A full post-mortem of last night's episode of "The Apprentice" will have to await the extended boardroom episode on Saturday.
The project was to choose an item to sell on QVC, write the script, set the price, and produce a live 12 minute segment. Whichever team generated more revenue would win. Oh, and since the teams were unbalanced -- 8 on Mosaic to 6 on Apex -- Trump moved Pamela back to Apex and made her the project manager. The thinking was that she might straighten Apex out, but I had a feeling it would be like pouring gasoline on a fire.
Both teams ended up going with higher prices rather than lower ones, and in the end, Mosaic won by $10 (on total revenues over $17,000). Mosaic's reward was to go play tennis with John McEnroe and Anna Kournakova at the U.S. Open Stadium. The funniest part was seeing Raj unsuccessfully hit on Kournakova, resulting in her dare to him: she would go out for coffee with him if he could return one serve of hers out of five tries, but if not, he had to submit to the dare. Not surprisingly, Raj failed, and he had to run around the stadium seats in his boxers.
I'm not surprised that he totally flailed and didn't even come close to returning a serve; in fact, he only got his racket on one. Kournakova never won a tennis tournament, but she did managed to rank in the top 10 on occasion, and Raj looked like he'd never played tennis seriously. I played on my college tennis team -- but it was Caltech, so it's not as if I'm a really strong player -- and I took lessons from a former pro, a guy who I think never got ranked even in the 200s when he was playing. One time, we played points where he was serving, and by luck/chance, I managed to scramble and got to love-40 (3 points for me, 0 for him; 4 points to win the game). He then broke out his "A" serve -- four serves either right down the line or at the opposite corner. I had no chance.
Anyway, Trump fired Pamela (over Maria, who claimed to be terrific on camera but was terrible; and Stacy, who was competent but annoying), though it wasn't entirely clear to me if it was because Pamela set the price -- which Trump and Carolyn thought was too high -- or because she misidentified who should be assigned to what tasks. Personally, I think the magic eraser was probably priced too high ($27), but given the ultimate results, I don't think the price was the culprit. True, had it been priced at $19.99 as many teammembers wanted, they would have sold more. But they would have had to have sold 200 more erasers, which may or may not have happened. At the $27 price, had they sold just one more magic eraser, they would have won.
On a side note, it's nice to see that Trump does not surround himself with yes-men (or yes-women). While Carolyn approved of firing Pamela, George had stood up for her in the discussion before the final boardroom, and after Trump fired her, George continued to defend Pamela. Oh, and did anyone else think it was funny when Trump said, "I think it was the right decision." Well, I should hope that you think it was the right decision; otherwise, why did you make it?!?
Finally, why is "The Apprentice" superior to "Survivor"? Because in "Survivor," the gamesmanship dominates over success in the challenges. That may make "Survivor" harder to play than "The Apprentice," but it makes it less interesting to watch. Ho hum, each tribe is dominated by the older players, with the younger ones getting picked off one by one. Apart from seeing your tribe win immunity, there's nothing you can do if you're not in the dominant alliance. Brady tried hard to crack the elderly male alliance, but despite his hard work, his athleticism, his good nature, he was voted off. That just doesn't happen on "The Apprentice."
UPDATE (10/11): Predictably, I watched the QVC channel tonight for "The Apprentice" segment. First, QVC was selling the first season on DVD. Then they repeated the "It Works" sale (the cleaning block that Apex sold), except that QVC priced it at $17.62! In 4 minutes, they sold $48,000 worth of product -- and that's with Pamela hawking (as opposed to the more polished Jennifer)! While it's hard to compare this to the performance on the show (as a primetime slot is probably more desirable than mid-afternoon), this definitely supports the contention of those who thought it was priced too high.