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The publicity train for The Apprentice: Martha Stewart rolled on this week, with the industry rags quoting Martha’s stylist as saying, “This is the week Martha really got comfortable and the show will be great from here on out.” No word if the reason is because of the fantastic new highlights in her hair. I don’t need any convincing from any stylist – I’ve been on board since week one ever since Martha laid down her first subtle yet harsh passive aggressive bit of hatred. And the intrigue of still not knowing who’s actually on Team Primarius is enough to keep me coming back for more.
And speaking of keeping coming back week after week, Team Primarius was surprised to see Jim and Dawn survive the Conference Room yet again. They all seemed shocked that Martha sent Shawn-Suze-Orman packing, noting she was one of the more formidable players. Then some unknown blond woman from Primarius spoke out saying that she wasn’t surprised at all – Shawn was too polished and phony and that, “There are no cheesy salesmen here.” Quick cut to cheesy Jim looking, well, cheesy. Bravo, editors, bravo.
Of course, with Jim surviving yet another chopping block, it meant another round of “Jim’s Hyperbole Corner.” With typical bluster, Jim noted, “I’m sick and tired of the smug looks on Primarius’ faces. They are going to lose and I am going to drink in their tears like the nectar of the gods.” At least he didn’t ruminate on murdering anyone this week – must be his new father of a newborn temperament. Ah, Jim… Imagine how annoying it must be to work with this guy? I’m pretty low-key (very low-key, actually) so I just can’t fathom what it’s like in his office. He’s like the Office Space “Is someone having a case of the Mondays” lady times, like, a gazillion.
Sourpuss Julia called the loft to gather the teams in the Conference Room at 9AM. Once in the room, Alexis gave a sleepy hello, Charles twirled his cigar, and everyone awaited the grand entrance of Martha. *Click* hey, there she is, up on the TV screen hovering in the air above her usual seat at the table! It was just like Star Trek: The Next Generation! Martha was phoning in another appearance, though not from another planet. Although, I’m guessing Martha’s Turkey Hill Estate is a whole different world from the one we live in. Martha introduced the task and explained, “I couldn’t be there with you today because I’m working on a project.” She continued, “You see, I’m trying to develop a way to remove this damn ankle bracelet without alerting the authorities, and it’s proving to be quite problematic.”
Video Martha explained the challenge: Design and decorate a large suite in the Times Square Westin Hotel, but make it a “Lifestyle Suite.” Each team had to choose a theme based on their vision – all in two days. Martha really pushed the “vision” thing and the teams seemed excited to get going. But first, Alexis sleepily asked for a leader to step up from Primarius and take over the reins of Matchstick, who had yet to win a task. Some previously unknown woman named Leslie volunteered and walked the plank, so to speak, over to Matchstick. This earned her sneers of derision from the Primarians, who noted, “We’re glad she left, she’s actually one of the weaker people here!” Me-ow!
Primarius, who I hate for getting that damn “This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius” song from Hair in my head every week, immediately went over to the Westin and noted how huge and unkempt the suite was. Another previously unknown blond from the team, Amanda, nominated herself as Project Manager and the team immediately set to planning. A few decent ideas were tossed aside before they quickly settled on “Westin Entertains,” a somewhat plausible idea of creating a fun “gaming” atmosphere in the suite. Just as quickly, they began discussing color schemes and specifics. Primarius = Getting shit done.
Meanwhile, down the hall in Matchstickland, we were treated to a bunch of stupid people throwing out an endless stream of stupid ideas. “A toy room!” “A circus room!” “A S&M dungeon!” A full six hours went by before Leslie could settle on an idea and get moving on making it happen. The idea wasn’t bad – F.L.O.W. (For Leisure Or Work) – but the fact that eight hired contractors sat around the empty suite with no direction on what to do was typical Matchstick. Wasted time, wasted money. Even Ryan from Primarius, citing concerns over his own team’s abilities, said, “Never overestimate Matchstick. No matter how bad we do, they always do worse.” Matchstick =
Getting shit done.
