Let me start this review by saying that I loved the first season of the Apprentice. As an entrepreneur and business guy there was something just cool about a reality show that had business people doing business tasks to win a business job. Sure it was cast like a typical reality show with pretty people, some of whom were clearly included to mix things up in true Survivor-like fashion, but in that first season there were a lot of strong candidates who were all deserving of the win. With me and my friends this show was a true watercooler show.
But then the show became successful and true to reality show form, casting began to focus more on personalities who would make “good” television rather than good job candidates. In my eyes this hurt the show. The more undeserving the contestants the less I cared who won (see last season’s idiot Sean or the 3rd season grudge match of the undeserving with Kendra vs. Tana).
This brings us to the 6th season with Trump relocating his posse to LA and replacing the amazing Carolyn with the frankly equally amazing Ivanka. After a group activity to set up tents in the back which gave us team leaders Heidi and Frank (and the losing team a new home) the newly chosen teams went to sell car washes. Frank immediately lost focus running off to Kinko’s to make flyers and leaving his team to scramble to remember that the job is to sell car washes. Heidi’s team just made signs, hired some 1/2 naked men to attract cars into their location (in a gay area of town) and rolled up their sleeves to work. Of course, Heidi’s team won and get to go to Spago with Trump for dinner as their reward.
We then find out some of the fun (and not so fun) twists for this season. First, the good – the winning project manager stays project manager until he/she loses. Also, the winning project manager gets to sit in the board room next to Trump and Ivanka. That’s pretty cool too although I hope that Heidi’s strategy of trying to keep a weak link around is not what Trump is after since at the end of the day he should want the best. Now, the bad. Do they really have to make the losing team sleep in tents? All this does is push the show further and further away from being a job interview and more and more towards a typical reality show. Maybe next season the losing team will eat some bugs or sleep naked with aligators the next time it loses.
It’s always hard in the first show to identify who the strong candidates are since they usually take a few weeks to emerge (if they do at all). The first show is more about the Omarosa factor – to show us who the fools and trouble makers are. This week it was all about Frank and Martin. Frank showing he’s an inarticulate loud mouth and Martin that he’s a pompous dilettante.
As an aside, I don’t doubt that the way the characters are portrayed on this show isn’t how they truly are in life. Reading Frank’s bio on the NBC site, for example, it’s clear he’s not the idiot that this episode made him out to be. Still, I need to base my opinions on what is shown on screen.
Which brings us to the first boardroom of the season. I always laugh when Trump makes it seem like the losing team screwed up compared to the winning team when the difference is ~$60 and even he acknowledged it this week. But a loss is a loss.
The boardroom is where we always get to see who’s a player and who isn’t. Rebecca in Season 4 made it to the end because of her boardroom skills. The smart ones shut up in the early boardrooms, since they aren’t on the defensive yet, so most of them let Martin and Frank fingerpoint (Witness Tim’s exit from the boardroom as a perfect example). The only people who truly stood out in this first week were Heidi, who I have to give credit to for asking some good questions and using her own points of reference when it made sense, and Nicole who was the only one to rightly say that Frank is better for the long term performance of the team compared to Martin. Also, it’s worth giving a shout out to Ivanka who by the end of the episode made me say “Caroline who?”.
And so we say good bye to Martin. No loss or “horrible mistake” for the Trump organization; DT is right seeing him as a professor rather than an in the trenches business guy. Frank, I wouldn’t be too happy though. I don’t think you have much longer if you don’t learn to SHUT THE HELL UP and listen once in a while.
Avi’s Episode Rating: B