I won’t beat around the bush – there were two stories in the press regarding The Apprentice: Martha Stewart that completely overshadowed the show itself. Come to think of it, the debut of the new Chuck Norris home gym infomercial overshadowed Martha’s show. See, what I’m saying is, Martha’s show is not exactly getting ratings. In fact, one news story was confirmation that NBC is not renewing the show. I’ll pause a moment here for you to absorb this sad and shocking news.
You okay? Tissue?
Gather yourselves and straighten up, because the other press tidbit was even more mind-blowing: Alexis Stewart has a real vagina! More on that after the jump.As always on all Apprenti, the show opened with the post conference room reaction and fallout. Dawna was particularly affected this week and cried her eyes out. Please… Has Martha ever cried? Ever?! I can’t imagine Ms. “There’s no crying in business” Stewart would look too kindly on Dawna’s raw emotion. When the others learned it was Howie who had been sent packing, the general feeling was that of confusion. Amanda pondered sagely, “If she likes Jim, then she certainly won’t like me.” Part of the fun of writing Martha recaps is that no one cares when I write stuff like, “You’re right, Amanda… As you’ll find out later when you are sent home to your coven of weird mannish Interrupter People.”
The next morning, Marcella won the race to the ringing telephone clad in nothing but a towel. That wasn’t the strange thing though – far off in the background was Jim in his boxer shorts mugging for the camera. Like the 5 year old he is. (And the previews for next week highlight his immaturity yet again. Sigh.)
Martha again had to pre-tape her bit outlining the week’s task. Am I the only one who finds it terribly annoying that the recorded snippets sometimes start with Martha discussing business with someone first, rather than just addressing the candidates? Who in the world believes that Martha is there working with someone and the camera, lighting, sound guys magically appear to surprise her so she can outline the challenge? What was even worse this week was that she was speaking from the Martha Stewart offices right downstairs but couldn’t meet with the candidates. I know I’m splitting hairs about an already doomed show, but I can’t help it. Trumps little commanding fake helicopter phone calls are amusing; Martha’s little fake decision making clips are just stupid.
The challenge: With $40K seed money, each team would be given a retail space and have to sell as many Tiassimo Hot Beverage Systems as possible. Gee, that’s exciting and fresh… About as exciting and fresh as it was the first time they did it this season with the flower challenge. At least they weren’t given the exact same retail spaces. Or were they? This show is just so incredibly lazy. I fear that this is plaguing all of reality television – Martha is just (once again) on the forefront of a trend.
Team Matchstick still had four members – Project Manager Marcella, Leslie, Amanda, and Ryan. While sitting around thinking of ways to sell the beverage maker thing, Ryan proved one of the more elusive and little understood facts of life. When a bunch of women live together for a couple months, their menstrual cycles get in synch. ‘Cuz Ryan was totally PMS’ing when Marcella asked a simple favor of him. Ryan strikes me as more of a “pads” rather than a “pons” man, but that’s just a guess.
Over in the Primarius camp, Dawna was taking charge and confounding Project Manager Jim and his peanut-headed underling, Bethenny. (Remember the “scandal” about how Bethenny seriously dated Charles’ son or something? Yeah, me neither…) Dawna knew that if her team was to lose, Jim and Bethenny would gang up on her in the conference room. So she decided to head down to a PR firm on her own and hammer out a plan.
This caused Jim to refer to Dawna as a, “rogue and disparate team member.” Boy, how would he feel to know that Dawna signed a deal with the PR firm giving up $30,000 of their seed money – all without his consent? Here’s what I would have done: Taken the $40K seed money and divided it equally among four of my NYC friends. We’d have gone to Nobu or Daniel (or both) and had a nice long ridiculous meal and some ridiculously expensive bottles of wine or whatever. The next day, we’d all stumble to our grungy storefront to meet Charles, his stupid cigar, and Alexis and their disapproving glares. I’d shout, “Open for business,” my four buddies would stumble in and pay 9 grand each for four Tiassimo Beverage makers. I’d shout, “We’re closed,” draw the blinds, walk past Charles and Alexis, stuff a tip into their pockets telling Charles to go buy a lighter and Alexis to get some nice heels, and go sleep off my hangover. Do you think they have rules against this sort of thing?
