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The Apprentice – Episode 1 – The Gardening Challenge

Now before I start the recap I just have to say this was the one reality TV show I considered applying for. So of course like every other deluded individual on the show, I think I would have won…… well until that first challenge. Also for the record I would come across as a bigger scrag than Carmen. I kid you not.

The opening scene was Mark Bouris and his two assistants,Diane Stone, his personal assistant and Brad Seymour who is his business partner. He announced the prize is a job as National Head of Business Development Unit with a $200,000 salary. The person who can actually write their job description should win the show.

Also having met Mark in a professional capacity I can confirm he is as hot in real life as he comes across on TV. I think once he gets over the nerves of the first few episodes he will stand in the shoes of Donald Trump quite well.

Tonight the “star” of the show was Carmen who should have described herself as a failed entrepeneur considering she lost the family home last  year, but she is not the only unemployed people on the show. Actually Carmen is perfect reality TV fodder – egocentric, lacking in personal charm, and an overestimation of her own ability. She came out with some great lines like “Yes I am a team player, but you just need to be on Team Carmen.”.

Miss World 2006, Sabrina Houssami,  had a first win with getting the girls team to pick her suggestion of her team name – Eventus. The boy’s team name was Pinnacle.

This week’s challenge was to run a premier gardening business, and the team that makes the most money wins and is safe. The challenge runs over two days, and they must compete for commercial contracts, but can get some residential business as well.

Carmen was project manager for the girls team, and Morello for the boys.

Mary-Anne  the 30 year old manager of a reception centre offered to pitch for commercial work but was knocked back by Carmen.

The first pitch was at the Sydney Foreshore Authority who wanted garden work done at the front for the Museum of Contemporary Art- Morello took the lead for the male team. I actually thought he was quite impressive.

The girl’s way underquoted so got the job.  At this time Sabrina, Mary Ann, and Heather had got a $200 residential job and completed it within an hour. Sabrina used her Miss World 2006 name dropping to get the door opened but also put in a good (overinflated) quote.

The other job was Strickland house, where Carmen under quoted and asked for $600, and the boys quoted over double that.  The boys got the job as it was thought the girls did not realise the scope of the job. I also got the feeling this was all a bit rigged.

However because of the physicality of the challenge, the guys definitely had the advantage. Both teams had “heard” of other commercial jobs to be quoted and went off to claim them.

The highlights of the challenge:

  • Sabrina introduce herself to people all the time as Miss World 2006. Why not just introduce herself as Sabrina? And really it was three years ago.
  • Morello getting Blake the job of phoning the residential jobs they had booked in to tell them they could not do them. Because as a Centrelink Customer Service Manager he is probably an expert in dishing out bad news.
  • Carmen being a typical tradesperson by trying to renegotiate the what they were meant to do in the contract without dropping the price.
  •  Diane Stone’s Jocelyn Wildenstien eyes. Did she blink? Can she blink?
  • Not a highlight but the supposed catfight between Carmen and Jane was very much exaggerated see previous post on that here – naughty TV Week.
  • Carmen putting the boot into Jane, basically saying she is old, “her energy levels were low”;
  • The team putting the boot into Carmen, who crumpled into tears,  so not as tough as keeps on saying.
  • The boys easily won the challenge earning more than $600 then the girls. They won spa treatment at The Observatory Hotel. Very nice.

The elimination :

Carmen had to pick two people to bring back into the room with her and she picked Jane and Sabrina, she really had no choice as she did not see what the other team had done or interacted.

Seriously how did  Carmen survive, she underquoted, which in the real world would have meant some very poorly paid and disgruntled workers. Maybe Mark Bouris saw that as a positive thing. However Jane did not help herself with her lame reason she gave to stay. She basically said she can work with arseholes. Which to be fair is a skill, but not something you really mention as a positive. Therefore Jane ended up getting told “your fired” because she did not speak up when felt something was not right.

I also think the producers feel they will get better TV out of Carmen, and I am sure they will.

Next week at the suggestion of regular reader CG (who by the way will be guest posting Wednesday night on Celebrity MasterChef – no Injera has not died she is on holidays in China), there will be an open post whilst the show is on for people to make comments.