The Primaritoids had hired an interior designer and were deciding on the wallpaper and color schemes. PM Amanda was deferring to everything the designer had to say, while some of her teammates differed in their opinions. There was a moment of unintentional comedy when 80′s hair Carrie kept suggesting different wallpapers and kept getting unceremoniously shot down by Amanda. (Hey, I’m finally learning the Primarian names!) Let me just state for the record, Carrie’s choices did totally suck – as if Westin (in Manhattan, no less) would ever put that fake bookshelf wallpaper on one of their walls. The designer (and therefore, Amanda) chose some muted grays for the living spaces and grayish-green for the bathroom. The bathroom did look a little glum, but I’m still not quite sure what Howie meant by, “It looks like Atlantic City on crack.” I still prefer the other Howie and his one word insult, “Busto.” Hey, at least neither Reality TV 2005 Howie blows up a surgical glove on his head and thinks that’s funny, right?
With the entire Primarius crew hemming and hawing about the ugly color scheme, Amanda stood her ground and stuck to her guns. One thing about Amanda standing her ground is that she does it with her legs spread like a bowlegged cowboy. No joke except that it’s totally unattractive… I mean, it’s like Plano on smack! The Matchstickers were placed under a major time crunch due to their inability to decide on a “vision.” Bethenny raced to a downtown furniture store and began ordering chairs and beds and lounges and ottomans and couches with reckless abandon. I’m not sure of the budget for this challenge, but damn, it was pretty high. Eight contractors, tons of furniture, electronics, carpeting, etc. With the show spending so much money on this challenge, I wonder what the reward will be?
Jim, David (who once again became the Silent Croatian this week), Peanut head Bethenny, and PM Leslie from Matchstick made their way to a hardware store while Marcella and Dawn worked on the suite. It was approaching midnight and the contractors, being contractors and not reality TV whores, told the team they’d be quitting at that time. This meant the team would have to pitch in and paint late into the night. While no one wanted to have to do that, it was once again Dawn who made the biggest fool of herself. Just as in the first task, Dawn stated that she would not be working beyond midnight because she’d be sleeping. Furthermore, the next morning when the team gathered at 6:30 a.m., Dawn was still sleeping and refused to be awoken. I almost felt bad for the Silent Croatian as for some reason he was elected to rouse Dawn. If you’re like me, you are uncomfortable waking people up from a dead sleep – now imagine doing it to someone you barely know of the opposite sex.
I had fleeting thoughts of Dawn snapping to and leaping from bed in a panic, only to realize sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d slept bottomless – leaving the Silent Croatian standing there in stunned silence. Alas, this was Dawn we are talking about and despite him shaking her, despite the camera man, the sound guy, the lights blaring, the fact that it was one of the more important times in her life to get the hell out of bed… Dawn simply pulled the covers over her head and moaned before slowly emerging from her cocoon. Oh, and lest you think Dawn was bottomless (or has ever done anything sexy in her life), she emerged wearing a full body thermal get-up like my Uncle Jack wears when he goes ice-fishing. I guess you could say neither Dawn nor we will ever see the “crack of Dawn.” Rimshot!
Of course, all was wonderful on Team PrimeLordius as PM Amanda even went so far as to hand out inspirational pencils to her teammates because, “You guys are the sharpest people I know!” Wow, I expected the gang to then break out in song… “I’d like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony…” [Note to self: Get a box of pencils for B-Side, J-Unit, EdHill, Copygodd, m_ruv, youcan'tmakeitup, and Kat for the holidays... Will be hit of party. Also, large tube of lube. Remember to delete this note before publishing on blog.]
The teams and their contractors did an amazing job on the suites; as Charles noted when he visited the Primarrhoids nearly completed project. They had nifty little touches like an old-fashioned popcorn machine, vases filled with poker chips and dominos, and shelves full of candy and board games. Yes, it sounds stupid, but it worked in an “I would never decorate or choose to stay in a suite a like this, but it looks ok in the context of the game afoot” kinda way. Charles left impressed and moseyed on over to Matchstick.
“HELLO, HELLO, hello-o-o-o-o? The echo reverberated around the room because, lovely as it was, there was no furniture. Two hours before the deadline and Bethenny was on the phone frantically yelling at the deliverymen to get the delivery to them posthaste. Bethenny promised Charles that the furniture would arrive in time and – ahh, enough with the drama. Fast-forward 2 hours and there was Bethenny, still yelling on the phone about the missing furniture. Her teammates rushed down the elevators to the loading dock to meet the driver and… And… And this is Matchstick after all so you guessed it – No deliveryman, no furniture. Or, as everyone’s favorite baby’s daddy Jim said, “No couchy, no winny.” Loser.