[Though maybe only 1% of you watched it this past summer, there was a very interesting "scam" pulled off successfully and within the rules on Tommy Hilfiger's, "The Cut." It was pretty compelling television and if you care to read about it, I actually covered that show.]
After the required MarthaWisdom segment, Mark Burnett punched us in the face again with some of his trademarked swervey foreshadowing; Matchstick’s fate was sealed when Marcella said, “There’s NO WAY I am going to lose against Jim again.” If it makes her feel better, it was actually Dawna who made all the right moves, Marcella – but you’ll find that out later. And at least you have perfect eyebrows – something Martha will be sure to point out when you do inevitably get sent home.
Amanda and Ryan were simply not listening to Marcella’s feeble attempts at leading them. In response, Marcella took Leslie for a walk around the neighborhood in hopes of gaining an ally. Who knew red headed and bland Leslie was a Latina “sister” of Mexican Marcella? Yes, I retired the “Everyone loves a Spicy Latina” reference last week in my “Prison Break” recap but I said nothing about the fact that “Everyone hates a boring red-headed closet Latina” now did I?
Anyway, while they were out “getting a feel for the neighborhood,” Amanda and Ryan decided to go ahead and secure a celebrity to appear at their store. The first celebrities offered up to Ryan were Paul Schaeffer and Mary Tyler Moore. Mary Tyler Moore? That just makes me sad for some reason. After Ryan shot them down, the following unbleeped exchange took place later:
Agency: “You watch “The Sopranos?” I got Vincent Pastore, y’know, Big Pussy.”
Ryan: “I LOVE Big Pussy! Everyone loves Big Pussy!”
Marcella: “How are we gonna make flyers and signs with ‘Big Pussy’ on it?”
You could see Ryan holding back thirty different comments that were flooding his brain at that point, which was pretty funny. Charles and Alexis appeared and asked Marcella how things were going. Ryan blurted out that they were having no luck securing the “celebrity chef” Marcella demanded they secure for their event. It was a total dick move, selling out the PM in front of the judges so to speak.
Meanwhile, Jim and Bethenny had nothing to do since Dawna had blown 75% of their money on the PR firm that was going to handle everything. (How that is somehow okay but my idea above probably isn’t is beyond me.) Jim and Bethenny did have a moment to revel in the fact that if their team were to fail, they could pin the whole loss on Dawna and her rash idea. The two then engaged in the most awkward fist bump I’ve ever seen – they more or less missed fists. I love that crap. I call it a “Mist Bump.”
The day of the sale, Jim and Bethenny were upset that they had no initial foot traffic and the PR firm lackeys were just milling about out on the street. Another toothless swerve from the editors, of course, but at least we got to hear Charles say, “Jim always looks desperate.” And seeing an adult dressed in a coffee cup costume always makes me feel better about my station in life. Go Fightin’ Lattes!
Both teams were shown selling the beverage making machines and the next thing I knew, it was Conference Room time. Apparently at this time there was a pretty heavy rainstorm going on in my area, as the satellite feed was pretty tough to follow. So I immediately went to CNBC and set the TiVo to record the episode again. Ha ha, just kidding. I’ll bet CNBC is counting the days until the Winter Olympics begin so they can get more viewers back with the Biathlon prelims. Because really, when I think “Olympics,” I think about skinny white guys in Lycra shooting guns while cross country skiing. (Actually, that sounds pretty cool.)
It was no surprise that Team “PR”imarius won the challenge by a whopping four thousand bucks or so. Charles accused the Matchstickers of losing that “fire and passion” they had all previously shown. At that, Ryan snapped, “Dude, Charles… You’ve been lacking ‘fire’ on your unlit cigar for 3 months now and Christ, Alexis? Passion?! Do you even know how to spell that word?!”
