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College Kids Flame-Broiled in 'Apprentice 3' Opener

By Rick Porter
You know, if shows like "The Apprentice" insist on taking only a few weeks off between cycles, it's going to be really hard to miss them while they're gone. Or at least let the levels of bile return to normal after watching 16 weeks of boardroom boneheadedness.

These were my thoughts as the third edition of "The Apprentice" began Thursday (Jan. 20) with Donald Trump dividing the 18 players into "book smarts" -- those with at least a bachelor's degree -- and "street smarts" -- those who have succeeded in business without a college degree.

Imagine my (mildly pleasant) surprise, then, to find out that a decent number of these folks might actually be tolerable to watch over the next few months.

A couple of them look to be reliable comic relief as well.
Just who belongs on which team, Trump leaves to the players to figure out. He does drop one little tidbit, though: The street-smarts team has a collective net worth triple that of the book-learnin' group.

Seizing on that fact, the no-degree-having team decides to call itself Net Worth Corp. The college boys and girls go with Magna (as in cum laude), and I'm just happy that both have names because it would have gotten really tiresome to find a bunch of different ways to say one team's been to college and one hasn't (or at least didn't finish). And, by the way, those are easily the best team names in "Apprentice" history -- no Mosaic or Versacorp nonsense this time.

As the Magna folks come up with their name, casual-dressing, guitar-playing marketing dude Danny gets his teammates to punctuate every decision with a group yelling of "Unbelievable!," which makes you wonder if Danny once worked as a guide on Disney's Jungle Cruise ride. The Net Worthers get a good chuckle at this early camaraderie, rightly so.

The first task is to manage a Burger King and pimp one of six new sandwiches the fast-food chain is offering, because New Yorkers move fast and time is money and blah blah blah (Trump, it seems, is his same old aggrandizing self). Magna's Alex makes the requisite if-you-don't-go-to-college-you'll-end-up-flipping-burgers reference.

Net Worth, led by restaurant-experienced John as project manager, decides to promote a Western burger, which in fast-food parlance means it has barbecue sauce, bacon and a couple of onion rings on it. Magna goes with a triple-cheese burger because Verna, a self-described veteran burger eater, would buy it in real life.

With burgers selected, the teams set about figuring out how to sell them. Magna project manager Todd sends Danny and Stephanie, one of two "supply chain consultants" on the team, to BK HQ to discuss marketing strategy. Lawyer Alex is put in charge of the restaurant, deciding which team members get assigned to which tasks.

All except Todd, that is, who sits in a booth at Magna's restaurant, making notes and spouting platitudes.

Net Worth, meanwhile, is off and running to capitalize on its western theme, printing up fake "Wanted" posters and organizing a giveaway of two plane tickets to Vegas from a travel agent -- who turns out to be a guy working out of his apartment. Hope the winner made it.

They also head to a novelty store to pick up some cowboy costumes to help sell the product. Boisterous Brian gets the store to throw in, for no reason at all, a plastic Viking helmet. Sure.

After pooh-poohing several of Stephanie's ideas, Danny hits on a "triple play" idea, using a baseball theme to lure customers. That's fine, except "baseball" somehow ends up translating to "wearing little Styrofoam ball-topped antennae on your heads and setting up a seriously weak carny game outside the store while Danny plays his guitar." Seriously, Morgan Spurlock could have sold fast food better.

An amused Carolyn sums Magna's efforts, which also include serious bottlenecks during the lunchtime rush, thusly: "Sad, very sad."

Okay, so I know Mark Burnett and Co. are absolutely tilting the premiere in favor of Net Worth; hooray for the little guy and all that. Based on what we do see, though, Net Worth absolutely deserves its victory, selling 40-some more units of its burger than the Magna folks do of theirs.

As a reward, the team gets dinner with The Donald and the soon-to-be Mrs. The Donald at '21,' where Brian lets fly a couple of bleeped-out curses that probably will come back to haunt him in a future boardroom. The project manager exemption from last season is in place, meaning John is safe next week if his team loses.

