The Apprentice 3 Weekly Performance Review, The Finale: Buried Aliveby Mike DeGeorge -- 05/24/2005
Like most of America, I preferred to watch CSI: Tarantino last Thursday than the fait accompli that was the final episode of The Apprentice 3. In case you missed the ratings news, CSI Nick Stokes being buried alive by a disgruntled felon’s father more than doubled the ratings of Tana getting buried by Kendra, 31 million to 14 million viewers. Unlike The Apprentice finale, though, we had no idea what would happen to Nick until the final moments.
As a last word on this episode, if you didn’t watch it but know anyone that taped it, borrow that copy NOW, especially if you are a Tarantino fan. This episode had it all – creativity (no, it’s nothing like the buried alive scene in Kill Bill), HUGE plot twists, drama, emotions, macabre humor, and of course, pop culture references.
In any case, more than a few people emailed and asked why I didn’t write an article last week. It’s simple – it was a little too difficult to stretch “Ha, ha, I told you so, neener neener neener!” into a full column. Plus, I figured that, due to the unusual splitting of the final episodes, the finale would give me a little more to talk about than the penultimate episode. Boy, did it ever. The disgruntled Tana fans (including Tana herself) seemed to come out of the woodwork. I consider the whole thing a moot point, because it’s over, and I was right, you were wrong, neener neener, but people wanted an article, and an article shall my people get. Similar to my last article, I’ll just address some of the complaints I’ve heard from people who, in my mind, just can’t seem to accept reality.
Kendra is too immature. The first time someone yells at her, she’s going to run away crying. Yes, believe it or not, I actually had someone say this to me. I addressed the “too immature” thing last time, and I think it’s a reach for people who can’t find anything else to criticize her about. I’ve asked, but no one can come up with specific examples of Kendra being immature, short of arguing with (and “whining” about) Craig. If someone can handle the tasks the way Kendra has this season, I don’t care if she sucks her thumb and carries a security blanket. No one, not Bill and certainly not Kelly, has consistently hit home runs in their tasks the way Kendra has.
As for the crying, why did Trump tell her there was nothing wrong with crying just the week before, yet this week act like she committed some sort of huge faux pas by getting emotional? Her answer to his question, an answer which has since been credited to John, by the way, pretty much slapped his criticism aside like the annoyance it was.
And who else cried in the boardroom this season? None other than Chris. And what did his tears drive Trump to do? Console him! While he lectured him on his emotions, it was more about his temper than the crying. And just to show how valid Trump’s criticisms are, he chided Chris Thursday night for being too sedate! He obviously just wants good television, and he ain’t getting it here. Trump is about as interesting a host as Monica Lewinsky from Mr. Personality. He should just let Carolyn and George take over. We don’t watch the show for you, pal.
Tana only lost because of the final task! Why even have the other 15 weeks if they don’t matter? My knee-jerk answer is, “so what?” But that’s not exactly fair, so I’ll try to respond. Let’s hit the second question. First off, similar to the regular season and playoffs in any pro sport, the previous 15 weeks is what gets you to the final two. Jen notwithstanding, you’re not going to get there if you don’t excel.
To exploit another metaphor, think of the final task as the final exam in a class. Both finals are more intense, more complicated, more involved than your normal test or task. The final task is more indicative of an actual job experience. No one is going to ask you to design an ice cream flavor and sell it on the street. But you might be asked to coordinate a charity event! Because of this, the final task, like a final exam, is given much more weight than the other tasks/tests. I’ve seen tests that count as much as 50-75% of a final grade. Why should the final task be any different? Either way, no one had the tremendous performance on a final task that Kendra had.
As for Tana losing because of the final task, it should be obvious that, even though I admit that it played a major role, I disagree with this. The moment Tana lost the job, to me, was when she went home to sleep and left Kendra to work on the Pontiac brochure by herself. And then, during the finale, she actually claimed to be the reason they won that task, because she came up with the round design. Yes, forget the pictures, forget the innovative copy, forget the presentation, it was all about the shape of the brochure. This reminded me of a story I heard about comic-book artist Todd McFarlane demanding credit for creating a character named Cable because… he came up with the name. Yeah.
