Celebrity Apprentice, Episode 11: Almost An Omarosa-Free Zoneby Brian Towers -- 03/17/2008
Last week: Omarosa was fired. Right-thinking people danced in the streets. Details… just don’t matter.
For your reference, here are the current team rosters:
The episode starts (like so many others) with Hydra awaiting Empresario’s return from the Boardroom. Piers tells us he’s had some great moments in his life, having met Nelson Mandala and Her Majesty The Queen, but putting the birth of his children aside, the next greatest moment of his life is when Trump announced the last challenge was the biggest slaughter in the history of The Apprentice! He thinks Omarosa’s fifteen minutes of fame have just ended.
When Trace and Baldwin return, Piers rises and apologizes to Trace for the kiss right away. However, Lennox makes a “Brokeback Boardroom” comment that leaves Trace even more confused and uncomfortable than before.
Piers continues to harshly run down the departed Omarosa, which I can understand on a personal level, but game-play-wise, is rather poor planning. He says that if Omarosa is the best America has to offer, America ought to worry. I don’t think America has to worry.
Now Trace is offended on both homophobic and patriotic levels. To his credit he’s staying mute, but I think his blood pressure could be touching new personal maximums.
Ever the devil, Baldwin proposes, “What if the next task is writing a country song?” A bubbly Piers says that he’s so pumped now, he could even nail that. Regrettably, he sings, badly. He jokes how easy it would be to write a country song. Now completely offended, Trace strides out of the room.
Baldwin tells us Piers may have used up one of his nine lives just then, because Trace wants to kill him. Baldwin calls Piers arrogant and says he prays for him.
The scene shifts to the next day, and Trump meets with the teams to assign the next task. With The Donald are daughter Ivanka and a woman who turns out to be the Broadway producer of Curtains, Daryl Roth.
Trump comments on “Amarosa’s” absence, saying how gladdening it must be for Piers. Instead, Piers’ dry reply is how sad a day it is for himself, the show, and for America. Baldwin snickers, and Trump appreciates the humor. Trace does not.
Trump explains: this week, the teams have two hours to prepare and two hours to sell Quiznos sandwiches. The sandwiches must sell for two dollars, and whoever sells the most sandwiches, wins. Trump tells them this task is about speed, and the “No Rolodex” rule is in effect this week.
Again this week there’s no charity presentation. I’ll mention that Piers’ charity is the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, and he won a nice $51,300 for them.
Since Baldwin was PM last time, Trace will lead Empresario. He announces their sandwich will be called, “The Cowboy Club.” When Baldwin says it’s a great idea, Trace responds, “I know.”
Trace and Baldwin predicts Piers’ will use Lennox as their front man, feature Carol behind the counter, call their product “The Knockout,” and use the slogan, “It’s a knockout.”
A quick trip to Hydra shows he’s not far wrong. The sandwich is going to be called “The Champ Sandwich” and the slogan is different, but the rest is right. Lennox tells us he is officially the PM and insists he will make all the calls. However, in the cab, Piers is the one tossing out all the ideas. Carol asks Piers if he’s PM, and Piers counters by asking if he should submit his ideas or not. Piers offers the mutes a chance to offer alternatives, and there are none.
Lennox tells us he didn’t let Piers take over. However, he did have some good ideas. In actual fact, pretty much everything Piers just said defines their solution.
Hydra goes to their sales site (a.k.a., a local Quiznos) to learn what they hope will help them win this challenge. They find out what is the most popular sandwich currently, change the type of cheese used, and run with that. Smart… with time limited and no other research available, you simply cannot reinvent the sandwich industry in two hours.
Carol Alt takes a photo of Lennox eating their “Champ Sammy” and meets with a graphic artist (that apparently, they were supplied with) to produce flyers. The plan is to get flyers out on the street, then sell from noon to 2:00 PM. I think they have a good graphic, and she sets delivery goals the printers agree to. Things seem solid for Hydra.
Over at Empresario, things seem to be moving along well also, but they feel the pains of having only one cowboy hat. Baldwin thinks that another pair of hands would be a big help too, especially if they belonged to iconic Lennox Lewis.
We learn from Trace that a Cowboy Club consists of prime rib, mozzarella, fried onions, chipotle sauce, and bacon. Sounds good! Trace says, “We’re going to sell billions!”
Broadway producer Daryl comes to see how Empresario is doing. She likes what she sees, and asks about Lennox’s charity. It’s the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. He has a daughter with severe food allergies.
Meanwhile, Piers and Lennox go onto the street to try and drum up some buzz. It’s a dreary day and no one is responding. Sleepy Boy Lennox isn’t sure this is worth the effort, but Piers asks if he’d rather do nothing instead. Lennox s seems to be considering that toss-off as a valid option, but I think they stay out there.
Carol finds out their flyers are not being delivered on time. She reports this to the guys. Piers tells Lennox that he thinks she’s trying to elude responsibility, should things not go well for them. Lennox is non-committal. I’m with Lennox; I think Piers is the one trying to play the game here.
A little later, Lennox is really worried about their still-missing flyers and hunts down Carol. She tells him they’re on the way, but cannot predict an arrival time because of traffic. Traffic in NYC? Shocking!
Empresario has flyers, though. It seems they drew them up themselves and Trace found a printer on the next block. Good work, dude! Initially Baldwin is doing a good job handing them out, but at this early hour, there aren’t a lot of people around. As time goes on he starts to get zany, and it seems more to me like he’s annoying people instead of cultivating their patronage. Soon, all passersby steadfastly ignore him like he’s a demented squeegie kid.
