October 7, 2005

"The Apprentice" -- enough cake for you?

Someone just asked what happened to my usual commentary on "The Apprentice." I did watch both the Donald and the Martha this week. Anything you feel like saying about them? Actually, the shows were pretty cool this week. Martha's had two big, ugly cakes (for brides) and Donald's had another even uglier cake (for old folks). But let's take the discussion to the comments, where spoilers can run free.


Ann Althouse said...

Well, let me be the first, over here in the spoiler area. It's interesting that on both shows the person who deserved to be fired was not chosen by the project manager to go into the boardroom. Trump let it be known that he wanted to fire the missing person, but he just complained about it. He didn't even fire the project manager for not bringing that person back. Martha went ahead and overruled the project manager's choice and brought back the person who deserved to be fired. Both situations were damned entertaining.

Also entertaining: Howie freaking out.

Doug said...

One comment about something that happened on the Martha version of the show this week:

Am I the only person who was disturbed by the fact that Jim gave up being present for the birth of his child to be on a game show ?

I didn't have a very high opinion of the man to begin with, and that just made me thing less of him.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I like Martha's touch of writing a personal letter to the terminated candidate. I just think she's got so much more on the ball than The Donald, but he has raised self-promotion to an art form. [She, of course, was savvy enough to get on that train post prison]. What I would really treasure is seeing Carolyn and George do more one-on-one's with the camera before the board room. Then we could see how much influence they wield with The Donald.

Ann Althouse said...

Anything that sleazes up Jim more is fine by me. He's a wonderful character! I'm most disturbed by all the characters that are too hard to tell apart.

And, yeah, the main thing Trump has that Martha totally lacks is good side kicks. Carolyn is especially great. I loved her contempt for the cake!

Doug said...

Well as far as Martha's sidekicks go, her daughter is a total waste of time compared to Carolyn, and Charles is really starting to annoy me with that cigar he plays with during the conference room scenes. What the heck is that about anyway ?

Ann Althouse said...

I think the cigar is to discourage us from thinking of him as "not George."

And, yeah, Martha's daughter: total nepotism. What's the point? She's pretty, but blah!

ShadyCharacter said...

On the Donald's show I was a little disappointed by the firing of Jennifer W. It was not an atypical firing, but I just don't see what being a good event planner has to do with being a good executive in the Trump organization. We see this all the time, people being fired because they don't do a good job washing dogs or handing out fliers, while obvious character flaws or even blatant idiocy are excused week in and week out.

That being said, what a pathetic event Jen W put together! She had sugar free cookies "for the diabetics." Of course, if she hadn't, she'd have been fired for sending a retiree into sugar shock - again, a real situation she'd doubtless be facing as a Trump organization VP...

Lori said...

I also thought it was interesting how Donald and Martha handled similar situations differently this week.

In Martha's case, the fact that she brought everyone back in I thought showed good leadership -- she really wanted to make sure that the person that gets booted is the most deserving of the boot, even if it means overruling the PM.

With Trump, we've seen two weeks where the PM brought the wrong person back -- last week, the PM was fired because he did not make a good decision in not bringing parties responsible into the boardroom, while this week the spunkiness of the PM saved her from Trump's wrath for doing something similar.

I think the difference in the way they handle this situation really calls out how leadership is defined by M & D. Donald will always come down hard on those that make bad decisions (or if they make bad decisions, not being able to back them up) -- i.e. leadership is decision making. In the case of Martha, she seems to be looking for a leader that really does "fit in" with her organizations, and is harsh with those that have work ethics she does not like (you saw how mad she was at the "fake it till you make it" remark). Clearly Shawn was not going to fit into the organization with that type of nonsense!

Anyways, it shows that there are many ways to skin a cat in the corporate world!

Ann Althouse said...

Lori: Martha's showing leadership, but it's not a contest about how good she is. Trump is giving them room to make their mistakes and take the consequences.

Jen W was such a whiner!

Eddie said...

I was expecting Martha to act like Martha. However, instead she just acts like a neutered cat.

Doug said...


Keep in mind that this show is as much about rehabilitating Martha as it is about finding someone to work at MSLO. The public relations campaign that has been crafted since her release from jail has been masterful. She's probably acting nice (or, as you put it, like a neutered puppy) for a reason.

Eddie said...

That's fine by me. I own Sears Holdings stock, symbol SHLD, and if the show helps out her product line sales at K-mart, I am all for it!

PatCA said...

Yes, Alexis and George add nothing to her show except a certain fawning creepiness. The creative contestants all seem a bit daft. It surprises me that businesses run at all, looking at this crew.

I also wonder about the rewards for winners on The Donald's show this time. I like the crestfallen looks then game show of support when he announces, not dinner at Lutece, but a charity visit.

Doug said...

Actually I thought the charity visit this week on Donald's show was a good thing, and the guys seemed to enjoy it.

whit said...

Since we're venturing into the popular culture; my two cents.
1. Reality shows like the Apprentice and Survivor are getting stale. How many seasons can they repeat essentially the same things.
2. Slightly off topic but still within the tv realm...A crack appeared in Desparate Housewives Sunday with poor plot and dialogue. Did anyone else feel this way?

