Well, Sarah got voted off... I mean, “fired” on this week’s Apprentice: Martha Stewart. (I gave it a day or so so that those of you who TiVoed the show would have a chance to watch before I blew the secret.) I suppose I could have checked as to whether she was going to be out of the office yesterday (when she’d have to be doing the post-firing interview circuit), but I’m not quite that obsessive. (For those of you just tuning in, we produced Sarah’s audition video.)
For the most part, I can’t say I’m a big fan of the show. As far as I can tell, it’s a pale shadow of the Donald version (for which we also produced an audition video a while back). Martha’s trying to reconcile her hard-nosed businesswoman persona with her gracious TV face, and it just ain’t working. Donald’s an oversized asshole, and doesn’t try to hide it. Makes for a better “villain.” And let’s be honest that’s what he and Martha are: the antagonists.
Another shortcoming of Martha’s show is that the goal is so nebulously defined exactly what job is it they’re applying for again? With Donald’s show, the goal is clear: They’re hiring for a specific position running a specific operation within the Trump empire. With Martha, it’s just some job somewhere at the company. Hard to know what you’re working toward, what characteristics you need to accentuate, and so on. But worse than that, that vagueness completely destroys the illusion that this is any kind of “job interview,” as the contestants are repeatedly admonished to call it. No, it’s not an interview. It’s a television show. That’s it. Decisions are being made for good television, not any sort of good business sense.
Will I keep watching now that Sarah’s off the show? For a while, maybe, but probably only to see what happens to loose-cannon Jim (who, if real business entered into the picture at all, would have been let go long ago). After that? Can’t say I really care what happens.
Did Sarah deserve to get fired after this week’s performance? Judging by the way things looked on television (which is no doubt radically different from the way things actually happened), then probably so. Her team never developed a coherent idea for the task, and as project manager, she was ultimately responsible for the team’s performance (Sarah’s second-in-command Carrie was also fired). But I will say that I was heartened to see that, for probably the first time on the show, a project manager actually stepped up and accepted responsibility for the loss rather than trying to deflect blame onto someone else. Did she say that she deserved to be fired? No. But she made the argument for her continued participation based on her overall performance and potential rather than pretending that this loss was someone else’s fault. Hell, when asked who the hardest worker on the team was, she came right out and said it was Jim someone whom she certainly had no desire to keep around.
So even in defeat, she handled herself graciously and honorably. A lot more than can be said for most reality-show competitors. And since she now has to keep working out in the real world (in fact, my team is working with her on a company video project this month), it’s nice to see she didn’t do anything to tarnish her reputation... or the reputation of those she represents (I suppose that’s me playing the role of “company man” there).