Lady and the Trump

The seventh installment of this season's The Apprentice kicked off with Donald Trump issuing a "corporate restructuring." Taking a creative approach to reshuffling the teams, Trump asked new project managers Wes and Jennifer to single out three players on their team that they wanted to trade away to the other squad. "That's life, so deal with it," Trump told the displaced members as they huddled with their new project managers.

The two teams then headed out to Central Park, where Trump explained that pets are a $30 billion industry. With Petco (Nasdaq: PETC  ) and PETsMART (Nasdaq: PETM  ) combining for nearly $1.3 billion during the second quarter alone, Trump's sum may ultimately prove to be conservative when you consider all of the pet food, veterinary services, and chew toys. From high fashion last week to the pooper scooper set this time out? You know it. The teams had to come up with a dog-related service, and the team that generated the greatest amount of profits would emerge victorious.

Apex launched a dog-washing service. Business was slow, so Raj suggested that the teams split up to work two different areas of Central Park. Eventually Jennifer agreed and sent Ivana and Chris to set up a second service, where they offered dog massages.

Mosaic was more creative, eventually hooking up with a pet shelter for kittens in a charitable arrangement in which the team would donate a portion of the proceeds to the shelter. While the team members armed themselves with a Polaroid to provide snapshots to sell in addition to doggie makeover services, they started too late, and despite charging more than Apex, the team wound up with a paltry profit of $122.12. Apex, on the other hand, produced a net profit of $307.41.

Mosaic entered the boardroom, and after discussing the team's slow start and Andy losing the cell phone, Wes chose Andy and Stacy to return for Trump's firing. While Trump was eventually critical of Andy losing the team's phone and came down hard on Wes and his leadership skills, he left the usually talkative Stacy speechless by arguing that Stacy hadn't taken enough responsibility to push her ideas into fruition. Sorry Stacy, out you go.

Three Fools, one couch
Tim: The whole project seemed a lot like the lemonade stand challenge from last year. It would have been better if one of the teams had done something different. My sister, for example, takes pictures with her dogs. Andy came up with the idea of doing doggie photos, but I think Stacy ruined it with the outfits idea.

Dayana: Actually, she might have been onto something. As a bona-fide "crazy dog lady," I can attest to the depths of insanity and deep pockets my ilk have for our furry friends. While I wouldn't put an outfit on my dog (except for last Halloween, when she went as Poe-Diddy -- wanna see a picture?), I do think that the teams could have done something more creative, like going to "Pug Hill" in Central Park and taking pictures of Pug pyramids or something.

Rick: I think Mosaic had the right idea with the Polaroid camera. They wasted time pitching grooming services when they could have just set up shop next to Apex and charged a premium to photograph the washed and manicured canines.

Dayana: I couldn't watch the nail-clipping part. That was such a bad idea. People usually have it done by a professional groomer or their vet -- not in a dusty dog park by some strangers restraining their pets. That's asking for a trip to court... and the emergency room.

Rick: It's a brutal business. Now I see why the Pets.com sock puppet went for early retirement.

Tim: Well, he's not totally out of business. He's taken Fran Tarkenton's place hawking high-risk car loans for 1-800-BAR NONE. But, yeah, I know what you mean. This was one of those back-to-basics tasks that Trump likes. In the end, Jennifer got it right by keeping Apex's set-up simple and then expanding to a second location when some of her staff was underutilized.

Rick: And then they fire the girl who never shuts up because she wouldn't speak up? Irony, table for one.

Tim: Over here, a waiter will be right with you. No, seriously, Stacy was fired because she never made a strong enough case for her ideas and then failed to actively participate in tasks after her ideas were discarded. Carolyn said it best: "And Stacy? I can't figure out what Stacy's doing." Yeah, me either. Buh-bye.

Dayana: That was brutal. Maybe she needed channel Raj's smooth-talkin' ways. Andy's going to be in the hot seat next week as project manager for Mosaic. Does the kid have what it takes to be Trump's next apprentice?

Rick: Even though he's probably eligible for frequent rider miles on the Trump elevator, he's been Teflon in the boardroom. I don't think he has what it takes to win it all because sooner or later, you're going to slip if you keep getting called back in. Next week's show, where they will be recruiting for the NYPD, looks like it will be pretty intense proving grounds for Andy.

Tim: I don't think we've really seen Andy perform except in the boardroom, where he always seems prepared. In fact, he seems downright comfortable. That gives him a huge edge over the other candidates. Mark my words: If Andy leads the team to victory next week, he has as good a shot as anyone to go the distance.

Dayana: But did you notice how Trump lampooned him for aligning Mosaic's dog-washing business with a cat shelter? That led to the best line of the night, from Trump of all people: "The last thing dogs want to know is that they're helping cats." Bingo.

Until next week, suite dreams.

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