March 6, 2006

"The Apprentice."

The task is to get people in the street to send text messages, as many as possible, but it's also supposed to be a promotion of that new Gillette shaver with 5 blades. But if the game is judged by the number of messages, why should anyone pay any attention to the shaver? I mean, other than to get unusually distracted by the fact that Brent needs a shave? Lenny ("the Russian") figures all of this out, but no one else seems to. It's pointless to think up a "creative" word to text -- like "closer." Just have them text the easiest thing. One letter! Lenny's right. And so hardcore about saying he's right.

The Synergy team gets utterly distracted by the loathsomeness of Brent. What's so loathsome about him? I mean, in addition to the fact that he needs a shave -- and he's otherwise disheveled, which is especially bad since he's also overweight... and everyone else is above-average in looks? Well, he's really pushy, and his way of expressing himself is so annoying that Stacy just has to cut him off, and then he gets all in her face about that. Now, Stacy goes overboard, accusing Brent of being "physically threatening" and saying she can't work with him and they need to oust him right now. Interesting concept, the team firing somebody. How exactly does that work? Well, both Stacy and Brent are lawyers, so presumably there was some legalistic discussion of the concept, but it must have been boring, because we don't get to see it. Bottom line: Synergy wasted time.

Meanwhile, Michael comes up with the Synergy concept: they will all wear bathrobes, and then people in the street will all -- he predicts -- want to know why and will be ready to text message to find out the answer. Hilarious! Somehow they don't realize that everyone on the street will avoid a person in a bathrobe. Well, at least a guy in a bathrobe. Ivanka Trump is the new Carolyn and she's all "Oh, bathrobes?" Some of these folks look especially atrocious in bathrobes. Brent's got the belt up under his man-boobs with his undershirted belly hanging out below and, further down, hairy, scabby legs. They go to Times Square. Who would interact with such a man in Times Square? And then he busts out dancing. In flip-flops. And doing Devo-style "robotics."

Meanwhile, Gold Rush's leader Lee ends up ceding authority to Lenny, who's totally right about getting out early and having no gimmicks. We see little of these folks, and in the world of reality show editing, we know the other team lost. And yes, of course, that's what happens.

The "reward" for Gold Rush is to help three down-and-out guys each get a nice suit of clothes together to help them get back to work. Trump preens over the astounding charitableness of this activity. We cringe.

The Synergy gang gangs up on Brent. Michael, who's surely got to know he's on the line for the boneheaded bathrobe concept, emotes about "the aggressiveness that he took out on our female." Stacy now wobbles and says that Brent didn't "threaten" her. She must realize that to claim to have been threatened by a little verbal confrontation and close physical proximity is to reveal weakness. She's wracking her brains trying to pitch this right so that Brent goes down, and she can't quite figure it out.

In the Boardroom, there's plenty of pressure on Brent, but Trump sniffs out the problems with Pepi (the leader, why didn't he lead?), Stacy (you were threatened?), and Michael (bathrobes?). Trump announces he's going to fire two. Keeping up the suspense. We think, so, Brent and who else? And then he fires Stacy and Pepi! As they are leaving, we see Brent in the elevator. He's smirking devilishly. Ha!


Gundovald said...

Althouse: another smart beautiful woman who watches too much TV. She must like the Donald's Hair!

tiggeril said...

First off, I have to say that I was very impressed with Ivanka. Her criticisms were on point and well-stated, and no annoying "daddy's little girl" moments. Very nice. Bill kicked ass in tonight's boardroom too.

I agree with Trump on tonight's boots as well. I'm sick and tired of "wahhhh, a team member was a distraction!" defenses. Have these people never had to work with a difficult person before? Part of leadership is being able to manage a whole shitload of different personalities, whether they're pleasant or not, and they seem to miss that EVERY TIME. They compounded that with trying to pull a Stacie J. on Brent. Trump was able to see right through it and fire the right people. A good epsiode, although the task was intensely lame. I want to see these people do the negotiation scavenger hunt from the first season (from the episode where Sam finally went down in flames).

AJD said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Johnny Nucleo said...

"Trump preens over the astounding charitableness of this activity. We cringe."


vbspurs said...

