Talk about procrastination…the next epi airs in how many hours? OK, well, I have to get it over with...here goes…(sorry about the title, I was struggling...just keep in mind that I am just the messenger, Bren said it)
Last week: Bren joined Net Worth. Buffoonery resulted. Magna began to "unravel" and then must have raveled, I guess. So just so we are clear, each week, someone unravels, someone is a disaster and someone is a loser. Someone used to be a star, but no more.
Tana and Craig bailed on Kendra, who was MUCH nicer about it than I would have been. Magna won. The Net Worth boys gang up on each other, despite their undying buddy-crushes on each other. Chris calls losing an "insane experience" but I think his firing was the most sane thing on this show, but a little overdue. Chris left a trail of tears and Trump and Carolyn try to soften their images by being way too nice to Chris. I would have immediately disassociated and denied ever knowing him, but that's just me.
OK, this week, up in the suite...speculation about whether the loser, the disaster or the ex-star got the boot. Tana and Craig think Bren. Kendra thought it was Chris. Again, get used to my girl Kendra being right (that goes for you too Craig...and chill). Tana refers to Bren as a "big zero". It's a good thing that she is so professional and articulate. Otherwise this show could get very annoying.
Alex and Bren return. Kendra hugs Bren...again, way nicer than I would have been, but I suspect that some kind of cleansing ritual took place shortly thereafter. Alex is bummed that his "friend" got fired. Per Alex: "he was teared up...gave us great big hugs". Oh-kayyy. Alex and Bren both thought Bren's number was up. Bren said he felt "lower than whale crap at the bottom of the ocean in Mr. Trump's eyes". Obviously he's never seen the Sandra Bullock movie "Crap Floats" (come on, that movie totally could have been called that!). Also, Trump should be more careful where he puts his eyes. Bren explains how Alex and Chris teamed up on him, but now he doesn't have to share Alex with anyone. Bren talks about biting his tongue and the blood in his mouth. Gross. Bren and Alex go out again. These get-togethers are becoming a habit. Obviously, they are close friends, but I could do with a little less philosophizing on their friendship. Bren refers to Alex as his "best friend" and they both go out and get BFF tattoos. Then they smoke cigars. This explains why I am single. I don’t understand. Just in general. Per Alex: "Bren is my oasis in this vast imbecilic land". Did you just call him an oasis? Honey, he's the mayor of Imbecile Township. And please, stop talking about this!
Then, Bren, in a statement of gross weirdness, says something about "b*lls to the w*ll"...I know they aren't bad words, but I it's ugly and gross and I don't want it on my blog. Only, he said it so there it is.
Rona alerts the apprentae to their immediate meeting with Trump and 2 "executives". Alex blow dries his arm pits. I am learning so much.
Things are expectedly uncomfortable up in Trump's office:
Trump: "How's Staples doing?'
Trump: "Yeah, I hear good"
Lady: "Good Sales, good earnings"
Trump: "We're going to have some interesting ideas for you today because these people are very talented"
OK, first, quit sniffing each other's financial statements. It's really disingenuous and canned and boring. Second, who are you trying to convince that these people are talented? We've been watching the show and you know them better than we do.
The apprentae come in and Trump introduces the executives as "executives"…nice. No names because there’s not enough room in his office for his ego and their names. Trump talks about Staples' competition, clutter and product design. The winners of this week’s task are the ones that present the best office clutter-reducing product to the execs that shall remain nameless. Reward, bored room, blah. Kendra will be in the final four (yay!), but after that, no more exemptions (yay again!).
Back up in the suite, Bren breaks down the situation as "no breaks, no loving, no sleep", which is exactly like his regular life except for the parts about breaks and sleep. And the fact that he event mentioned loving makes me think that he expected it here? Perhaps this explains the buddy-bonding with Alex though. Bren needs affection in his life. Is that so wrong?
Carolyn and George are in the suite! Wow, this seems like a breach of protocol, but OK, let's go with it. Over at Net Worth, Alex wants to be PM. He thinks it puts him in a good position competitively, which I don't understand. If you lose, Bren is going to point the finger at you and you at him. There's no history of voting off worker-bees rather than PMs, so I don't get the point. Alex recommends a focus group. Then says they first need to talk to the head of design. Which is totally wrong...he has learned nothing! Bren explains that his "a$$ is riding on this"...which is obvious but the inappropriateness is appreciated.
Over at Magna, Craig is PM and tells Tana and Kendra to write down their ideas. He wants less talking and more writing. He calls Kendra an obstacle...right, the winning kind. An obstacle to complete failure, if you will. He camera talks: "you had the chance to lead the way you lead and now is mines." OK, bossy!
Kendra recommends research. Craig tells her to write it down. Craig says that lives have been changed by brainstorming and at first you don't think he's serious because I would say something like that as a joke, but he's not joking. Lives have been changed by a good pair of shoes and the right shade of lipstick. Never heard anyone talk of brainstorming in this way, but I want Craig to prove it. Kendra sits by as Craig rambles and she says she is basically just holding back...obviously this is how you have to get along with him. This is when Heather would have been kicked off the show. If not before.
