First things first… NBC moved Martha Stewart’s Apprentice to 9PM, apparently sacrificing it to Lost so they’d have an excuse for the show’s failure. But a funny thing happened – her audience grew, according to industry rags. Now, there may be a logical explanation for this and it may be the very same reason you’re reading this recap right now. The Donald himself made a cameo appearance during the show – a show which had an odd synchronicity with the original Apprentice this week. So much so that I had to alter my original recap title, which exactly mirrored B-Side’s for Donald’s show. Creepy. Well, maybe not “creepy,” per se, or even interesting. Worth mentioning, perhaps?
As I’ve said before, I actually like Martha’s version… I can’t quite explain why, maybe it’s just because it’s different. (This after I just wrote how the shows were similar this week. Sigh.) The main question on my lips this week was whether the guy I pegged as “The Silent Croatian” would speak up at all during the show. The answer after the jump.
Alas, my hopes at a running joke at “The Silent Croatian’s” expense were immediately dashed as the show opened with him giving some commentary. It turns out, his name is David and he’s most likely never even been to Europe, let alone participated in racial cleansing. Oh well, something tells me there will still be plenty of material to make fun of David with later on – his hair alone could fill a paragraph.
The conference room survivors arrived back at the loft to resounding… apathy. Everyone had agreed that it would be Dawn who would be sent packing, or perhaps maybe Jim. It was then I realized that for a “PR Consultant,” Dawn is a very unlikable person. Perhaps her gig is to represent extremely unlikable clients, thereby shifting some of the hate onto herowndamnself? Whatever, I happen to dislike Jim far more than Dawn. He’s just such a slimy bastard, I imagine he lives under a bridge and eats small children for fun. Small, handicapped children. There’s simply no way anyone could love Jim – Brr-Ring! It’s the giant stupid Pottery Barn phone and it’s Jim’s wife on the line! Holy crap, this prick is married?
Lest you think for one second he somehow has a caring bone in his body, it turns out that his wife is pregnant and expecting to give birth at any moment. Huh? And he’s in New York acting the fool on a reality show? As if that weren’t enough, he concluded his call with, “I love you, good luck in your task.” I’m not a woman and I’ve never been pregnant, but godamnit, that’s just about as insensitive as one could be. Then again, something tells me Martha Stewart would find that to be a perfectly acceptable refrain.
Where was Frau Martha? Oh, there she is, tending to her horses out at her stables in Westchester County. When she called into the loft to lay down the ground rules for the day, she asked how everyone was doing. “Most everyone is still sleeping,” she was told. (It was someone from Primarius, and aside from Howie, I couldn’t tell you anyone’s name on that team.) Martha seemed surprised and replied, “Oh really, I’ve been up for hours!” Geez, such perky passive aggression.
She gathered the troops at her offices and laid out the challenge. “The wedding industry is a 72 billion dollar a year industry!” (Yup, definitely getting pointers from Trump.) Teams would have to decide upon, design, bake, transport, and sell a wedding cake at a Michael C. Fina bridal show. The team that makes the most money, of course, wins. Martha ended the segment with the scripted, “I hope it is not Matchstick who loses again.” Shawn-Suze-Orman stepped up and declared, “I guarantee it will not be!” You know what that means in Mark Burnett land… Matchstick might as well have that Iraqi spokesman guy telling us that Baghdad is still safe – same diff.
This episode spent a little bit more time on Team Primarius, so perhaps I’ll get to know some of the players a bit more. Unfortunately, the only one with a personality (Howie) was named Project Manager and was the only one to speak. They decided to sell low, researched cakes, picked a somewhat traditional design and broke out into applause. Applause? For what? These people force-clap more than an Ellen audience.
In a somewhat weird sequence, Howie sent three team members to a bridal shop to “get some more ideas.” He simply threw a dart at a phone book and gave them an address. Unbeknownst to him, the store was smack dab in the middle of Chinatown – not exactly the market they were looking to tap. The show presented this as a major crisis, as if the Primariuses couldn’t just simply leave the premises as quickly as they entered. Puh-lease. With Matchstick’s creative geniuses on this show, there’s no need to play up mini-Primarius situations as major to-dos. We’re not fooled for a second.