And besides, if Kendra really is as immature as everyone says, why is she so calm and collected? Would an immature person be accused of being “too polished”? If Kendra really is immature as people think, why did she not stand up when Tana took credit, shove her against the wall and tell her exactly where she can shove her round brochure? It’s what I actually wanted her to do, but instead she calmly deflected the criticism… again.
So let’s review:
I’d rather be immature, thanks.
Sorry, I digress. She was pretty good early (better than everyone else, but that’s not saying much. I thought her first win, the mobile business task, was more thanks to her teammates than anything she did), but Tana lost her edge in the Pontiac task and never got it back. She was cruising along, absolutely kicking ass in the Wearable Tech challenge, then used the hard-earned immunity from the task by kicking back and going to sleep the next week. As I said back then, I actually respected Craig more for the decision because had they lost, he would have actually had to defend himself. She didn’t go back in the boardroom for another two weeks, when she faced (heh) Kendra in the t-shirt challenge.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The Pontiac challenge was episode 12. How did she do since then?
Last week, Apprentice Extras writer Jenn Brasler made the joke that Kendra could “swear at George, kick Carolyn, chew tobacco in front of Trump, [and] burn down Radio City Music Hall,” and still get the job. I agree with that assessment, and Kendra’s win was such a foregone conclusion because of the final task. But even if the final task had been close, the many mistakes Tana made would have sunk her.
Kendra played under the radar. Yes, that was her strategy – to float under the radar at first. People seem to forget the last part of it. It’s not like she stood on someone’s coattails the whole season like Katie from Survivor: Palau. Look, in the first season, Bill didn’t really stand out until the fourth week (the Planet Hollywood task, when he was forced to run the place from the kitchen and got upset about the “Kwame Jackson” incident).
But Kendra, with her supposed “fly under the radar” strategy, made a point in the very first boardroom and stand up for Danny, who was being dogpiled by the others. Carolyn (and I) immediately took notice. It would have been much easier to blend in, but to speak up and give her true opinion (and “risk being noticed,” considering her strategy, right?) took courage. In the second task, Kendra stepped up and negotiated that huge deal on furniture. Remember – those early episodes were car wrecks. I consider the fact that Kendra wasn’t in them to be a good thing! She didn’t have anything to do with the vegetable porno, so she doesn’t deserve to be hired? Sure thing.
Kendra REALLY stepped up in week seven, essentially winning the miniature golf task herself with the idea to set up exclusive discounts with neighboring merchants. The next week she became Project Manager and never looked back.
My point is, even if we didn’t see much of her in five of the first seven weeks, it doesn’t matter. I think we didn’t see her in those early tasks because she wasn’t obnoxious (like Kristin), didn’t slack off on a task because she had immunity (Tana… oh, wait, that one was Michael), act like an incredible sexist boor (John), have a mental breakdown (Audrey or Verna), have a bad temper (Chris), or sing and demand attention at every opportunity (Danny). She bided her time and let the undeserving fight amongst themselves, and then she emerged and took the game by the throat and won. What’s not to respect?
Kendra only won because she has a college education and Tana doesn’t. This one comes directly from Tana herself, who gave an interview that night in her local paper that the decision was “bulls**t,” and claimed her lack of a degree was the only reason she lost. If Tana truly believes this, she’s even more clueless than I thought.
I was one of the first ones to complain of the pointlessness of this season because I thought that Trump would never hire anyone without a college education. I’m still not convinced that’s not true, but Tana’s meltdown made it a moot point. Put it this way – had Kendra done as poorly on the final task as Tana did, and Tana cruised on her task like Kendra did, is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that Tana would have been hired? There isn’t, and that makes this argument just another excuse.
Even if all of these arguments are true, there’s one simple fact that no one - NO ONE - can argue. When it counted, Kendra did a tremendous job and Tana dropped the ball. You fail the final exam, you fail the course. You lose the Super Bowl, you lose the championship. Kendra earned her win, and I’m all for sitting back and letting her enjoy it.
Mike DeGeorge has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, and has almost ten years of management experience. He is also Associate Editor of RNO. Email Mike at email@example.com.
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