NO SURPRISES HERE!
Last week on The Apprentice 3, Donald Trump challenged his teams to renovate and run motels on the New Jersey shore. The team getting the highest ratings from its guests would win. Brian, Net Worthís project manager, decided to get rid of all the existing toilets for reasons known only to himself. He then started talking about how he and Trump were so much alike (huh?) and if people donít like it they can go frig themselves (whatever). Meanwhile at Magna, Verna got stressed out and walked. Carolyn went after her and talked her into coming back. However, the other team members began to see Verna as a liability. In spite of all this drama, Magna won. Mike, as project manager, earned an exemption from being fired for the next week. In the boardroom, Trump asked Brian if he should be fired. Brian said yes, so Trump fired him. Sixteen candidates are left.
Over the last week, we have all been speculating after watching the previews: ďAn Apprentice first, someone quits. Watch the first five minutes. Itís not who you think.Ē (Hmm, does that mean it isnít Verna? That is certainly what I am thinking. No, Verna would be too obvious.)
This episode begins with Danny singing. (Fortunately for him, this is The Apprentice and not American Idol.) When Net Worth returns from the boardroom, Magna is shocked to learn that Brian pretty much fired himself, and Trump didnít even bother to narrow it down to three people. Mike then tells us rules can be broken (an interesting observation in hindsight).
Danny goes to see about Verna, who is resting in her room. Does she need someone to talk to? Verna says no, but thanks for coming in here. She feels sick. Danny gathers everyone to rally around her. Erin thinks this is a bit ridiculous - is this The Apprentice or kindergarten? Mike isnít happy with Verna either and says she doesnít look sick to him. Verna thinks itís not going to get better, so she should probably just go ahead and osten (verb meaning ďto quit a reality TV showĒ). She hugs everyone, takes her bag and goes, to the surprise of absolutely no one. Buh-bye! (As someone so accurately noted on the message board, this show is doing for black women what Survivor did for black men).
Bren observes that Danny is more bummed out about Vernaís exit than anyone else. Verna didnít have a desire to be there, so itís probably better for everyone that she left. Mike agrees that itís better to have people who really want to be there, but how can you just quit? Itís much better to get fired with dignity.
In one of his words-of-wisdom segments, Trump says you have to lead with authority, even if it means going against everyone else. That means thinking independently and not trying to get a consensus. (Hmm, could that possibly mean Danny will be project manager and get fired? Surely not - that would be way too obvious.)
When Danny calls Trumpís office to tell them Verna has quit, he is told that Trump wants to see all the candidates at Times Square ASAP. When they get there, Trump reminds everyone that he told them on the front end just how tough this was going to be. Verna couldnít hack it. Does anyone else want to quit? The remaining candidates respond with a resounding NO.
Now on to the challenge: Nestle is the largest food company in the world. It is worth more than $100 billion, which is $96 billion more than Trump himself. The teams will work with Tasterís Choice coffee. Each team will have a budget of $75,000 to create a big marketing campaign. The team creating the most excitement, as judged by the two Nestle executives, will win. The losing team will go to the boardroom where someone will be fired. (Does this sound at all familiar?)
Magna chooses the always-creative Danny to be Project Manager. The team members kick around several potential ideas, but canít seem to agree on anything. Mike, sitting back and enjoying the ride on his exemption, wants to use a beautiful European model to attract men. Stephanie and Erin donít like this idea because it will alienate women.
At Net Worth, Angie volunteers to be Project Manager. She has an idea and is passionate about it: a patriotic, all-American theme emphasizing the freedom of choice. The gimmick will be to give away $5,000 in cash. Her teammates like it and agree to let her take the reins. Tana thinks Angie will do a great job if she just doesnít have a nervous breakdown first.
