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Cash or credit

The rules of The Apprentice got a little clearer this week; the project manager has to choose two people each week to go into the final stage with him, and one of the three gets fired. So, OK, Troy didn’t totally blow it last week. On the other hand, now the team is saddled with a total malcontent in Sam for at least a little while longer; I still think you gotta do a better job of balancing the strategy of picking the bad performers and the management difficulty of staying on everyone’s good side.

The challenge was creating an ad campaign for corporate jets this week, and the women won with more or less the same strategy as last time. Sex sells. I’m still not sure this is going to cut it for future CEOs, but it’s sure winning the challenges. And, in all fairness, Amy did a really solid-looking job as project manager.

Jason was the PM for the guys, and did OK except that he didn’t arrange to meet the client. Me, I would have asked who was judging the presentations and made sure I knew what he wanted — which wasn’t the client, but the CEO of the ad agency made his decision based on what the client wanted, so it came down to the same thing. Pretty dumb to just go off and work creatively without any direction, anyhow.

Sam was the consensus choice for the first poor performer. He fell asleep on the job, literally. Jason picked Nick as the other guy and did a very bad job of it. There wasn’t anyone who was standout bad, and Jason had to pick someone, but he should have made it very clear that Nick was great and that he’d have preferred not to pick anyone else but Sam. Or, for a really daring move, picked the best person and said “Mr. Trump, this is the last guy you should fire and I’m picking him because I don’t want you to even consider firing anyone but me or Sam.” The project managers need to stand up and take more responsibility.

No harm done, except to Jason, since Trump told Nick he wouldn’t be fired right off the bat. Next, Sam made a fool of himself. Next, Trump fired Jason, which is utterly clearly a case of keeping the personality conflict on the show. Sure, Jason should have met with the client, and he’s the obvious second choice. But Sam fell asleep on the job and has no way to be a contributing member of the team. I don’t think Jason had any way out of the trap, though, since there was nobody but Sam on the team who did a poor job.

So now the guys are down two people, and Sam’s useless, so they’re down three people. They should pick Sam as PM next week, and suck down the loss knowing that Trump will have to fire Sam. There’s a good chance that Sam’ll screw up badly enough to make them lose next time anyhow.

Meanwhile, the women are in pretty good shape except that Ereka and Omarosa are arguing at every opportunity. Omarosa hates the whole sex sells approach, and I can’t blame her, but that stance is isolating her from the rest of the women. OK, I guess the women are effectively at seven people. The first time they lose there’s gonna be some implosions happening, but as long as they win there’s no chance for the backbiting to become, well, effective.

Possibly next week someone will actually notice that there’s strategy to this game. I won’t be too harsh on them; it took me two episodes before I figured it out. And someday the women will lose, which will make for great closing sequence fun.

Oh — about my lemonade sales calculations from last time. Television Without Pity has some other numbers. Their assumptions are different, though; I figured $500 meant $500 total, but they think it means $500 profit. If you go with that, the guys did much better than the women in volume. I still think I’m right, though.

Edit: Apparently Sam is the PM next week! I hadn’t watched the teaser yet. I count coup.

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