks fantastic. They all have a great time.
Back at the loft, Markus stares into the sun while Alla talks to Adam about Clay’s performance. Alla says that many of his remarks might have offended people. Adam thinks his “tight assed Jew” comments skewed some of their reviews. Alla says that Markus slows their progress, but the reason they lost was the presentation. As for Markus, he says he’s ready to let the chips fall as they may. He thinks that, compared to Clay, he’s not a liability.
The candidates gather in the Boardroom. Trump asks Adam if he was uncomfortable with the topic, icking me out by adding, “Sex is always very good.” Adam thinks it was a great course, and that they lost because of their presentation. He says that Clay was very offensive, citing the “tight-assed Jew” remark. Clay says he didn’t say it like that. George says maybe he didn’t mean it that way, but did he say it? George says there is “no place for that in the marketplace.” Go, George! Alla adds that Clay made other remarks that might have offended people. Adam says that Clay made the presentation too provocative. Carolyn tries to figure out the point of the class. Felisha explains that it’s to teach people how to handle workplace intimacy with class. Trump says, “I’ve never heard of classy sex in the workplace.” My husband snorted at that and said, “I’m sure you haven’t.”
Trump asks Markus why they lost. Markus can’t say. He does think that Clay should have talked less about being gay. Trump quickly figures out that everyone knew Clay was gay but him. Discussion at Reality News Online Towers on this subject was immediate and fierce. The great C. Brian Devinney wondered how Trump could possibly not know Clay is gay. In his words, “Romulus and Remus could come out of the cave after being raised by wolves and say, ‘Damn now that's gay.’”
Trump asks Clay if he’s attracted to Alla or Felisha. No, moron, he’s gay. Clay says that they’re attractive women, but it’s not his cup of tea. Trump says he’s cool with it, a suggestion that seems pretty implausible, given the fact that he just showed us how stunned he was that Clay wouldn’t find those two women attractive. Trump says that’s why they have menus in restaurants – everybody likes something different. That’s actually a pretty cool way to look at it.
Markus says that he thinks their topic was weak, and that he would have preferred that they talk about time management. Alla laughs and says that Markus was never able to put it that clearly before. Markus denies it and talks about how all of the ideas had to do with time. I guess, kind of. They all also had to do with carbon-based life forms. Trump says that Markus is being unclear and asks what he did on the task. Markus said he got “goodwill” from the crowd. George directs him to answer the initial question- why did they lose? Markus asks if the question is why they lost, and Carolyn looks exasperated. Markus says it was a bad topic and that Adam micromanaged him.
Trump asks Adam who he’d like to bring back to the boardroom, and to the surprise of absolutely no one, Adam chooses Markus and Clay.
George thinks that Clay’s remarks were insensitive. Trump says that there’s something he likes about Adam. Markus, on the other hand, is a blabbermouth. Carolyn thinks that Markus has a tendency to take himself out of tasks, then say “I told you so” when they lose. Carolyn is smart.
The candidates return to the boardroom, and Trump asks Adam if he’s ever had sex. INAPPROPRIATE. You do not ask someone that in a job interview, and Trump should be ashamed of himself. Adam opts not to answer the question, and good for him. Trump says that Adam was talking about an unfamiliar or uncomfortable topic. Adam counters that he worked with it and made it productive. Trump says that talking about sex is not a big deal. When did Trump become Adam’s dad?
Trump asks Clay if Adam is weak. Clay says he absolutely is, and wants to lead by consensus. He says that Markus is also weak. Carolyn asks Markus exactly what he did in the task. She thinks he uses the Cover Your Ass technique. She thinks he’s very negative so he can then say “I told you so” when the task fails. Adam adds that Markus was very unfocused. Markus argues that he tries to add value to every task. Clay says that Markus was only able to give one idea. That’s the way he operates.
Adam once again brings up Clay’s Jew comment. He says he accepted Clay’s apology and does not think he is an anti-Semite. Well, that’s something, anyway. That said, he thinks Clay made inappropriate comments. He was too provocative. George says that if they can’t be provocative, they shouldn’t be talking about sex. George and Carolyn are on fire this week. Adam says he wanted the presentation to be tasteful. Trump gives me the line of the night with, “Adam isn’t good with sex.” He thinks he might be in ten or so years. Keep practicing, Adam! Maybe one day Donald Trump will think you’re “good with sex.” Trump then adds that sex is great, but has cost him a lot of money. Oh, the Trump ex-wife jokes!
Trump says that Markus talks in riddles. He did a poor job. Markus argues that he was “outstanding.” Trump says no way was he outstanding – the team lost. Markus thinks his own idea would have been a winner, and trust me when I tell you that I’m paraphrasing so he makes more sense. Trump says that Markus always has an excuse.
Trump is glad that Adam doesn’t think Clay is an anti-Semite, adding that as a gay man, Clay has probably encountered his share of prejudice. Trump thinks that Adam is soft and inexperienced. Adam promises to prove himself, and to show he is “hard core.”
Trump says, finally, that Markus shows “so much nonsense” that he can’t imagine him working for the Trump organization. Markus is fired. As he leaves, Trump wishes him luck. Markus says he doesn’t think Trump means it, adding, “It’s been a railroad.” That may have happened on this show before, but it sure didn’t happen this time. Trump could have reasonably fired any one of them this week. Clay may well have turned off some audience members with his remarks. Adam probably didn’t do a very good job of teaching a topic that made him so incredibly uncomfortable. And Markus really didn’t contribute anything to this task and has been something that his team has had to work around from the beginning. Trump didn’t fire Markus because his team ganged up against him like he did with Stacie J. He fired him because he was incompetent.
Clay and Adam get on the elevator, and Clay snaps, “Don’t even talk to me.”
Trump says that he can’t imagine Markus working for him. George and Carolyn agree.
Clay gets to the suite and practically kicks the door down. He is clearly livid, and I suspect we’ll be hearing more about it next week.
In his final interview, Markus makes absolutely no sense. He says his team took advantage of his ideas. By not using them? He stammers, “I speak to the point,” which is hilarious. He blathers and generally makes no sense. Bye, Markus!
Next week: Star Wars! My husband and I watch the promo with Chewbacca being fired. Conversation at Stately Wasser Manor is as follows:
Steve: Why does Chewie have to have a pink suitcase?
Me: Because it’s funny.
Steve: It’s disrespectful.
Needless to say, we’re excited about next week’s task.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She loves Star Wars and briefly flirted with the idea of naming her son Luke Sky Wasser. She can be reached with any comments at email@example.com