Apprentice 15: Like two-two-two episodes in one

Previously, Alex asked Tana to joined NW. Kendra and Craig don’t like each other. Really? When did that happen? Alex thought it was funny. How funny do you think it is now, Alex? The teams sold ugly t-shirts. Craig and Kendra fought. Craig starts an argument then tells Kendra it’s irrelevant which begs the question “why are you fighting about it then?” Alex and Tana charged too much for those stupid rhinestones. Magna decided to sell directly to the lovers of that kind of art and NW lost…again. Alex fumbled in the bored room when Trump asked him his record. Yeah, that’s pretty much something you need to get right. Cause it's not that hard to count to two.


This week, the suite’s a little quiet as Craig and Kendra wait. Craig thinks that he and Tana are the cream of the crop and if by that he means that Kendra’s better, then he’s right on the money. He says that the pick between Alex and Tana is up to Trump. Again, this little camera talk has benefited me to no end. I really wouldn’t have known who the man with the hair is that says “you’re fired”…just can’t remember who he is. Maybe he should put his name on something.


Tana walks in: “Honey, I’m home! Honey, I’m home!”…Hmm, that’s what that sounds like. In my house it sounds like this: “Hey stinky, were you a good boy today? Need to go potty?”  Then I check to see how the dog it (ba-dum-bum!). Anyway, in the suite, lots of hugs and squeally voices. “This is destiny and whoever this is made for will be the one that gets it,” Tana camera talks with larger-than-usual hair and a profound mastery of nonsense. Though I am having a hard time believing that the apprentice opportunity was *made* for someone. Guess I fall more into the “you have to make your own opportunities” camp.


Tana and Craig pray. Kendra expresses concern over their closeness (which I guess I didn’t realize before).


In the AM, Rona addresses Craig be name when she calls the suite…sassy! The apprentae have to meet Trump in the penthouse suite and boy are they pouring on the dramatic music. And speaking of pouring it on, here comes the Donald pouring on the big time self love. Yeah and he loves this penthouse too. Trump explains that they will now interview with 4 of the most respected people in the business world. Hey! Why wasn’t I asked to participate (hee)? Unfortunately, we don’t really get to know them that much. So describing these folks is beside the point. Simply, they are the head of Domino’s Pizza,  President of QVC, Chairman of Douglas Eliman Real Estate and the top guy at Burger King. I dream that Trump is going to tell us that these 4 are going to have a dance-off, but no. They are going to conduct interviews with the apprentae. Blah, blah, blah, great companies, whatever. The only interesting thing about this is that Trump will fire based solely on the recommendation from these people and I guess that I have a concern with that. Companies interview people because they can’t “test drive” their skills (and vice versa, candidates can’t test drive positions), but here in TV land, you can see how the apprentae work…you’ve seen it. Which is a much better indicator of performance than an interview. Trust me, I’d rather see someone’s work first hand and I know that the interview is the next best thing because I can’t. But in this situation, what’s the point of interviewing? You review the work product…what difference does it make who is the best interviewer? It just seems a little trivial at this point, but it’s interesting to watch regardless. Drama!


Tana shows up for her first interview and I have to say that when she is not acting silly, in my opinion, she seems quite professional. Tana explains her entrepreneurial background to an interviewer. Craig is asked about his biggest business challenge and really has a hard time providing a concrete enough answer for the interviewer to understand how he tackles problems. These interviewers are going to be asking some good but fairly standard and predictable interview questions. It is a successful interviewee that is able to quickly dissect the question and give the interviewer what they want. In this scenario, I think the interviewer is looking for a couple things: first he wants to understand the complexity of Craig’s business to get a sense of his scope of work. Second, I think he is looking for strategic thinking and problem solving skills. And third, I think that he’s possibly looking to see how Craig leads his people through challenges. And maybe also looking to get a sense of whether Craig is challenged or discouraged by business adversity. You almost have to have an out of body experience to be able to realize all of that in the interview but given that the possibility of getting questions like this is high, it’s good to think through some of these things ahead of time. Now see this season wasn’t all for naught, we actually got to talk about interview dynamics. Craig got a little flustered by this question.


