A Dose of Reality: The Apprentice 2 - Episode 1: To Infinity & Beyond
by Beth Gottfried
Published: September 9, 2004
“ I truly believe Episodes 1, 2, and 3 are probably the best work of my career. I’ll put my entire reputation on how good these first three episodes are.”-DT
I couldn’t help but be a bit skeptical of how Season 2 would fare against last season’s “Apprentice.” While I reminded myself that “The Real World” was intriguing for at least the first 3 seasons, I still had a feeling given the previews I had seen for the upcoming season that it I wasn’t going to be wowed. Fact is I could only listen to so many superlatives first time around (“Biggest” “Largest,” “Most shocking,” “Most Daring,” “Wealthiest, Multt- Gazillionaire” “Most Powerful”) without building up some kind of immunity to my shock threshold and in Freudian terms, wondering why Donald Trump felt the need to project so much. This might be me rationalizing my less than enthusiastic attitude regarding shows/movies that dare go sequel. One time around is plenty. Why kill a good thing? Especially when you can simply opt to beat it to death with Raj’s cane? Remind me why anyone would try that hard to be the next Sam? (“Mr. I used my imagination as a kid so I didn’t play with trucks”) I mean sure I used to keep myself occupied in my crib for hours as a toddler simply playing with my toes and sucking on them, but hey some of us are more evolved/mature than others. Which brings me to my breakdown on this season’s cast.
Male Team with Female Leader: Mosaic
Andy: At 23, Andy is the youngest of the crew. A recent Harvard graduate and nationally renowned debater, he seems like he could use a good ass-kicking. He bears most resemblance to last season’s David (on paper), but with a personality all his own.
Bradford: Bradford is a lawyer and real estate investor. He led the women’s team Apex to a victory this time around with his toy truck idea but somehow his down-home charm doesn’t translate as well for me as Troy’s did. He seems a bit on the transparent side, but time will tell and if his cockiness is considered an attribute, he may be around for a while. (especially with this season’s new immunity clause…Wait is this “Survivor”? or have we just run out of original ideas, Mark Burnett?)
Chris: Chris is a Stockbroker from Long Island. (a dime a dozen) He’s got that I’m from Long Island, male, obsessed with money, and hung up on Heather Graham thing going. That’s all my psychic abilities allowed me on him.
John: John reminded me a lot of last season’s Bill until he opened his mouth and fired off in the boardroom. His fiery mouth may be the death of him, but I’m thinking it make for some serious sparks with some chic. He could maybe pick up where Bill left off. It’s a fate lesser men have succumbed to.
Kelly: Kelly didn’t say anything on this episode which if anything is a smart tactic on his part. Of course he might just not have a tongue or alternatively be the “strong, silent” type. Or be both quite possibly. Now a software development company President, he attended West Point which might explain that “don’t mess with me or I’ll f*ck you over royally” vibe.
Kevin: Kevin is in law school and seems quite competent in the boardroom. After giving up a professional career in Football because his brother was diagnosed with Leukemia, Kevin rigorously applied himself to Business and school (Business+ School=Wharton). Later he went on to get his MBA. The NFL definitely took a loss on him, but will their loss be Trump’s gain? Btw, does anyone else think he looks like‘The West Wing’s” Dule Hill?
Raj: To say that Raj, an Entrepreneur (who has dabbled in a bit of everything) is eccentric is like calling Carolyn warm. With his bow tie attire and cane, he’s anything but in the realm of ordinary, which is why I like. He may be compared to Sam, but no one in television history will ever be as annoying as that man.
Wes: Wes is a financial advisor from Atlanta. I predict he’ll be one of the final 2, but I could be wrong. He has Bill written all over him. And we all know how much Carolyn loved Bill. And who ultimately has executive decision in that boardroom.
Rob:Rob is a Salesman from Texas. Can anyone say BOO-wie? Sweet, but ineffectual, he’s a reminder to all that a little bit of edge can go a long way and none is lame. If he needs chutzpah, he should look no further. I’m all about sharing with the less fortunate.
Pamela: Pamela exudes a tough-as-nails cold exterior. She is like Heidi, but seemingly less emotional and tacky. One might even say a carbon copy of Carolyn. So why the boardroom hostility?
Female Team with Male Leader: Apex
Elizabeth: Elizabeth is a Midwestern Amy, but infinitely more likeable. Having attended my alma matter, Michigan, I can and will only say nice things about her. She’s keeper and I think will also be in the final 3 possibly.
Ivana: Ivana is Asian and lives in Boston with her boyfriend who attends Harvard Business School. Honestly, I don’t really get a yin or a yang on her aside from her playing the part of a wallflower really well. Hopefully she’ll show some sass.