After one of those “Martha wisdom” vignettes, we were treated to the weekly implosion of Team Matchstick. As mentioned, the Silent Croatian is named David, and he was leading the hopeless troops this week. Playing up his “I live in my parent’s basement collecting hentai” character, he admitted, “I don’t know about cakes. I eat cakes for the taste with a big glass of skim milk.” He also mentioned something about how he doesn’t know much about chickens either, because he just raises them for the sex. Whoa, where did that come from?
The team was divided by tasks and Marcella, Bethenny, and Dawn would be on point as far as the cake’s baking was concerned. Shawn-Suze-Orman would handle the research, which she immediately began by calling a “celebrity wedding cake designer.” Who isn’t a celebrity these days? Last week a “celebrity floral designer,” and now this. Anyway, the celebrity was none other than Sylvia Weinstock. Like I even have to say her last name… you hear wedding cake, you think Sylvia.
In fact, she is so famous, Shawn-Suze-Orman called her Cynthia a couple times on the phone. Sylvia specializes in high-end cakes for exceedingly rich people. And, like most things for the rich, her cakes are unique but ugly. In fact, her website plays up the pretentiousness of her business. After speaking with Sylvia, Shawn decides to go with one of her ideas – an off-kilter, asymmetrical, pink and silvery-gray oval cake. Brilliant. Only poor, put out Dawn felt the design was idiotic and would vastly limit their market – but she kept her trap shut, lest the others burn her at the stake. Such is the fun and constructive environment at Matchstick.
George – um, I mean Charles, visited Matchstick (I actually did write George by accident) and asked how things were going. Shawn-Suze-Orman, displaying perhaps the largest corsage I’ve ever seen, brimmed with confidence: “If we don’t win, you can fire- personally fire me.” Oh, boy, now we knew they weren’t just going to lose, they were going to get trounced.
Over at Primarius, things weren’t as hunky-dory as we’ve come to expect. Howie blew a gasket because someone on his team forgot to buy a cake stand. He went ballistic, screaming and cursing at… Some woman named Sarah; calling her a liar for no reason. Yes, Sarah, the first non-Howie Primarian I’ve bothered to note the name of. Later, the two hugged and kissed and made up. Aww, that Primarius spirit – it’s infectious! After that spat, Alexis Stewart arrived in a sad looking maternity-bathrobe-dress frock thing and was forced to answer some questions about growing up with Martha as her mom. She appeared to be holding back a flood of tears and repressed memories, only offering, “I used to get screamed at for messing up the kitchen all the time.” Alexis, we’re here for you honey… let it out. Let it out.
Not that Martha is the worst spouse/parent on the show – that title is reserved for Jim. His wife did have a baby girl, and all went well. Not that Jim would give a shit, really, because he had a cake to sell! On TV! And a character to portray! He did offer the following remorseful comment to us, the viewers: “I feel a little bit sad for not being there.” A little bit sad?! I hope that newborn daughter of yours grows up to love you despite your flaws, Jim. [Original vindictive comment edited per popular demand.]
The next day, the Matchstickers who didn’t bake the cake got their first look at it and went crazy over how much they loved it. All except for Shawn-Suze-Orman, who didn’t like the design that she, um, designed. Right down to the pink bow she ordered. Jim and Bethenny then carried the cake out to the van to take it over to the bridal show. Much was made of this task, complete with a stirring score and white gloves on each of the teammates. Even David, who was merely guiding Jim and Dawn, had gloves on. No joke here… they just looked idiotic. The gloves did help, I guess, when Bethenny leaned on the seat for support and found out that the seat wasn’t so much a seat, but a full sheet cake. At least Matchstick can have a catchy slogan: Matchstick, Up In Flames.
Once at the show, both teams were having difficulty selling their cakes. The idea was to sell the design to engaged couples, and some random guy named Ryan… oh wait, Ryan is actually on Primarius. And he’s not Howie! Anyway, Ryan was trying out his best schmoozing, and selling cakes to couples. Matchstick was doing their best to pretend their gray and pink confectionary ode to the Guggenheim was “unique” and that the wedding with this cake would “really stand out.” Bethenny went on to say, “Also, if you rub dog doo on your head, you’ll be really unique and you will stand out.” In other words, they had no shot at selling that thing. Especially with the scarily dressed Shawn-Suze-Orman hovering around in her watermelon pastels and Jim doling out sample slices the size of Shawn’s lapel flowers. Man, this team can’t do anything right.
