Riding Coattails: Dropping The Ball

OK, did somebody lace Marshawn’s coffee with something funky during this task or what? For a reason that is lost on me (and Trump, Carolyn, Bill, Team Capital Edge, and the most of the viewing public, probably), Marshawn decided not to present on the Star Wars display task. As I understood it, her reasoning was that she was not passionate about the project and didn’t want to shoulder the responsibility of presenting should the team fail. Well, they did fail, but rather than deflect blame off her, Marshawn’s decision made her look like a traitor and a quitter. Rebecca, on the other hand, came out smelling like a rose because she volunteered to handle the presentation after Marshawn pulled out.

I don’t get it. Up to this point, Marshawn had been poised, logical, and a team player. Why, all of a sudden, was she so concerned about looking like a fool? She also stated in the boardroom that she felt Rebecca needed to have an opportunity to step up and contribute to the task. Um, since when are the people on this show so concerned with letting others shine? Marshawn should have been more concerned about herself, especially since the last time she was PM was on the second task and many felt that Alla was the real leader on that (thanks to Hasan and Dan for pointing out my initial error when I stated that Marshawn had never been PM–I forgot!). She always did a great job in supporting roles, but that wasn’t going to be enough. The more I think about it, the more I should have seen that Marshawn wasn’t going to make it.

As for Brian, I have very little to say. I live in Manhattan, so I knew that he was in trouble when he allotted 15 minutes to go from Trump Tower at 59th and 5th to 26th and 12th. Trump was right: 15 minutes will get you half a block in this town. Now, I could see someone like Troy McClain making this sort of error; crosstown traffic in Boise is probably more forgiving. But for a guy from Murray Hill? Fuggedaboutit. Brian should have known better. So long, Rubble Man.

I’d like to thank a faithful reader whom I can only identify as “thesurf” (his/her e-mail address) for inspiring the next part of my column. For the past few weeks, this person has been e-mailing me thoughts about The Apprentice and I particularly liked the rankings he/she sent me this week. Although I don’t agree with them 100%, I do feel that now that the pool of players has dwindled (and so rapidly, too), it’s important to look at how they all stack up.

1. Randal
I will be stunned if Randal doesn’t become the next apprentice. He’s a very versatile player, staying under the radar when conflict arises and taking the reins when he needs to. Everyone likes and respects Randal. He’s obviously a really nice guy and is good at steering clear of drama and politics. Above all, he’s smart. Wicked smart. The only major mistake I’ve seen from him this season was his passivity on this last task. Since Randal was the only Star Wars fan in the group, why didn’t he present? Where was he when Brian, Marshawn, and Rebecca were discussing who should present? True, Randal was exempt and has already been PM twice, so he was probably trying to avoid hogging the spotlight. He also knew that both Marshawn and Rebecca would be fully capable of handling the presentation, so perhaps he was hanging back to give them a chance. Normally, that’s not a strategy I’d advise, but with a rock star like Randal, it was probably a good decision.

2. Alla
Unlike Randal, Alla is often at the center of drama and conflict, and she has a habit of bad-mouthing her teammates during interviews. That could come back to bite her in the ass in the end (R.I.P., Tana). However, Alla is also creative, energetic, and a true leader in every sense. She gets stuff done. And, I must admit, I love her pink, fluffy outfits.

3. Rebecca
This woman has really come into her own over the course of this season. At the beginning, we saw her defending stubborn, elitist Toral until she realized that Toral was full of it. She’s the Ginger Rogers of reality TV, too, doing everything the other players are doing, but in a cast with crutches. And has she once complained about her ankle? No, ma’am. At 23, Rebecca has more maturity than many of the other people on this show. Her conduct this week in particular showed her drive to get things done rather than waste time arguing about who should do what. So why doesn’t she rank above Alla? Lack of experience.

4. Felisha
I admire Felisha’s efforts to try to keep the peace. This week, she was trying to play diplomat between Alla and Clay, but both were too headstrong to listen to her. The fact that Felisha is so enamored of real estate is also in her favor. She has been project manager, but it was on the Dairy Queen task, which her team lost. I don’t see Felisha as a strong enough leader to be the next apprentice, but her people skills will take her a long way. She also looked great in that Amidala costume.

5. Adam
After his performance in the boardroom last week, Adam proved that he can talk his way out of a difficult situation. It also didn’t hurt that he had Markus and Clay, two of the difficult and annoying people to ever be on the show, at his side. However, a professional, articulate demeanor won’t be enough to snag Adam the job. He’s too young, and I don’t think he’s creative enough. Adam also appears too sweet for the Trump Organization. And that’s not a bad thing.

6. Clay
Clay is laboring under the delusion that as long as he promotes himself, he will come out on top. The problem is, nobody likes him or wants to work with him. Felisha stated it best when said that Clay is the type of person who would sabotage the team just to make everyone else look bad. He’s a spiteful little imp, and the only reason he’s still around is the sheer good fortune of being on teams with competent individuals who save the day, or, in last week’s case, wanktastic mumblers (cough, Markus) who make Clay look OK by comparison.

And as my surfin’ reader pointed out, even the Donald doesn’t like him, as was evidenced by the big show he made in conducting a formal vote among Alla, Felisha, and Adam to grant him exemption since he was the winning project manager. Last week, when Randal won, El Trumpo didn’t do that, just stating that he was sure Randal’s teammates would want him to have exemption. Don’t let that heavy wooden door hit your ass on the way out, Clay. It might give you flashbacks of working for your former boss.