So, for starters, we're gonna call this week's episode week 7 and 8. I know that it's only week 7, but to help me keep track of where we are with the tasks, I'm gonna call it 7 and 8. Keep up!! ;-)
This episode started off wonderfully for me. As a result of winning as project manager during last week's task, I was able to present a lot of money to my charity, National Inclusion Project. We traveled to a camp in upstate New York and got a chance to play some parachute games with some kids, and it was a nice respite from the craziness of Manhattan for a bit. PLEASE take a look at www.inclusionproject.org and find out more about how the organization is able to make sure kids with disabilities don't get left out!
Our first task this episode is a fundraiser. We were told we would be designing and publishing "celebrity" guidebooks of New York City. The team that raises the most money selling would win. There would also be a surprise cash bonus for the team that created the best guidebook.
The women, under the direction of Teresa, dive right in to creating an elaborate design showcasing the different hot spots that each of them enjoyed in the city. They spent a LOT of time running around the city trying to take pictures of as many places as possible. That ate away at their schedule and caused them to get behind in the making of their book. Of course, this created a lot of tension as Lisa felt the pinch and felt she was left with the responsibility of putting the guidebook together on her own. And Teresa felt pressured by Debbie in general.
There are a lot of unseen deadlines that are required of us during each task. Concepts must be approved hours before things are due to the printer. These hidden deadlines can really add to the stress and make things combustible. It's TV right!? ;-) To prevent this, over on the Dee Snider-led Team Unanimous, the concept is to stay in the same location and go up as high as possible to simply take broad shots of general neighborhoods in Manhattan. It certainly made things far less stressful since we went to the roof of Trump Tower and never left the building (therefore being done with out photography in a matter of 30 minutes) but the pictures showed practically nothing! We each wrote blurbs to go with a neighborhood that we were paired with and most of them reflected connections we had to those neighborhoods and sounded personal.
But the bulk of the task was about fundraising... Team Forte spent less time making phone calls to call big donors than did Unanimous, but both teams pulled in some pretty big checks. Penn called Blue Man Group, a performance troupe he had been instrumental in helping get off the ground. They offered to bring $8000 in cash to Team Unanimous' cause. But as Penn explained, BMG does not handle money. As performers, their characters do not exist in a world that has money, and so they would need to deliver the money in a different way. As I recall, Penn had told us that they were going to bring the money in a blue balloon and put it on the ground and pop it. We would have to reach down and pick it up.
I remember thinking it was sorta silly and why couldn't they just come in their street clothes and make a donation like a normal person? I mean... Vince McMahon has made donations to Apprentice. You didn't see him setting up a wrestling ring and having someone pile drive a suitcase of money. But, whatever! It wasn't my task. It was Dee's, and Dee loved everything Penn came up with! The chaos that ensued as a result of them BLOWING THE BALLOONS UP in MID-AIR and BLOWING $8000 in TEN DOLLAR BILLS all around the streets of NY could not possibly be portrayed in a TV show. It was PANDEMONIUM. And it pissed me off. In the end, we collected a little over $4000 of that $8000. (That number is verified, Dee.) And I felt it was inexcusable that anyone would think that while raising money for charity it is okay to let money fly all over the street. (Even as I write this, I am getting mad again.)
I expressed my displeasure in the Boardroom and felt vindicated a little bit when Mr. Trump agreed that it wasn't the greatest idea in the world. In fact, in the end, when the men's team won out over the women by only $14, it became even more obvious that losing money because of something so foolish could have been the death of us! And, if I'm being honest, there was a part of me that wished I had not fought that homeless man for those two 10-dollar bills. Had we lost, Penn's antics might have been exposed more.
But for Teresa, it seems that the reason for firing this week was based not on fundraising ability, but instead on whom she didn't care for. Instead of bringing back the team member who raised the least amount of money, Teresa brought back Dayana and Debbie. Mr. Trump even commented on Teresa's decision not to bring Aubrey back and seemingly regretted that he had to fire Debbie Gibson. Debbie had NOT raised the least amount of money on her team, but she had raised the least amount amongst the three ladies in the Boardroom.
Dee was able to present a SUBSTANTIAL check to March of Dimes as a result of his win, but he couldn't celebrate too long because our next task began immediately! Upon meeting Mr. Trump for our "task delivery" he surprises us with the news that he will be switching up the teams!! Lou, Dee and Penn move to Team Forte. Aubrey and Teresa take their place on Team Unanimous. I was actually surprised that Penn and I were separated. I mean... it seemed that he would probably continue frustrating the hell out of me, and that might have made for great TV. But we were rescued from each other, somehow.
Immediately, Team Forte got to work designing the concept for their "live health segment" for Walk with Walgreens. Though Lou was the project manager for the team, Dee and Penn were the ones who brought the working style of the former men's team to the Forte war room. They focused on trying to make sure everyone got along, and it seemed to work.
But over on Unanimous, Aubrey brought the "style" she was used to over on the former women's team: "Aubrey's Way." Aubrey quickly stepped up with some great ideas, but she seemed to steamroll over Arsenio, the project manager, on several occasions. In fact, Arsenio tried several times to "convince" Aubrey to do things his way (as opposed to "ordering" her to), yet Aubrey insisted on making the membership kit box her way, not Arsenio's. As a participant and observer, it certainly seemed to me that Arsenio was going OUT OF HIS way to encourage an environment of collaboration and camaraderie. In fact, there were several times when I privately asked him why he wouldn't just tell her to be quiet or listen to him. Yet, he insisted to me that he wanted to make the transition to our new team members as smooth as possible.
By the time we got to the Boardroom, Arsenio had spent all his energy keeping the peace within the team, and I think he felt proud of himself. Paul and I certainly believed he had achieved his goal.
What you didn't see in the Boardroom scenes this week: The first thing Mr. Trump asked each of us was how we felt about Arsenio as project manager. I spoke highly of him (as televised). Teresa spoke highly of him, as did Paul. When Aubrey was asked, she gave a very lukewarm "eh... he was only okay." This shocked me and appeared to be posturing. I am pretty sure THAT is what set Arsenio off on Aubrey. After days of trying to guide the team to work together AND of allowing Aubrey to steamroll large parts of the task, Aubrey threw Arsenio under the bus... and so he started swinging. It was a contentious Boardroom to say the least.
Aubrey felt that Arsenio and I were ganging up on her. Paul agreed with us that she should be fired, and even when Aubrey turned to Teresa for support, she only got a tacit response. If one person has a problem with you, it could be their problem. But when three (and maybe four) people do, you probably ought to take a look at the way you are doing things.
It turned out not to matter who Unanimous believed should be fired, because we won, and Team Forte was on the hot seat. PM Lou brought back perennial Boardroom favorite Dayana and Dee Snider.
At one point, Lou seemed to accuse Dee of spending time wooing Dayana, which I must say is one of the most preposterous accusations I have ever heard! Ha ha. I love Lou, but he was clearly grasping at straws to try to point the blame on someone else. And it must have worked because Lou ended up being safe. Dayana, the most resilient contestant in Apprentice history, escaped the ax again. Dee, who had designed a membership kit that displeased the Walgreens executives, took the elevator ride to a waiting car.
Make sure you DO NOT miss next week's episode to find out how Lisa reacts when she discovers that the two team members she despises the most are still in the game! That alone is worth tuning in for! But there's a LOT more excitement and "entertainment" in store in next week's episode... you may even see Paul Sr. as you've never seen him before... in a sweater vest!