Finally, Hydra gets their flyers, just 20 minutes before they can start selling. Piers and Lennox head out to pass them around, but they are getting few takers as well. Piers is impressed at how rude everyone is.
Trace is finally getting some results. He is recognized by a couple of young ladies who take his picture on their phone. Hopefully he told them the cost was that they had to buy a sandwich! And over at Hydra, foot traffic and business has picked up as well.
Lennox is working the crowd a little more actively now. He tells us, “I’m the ultimate marketing machine. All you have to do is have a product, put my face on it, and make me smile!” Folks, Piers has created a monster!
Ivanka shows up at Hydra to see how it’s going. She likes the taste, if not the originality of their sandwich. They aren’t selling side-by-side and no feedback ratings are in play, so I don’t think taste actually matters much… this is about celebrities pushing a volume of one-time sales.
Baldwin rings up a nice bulk sale of 25 Cowboy Clubs for a nearby office. That’s what both teams should have been doing before their flyers arrived, arranging some bulk purchases. Baldwin tells us that they’re doing so well, they sold out. We next see him making more Clubs himself.
Piers tells us that Lennox is the greatest marketing tool he’s ever seen. He says it’s comparable to having The Pope and Nelson Mandela search for Elvis, and putting them all on a horse. That’s some image! I wonder if he could work a little girl with curls and a puppy in there?
As the challenge winds down, it seems like both teams are doing well.
Later that night, the teams have been assembled in the Boardroom to hear the results of their labors. The teams report how much fun they had and how much they respect their teammates.
Broadway producer Daryl tells Trump that Trace is respectful and gracious with people, and Steven has great New York energy. Ivanka admires the Hydra member’s sense of purpose.
That propels us right to the results. Ivanka reports that Hydra sold 313 sandwiches, and Daryl tells us Empresario only sold 253. Alt-F12! I mean, Hydra wins!
Trump tells Lennox he wins another $20,000 for The Muhammad Ali Center. I can report that Hydra has now won nine of eleven challenges.
Trump sends Hydra back to the suite, where they can watch the ensuing events. Carol is pleased that she has made it to the final four.
Trump turns to the Empresario duo to find out what went wrong. Trump wants Trace to name the weaker performer, and he can’t. That won’t fly this time!
Trump asks Baldwin if he’s lost his drive. He says he has not. I don’t think he’s been nearly as enthusiastic since Trump wouldn’t let him quit. Trace says, “Empresario is… a disease.” Trump says he hates saying the name “Empresario.”
Ivanka wonders if they lost because of their choice of sandwich. Trace says he never heard anyone say anything bad about the sandwich. Perhaps that’s because no one’s going to tell seven feet of cowboy his product stinks?
Trump asks if people recognized Trace, and he admits, few did. Trace says that if this show were being filmed in Nashville, he’d already be the winner.
Trump asks who should be fired. Trace says that ultimately, he’s responsible. Ivanka asks who can bring in more money in upcoming tasks, and Trace says that’s him, too.
Asked the same question, Baldwin says the responsibility falls to the PM. Ivanka agrees, but says she’s consistently seen Trace bring in more money. I disagree that this is a valid criteria, as it implies that least half the original fourteen never had a chance to win.
Trump sends Empresario out so he can discuss things with Ivanka and Daryl in private. In the anteroom, Baldwin whispers to Trace, “I think they like you more than me.”
In the Boardroom, both ladies are reluctant to make a call as to who ought to be fired. Ivanka says that overall, she’s been more impressed with Trace.
Outside, Trace says to a pacing Baldwin, “You have to be one of the most nervous human beings I’ve ever met in my life.” Baldwin says, “I ain’t nervous. I got ants in my pants.” Trace suggests it’s more like crabs, and Baldwin replies, “No, those days are over.” Ew-ww! Luckily, the endangered duo is called back into the Boardroom before it can degenerate any farther.
Trump tells them he loves the work they do and the professional manner in which they do it. However, having one person less was a big handicap. Trump asks Baldwin if he made any decisions, and Steven responds that he chimed in to support Trace’s decisions.
Trump asks if that’s enough. Baldwin says that when there were decisions that he didn’t agree with, he raised the question and let Trace decide. That’s proper procedure in my book.
Trump asks who “wants it” more. Trace speaks first and starts to mention his daughter’s food allergy. Baldwin jokes, “I have a food allergy.” Yeah, you eat too much, including your own foot. Classy!
Trump notes that Trace doesn’t speak a lot, but when he does, he says something that matters.
Trump asks Ivanka whom she would fire. She exhales heavily, and then names Baldwin, because Trace can generate more money in the next tasks. Trump notes Trace has raised the most money on this team over the last several weeks, while Baldwin has raised little. I think that Piers has raised the most, though, by a wide margin.
Eventually, Trump decides that Trace has more to offer, and Baldwin is fired.
Trace and Baldwin share a manly hug as a coatless and luggageless Baldwin takes the elevator to the street. In the taxi, he says he couldn’t be cutthroat enough to win. Trace returns to the suite and is greeted warmly by all. Trace admits he expected to be fired and is surprised it didn’t happen.
But we’re not done! Curtly, Trump has the four recalled to the Boardroom. When they arrive, he congratulates them for their accomplishments, but tells them two more will be fired before the night is done.
Now we’re done!
Next week: What kind of task will they be performing overnight? Who will be gone?
It’s final four time… join me here next week to relive the excitement!
Brian lives in Toronto. He spent a couple of decades working in middle management at The Prudential, primarily hiding behind the coffee machines in generally unsuccessful attempts to avoid his pointy-haired bosses. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email.
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