Riding Coattails: You Go, Girls!

I’m so happy. If Trump hadn’t fired Craig this week, this column would be one long rant on why wanking coattail riders get ahead in life even when they don’t deserve it. Fortunately, this season’s biggest pontificator and leech was exposed for what he truly was. Other than his ability to totally work it in a Mikimoto tiara, I never saw anything outstanding about Craig’s performances on any task. During the tasks of the past few weeks, Kendra and Tana carried him along to victories while he picked fights or opened and closed desk drawers. The man was not exactly a team player.

That’s not to say that he didn’t have any redeeming qualities. I’m sure he does a great job running his shoe shining business and is a loving husband and father. But his tendency to lecture the younger females, like Kendra and Audrey, annoyed me. And if only he’d taken the advice he fed Kendra to “watch your generalities,” he might have stood a chance during the interview process. Unfortunately, Craig himself was too general in his answers to the executives who grilled him. He also appeared very inarticulate, which could have been chalked up to nerves. In any event, no one, including Craig, appeared shocked when Trump gave him the boot.

Since early on, I’ve predicted that Tana would make it to the end. Although clever editing may play a part, I’ve never seen her involved in any conflict or confrontation. She’s maintained her sunny disposition and kept a smile on her face. What’s even more impressive is that she appears genuine. Tana herself said that she’s not trying to be anyone she’s not and that really shines through in her actions. I was a bit disgusted by the executives who questioned her ability to make it in big city business simply because she’s from Iowa. To me, it showed a level of elitism and a certain degree of scorn for small-town people and their business savvy. And actually, Tana is from Des Moines, which is a real city, even though it’s like a small village compared to Manhattan.

That’s not to say that Tana isn’t coming from a different culture. As someone who hails from a tiny Minnesota town and now lives in New York, I know exactly how different the two worlds are. Although I’m not and have never been a business person, I know that in general, the Midwest tends to be less cut-throat and, in some cases, slower-paced. It takes a thick skin and a whole lot of self-confidence to maneuver through this harsh urban jungle. However, Tana possesses those attributes in spades. What’s more, true talent, intelligence, and determination are qualities that one needs to be successful any environment and it was frustrating that The Donald’s advisors were even doubting Tana on this point. Furthermore, they seemed to ignore the fact that Tana had already shown how versatile and adaptable she was in the different kinds of tasks she excelled at.

Kendra definitely sneaked up on me this season. In the beginning, I thought of her as Erin’s sidekick and stated on more than one occasion that I felt Erin was the woman for the job. I now see that Kendra was probably holding back at first in order to stay out of trouble. She’s remained composed and level-headed throughout all of the tasks, even in the face of Craig’s ridiculous accusations that she didn’t deserve respect and couldn’t stay focused. I applaud her for standing up to him and refusing to allow his antagonism to pull her focus, which, contrary to Craig’s ideas, is one of her greatest strengths.

I anticipated that the executives would question Kendra’s credibility because of her age, which is 26, although I was pleased that a couple of them stated that her youth was an asset because she could be taught and somewhat molded for her position within the Trump organization. I think that’s exactly right and I can’t imagine that Donald would disagree. Carolyn, after all, has been working with him for ten years and she’s only in her mid-thirties, which would put her at about the same age as Kendra when Trump hired her. If Kendra loses to Tana, who is 37, I don’t think it will be because she’s more than a decade decade younger.

So what will it all come down to? The final task, of course. One thing that has always puzzled me about The Apprentice is that the final two candidates are given two different tasks, each bearing approximately the same amount of responsibility and difficulty. However, I’m not convinced that this is the best way to gauge the performances of the final two since the tasks, by nature, can’t be completely equal.

I always wondered if one of the reasons Bill defeated Kwame in the first season was because he supervised the golf tournament, an event that Trump probably preferred to the Jessica Simpson concert, which was Kwame’s charge. Obviously, other factors (such as Omarosa and her lying ways) made the situation more complicated and contributed to Kwame’s loss, but I had to wonder if Bill was put at a distinct advantage because The Donald loves golf so damn much. And during the second season, Jennifer was put in charge of the basketball tournament while Kelly handled a charity polo event, complete with a guest appearance by Tony Bennett. I can’t say for sure, but I’d wager a guess that given the choice, Trump would have preferred to spend more time watching the polo match and listening to the legendary crooner.

Keeping the Trumpmeister’s personal tastes in mind, I’d say Tana has the edge in her task of organizing the promotional athletic event for New York’s bid for the 2012 Olympics. Bringing the Olympics to NYC is something very near to Mr. Trump’s heart, much more so than the video game championship that Kendra is putting together. Even if Kendra does a phenomenal job, I don’t know that it will be enough to convince The Donald that she was better than Tana. I just don’t think he cares that much about video games. I could be wrong, but I don’t see him waltzing into the basement at Webster Hall and spend a few hours at a PlayStation kiosk. Then again, who knows how that man spends his free time in that gilded palace on Fifth Avenue? Next week’s finale should answer some of these pressing questions.