Todd tells Alex and Danny before the boardroom that he's taking them to the firing line with him. After everyone makes fun of the way Danny dresses, Todd follows through on his pledge -- something he didn't do much of while running his team.

Trump looks pretty disgusted will all three. Danny's a loose cannon with no sense of direction, and Alex badly botched his restaurant-manager duties by not training enough people to work the registers.

But for showing "zero, zero leadership," Todd is the first one fired, securing his place with all those other people you can't quite remember as reality-show footnotes.


Book Smarts Check In a Win! Brian Fired!

January 27, 2005
Up in the suite, the candidates wondered who would return from the boardroom. Bren was sure that Danny would be fired, calling him a "loose cannon." But then the front door opened to reveal Danny and Alex. Danny's team reacted surprised but happy as the man in the leisure suit strode back in. Danny and Alex were welcomed back with plenty of hugs. In an interview, Danny admitted that Trump called him a "disaster," but he felt that Trump saw the similarities between the two - that they were both brash individuals. But Danny admitted that he would have to prove himself going forward.

The next day, The Donald met the two teams at Trump International Hotel and Tower. Before he got down to business, Trump noticed that Danny had ditched his more unique business wear for a traditional suit. Trump complimented Danny on the new look. Then The Donald laid out the task. Each team would be given $20,000 to renovate a motel on the New Jersey shore on a very tight schedule. The teams would then welcome paying guests, who would rate the motel and the customer service they received through Yahoo! Local. The team with the highest rating from the guests would win. George and Carolyn would be along to keep a watchful eye on things. As always, the losers would return to the boardroom where someone would be fired.

Up in the suite, the candidates wondered who would return from the boardroom. Bren was sure that Danny would be fired, calling him a "loose cannon." But then the front door opened to reveal Danny and Alex. Danny's team reacted surprised but happy as the man in the leisure suit strode back in. Danny and Alex were welcomed back with plenty of hugs. In an interview, Danny admitted that Trump called him a "disaster," but he felt that Trump saw the similarities between the two - that they were both brash individuals. But Danny admitted that he would have to prove himself going forward.
The next day, The Donald met the two teams at Trump International Hotel and Tower. Before he got down to business, Trump noticed that Danny had ditched his more unique business wear for a traditional suit. Trump complimented Danny on the new look. Then The Donald laid out the task. Each team would be given $20,000 to renovate a motel on the New Jersey shore on a very tight schedule. The teams would then welcome paying guests, who would rate the motel and the customer service they received through Yahoo! Local. The team with the highest rating from the guests would win. George and Carolyn would be along to keep a watchful eye on things. As always, the losers would return to the boardroom where someone would be fired.

Brian, of Net Worth (Street Smarts), volunteered to be Project Manager and no one on the team objected - at least out loud. Not everyone thought Brian was the man for the job. Although she was quiet in the group, in an interview, Kristen had much to say. She warned that with Brian as Project Manager, the team was doomed to chaos.

When Net Worth arrived at the Surfside Motel, the team was excited. Angie said that the place looked great. But when she walked into one of the rooms, her opinion quickly changed. Tara said that people on her team were shocked at seeing the rooms, which were filled with mildew, broken walls and horrible smells. While things were ugly on the inside of the motel, they started to get ugly on the outside when Kristen, who was in charge of the team's budget, clashed with Brian. Brian ordered a dumpster so that the team could begin their renovations, but Kristen felt that they really needed a budget before they started spending any money. In spite of this, Brian said to go ahead and order the dumpster. Frustrated, Kristen voiced her dissent. In an interview, Brian said of Kristen, "I think she forgets I'm the Project Manager."

Magna (Book Smarts) arrived at their motel, the Sea Garden. They too loved the outside of the place. And they too discovered a motel of horrors on the inside. There was everything from water damage to families of bugs thriving in the bathtubs.

