2006-03-14

Apprentice 5-3: You've Got to Have a Plan


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Coming back from the first commercial break, we always geta few words of insight from the Donald, usually on a topic that will turn out to be key to the episode's outcome. This week he talked about flexibility and the necessity for having a "Plan B."

Over at Gold Rush however, PM Theresa would have done well to have at least a "Plan A" at some point. Any point. Embarking on the mission. During the Chevy Tahoe event. Even in the boardroom. Had she had and stuck to a strategy at any of these points, she might still be a candidate.

The teams were tasked with educating and motivating Chevy Dealers on the new Tahoe. Both teams put on a Corporate retreat. After Sean noted that the new Tahoe is as rugged as ever but with new "refined features" Synergy went with the theme: Nature-Refined. They had rock-climbing, golf cart races and a number of other outdoor-ish activities, meanwhile touting the Tahoe.

Theresa's big theme: some kind of elegant, classy mish-mash. She locked in on carriage rides, a fancy meal, open bar, and golf. At one point Bill Rancick hoped that the Chevy dealers were big drinkers since Gold Rush's theme seemed to rely on "getting them liquored up and dazzling them with models." What went wrong? The "golf" was lame because instead of a lush green the team's area was a weedy expanse of dirt. There wasn't near enough time to educate the spokes-models on the Tahoe enough to answer dealer questions. Charmane hired a comedienne who went vulgar and offended the audience. And then there were the usual interpersonal tiffs. When confronted about his failure to find a generator Lenny replied, "It's not my problem."

As a result, Lenny was Theresa's early target. Once in the boardroom however, Theresa attempted to throw every teammate but Bryce under the bus. Whenever Trump's team exhausted one player's failure Theresa would introduce another. It looked as if her blitzkrieg style might work as much of the conversation focused on Tarek and Lenny. Not one to buck the momentum Theresa brought those two back to the boardroom. It turns out Trump & Co would have preferred to have Charmane in their grasp.

In the end, Theresa committed a couple of Apprentice Cardinal Sins. Lenny has been Gold Rush's most difficult member by far. As a result, Theresa's most vigorous attacks were reserved for him. But, in the boardroom "cause of this specific failure" beats "generally annoying" almost always, and this has been tested numerous times. Perhaps it is because going after Lenny wasn't a good strategy, but Theresa erred in not sticking to a boardroom strategy. Instead, by throwing out a number of possible culprits and screwups, she underscored the fact that the team didn't perform well across the board which brings attention back to the PM. Theresa was fired.

Lest we forget, there was Tarek sitting across the table from Trump who two tasks earlier had declared him "totally over-rated." Upon leaving the boardroom Tarek offered a lame, "I'll step it up." The Donald was not impressed.

While Lenny established himself as the least-liked member of Team Gold Rush, he earned praise from Bill Rancick who was sitting in for George. He may have been abrasive in the process, but Rancick called him a "bulldog." In the final boardroom, when Trump was trying to decide between firing Theresa or Tarek he asked Lenny what he should do. Lenny: "Fire them both." Just in case his team might have been tempted to bury the hatchet when he returns.

And let's not forget Brent. Synergy is still asking little of him and Brent is still happy to oblige by doing little. However, this week's most pathetic moment came when Brent returned to the suite after Pepi and Stacy were fired. Upon seeing Brent, Andrea locked herself in the bathroom for a good cry. Over-dramatic much? The "next week" teaser promised that we'll see Brent step way, way, way over the line!

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