Previously on The Apprentice: What, you mean you didn’t watch The Trump Organization push into the bottled water business with “Trump Ice”? In an episode that amounted to little more than an unpaid advertisement for Trump’s attempt to compete with the “big boys” in the bottled-water biz (Nestle (yes, THAT Nestle – it owns, among others, Perrier, San Pellegrino, Vittel, Panna, Arrowhead, Ice Mountain, Deer Park, Calistoga, Great Bear, Zephryhills, Ozarka, and Troy’s favorite, Poland Springs, which is NOT bottled in Poland!), Coke (Dasani) and Pepsi (Aquafina)), Protégé (led by project manager Heidi) decisively whipped VersaCorp (led by project manager Ereka) thanks to Troy’s sales to distributors. Ereka took Bill and Nick with her in front of a very contentious firing squad session, which ultimately led to Ereka’s departure instead of the expected departure of "zen sales master" Nick, who botched a sales challenge again. And so…
Chump Change III
Nick and Bill return from the fake Trump boardroom to the suite. Katrina, who has confessed how Bill and Nick turned on her when she defended Ereka’s performance, looks as if she’s lost her best friend – which, of course, she has. But no one else among the Chumps looks unhappy to see the two guys, and Omarosa is simply overjoyed that Ereka is gone. Well, let’s see if Ereka’s absence ebbs the hurricane of controversy that always seem to swirl around Omarosa. We can also wait to see if pigs fly. Actually, pigs DO fly in the Spy Kids movies, so maybe there’s hope that Omarosa will be edited to LOOK as if she’s behaving on this TV show, no matter how preposterous that prospect seems in real life.
Bill whines that Ereka wouldn’t shake the guys’ hands when she left. Nick says that he’s only annoyed that Ereka wouldn’t shake Bill’s hand. More proof for the men in the viewing audience that it isn’t just women who turn insignificant events into an entire drama. Looks like we might need a “Drama King” category in next year’s Blowies to go along with the “Drama Queen” category.
Morning. Phone rings. Kwame answers, and we learn that, like Omarosa’s old boss in her White House intern/receptionist days, he prefers boxers to briefs. The Chumps are instructed to meet The Trump in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in one hour. When they arrive, The Donald is accompanied by Carolyn the Killer and George of the Urban Jungle (yea! No Bernie Cubic Zirconium!). Trump immediately notes that, since VersaCorp is now down to 3 while Protégé has 5, it’s time for Chump Change III! VersaCorp gets to pick one player from Protégé … and project leader Nick unhesitatingly picks Amy.
Amy was the first one picked in Chump Change I (Episode 5), the crossover member in Chump Change II (Episode 7), and now the crossover member again (Episode 9) … and she has been on the winning side in all eight challenges, making her seem indispensable. Uh, how is she NOT at worst one of the last two players? So The Donald decides to make that point to the Chumps, telling them that he wouldn’t have picked her, because all it does is give her too much power and confirm how indispensable she is. “What you’re telling me is that I should just give her the job right now.” Well, duh, YES … but The Donald and Mark Burnett still have more episodes to film, so let’s get on with it.
Of course, this leaves Protégé with the dynamic duo of Osama-rosa and Heidi. Pigs aren’t going to be flying anytime soon, are they?
Art for Art’s Sake…
This week’s task involves art, which accounts for the setting. The Chumps are supposed to select an artist from a list of six artists provided to them, hold a showing of that artist’s work at a gallery, and sell as much of the work as possible. If both teams pick the same artist, the choice of team is up to the artist. Each team has $1,500 in seed money to set up the show, food, etc. Teams can set the price for the art, but the artist has to approve the final sales price. Most dollars sold wins.
The reward for the winning project manager is … ten minutes alone with The Donald. No golf, no dinner, no baseball, just a chance to sell yourself one-on-one to the decision maker. I guess the losing project manager gets twenty minutes. Trump says that a lot of people would love to have ten minutes alone with him. Yeah, the Trump Casino stockholders whose stock is worth less than a Happy Meal at McDonald’s, the Trump Organization bondholders who got pennies on the dollar during Donald’s “cramdown” in the 1990s, the investors taken to the cleaners in some of his projects … all of them would give a lot for ten minutes alone with The Donald. But THEY can’t get it, since The Donald knows that he’d end up looking like one of the extras in a Bruce Lee movie by the end of the session. Instead, it will be either Nick or Kwame, project manager for Protégé.
Kwame, realizing that art is subjective, wants to take his entire team to look at the artists. Protégé’s first contender is Giles, a guy who mixes some of his DNA, in the form of fingernail clippings and hair, into each of his works. He says that his canvases are little pieces of himself. Maybe he should start using bigger pieces – fingers, toes, nose, palms, feet, legs, arms, etc. Hey, he could always paint by holding a brush in his mouth! Ms. Osama says she liked him. It takes all kinds, I guess.
