Apprentice
Cereal Killers

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | 1 USERS: A+
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Lesson Four: How To Sell Brent Michael Buckman Down The River Once Again

C.: Take a pass on the whole thing and just reiterate your desire to help the team as a whole, without specifics?

Answer Key: Honestly, on this one I'd go with C., because Ivanka knows damn well that Brent's getting screwed somehow, and she's just asking for the specifics so that she can smack Tammy with them in the Boardroom, so C. actually makes you look the best of the three. Nobody looks like a winner with the situation as it actually stands, so why point that out? It's not a situation where Brent will somehow get exempted from the Boardroom just for having driven the team to active spite, so Ivanka shouldn't be put in that position, because she'll take it out on him eventually. Guess which one Brent picked? Ivanka's like, "The...clothing? For real?" And Brent gets his full Markus on for a sec, giving the impression that they've also been beating him. Ivanka interviews that the team is "trying to manage Brent by having him do absolutely nothing," but that this is a strategy that is "not going to work." I agree with this, in that Brent will always find a way to bug everybody, but my stock answer -- that management is realizing that everybody is good at something -- is getting a real strain hernia from the Brentitude of Brent.

Brent and his dandruff take Tammy aside to reiterate that "his strength is presentation." He's got crumbs on his face as he says this. She's got that jumpy management dance happening that tells us she was just on her way to do something of actual import before Brent ambushed her for this redundant processing session. He nods and nods as she explains, maybe not for the first time, that she and Sean "are very comfortable meeting with executives," because it's their actual jobs rather than a hobby or whatever, and also since the team's not doing the weight-loss thing, the overall package with Brent presenting is not exactly "the image that we want to present to the execs."

Unnecessary. I get it, but he doesn't need to hear that, because he's going to go straight for the discrimination place, instead of the reality place, which is that it's not about checks and balances, it's about presentation. It's a hot button for a lot of people, and very difficult to navigate, so I won't really try except to compare it to American Idol again: if you come in front of me thinking you're going to be the next pop superstar, but you don't look the part, if you are not "put together," it's not going to happen. And there aren't a whole lot of ways to explain that without coming off a lot cruder than it's meant. Which is why most people don't push the issue this far. There's no judgment in saying, "Physically, you do not fit the profile." If somebody went in to read for the part of "Bikini Babe #3" in the next Paul Walker movie, and the person didn't look great in a bikini, there's no good person/bad person in saying they're not right for the part. Or if you were reading for a Jersey mobster on a crime drama, and looked like Charmaine, or Allie. If Brent's self-esteem is so tied up with his physical form that he honestly thinks he's being called a terrible person when someone is forced to point out the image issue, it becomes a self-reinforcing issue, because it lets him off the hook for a lot of other stuff which also has nothing to do with the point. I feel like going for it over and over like that is in some way an attempt by Brent to get Tammy to admit that his looks are a factor -- but his "looks" have to do with so much more than a simple weight issue, and he will never understand that. Let alone understand that there's no higher authority he can debate this with: it's not like by sheer force of will he can make the world stop judging how attractive something is overall by...looking at it. Whine away, but it's not changing, because of the enduring truth of eyeballs. That kind of reductiveness really irritates me, especially when combined with the personalizing and the delusion of it all. Lest we forget, Brent's opening salvo was to reply to "Have you ever done this before" with "I have not," and then blamflasted surprise and resentment that somebody else got to do it, followed by an attempt at negotiating this further. It's not even really like he's excited about it, he just wants to be involved in some way, and figures at least this way he won't get shouted down, because it'll be just him talking, and then maybe Trump will notice how amazing he is, instead of ignoring him and his yelling for approval altogether.

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Apprentice

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