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TV Review: The Apprentice Premiere

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Maybe I’ll be more faithful about watching The Apprentice now that it’s in a new time slot away from Survivor and C.S.I. That’s my thinking, anyway. The last few seasons I’ve been hit or miss on the show. If I didn’t tape it, no big deal. Sometimes I taped it and never watched. Since there are no favorites on my viewing slate in the Monday at 9PM slot, as long as my interest stays, I’ll be watching. Oh. And blogging about it, too!

The first shows are always a bit hard to report on as I’m not sure of all of the candidate names, so here’s some quick impressions on those who seemed to stand out in the premiere:

1. Tarek – This guy reminds me of Dr. Will from Big Brother 2, perhaps not as quick on the uptake. His claim to fame is that he’s a Mensa member. Ohhh, I’m so impressed, aren’t you? I was liking him at the start, but he didn’t come through in the end.
2. Lenny – The Russian who knows East Brunswick, NJ. I think he’s going to be very interesting to watch. He has his own ideals. They’ll probably work against him in the long run.
3. Summer – Lots of hair. Not a team player.
4. Allie – A Harvard business school grad, blonde, cute and smart. I like her. She has spunk.
5. Lee – I think this one is perhaps not polished enough to make it through to the end, but he’s honest. That could be to his own detriment.
6. Brent – Oh. My. God. Where did they get this guy? I know he’s an attorney, but…! Yes, he had some good ideas, but the way he presents himself and his ideas are a turn-off.
7. Sean – The Brit. Or, at least the accent. Perhaps not strictly British. His accent seemed to impress Allie and the female clientele. We’ll see.

Yes, there are other candidates; I could rattle off some names. But those are the ones at the forefront of tonight’s episode and the ones who made either good or bad impressions on me.

Trump chose Tarek and Allie to be project managers, then had them do a schoolyard pick of their teams. The last chosen was Brent, who commented he was used to it from school athletic events. I’m no armchair psychologist, for sure. But I think his lack of personal self-esteem may be why he turns to being so overbearing and egotistical. He really overdoes things and practically screams for attention, then wonders why he’s ignored.

In my opinion, the task assigned was a bit “eh.” The teams had a blimp marque each to push customers to Sam’s Club, where they would sell or upgrade as many memberships as they could. The only cool thing about the task was that I’m actually familiar with the Sam’s Club in East Brunswick, NJ – one of the ones chosen for the show.

Allie’s team named themselves “Synergy” after striking down Brent’s suggestion of “Killer Instinct.” (Again, I ask… where did they get him?) Tarek’s team decided on “Gold Rush.” In the task itself, I could see that Synergy had more of a solid plan. They played off the Sam Club slogan “Big Deal” for the blimp marquee, then set up at the front of the store with free manicures and such. They snagged the customers the second they walked in and their approach was very upbeat. The customers fell for it (and for Sean’s accent). Brent first wanted them to offer haircuts, but the women voted him down. It turned into the manicures, so technically his idea played a wee bit into things. I guess he planted the seed for the thought process. I’ll give him that much.

Meanwhile, Gold Rush really had no solid plan. The blimp told people to stop today, but didn’t really indicate what was going on, if anything. They gave away gift bags with no gifts in them. Heck, instead of the 485 Sam’s Club tote bags they handed out, they could have made it 200 and had cheapie gift stuff in ’em. Summer, a restaurant owner, was asked to call local restaurants. She made one call and not an incredibly into it call at all. Then she gave up.

Trump said something about changing the team and how they would rid themselves of the team members they didn’t want. Then it cut to who was sent up in the blimp. Synergy chose Brent and one of the women. Gold Rush sent Summer and Lenny up. Supposedly Lenny was sent because he knew East Brunswick.

In the end, Synergy sold 43 memberships while Gold Rush sold 40. To the boardroom with Mr. Mensa and his team! Before the boardroom, most seemed to agree that Summer wasn’t a team player, didn’t do the one thing asked of her and should be fired. Lee was a bit of a holdout — he felt that the project manager (Tarek) holds the ultimate responsibility, that they didn’t have a creative plan, etc. He told Tarek his thoughts, but Tarek was bound and determined that Summer should go and asked Lee to be quiet in the boardroom. Lenny told Summer that they’re both Tarek’s targets and she should be quiet in the boardroom.

Sure enough, when it came to choosing who would go to the boardroom with him, Tarek chose Summer and Lenny. But, because Lee didn’t keep quiet and spoke his mind, he took him in as a third. In a talk between George, Carolyn and Donald, they seemed to have their minds set on firing Summer. Tarek almost blew it for himself with his childish choosing of Lenny and even more so by selecting Lee because he didn’t back him up. But, in the end, Summer blew it for herself by interrupting Trump and insisting on talking when he was almost ready to fire Tarek.

“Summer, you’re fired.”

Trump told Tarek that Summer saved his ass prompting Lenny to say, “But not for long.” Thoughts of the Wicked Witch saying, “I’ll get you and your little doggie, too” rushed through my mind when he said it. Once along in the boardroom, Trump turned to George and Carolyn and said, “Tarek’s highly overrated.” Now, c’mon Donald! It was you who rated him as such! Mensa doesn’t always mean common sense, nor people skills! Sheesh!

Overall I think this season’s off to a good start despite the “eh” task. It’s definitely off to a better time-slot!

Did you watch? What did you think?

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  • Judy Pandelos

    Well I did watch the first episode and your right the task was boring.I can’t remember all the team players yet,but hope to soon.I can’t believe Summer opened her mouth and got herself fired.Right before they went to the boardroom Lenny told her to keep her mouth shut,did she listen?A big fat nooo!She surely would still be here if she had.Well we know there’s going to be fireworks with Lenny and Tarek and I for one can’t wait til next weeks show.I too am glad of the new day and time slot now I’m able to watch all my favorite shows.Here’s to Mr.Trump having a better year with this seasons show.

  • In keeping with this season’s “international” theme, the got Brent from Canada – he’s a York University (Toronto) graduate who recently got his green card.

    You missed Summer’s other assets which were readily apparent when she made the walk of shame – big boobs and an inordinate amount of cleavage, almost as if she was aiming to be the fourth Mrs. Donald.

    Tarek was clueless when it came to the task. In stead of just giving out empty bags to the first 400 and something that came in, why didn’t they stuff the bags and give them to people who actually signed up for memberships? I’ll come to Summer’s defense on this one – what was the point in cold calling (particularly during the dinner rush) when she didn’t have a hook to work her targets with. Just because you’re in Mensa doesn’t mean you’re smart.

  • Rodney Welch

    Yeah, but Summer couldn’t come up with an answer when Carolyn called her out. That was her real downfall. What did you DO, Summer? Well, duh, I, uh, well… That didn’t cut it. Prospective boardroom players need to have a really good answer for that question. It gets asked often.

  • Brent – I’m assuming you’re not THE Brent! (Phew!)

    Judy – Just based on the premiere, except for the task, I think I like the actual cast a bit more. Hopefully the magic of the first season will return!

    Rodney – Oh, I certainly agree with you. She coupled it with interrupting. Heck, I can interrupt Trump if I want to, but I’m not seeking to work for him. Um… unless he wants to pay me the big bucks and I don’t have to go into the office, that is!

    Thanks for commenting folks. Let’s see how next week goes!