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Too many I's in Team Apex

The only way a member of Apex on “The Apprentice” stands a chance of winning it all is if she cuts her hair, lowers her voice, dons a suit and becomes adept at making guy talk with the members of Mosaic. Because as it stands now, there is not one woman on that team with enough leadership ability to convince rabbits to multiply.

The scoreboard now reads three in a row. Apex went down in flames once again Wednesday night after another dismal failure that came about because the women were too busy watching their backs to focus on the task at hand.

In this episode, each team had to get a restaurant up and running. Scores from the Zagat survey conducted outside the eateries would determine the winner.

In this corner, Apex, which randomly chose Jennifer C. as project manager. And in that corner, Mosaic, with Raj running the show.

Mosaic won because there was a semblance of team play — and because its members didn’t spend most of the time plotting each other’s demise. Instead of screeching like feral cats at the first sign of difficulty, they calmly reacted. When a table full of gay men nitpicked over their limp salads, the men of Mosaic sent their most attractive member to the table. The results were a few extra Zagat style points, which probably made the difference.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump could have lined up the ladies of Apex inside a mud-wrestling pit and yelled, “Biggest clump of ripped-out hair wins!” and it would have been more civil than what transpired on the distaff side in Episode 4.

Bye, bye Jennifer C.
The major problem was Jennifer C., which is why she became the fourth contestant on “The Apprentice” to hit the pavement. Jennifer C. is like the girl in high school student government who insists on choosing the prom band, the venue, the menu and the decorations, and then when everything sucks, she shrewdly steps aside and lets her friends get riddled with blame darts.

But not this time. The Donald knows a devious, calculating shrew when he sees one. Just check out his love life.

Jennifer C. put her team at a huge disadvantage by not hiring people to clean the restaurant, like the men did. Instead, the women were up until the wee hours scrubbing and wiping. By the time the place opened, the ladies of Apex looked like stoned-out models after an all-night rave party. As a result, confusion was the order of the day, not seared ahi tuna.

When Jennifer C. entered the boardroom, she blew the leadership test. Instead of bringing in Sandy, who deserved most of the blame for botching the restaurant task because it was her décor that got the lowest Zagat marks, Jennifer C. made it personal. She had her fangs out for Elizabeth and Stacy R., and she wouldn’t rest until they were both in Prada body bags.

Jennifer C. did not play the game. She failed to recognize that such a ploy would not dupe The Donald. She thought she could rid herself of perceived weak sisters without just cause. It doesn’t work that way.

Jennifer C. had the right idea, but the wrong sequence. She should have sacrificed Sandy first, and waited for some future opportunity when she had a stronger case against Elizabeth and Stacy R.

But no matter which woman goes in what order, they all need to bundle up against the nighttime chill, pack their suitcases on wheels, and hustle into awaiting cabs, because the longer they inhabit Trump Tower, the more it runs the risk of being condemned.

Can't get no respectIvana is a nonentity. Did she do anything at all in Episode 4? I think I saw a brief shot of her sponging off a countertop. It’s hard to accuse somebody of not pulling their weight when they don’t have any. But Ivana had been project manager during the ice cream debacle of Episode 2. When it came to leadership, she performed like a melted scoop of nonfat vanilla.

Elizabeth might be the nicest of the bunch, but she broke down when the pressure of getting the word out about their restaurant got to her. Just like there is no crying in baseball, there is certainly no room for it on “The Apprentice.” The biggest upset of the night was the first tear skating down Elizabeth’s cheek and the other women failing to pounce on her like hyenas on a fawn. And let’s be honest, Elizabeth wasn’t exactly Lee Iacocca last week in her turn as project manager.

Stacy R. is no titan of industry either. She told Jennifer C. that in order to gain her respect, she would have to earn it. Stacy R. couldn’t have sounded more ridiculous if she were dressed like SpongeBob SquarePants. Her one contribution to the Apex effort Thursday night was suggesting “Italian” as a type of food. You have to give her props for originality. There aren’t too many Italian restaurants in New York City.

The rest of the women are no better when it comes to leadership. Jennifer M. isn’t a budding entrepreneur, she’s the conniving stepsister on a daytime drama. And Sandy is her evil twin. I know when it’s time for Maria to lead the team, she’ll show up wearing a black leather bodysuit and wielding a bullwhip.

Leadership requires respect, as The Donald has opined. Not one of these women is capable of commanding respect from the others. The men of Mosaic are eager to win, and some might even throw a member or two under the bus to do so if they must. But they’re sharp enough at this stage of the game to pull together and produce winning efforts. And they seem to respect each other — so far.

The ladies want to win collectively, but they’d much rather win individually.

Note to Trump: Is it possible to fire an entire team?

Michael Ventre a regular contributor to MSNBC.com and lives in Los Angeles.