22 comments

1 Hi I'm Sabrina, Miss World Australia 2006 { 09.29.09 at 3:52 am }

I read in an article that Sabrina wants to shake off her beauty-queen tag. Er… it helps that you don’t drop it in your introduction EVERY single time you introduce yourself! Seriously if some so-and-so introduces herself to me as Miss World Australia 2006 straight after her name, I’d just stand there and be like “mmm…kay”.

Funny how she always mentions the Miss World thing first before mentioning she’s in Mensa. I reiterate… she’s trying to shake off her beauty queen tag *chortle*. Jebus!

2 RetroGirl { 09.29.09 at 9:49 am }

Here are my random thoughts/observations on last nights episode:

* Agree totally that for someone who wants to shake off her beauty queen image, Sabrina sure brings it up a lot. You can maybe understand (just maybe) that she dropped her title to get a foot in the door when they were trying to win new business, but why did she also say it to the guys from the MCA when her team had already won the contract and were there to start work? A truly cringeworthy moment. She needs to get over herself and fast. Oh and by the way, she was Miss Australia 2006, not Miss World. She made the ‘top 3’ (i.e. came 3rd) in the Miss World contest.

* The gardening task seems the most gruelling of all the tasks I’ve seen in both the US and UK versions – it was truly hard work and a very physically demanding challenge. Not fair to pick on Jane for being a bit slower than the others – what does her gardening ability have to do with her business skills?

* Carmen, Carmen, Carmen – where do I start? I couldn’t believe it when she quoted for the cottage job. Initially she was going to quote $600 but then when she realised the job was actually BIGGER than she had originally thought, she decides to drop it to $400. What the? Her team lost by $600 and if she had quoted what the guy said he would have paid ($1000) there would have been a tie or they may have even scraped a victory. I agree totally that she has been kept on because she will be better TV than poor Jane who was too ladylike to fight back and is therefore not as good for ratings.

* I was VERY suspicious when the girls finished the MCA job and got paid. Did anyone else notice that the contentious pile of mulch was still behind them, virtually untouched, when they were receiving their payment? I think it was rigged so the boardroom result wouldn’t be even more one-sided than it already was.

* I laughed out loud when Carmen volunteered to be project manager and the blonde girl said something like “Oh yes, I was going to suggest you because you were so good at stepping up to the whiteboard” So Carmen will be a brilliant project manager because she wrote some names on the whiteboard? Methinks the blonde just didn’t want to be PM herself so was being very supportive of anyone who said they would like to be.

* I was impressed with the guys team (and not just the one with the fabulous arms LOL). In the US and UK versions, the guys team usually comes unstuck in the first few episodes because they are all too busy trying to be the alpha male. I was impressed at how well they all worked together without bumping egos too much. Could be a hard team to beat if they can keep it up.

All in all, an enjoyable episode – I hope the show rates well and isn’t banished to a late night timeslot.

3 Reality Raver { 09.29.09 at 10:33 am }

Hi Sabrina, I’m Miss World Australia 2006 – Yes I think she should let it go, she is pretty and articulate so doesn’t really need to do that. In an article I found posted elsewhere on this site, she said she wanted a career in the media. She will need to liven up a bit to get that.

Retrogirl – I also was suspicious of how they finished, though confess missed the big pile of mulch in the back ground. Considering they only had 45 mins to do all they had to do it was impossible.

Agree re: the guys team, I thought that OCD 19 year old was a neat freak, but he handled the dirt well. All the guys seem quite nice at the moment, and yes I did notice the biceps on that corporate lawyers arms.

I do think it was unfair task, hopefully in the weeks there will be some sort of manicure business task to even it up a bit.

4 Miss Apprentice { 09.29.09 at 11:12 am }

I thought the 3 male apprentice gardeners were the Chippendales in overalls.

Why weren’t they given more exposure so to speak ?

Instead we had to endure the peroxide blonde shooting off her mouth at every opportunity and her quotes to send all landscape gardeners broke were testament to future corporate hell instead of resembling any form of astute business management !

Hoe did that one slip through the net ??

5 Miss Apprentice { 09.29.09 at 11:52 am }

As far as quotes for gardening/landscaping were concerned, not at any one time did I see the peroxide blonde confer with her so called “team” mates what was to be an appropriate quote for any of the gardening jobs.

She put her foot in it even more by stating plants were included in one of the quotes and when told otherwise she had no option than drop the price even lower to an almost impossible level (how dumb was that ??)

The woman has no management skills, no business skills, no people skills, she is just overbearing and intrusive, someone to cause havoc in your business if let loose on customers !