Net Worth is over at the design company. Because when you don't know what you are going to make, you should figure out how to make it right away! They look at plastic. Then they try to call the execs and keep getting disconnected or losing phone reception. Too bad, because we almost found out what the executives names are now that Trump isn't here. Alex doesn't want to be bothered by meeting them in person: "they're not a client, just judges." Is it just me or do you think that either the execs are indeed clients or even more important than clients? What the?
Oooh, now the valuable Trumplesson: "Take Control". So what I have learned from this is that all Trump does is walk around asking really vague questions that he either knows the answer to or doesn't care about. And it's always about how someone or something is "doing" "going" or "looking" . He's quite the conversationalist. His lesson consists of explaining that leaders have to actually lead and he uses the word "subordinates", which I hate. Who wants to lead when you call them that?
The Magna folks meet with Staples and seem to ask a lot of good questions. Their slogan is "that was easy". The discuss last year's winner and the idea of refining an existing idea versus inventing something new. Then they go to the store and Tana acts like the type of person that you don't make eye contact with in NYC. She picks through some guy's cart. Craig wanders around.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you that I am an office supply nut job. I LOVE Office Depot...waking down the aisles looking at things that can make me more organized than I already am. And that brings me back to the reason (or one of many) why I am single. But I digress.
Over at Net Worth, Bren and Alex are still *talking* about focus groups. Chop-chop boys. They decide to call office managers instead of meeting them in person and they use the phone book to find them. OK, does someone have a big zit on their chin, because I don't understand why they are trying so hard not to meet people in person! Also, the yellow pages? You know, I can't imagine where they could actually find people that use office supplies...you know they kind they sell at Staples? Hello?
Magna is moving along. They are at the designer. The more I hear Craig talk, the more he confuses me. He says Kendra can't "conceptualize" the "stackables" concept. Um, the concept that they hold stuff and they stack? I think she's got it. Kendra explains that they are doing something that consumers actually wanted. You know, it concerns me that this show is making people think that by providing something your customers want, you are going above and beyond. This is just the basics folks. Craig explains the product to George.
Over at Net Worth, Alex draws something confusing. We are going to find out later that he studied architecture. Alex's drawing is of a table-thing. Something perfectly undesirable. Oh, and by the way, Bren is risk averse. We'll hear more about this later too…whee!
Over at Magna, the apprentae are buying supplies for their product demo. There is a design flaw here that Kendra is pointing out, but Craig doesn’t want to hear it. Craig doesn’t like anything Kendra flavored. Craig wants the file sections to be portrait, but most files are landscape. I might be crazy but I think the final version is landscape. But whatever. Craig tells Kendra that he'll "run it by <her> slowly". Why is he allowed to talk to her like that? Again, no Kendra love.
Over at Net Worth, we see an ugly desk thing where you have to lift the desktop to store something underneath the glass and that is curved so it fits nicely in a round corner. I know Alex is all architecty and stuff but it's clear that he has never heard of Frank Lloyd Wright. Repeat after me: form and function are one. Which means that design is only valuable where it supports the use. And I learned that in high school.
At Magna, Craig scolds Kendra about "generalities". What exactly is his beef with generalities? People find them useful. Oh, sorry, Craig....many people find them useful. Craig thinks he's more experienced because he's older. Kendra explains that he is not an effective communicator and is condescending. He tells her she doesn't "know what that means". No, actually 1) she does, 2) you are and 3) you are projecting. He refuses to let the conversation end: "I've given you respect that you don't even deserve, young lady!" What the? He then calls her a liar. While this arguing is going on, Tana bites into a huge crunchy sammich and goes "mmmm!". That may be the only thing on this show that made me laugh out loud...."mmmm!".
Tana talks about how Kendra and Craig hate each other. She's also condescending. But without that pesky credibility that sometimes goes along with it.
Now is the time to wow the customer focus groups and execs with product demos. Craig knocks over a pencil cup on purpose which would have been apt if the product stored pencils. Instead it just looks uncomfortable, distracting and silly. But it was certainly not condescending because you don't know what that means. Tana babbles about their product which I will admit, is actually something I would use. Now customer questions about whether it's detachable, lock-down-able. The product is deemed "large but interesting."
Net Worth introduces their product the "Pack Rat". OK, seriously, name one successful product with the word "rat" in the name. Go ahead. Alex shows how you can store your electric stapler because who doesn't have an electric stapler? Alex talks about the positive customer reaction and if by that he means they are bored and annoyed, then yes...success! The presentation was ineffective and the product stunk. When someone questions getting stuff under the glass, Alex says "Hmm!", which was totally related to Tana's "mmm!" and just as funny. It was a "I never thought of that" "hmm!".