Tim said...

I was a little surprised by how miffed Martha was upon hearing: "Fake it till you make it." Given that Martha's business is built on selling an elaborate and largely performative sense of the good life, she's hardly one to talk. In a way, Martha seems to have made it, by faking it.

For the most part, I think Alexis is sorta of boring, too. But, in this episode, I liked how she told the cake decorators how peeved Martha got when Alexis made a mess while attempting to decorate a cake for Martha's b-day.

XWL said...

Watching the Donald's Apprentice show last night (haven't sampled the Martha's version) I thought there was buried within the episode a lesson on how gender is perceived by society in general.

The women seemed to be very, very bad at the task (which may have been the result of selective editing) and the only fathomable cause for the closeness of the ratings between the teams was their sex appeal (the heart monitor demonstration was especially over-the-top) and the old-style gallantry/condecension of the elderly men (who seemed to participate at a higher rate then the elderly women, even though in that population group women predominate).

The behavior in the board room was also heavily gendered. Between Jen W's whining, the PM's crying for sympathy due to her injury, and the big hair Jen's being told by the Donald to essentially shut-up, look pretty, and stay out of this, all three contestants probably wouldn't have been treated like they were, nor reacted as they did had it been a mixed gender or all male board room.

And just to throw in an aside about the current nomination, does anyone believe that (to use Dean's poor turn of phrase) if Harriet Miers had a 'salami' she would have been nominated?

(it's always about the genitals with some people)

JSU said...

It seems to me Jennifer W lost it in the second boardroom, when she failed to put some of the blame for the presentation on Rebecca (for failing to coordinate a unified concept for the whole or whatever). She just seemed weak, and there was no way Trump was going to hire her.

In fact, she seemed cowed by Rebecca.

Susan said...

I find Martha's little personal letter writing at the end of the show totally phoney. Like the couple who wiped their feet before they came into my store this week. Wasn't that thoughtful? Then they stole the wallet out of my purse behind the counter.

West Coast Independent said...

Ann: “Trump let it be known that he wanted to fire the missing person, but he just complained about it.”

No Ann, Donald fired the right person. Jen W really blew it with her uninspired misspelled “Tethno event” no banners, no signs, simple food, and a lack of atmosphere. Toral’s failure to demonstrate the digital television , just one demonstration, was just one small task. The overall event came off as unimpressive. The girls relied too much on their looks and winning personality. The guys loved showing off the gadgets, had a wide selection of food, great atmosphere. It was obvious Excel would win.

PatCA: If I were on Excel, I hope I could keep a pleasant expression on my face after being told that my reward was to visit a children’s hospital as part of a Best Value charity event. Not everyone gets a big kick out of doing the work on other people’s volunteer services.

Whit: “Reality shows like the Apprentice and Survivor are getting stale. How many seasons can they repeat essentially the same things.”

The Apprentice and Survivor are like golf, tennis and other sporting spectacles. Yes they are the same things; yet with each new set of contestants we get to see a new story. My family enjoys watching them and we all have a great time discussing

whit said...

Re: The Apprentice
1. The right person was fired.
2. The men went all out i.e (thought of catchy slogan, hadsigns made, created event atmosphere with food, cake, etc.)
3. The women hardly did anything to entice the residents into their event.

BTW- As usual, the team members snipe like crazy at the Project Mgr.

Big Hal said...

I was surprised that Donald didn't roast the PM for letting Jen W set up such a lame event. Broken ankle or not she was responsible for the task. I wonder how many shows it will be before Toral totally stabs the Rebecca in the back? The way the show focussed on how bad Toral is makes me think that the 'story line' is going to be Toral's incompetence and Rebecca pulling her fat out of the fire right up to the show where Toral as PM takes Rebecca into the boardroom.

tcd said...

You're totally right about Jim not being present for his baby's birth. Did you notice how fake his phone conversations (especially the tone of his voice) with his wife were, too? He totally played it up for the cameras. Too bad for him, actions speak louder than words.
Shawn was absolutely the right person to fire and not because of her "fake it till you make it" remark which I think Martha picked up on because she wanted to make sure that sentiment was not a reflection of her business. Shawn should have been fired for first suggesting the color pink and then failing to sell the cake because she personally thought it was ugly. I think she was totally projecting her negative thoughts about the cake to potential customers during her sales pitch. It was like she was saying to the customers that the cake was not up to her standards but that it might meet their lower standards. Or maybe I read too much into her behavior. Whatever, the show was fun to watch.

Keith said...

I was offended at the way Martha disregarded the structure and rules of the show by calling back the other contestants and firing Shawn. She forgave the PM for not bringing Shawn into the boardroom because of his "inexperience" but once she heard "fake it till you make it" she had her mind made up that she had it in for Shawn.

She thought she was showing how *nothing* at her company is faked, but instead was unintentionally illuminating about how tiny things can make her go on the warpath against someone and she will get rid of them in a heartbeat--complete with feelings of outrage and personal slight that that person would have dared do that thing.

She would have had plenty of opportunity to eliminate Shawn another time if she had respected the format, but she decided to ignore it because SHE is in charge. It will be interesting to see how her disregard for the rules affects the contestants' behavior in future weeks.