Kendra is asked her ideal role in the organization. She starts explaining what she would want to do despite the fact that it’s completely different than her background. If I was answering this question, I’d be looking for opportunities where my background could be leveraged to it’s fullest extent. I generally think that in an interview situation like this, you want to sell your skills. Though Kendra’s answer may be honest, which is admirable, at least. The interviewer likes when Kendra says that if Trump doesn’t hire her, she’ll be his competition. Either that or the producers are jerking my chain with creative editing. What are the chances?


Kendra also tells an interviewer that she bends the rules around legal and tax loopholes. Oopsie. I guess I wouldn’t recommend that since you can kind of get caught and, like, indicted. How about bending the rules when nobody gets negatively impacted and it’s about doing the right thing? I guess that is easy for me to say sitting on my couch with a margarita in my hand watching this in the TV, but still.


Craig is really not doing well in the interviews and we are seeing little of Tana. Each are asked to pick another finalist that they would hire (dirty trick) and both Craig and Kendra pick Tana. Tana picks Craig, which you think would reflect negatively on Kendra, but under the circumstances, reflects negatively on Tana. And I am a little surprised that Tana has been able to overlook how Craig treats Kendra and I would therefore worry about her stepping into situations where she needs to take a stand to do the right thing. Because the way Craig treats Kendra is very wrong. And Kendra says she’s never had a confrontation with him. Well, she should have.


Craig says “Education is important, I just went about it a different way” (fair enough). The interview questions start spinning out of control in a most Willy Wonka-esque way. Worried looks, big lips asking interview questions, furrowed brows, exasperated expressions. Whee! I love the “would you enjoy working for you?” questions. What do you say? ’Yes, I’d enjoy working for me because I am my favorite. And vice versa!" Oh man, the 3 contestants just look a little beat up after the interviews. A good interview process will do that to you, but I still think that everyone could use a hug at the end. I’ve been there.


Back in the bored room, the interviewers confer with the Donald. Long story short, 2 like Tana and not Craig and the other 2 like Kendra and not Craig.  Through this whole discussion, Carolyn looks windblown and really dour. During this time, in the suite the Apprentae pack. Tana camera talks that she did what she had to do in the interviews and left smiling. Across the bored (hee), they all thought Craig lacked depth.  Well, the good thing here is that you don’t have to pick the winner, just the loser. And unfortunately for Craig this week, it’s unanimous.


The apprentae are invited into the bored room and that silly music reminds me of dropping pebbles into a well. Trump asks Craig what he thought of the execs, which is a little cruel under the circumstances, because he fires Craig pretty quickly. As if to say ‘you liked them, well they didn’t like you!”. The bored room this episode leaves me a little cold.


In Craig’s quick cab talk on the way out, he admits that he didn’t do well in the interview and frankly, the introspection is refreshing, but I’m glad to see him go after the way he has behaved. Maybe he’ll watch the episodes and learn something about the way he treated Kendra. 



Well, I guess now the new Apprentice is going to be a woman. Cool. Trump sends them back to the suite to relax before tomorrow’s big challenge. Sentimental music plays as they enter the suite. They look through the pictures of the apprenta. Wow, there’s Todd, we hardly remember him. Evidently, Brian carried a green book. Verna was “out of there” (which makes a lot more sense now, does it not?).  Danny acted crazy. Kristen didn’t smile. Michael had “big ideas”. Tara was cute. Audrey was pretty, even in a clown suit. Jonathan thought he was a rock star. Erin worked it. Stephanie is photogenic. Angie was fun. Kendra liked Chris’ personality (I don’t think she was ever on his team, was she?). Bren is a cutie, but Alex was handsome. Craig has a great, huge smile and Kendra says some nice things about him. Tana: "which one of us beautiful broads gets the job?” Way to boil it down to what’s important here. Oh yeah, and classy too. 


