October 14, 2005

"The Apprentice" -- oh, the irony!

Spoiler alert. How exquisitely amusing: the fall of Toral! The entire show was edited around the misdeeds of the Wharton School graduate who knew she was so much better than everyone else and had fixed on the strategy of lying low, doing nothing, while the other women -- those inferior women -- "stepped up to the plate" (the inevitable metaphor) and made their inferiority obvious. Last week, Toral had only the work of sitting on a sofa, showing seniors how cool and easy-to-use a nice, new TV was, and she could not operate the remote control. But Rebecca, who was awed by the great name of Wharton, did not finger Toral for the final boardroom showdown. As a result, Rebecca nearly went down, and Toral survived to the next week. But Trump spared Rebecca. He admired her loyalty and said she was "either going to be great or a disaster." And this week, when Rebecca reluctantly admitted that she would now fire Toral, Trump fired Toral on the spot, preempting the usual identification of three potential victims for a separate boardroom ordeal.

How funny it was seeing Toral shirk everything. The women (other than Rebecca) plotted to make Toral's outrageous passivity obvious, and they insisted that she be the one who wears the mascot suit the team had designed for Dairy Queen. But Toral said that was not for her. Oh, it was fine for the other girls to debase themselves, but you need to understand that she is a prestigious businesswoman, and the wearing of mascot suits is just not something she feels comfortable with. After the team loses, Toral reframes her argument for why she did not want to wear the mascot suit: it's against her religion. Did you ever say that before, Toral? Trump asks. "I believe I did," she says. "Believe"? All the other women cry, no you did not! "Believe"? Trump snaps that she said "believe" because she did not say it before and she knew it. Hah! So you wanted people to give special respect to religious belief -- and the fact is the team would have yielded if she had played the religion card -- but you used the word "believe" in a way that made it synonymous with lying. Oh, the irony!

And the further, hilarious irony is that in her attempt to stay aloof and to insist that everyone else be debased before her, Toral set herself up for one of the most humiliating defeats we've ever seen on the show. Riding away in the taxicab, Toral speaks to the camera and tells us she's glad to be rid of those people who are so beneath her -- her, a Wharton graduate, a businesswoman who must maintain an aura of respect around her. She's in a taxicab reveling in her superiority, and we're at home watching her, laughing at her foolish conceit and loving her debasement.

20 comments:

Doug said...

Yes, Toral needed to go. The minute she didn't step up and become PM for this week's task, I knew she was a goner. Her refusal to wear the mascot suit --- as stupid looking as that mascot suit was notwithstanding --- only sealed her fate.

That said, even if Toral had not been there this week, the woman still would have lost. The look on the faces of the DQ representatives when they first saw "Zip" compared to the look when the first saw the men's character told the episode's entire story.

On an unrelated note, I found the MS version of the show to be incredibly boring this week. Now many times can they have a renovation project as the task ? By my count, they've done it three times on the Trump show, and the MSLO hopefuls added nothing to the idea on either side.

reader_iam said...

What an example of how a smart person can be so dumb--and so absolutely "tone deaf"! (And it' clear she flunked sense of humor 101, to boot.)

Anyone in her position with an ounce of sense would have volunteered to be mascot, if only as a tactical move.

What I find most amusing is the fact that a woman who has such a rarified concept of dignity, and suppposedly is so invested in maintaining her elevated aura of such, would go on a reality show such as this one in the first place. I mean, huh? What is THAT about?

I mean, I'm getting a kick out of the apprentice shows, but, well,you know, how many of the most dignified people you know would go on TV like that and make a spectacle of themselves? Which really, they all do: that's why it is so fun for us business voyeurs to watch.

(Of course, I accept that my voyeurism isn't all that elevated, or elevating, either. Then again, I passed sense of humor 101.)

Ann Althouse said...

The men's mascot was really terrible too, though! What? Selling ice cream with a transvestite?! And that head was just plain scary! And the whole subject of taping him down -- where did that lead? I was expecting a payoff when the company guys noticed. So, did he tape or what? Or was the bulge-noticing edited out to allow more time to humiliate Toral?

Doug said...

