A Dose of Reality: The Apprentice 2 - Episode 3: Cool Runnings and Frosty Receptions
by Beth Gottfried
Published: September 24, 2004
A curious tidbit about Crest’s vanilla mint toothpaste: if you peruse the list of the inactive ingredients, nowhere will you find the words “vanilla” or “mint.” What you will find is a bunch of chemical compounds and words that end in “ate.” During a commercial break from last night's episode (and primarily to avoid another commercial for Trump: The Game which eerily reminds of 80s board games or maybe just Wheel of Fortune), I decided I wanted to rid my mouth of my dinner's garlic aftertaste and partake in Crest Vanilla Mint toothpaste. I bought it a few weeks back and I have to say that normally I loathe the taste of toothpaste, but as vanilla goo goes, it's pretty decent. Unfortunately the same level of intensity that mouth underwent in its quest for vanilla frosty freshness was not achieved by the cast in last night's episode. But more on that to come.
Money, Money, Money, Money
I sang the theme song for this show 4 times just a minute ago to make sure I got all the "Money"(s) in and I'm still not sure I'm completely accurate. At any rate, I press mute during the recap and theme song for the show. Trump does this lame-o recap every week and I think it's ridiculous. Not only does it assume we all have ADD or amnesia, but in short, it's targeted at the average American idiot. As I like to think I'm not entirely any of those things (really), I take insult with it. And if you're reading this, so should you.
This week's mission has the teams competing to create advertising campaigns around Procter & Gamble's new toothpaste: Vanilla Mint. Teams Apex and Mosaic are each allotted a $50,000 budget and one day to complete the task. Whichever team creates the bigger buzz, wins the mission.
Mosaic nominates Kevin (this year's Kwame) as Project Manager for the task. If ever there was someone who exhibited 99% of Kwame's attributes, it would be Kevin. Seemingly great guy, super nice, but someone who consistently rides the coattails of his team's stronger members, thus insuring his ass is covered at all times and always managing to come off looking squeaky clean. I'm not saying there isn't merit in this strategy, but personlly it holds very little interest or value for me and accordingly is not worthy of further mention.
Andy, resident dorky dude, comes up with the team's idea. Even more outrageous than the idea of pretending to give away $1Million in sweepstakes, but not actually having any intent of doing so is that his team goes along with it! I suppose everything being equal it was better than John's "let's make the harbor green (think: toothpaste color) and have suds" or Pamela's "let's pump vanilla fumes into the subway." Given the post 9/11 world we live in, maybe pumping chemicals into New York City's subways shouldn't be a consideration.
Apex has Elizabeth, a former Procter & Gamble employee rising to the occasion and nominating herself as Project Manager. She makes it clear that she isn't doing this as some sort of leadership move, but more so because she doesn't want Trump looking on her "unfavorably." Ok, again, I have to say it. Do people actually use outdated/antiquated terms like this? Raj may dress like he's out of some 40s Technicolor musical, but these women are so conservative they remind me of the clones of women I sit with on the DC metro day after day-total wallflowers: completely terrified and fearful of exhibiting any sense of autonomy or identity. Less about my DC disillusionment and more on the show. Elizabeth takes the team to the Alliance Agency and gets them in touch with her contact there, Jaren, PR rep extraordinaire. While debating over LL Cool J and Elizabeth nixing him, Mike Piazza gets thrown in the mix. As a New York favorite, he's sure to be a crowd pleaser and help create buzz, but is his price too high? Are you kidding me? $20,000 for 30 minutes of his time and all he has to do is show up and brush his teeth, and sign autographs? I haven't yet done the math, but what is 20,000/30? It's a good thing math isn't my forte, it would lead to some serious depression.
Mosaic chats with Devries Public Relations, the firm associated with Procter & Gamble to get clearance on their idea. While it is legally sketchy, they decide to proceed with the idea. With no backup plan, they place their entire mission at the mercy of lawyers. Yes, only criminals usually resort to such desperate measures so you have to question their sanity here.
With both teams burning the midnight oil, Wes receives a call in the middle of the morning/night from Madeleine at Devries who says the lawyers weren't ok with it so they can't do it. At Apex Ivana, Maria, and Stacie J are working out the finances. Maria inadvertently (?) over-budgets her marketing materials by 10% or $5000. This will come back to haunt her, but inevitably not kill her. Lesson here: Go ahead waste $$ by being careless, just don't be impulsive cause you then you'll be axed. Hmmm. An oxymoron, anyone? Or maybe just a moron.
Success is the flavor of the day for both teams. Procter & Gamble loves both campaigns, but at the end of the day, Apex is $5000 over and Mosaic wins. I'm not so sure if I have strong alliance to either team as of yet, but as was the case in the first season of the show, my heart is more with the men. As a prize, the men get to have dinner aboard the Queen Mary 2. This is a legitimately cool prize. Way to go Trump. You just may have struck gold. For once.
Elizabeth and Maria are going at it back the penthouse. No, not in that way. Get your mind out of the gutter. This isn't Spike TV. Both are engaging in a rather heated debate while Stacie J listens on and predicts her gloomy, plaque ridden fate. No amount of tarter control can save her now.
A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned?
In the boardroom, Trump acknowledges that Elizabeth is a "lousy leader," Maria did a "lousy job," and Stacie J is pretty much "hated by everyone." No shock here. Elizabeth calls Maria and Stacie J into the boardroom with her. The Stacie J. antics from Episode One are called into question and Trump wants the lowdown once and for all. He tells Maria to go and get the rest of the women to assemble in the boardroom. The next segment is a definitive LOL moment as each of the women relay their fears to Trump about Stacie J. being a crazed lunatic. Highlight was Stacey R. or Little Stacey saying that Stacie J's behavior was "one of the most scary moments of [her] life." I found this comment more disturbing than any of Whacked out Stacie's antics and two things registered in my mind. 1: Little Stacey has led a VERY sheltered life in an actual shelter or convent and 2: she's a lawyer, shouldn't she get her grammar right? It's "scariest" not "most scary"! In the end, Trump ousts Stacie J as he can't have loose cannons. Explain Omarosa then. In any event, what would have made for a more compelling/shocking boardroom would have been Trump actually calling Little Stacey on her lack of eloquence in the boardroom and grammatical snafu and holding her accountable. Then I could have said, "that was the most shocking boardroom ever!" and really meant it.
Beth Gottfried is co-author of 10 Secrets I Learned From The Apprentice, available at Amazon. Published by Chamberlain Brothers, 2004.