Randal Pinkett trumps Rebecca Jarvis to become The Donald's fourth 'Apprentice'
By Tim Andrews, 12/16/2005
Last night's NBC broadcast of The Apprentice 4's season finale ended as many viewers had long expected it to -- with Donald Trump telling Randal Pinkett, a 34-year-old consulting firm owner from Somerset, New Jersey, "you're hired."
Randal, whose background appeared to leave him so overqualified for the competition that some viewers had accused him of a being a "ringer," defeated fellow finalist Rebecca Jarvis, a 23-year-old financial journalist from Chicago, Illinois, for The Trump Organization position.
In what was certainly one of the better-run finale episodes of The Apprentice series, the show began LIVE with Carolyn Kepcher, George Ross, and The Donald arriving at Tully Hall in New York City. Once there, The Donald introduced clips from the final task to the studio audience, which gave the producers the opportunity to spread some of the more mundane but necessary items -- like bringing in the other contestants -- out over the course of the show instead of pushing them all in the final pre-announcement hour.
Picking up where the previous week's episode ended, The Apprentice 4 finale's pre-taped coverage of Randal and Rebecca's final task assignments resumed with both their charity events teetering on the edge of disaster. Although he was planning an charity softball game, Randal hadn't prepared for the possibility that it might rain on the day of his outdoor event -- and when it did, he'd didn't have any "Plan B" in place. Meanwhile, Rebecca was dealing with a slightly less envisionable scenario -- Joe Piscapo, the comedian scheduled to serve as the master of ceremony for her comedy benefit, suddenly backing out of the event the evening before it was scheduled to be held.
At the Brooklyn ballpark where Randal was holding the Outback Steakhouse fundraiser for Autism Speaks, it was wet and stormy, and the grounds crew advised that the day would be too wet to play the charity softball game. Reluctantly, Randal was forced to cancel the softball portion of the event, and given that he hadn't prepared a "Plan B," he and his former contestant team of Josh Shaw, Mark Lamkin, and Marshawn Evans were forced to create a "Plan B" on the fly. Although there was no way they were going to be able to accommodate all the fans who had been originally expected to fill the ballpark's stands, Randal decided to hold the event in what appeared to be the ballpark's home team locker room -- the biggest available space that they could find. Then, with the softball game no longer available to serve as the centerpiece of the event, Randal decided to turn the event's silent auction into a new live auction that served as the new focus of the event. The new makeshift event seemed to prove successful, with the team working well as they scrambled to make the best use of their limited time.
Meanwhile, Rebecca and her team also rose the occasion at the comedy event. Working with former contestants James Dillon, Chris Valletta, and Toral Mehta, Rebecca set about finding a new MC to fill in for the event. After calls to several improv venues, they found a qualified and available -- but certainly not as well known -- replacement: Pete Dominic. Once that obstacle was out of the way, things really began to take shape as everyone involved in the comedy benefit appeared to working well. But as the event unfolded, it became clear Rebecca and her team had appeared to overemphasize Yahoo!, the event's sponsor, at the expense of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation, the event's charity.
Back at the ballpark, Randal's event appeared to go well despite the cramped facility. The celebrities and the guests mingled with each other and the auction appeared to go as smooth as could be hoped for given the short amount of time to prepare. Even Alison Singer, the Autism Speaks representative who had been critical at times of the event planning and Randal in particular, was happy about how the event unfolded. Meanwhile things begun to go slightly less smoothly at Rebecca's comedy event, with The Donald's early arrival causing the event to start sooner than had been originally planned (apparently one can't keep the big man waiting... even if it's for a good cause) However Rebecca and her team still managed to shine, using her determination and coordination.to overcome every obstacle that threatened to unravel the show. At the end of the day both events were very successful and both teams were very supportive of their leader.
Before the final boardroom, both sets of workers met in the boardroom to go over the results with The Donald. To a person, each team member had glowing comments for their respective leaders and the comments became heated and somewhat personal. Each team strongly defended their project leader against the charges of the other team, prompting The Donald to observe that he was "stuck with two stars." When Rebecca and Randal were brought in to give their final reasons as to why they should be the person hired, it was clear that while both had made mistakes -- even somewhat major ones -- during various portions of the tasks, they had both persevered and risen to the challenge that faced them, qualifying either of them to win this season's The Apprentice position.
With the pre-taped portion of the broadcast then over, The Donald brought Rebecca and Randal out onto the live finale's boardroom set and asked several of the former contestants who they thought should win. Bring back memories of Apprentice 2 finalist Jennifer Massey's live finale pounding, three of the four contestants asked picked Randal -- including Alla Wartenberg who ripped Rebecca mercilessly (much as she had done to "friend" and fellow Final 4 finalist Felisha Mason during the penultimate Apprentice 4 boardroom session in which they had both been fired). However unlike the Apprentice 2 studio audience that silently watched Massey get bashed unrelentlessly, last night's Apprentice 4 let the former Vegas stripper know that they didn't approve of her classless "sour grapes" behavior, raining her with boos.
After querying the former contestants, The Donald asked both George and Carolyn about their opinions about the two finalists. Playing fencesitter, George noted that he saw promise in both candidates. Meanwhile Carolyn was more outspoken, noting that she had been very impressed with how well Rebecca's comedy event had gone and that while Randal had been terrific all season long she still couldn't believe he hadn't checked the softball game's weather forecast.
Finally, Randall and Rebecca were each given one final opportunity to make their case as to why they should be hired. After letting both make their final argument and weighing both their answers, Trump told Rebecca "you're outstanding" -- but then turned to Randal and told him "you're hired!"
After the crowd cheered and Randal had begun accepting the congratulations of the other contestants, The Donald called Randal back to the boardroom table for one final question -- "what did you think of Rebecca?"
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As one would expect, Randal went on to say nice things about Rebecca. But then, The Donald pulled a fast one on his newest employee and put Randal in a no-win situation by asking him if he should also hire Rebecca. After responding with a nervous laugh that indicated he knew he was in a lose/lose situation, Randal had the guts to silence the cheering crowd by telling Trump that the show was "not The Apprenti" and should therefore only have "one" winner. The Donald accepted Randal's statement, but some of the crowd did not, filling the room with boos due to their feelings that he had not been magnanimous in victory. But then again, perhaps Randal was simply following the ever-present first rule of Trump's ruthless The Apprentice competition -- "It's nothing personal. It's just business."