The guy named Ryan finally sold a cake to a couple that met each other online. Ha-ha, online couple, ha-ha. Aahh, that’s rich. Does anyone know that poor girl? Someone phone the authorities if you do. Just kidding… by the way, how many times do you think undercover cops end up meeting each other at malls thinking they are about to nab an online pedophile pervert? It must happen all the time. We didn’t actually see Matchstick sell a cake, but we did see several couples mulling it over in slow motion. The tension was incredible as each team made its way into the conference room.
Once there, Martha sampled and described each cake piece, taking care to once again “be Martha.” That is, while describing some frosting, she noted its “ecru” color, whatever the hell that is. Whatever it is, apparently it sells, as Primarius came through and sold a total of five cakes. Uh oh. Matchstick? Matchstick sold a whopping zero cakes. Which Martha followed up with, “For zero dollars.” I’m beginning to love her needling. The funny thing was the editing made it look as though Team Matchstick was surprised at the result, as if they thought that they’d somehow sold some cakes without their knowledge. Actually, they are so freaking stupid, maybe this actually did happen and it wasn’t a weird edit.
As reward this week, the winning team got to enjoy dessert at Jean-Georges with none other than Donald and Melania Trump. It was all quite lovely as they sampled the tiny little desserts and Ryan ogled Melania’s breasts as only a horny guy can. At this rate, we’ll get to know one member of Primarius every few weeks. Now we know Howie (good looking lech) and Ryan (good looking lech). Can’t wait to see who will step forward next!
While Primarius shook and ate their bon bons, Matchstick prepared for the conference room. Jim and David shared an intimate moment in nothing but towels – a truly disturbing sight. Marcella began thinking of her defense and Dawn prepared once again for everyone to pile on and hate her. They filed into the conference room with their tails between their legs and frowns on their faces. Martha also wore her patented “My souffle didn’t rise and I’m going to jail” frown, but she was all business. According to her, she’s only done one asymmetrical cake in all her years so she asked why the hell Matchstick would take such a risk.
Shawn-Suze-Orman countered, explaining how Sylvia Weinstock told her to do so. No word on whether she also suggested the second HUGE flower brooch thing Shawn wore during this challenge. Martha reminded the team that she’s sold more cakes that Sylvia Weinstock and that, quite frankly, Sylvia’s cakes kind of suck. Martha then quickly backpedaled, explaining that Sylvia’s great at what she does, etc. Please, we knew what she meant. And we love Martha for it.
Charles then spoke up (Alexis, on the other hand, does not ever speak) and called out Shawn-Suze-Orman for her “if we lose you can fire me” bravado. Shawn smiled and inserted her foot firmly in her mouth. She blabbered about how in her business (TV newswoman) you “fake it til you make it,” and that was the ethos she was following on MarthApprentice. I didn’t quite follow the logic, but I’ve come to learn that Matchstick doesn’t do anything logically, so I didn’t think too hard.
By Jove, lemons are quite sour
For example, David decided that Marcella and Dawn would join him in the conference room. Yup, Dawn again, who said the cake’s shape/color was idiotic and really did nothing wrong this week – other than being a total stick in the mud. Martha, Charles, and Alexis decided that something wasn’t quite right so they had Julia call the loft and get Jim, Shawn-Suze-Orman, and Bethenny back down to the conference room. Anyone else notice Julia looks like she’s constantly sucking on a lemon?
Once the whole team had gathered again, Martha explained that she felt the failure was solely that of the sales team and the designer, so that’s why she brought back the others. Jim, who apparently has a nasty heroin habit and judging by his shaking, scratching, and jittery nature was in dire need of a fix, was very nervous. But Martha was most bothered by Shawn-Suze-Orman (who was now actually looking more like Lady Di) and her “fake it til you make it” quip, as well as her “fire me” declaration.
Before Shawn-Lady-Di could defend herself, Martha wished her well but had to say goodbye. Again, I don’t think everyone fully understood that meant Shawn-Lady-Di was “fired,” which resulted in the most awkward “do I stand, do I shake her hand, do I hug her” moment from David. Nice to see him living up to my assumptions about him being socially inept and awkwardly dorky, even if he’s not really a Croatian after all.