2005-10-11

Apprentice Week 3: The Difference between boys and girls


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Trump - Apprentice 4The latest edition of the Apprentice was all about gender differences.

First, both teams have had their trip to the board room now. When Markus returned, much to his team's dismay, the men promptly had a quick game of "what happens in the board room stays in the board room," and moved on. By the end of the task they were almost getting along with Markus "the Mouth." Meanwhile Capital Edge continues to be a team divided, though the divisions change regularly, and the women spend more time on CYA than trying to win their tasks.

Second, the team's were challenged to teach technology to the residents at a Senior Center. The winner would be decided by a survey completed by the senior. One of the women commented that their softer approach would give them an inter-personal advantage over the men. That may be, but men are generally better with technology which would turn out to give them an advantage.

Third, not that womanhood was totally useless on this one. There was Jenn M, demonstrating the use of a heart rate monitor by flashing skin and doing pushups in her skimpy exercise outfit. Gee, I don't think this has come up and been shown to be a pet peeve of the Donald and Carolyn in every other season of the show!

Surprisingly, not only did the men do well with the technology, their presentation was outstanding as well and their expo was the livelier of the two by far. This despite event planner Jenn W handling Capital Edge's presentation.

The men scored a solid victory and won the right to spread good cheer and technology at a Children's Hospital. Also, in a turnabout, the men unanimously voted to give Randal, their PM, immunity next week. In the process of losing, the women managed to sow dissent that will likely be with them for many weeks to come.

Despite Toral being a major liability on this task, PM Rebecca remained loyal and didn't bring her friend back to the board room. Instead she blamed the presentation for her team's loss and brought Jenn W back. She also brought Jenn M in, but never really articulated a clear reason for this. She tried but failed to put the Jenn M using sex to sell issue in play. Instead it was a question of whether to fire Rebecca for not bringing Toral, the person Trump really wanted to fire, back in, or fire Jenn W who was probably the next most culpable person on the team.

Trump fired Jenn W, according to him because Rebecca had so much potential. I think the fact that Jenn W was weak in the board room and Rebecca was very strong had a lot to do with it.

Team Outlook:

Capital Edge now has some big rifts. There is great resentment against Toral because she wasn't brought back to the board room, and against Rebecca for not bringing her back. Then there is Kristi who has become a negative force, frequently seen in the background criticizing someone or something and not doing anything.

This victory has given the men new unity and a cooperative spirit. Of course that usually goes out the window the next time a team loses a task. This episode did root out Clay as Markus' potential replacement in the "least wanted" role. During the planning and research phase he was outspoken, unreasonable and seemed to be playing to George at times.

Individual Outlook:

Still hard to tell with some of these folks.

Markus had been identified by the Donald himself as someone who wouldn't last long. He appears temporarily off the hot seat, but he'll need to sustain that for a while to have any chance. If Trump had had even the slimmest of reasons, Markus would have been fired last week.

Randal, on the other hand, is off to a strong start. Though he's not playing it up, the way he weathered his grandmother's death helps. And he led the men in a strong, successful effort this week.

We haven't seen enough of Josh's game to evaluate his chances of winning, but I sure hope he gets to stick around for a while. He does, by far, the bast background commentary - very blunt and to the point. Of course this could mean he's most likely to say something to get himself fired in the board room.

Although he crawled back into the woodwork on this task, Mark identified himself as a weak link on the last task. He was behind the crucial bad decisions that led to his team's victory and could well have been fired had Richard not decided to try to isolate and take out Markus, getting himself fired instead.

For the women, Rebecca is on the fence. Clearly Trump likes her and respected her loyatly and courage this week. On the other hand, she has fired her silver bullet, and won't likely get a second chance. To make matters worse, her teammates will have it in for her. If she can stay out of trouble for a while, she's a threat.

Toral also has the ire of her teammates coupled and an unfavorable impression with the Donald. With her, it's not if, but when. Only an incredible Capital Edge winning streak and a 180 transformation on her part can save Toral.

As mentioned, Kristi has proven to be divisive and not a team player. Right now this seems to be staying under the radar, but I believe it is only a matter of time before that bubbles to the surface and puts her out.

If Jenn M continues to try to use her sex appeal as a weapon, she also is not long for the game. Trump and Co. have made no secret of their feelings on this in previous seasons.

So far, no woman has established herself as clearly having the potential to win this thing. Marshawn led the team's only victory, but could hardly be said to have been a key contributor on that one.

The Martha Edition:

I sampled the Martha Stewart version of this on CNBC last night. Interesting. You get a lot of the same dynamics on the teams, but with a much more effiminate group. The differences were striking and disappointing.

The teams were tasked with designing and selling a wedding cake. One team did pretty well, and the other didn't sell anything. Trump would have ripped their lungs out! That never would have happened. A poor performance, maybe, but no sales at all. The players would know better. Martha was very calm in her disappointment.

Even better, the losing PM blamed his cake's design and brought back the two people charged with creating the cake while sending his sales team back to the loft. After some thought, Martha called the sales team back down and fired one of them! Trump has been a little unconventional at times, but he's never totally crossed the line, though he had to have been tempted the past couple of weeks. My guess: to him it's no big deal if someone who deserves to be fired caught a break ... they'll be back.

Finally, Martha concludes by writing the fired person a nice little note. Awww. How nice. How not real world. Unless the note were to say something like, "Look. You ran your mouth too much and misguided your team. You'd better learn from this or get used to failure!"

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