In this week's episode, it was the battle of the redheads. One of us a rather unnatural redhead and one of us a redhead trying desperately to hide it. Yes, this week Aubrey heads the women and I take the lead with the men's team. After running my mouth off at Penn last week, it was only appropriate that I took the helm of Unanimous this week.
After Mr. Trump informed us that our task was to throw a party to launch a specific flavor of Crystal Light Mocktails (pomegranate for the ladies; peach for the men), we are treated to a showcase of why, as contestants, we can never trust the producers!! ;-) During interviews/confessionals for this episode, one of the producers interviewing me tried hard to get me to talk about why Aubrey was better suited to throw a party than I am. Granted, she is. Aubrey loves parties and throws them and attends them often. But that wasn't quite what I said in the interview. Even though I was pretty confident that my colorful choice of words would prevent the producers from using that footage, somehow they did anyway.
When we split into teams, it was obvious from the start that Aubrey and the women had the upper hand on this task. Teresa, Aubrey, Debbie et al are lively ladies with lots of experience throwing parties, and they immediately jumped into coming up with themes and ideas for their event. Meanwhile, over on Unanimous, the men were struggling. Despite the names on our team, we really aren't partiers, so when it came time for brainstorming we were lost. The edit of the show may have made it seem like our brainstorming session was quick and to the point, but the fact was that for almost 45 minutes we were completely silent around that table.
I finally honed in on a beach theme. My extended family sells peaches every summer at a roadside stand on a small road that tourists travel on their way to the North Carolina beach. So peaches and beaches are sort of connected to me. Doing something laid back and vibrant was gonna be far easier to pull off than trying to be classy (which I don't think I have ever been in my life).
The women went high concept. They decided to portray the pomegranate as the "forbidden fruit" which is now accessible because Crystal Light makes it only five calories. It was a clever idea and one that they pulled off quite well, if you ask me.
When it came time to decorate and design the space for the party, Teresa was a huge asset to Forte. As she explained to the cameras, she has exquisite taste and was invaluable in helping to choose decor and really make the place sparkle. Aubrey decided to make the "Garden of Eden"/"Garden of Crystal deLight" theme run through the decor and used high concept photos of flowers and plant life to convey that. Patricia was in charge of printing those photos and making sure that the Crystal Light logos were in as many places as possible. The Forte room looked INCREDIBLE. Seriously. If you had seen what these rooms started out as (bare and dirty walls, stained concrete floors) you would have been amazed at how great those women made their room look.
In fact, if you want to see what the room started out looking like, checking out what Unanimous' room looked like would be a great place to start. Having no decorating sense of my own (despite my mother being an interior designer), I decided that beach theme meant bare minimum! To cover the dingy walls, we simply put up curtains and shined colored lights on them to give the effect of a sunset. To cover the floors, we just threw down what seemed like a dump truck full of sand. Lou had a clever idea to build a fake "boardwalk" leading up from the front door to the main floor. As far as furniture goes... well... that was a big concern. We had been provided with a budget for furniture and decorations from New York Lounge Decor, a party supply company in New York. I immediately felt that we would have no problem staying within our budget there because we wanted so few items. However, when the representative showed up to go through the catalog with us, everything that they were able to provide looked like it belonged in high class/high end restaurants and nightclubs. They had almost NOTHING that would fit with a beach theme. It was clear immediately that the ladies would be going with a party more like a wedding reception, and I was concerned that we were on the wrong track. But we forged ahead anyway. The decor providers were able to offer two small tiki bars, which Paul and Lou modified to fit our needs. Penn and Arsenio scoured the city for beach chairs and beachwear despite it being the middle of winter in NYC. Dee worked on signage for our space, and I tried to supervise and help in as many areas as possible, all while never taking off my coat because it was cold as hell in that room. (I'm thin-skinned... gimme a break!)
On the day of the party, set up continues right up until the last minute for each team. When the doors open on Unanimous, a flood of people walk in. Of course, when you watch the episode on TV, it seems like there is a stressful moment for us when no one is showing up. But, in real "reality" we had a line of 30-some people outside waiting to get in. (You know those TV folks have to make it dramatic!)
The executives visit both parties and are really tasked with the challenge of comparing apples to oranges... or maybe I should say pomegranates to peaches... because both parties were SOOO different. The women had a very classy affair, while us guys had limbo games and hula shirts and women in bikinis.
In the end, the Crystal Light executives believed that Unanimous had done a better job of capturing the "fun" and "lively" "party-in-a-pack" type atmosphere that they were looking for, and therefore we were safe for another week. And I was able to send $50,000 back to my charity, National Inclusion Project, an organization that helps include kids with disabilities into activities with their non-disabled peers. The organization's goal for the past eight years has been to prevent kids with disabilities from being left on the sidelines. Please check out the website at www.inclusionproject.org
The women of Forte were really shocked. Remember, most weeks we are only able to judge our own teams chances based on how well we feel we did on our own task. Only rarely are we actually able to see what the other team did. So, knowing that they had thrown an incredible party and likely believing that we had attempted to throw a high-class affair similar to theirs, the women were confident that their party was superior to anything we might have been able to cobble together. I'm sure that once they saw this episode they understood what made ours stand out! ;-)
Aubrey, through tears big enough to drown a moose, chose Dayana and Patricia to come back to the Boardroom with her to risk firing. The fact that she held much greater disdain for Dayana than Patricia was not enough for Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump believed that a major flaw in the Forte party was the lack of Crystal Light signage. That was deemed to be the responsibility of Patricia, and she was fired.
Patricia was one of the classiest women on Team Forte. Her organization Wayuu Taya Foundation is very important to her... please check them out as well, at www.wayuutaya.org
Next week is a SUPERSIZED version of the show... starting at 8PM/7 central (instead of 9)... it's a longer episode, but I PROMISE you it is the best of the season thus far. If you want drama... next week is for you!!! The men's team LITERALLY blows it... and Mr. Trump finally mixes the teams. Sending EVERYTHING into turmoil. DON'T MISS IT.