The Apprentice 5: Why Summer Lostby David Bloomberg -- 03/03/2006
Summer came into the first Apprentice 5 challenge in a great position – she is a small business owner with a Sam’s Club membership who should have understood how to sell the product. Unfortunately, every obstacle she faced caused her problems; rather than overcoming them, she stumbled and fell each time. What happened to send Summer home first? Why did Summer lose?
It’s the first firing of the new season, but we will still address the reasoning behind it just as we have over the past few years. We will look back at a revised What ‘Apprentice 5’ Applicants Should Have Learned to see where Summer went wrong and what, if anything, she did right. Along the way, I’ll also have a few things to say about another person who perhaps should have been fired.
The first, and most important, rule is to show leadership. In this case, Trump picked the project managers, so nobody had a chance to volunteer for that particular position. However, the rule specifically addresses cases when a contestant is not the project manager: “In that situation, Trump will still want to see leadership. You should volunteer for a significant role, step up, take a stand. Don’t just hang back and wait for the project manager to screw up.” Summer stepped up somewhat and was put in charge of calling restaurant owners like herself to try to sell them on new or upgraded memberships.
The problem is that the rule continues, “But if you’re going to step up, don’t screw up.” Summer definitely blew it. She took on a role that could have meant the success or failure of the task, especially given how close the two teams ended up. But then she gave up after talking to only a single restaurant. That is not only a screw-up, but a stupid one at that. Has she even ever watched the show? Giving up on a task is a sure way to make yourself a target for firing.
Did Summer have cause for concern because Tarek had not provided the proper “hook” to get people into the store? Yes. Did Tarek do a great job leading his team? No. But she let him escape in part because she simply gave up. She should have kept right on going, plugging away, trying her best to do what she was supposed to do. Even better, she could have come up with a “hook” to get the restaurant owners into the store – after all, she’s the one who knows all about them. What would get her into Sam’s? Why didn’t she present that as an idea?
Part of Summer’s problem was her inability to stay cool under fire, as is recommended by the second rule. Summer didn’t lose her cool by getting angry, she went the other direction – she shut down. The pressure was on, she had calls to make, and she just… stopped.
In the Boardroom, Summer had the opposite problem. Lenny specifically told her to keep her mouth shut – it was advice she should have heeded. Frankly, she shouldn’t have needed him to tell her, as she should have known better than to interrupt Trump, especially when he was piling it on Tarek! But the pressure of the Boardroom got to her, too, and she spoke up when she shouldn’t have.
What’s really bad is when she should have been answering and defending herself, she just hemmed and hawed. Carolyn asked several times what Summer contributed, and Summer was unable to come up with a good answer. So she failed in the third rule, having a backbone, as well. That rule specifically notes, “if somebody attacks you in the Boardroom, you need to stand up for yourself.” Normally it’s another player who goes on the attack – and Tarek did plenty of that – but in this case it was Carolyn. Yet Summer didn’t have an answer to the most basic question an Apprentice applicant should expect.
And Summer also needed to have a backbone sooner. As we’ve already discussed, she should have presented ideas to “hook” the restaurant owners. Instead, we only saw her complain that the group had not done so. But Dan said, in the Boardroom, that Summer only spoke up once the task was done and it was too late. She needed to take a stand much sooner, rather than simply complaining about it.
The fourth rule says scheming and plotting doesn’t usually work. Some viewers might think, “Aha! It worked this time.” But really, it didn’t. The majority of the team, led by Tarek, focused on Summer. But Tarek’s attempt to scheme with Lee simply turned him into an enemy. (Mind you, it was a horrible effort on Tarek’s part – threats like that are not likely to impress anybody who has made it to this show.) And even with all the plotting against Summer, Trump was oh so close to firing Tarek instead due to his incompetence. Summer shot herself in the foot – it had little or nothing to do with scheming.
The fifth rule tells contestants to play well with others. I’m not entirely sure what Summer’s problem was, but she sure had most of her team out to get her. It seemed like once she believed her portion to be futile, she just shut down and didn’t even really interact with the others. Tarek may have been a jerk, but at least it seemed that most of the team liked him.
Loyalty is also a topic covered by this rule. Way back in the first series, Tammy showed us how not to be loyal by saying, in front of Trump, that her team was “duped.” Summer showed similar disloyalty by saying, before the results were even given, that she would have done things differently. Was she being honest? Yes. But was this really a time for complete honesty? I don’t think so. It was a time for team spirit, rah-rah, go team! Summer missed that completely.
Another thing she missed was the sixth rule, which discusses focusing on the long-term. It was only the first task, and already Summer seemed to have forgotten why she was there. It was not to win the Sam’s Club challenge – it’s to become The Apprentice. So even if Tarek and the Gold Rush team never came up with a hook, even if their ideas about giving out free duffle bags were the dumbest in the world, even if she knew they were going to lose, Summer should have been a team player. She should have made those phone calls. She should have dialed her fingers off. She should have done everything she could to get those restaurant owners into Sam’s – or at least made it look like she was. If she had, she would not have been Tarek’s easy target and could have progressed. But she lost sight of the goal and focused on the small task in front of her.
Summer at least did okay in the seventh rule, understanding the challenge. She knew that she needed a hook to get people into the store on that particular day. Unfortunately, her project manager didn’t really understand the challenge. He gave away duffle bags to people whether or not they got a new/upgraded membership. So where was the incentive? And what happened if the duffles ran out? As was pointed out in the Boardroom, they had seed money, but they failed to make good use of it. Tarek blew this one, but Summer knew better. The problem is, as we’ve already discussed, she let that knowledge overwhelm her.
The eighth rule tells players to be creative but not go overboard. Frankly, nobody on Gold Rush showed much of a creative spark in the first challenge. Well, except maybe Tarek got a bit creative with the truth once he got to the Boardroom.
Ninth is the admonition not to be one-dimensional. With Summer, we never even really got to see what dimension she might have had. Obviously, her expertise did not lie in making cold calls.
The final rule tells applicants to use common sense. Here’s a quick question for readers: Does it make sense to interrupt your boss during a meeting? Even worse, does it make sense to interrupt the person you want to be your boss during a job interview? And beyond that, does it make sense to interrupt when he is criticizing a person who is competing with you for that position? No, no, and hell no! I don’t know exactly what Summer was trying to explain, but she should have kept her mouth closed, like Lenny told her.
The other aspect of common sense that Summer missed has already been dissected in earlier paragraphs. Simply put, when you’re given a task, don’t just decide on your own that it’s stupid and you won’t do it!
Carolyn believed that Trump made the obvious choice in firing Summer. I’m not so sure. Going strictly on the task itself, I think Tarek was mostly to blame. He failed to think creatively, he failed to come up with a good idea for Summer to use. And besides that, the man bragged about being in the top 2% of intelligence, but what he really showed was that he’s in the top 2% for jerky, egotistical behavior.
However, Tarek had two things going for him. First, he was the project manager as picked by Trump, which gave him a bit more room to screw up and get away with it. Second, and more importantly, Summer kept shooting herself in the foot.
Summer had the opportunity to shine and show that she really knew the customers they were trying to get through the doors. Instead, she gave up, shut down, and tuned out. She was given one specific task that she should have done well, but instead she did nothing. To make things worse, just when the tide appeared to be turning and Tarek was getting the majority of the body blows in the Boardroom, Summer spoke up and interrupted Trump. She lost sight of the big picture, she failed to stand up for herself, but then she did try to stand up for Tarek, abandoning any shred of common sense. That is why Summer lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other Apprentice Episode 1 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: Exile Island and American Idol 5. 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!