BTW, having as YET not watched my recording of last Monday's season debut of The Apprentice, I think I won't be participating in these TV show threads after all.

Sorry, Pete, Ruth Anne, guys. I'll just lurk, and watch you all comment on them instead. :)

Count me in for any film threads though.

(Word verification: vbfzm! Sounds like vbjizzum)


Finn Kristiansen said...

Ivanka was pretty good... and Wharton, nice!! No Paris Hilton that one.

Ann, must we point out all Brent's weight related flaws? His man boobs and belly?

Not that I would know personally, but my friend-- you don't know him, he is Canadian-- has suffered with weight and boobishness (gynowhatever the curse it is) for some time and it is misery. Imagine being 12, and overweight, and some classmate, whose ass you can totally kick, devastates you verbally by complimenting your tits. And you are a guy. You never forget that. My Canadian friend, that is, he never forgets that.

I have no such issues myself.

Brent may be bad, but mostly for his attitude and delusion. Change that personality and the apperance is less a problem. But I am glad the chick got axed for playing the "weakness" card.

Evan said...

Trump was so very Trumpy tonight:

*"Text messages are messages with text in them, sent from your cell phone."

*Look how wonderful I am; I help out attractive down-and-out guys!

*And he was on fire in the boardroom, not listening to any crap and being blunt and businesslike -- classic!

West Coast Independent said...

The funny part was even in the taxi as they were being driven off, Stacy and Pepi were whinning that it was all Brent's fault that they got fired. Not the late start, poor location, and lack of a message.

Brent probably will not be the ultimate apprentice; but I suspect that Donald will keep him around for awhile. He's too useful as a test of the project manager's skill in handling difficult people. The rest of the members of his team really need to get beyond their group loathing of him and focus on the tasks at hand.

I've noticed that Donald has upped the ante as well. Big losses provoke him to take big measures. Just like last season, he'll fire more than one person if the team losses big.

I agree with you Anne, why didn't Donald simply hire the three down-and-out guys instead of simply buying them new suits. At least the winners had the good grace to understand that WINNING the chanllenge is really the reward not just riding around the city in a helicopter or dinning at one of his fine homes.

Maybe Mark and Donald are just trying to save a buck on the show by waiting until the winning team is smaller :)

LoafingOaf said...

I'd like to be Ivanka's apprentice! *pant*

I'm glad Donald didn't fire Brent. Every season some try to gang up on, and ostracize, one person early on, and it's just because they think that'll make it easier for themselves. Stacy deserved to go down. I'm surprised the other female didn't speak up in the boardroom when Stacy lied about feeling "threatened."

Jim H said...

Seems like a lot of trouble to promote the Fusion razor given that Glenn Reynolds is already pimping it.

That's what sold me and thousands of others into testing it.

AJD said...

Can't take it, huh, Ann?

Everyone has to say "nice" things about you, huh?

How pathetic.

Imagine what it must like to be a "student" of yours.

hygate said...

Not only was the bathrobe idea totally demented, but it was mentioned in the boardroom that the plan was to be at Times Square when the theater shows were starting and the restaurants were opening. Yep, I'm sure to want to stop and listen to some deranged looking loony in a bathrobe so I can be late to a show or meeting my friends. Meanwhile, the other team finds a spot where people are standing in long lines which they are not going to want leave and where interacting with the team members is a pleasant distraction from a boring situation.

HaloJonesFan said...

J. Polk: What in the name of fuck are you talking about?

A. Althouse: "Who would interact with such a man in Times Square?" Well, twenty years ago, the answer would have been "a surprising number of people".

A comment on the "physical" thing: if we didn't have the incident on video, I'd bet money that people would have been much more sympathetic to Stacy. And from the sound of things, Brent is interpreting this in completely the wrong way. He should be thinking "wow, that was close! I better re-think the way that I interact with other people before I get in trouble!" Instead, he's thinking "Trump loves my ass. I am invincible."

Dave said...

Did not watch the Apprentice.

But as I commented on your earlier post of this season's version, Ivanka is a bright, articulate person.

For what it's worth, those interested in her should see the documentary Born Rich. If you haven't heard of this documentary, it's about the children of very wealthy society people in NYC. Most of the kids come off sounding exactly as we expect them to--pretentious, obnoxious, clueless (check out especially gambling heir Luke Weil.)