6 tv fan { 09.29.09 at 3:38 pm }

Certainly rigged. I knew for sure he would fire the first contestant because of her age. It appears from the tv clip that he gives a pretty young female contestant another chance. Surely they do not get paid for putting on a rigged show

7 Tammy { 09.29.09 at 5:04 pm }

I cant believe what a shambles that Carmen bitch is… Clearly she hates that girl maryann, she was shutting her down at every corner, and she seemed to be the only one that had any clue what was going on..Cant wait to see what happens as I think it will be quite funny – Ditto about the boys team – why didnt they ahve shirts off..maybe that woudl have attracted the viewers!! Cant wait till next week, although if it only got 600k viewers it will prob be canned like everything else on channel nine

8 sourkraut { 09.29.09 at 9:44 pm }

Oh boy oh boy oh boy
The delicious schadenfreude.
Cmon Sabrina show us yer toots
Carmen geddit!
Sorry for jane, old farts don’t count (like me)
Alpha male show us yer ego
Morella did i see him flogging sand to eskimoes I’m smiling Whoopee
EvenTUAL was it? finally finished a job!
PIN Nackers not the size of the egos
I”M GONNA LURV THIS !

9 Anon { 09.29.09 at 10:34 pm }

If “Hi I’m Sabrina, Miss World Australia 2006” get anymore airtime next week then there shall be quite a few wasted viewers.

Agree that the first challenge was favoured towards the boys’ team [ah… the corporate lawyer’s biceps ;-)] . Perhaps if the teams were mixed it would have been perceived as a ‘fairer’ challenge.

In the long tradition of reality shows the oldest contestant was the first to go…though as project manager Carmen should have gone…seriously has she never mowed a lawn before to quote $400 for that jungle????

Can’t wait for the knives to sharpen next week….

Poor Jane

10 Harriet { 09.30.09 at 7:23 pm }

I loved the show. When did reality tv suddenly become hip? I’ll have to ask my nephew as he knows all the answers. My thoughts;
Lynton- Smary git
Hot Lawyer- Didn’t bother learning his name, it doesn’t matter, he’s hot
Carmen- White shoes- Black suit- SAY>NO>MORE
Jane- Left the show with style, it wasn’t her cup of tea
And I like the blonde mum from WA. She seemed nice.
Sabrina- Give Linda Kowalski a call and get a few pointers
I think I need a few more shows to find a fave, but the hot lawyer would have to be miles out in front at this stage

11 estelle { 09.30.09 at 8:40 pm }

Rigged, unfair and disappointing first episode. Bring back JANE. Give her the same chance as everyone else got. All she did was cooperate with the trashy looking peroxided idiot who kept stuffing up! ( AND THEN CRIES LIKE AN OVERGROWN KINDY KID) entrepeneur material???? Jane would run rings around her. I hope that somewhere out there some savvy and decent person will offer Jane a real job where she can prove herself to be the intelligent hard working and classy lady I suspect she might be! The business world is greatly lacking for ignoring older mature experienced workers who know so much more than the scruffy bimbos who keep getting employed in all sorts of businesses and are truly out of their depth when it comes to business and people skills. Mark Bouris should have known better.

12 sourkraut { 09.30.09 at 11:03 pm }

One question. How does everyone KNOW she is a peroxide blonde? I could not see her eyebrows!
Still, got to agree, she will make good “peek through the cracks of your fingers at the TV type viewing.” Dear oh dear, where do they find em?

13 Steve { 10.01.09 at 2:22 am }

The receptionist can’t type – have a close look – the screen was always blue, she had no papers, pens etc and her finger were just moving over the centre of the keyboard – very fake!

Sabrina – get over it girl! She prostituted her once claim to fame (3 years ago) to get some gardening work – pathetic! What experience has she had other than being born with a pretty face? This is about a high paid corporate job – not a model contest.

Bring back Jane – she did nothing wrong except work hard and try to work with the team – as you are supposed to do in any organisation.

14 estelle { 10.01.09 at 10:09 am }

I would LOVE to start a” bring back jane” campaign, even if its just to let Carmen know how unimpressed we all were with her lousy management skills (as well as her bad hair!!!)
And as for that ex contestant ( and liar, apparently, as she didn’t win the title of Miss World, according to what others have said about her ) what a hide she had!

