Felisha Mason and Alla Wartenberg get fired from 'Apprentice 4'
By Tim Andrews, 12/02/2005
For the third time this season, more than one member of the loosing team was fired in The Apprentice 4's boardroom. This time, the unlucky duo were the final members of the Capital Edge team, Felisha Mason a 29-year-old real estate developer from Kansas City, Missouri, and Alla Wartenberg a 31-year-old salon & spa chain owner from Las Vegas, Nevada. Their firings leave only Rebecca Jarvis and Randal Pinkett still in the running to be Donald Trump's newest apprentice.
The Apprentice 4's eleventh episode began with the four remaining candidates meeting The Donald at the NASDAQ stock market exchange, where he revealed that this week's task was to make a 60-second commercial for Office Live Meeting, a Microsoft business software product.
Having been told she was the weakest candidate remaining during last week's boardroom, Felisha felt she needed to prove something to The Donald (and Carolyn, who had made the statement), so she told Alla she wanted to serve as Capital Edge's project manager for the task.. Meanwhile, Rebecca -- who has proven herself to be a good contributor on tasks but unsuccessful leading them -- took Team Excel's reigns from Randal and attempted to break her 0-2 project manager record. Both teams appeared to take a similar storyline approach to the task, but given different working dynamics within the teams, they wound up with vastly different results.
Felisha, who appeared to be shaken by the criticism she received from last week's task, seemed indecisive and tentative -- especially when dealing with the outspoken and direct Alla. Alla, who had had previous success producing videos for an earlier task, appeared to try and take charge several times, but Felisha -- who seemed to fear that Alla would get credit instead of herself -- continually stopped her. The situation clearly caused tension between the former allies and appeared to derail the project as a whole.
Meanwhile over at Excel, Rebecca and Randal worked well together, each contributing to make the process look smooth. While it was unclear whether Excel's end result was going to be better than the more creative (at least on previous tasks) team of Alla and Felisha, the Rebecca and Randal's working dynamic was certainly more productive. Excel's biggest challenge appeared to come when they decided to make the last-minute decision to cast themselves in the commercial after it seeing that the actor that they'd hired for the video wasn't delivering the emotion that they desired. While neither Rebecca or Randal is likely to get an Emmy or fall back on an acting career if The Donald decides not to hire them, they could hardly do worse than the "professional" they had hired, and replacing him certainly appeared to greatly help their cause.
During the editing process, Alla and Felisha continued their friction, with Felisha finally giving Alla most of the control. Given the time constraints of the video, several questionable decisions were made, most notably the decision to scrap much of the original concept and instead replace much of the material with text graphics. Meanwhile, Rebecca and Randalís efforts seemed to go almost too smoothly, and when Carolyn wandered in and casually asked how long it had taken them to prepare their just-completed video, the question appeared to disturb Rebecca as she took it to mean they hadn't worked on it long enough. Fortunately for Rebecca, level-headed Randal was able to convince her the she was reading too much into Carolyn's comment and they didn't need a last minute redesign.
At the presentation to the Microsoft executives, the two commercials which had started so similarly had decidedly different looks, with Randal and Rebecca's telling a story with real people in real situations and Alla and Felishaís telling the same story with globs of text that passed by too quickly to read and presented the viewer with too much information to process. Given the difference, it was not hard to see that Excel had won the task and Capital Edge would be making its final trip to the boardroom.
As a reward for winning, Randal and Rebecca were given a day trip sailing around New York City harbor on Shearwater, a 1920's schooner. As a surprise, Randalís wife, and Rebecca's boyfriend were allowed joined them for the excursion, giving them a great opportunity to relax and prepare for the final tasks.
During Capital Edge's boardroom, Felisha appeared to come very close to tears several times as she tried to explain what had went wrong on the task and why she should not be fired. As Felisha made her case, Alla took heat from Trump for being a tough woman who was difficult to manage. Despite that, it appeared Trump might have ended the boardroom session with only Felisha being fired had Alla not continued to go for Felisha's jugular by interrupting everyone to make unsolicited points and taking every opportunity that she could to attack her former friend. In the end, while firing Felisha was almost a foregone conclusion once the task's results were announced, Alla, appeared to follow in Markus Garrison's footsteps, as she effectively talked herself into be fired as well.