Michael, the Project Manager, and Verna, whose responsibilities included customer service, didn't see eye to eye. The two argued over what to focus on. Michael's top priority was renovating the motel; for him, that took precedence over everything. He said that if you don't have rooms, you can't have customers - and without customers, customer service wouldn't matter. But Verna felt that the physical motel was only half of the job they had before them. She thought that Michael was ignoring this fact. Michael eventually walked away from Verna, saying he didn't have time to waste on the conversation. Verna didn't seem too happy either.

Back at the Surfside Motel, Net Worth divided the work between the men and the women. The men stayed at the motel, taking inventory of the rooms and deciding what renovations were needed while the women went shopping for furnishings. Brian made the executive decision to get all new toilets - fourteen of them. Craig was stunned when he heard the news. He felt that only one or two actually needed to be replaced; the others just needed a modest investment, like a new toilet seat. Craig wasn't the only one who had a problem with replacing all of the toilets. When Audrey heard the news, she held her head in her hands in disbelief... and then said some things you just can't say on TV.

As Magna worked into the wee hours of the morning, Michael and Verna had another run-in. Michael asked Verna to paint a room, but Verna said that she still had logistical duties to take care of. In an interview, Michael said that he felt Verna took the job of managing the budget because it required the least physical labor. After some discussion, Verna agreed to paint, but that didn't end the conflict. The two exchanged words again. In the end, Verna asked Mike, "Why don't you go somewhere and do nothing like you've been doing all day?"
Net Worth had its own personality conflicts. While John was trying to counsel Brian on his use of tact, the two ended up in a tactless argument. By the end, John told Brian that he was a "silly little man" who "botched" the task - and he added that no one liked him. John warned that Brian would not win the task with his attitude. But there was more discord to come. After sunrise, Kristen laid into Brian in front of other team members. She was upset because the team didn't have enough money to buy beds - and she blamed Brian for wasting money on toilets they didn't need. When Brian said he finally wanted to review the budget, Kristen responded that she'd been asking for that since the day before and now it was too late. She called Brian a terrible leader and said that if the team loses, she would lobby for Brian to be fired - and she promised that the rest of the team would back her up on it. Kristen finally walked away, refusing to sit down with her Project Manager and go over the budget.
As the renovations came down to the wire, Magna was scheduled to receive guests, but weren't done with their work. There was trash everywhere and the rooms stunk of fresh paint. In an interview, Alex said he was convinced that his team was going to lose and that someone on Magna would be fired. At the Surfside Motel, George worried about Net Worth and was surprised that the team had not replaced the old carpeting.

At the Sea Garden, Danny and Verna worked the front desk, greeting guests and checking them in. According to Danny, they "rocked it." As Danny showed people to their rooms, he decided to tell them all that the motel would be having a get-together at 8pm that night. Well, the invitations worked. People came out of their rooms that evening for an impromptu party. The party got hopping and guests even jumped into the pool for a midnight swim. In an interview, Danny said that having college degrees really paid off in the task because he and his teammates had spent plenty of time blowing off class and partying in school. Everyone at the Sea Garden seemed to be having a great time - everyone but Verna, who kept her distance from the festivities. Verna complained that she was mentally and physically exhausted.

Back at Net Worth's motel, another argument erupted between Kristen and Brian. It was 11pm and the two argued in the courtyard, bringing guests out of their rooms to see what was going on. Angie and Audrey finally separated them. But when Angie and Audrey ended up in a van with Kristen, she was still venting about Brian. They asked Kristen to be quiet, but when she wouldn't, Angie finally exploded and said a few things that you can't say on TV. Kristen left the van and Angie was thankful that at least it was quiet.

While others on her team passed out from exhaustion, Verna said she spent most of the night pacing and worrying that she hadn't been taking care of herself. Verna wondered if she'd be able to continue. After sunrise, Bren woke up as guests were checking out. So, he went to find Verna, who was in bed. When Bren asked Verna if they had any coffee for their guests, she told him that she was no longer playing the game. Bren didn't seem to comprehend what Verna was saying, but eventually he understood that she wasn't going to be of any help. Verna closed her bedroom door, shutting out the rest of the world. Bren was worried about the team's satisfaction surveys. He said that, even though the guests had partied the night before, they were now about to fill out a survey just before missing their morning coffee. As Bren was being interviewed, Verna left the premises, wheeling her suitcase behind her. The only problem was that she didn't seem to be heading anywhere in particular. Verna seemed to wander aimlessly with her suitcase in tow.