Ann,

The difference, I think, was that the men took a risk that the DQ guys seemed to appreciate. And, their mascot was at least clearly identified with the DQ brand, which was obviously very important to them.

That said, I doubt DQ will actually be using their idea.

But for Toral, the person on the women's team that most deserved to be fired is the one who vetoed the idea of putting more identifiable branding on the mascot they created.

Kurt said...

This morning I was thinking that if Toral is a Wharton grad. who works as an investment banker, and if she's so concerned about her reputation and her dignity and so on and so forth, then why the hell would she want to be a competitor on The Apprentice in the first place? Reality TV isn't the most advisable path for one aspiring to a successful career in business.

Doug said...

Kurt,

Two words: Book deal

reader_iam said...

Ann, right on about the mascot (and why Ginny the Genie? I kept thinking, "The Snow Queen"--remember that kid's movie, based on the tale?). Although, I did think there was a spark of brilliance in having her hair look like the swirls of DQ cone--it's just that it would have worked better, I think, in animation than it ever could as a costume for a dressed-up mascot.

About the taping issue (apart from the fact that my 5-year-old, wandering down unexpectedly for a glass of water, asked me what that meant): I couldn't figure out why, if you were going to have a guy demo the mascot, you wouldn't just add a little skating skirt or something over the tights. (Think Sonje Heine. LOL)

It was weird, but I did think the guy who dressed up was a good sport. Note how he was the very antithesis to the more-dignified-and-serious-than-thou Toral.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I'm having deja vu about all the elitists on the Miers' case!

PatCA said...

I thought it was all very delightfully Jane Austen-ish.

Dana said...

Why do the men seem able to focus on the task rather than their team bozos, but the women seem to only focus on their weakest link? Does it really all go back to sports?

Susan said...

Craig Berman's MSNBC review had a great line about her taxi statement:
" After her team lost, Toral smirked “I was pleased to see they were finally put in their places.” The resulting “thud” was the sound of all of Wharton’s professors of business strategy smacking their foreheads at once."

PatCA said...

BTW what religion is she?

Doug said...

Pat,

It was never stated what her religion is, but the way she raised it as a defense was obviously phony. I'd forgotten that she was the Wharton grad on the show, and am less impressed with that school if it turns out people like her.

tiggeril said...

The women are going to keep losing because they're more interested in backstabbing each other than in winning.

Freeman Hunt said...

That really was an awesome episode.

I wish he could have fired three people. Toral, the project manager, and the other blonde with chin length hair. The reason for Toral is obvious. (Haha, I wish Trump could have asked what tenet of what religion would be crossed by wearing that suit.)

The other two because they browbeat Toral like catty junior high princesses the entire time. And what breed of idiot doesn't brand a new marketing campaign?

Kurt said...

I'm with you, Freeman. The other two women you mention didn't distinguish themselves in any positive ways with their behavior. I can't wait to see them get booted.

David said...

I wonder...to what extent to institutions such as Wharton and other b-schools (as well as grad schools in totally different subject areas) contribute to this kind of obnoxious behavior by encouraging people to think of themselves as members of an Elect, rather than as people who have to prove themselves ever day?

Harkonnendog said...

Trump is doing a great job this season. I almost stopped watching after last year because he was the suck- this year he's making excellent choice.

It could all be a matter of editing, I know, but at least they are taking the trouble to edit the show so that Trump looks good. I watch the Apprentice to reconfirm my belief in a moral universe- the good and/or strong win, the bad and/or weak lose, and the world therefore makes sense.

Last year's Apprentice didn't confirm that belief and the show sucked. It was a show about nihilism, almost. So far this year's Apprentice is all about justice. The Rebecca drama is really all about whether or not she is good and strong- or was she guilty of cronyism- and Trump's decision to spare her was all about not knowing the answer to that question.

Great season. The Trump is earning his title "The Trump" this year.

whit said...

In her defense, the snobbery is a cultural thing that I noticed in "foreigners" who can't adjust to egalitarian America. To parade as a mascot was beneath her, after all as she said, "I am an up and coming business woman." She got her comeuppance alright.

XWL said...

This just reinforces my prejudice that CV whores and the institutions that attract them, should be avoided at all cost.