Trump takes to his limo and Carolyn, George, Kendra, Tana and Tana’s big red furry collar convene in the bored room. Did they tell Carolyn and George to never smile? Sheesh, can you at least say hello? Trump gives them their assignment via video teleconference. Kendra will run a video game tournament and Tana will run an event to promote NYC’s candidacy for the 2012 Olympics. Each of the project managers is given 3 former teammates. Tana gets Kristen, Brian and Chris, Kendra gets Danny, Erin and Michael. They don’t have to use them but this is all they got. After the “employees leave the room”, Tana asks about potential trades. George basically explains: tough luck.  Oh, a little smile from Carolyn. underneath it all, I think she's snarky just like us.


In the suite, Kendra and Tana laugh about their teams. They agree that Tana got the ones with bad tempers and Kendra got the “scatterbrains”, which doesn’t explain why some of them lasted so long. Come on, bring back the guy that got voted off on the first episode. What’s his name again? Tana refers to her team as "the three stooges", which, considering that about a bazillion people are watching, isn’t really so nice or smart. Tana says “couldn’t guess for better”, whatever that is supposed to mean.


Kendra calls it: the goal of the task is to assess how each one leads those that are, what’s the delicate way to say it…well, incompetent, according to Kendra.


All the stuff that happens next is kind of a review of the season. The teams start to mobilize. Kendra says “holy moly”…she’s said that a couple times.  Kendra sees her space. Why would Erin wear a suit and heels for this challenge? I’m just wondering. Erin itches the inside of her ear with a pen and camera talks: “if you can manage us, you can handle the Trump organizations. However if you can manage Chris Brian and Kirsten, you might deserve the medal of honor.", which is simply not true...none of it.


At Chelsea Piers, Tana greets her team and Kristen tells her that they all love each other and I think Kristen may just be trying to tick Brian off…great start! They enter what looks like a field house and start talking about arrangements. Tana tells her teammate to make decisions without her like which balloons to get (watch out, they may get drunk with power). Chris giggles. Tana sings ”we’ll do the best we can”.  Erin is wearing a t-shirt of the venue, Webster Hall. When did she have time to go shopping and change and isn’t that a little tight for work?


Kendra explains that she wants to get the sponsors together. The Best Buy people ask for Danny when they arrive (why?) and Kendra disappears. They don’t want to wait for Kendra and Danny decides to move forward. So he starts with a song ”we’re Team Magna ad we stand here together. We’re team Magna and we love Best Buy and EA!” OK, first, that doesn’t rhyme. Second, who does that work for? Clearly not for Best Buy. The looks on their faces. Seriously, he has to have seen these types of looks before. It's not even a subtly hint...stop being weird! You are freaking people out! Erin plays around wither big bangs. How is it that she is wearing a different shirt now? Danny struggles with the PowerPoint. Erin explains this and also that BestBuy and EA employ the “busiest people in America” which is a really random statistic. I'm just guessing that there's no study that lists Best Buy and EA employees as particularly busy, is there? It may just have been the bangs talking.  It continue to go down hill fast, which is hard when you start the meeting with a warbly-sung ridicu-jingle. Danny is starting to realize that there’s no love for his songlet. Erin gets Kendra who does a good job of recovering with the angry BestBuy people. They trust her.