When Carolyn heard about Verna's departure, she got in her car and drove around the neighborhood looking for her. Carolyn finally spotted Verna and jumped out of her car to talk with the wandering candidate. But Verna said nothing and she just kept on walking. When Carolyn asked Verna how she was doing, Verna remained silent and never let up her pace. Carolyn finally coaxed Verna into the car, got her talking and brought her back to the motel. On the edge of tears, Verna told Michael that she needed an attitude adjustment and said that, if the team loses, she would volunteer to be fired. While the team accepted Verna back with hugs, some team members were unhappy with her. In an interview, Erin said that Verna was in charge of customer service and blew it. She said, "Verna essentially sabotaged our blood, sweat and tears." Erin said that she wanted Verna to go home and called her "dead weight."

After all of the hard work (and after all of the surveys had been filled out), the two teams reunited back in the boardroom to learn their fate. Trump first addressed Verna. He said he heard that she had a hard time but was back. Trump said there's nothing better than a comeback in his book. Then Trump got down to the matter at hand. George reported that Net Worth received an average survey score, on a scale from 1 to 5 with 5 being best, of 2.92. But Carolyn said that Magna received a score of 3.96. Magna cheered in victory! As their reward, the group sailed aboard a magnificent yacht with well-known businessman Steve Forbes, Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine. The group had dinner, drinks and cigars. Then Forbes took off from the deck in his private helicopter. Magna ended the night with their signature cheer of "Unbelievable!" Back at the suite, there were more arguments as Brian and John got into it. John thought Brian was abrasive and a terrible leader. Brian felt that he was abandoned by his team and that he had to hire contractors to do all the work.

Net Worth took another trip back to the boardroom and Trump opened by asking the Project Manager what went wrong. Brian said there was no cooperation. Trump asked Brian if that was his fault. Brian said yes, it was. Then Trump asked Brian if he should just fire him - and Brian said yes! Trump seemed caught off guard by the answer, but he continued by getting opinions from the others on the team. Kristen thought that Brian should be fired. Audrey said that Brian was not a good leader. This set Brian off, who then quoted Kristen's foul language and Carolyn suggested that he never use that type of language in the boardroom again. John said that Brian was abrasive. Craig said Brian's leadership was lacking. Angie, however, said Chris should be fired instead of Brian, which drew a passionate response from Chris. Under questioning from George, Brian admitted that he never had a budget or a timeline for the massive renovation project. Trump said that Brian wasted money on toilets and didn't have the funds to buy new carpet, which was a major mistake. Trump wondered aloud what he was doing in the boardroom if Brian already admitted that he deserved to be fired. A bit exasperated, Trump turned to him and said, "Brian, you're fired."

Recap EP 3~
When the entire Magna group (Books Smarts) returned to the suite without Brian, the rest of the candidates were stunned. The members of Net Worth (Street Smarts) couldn't believe that Brian had told Trump that he should be fired. In an interview, Michael said the fact that Brian went home without a second boardroom put everyone on notice - Trump makes the rules and he can break them too.
Danny hoped that a day of rest would help Verna; but Verna said that she still wasn't well. Danny vowed that the team could win even if Verna wasn't up to the next task and had to sit it out. Danny got the group together to rally behind the cause and was sure the rest of the team would be "cool" with the idea. But Erin wasn't cool with it. Erin spoke up and asked what would happen if the team lost while Verna was back at the suite resting? Would Verna volunteer to be fired? Danny seemed caught off guard and the questions hung in the air. Finally, Verna broke the tension and said that she'd been resting all day and still didn't feel well. Therefore, Verna said, she should just go. So, for the second time in as many days, Verna voluntarily packed her bags and left her team. This time though, it was for good. As the other candidates made dinner and new battle plans, Verna headed out of the suite with luggage in tow.

