The Donald is Back: Apprentice Season 10
"This is the toughest job interview in the world."
And so began Season 10 of the NBC hit show, The Apprentice." This time, Donald Trump's show returns to its roots: B-list celebrities are replaced by 16 good looking no-names from around the country. Or at least they're no-names for now. (Remember, Omarosa was a no-name once. Some might say she is again, but I digress.)
Contestants are a diverse group of mostly unemployed professionals and range in age from a 24-year-old Stanford grad named Poppy to a 46-year-old ex-Air Force guy and laid-off financial adviser.
Donald Trump, known for his flash, cash, and immobile hairstyle welcomed the group to his board room with, "Life is tough, life is mean." He declared the teams men versus women.
Picking team names
You'd think they were naming NFL franchises but in the insulated world of The Apprentice, the men and women tried to define themselves with originality. So original, that both teams considered "Phoenix" because they were "rising from the ashes."
On the men's side, one member, Alex, got his mythology confused and offered, "Icarus." Icarus, so the story goes, flew too close to the sun, the wax on his makeshift wings melted, and he fell from the sky to his death. Bad name.
Immediately, critique began. Steuart said, "I don't know how bright Alex is. You have to be able to remember that fifth grade mythology stuff."
The men chose "Octane" for their moniker. Despite a room full of alpha-males, no one stepped up to be the first project manager. Gene, the senior member, was semi-nominated. His seniority would serve him well.
The girls went with "Fortitude," thanks to some help from Thesaurus.com or some other online wordsmith. Nicole, a former Miss California runner up volunteered to be project manager before anyone could open their mouths.
Mahsa, a Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney, called it a "ballsy move."
The first project had the teams design and build ultra-modern office space out of empty NYC lofts. Members on both teams acted like rabid cats at first. There was a lot of hissing among team members which clearly showed inefficiencies. Yes, these individuals just met each other but they didn't have time for a coffee klatch to get acquainted. The project managers didn't step up to get their team members under control. The word "focus" was often muttered--but someone needed to scream it. On both teams.
During the challenges, Trump's daughter Ivanka and son Don Jr. are his eyes and ears, checking on team progress.
Ivanka popped in on the men. "I want to be supportive but I'm not seeing anything that blows my socks off," she said.
At the women's slate colored divided loft, Don commented, "They have a long way to go."
When Nicole, the project manager, made her presentation, she was surprisingly rough, considering she is an attorney.
The men appeared to be more of a team when it came together in their rainbow-colored space. Their presentation was also rocky, especially when two people slipped on rugs in the office.
The ones to watch
Every season of the Apprentice has once to watch. On the girls' side, Nicole and Tyana, a former real estate executive, exhibited a little passive aggressive tension. Nicole and Mahsa exchanged words as well.
Gene and David, a former sales rep, and divorced father of five, had a public tussle when David did not want to follow Gene's orders. David was proud to work for Gene in the end. Gene, however, threw him under the bus in the board room.
Working for the board room
Many side-bar conversations centered on team members covering their butts in the board room and pleasing Trump. Rather than focus on the project and the best way to complete it as a team, contestants were game-playing. Trump knows what the show is about, but he is also looking to hire an employee who will help his bottom line, not play a game.
Both teams ultimately failed; Trump didn't like either office.
He brought up the lose carpets on the men's side and criticized Anand, the person responsible for the rugs.
On the women's side, Nicole stood up for their results. The issue with Tyana came in the board room and the women sided with Tyana over Nicole.
Don Jr. and Ivanka both liked the open plan of the men's office. Don likened the women's to a 200-year-old law firm. The victory goes to the men and Gene gets to hang with The Donald.
A cool addition this season is that the winning team gets to watch the other team in the board room. Seeing the men's reaction to the women was amusing. Trump noted the catty-ness of the women saying, "You are killers."
Mahsa, Tyana and Nicole were called into the board room. The first axe fell on Nicole's neck for being a poor project manager and not making stronger decisions. All is not lost for Nicole; Trump said he'd set up an interview for her at the Miss Universe pageant.
The most touching moment came during the challenge, when David excused himself to make his regular call to the Michigan Department of Labor and Unemployment to get certified for his unemployment payments.
"Being unemployed has shattered me as a man," says David. It was the moment of the show that hit home. Michigan is the number two state in unemployment in the US right now, at 13.1%, after Nevada's 14.3%. In the board room, David implied that he's not looking for pity. Maybe so, but likely does exemplify many viewers who are probably sending out resumes while watching the show.