VersaCorp, meanwhile, splits up again. Nick and Katrina visit Andrei, who paints very large abstract canvases. It’s hard to dislike them, even though they resemble the paintings done by preschoolers if given a big enough sheet of paper, and they are so nondescript that they fit into any decor. I think Andrei goes down to the local day-care center and gets these “works” mass-produced. Katrina says that she thought they found their artist when they met Andrei. Nick says that he likes how Andrei explained his works, and the pictures themselves are “phenomenal.” You know, I guess people like Nick are the ones who buy the “art” for hotel rooms.
Amy and Bill visit Leah, whose artworks resemble snapshots of her and her friends engaged in various activities, such as going to the beach. Bill likes her, Amy loves her “fun” work and thinks it would sell well. At least it’s a clever idea….
Protégé visits Meghan. Uh, if you remember the disturbing murder-and-scissors themed artwork of Grace (Emma Thompson’s character) that we see at the end of the movie Dead Again (and if you’ve never seen this movie, I highly recommend it, despite its themes of reincarnation and ESP), well, meet Grace’s even-more-wacko sister. Meghan tells Protégé that her work represents the story of two twin sisters, Psyche (immortalized as Cupid’s lover in Greek myth) and Smut (think of her as … well … smutty), who live in a land ruled by dope-smoking frogs. Kwame thinks she’s “weird as hell.” Like we needed Kwame to tell us that. At least she hasn’t sliced off any of her body parts for her canvases … yet.
The Donald’s “Spoiler of the Week”: You Gotta Believe. “You gotta believe in what you’re selling…. If you don’t…, you’re going to be miserable.” It’s certainly good advice if you’re starting your own business – but is it really true? Would you be unhappy working for the U.S. government if you were against big government? That doesn’t seem to be true in the U.S., since we see some of the loudest anti-big-government types occupying the White House, while a vehement anti-government activist is running for President for the other party. If either side was miserable, they wouldn’t work so hard or spend so much money to get these offices.
And what about Ray Kroc selling Mixmasters? Did he “believe” in his Mixmasters? No, he just wanted to sell more of them, which is why he went to visit these three restaurants in California owned by the McDonald brothers, which had THREE Mixmasters each when most restaurants made do with one. As far as I know, though, Kroc “believed’ that being a billionaire, which he became thanks to co-franchising the McDonald’s concept and then buying the McDonald brothers out, was great….
Anyway, since we have our nugget of zen business philosophy for the week, let’s see how it applies. Protégé is choosing between Meghan and Leah. Kwame says that he thinks they should pick Meghan, even though she’s weird, because the average price point of her works is about $4,000, compared to about $1,500 for the other artists (including Andrei and Leah). Kwame says that he isn’t an “art aficionado,” so he doesn’t care who they pick, as long as they win. However, Meghan only has 20 works available for the show, which is also a risk.
Ms. Osama tells the group that she has serious concerns about Meghan’s work and thinks they should pick Leah, but she also says that Meghan is the only artist who is going to “drive the numbers” required to win. (Drive them in what? A Hummer? With her artwork, it might be the only vehicle with enough armor to feel safe!) In confessional, Omarosa says that Kwame was taking a “major risk” and that this wasn’t the challenge to do that. Perhaps, Osama-rosa, Kwame is taking that major risk because he knows he has a handicap on his team: you. Back with the group, Osama laughs that she’s going to sell a picture of an opium-smoking frog. Yep, just the sort of thing that everyone wants to hang in the living room.
VersaCorp is also debating Leah, as well as Andrei, but via phone. Amy loves Leah, and Bill also favors Leah. Nick and Katrina lean hard toward Andrei. But Nick and Katrina haven’t seen Leah’s work, and Amy and Bill haven’t seen Andrei’s. Nevertheless, Nick decides to make an executive decision and pick Andrei, because he isn’t impressed by Bill’s description of Leah’s work. Amy says that she has a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. So do viewers looking for interesting art.
Of course, Leah may be the lucky one here by NOT getting either show. But the logistics of this choice, which are not shown to us, are interesting. It looks like VersaCorp decided to find the best artist quickly in an effort to lock Protégé out. Thus, the two teams each visited three artists and then picked, which would explain the phone call and the lack of seeing the other artists. It worked, as Protégé was locked out of Andrei (OK, they weren't locked out, but if you were the artist, wouldn't you go with the team that picked you first?). Amy’s fear, therefore, was that Protégé would pick Leah and still win. But I’ll bet Amy would have been dancing on Cloud 9 once she found out that Protégé actually picked Meghan.