The next day, the remaining candidates met Trump in the middle of Times Square. Trump reminded everyone that he had said this sixteen week job interview would be tough - maybe the toughest thing the candidates had ever done in their lives. Trump said that Verna couldn't hack it and quit. He asked if anyone else wanted to quit - all responded with a resounding "No!" Trump then laid out the next task. The candidates would work with Nestlé, the largest food and beverage company in the world. The teams would develop and execute a marketing campaign for the company's premium coffee brand, Nescafé Taster's Choice. Each team would get a big $75,000 budget and Trump challenged them to come up with a big idea to match. The team that created the greatest buzz, as judged by two Nescafe executives, would win. The losing team would return to the boardroom where someone would be fired. George and Carolyn would observe and report back to Trump, as always.

When Magna met, Bren nominated Danny to be their Project Manager. Bren said he had confidence in Danny and his creativity. Danny accepted the role and said that he was up to the task. During the team's brainstorming session, Michael, who had exemption on this task, found a particular theme he liked... and kept repeating it. Michael summed up his brainchild to sell coffee: sexy European models. Michael felt that attractive women were the key to java success. Erin thought Michael's strategy would alienate women. Stephanie said that Michael wasn't taking the task seriously: "He knew he was exempt, therefore he pretty much just sat back and enjoyed the ride." Even the ever-cheerful Danny was becoming short with Michael. For his part, Michael felt that his ideas weren't being given proper consideration. In an interview, Michael promised to "unleash a tirade" on Danny in the boardroom if the team lost.

Angie threw her hat into the ring to be Project Manager of Net Worth - and she got the job. Angie pitched her idea: an All-American Taster's Choice campaign where, "You have a choice." She saw a patriotic theme with an element of an election. This got the team buzzing with ideas. Chris suggested that they give away thousands of dollars to generate even more excitement.

According to Stephanie, Magna's problem was that no one knew exactly what their event was about. They had no "big idea". Stephanie called an event planner, who would help them with all of the logistics for the day. The planner gave a quote of $47,000 - nearly two thirds of the team's entire budget. Danny was unsure whether or not to hire the planner for that much money. Alex claimed that Danny was unable to make key decisions. Ultimately, Danny put the decision to a vote. Everyone voted to go with the event planner - except for Stephanie, who had gotten the initial quote. Stephanie worried that the team had no campaign and therefore couldn't give the event planner any direction. Danny accused Stephanie of not taking responsibility for her own job. As Project Manager, Danny said yes to the deal and signed the contract with the event planner.

The next challenge facing Danny was that the team still didn't have their big marketing idea. Then Bren suggested giving away iPods. He said as a newcomer to New York, the thing that stood out to him was how many people were on the go in the city with their coffee and their iPods. Danny said that everyone was onboard with the giveaway, except Michael. When asked for another idea, Michael repeated his original brainstorm that everyone had dismissed: beautiful women giving away coffee. In an interview, Stephanie said Michael was acting like a child who didn't get his way. She said she felt that someone who wins exemption shouldn't just skate by and not perform to the best of their abilities. Later, Michael balanced a platter on his head while others worked. Annoyed, Danny said, "Mike, if you need a timeout in the corner, let me know." Michael complained: "We're going to have a nice, high school production tomorrow." At that point, Danny told Michael to stop talking. They exchanged a few words and then Michael warned Danny, "The last person you want to fluster is me - and I promise you that."
The next day, some of the candidates from Magna were moving product from Nestlé offices for their event. In an interview, Bren said that he and Danny were working hard, but Michael was just sitting around. Bren continued that Danny used some colorful language and told Michael to get up and help. Michael told Danny that if he yelled at him one more time, he was going to throw Danny out of the window. Bren thought Michael completely overreacted.
On event day, the members of Net Worth were working hard. Chris, Audrey and others handed out flyers and touted the team's big $10,000 giveaway. The team followed through on their patriotic theme of choice. The event was like a giant political rally in Union Square. There was red, white and blue everywhere and Uncle Sam roamed around greeting the public. Of course, there was plenty of coffee being given away. The team even had two actors portraying politicians, who debated the merits of hot versus cold coffee drinks. In fact, the public had a choice as Net Worth gave away hot and cold coffee drinks. The group also generated excitement from their $10,000 giveaway. Angie said her team was passionate about the campaign idea and that's what helped them make their event a success.

