PIECES OF WORK
Tue Jan 20, 7:31 AM ET
By DON KAPLAN
HE'S argumentative, he's reckless, and he's fallen asleep on the job - literally. But "The Apprentice" contestant Sam Solovey has squeaked by to survive the first two episodes of the hit show without getting the ax.
Water coolers are also abuzz about the outspoken Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, who's been bickering with her teammates.
The two contestants have emerged from the first two episodes (episode No. 3 airs tomorrow) as the series' breakout stars - as well as its biggest troublemakers.
On the show, 16 contestants (two teams of eight men and eight women) are vying for a $250,000 "dream job" working for Trump.
Each week, the teams are put through a series of business challenges - and at the end of each episode, Trump "fires" one contestant from the losing team.
"In many respects, you've been a disaster, Sam," said Trump - before letting him off the hook and firing someone else instead.
In the show's first episode, when given the task of selling the most cups of lemonade in a day, Solovey, 27, wasted a precious half-hour trying unsuccessfully to charge someone $1,000 for a cup.
And last week, he fell asleep on the floor of an office while the others worked.
"Ninety-five of the viewers think I'm an uncontrollable jackass," Solovey said in an e-mail to The Post yesterday.
"To the other five percent I look like a creative thinker who grows increasingly frustrated by my team's simplistic approach.
"And at the end of the day, the five percent who understand me will be my friends, business partners and future customers."
His unassailable self-confidence not only has viewers cringing, but has alienated the rest of his teammates.
"Many of my teammates are, in a professional sense, mediocre neophytes and decided they could save themselves by ganging up on me," he said.
"They were uncomfortable and unfamiliar with my style and approach, and decided early on that because I was different, I must be crazy.
"If they had even given a little support to my ideas, we would have won the first two tasks."
"I think Trump sees something in Sam and is rooting for him," Lori Levin, Solovey's girlfriend of five years, told The Post.
"The public is getting to see only one piece of his personality and not the whole picture," said Levin, who teaches fifth grade in Chevy Chase, Md.
"But what the public is getting to see is one of the reasons why I'm with Sam and why I love him."