September 11, 2004
The Apprentice: Season 2
Posted by Gordon Smith

It's back. Last season, I was lured into watching the last few episodes by people around the law school (read Ann Althouse!) talking about it. The show became so ridiculous that I didn't even watch the finale. Now I am sitting at home, nominally supervising my 11-year-old daughter's birthday party (downstairs) and the "encore" edition of the first show appears on the television (upstairs). So here I am, watching The Donald again.

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April 24, 2004
Apprentice Parody
Posted by Gordon Smith

In the interest of taking swipes at both sides of the political spectrum, I present this Apprentice parody from True MajorityACTION PAC, which is led by Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's fame.

icecream.jpgBy the way, Ben & Jerry's is great ice cream, though I have a slight preference for Italian ice cream, as shown in the picture to the right. Putting large chunks of junk food in ice cream and making the ice cream really dense (low air content) were Ben & Jerry's great innovations, and the stuff is undeniably good. I toured the Ben & Jerry's factory in Vermont in 1993, and it was there that I first sampled chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream ... a life-altering experience.

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April 16, 2004
Final "Apprentice" Post
Posted by Gordon Smith

I followed through on my vow from last week, and I did not watch The Apprentice. In fact, I forgot that it was on -- so I was not sitting around feeling self-righteous about skipping it. Then this morning, I saw Bill's mug on the front page of the local paper, which claimed that he had won. I have had my suspicions about the trustworthiness of this paper, and now those suspicions have been confirmed, because we all know that Kwame won.

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April 09, 2004
To "The Apprentice": You're Fired!
Posted by Gordon Smith

I just read Ann's post about The Apprentice. I am on board. I am not watching either. I have watched three episodes, and that was three too many. Two hours! And their big tasks are to pick up someone from the airport (failed) and to shuffle some boxes around! Worse yet, the big hook is a guest appearance by Jessica Simpson?!? So I guess she really isn't lost? My oh my, this show is unbelievably lame.

UPDATE: Ann is now posting her prediction for The Apprentice finale. Ann should be a writer for the show because she has a nice idea for the ending. I will note also, that she thinks Kwame will be the ultimate winner, which was my assessment five minutes into my first episode. Since I refuse to be seduced by this show again, I will embrace Ann's ending as the true and just and right ending, regardless of what the hacks at NBC come up with.

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April 08, 2004
Blogging the Apprentice ...
Posted by Gordon Smith

The pre-game show: So, we learned today that at least one of the episodes of The Apprentice was rigged. Figures. I get sucked into a reality TV show that is even more fake than it pretends to be. I guess I just should have stayed with Law & Order.


I am listening to The Donald review last week, and I have decided that Kwame is too good for him. This bit about "Kwame has never led" is garbage (he says with all the self-assurance of someone who didn't see the first episodes). My point is that some people lead by letting their people do what they are good at. Anyway, I am still a Kwame fan, despite the astrology thing.


The "Esquire Suite" ... oh, Esquire Magazine. I thought it had to do with being a lawyer. Silly me. ("If you are successful, someday you will live in a place like this." What a load of crap!)

The "task": a day full of interviews? Gee, this is suspenseful ... not.

Kwame: defending his energy level. Yawn.

Amy: describe the organization. She tries, but the interviewer won't let her talk!

Bill: who is doing the interview here? Name a weakness, Bill. (How about this, Bill: "Sometimes I am just too motivated.") What a stupid interview question! Rookie interviewer.

Nick: Duhhhhhh!

This editing is attempting to make the interviews sound intense, but it is mostly just confusing.

Oh my, the interviews are over in five minutes! Good, I got the abridged version of the show.

And now they are going to the boardroom. What is happening here?

Looks like Amy is going down. All show, no substance. "Perfect teeth."

Now, all of a sudden, Kwame's lack of energy is starting to look like a nice personality. He's in.

Looks like its between Bill and Nick. I think Bill is the man.


Back in the boardroom. Everyone wants to get rid of Nick. "Salesman, not a leader." Goodbye Nick. (But The Donald gives him kudos on the way out: "You really are outstanding." Not a bad consolation prize.)

Bill says that he graduated from Loyola cum laude; therefore, he could have gone to any business school or any law school that he wanted. Right!

Amy is going down. Boy, what a meltdown. (I wonder if she is thinking about marrying Nick now.)

It's 8:22, and decisions are already made.

The Drifters are running though my mind, "Up on the roof ..." Bill and Kwame waxing philisophical. (I wonder if the Brewers are playing?)


The final task: Bill runs a golf tournament, and Kwame runs a Jessica Simpson concert.

The employees: Yikes! Everyone is back. Nice twist.

Ok, let's play sandlot. Pick teams. I think Kwame is setting up Bill by picking all of the worst employees. If he wins this group, there will be no doubt that Kwame is the man. (Or that the whole thing is rigged so the HBS grad wins.)