Next Trump meets with my close personal friends, George and Carolyn, the unnamed Staples execs and the apprentae. Tana hopes Magna wins; Bren thinks Net Worth is “spectacular”. Time to put the pipe down. Not only are you not spectacular, I won’t type out your name any longer…your team is now NW. Seriously.
According to the Staples-executives-that-shall-remain-nameless , Magna get customers and NW was way off base with their freaking ugly furniture. They don’t like the glass cover and the lack of sliding bins. Oh yeah, and it’s ugly. And in addition to that, it’s also bugly. Magna wins…again. They get breakfast with George and Carolyn in the “Rainbow Room”…big whoop. And why does everything need a name to make it sound better than it is? Rainbow room.
Next there’s a Staples commercial with Magna’s product. It’s like product placement in reverse and to make matters worse (you didn’t think it was possible, huh?), it’s called the “Desk Apprentice”, meaning it sits on your desk taking up space but it doesn’t actually do anything. I’m just saying.
So up in the “Rainbow Room”, Tana talks about the, um, “rainbow room”. Carolyn and George arrive on some kind of a mission to prove that they are not cardboard cut-outs. Craig talks about “Carol & George” or “Carolyn George”, both of which are wrong. George congratulates them and jokes about Craig’s pencils. Laughter…the forced, uncomfortable kind. They continue joking around and Carolyn likes her husband.
Over a NW, Bren and Alex go out alone again! Alex wants to be “steadfast” and thinks their product was better. Bren agrees. I really hope that Alex is trying to convince Bren to stand up to Trump and say something stupid as part of his strategy. Otherwise, they are both mistaken. Call me an optimist. I’ve been disappointed before. Alex is sad the he and Bren won’t get to see each other for a while. Seriously, dude, this is a TV show. You can move into Bren’s house when it’s over if you want.
And by the way, I’ve had it with Bren and his “Lion’s Den”, “balls” on “walls”, tongue biting, “whale crap” metaphors. Sheesh! It’s not funny!
In the bored room (I thought it would never come) Trump starts talking about both Bren and Alex being lawyers and the nation’s top business and medical schools see a surge in applications. Alex explains that his product has bins for morning work and afternoon work which is totally ridiculous. I mean if you have to make up some excuse why your product stinks, perhaps one rooted in some form of reality would be a good place to start. Afternoon work. George is embarrassed that he is also a lawyer. I hear you George. Bren and Alex insist that their product is better.
Here’s the fun part, Carolyn keeps pushing them asking if they are saying that the Staples execs were wrong. She’s not happy. And she just out-lawyered the lawyers. Hah! She thinks the product is too big, not practical and not creative. Sing it sister. She then dings them for not doing a focus group. Bren mouths off to Carolyn (not wise). Alex admits that it was his idea not to meet with the Staples execs. I mean, seriously, how do you decide which one to fire? Please, please, please fire them both. Please!
Trump says Alex is not a “star” and they are both lousy. He asks Bren why he should stay and Bren says “I work harder”. Let’s hear it for working harder on all the wrong things….WOOT! WOOT! Alex says he’s also a hard worker and that he is hungry…because Magna ate his breakfast. Oh yeah, and smart trumps hungry, just so you know.
Bren, in one of the most ridiculous moves of this season, explains his risk aversion. Alex thinks he should stay because he was a good skier when he was 18. Alex talks about the risks he has taken in his life (no mention of pleated front trousers but I just thought I would bring it up so he can add it to the list). Bren doesn’t really stand up for himself.
Then Trump ineloquently promotes himself “ Branson went after me…I killed him. Cuban went after me…I killed him.” OK, now seriously, he is comparing himself to other “moguls” that had reality shows. I saw an episode of Cuban’s and it was REALLY bad. What really killed those shows was good taste and it’s about to have its way with you too, Trump. And the value of an egomaniacal corporate honcho is not the quality of his reality show, it’s the size of his office…don’t you know that by now?
Bren is unconvincing, although I believe he doesn’t like getting his “a$$ chewed on” (really, must you?). The risk taker thing…make it stop! Bren is fired. Seriously, if he hadn’t said the risk thing, I do believe that Alex would be gone.
Per Carolyn: “He’s probably an exceptional lawyer”….heh, “probably”.
Next time, it’s the final four. Someone lies, someone stabs Alex in the back, Kendra and Craig don’t get along (what? When did that happen?). And it’s back to book smarts versus street smarts…the Apprentice version of coming full-circle.
And as if you haven’t had enough ridiculous product placements, you can buy the Staples “Desk Apprentice” on Yahoo!, which also owns “Hotjobs”, the company whose advertisement sits atop the taxi the booted Apprentae leave in. Way to milk it Trump.
In the cab, Bren says that Alex didn’t stand up to Trump like he said he would (no duh). Bren is sleepy and realized that he wants what is “under (his) nose”, which is a really uncomfortable place to store your wife and children, but I think that is what he means.