2005-10-24

Apprentice: Woe is Randall


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Trump - Apprentice 4The most recent edition of the Apprentice opened with the women's team, Capital Edge, reeling. The men were shocked to see the entire team, sans Torral, return so quickly from the boardroom. The women tried a "what happened in the boardroom stays in the boardroom" conference. Unfortunately that doesn't come easy to women, and the irony is that Kristi was playing head cheerleader in this little pep talk. More on that later.

In an effort to boost Capital Edge a shot in the arm, the Donald gave the ladies their pick of one player from Team Excel. Without hesitation, they chose Randall. He didn't even get a blindfold or last cigarette!

The teams were tasked with developing a parade float to promote Sony's new movie Zathura. They were told specifically that one of their main goals was to help overcome the movie's name recognition weakness.

Despite Excel's run of success we were refreshed to discover that there is still plenty of animosity between Markus and the rest of his team. It seems he's still unwilling to work hard, and unable to work well. On this mission he oversaw the picking up Chinese effort.

Even with Torral gone, Capital Edge was still unable to get along. At one point we saw Kristi in the background bad-mouthing the PM, in this case, Jenn M, to some of her team-mates, which has become all too familiar. And speaking of recurring themes, once again during the design phase suggestions were made which would have side-stepped some of the flaws that would ultimately doom Capital Edge, only to be shot down by a dumber but more stubborn team member, again Kristi.

The men's float was a hit. The name "Zathura" was prominent from every angle, and could be heard in the audio that accompanied the float. The Sony execs were pleased with how well the men addressed name recognition while incorporating key elements from the movie.

As for Capital Edge, not so good. At the right angle you could almost make out the name of the movie. In fact, the house from the movie so dominated the women's float that you couldn't really make out much of anything else. But the icing in the cake was Jenn M mis-pronouncing the movie's name, "Zanthura" during her presentation, several times. True to her blonde-ness, the PM came away thinking her presentation was strong.

Once again, Team Excel wins hands down. And once again, the guys voted unanimously to grant Brian exemption on the next task.

For Capital Edge the board room battle quickly consolidated down to Kristi's general negativity vs. Jenn M's major culpability in the most recent failure. Apprentice #1, Bill Rancick who was filling in for George, and Carolyn both agreed that while Kristi was a big problem, Jenn M deserved to be fired for her responsibilty in the task at hand. Trump thought otherwise, and sent Kristi packing.

My theory: clearly neither one of these women was a candidate to win this thing. But, Jenn M is blonde and model-esque, so the Donald kept her around for interest. I'm curious if that sort of thing makes a difference in the ratings. Personally I think Jenn M is great looking but has the personality (and intelligence) of the boardroom table. I couldn't care less if she stays or goes.

Next week, big things are in store according to the post-boardroom tease. It seems that the guys vs. girls format is finished. Thankfully Randall didn't sustain any permanent damage.

Outlook:

I'm establishing Randall as my front-runner. A few weeks back he was a very successful PM, and we learned this week that he is a clear favorite among the other players on both teams.

Brian joins the ranks of the other men who performed well as PM and deserve consideration.

I'm still waiting to see Josh and James step up to be PM. James seems to be the total package; intelligence and skill combined with charm and grace. Josh is a little more blunt. Once he hits the limelight he'll either become a star or flame out.

Rebecca is my front-runner for the women although I'm a lot less enthusiastic about any of them. She gets mixed reviews for the Torral mess, but other than that has shown herself to be strong and sharp.

Felishia, Alla and Marshawn are also talented, but were too weak to help turn around the disaster that is Capital Edge. We'll see if they can assert themselves once the team's mix.

Who is a trip to the street waiting to happen?

Where other candidates have failed to learn obvious lessons, give Markus credit. After a boardroom close call he has wisely learned to shut up. Unfortunately, that's all. He's not shutting up and working hard. Not shutting up and making major contributions to his team's success. He's just shutting up, and you can't hide forever. Capital Edge was a dream come true for Markus. If the teams mix, his days are numbered.

Jenn M is far too weak for this game. She has good looks and that's about all. As mentioned, this week there was little gain or loss in the Jenn M / Kristi decision. Eventually she'll wind up pitted against a strong candidate and that will be the end of it. She surely won't survive another stint as PM.

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