(So, tell me: how did Jessica Simpson ever get popular? Yuck!)

Omarosa gets a phone call, then comes back to the table all in a huff. What happened there? Is she psychotic? Anyway, I notice that Troy's accent is (mostly) gone. Kwame is wondering what he got himself into.

Normally, employees have some incentive to perform. They can be fired or promoted. I suppose looking like a doofus on TV just isn't enough here. Weird.


Omarosa must be a mole. No one would act like this in front a camera ... would she? Kwame has caught on: he wants to fire Omarosa, but says he "doesn't have that luxury." Send her to her room!

Bill is offended that Leslie thinks he is a rookie.

This show seemed so much more interesting when I was just reading Ann's blog entries about it. [But Spiderman 2 looks pretty cool.]


Jessica Simpson is missing! (This is the best news I have heard all show.) Omarosa calls this a "small issue." Will Omarosa ever get a job after this show? Kwame: "never let 'em see you sweat." Someone please have an original thought before I explode!

The show ends, and Jessica is still missing. A whole week with no Jessica Simpson! I am starting to like this show again. Now if they could just make The Donald disappear.

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April 01, 2004
Blogging "The Apprentice" ...
Posted by Gordon Smith

Gabbity, gab, gab. Focus on Amy. Bill says she has the "God complex." Nick is feeling offended. As I said last week, this is like high school.

"The call." Come down to Trump. Troy and Kwame are "real friends." Bill is the odd man out. High school again. I don't get Troy.

"Trump luxury": 90th floor penthouse in Trump World Plaza. The Donald is all pitch, all the time.

The task: rent the penthouse for no less than $20,000.

Troy is Protege project manager. Early pick: this team is going down. Troy leaves the show tonight.

Protege is busy gathering information. Meanwhile, Versacorp is showing the place. Do Nick and Amy hate each other now. Icy! Bottom line: no way they lose the one woman who is left this early.


Back from the commercial break. The Donald on passion. Deep.

Now Protege is eating lunch. Do they ever talk to potential clients? Here we go. Oh my! Troy is a total used car salesman. And this "Southern Boy Learns Yiddish" bit is so lame. Now he is lying to the clients. Troy, you're fired!

Now Amy is saying "We've entertained offers up to $40,000." Amy just went down a notch in my view. Not only was she lying, but she couldn't even do it convincingly.

Troy gets an offer of $32,500 from the lie-ees. Almost ready to close the deal. But there is another party!!! Bidding war! Looks good for Protege. Now Troy is asking for $38,500, and the guy thinks he is being hustled. He was right! Troy ... that was your fatal mistake.

They still get the other clients to offer $35,001. Kwame suggested the $1 extra. He is really sharp.

Nick and Amy are still playing high school, but they find a client. What's the price? Did I miss the price? I suppose this is the "suspense" for this lame task.

I thought this was an hour-long show, and they are already done with the task.

The boardroom:

Protege = $35,001. Versacorp = $40,800!!! Whoa! Did I call this? Yes!

The Donald to Protege: "Somebody gets fired." Cut to Troy. Now I am beginning to wonder. The only one who is safe for sure is Kawme. But Troy's got two big strikes: (1) he lied to potential clients; and (2) he overplayed his hand and lost a client. As it turned out, that bid wouldn't have won, but still.


OK. We're back. Looks like we get a half hour of Amy/Nick makeup and Protege hand-wringing. Gross.

Bill is playing Iago to Nick and Amy. Gee whiz ... who do I like less: Troy or Bill? They are making The Donald look good.

The Donald's plane. Wow! How could you fly commercial after that?

What's this? Guests! Amy's sister and Nick's dad. That's a pretty cool twist. I couldn't stomach just Nick and Amy ... my Apprentice blogging would end one and a half shows into it.

Oh my! Amy is talking about marriage?! (Can we just name Kwame the winner of this and get it over with?) Now the dad says that Nick "has been through a number of women." And when Nick claims that he is single, the dad asks, "What about the one on the west coast?" Yikes! How not to endear yourself to your son. This guy reminds me of the Jeff Foxworthy bit: "You know your a redneck when you get jazzed knocking the legs out from under your son."

Five minutes at Mira Lago, and guilt would overwhelm me.


Now we learn that Kwame is into astrology. Huh? You are above that.

The boardroom. The suitcases. The tension. Not much tonight. I am starting to regret getting into this.

The Donald loves the $35,000 deal. He'll keep it.

The Donald is quizzing all of them. Bill is dissing education (trying to bring Kwame's Harvard MBA down a notch). Troy is ingratiating. Out comes the Southern accent. Why do Southerners always think that makes people like them?

Troy invited Kwame to the boardroom ... proof that Troy is an idiot. He had a chance against Bill, but he is nothing against Kwame.