Jennifer C: Welcome to this year’s diva/Omarosa.
Jennifer M: Blond lawyer who will need a name change soon as no one will be referring to her as The Jennifer. Only room for 2 divas on this cast.
Maria: Maria is so shiny and pretty you just want to touch her, but she also has that annoying high-pitched Jesse Connors voice which keeps us at bay. She works in Marketing and is really hyper and opinionated. Well, at least I have the latter of the two qualifications necessary to succeed in my field. She’s also a diva.
Stacie J: Stacie J is a professional Ford model and all-around nut. Did you see the paranoid antics she pulled during this week’s mission? She’s gone by week 4. It’s also a testament to how photogenic this cast it that a model doesn’t stand out look-wise.
Stacy R: Stacy is a Lawyer from NY. She seems to like to roll her eyes? Or maybe I’m just projecting here.
Sandy: Sandy owns a bridal business and appears to have good FHM potential.
Note to my Editor: If there is another season of this show and more than 18 people, I’m officially resigning from my duties or at the very least hiring someone else to write the bios. Also, I apologize for the lack of creativity in the bios I got to near the end. I just ran out of juice.
The debut mission pits the guy’s team Mosaic and their fearless leader, Pamela, against Bradford and the chic team Apex. As Project Manager, Bradford’s style is very take charge and a bit flashy. Initially the girls are resisting it, especially Maria who wants to “wrap her hands around his jugular” but eventually they all grow to appreciate his testosterone. Pamela, in contrast, comes on strong, but is less able to delegate authority. She also some testosterone so this baffled me. Take Charge, Woman!
This week’s mission: to develop a new toy for Mattel. (a little product placement anyone?…So glad I tune out at commercials and tune in to my AOL Instant Messenger) As the toy industry averages 20 Billion annually, the Donald feels that the teams have much to learn in this mission. If for nothing else, this interesting factoid itself. Whichever team develops a more marketable toy that is more positively received by the focus group (kids) as well as the Mattel execs wins. This sounds easy enough, but where these folks achieve in academics, they definitely lack in the creativity dept. Some of the ideas they threw out were pathetic. At the end of the day, Apex comes up with The Metamorpherer and Team Mosaic comes up with Crustacean Nation Both these activities would render me completely disengaged as a young tyke. I’d have to resort to sticking my foot back in my mouth. Some things never change.
After the toys are designed, focus groups are held. Pamela, Project Manager for Mosaic makes a major faux pas and starts insulting the kids in the focus group as Carolyn and George watch on. In the end, it seems obvious that Apex has won. The kids take much more favorably to the toy. Go figure, it MOVES! If you give it wheels, they will come. Kids are just that easy. So are men.
At some point, Stacie J loses it (her mind/psyche/reasoning skills) while her team is chilling out waiting for the execs to call them into the boardroom. She successfully manages to get everyone wigged out (including me). Sandy makes a comment about Stacie being next on the chopping block should her team lose, but thankfully for us, we get to endure some more cat-walk theatrics in the future.
Teams are asked to assemble with the Mattel Execs and Donald and to no surprise Apex wins. The prize: (hold yourself back for this one) A dinner at Trump’s pad with himself and Melania. Dinner takes place much like any formal “oh ah” dinner at Donald's penthouse. (if you need a brush-up just rewind to last season) At the dinner Jennifer C. waits to pick up her fork for DT to start eating. She hopes he takes not of this. God Bless. Do people really concern themselves with stuff like this?
Chez Mosaic, the guys are playing some b-ball and snapping jock straps (re: male bonding) and Pamela feels left out. Andy watches her carefully and plans a line of defense. He believes she will attack him in the boardroom and decides to be proactive and go after her first. As a nationally ranked debater, Andy talks a good game but as the boardroom hour is reckoning, will he walk the walk? (down the elevator, that is)
At the final hour, it comes down to Pamela, Andy, and Rob in the boardroom. The rest of the men sold Rob out and Andy was the only one to put Pamela on the chopping block. (aside from Rob, whose ass was grass at this point anyways). Despite Carolyn vehemently criticizing Pamela’s behavior, she sticks up for her as a solid leader. George also agrees and thinks Rob’s a wuss basically. We all do.
No drama here. Rob was sent a-packin’. What was more intriguing was the Andy v. Pamela match-up/rivalry and how that will come to a head. If it even gets that far.
Beth Gottfried is co-author of 10 Secrets I Learned From The Apprentice, available at Amazon. Published by Chamberlain Brothers, 2004.