Although Chris Valletta, a 27-year-old marketing executive from Dallas, Texas, was The Apprentice's latest losing project manager, he found himself on the receiving end of something rarely feted on losing managers: George and Carolyn's praise. But in the end it was not enough to save him when he disregarded Donald Trump’s recommendations on who to bring back to the final boardroom, causing him to become the second candidate fired from the fourth edition of NBC's The Apprentice.
Last night's broadcast of The Apprentice 4's second episode began with Trump meeting the remaining contestants at the now completed building in which Season 1 Apprentice candidate Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth had been memorably hit on the head by falling plaster.
Although the building played no obvious role in the week's task, Trump can always use another opportunity to plug one of his real estate projects, so he used the location to reveal this week's task assignment: creating a 30-second television commercial and corresponding print ads for a new Lamborghini sports car. In one of the episodes many moments of irony, Excel (the men’s team) began celebrating immediately upon hearing what the task involved, feeling that as men, they had a huge advantage over Capitol Edge, the all female team.
From the beginning of the task, Chris -- who had volunteered to become the project manager -- had issues with Markus Garrison, last week's project manager and general team misfit. Beginning with Excel's initial meeting with Lamborghini executives in which he showed complete disregard for Chris' pre-meeting instructions, Markus appeared unable to follow simple directions. When Markus later proved to be unable to handle a simple traffic coordination assignment, that proved to be the final straw for a frustrated Chris, who removed Markus from any meaningful task role.
Meanwhile, over on Capitol Edge, Marshawn Evans took the project leadership role and delegated the critical tasks of the video creation off to Alla Wartenberg with what appeared to be little supervision. Marshawn's hands-off approach annoyed several other members of her team -- particularly last week's project manager Kristi Caudell, who felt she and her group (Alla, Jennifer Murphy, and herself) were doing all the work while Marshawn would be getting all the credit. Clearly she hasn't watched The Apprentice much, as she'd know that credit and blame are never far from one another, and credit is always very short lived.
In a follow up to last week's episode, viewers also saw Randal Pinkett, who had learned that his grandmother had passed away sometime during the show's initial days of taping, being flown to Philadelphia to attend her funeral. And while no one can fault that it was a nice gesture, it is unclear why the cameras needed to follow him all the way there and back.
Back in New York, Chris decided to focus his time on the campaign's television commercial, leaving the print advertisements delegated primarily to Mark Lamkin. Mark, who was instrumental in the team's first task success, failed in several key areas with this assignment. The most damning being his decision to spell "Italian" with a lowercase i, because it "looked" better to him, a mistake that likely would have likely lead to his firing had Chris taken him to the final boardroom.
When it was time to present their ads to the Lamborghini executives it became clear that while the women were able to let their work speak for itself, the men were left to explain why they did what they did. With the women presenting what was clearly the better overall presentation, the Lamborghini executives' decision was easy, sending the men's team to their first visit to the boardroom.
As a reward, the women’s team was sent to play hockey with the New York Islanders -- a reward the men would have no doubt likely enjoyed more (especially after Rebecca Jarvis severely sprained -- or possibly broke, based on next week's previews -- her ankle which may make this the most costly reward ever.)
In the boardroom the team was decidedly against Markus, but as The Donald pointed out, nothing Markus did was the primary reason for their failure. On several occasions the print ad blunders were pointed out and Mark took responsibility for the mistakes, but in the end when the final boardroom participants were selected, Chris choose to not only not select Mark but also opted to have only Markus accompany him to the firing session. In the end, Chris' decision proved costly because although Markus has been a complete disaster, the failure of the Lamborghini project was clearly more the responsibility of others... and since they were not there, Trump was left with no other choice than to fire Chris.