Back at Magna, everyone is frustrated because Danny wonít make a decision and isnít controlling the team. Stephanie wants to outsource all the little things and tells him that they donít have a lot of time to negotiate. She gets Darrin, the event planner, on the phone. Darrin quotes them a price of $47,000 to do everything if the team will go ahead and sign the agreement right then. Stephanie wants to tell him their idea - the problem is they donít have one. Danny, the democratic PM, tries to take a vote. The team, however, presses him for an executive decision. He decides to go ahead and let Darrin do the planning, but there is still no big, creative idea. Bren suggests using a theme of New Yorkers on the go with their cups of coffee and their iPods, so they should give away iPods. Everyone else agrees except Mike, who is sulking childishly because heís not getting his way. Danny lets him have a time-out in the corner and finally asserts some authority by saying, ďShut up, weíre doing this.Ē
The next morning, Danny and Bren work hard to move their inventory from the Nescafe office to Bryant Park, while Mike continues to sit on his exemption. When Danny tells him to get off his butt, Mike throws a tantrum. Bren draws a picture on the easel showing the teamís inevitable descent into hell on this task.
Net Worth gives away coffee and a chance to win $10,000. The promotion is a giant political-type rally with a debate over hot vs. cold coffee. Linda Cook, who likes her coffee cold, wins the money. These folks are truly passionate about this project.
Magna has a long line for coffee and is giving away iPods to bring people in and get them to hang around for a while. Danny has given Mike busy work to do to keep him out of the way. Of course, Mike thinks he is running the show and doing a great job of it.
The teams meet to learn the results, each team thinking it has outdone the other. The Nestle lady says Magna did a great job on delivering the premium brand message, but there was no big idea to tie it together. The Nestle man says Net Worth had great sampling, offering both hot and cold coffee options, and their creative idea attracted consumers. Net Worth wins! As the winning PM, Angie is exempt next week. The reward will be a ride over New York City in a big 12-seater helicopter, complete with champagne. Magna will come back to the boardroom where someone will be fired.
On the chopper, Angie praises her team for their good work and proposes a toast. The team members worked well together and defeated the better-educated group again. They fly over the Empire State Building and see the city. It is gorgeous from the sky at night.
Everyone at Magna is frustrated and bummed out. Mike says Danny was the only one who did a bad job. Erin correctly states that Mike completely lacked integrity and did absolutely nothing. He was dead weight and a negative presence. Erin tells Danny she will stick by him. Alex says Mike made it worse for everyone else. The team (minus Mike) assembles and wonders if Trump would consider making an exception to the exemption rule. If so, they can get rid of Mike. They will present their case to Trump.
In the boardroom, Danny and Erin argue their case that Mike abused his exemption and should be fired. Trump says they have to live by the rules and that includes exemptions. Erin says every contract can be broken and Trump should make an exception here. Stephanie was unhappy with Dannyís decision-making (or lack of it). Bren says Danny is responsible for the loss itself, but he would fire Michael for his lack of integrity. George asks Danny why he didnít tell Mike to get out of his face. Danny replies that he wanted to be a gentleman about the whole thing. (Looks like Danny is on the chopping block. No, that would be too obvious.)
Danny chooses to bring Mike and Stephanie into the boardroom with him. Carolyn reminds Trump that Mike is exempt and Danny is a terrible leader who canít make a decision. George agrees with her. Mike says Danny should be fired because of his lack of leadership ability. Danny says Mike should be fired because he abused his exemption. Stephanie says they are both losers. Trump tells her she is safe this time. Michael did a terrible job, but he is exempt and thatís the way it is. Danny was late for the event planner and paid too much. Worst of all, he chose to bring the exempt person back into the boardroom, so he doesnít play by the rules. ďDanny, youíre fired.Ē Trump remarks that Danny is a good guy but just couldnít make a decision.
Next week, tempers flare when the teams direct their own commercials for a major company. Trump calls both teams into the boardroom and chastises them for not considering that their ads just might be disgusting and offensive to some people.
Getting into the cab, Danny literally sings the blues. (I will personally miss the guy, because he was very entertaining to watch and didnít take himself too seriously. He also has his own company, so he will be just fine as long as he doesnít get any ideas about auditioning for American Idol.)