Ep 1: 'Melissa, you're fired'
They arrived from all across America - 18 successful men and women hand picked by Donald Trump to become part of the most talented group of Apprentice candidates ever (meet them here!). Though each had a different story to tell, they all shared the same dream: to make it in the world of big business. Which of these candidates would prove to be the toughest negotiator, the most dynamic leader...the one who had what it takes to become The Apprentice.
Rolling fields of green moved past car windows as the candidates arrived in New Jersey at Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster for their first encounter with The Donald. With the wind blowing his famous locks, Trump introduced the group to his longtime business associates, George Ross and Carolyn Kepcher.
With the introductions out of the way, it was time to get down to business. Trump had the candidates separate themselves into two teams: men versus women. Each team was instructed to pick a name and a project manager. In the past, the project manager was automatically exempt from the boardroom - and thus elimination - but this time around, that would only be true if the whole team voted for it.
With the teams formed, Trump gave the first assignment: come up with a new Fitness Plus class for a Bally gym, market it, and hold the class - the team that made the most money, would win. As an added incentive, the team that found Trump's personal helicopter on the 525-acre grounds would have two team members whisked back to New York to have the first pick of one of two Bally locations. With that announcement, 18 pairs of well-shod feet went racing across the verdant green.
Even though some of the women nabbed a golf cart, the men managed to edge them out on foot (barely) thanks to a last-ditch spurt from Mark. While native New Yorkers Brian and Josh headed back to town to scout the two Bally locations, the rest of the men voted for Markus to become project manager. Markus was openly unsure if he wanted this responsibility, and his hemming and hawing did not sit well with some of his new teammates.
While both Bally locations were equally active, the men decided to choose the one located in a more affluent part of town, believing that this gave them a distinct advantage.
Kristi, who was an All-American athlete, confidently said that she should be project manager, and the rest agreed, but the first glimpse of their Bally deflated everyone's confidence. While it didn't seem promising to them at first, they had a change of heart when they saw how active it was inside.
The women went to work gathering data, trying to figure out the type of class that would be popular, and how much the customers would be willing to pay. Melissa used her Hispanic heritage to try and convince the others that she knew the right price point for the program, but some of the women chaffed at this tactic, thinking it was unprofessional behavior.
As the women bickered, the men weren't doing much better. Markus couldn't get a hold of his team and seemed confused and unsure of what to do. At one point, he stunned everyone when he asked if there was anything that he could be doing or should be doing better.
That night, Randal got some difficult news. His grandmother passed away at her nursing home. A distraught Randal didn't know what to do. He wanted to be with his family, but he didn't want to give up the opportunity of being on The Apprentice.
The women hit the streets to pass out fliers for their class. And what were they pushing? A class called the "Triple Threat" - boxing, Pilates, and abs. And what did the flier look like? The words "Triple" and "Threat" were separated by three large "Xs". That's right...XXX. No one seemed particularly happy with the "X-Rated" flier or with the marketing plan in general. It was no surprise to anyone that Melissa was the most vocal.
The men devised a workout class called the "Rush ý Hour" that featured boxing, an ab blast, and a yoga flex. But instead of taking it to the streets, they promoted the class to people who were already working out inside Bally
Markus received a call from Trump, who had two questions for the embattled Project Manager: what's your team name and who is the project manager? The first answer was easy: Excel. For the second answer, Markus babbled on to a clearly uninterested Trump.
On the women's side, Kristi received a similar call: what's your team name? The answer...Capital Edge. Trump looked more pleased by that name then what the men had come up with.
After the classes were conducted, the two teams entered the boardroom to hear from Trump, George, and Carolyn. They started with George, who felt that Capital Edge did well, earning $516. Carolyn felt that Excel also did well, earning $527 and beating out Capital Edge by $11. But when it came time for the men to vote for Markus's exemption, they denied their project manager this privilege. Trump ended the session by dismissing everyone and asking Randal to stay behind.
In light of his grandmother's passing, Trump gave Randal the option of leaving the interview process. Randal decided to remain, feeling that his grandmother would have wanted it that way. Trump arranged for a helicopter to take Randal to the services in Philadelphia.
For winning the contest, Excel got to have lunch with Trump at the Friar's Club. It was a light-hearted time for everyone, except for Markus. Though hoping to connect with Trump, Markus only seemed to annoy The Donald by talking too much. The other members of Excel were quick to let it be known that they felt the same way about their project manager.
Back at the suite, the backbiting began with Melissa leading the verbal assault against project manager Kristi. Alla stepped in, giving Kristi some sage advice about defensive people, like Melissa, lashing out when backed against the wall.
With luggage at the ready, the nine members of Capital Edge arrived at the boardroom. All eyes were on Kristi, who admitted that the "XXX" flier was her idea, though she said it was executed wrong. Melissa jumped all over this opportunity, directly blaming Kristi for the team's failure. Alla came to Kristi's defense, but at the same time she attacked Melissa for being condescending, negative, sarcastic, and the reason for the team losing its focus. Alla wasn't the only one who felt this way. Other women jumped in with similar thoughts about her.
As project manager, Kristi was asked to hold back two of her teammates while the rest went up to the suite. Kristi asked for permission to hold back only one - Melissa - and Trump granted this wish.
After conferring with George and Carolyn, Trump called Melissa
and Kristi back into the boardroom where Melissa mouthed off about
not being able to work with women because they're intimidated by
her beauty and brains. Melissa continued to talk herself into a
corner, though Trump made it clear that he thought Kristi's
marketing strategy was terrible and that she did not do well.
Still, it was an easy decision. With everyone thinking Melissa was
a negative force, and Melissa only adding fuel to her own inferno
of self-destruction, she was the first to hear those immortal