I didn't have very high hopes for the new season, especially after that weird publicity stunt that the Donald pulled last week. His letter to Martha was absolutely bizarre. It was also genius...it generated more attention for the show than any ad campaign NBC could come up with. It's almost like the Donald is trying to singlehandedly turn around the ratings for the show. In last night's episode, he let us know right off the bat that he's bringing out the big guns this season. The opening scene was deliciously absurd. I loved when he sped up to his private jet in a sports car. Ridiculous!
That over-the-top opening set the tone for the rest of the episode. This may be the most cut-throat, self-centered group of Donald wanna-bes to date. All of the candidates seem to have good credentials, but their personalities leave a lot to be desired. Allie, for one, seemed promising at first, but I lost a lot of respect for her when she mocked Brent in front of her team. Sure, he's an oddball. But, as project manager, Allie should have kept the eye rolling to herself. Brent isn't as polished as the rest of the crew, and he has some bad ideas. That said, he did suggest that the team offer beauty treatments to the Sam's Club customers. He should have received more credit.
Tarek bothered me from the get-go. I'll admit that he's rather handsome. But my crush ended as soon as he opened his pompous mouth. I just read on his bio that he grew up in the "public housing projects and tenements of New Bedford, MA." Apparently he's forgotten his humble roots. He seems to think his MENSA membership will earn him instant respect. I beg to differ.
So far, Lee is my favorite contestant. He was right on when he criticized Tarek for not having a big, creative idea that would bring people into the store. The "gift bag" giveaway was embarrassing. Who wants some crummy duffle bag covered in store logos? I loved how Lee spoke up when everyone was trashing Summer on the patio. I also loved the fact that he criticized Tarek's leadership in the boardroom, even though Tarek threatened to retaliate against him. Good for you, Lee!
The boardroom scene was pretty exciting all around. Summer really blew it by interrupting the Donald while he was berating Tarek. I kind of agreed with her decision not to call restaurants during the dinner rush. Also, it was Tarek's fault that there was no real hook for enticing people to come in. But she should have called the restaurants in the morning to make up for it. Instead of pointing out a problem and devising a solution, she simply gave up. That's never a good sign. Obviously, Lee shouldn't have been in the boardroom at all. And what about poor Lenny? It made sense that he would be directing the blimp since he lived in that area. So who can blame him for not selling memberships? Tarek's arguments against Lenny and Lee were limp. Instead of offering specifics, he just said they didn't "step up." That phrase should be banned from this show! I also thought that the Donald was disrespectful towards Lenny. Hopefully he'll learn the poor guy's name and stop calling him "the Russian" and making jokes about Siberia.
In the end, I knew Tarek wasn't going to be fired...he's far too attractive. I'm pretty sure I caught Carolyn making goo-goo eyes at him in the boardroom. Then she attacked Summer to ensure that she'd be the one to go. Summer seemed to give up at that point...besides "product knowledge," she couldn't name one contribution she made to the task. How hard is it to figure out how a Sam's Club membership works?
Hopefully evil Tarek and Allie will take a backseat in next week's episode so we can get to know some of the other contestants. It seems like NBC is setting up Brent and Lenny as this season's wacky weirdos. I feel bad for poor Brent. I love the fact that he designed his own diet. I sense a book deal! He's definitely strange, but I think most offices can benefit from at least one person like that. I'm not sure if he's polished enough to run one of the Donald's companies, though. I guess we'll find out.