The Apprentice 5's twelfth episode began with Lee and Sean returning from the previous week's boardroom session in which Donald Trump fired Michael Laungani. The next day, the remaining contestants were told that their next task would be to work with Wal-Mart and Microsoft to create an interactive in-store display for Microsoft's Xbox 360 game console. Executives from the two companies would serve as the task's judges.
After learning of the high-tech nature of the task, Gold Rush Corporation members Sean and Lee were excited, feeling that their familiarity with high-tech gadgets would give them an advantage over the all female Synergy Corporation. Meanwhile as the winners of six of the competition's last seven tasks -- including last week's college football tailgating "guy task" -- longtime Synergy allies Allie, Roxanne, and Tammy were also very confident in their ability to win their latest assignment.
Since Lee had just finished serving as the team's project manager for the tailgating task, Sean, who was originally part of the Synergy's team, was tapped to serve as Gold Rush's project manager. After deciding on their display concept, Sean -- in a decision that almost proved fatal -- decided to rely upon two display vendors to produce all of Gold Rush's booth walls and exterior graphics.
Over at Synergy, even though Allie and Tammy had managed Synergy's last two tasks and she hadn't served as a project manager since the team's fifth task, Roxanne was once again content to play her Allie sidekick role, resulting in Tammy (who had successfully managed the team's tenth task) once again serving as Synergy's project manager.
Burdened by what appeared to be general disinterest and at best lukewarm support from Allie and Roxanne, Tammy decided to base Synergy's display around a "red carpet" event theme. As the team worked, Tammy became frustrated by Allie and Roxanne's juvenile, unsupportive, and disrespectful behavior, which included frequent eye rolling and other unprofessional facial expressions that even Trump advisor Bill Rancic noticed. After eventually growing completely exacerbated with their antics and apparent unwillingness to contribute any ideas of their own, Tammy confronted Allie and Roxanne about their behavior. However in a moment of complete frustration, Tammy made the mistake of telling them that "I know this sounds selfish, but I want it to be about me for a change" -- a comment that the pair would later fire back at her during the team's losing boardroom session.
Back at Gold Rush, problems began emerging when the contractor that Sean had selected to build the primary enclosure called at midnight and informed him that there would be a seven hour delay in delivering the display's floor and ceiling. Given the team was scheduled to meet with the executives the next morning, the delay appeared to result in an almost insurmountable problem.
The next morning, time was running out on Gold Rush and Sean. Not only did the contractor finally show up only two hours before they were scheduled to make their presentation, but when he did show up he was missing the ceiling display that was intended to provide the support for the structure's wall displays. Deciding to make the best of what they could, Lee and Sean set out to set up the display with makeshift poles and lots of duct tape.
Meanwhile over at Synergy, the team's decision to not completely outsource their display meant that there were fewer third parties that could possibly disappoint them. Instead, the cause of Tammy's disappointment stayed within the team, with Tammy expressing frustration about the small, unimpressive signs that Roxanne (whom Tammy had put in charge of working with their printer) ended up delivering.
When it came time for the judging presentation, everything was in place at Synergy's display and although Tammy stumbled a little and required notes in order to hit all her points, the display itself seemed inviting. Things were a different story when the judges arrived at Gold Rush, with the outside of the display looking horrid and featuring a sagging wall that had electrical wires poking out from under it. However despite its outward appearance, the inside of the display was very good. Not only did it display the Xbox gaming console, but Gold Rush had also carefully selected other related products for display. All Gold Rush's display items were clearly priced and grouped -- a stark contrast to the Synergy display that appeared to focus exclusively on the Xbox and completely forget that the display was not intended to simply showcase the items but to also generate sales and make it easy for Wal-Mart's customers determine which items they might be interested in purchasing and how much they would cost.
In the end, the executives choose substance over style, sending Gold Rush to one of the most memorable rewards (and longest product placements) the reality franchise has ever featured. As the task's winners, Lee and Sean were flown on a private jet to California. Once there, Dreamworks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg gave the pair were given a tour of the studio and then presented them with an opportunity to read for a couple of lines for Over the Hedge, the studio's new animated feature. After reading their lines, they were then shown the movie scenes that featured their voices and told "you're hired."
Back in New York, Synergy was clearly divided, with Tammy shown spending time by herself as Allie and Roxanne both lamented that Tammy would have to be the one to go. Once in the boardroom, Tammy appeared to set her sights on Roxanne, calling her out as someone who had ridden Allie's coattails since the competition began. Once baited, Roxanne launched into a fierce defense and Allie said little (for once), realizing that it was in her best interests to let her teammates beat each other up as long as neither one of them was going after her. While there certainly seemed to be enough blame to go around, Trump decided that as the task's project manager, Tammy was ultimately responsible for the team's failure, making Tammy the fourteenth The Apprentice 5 contestant to be fired.
(Photo credit NBC)
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