At Magna's event, they gave away free iPods throughout the day in order to keep fresh people coming to the event and sampling the coffee. In addition to the giveaway, the event also sported a mime, a guy dressed as a cup of coffee and balloons. In an interview, Danny said that he was giving Michael menial tasks to keep him busy and out of the way. But in his own interview, Michael said he was doing his job well.

After the events, it was time for the results. Trump and the two teams met with the Nescafe executives to hear their final verdict. The executives said that Magna did a good job delivering the message of "premium brand," but they said that there was no big idea that made sense thematically. Then the executives turned to Net Worth and said that not only had the team gotten people to sample the product, but they took it to another level by offering hot and cold coffee options. The executives said that best of all, Net Worth tied the event together with the memorable theme of "choice." The executives declared Net Worth the winner! As their reward, the group went on a helicopter ride and got a rare glimpse of New York City at night as they toasted champagne.

At the suite, the mood was anything but celebratory. Michael pinned the loss squarely on Danny. In an interview he said, "Danny was supposed to be the mastermind behind advertising. And he was the mastermind behind nothing." Danny whispered to Erin that Michael didn't contribute. In an interview, Erin said that Michael sat back on a golden bed of exemption and did nothing. She went so far as to call him "dead weight." The team, minus Michael, got together and agreed to try to get Michael fired, in spite of the exemption he had earned.

With Magna back in the boardroom, Trump asked what went wrong. Danny admitted that the loss was tough, but before talking about it, he said he wanted to discuss something serious. He felt that Michael abused his exemption. Erin agreed and said that Michael should be fired: "He quite possibly did nothing on this task." But Trump said that in business, you have to live by the rules. Trump then turned to Danny's performance as Project Manager. He said that Danny's campaign was flat. In addition, the team gave nearly $50,000 right off the bat to one company. Stephanie complained that the team had no theme to communicate to their event planner. Bren conceded that while Danny was responsible for the loss, Bren would fire Michael for his utter lack of integrity. Michael accused Danny of being totally lost as a leader. Finally, Danny chose to bring Stephanie and Michael back into the boardroom - in spite of Michael's exempt status.

With just his advisors around him, Trump asked for input. Carolyn said that Danny couldn't make decisions. She also felt he made a bad decision by saying he would bring an exempt candidate, Michael, back into the boardroom with him. George agreed with Carolyn. Trump then called the three candidates back in. Michael denied doing badly on the task and he denied slacking off because he had exemption. Trump thought it was a poor display of leadership for Danny to take a vote about whether or not to hire the event planner. Michael said Danny wasn't a great advertising person or a good leader. Stephanie didn't think much of either Danny or Michael. Trump said Michael did a terrible job. But Trump didn't blame Stephanie. He said that she found the event planner - the problem was the team didn't have a good idea for the event. Trump said that both Danny and Michael should be ashamed of themselves. But Trump said that what he hated more than anything else was that Danny chose to bring an exempt candidate back into the boardroom. Trump said that the action showed that Danny either had a lot of imagination or was someone who won't play by the rules. So, Trump pointed and said, "Danny, you're fired."

thanks banzai  :<(

Thanks to both of you!  |#'

I'm sorry Verna quit, but it was probably best.  She wasn't up to the pressures, obviously.
Danny?  I'm sooo glad he's gone.  Didn't like him from the start.  Just seemed too cocky & unbusinesslike.  Loved his singing tho...and his song at the end. He should  perhaps get into a singing/songwriter career.  }} 
He needs a haircut &/or a more becoming hair style! He looks grubby!  |(


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