Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Apprentice-Get it in Gear

The Apprentice changed up its opening a bit, presumably to entice more viewers in at the beginning of the show. The usual recap had new footage mixed in. They showed scenes of the board room, contrasted with scenes of the team waiting to see who would come back from the board room. They didn't recap the whole task. I don't think. Hope I didn't just imagine that but I don't always pay perfect attention. Even though I was taking notes. The opening seemed different to me.

When Synergy realized that Pepi and Stacy had been fired and Brent had survived, they had a brief freak out moment. Andrea reacted like her mother had died. She went into the women's bathroom and cried and cried and cried. Roxanne tried to comfort her and coax her to come out of the bathroom, but Andrea was smart enough to realize that crying on-camera was infinitely worse than crying off camera. When she finally came out of the bathroom she didn't even look like she had been crying. I wondered if I had imagined all the sobbing. She also came out of the bathroom fired up and ready to be project manager.

At Gold Rush we discover that Lee and Dan will be observing the Jewish New Year and will not participate in the next task. Lenny, who is also Jewish, will not observe the religious holiday. He is cranky that Lee and Dan have made a different choice. Lenny's just cranky in general I'm discovering. Bill Rancic is back this week, replacing George, who is also observing the holiday.

The task this week is to put on a corporate retreat for General Motors' top dealers to reward them and to introduce the new 2006 Chevy Tahoe. The team that receives the best evaluation from the dealers will win.

Teresa is the project manager from Gold Rush. I can't say that I had ever noticed her in previous tasks. Right away I dislike her long blonde hair as she is a woman of a certain age, as they say. Her face is shiny and she's orangey-tan which is not a good combination. Shallow of me to focus on her appearance, I know. She is very assertive and hands out tasks with efficiency. She tells the team that their goal is to put on a classy event and to make the dealers feel special. She assigns Tarek the creative brief but then never lets the guy finish a sentence as he tries to work out a theme or big idea to build the event around. Teresa's idea is that the "experience of class" is sufficient. The theme doesn't need to relate to the product. To that end she's going to have a horse and carriage at the event. With stallions. And a comedian. And models. Nothing says class like models, after all, right? Lenny is disgusted right from the get-go with Teresa. He wishes "her brain was bigger than her boobs." What a guy, that Lenny.

Synergy goes for the big idea. Brent thinks they should have massages. Is the guy obsessed with massages? He brought in the massage idea for the Sam's Club task too. Maybe since they won that task he thinks they should re-visit their former glory or something. The team brainstorms and comes up with "Nature Refined" because the Chevy Tahoe is a rugged SUV that is also a luxurious car. They plan their event around this theme. While the team works out their event, Brent is shown eating his way through a mountain of food. Is Brent really the only one eating or is this making fun of the fat guy?

Lenny begins to set up the event for Gold Rush, apparently, all by himself. He has a pity party while he does it, claiming that Lenny is doing everything. Yes, he calls himself by name. But it turns out he hasn't done everything because when Teresa gets there she discovers that Lenny has not arranged for a generator to run their electric circular stage upon which the Chevy Tahoe will be displayed in all its glory. When chided--okay--harangued about not having a generator Lenny says, "Not my problem". Tarek, meanwhile, is setting up the golf event by using a post-hole digger to create tee holes. The grass is a mess; weedy and half-dead. I can't imagine a ball will even roll over this lawn. Tarek isn't happy about it either and tells us that Teresa didn't think they needed astroturf. Hmm, guess that's not necessary for a "classy" event.

Synergy's "Nature Refined" theme will include a rock climbing wall, fly fishing, and skeet shootings. Whoops. No skeet shooting after all, they are in a public park and discover they aren't allow to shoot anything, not even skeet. I did wonder about the safety of it when I saw someone shooting while a little child looked on. Brent is contributing mightily to the task. Roxanne asked him to help her place the trash cans in appropriate places around the event site. He tossed two trash cans over by the side of the shelter and walked away. The two cans were stuck together, one in the other, but good enough, I guess. Without missing a beat, Synergy replaces the poorly thought out skeet shooting with golf cart racing. They also give the dealers test drives in the Chevy Tahoe while they share product information about the new design.

At Gold Rush, right before the event begins, Teresa assigns "some guy" whose name I didn't ever figure out the task of briefing the models on the product information about the Chevy Tahoe. So the models are going to be the one's who share produce information with the dealers? Since telling these top dealers about the new design and features of the Chevy Tahoe is one of the main purposes of the event, is that REALLY how Gold Rush should handle product info? I'm thinking...no. I'm sure you, dear reader, already see where this event is going don't you? Right into the compost heap. Gold Rush has a horse and carriage, a crummy golf tee with weeds instead of grass, and models who don't actually know anything about the Chevy Tahoe sharing info with top dealers. Then they bring in the comedian. The one who's not funny. She's just vulgar. Wow. What a classy event. Yep. Classy--that's what springs to my mind. When asked,
Teresa was "cautiously optimistic" about Gold Rush's chances of winning. Whoa. Teresa was at the event they put on, right? Makes you wonder if she was at a different event than the rest of us saw, if she's "cautiously optimistic".

No surprise--Gold Rush loses. Trump asks Teresa to what she attributes their loss and she immediately tips her hat at Lenny being to blame. This makes cranky Lenny, even crankier.

Synergy gets to go swim with sharks as a reward. I'm underwhelmed by this reward as Michael Kors would say.

In the board room, things get contentious. Teresa blames either Lenny (because he's difficult) or Tarek (because he failed to execute his task as creative director and the golf tee was crummy) for the failure of the task. Trump wonders if Charmaine isn't to blame because she hired the really bad comedian and paid her $1700 dollars. Whoa. $1700 for 15 minutes work? I've gotta change careers. Charmaine also hired the models who didn't know anything about the product. Trump thinks Charmaine should be in the board room instead of Lenny.

Now me, I think all these problems can be laid at Teresa's door. She was the one who wouldn't let Tarek center the event around a theme related to the product. She's the one who decided the golf tee didn't need astroturf. She's the one who wanted to hire models and then gave them the responsiblity for sharing product knowledge with the dealers. I don't think the problem was tasks poorly executed so much as stupid choices for tasks. Fortunately, Teresa is fired. If she had brought Charmaine into the boardroom she probably would have survived. There you go. Another project manager goes because they don't appropriately apportion blame.

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