Over  at that other team...whatever it's called, Tana wants her team to meet with the 2012 people. And they drive. In NYC. Okeeee. Then Tana refers to her team as the “three stooges” in front of Carolyn, who is  nonplussed. Mark my words, that will bite Tana in the final episode. Bad judgment. Brian tells Kristen that she doesn’t look good in hats.  Chris agrees. Kristen doesn’t care. And the relevance here is completely lost on me. Chris is having trouble keeping up with the limo and the three argue loudly. Brian deadpans: “we’re late for the meeting. I hate being late...seriously, it sounded like "time to make the donuts". Tana takes Brian in with her to the meeting while Chris and Kristen look for a parking spot…in Manhattan. Good luck. Tana and Chris start to meet with the 2012 people. Tana gets called away to counsel Chris on parking. Now that is called a value-add activity.  In the meantime, Brian blunders in the meeting which includes putting a pin on and explaining that he is a magician (whee!). Hmm, can he pull a parking spot out of a hat? Kristen has hats! Kristen says she doesn’t care if Tana loses because Kristen has already lost. Shadenfreud at the peak of it's freshness!


Over at Webster Hall, the team loads Sony’s equipment into the basement because EA is the only game provider in the big ballroom upstairs. Aimee from Sony shows up and, when shown the basement dancehall, is not happy. She has the most horrified look on her face, which is just fantastic. She tells Kendra “don’t be worried, just make it good”. Yowza.  I just get the impression that she will seriously throw a fit and that she makes that dissatisfied expression a lot. Hey, Aimee, you are on TV.


Next Thursday, Kendra says “holy moly” again and the events take place. Looks like both teams stunk up the place. Ah, time for endorsement telling you to go to hotjobs on Yahoo! or search “Apprentice Interview Tips”…hee! I guess Oh, here, allow me! Yeah, you'll get some great tips like "be professional"...incredibly helpful. Thanks. Hmm, I wonder how much advertising revenue Yahoo made by producing these so-called tips and driving traffic to them.


Then Tana explains that she learned her “life lessons” from the mean streets of Iowa.  She says “I’ve made every buck that I’ve ever earned”. Because earning is so much more rewarding when it's literal.


Kendra says this is her moment and she is the one person that can be the Apprentice. One can only hope.


Comments (4)

  1. Troy L. Tate says:

    Your post is definitely a kick to read. You covered the episode wall to wall. Craig survived on the coattails of Kendra and Tana, but he thought he was the star. I equally disliked his condescending attitude, as if he had it all together because of his age and experience. Kendra taught Tana and him alot about how you market successfully. Tune into the target audience and find out what they’re looking for, tap into the emotional underpinnings as Kendra did with the Pontiac brochure and see what a difference it can make.

    Tana has better skills at working with others than Kendra but she sabotages her ability to lead with jibes like "I’m working with the Three Stooges." How she thinks those comments won’t come back to haunt her is anyone’s guess. Tana’s generally more skilled at getting people to do their part, but she has had some lapses like she did with Alex the week before in not assigning him marketing and making sure he will be accountable by getting him to focus on how best to define and reach the target audience.

    Kendra’s weakness is she puts herself in positions where she has to do it all herself. This won’t work this time because there’s no way she can do it all herself. She has to get some performance from her team. She’s pretty much failed at getting her team to contribute with their head and their heart. Danny is absolutely clueless and Erin is lost in her own agenda. I didn’t notice all the apparel changes you mentioned but it reaffirms she’s here for Erin and Erin only. The other guy seems more like a gopher so Kendra’s in a quandry.

    I want Kendra to win. If Tana wins, it will be because she got more our of her team and those outside people working with her on the project. It will be a close one. Neither is a true star when it comes to leadership but Kendra is sharp when it comes to marketing and Tana is good at selling herself and her enthusiasm for whatever products or services she’s promoting.

    Troy L. Tate, President Torque Solutions LLC

  2. JD says:


    You were right. The ‘stooge’ thing bit Tana in her ass. She acted very unprofessional in today’s episode.


  3. steve cooke says:

    I’m actually at the interview stages of the UK Version

    looking for any tips for the interview, thanks for writing this

    all helps!



  4. Justin says:

    Just read you’re blog – absolutely spot on and hilarious! Much better than the show itself.



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