As readers might recall, I flipped out over the first season of The Donald’s The Apprentice, calling the show the best job-training program in the country.

The portrayal of New York as a sort of Darwinian fairly tale, cutthroat and beautiful at the same time, the group dynamics, and the wicked Omarosa–it just couldn’t have been better.

I found myself respecting Trump, who inevitably made the right decision about who got to hear the dreaded words “You’re fired!” The whole show conveyed lessons in how to deal with people and what makes a good businessperson. It was unbeatable.

Well, Other Charlotte, I agree with you that this year’s Apprentice is a warmed up version of last year’s show, and I must add that I don’t feel that I enjoyed it as much as you did–there were fewer lessons in office behavior, and for the first time I thought Trump fired the wrong person. (So, I believe, did Carolyn, but we’ll get to that.)

Perhaps one problem for me was the knowledge that The Donald is going through another one of his periodic business slumps. Call me fickle, but it’s easier to regard him as an oracle when he’s not on the brink of disaster. On the other hand, The D has to be a wizard–it seems that he’s borrowed so much money that, if the banks don’t stand by him, the reverberations will reach all the way to my piggybank. So maybe we should regard him as persuasive and forget that the casinos may have been a bad gamble? And, of course, he’s been in a tight spot before–The Donald once famously said that he always wears a coat so nobody will see him sweat–and he’s always bounced back.

And one thing I did love–the women’s names. What does it say about our society that a random sample of women would have a Stacy and a Stacie? And one Ivanna. Where was Marla? I wonder if having a name redolent of Trump’s rocky marital history (which, as you know is more up and down than his portfolio) will be a help or a hindrance.

The Other Charlotte did point out the most interesting management tip of last night’s show–how the two women most responsible for the failure of the Apex team (don’t you love the names–Apex and Mosaic?) solved the problem–they simply ganged up on a third woman, Stacie (actually, I confess I can’t remember if it was Stacy or Stacie).

Seems that on a previous installment, Stacy (let’s just call her that for convenience, even though it may have been Stacie) convinced everybody she was a nutcase along the lines of the three faces of Eve. They painted such a vivid picture of Stacy’s mental instability that Trump called the whole team back into the board room to discuss Stacy’s mental health. The whole team ganged up on a suddenly deathly quiet Stacy.

And here’s where I thought The Donald fell into a feminine trap (it wouldn’t be the first time): Instead of firing one of the two girls who were responsible for the team’s failure, he fired…Stacy.

This just wasn’t right. Why not go through a few segments and observe for himself if she’s a nutcase? Why take the word of competitive women? I understand Stacy really was off balance in a previous segment, but I didn’t see it for myself. I think Trump should have seen it for himself before canning her. Also, it would have been interesting for the folks at home to be able to decide on further evidence.

“I had no choice,” said Trump.

“You had no choice?” asked Carolyn. She was skeptical. It was the first time in the the entire series I’ve noticed her challenging the boss. Yes, Carolyn and This Charlotte were in agreement: Fire one of the screw-ups, not Stacie or Stacy.

On the other hand, maybe Trump knows something that Carolyn and I don’t–once the issue of being crazy was raised, Stacy couldn’t stop talking about it.

“I am not crazy,” she said over and over. Warming to the subject, she added, “I want to know what crazy is. Burning down your house? Not paying your taxes? I am not crazy.”

All and all, this was a Bad Sign.