15 Wurstsemmel { 10.01.09 at 12:45 pm }

I hope there’s more to Mark Bouris because so far he seems like a pale imitation of the Trump. I was actually quite surprised when he was empathic towards Carmen..tearing up at criticism from her team. Now, dear, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. For someone wanting a high pressure position, that should be ringing alarm bells.

I think Bouris was right in that Jane should have stood up for herself a little more – although I respect her integrity for not wanting to get into dirt throwing – but she could have been a little more assertive. I don’t think she should have gone home though. That should have been Carmen. She undervalued the work so badly….

And I know it’s not about appearance but I want to drag Carmen over to that over show ‘How to look 10 years younger in 10 days’ because, for 44, she looks like she needs a makeover. And it’s not about looking her age, she just looks a bit …errrm….rough?

I wouldn’t have minded seeing the back of Sabrina either. One more comment about being Miss World (you’re pretty, WE GET IT) or Mensa (you’ve a high IQ, WE GET IT – though it doesn’t always translate to general smarts) or having worked harder than anyone else (really?) .. please stuff up badly and be sent home next.

16 Miss Apprentice { 10.01.09 at 1:05 pm }

As far as Jane’s performance was concerned – a position in Mark Bouris’s companies is not going to be digging holes and extreme physical gardening, it would be relevant to strategies and planning, which would be comparable to Carmen’s self proclaimed role of Team Leader.

She was a disaster and dragged everyone down with her, which obviously makes for better television, but has no relevance to an actual position in Marks Company.

Mark knows that and just lets Carmen be delusional about her own abilities for a few more episodes and next she’ll turn up in the Big Brother house to further her career (!!)

17 Miss Apprentice { 10.01.09 at 1:48 pm }

Also as a Team Leader wasn’t it up to Carmen to check the right plants were planted in the first place, instead of blaming it on someone (Jane) the work was delegated to ???

If you’re a Team Leader you take responsibility for the project and make sure everyone is clear on what and how they are supposed to do things.

Ditto the pile of mulch that was discovered ten minutes before the project was supposed to be completed.

It is pretty hard to miss a large pile of mulch sitting in everyones view, especially if it wasn’t part of the original quote to begin with, but then again Carmen had no idea what she quoted on, never asked and never consulted with anyone, just the sort of person you want for your business – LOL !!

18 pat { 10.01.09 at 10:15 pm }

I totally agree that Jane should be brought back into the show ! Carmen made it clear at the start it was all about her and literally walked all over everyone determined to have it her way. All Jane did was her job – Donald Trump would have made mince meat out of a person like Carmen and shown her the door! Obviously this show is just about who can be the nastiest and not about finding the best person for the job.

19 sourkraut { 10.03.09 at 12:18 pm }

Pat
99% of Execs in Oz on their monumentally overpaid salaries are probably far more NASTY than capable. Ergo, get the nastiest person for the job. Simple really!

20 Cate { 10.05.09 at 3:23 pm }

There must be a hidden agenda (ratings??) Surely someone with Mark’s business experience could see what a classy, experienced lady he had in Jane? Does one need to drop their standards in order to become The Apprentice? Does Channel 9 want us to believe that business success in Australia today requires bullying to cover personal inadequacies?

21 tv fan { 10.06.09 at 7:07 am }

Episode 2 rigged also. The boys came up with the better sales promotion. Mark is all over the women. He will pick Sabrina as she is not bright just shows all those teeth. Giving the client those silly ears I thought degrading. The blonde in the show looks very tough and also not fit for the job.

22 Miss Apprentice { 10.08.09 at 12:55 am }

At least Episode II wasn’t as disastrous as the first one and the too blonde Carmen was noticeably more subdued, in fact to her credit she seemed to fit in well as a team member with valuable input.

I thought their presentation went exceptionally well with easy introductions and setting the tone with song and dance until Miss World needed to make her mark on the Ogilvy executives by trying to get her point across – LOL !!

The guys team had a great concept with the pink elephant etc but the presentation was way too stiff with too much pseudo professionalism and meaningless boardroom talk.

Of course the biggest faux pas was forgetting the names of Ogilvy execs and no introduction of the team at all, which created a distance that could not be bridged, not even by a pink elephant and catchy slogan !

Let’s see what episode III is going to bring and what shining stars are going to emerge as we haven’t seen them yet in the last two (!!)