But Ivank comes off as poised, articulate, intelligent, and obviously wealthy. Quite interesting to see that contrast.

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

J. Polk: "Everyone has to say nice things about you..."

People who presume to write on my blog have to live up to some standards or they can find somewhere else to write. Staying reasonably on topic and avoiding at least gratuitous abuse is a basic and obvious standard. Which you just violated too, btw.

And why focuse on my students? Smart readers speculate that you are one.

Dave: I wrote about "Born Rich" back here and said this about Ivanka:

"There's a nice variety of rich kids to react in different ways to. And I must say one of the nicest ones was Ivanka Trump, which has to remove a layer of loathsomeness from Donald Trump."

(Funny that I used the word "loathsome" in this post too!)

jakemanjack said...

This show has been taken over by merchandise. When the Apprentice first began, the contestants who showed the most business sense and creativity did so by remodeling a house, selling lemonade or impressing a rock star. Now the show is all product product product, and may the best ad-campaign win.

In fact, if you are not an expert in advertising, why bother? That's all you need to win.

Instead of Trump finding someone to help him with his real estate mega-business, Trump and the producers of the show have discovered that selling major American products and corporate name branding is all they need to help line their pockets.
fun for them, not so much for the rest of us.

The show be re-named: "The ad campaign expert."

jakemanjack said...

ahem -

The show SHOULD be re-named:
"The ad campaign expert."

amn said...

The Brent/Marcus character seems to be a new formula for the show. On one level it's very contrived. It's obvious that they chose one out-of-the-box contestant who doens't have a clue about playing nice with others who seems to last far longer than he should. No matter what the other characters do wrong, Trump knows that Brent has NO chance of working for him.

At the same time, the freak character may be the most effective tool for examining the contestants. Both Marcus and Brents teammates get so caught up that they can't function. Instead of ignoring Brent last night they spent far too much time deciding how to get rid of him and then blaming him for their loss. If I was the Donald I would want my winner to be someone who could deal with the freaks.

Sean E said...

Ivanka alwyas seemed to have this vacant, Hiltonesque expression on her face. Then she opens her mouth and smart things come out. Book, cover, etc.

I don't know if my opinion of Lenny went up or down last night. He was right, but was really obnoxious about it. Not someone I'd ever want working under me, but may be better when he gets to call all the shots. Still entertaining though.

Brent's irritating, but I think a lot of the Apprentices' distate for him is because he just doesn't fit in with the cool kids. Stacy seemd far ruder and more distracting than Brent did last night.

Anyone else think that Donald and the Viceroys saw the clip of the confrontation/"threat" before the boardroom (or were well briefed by the production staff present)? They just didn't take it seriously for one second.

"This show has been taken over by merchandise." Yep. Hence the product placement (Gillette, the Goodyear blimp) that turn out to be virtually unrelated to the actual task.

Doug H. said...

Does anyone else think Trump should make a human resources training video on how to conduct a job interview?
Last night he mentioned how he wouldn't mind seeing the female contestants in bathrobes. In previous season's he's asked a contestant if he was a virgin, if a contestant found some of the other contestants attractive, and last week he kept referring to Lenny as "the Russian", just to name a few.

Guesst said...

Half the show is devoted to finding out who won or lost,and who will be fired. They spend too much time on it.

I liked it more when we got to see a little more interaction with the contestants (bickering, cooperating, brainstorming), along with the executives from the different product placements.

Last night's Gilette pitch, didn't even really feature the product, much less a management team who offered leadership, advice, and so on.

If we aren't going to see that sort of thing, fine--but then take it back to the spirit of the first season and do simple money-making projects and let the best team win.

Last night's episode was not even about getting a buzz around the product, as much as who was clever enough to trick up the numbers.

I say bring back the rewards, too. No one is entertained or inspired by watching a group of people dress three needy men.

Ivanka was great, she should have her own show.

When are we going to see some older contestants, married men and women with children and business experience, who are NOT lawyers or real estate tycoons? Two of the most popular and successful past contestants were neither lawyers or real estate tycoons.


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