The deadline hit and that brought the Westin execs (with some Platinum members in tow) into the PrimeRibius suite to begin the tour and judging. Amanda had swiftly changed into her best flight attendant outfit and proceeded to explain the “Entertainment Suite” to those gathered. The place looked polished and she did a very good job presenting. I wouldn’t expect anything less from the PrimeNumberians. The judges made their way over to the Matchstick effort and its, shall we say, minimalist stylings.
But first I want to say something. I love Westin Hotels. I love the Heavenly Beds, the desk service is always very helpful, the rooms clean, the high-speed access topnotch. I even belong to their frequent visitor club and in fact, I just enjoyed their beautiful new Waltham, MA hotel this past weekend. I’ve stayed in Westins from Atlanta to Pittsburgh to Honolulu – and I’ve loved every one. I have no point; I just want to see if they can somehow hook me up for my blatant free advertising. (Man, I’m really growing some balls with this gig, huh?)
Anyway, the judges entered the cavernous suite and listened to Leslie’s presentation. To be honest, the rooms looked great, just sans furniture. The aesthetic actually worked for me (I’m a sucker for hardwood and hate clutter) and I’m fairly certain that with some furniture, I’d have been very impressed. About that furniture… “We didn’t put in a lot of big fluffy sofas because you’d expect that,” offered Leslie. Um, uh, yeah, we would. Just like by not having a couch or chairs or anything to sit on other than the kitchen counter, Matchstick was going to lose. Again. Because you’d expect that. I’ll give Leslie some credit for playing off the gaffe as though they meant to do it, and sounding quite convincing while doing so. Unfortunately, one of the Westin execs wasn’t buying it, saying, “This reminds me of my first apartment after college because I couldn’t afford furniture.” Thank goodness Matchstick’s resident psycho Jim wasn’t there to hit back with, “Oh yeah you oak tree… I oughtta cut you down with a scythe and bathe in the tears of your smugness.”
Immediately afterwards, the teams gathered in a room with Martha, some exceedingly beautiful and generous Westin executive, and some Really cool and hip Westin designer named, awesomely, DB. Ok, I’ll stop. If they know I’m already staying in their hotels, why would they see the need to hook me up? The choice was, of course, easy and unanimous – Primeratops wins again! So far for rewards they’ve eaten expertly prepared sushi with Martha in the loft, worked all day building a community garden, and had itty-bitty desserts with Donald, Melania, and Melania’s boobs. Martha told them to retire to their Westin suite, relax, and await Martha’s arrival and the reward.
]They left amid a flurry of embarrassing Caucasian high-fives and man hugs. Martha turned to the defeated Matchsticks and lamented, “I am really disappointed.” Glum looks all around as they filed out and headed back to their loft. Next, Martha appeared in the triumphant suite and took a mini self-guided tour of the place. “OOOh, candy,” she cooed. “And Oh, you have EM AND EM’s! I would like an EM AND EM.” Seriously, who in the world pronounces M&M’s like they are talking to one of those goddamned phone voice response systems like insurance companies have? Actually, Westin, if you want to do one thing for me it would be to never implement one of those systems. Finally, it was time for Optimus Primarius to learn of their reward! “For reward this week, just sit around on that couch and hug each other some more.” The gang nervously laughed but Martha just left and that was that. They feigned excitement but really… Their loft that the show provided was ten times better and – hey, wait a minute! Did Martha just pretend they got a reward when in reality, they didn’t get shit? Martha is my frigging hero!
[Aside: I used to bartend and here's an old trick - donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fall for it. It should now be called "The Martha." So you ask the bartender, "How much for such and such drink." Bartender stares pleasantly into your eyes, pauses for one second, inhales, drops shoulders and says, "For you? $4.75," followed by a cute little smile. Result? Dumb drunken patron drops an extra buck or two for a tip not realizing it's $4.75 for every Tom, Dick, and Harry who walks through the door. Trust me, it worked a million times. Sorry bartenders of the world, your gig is up.]
