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It's Not Even Going to Be Close – The Apprentice 2, Episode 5


by aurora

Last time on The Apprentice, the teams were asked to take an empty restaurant property and turn it into a functioning restaurant within 24 hours. The women bickered while the men had fun, leading to another Mosaic victory. In the boardroom, Jennifer C. brought Stacy and Elizabeth with her, where Jen C was called out for lack of leadership and fired. 14 candidates are left – who will be fired this week?

As Elizabeth and Stacy return to the suite, Ivana says privately that she agrees with Carolyn’s assessment of the women’s team – they’re a disaster. Stacy walks in saying “the witch is dead”. Elizabeth confronts Sandy, calling her out for helping Jen C build a case against herself and Stacy. Sandy fires back that it’s unprofessional to cry in the restaurant, and the men look around wide-eyed. Pamela admits she’s not rooting for uteruses versus penises here, she’s rooting for whoever happens to be on her team.

In the morning, the phone rings and Chris is told that the teams need to meet up with Trump at UPS. Chris has been selected as the project manager for Mosaic. At UPS, Trump points out that the dynamics on the women’s team are horrendous, so he’s decided to send Pamela over to Apex as their project manager. He wants her to pull them together, saying that everyone hates each other and the level of animosity is beyond belief.

With that settled, it’s time to learn about the next task. Trump talks about how retailers have changed, and mentions ‘electronic shopping’. The teams are about to head to the offices of QVC in Pennsylvania, where each team will pick a product, price it, and appear on live television to sell their product. The team with the highest gross sales wins.

The Apex Corporation boards the bus, and Pamela immediately takes charge. She explains that everyone might think she’s a bitch, but she’s going to have to be that way for the next 24 hours. “Whatever you used to do isn’t f*cking working,” she says. Maria privately whines about Pamela lecturing them about what is and is not appropriate. Pamela asks everyone about their skill sets, and Maria jumps on the public speaking/sales role. As the other women are talking to each other, Pamela asks them to stop talking and listen when someone else is speaking. Really, this is pretty basic stuff but half of the women look like they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar, and they’re not happy about it.

Time for the weekly Trump Business Lesson – Price It Right. Trump stresses that you can’t go too high or too low with your pricing, or your product or service is doomed. He’s in a limo and on the phone with Bill (apparently), and says “You’d better do a good job Bill, or your ass is grass.” You tell ‘em, Donald.

On the Mosaic bus, Raj points out that they need to win this task because if they don’t, Trump will think they’re lost without Pamela.

The women arrive at QVC and they now have to pick their product. They decide on the “It Works” cleaning block, which is basically a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser – a little sponge that takes stains and marks off surfaces with only water. Pamela starts assigning tasks to each team member, and Ivana is irritated that Pamela doesn’t take responsibility for anything herself. Hello, she’s the PM. She’s responsible for everything. Anyway, the women bicker about pricing, with Stacy once again becoming frustrated and everyone else feeling tense.

The guys have decided to sell the DeLonghi Panini Grill. They too are having difficulty deciding on a price. Kelly wants to keep the price above $70, while Raj argues that psychologically the price should be lower to encourage more people to buy it. Kelly appears to be leading the group, and Raj picks up on this saying that Chris should be concerned about giving someone else so much power over the task.

Pamela wants to price the sponges at about $1 per sponge. Ivana thinks $19.99 for a package of 30 would be a good deal, but Pamela isn’t buying it. Elsewhere, Stacy is on legal detail and is running through specifics with the legal department. She seems to be taking too long with the details, and Pamela tells her they are not there to be ‘legally thorough’, they are there to get things moving. Privately, Stacy says that if she didn’t want things to be perfect then Pamela shouldn’t have asked the lawyer to do the legal work – “ask the wedding planner to be the lawyer!”

The ladies decide to do a test run of their tv spot. The product is introduced, along with Maria and Jen. Maria starts blinking like crazy, waving her arms around, talking faster than a speeding train, and really just looking like she’s on fast forward while the others are in slow motion. Pamela says Maria looked like she was having a seizure, and that’s a pretty accurate assessment. Elizabeth and Pamela decide that Jen should do all the talking, and Pamela goes down to talk to Maria. Elizabeth gets on the walkie talkie and tells Ivana the plan, and Maria overhears. She’s insulted to say the least, and comments that it wasn’t a very professional way to deal with the people who had to be on camera with a smile on their face in a few minutes. Maybe not, but someone had to say something about the way Maria was wired up!

Each team has 12 minutes to sell their products. The men go first, with John and Wes acting as the on-air talent. Their time starts, and immediately the QVC phone lines go from 300 calls to 50. Andy likens it to the stock market crash of 1929. Things go slowly until Patty from Oklahoma calls in to give a testimonial about how great this grill is. After all is said and done, the men sell over 200 units. Raj is disappointed, as they expected to move 800 units. Chris says, “The thing that sucks is that it’s not even going to be close.” Remember those words – this is called foreshadowing.

