What’s up with the women (or, more precisely, iron-clawed harpies) on The Apprentice this season? Carolyn Kepcher, Donald’s token ice queen (who by all accounts is a lovely person outside the boardroom), had it right when she lost her cool with Jennifer C. last night: “Why can’t you women get along? Seven women can’t work together. I’m embarrassed to be a businesswoman.”
I’ve never understood the source of the women’s bitterness towards each other. First it was the pile-up against the allegedly crazy Stacie J. Last night, the women’s bickering ran the gamut from disputes over their restaurant’s decor to fights about who would run promotions to shades of anti-Semitism. I hope, for the women’s sake, that some incident got left on the cutting room floor that triggered the caustic relations among the members of team Apex and this truly is a poor representation of how women conduct themselves in the real world of business.
Now, to totally seal my reputation as a pig-headed male: I thought the men pulled off the restaurant task quite well. Of course, their only major obstacle in last night’s story line was to turn around the opinions of an (initially) unhappy table of gay men. To overcome this challenge, and to suitably impress these guys who, you know, “they’re into fashion, they’re into stuff like that,” according to Chris the waiter-cum-stockbroker, was to trot out some eye candy in the form of John, the marketing director.
As I was guffawing at the tactic (which worked, I might add), my wife dutifully reminded me that they were cravenly exploiting sex to beat the other team–a strategy I had found to be somewhat disingenuous when the women’s team did the same thing (also quite effectively) last season. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but when the women did it selling lemonade last year it, I saw it as a lame, last-ditch effort–sort of the H-bomb of business. But when the men decided to turn things around using the same tactic, I thought it was a funny, creative solution to what could have been a real stumbling block for them. Maybe if the women had managed to attract women last year instead of construction workers, I’d respect the move a little more. (Hmm, I better not stray too much further down that path.)
Onto the boardroom. I can’t yet determine if Donnie’s using the boardroom brilliantly or foolishly. The last two episodes–one in which Bradford was fired, despite a promise of immunity, and one in which Stacie J. was canned for being crazy (someone call the EEOC)–had, while not earth-shattering twists, twists nonetheless. Last night, despite a cameo by last year’s winner, Bill Rancic, the “explosive” boardroom that NBC’s promos had promised turned out to be less than a dud. Yes, Jennifer C., Apex’s project manager, revealed herself to be a whacko control-freak who, when her team lost, blamed it on “two old Jewish ladies” who didn’t like her restaurant. But even the Donald himself looked crestfallen to have had two weeks of twists and tension in the boardroom, then last night, nothing. All he said, shrugging his shoulders forlornly, was: “That was easy.” Not exactly the Trumpian spectacle we’ve all come to know and love. Who knows, maybe it’s just part of some master plan to build our appetites up again for a truly explosive firing. Then again, maybe the Donald’s losing more than just a casino in Atlantic City and his hair.