Back to the boardroom. Kwame needs more experience. Troy is a "loose cannon."

Troy is reading from notes. Trump doesn't like notes! (Gee whiz, we have something in common.)

Troy relies on instinct because he doesn't have education. The Donald: "You know, education is not a bad thing." This guy is growing on me.

The Donald: "This is the toughest choice I have had to make." Troy, you're fired!

Troy and Kwame are still friends. That's sweet.

Boy, did I call it. Was it that transparent?

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March 25, 2004
Blogging "The Apprentice"
Posted by Gordon Smith

This is an experiment. Inspired by Ann Althouse's passion for The Apprentice, I am watching my first full show tonight. (How long is this thing, anyway?)

Ooh ... Troy and Kwame choose Bill, and everyone is shocked! Amy is always first pick! Even a newbie like me can tell that Troy is trying to diss Amy, and that seems like a mistake. "Pride goes before a fall." Play to win the rounds, Troy, not to bring Amy down.

Trump is bragging about "Trump Tower" and the "Trump Taj Mahal." Does he have to have his name on everything? He reminds me of the Seinfeld character who kept referring to himself in the third person. (Johnny?) Anyway, I am happier when he if off screen.

OK, I have been watching this for five minutes, and I am ready to hire Kwame.

Amy and Katrina can't stand each other ... and Katrina can't keep up. Amy is so much sharper. Katrina thinks sex solves all. So far, she has been right, but her days are numbered.

Love interest ... Nick and Amy. Amy: "I don't know how I feel about Nick. I don't know where it will go. Maybe it's time to find out." What have I gotten myself into here? Arrgh!


Ok, back from the first commercial break. What is Versacorp doing? There's a car, and they are trying to get people to "sign up," but no one know what they are signing up for. They're running a contest for $300!?

Bill is ticked at the "hookers" hired by Versacorp. He claims that they are being "unprofessional" by approaching potential gamblers. Bill is confrontational, but Troy is so condescending. Goodbye, Troy.

Where is Kwame? The guy gets almost no face time. Of course, on this show, the face time is mostly uncomplimentary, so being off screen might be the best place.

Whoa! The white tiger! Spectacular stunt, but it looks like they are going for the style over the substance. Does this really make people spend money? How would I know? I don't gamble! I have never been to a casino. But if you are watching a tiger, how do you play cards?


Third segment. The Donald arrives in a helicopter. He immediately grabs a microphone and plays the crowd. Gag.

Does Amy ever make a mistake? She saw right right through the superficial tiger stunt.

Versacorp is doing a lottery drawing. Lame. It's like the commercial where people are looking for printer cartridges.

The results:

- Versacorp attracted 1337 gamblers who spent $105,352.
- Protege attracted only 776 gamblers, but went after the VIPs, who spent $123,000+. (I guess the tiger worked? Did it have any connection to what they were doing with the VIPs?)

Protege wins. The Donald is gloating that Amy has finally lost a round. She is really ticked. No other way to describe it. Off to the boardroom! Goodbye Katrina! (Troy gets a reprieve.) There is no way the show loses the potential love interest and leaves the two women against three men. Of course, if Katrina goes, only one woman remains. Nevertheless, that's my call.


Back again. Amy is worried, but not too much. She was the project manager, but frankly, her teammates are lame.

Do they really need to have them pack their suitcases before the visit to the boardroom? This is like daycare.

Ok, we are all agreed that we hate to lose. Amy thinks Bill is her "toughest competition." She is portraying herself as top dog. Good strategy. So, Nick, are you still interested? What a doofus.

Everyone is dissing the car promotion. It's unanimous. The idea was stupid. Trump wants to know who had the idea. Katrina is trying to blame Amy. This is like high school!

Ok, Nick's in the clear. He goes back to the suite. Geepers, this is pretty suspenseful.


Down to Amy and Katrina. Looks like everyone wants to cut Amy some slack.

Katrina senses that she is going down.

Nick and Amy's relationship is becoming an issue. The Donald refers to him as "boyfriend." But he is just trying to make it look close.

The Donald: "Katrina, I have to say, you're fired."


So, did I learn anything about entrepreneurship? Hmm. I am impressed with the chutzpah of the contestants, but I have a fundamental problem with any exercise that is designed to replicate The Donald. If that is ultimately the goal, there are two obvious candidates: Bill and Amy. My favorite, however, remains Kwame.

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March 19, 2004
Apprentice 2?
Posted by Gordon Smith

I should like The Apprentice -- after all, it is basically an entrepreneurship challenge -- but I still remember the first round of Donald fascination, and I haven't yet overcome my revulsion. Now I learn that NBC is casting for Apprentice 2. Having already missed Omarosa ... am I too late to start watching the original Apprentice?

Update: Last night, not long after I wrote this entry, I watched a re-cap show, in which The Donald described each of the competitions and showed the results. I am up to speed!

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