In the loft, the remaining Matchstickerdoodles were plotting for the conference room. Dawn fully expected to get called back in for the 4th straight week. Her defense? Ã¢â‚¬Å“I thought Leslie was a jackass.Ã¢â‚¬? Yeah, me too. In fact, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re all jackasses, but IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll take a jackass that works next to one who sleeps all day and does her best Debbie Downer impression throughout every task. Bethenny and Leslie had a conversation in which they agreed Dawn had to go home, but Leslie wanted to put Bethenny up with her. This made sense, because the missing furniture was the killer and Bethenny was responsible for that. (Even though it wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really her fault.) Bethenny wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hear it and began blaming LeslieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s poor time management as the reason the furniture was late. (Which was a valid point.) Bottom line, Leslie is an idiot for Ã¢â‚¬Å“crossing overÃ¢â‚¬? to this dysfunctional team of Ã¢â‚¬Å“creativeÃ¢â‚¬? morons.
Down they went to meet their (home)maker, with a quick pass by SourJulia. I noticed for the first time that poor Julia has cornpuff mole-like things on both sides of her ample jowls. Poor thing. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re like Frankenstein neckbolts tragically misplaced onto each side of her lower mandibles. Perhaps in some weird way, these cause her to look like sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s got a half of a lime in each cheek at all times? Further study is required.
In the conference room, Leslie blamed Bethenny for the furniture mishap, Bethenny blamed Leslie for wasting the six hours at the outset, but then everyone pretty much ganged up on Dawn. (Except Silent Croatian David who remained silent for an entire episode yet again. The one scene I remember was him sleeping with a total nerd sci-fi book on his chest. Silently.)
Martha was clearly sick of these dipshits and shut them all up to tell a wonderful Martha story. As it turned out, Martha was having a garden party the very next day (Shhhh, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t tell the Primicorns, as that would have made a sweet reward indeed). Despite the time crunch, my hero Martha was sure to have the driveways cluded with beautiful pea stone and to edge the gardensÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ Cut to Alexis laughing an embarrassed laugh. It was nice to see a Stewart recognizing her mother for being the pretentious loon that she is. And no, I have no idea what Ã¢â‚¬Å“cluded drivewayÃ¢â‚¬? is, or even if IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m correct in what she said. It was the only variation that got a Google hit. MarthaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s point was that she had a lot to do in a short amount of time and she got it done Ã¢â‚¬” now why could I get that done?
It was CharlesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ time to shine. In response to MarthaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s apparently rhetorical question, he answered, Ã¢â‚¬Å“You know why? Because Matchstick wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t in charge of doing it.Ã¢â‚¬? Nice one old man! Next, when Dawn was getting blasted for sleeping late, Charles the comedian stepped up to the plate, swung, and, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Dawn, you keep this up and youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have plenty of time to sleep.Ã¢â‚¬? Homerun! Despite the comic stylings of Charles, Martha was still fed up. She seethed, Ã¢â‚¬Å“None of you want to see me lose my patience!Ã¢â‚¬?
Now would be a good time to mention that I once knew a girl who worked for Martha on her estate back when she lived in Westport, CT. Long story short, all the stories youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve heard are true Ã¢â‚¬” Martha is a straight up bitchÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ or was anyway. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been holding back some of the stories, and donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really see a need to write them here because they are merely hearsay. But if this show starts really sucking, I may bust some out. However, I dig the show thus far, so Martha is safe from my wrath.
When Martha asked everyone who should be fired, Marcella said Dawn, David said Leslie, Jim, perhaps feeling upstaged by Charles and his cigar said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Anyone but me!Ã¢â‚¬? Martha shot him daggers the likes of which heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s never seen Ã¢â‚¬” well, except maybe from his poor wife who delivered his daughter a few days prior while he baked an ugly wedding cake in NYC. As youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d assume, Leslie brought Dawn and Bethenny back with her which drove Martha to say, Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is a tough decision.Ã¢â‚¬? Too bad Alexis was no help Ã¢â‚¬” she simply never speaks. Repressed fear of her mother perhaps?
In the final scene, Leslie and Bethenny had at it some more, but then the attention turned to Dawn again. Finally, Alexis spoke up and letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just say, Awwwwwkwarrrrd! Ã¢â‚¬Å“Dawn, I like you because IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m usually the one everyone likes least on the team.Ã¢â‚¬? Wow, that was weird. If that werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t uncomfortable enough, MarthaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s disapproving glare at her own daughter was the icing on the cake. In the end, Martha liked LeslieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s balls for coming to Matchstick, Bethenny got a pass for working hard, and DawnÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ Ã¢â‚¬Å“Dawn, you are just not effective so therefore, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll just say good luck and goodbye.Ã¢â‚¬?
Who said Martha didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have a good catchphrase?