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The Apprentice 1 - Episode 3 Summary

'Three Strikes and You’re Out' By AyaK
Original Airdate: January 21, 2004

Welcome back to The Apprentice, the show that celebrates the fact that 16 people out of the 6 billion in the world are gullible enough to think that it would be great fun to earn a “huge salary” by working for Donald Trump for a year.

Or maybe that it will help them find jobs as commentators on CNBC.

Probably not, though.

Previous lessons on The Apprentice:

Episode 1. What’s your product? The men sell lemonade. The women sell kisses, their phone numbers, and maybe even their dignity. The women win. Project leader Troy, Sam and David go to the boardroom. The Donald boots David.

Episode 2. Who’s your customer? The women meet with the ultimate client, who requests an edgy, distinctive theme. The men don’t meet with the ultimate client. The women create a unified, edgy theme. The men create a better presentation but without a unifying theme. The “customer” – the agency head, not the ultimate client – rejects the edginess but likes the fact that there is a unified theme and gives the women the victory anyway. Project leader Jason, Sam and Nick go to the boardroom. The Donald boots Jason for not meeting with the ultimate client – even though Jason’s failure to meet with the ultimate client had no bearing on why his team lost (instead, the lack of a unifying theme, which the customer wanted, was the decisive factor). But you can’t boot The Donald.

Day 6 (continued): Rumble in the Urban Jungle

In the suite, everyone waits to see who’s coming back from the boardroom. Nick gets a whoop, and one of the women calls to the other person, “Jason?” But it’s Sam. No one seems very happy to see him. Poor little Sammy gets his feelings hurt. After entering the foyer, he refuses to go into the suite until someone greets him at the door, the way his parents do. Sam, it’s probably hard for you to hear this, but you’re supposed to be a rising, successful entrepreneur. Rising successful entrepreneurs don’t live at home with Mommy and Daddy and don’t expect their professional colleagues to treat them like family. Geez. If you want someone to greet you at the door, get a dog.

Sam ends up waiting in the hallway for an hour and forty-five minutes. Finally, Kristi asks, “Where’s Sam?” – a shame, since it would have been interesting to see if he would have slept in the hall if no one noticed him. Bill notes that Sam is “wearing on us.”

Mortgage broker Troy decides that Sam keeps getting saved because Trump can see that no one likes him and wants to give him a chance. What to do? While talking with Kwame and Troy, Bill gets a brainstorm: make Sam the next project leader – as he puts it, it’s “time to put up or shut up” for Sam. The others love the idea. One day, you’re ignored in the hallway, the next, you’re the man in charge. Hooray for America.

Meanwhile, Jessie wants to have a team meeting to clear the air over the “tension” between Omarosa and Ereka. (If that’s just tension, then the Arab-Israeli crisis is just a kerfuffle.) Apparently, Jessie believes that women can resolve any problem if they just sit down and talk it over. Saddam Hussein would have liked dealing with Jessie; he’d still be in power today.

Instead, the air clearing session turns into a disaster, as Katrina starts to rant about some people’s behaviors … and Omarosa responds by interrupting Katrina and storming out. Ereka smiles at the proof that the previous fights aren't just the byproduct of a vendetta between Omarosa and herself. Nobody is going to be calling Protégé Corporation the “love tribe” anytime soon. Amy notes that “the one thing I don’t like about working with women is that we have a tendency to hold grudges.” Right now, it looks like Omarosa isn’t content with just holding grudges; instead, she wants to nurture them and help them grow big and strong.

Day 7: The Golden Handshake

The phone rings. It’s 6 AM. A Trump assistant tells the teams to meet The Donald at 8 AM at Westchester Airport. The women look at the clock and decide that they have time to get in a full-blown catfight rematch between last night’s combatants, Omarosa and Katrina. In confessional, Omarosa tells us that “I didn’t come here to make friends.” Like we hadn’t already figured that out. The two debate which one is more fake (I guess where they come from, there are degrees of being fake – though both should have their Ph.D’s by now). Katrina tells us that “life’s too short to be a bitch” – which led me to wonder, just how long would life need to be before it was long enough that a woman should be a bitch?

Omarosa claims that she’s been “successful again and again and again.” I guess she’s referring to her success in living up to her “not making friends” pledge. Looks like she’s going to be successful 15 times on that one. Katrina says that Omarosa is perfect for Trump if he “wants somebody that will manipulate and backstab those around them to succeed.” Ah, in other words, she’s a female version of Trump!

In confessional, Amy drops a hint that there might be a little Survivor-esque maneuvering coming up: “Sometimes I think that it might be worth losing to get rid of Omarosa and move on so we can make more progress.” Amy, I hope you remember that it’s hard to do that when Trump is likely to fire whomever is most responsible for losing the challenge, not the weakest link on the team. Or maybe he’ll just fire someone at random. Ask ex-team leader Jason. Oops, you can’t; he’s gone.

In confessional, self-proclaimed master negotiator The Donald boosts his own ego. “Negotiation is not really learned; it’s almost innate. It’s in the genes. A negotiator is born.” Well, Donald, why don’t you contribute some money to the human genome project and see if they can identify the “negotiator” genetic combination, OK? I’m sure they’ll find that one right after they identify the gene that makes Sam so irritating.

The teams make it to the Westchester Airport, which appears to be used solely as a prop so The Donald can show off the remnants of the Trump Air Force, which at one point included the Trump Shuttle (formerly the Eastern Shuttle), which Trump had to turn over to creditors to pay down his debt during his “bust cycle” in the early 1990s. The Donald tells the viewing audience that the private planes located at the airport can run up to $40 to $50 million per plane, but that he chose to buy used commercial planes, which could hold up to 300 people, for less money than these mini-jets cost. Trump fails to point out, though, that the mini-jets operate on a lot less fuel and a lot lower maintenance cost than the used commercial planes do. Does that mean that the “good deal” that he negotiated on the used commercial planes isn’t a good deal? Who knows? We don’t know what The Donald normally does with his planes, or how far he flies them, or any of a dozen other questions. But we do know that the cost of operation is every bit as important as the cost of acquisition: a basic B-school lesson that The Donald seems to have forgotten.

Nevertheless, today’s challenge is going to focus solely on the cost of acquisition. Both VersaCorp (the men) and Protégé Corporation (the women) will have to negotiate the best deals that they can get on 10 items. They only have until 5 PM to complete the task, and Trump makes a point of stating that he’ll be displeased at anyone who is late. Whichever team has saved the most from the “standard retail price” wins. Period.

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