The women are up, and they start off extraordinarily slowly as well. After two minutes, there are no calls. Once Jennifer starts demonstrating how the product works, the phone lines light up. Maria gets to say exactly nothing during the spot. The women say that they sold about 650 units.

In the QVC offices, the teams meet up in front of a screen that looks like a Rubik’s Cube. Trump appears on the screen asking for results. George is asked how the women did – they moved 659 units, and made $17,944.57. Carolyn says the men sold 252 units, and made $17,955. Mosaic wins by a little over $10. Mosaic cheers, and Chris congratulates Kelly on his pricing.

The Donald tells the men that their reward is to meet two friends of his – John McEnroe and Anna Kournikova. They’re off to the Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium in Flushing Meadow to play tennis with John and Anna. Then, as a special treat, Trump is sending the men back to QVC on October 11th to sell their product live once again.

At the Arthur Ashe Stadium, John McEnroe is yelling and hollering in vintage style as the men enter. Andy is star-struck as he’s been playing tennis all his life and has always had McEnroe posters on his walls since he was a kid.

Raj, meanwhile, is quite taken with Anna Kournikova and asks her out. She teases him a bit and they flirt. Anna shouts out “How about a dare!?”. Raj takes the bet, and has to return one of five serves from Anna. If he gets one, he gets to dare her – if not, she gets to give him a dare. Raj misses every serve, and Anna ends up daring him to run around the stadium in his underwear. Raj is a good sport and accepts the dare, and as he’s running the rest of the group serve tennis balls at him. A good time was had by all, I’m sure.

Of course the women are ‘clumping’ and trying to play the blame game. Most of them decide that Pamela is not an effective leader and should be fired. This might be the first time they all agree on something – how ironic. Ivana says that it comes down to “taking out Pamela or taking out one of us”. Pamela is playing basketball and working out by herself. She says that the Apex team needed and wanted guidance, and she would be surprised if she got fired.

In the boardroom, Pamela tells Trump that the teams basically tied in this task. George points out that if you don’t get a contract because you were outbid, it doesn’t matter if you were outbid by $10 or $10 million – you lost the contract.

Jennifer is asked what she thinks, and says that she feels the price was too high. Pamela argues, and says that no, the price was too low. She says the price should have been $30 instead of $27, but Trump and Carolyn disagree strongly. Carolyn goes so far as to say that if the product had been priced accordingly, Apex would have blown the men out of the water.

Pamela decides to keep Maria and Stacy with her in the boardroom, and Trump sends the others back to the suite. As the three wait in the lobby, George says that Pamela has some good leadership qualities, which is more important than the pricing error. Carolyn says that the reason they lost this task is because it was overpriced, which was Pamela’s decision. Trump nods and brings the ladies back in.

Trump asks Pamela why Stacy is here, and she says that “Stacy does not add one ounce of value”. Trump asks Stacy is she’s offended, and Stacy replies “No, because she’s wrong.” Pamela goes on to say that Stacy speaks so frequently that it’s distracting. Stacy explains the whole legal tiff to Trump, and tells him that if he wants another Enron on his hands he should keep Pamela.

George asks why Maria is there, and Maria says she’d like to know as well. Pamela says that Maria sold herself as a public speaking expert. Maria confirms this, and says that Pamela then determined that her rate of speech was not appropriate for the task. Carolyn chimes in and says she agrees with that, stopping Maria cold.

Stacy says that Pamela did not do a good job of assessing their skill sets when assigning tasks. Pamela defends herself saying that she hadn’t worked with the women before and relied on the women to take positions they felt they could do successfully. Trump tells her that he doesn’t think she has a good assessment of people. “I think you’re really smart, I think you’re really interesting. I totally disagree with your choices, and you don’t have a good assessment of people. Pamela, you’re fired.”

After the women leave the boardroom, Carolyn says that she thinks it was the right choice. Trump agrees, saying that she’s so sure of herself and so opinionated. Carolyn says that she’s very decisive, and Trump says “She’s very decisive, and she’s wrong!”

In the taxi, Pamela says that she wanted to be above-board with people and not play people against each other. She says that there’s cut-throat, and then there’s heavy political mud-slinging, which she just wasn’t used to. She adds that in the end, she probably should have been more underhanded, but she just doesn’t play like that.

What do you think? Did Pamela deserve to go before the others? I don’t know – I think Trump put her in an awkward position and then punished her for pulling the women together, at least for the task at hand. Yes, the pricing error cost Apex the task, but Trump has already set a precedent for not relying on the task results in order to justify firing someone.

Comments are welcome! Contact me at carrie@realityshack.com.


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