Martin Han Clarke becomes the first 'The Apprentice 6' candidate fired
By Steve Rogers, 01/08/2007
Deemed to be a pompous intellectual who just wouldn't fit into The Trump Organization's "nitty-gritty" world, Martin Han Clarke, a 37-year-old attorney and professor from Atlanta, GA, was the first candidate fired during last night's broadcast of the first episode of NBC's The Apprentice: Los Angeles.
The Apprentice: Los Angeles' premiere began with Donald Trump leaving a drab and soggy New York City and joining Melania Knauss and their newborn son in the rented hilltop mansion that would serve as his home during the show's sixth season. After meeting the new season's eighteen contestants at another next door mansion that would serve as the candidates' new home and listening to them introduce themselves, Trump informed the contestants that their first task would be to "get to know each other" while assembling a large tent in the background of their mansion.
During the tent assembly, Heidi Androl and Frank Lombardi quickly emerged as the group's leaders while Martin immediately turned off some of his new colleagues by standing on a rock and "supervising" the process. After finishing the assembly, the candidates walked next door and joined Trump in his mansion's boardroom.
Once in the boardroom, the contestants learned that instead of George Ross and Carolyn Kepcher, Trump's daughter Ivanka and "a special guest" would serve as this season's boardroom advisors. After quizzing the candidates and discovering that Heidi and Frank had led the group through the tent assembly, Trump deemed them to be the competition's initial project managers and had them take turns selecting other candidates to join them on their new teams. Much to his surprise, Martin was the last person "picked."
After the competition's initial teams were decided, Trump informed the candidates that their first task would be to run a car wash, with the team that earned the most revenue winning the task. But before they left to begin their first task, Trump surprised the contestants with another surprise -- unlike previous seasons, winning The Apprentice: Los Angeles project managers would continue to serve as their team's project manager until their team lost a task.
After arriving at their car wash locations, the teams adopted decidedly different selling strategies. Frank team's -- apparently christened Arrow Corporation in a moment not shown in the broadcast -- decided to focus on "up-selling" deluxe extras while Heidi's team -- apparently dubbed Kinetic in similar unbroadcast moment -- decided to ignore the detailing bay and instead focus on selling as many basic car washes as it could.
Heidi and Frank also used different management styles. Heidi quietly led her team through an execution that included quickly assembled large cardboard signs, a free hot dog lunch promotion, a couple of shirtless male models intended to attract the West Hollywood location's gay male population, and using her own team's labor to supplement that of the car wash's own staff. Meanwhile, Frank left his team to embark on a lengthy flyer printing errand that not only left his team without him for quite some time, but also still left the team without signage until Carey Sherrell convinced him to visit a nearby store and quickly draw up some poster paper signs. Along the way, Martin also proved that his last pick selection might have been merited by telling a visiting Ivanka that he was already tired and demonstrating himself to be a poor salesman.
When the teams gathered back at the mansion with Ivanka and The Donald, they learned that Heidi's team had raised slightly more money than Frank's ($2,463,00 to $2,345.54) and won the challenge. As their reward, the winning Kinetic Corporation got to join Trump and Ivanka for a dinner at Wolfgang Puck's Spago restaurant. Trump also surprised the candidates by revealing that as the task's winning project manager, Heidi would be the "special guest" that would serve as his second advisor for the losing Arrow Corporation's upcoming boardroom session.
Trump then shocked the contestants with one more final surprise -- not only would Frank and his team be attending a boardroom session in which one of them would be fired, but as the competition's first losing team, they would have to sleep in the backyard of the candidates' mansion. "You'll sleep outside and you won't move inside until you win a task, if you do win a task the opposing team will take your place in the backyard," Trump explained to Frank's team. "This is a case of the 'haves' versus the 'have nots.'"
After putting up a second tent and spending that night and the following day outside in "Tent City," Frank and his team joined Trump, Ivanka, and Heidi for The Apprentice: Los Angeles' first boardroom session. While Frank scored points for his energy and enthusiasm, a few of his teammates acknowledged that Frank's leadership could have been better. Meanwhile sensing that his own neck was on the line, Martin embarked in pompous, quote-filled highbrow campaign to position Frank as a poor leader who committed multiple "mission critical" and "fatal character" errors. Later, sensing that Trump wasn't completely buying his smear campaign against Frank, Martin proclaimed that Ivanka had personally witnessed him "rocking and rolling" during the task -- a claim that Ivanka quickly refuted.
When given the chance to select two candidates to join him for the final boardroom session, Frank selected Martin and Tim Urban, who had been in charge of the three-man car wash sales team that had also included James Sun and Martin. When the three returned to the boardroom, Trump quickly dismissed Tim, leaving only Frank and Martin facing firing. In the end, Martin appeared to be fired based on Heidi and Ivanka's opinions as much as Trump's own. "Martin has [an] attitude -- I just don't see him meshing well in our company or with you quite frankly," Ivanka told her father before the three were called back into the boardroom.
"Frank, I'm fighting for you... [Martin] I don't see you fitting in with our company, I don't see you working side-by-side with me and my father. I think you're a very smart guy [but] I don't like the way that you talk, the way that you project yourself, everything you say is rhetoric... [with] no hunger and no passion," Ivanka told Frank and Martin just before The Donald announced his decision to make Martin The Apprentice: Los Angeles' first firee.
"I just don't see you getting into the nitty-gritty of management and fighting... and dealmaking and all of the other things," Trump told Martin. "I think you have a lot of great qualities... but to work for me though, it's too much nitty-gritty stuff -- Martin, you're fired!"