The Apprentice LA: Season 6, Episode 3

January 22, 2007

Watching the first 10 minutes of the show I sat there thinking just how ridiculous this show has become.  It’s one thing to put reality show contestants through a process of ad-sponsored, manufactured “business” tasks under the pretense of a job interview often with an arbitrary winner but making the losing team sleep outside in tents just takes it too far out of the realm of reasonableness.  In three months the winner is going to be able to stand up and say that they wanted to work for Trump so badly they were willing to sleep outside in tents, shower in makeshift showers, etc.  Oh yeah, that’s going to be impressive to your co-workers.

Which brings us to Michelle who actually had the balls to stand up and say that this wasn’t the way she wanted to get a job in the Trump organization.  Sure she probably would have been fired any way as her team sucked it up and she didn’t really provide any form of leadership.  This doesn’t make her wrong in saying that this is a line she’s not willing to cross to get any job.  Furthermore, I think Trump and the Trumpettes were kind of harsh calling her a quitter as if they or anyone they work with had to jump through any hoops to get their jobs.

Now I’ve liked the Apprentice over its 6 seasons.  As much as I think some of the tasks are stupid, it does test the human dynamic and see how different people react in different circumstances.  It’s not the ideal way of getting a job but the tasks do provide real insights into the potential hires.

This year’s twist of making them sleep outside is just a way to haze the contestants as if this was a fraternity.  I think next year, the losing team should have to do Trump’s laundry, clean his house with a toothbrush and maybe do shots until they puke.

Michelle, you had no chance of winning, but personally I applaud your decision to flip Trump and his reality show the bird.

Avi’s Episode Rating: C

Avi’s Michelle Rating: A

The Apprentice LA: Season 6, Episode 1

January 8, 2007

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