For me, the best part of Martha’s Apprentice is the announcement of the rewards for the winners. Some weeks, Martha has completely screwed over the winner by giving them absolutely nothing or worse, making them work. This week, however, Jim, Dawna, and Bethenny would be whisked away in a Gulfstream 4 private jet up to Bar Harbor, given a tour of Martha’s “Most favorite house,” by Alexis, followed by a scenic boat tour of the Maine coast. Wow, that sounds pretty fun. Except for the whole tour guided by a zombie thing. And the being stuck with Jim the entire time thing.
Once at the house – named “Skylands” by the way – the trio was met by a very casual Alexis who looked as though she was still not fully roused from a nap. In other words, typical Alexis. Speaking of Martha’s only daughter… Sure, I and many of my peers have lambasted the deathly silent daughter throughout the season. She’s completely useless on television – a fact that even she apparently acknowledges. But that’s not all – Despite her previous marriage, she certainly pulls off some serious dyke-chic. In fact, she’s admitted to previous sappho-sex. But the REAL surprise is that she also admitted to some good old fashioned hetero-sex with a cameraman from the show! This was all reported in a BusinessWeek article, and it’s straight from the mummy’s mouth. And here I thought necrophilia was illegal in New York. Huh, guess I’m a bit of a fuddy duddy myself.
Alexis put everyone to sleep with her tour. Well, that is, until she unveiled the amazing “Tablecloth closet.” That’s right, a big giant closet specially made with racks to house nothing but tablecloths. I hate rich people. One Alexis quote did afford us a rare glimpse into the mind of the only child of an infamous overbearing mother: “I need need need time alone.” Well, duh… Joan Crawford beat her daughter with clothes hangers from her closet. Lord knows what Martha did with those giant tablecloth dowels from her tablecloth closet! Take all the alone time you need, dear Alexis, take all the alone time you need.
Alexis took the winners on a little boat jaunt around the beautiful craggy Maine coast and fed them lobster rolls. Wait… SHE BANGED A CAMERAMAN FROM THE SHOW?! How in the world did that happen? She is the most sexless automaton I’ve seen on TV since “Small Wonder.” Maybe she had sex with a camera but that was too weird so she added the suffix “man” on it when she blurted out the revelation without thinking. Yeah, that makes more sense. Then Jim ate a carrot slice like a 3 year old.
Back in New York Marcella was throwing in the towel. “I’m just a chef and a mom,” she whimpered. Yes, Marcella, but you are also a Mexican and you would be wise to remember that at all times. Trust me. She had a right to be defeatist – Ryan and Amanda were prepared to attack Marcella at every turn. Jim gathered up this info and then went to Marcella to help her prepare a defense. His advice was sound and left Marcella in a state of shock. She got herself together and entered the conference room with her mates.
Marcella began the proceedings stating that her whole team was not supportive of her throughout the task. Amanda confirmed this saying, “I did not support her all the time.” Alexis, energized from her time up in Maine interrupted in her trailing off monotone, “You guys were like dead. You guys were like morose.” She forgot, “You guys were just like me.”
Leslie said her bit, Ryan was pretty bipartisan, Amanda was Amanda, and Marcella was suddenly the UN Ambassador to Mexico. “If I win, I will bring the Martha Stewart brand to the millions of Mexicans and Latinos in the US. Viva la raza! I want to be the Mexican Martha Stewart, but YOU should be the Mexican Martha! I can do that for you! Muchos gracias, gringo!” Her little routine drew a few spiteful glares from Amanda – because, “I will bring the Martha Stewart brand to the thousands of trannies in the US… I want to be the tranny Martha,” just wouldn’t go over as well.
In the end, Marcella had Ryan and Amanda join her for judging. While awaiting the inevitable callback from Martha, they all bickered while LimeyJulia shook her head at the proceedings. Martha called Julia and chatted her up a bit: “Hi Julia, how are you,” she said. Huh? These weird little things really bother me on this show.
Once in the conference room, Ryan called out Marcella for questioning his loyalty, Martha told them all to shut up, and ended up sending Amanda back home to tend to her garden. She said goodbye to Martha and Charles but reserved a passionate goodbye tongue kiss for Alexis.
And they said it couldn’t be done in less than 10 words – ha! – I’ve now completely ruined all straight male girl on girl fantasies for at least a month. And you wonder why I don’t use my real name… Sorry masturbators!