A Dose of Reality: The Apprentice 2 - Episode 4: It's a NO-BRAINER!
by Beth Gottfried
Published: September 30, 2004
In the 4th Grade, when I was porky and shy and hated getting up on stage, (as I still do), we had to do a spoof play of our elementary school teachers. I was to be the Principal and have a non-speaking part. The whole gig was 16 seconds and entailed me simply throwing a blazer over my shoulder as I strutted across stage to Aretha Franklin's "RESPECT." Apparently my actions conveyed a level of maturity and a no-nonsense veneer unprecedented for 4th grade as my teachers were highly impressed with my lame-o performance. I did perfect the strut after all and the teachers were coming up to me for weeks afterwards raving about it. Ironically, whatever I was exuding on stage was the furthest from where my self-confidence actually was at the time. As this experience taught me, most of the time substance takes a back seat to form, at least initially. If you play the part of a good leader, you will in fact become one.
This brings me to this week's episode and the theory of leadership. To be a good leader, one must possess certain attributes. As I'm sitting here contemplating what those are, it dawns on me that as much as we can be influenced by great people who can serve as surrogate mentors in our lives, it is most often our parents that we look to in guiding us. It is their example and lead we follow from our earliest age and most often mimic as children. As adults we learn that to deserve respect means that we are in turn extended that same courtesy. Stacey R. said something interesting to Jennifer C. in this week's task that I think rings true here, "Just because you are the leader doesn't mean you have earned my respect." The intricacies of human relationships work in a similar fashion.
It is human nature to want to blame, blame, blame. We all need a scapegoat. This launches the topic of conversation for Week 4 as Teams Apex and Mosaic argue about Stacie J's firing. Definite alliances take shape as Jennifer M., who most recently cameo-ed as a mute on this show, starts taking jabs at Elizabeth. My favorite, "I'm not getting in the sandbox with you Elizabeth, grow up!" Some catty dialogue begging the question: Why Can't we all just get along? Maria and Jennifer M. talk privately about Elizabeth and her poor leadership skills. Alls I'm saying is I can't wait till either of their heinies is up on that chopping block. The way these Apex women throw blame on their leaders, just seems so un-American. Aren't we supposed a nation that prides itself on respecting and supporting our leaders? Go back to the Soviet Union. Or East Germany.
This week has the teams competing in the restaurant biz. The teams are each given a chef and restaurant space to turn into a veritable Zagat-winning feast. Whichever team scores the highest Zagat rating based on customer reviews wins. For the task, Mosaic nominates Raj and Apex chooses Jennifer C. Bill Rancic, last year's Apprentice winner fills in for George and proves to be a great asset to the team. His presence even makes Carolyn more likeable and almost human-like.
From the start, Apex exhibits some poor form. Jennifer C. is squabbling with Stacey R. about cuisines. Ivana is doing a poor job of resisting her controlling nature and not refraining from commenting at every turn on Jennifer C.'s poor leadership skills. Hey, isn't this kinda like the pot calling the kettle black? I can say this too cause Stacie J. is off the show now. Jennifer C. is definitely resented by all team members by 4 AM when the crew finally gets done cleaning the restaurant and truly hated the following morning when they find out the guys' team hired professional cleaners. Um DUH!!
John to the RESCUE
Chris does a good job imparting his knowledge of the restaurant biz to Mosaic. He is all New Yorker: rough around the edges, honest to a fault, incredibly politically incorrect, and undeniably hot because of his looks and the three previous qualities I mentioned. At one point during the day, in responding to criticism from a group of gay men (or whom Chris categorizes as such), Chris calls John (resident team heartthrob/hot head) out to make nice with the men and sure enough they love him and take to him "Like butta on a hot knife." I won't say what Chris' initial instructions were to John. This is a relatively PG-13 column, but your mind can draw the conclusion. John, nursing his inner sensitive artist boy, also takes responsibility for doing all the artwork in the restaurant which is also a success. Way to go John, but Chris, you are on FIRE. Yes, I know I said this about Bill last season, but you are the WHOLE enchilada or calzone.
Apex is slowly becoming more and more frustrated with Jennifer C's lack of leadership as the day progresses. Sleep deprived and catty by nature, the team is all-out paranoia and claws. Elizabeth has a meltdown and starts crying because she isn't given Jennifer M to help out with promotions (which she is in charge of). I can't even understand why should want her anyway. Jennifer M. hates her guts. Nonetheless, she cries and is soothed by Ivana and whoever else was there. Ironic how easily Stacie J was crucified for meltdown and yet Elizabeth totally loses it over nothing and is somehow more sympathetic?
As the customers start to enter the restaurant, Jennifer C is acting overly unnatural and fake with the clientele and making them feel uncomfortable. Two older women take note of the flowers and ask why a Pan Asian restaurant serves bread. Seems like a logical question, but Jennifer C, ever emotional, gets on the defensive with them. She starts verbally berating them and finally resorts to physically violence, taking them out with two swift kicks. Completely uncalled for, by the way. I apologize for this totally fabricated tangent, but it's 11:30 PM and I'm trying my best to keep myself entertained and awake and without the the nonsensical retorts of my InsidePulse editor to keep me sustained.
Again in this mission, Mosaic simply seems more a natural fit for victory. They are having fun and the patrons see this and respond to it. Apex, in contrast as one Zagat customer observes, is "Like 7 uptight stewardesses." I would have to agree with that assessment. If I wanted that kind of snootiness, I wouldn't even need to bother leaving my apartment. I could just watch them play the part of annoying real-life people on TV.
Summing it up fast here, at the end of the day, Mosaic wins. I knew this would happen from the time I saw the Trump-ism of the day: "Be Respected." The only TRUE insider Apprentice secret I've learned is this: If you want to know which team wins or loses a mission, these slogans are often hints and offer insight into which team will be losing this week.
As a reward for winning, the guys and Pamela get to meet Guiliani who bestows upon them the inspirational advice that being a good leader is about knowing where you stand on things. I would say the same applies to being a good person.
No news here. Jennifer C takes arch-rivals Elizabeth and Stacey R into the boardroom with her. Bill and Carolyn warn JC not to make this a personal thing. This isn't a game. In a stupid move that sacrificed any professional integrity, Jennifer C opts not to take Sandy into the boardroom with her even tho Sandy was in charge of décor, which scored the lowest on the Zagat's rating. As Sandy is JC's best friend, it becomes clear that her motives are anything but kosher. Alas, this comes back to bite her in the derriere and it's a no brainer. Jennifer C is FIRED." Stacey R looks relieved as am I. Jennifer C was a waste of space and kinda an anti-semite. From my experience, there are enough of those kinds to go around. We don't need to give them any more air time.
Beth Gottfried is co-author of 10 Secrets I Learned From The Apprentice, available at Amazon. Published by Chamberlain Brothers, 2004.