Hello, I’m back! With the seasons of the two other shows I’ve been recapping complete (Surreal Life) or pre-empted for the baseball playoffs (Prison Break), I’ve had a mini-vacation for this past week. And what did I do with all my free time? When I wasn’t bailing out my basement (thank you nine straight days of rain!) or reading (ha ha, just kidding… Gotcha!), I tried watching the phenomenon that is Laguna Beach. I lasted all of five minutes… I simply just don’t get it. Here’s what I learned: That Stephen kid is a tool, that Jason mook is an illiterate buffoon, that Kristin chick has the ability to look condescending at the drop of a hat, and well, that I hate all of them. So I’ll stick with highbrow fare such as The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. And this week, with candidate Jim still infecting my television, lowbrow is the new highbrow.Ah yes, Jim, the guy who has an over-the-top statement regarding just about everything in life. The guy who is so ridiculously passionate about every mundane detail within the show, but didn’t seem to care too much that his wife delivered a baby girl during taping. Immediately, Jim mourned the loss of sad-sack Dawn last week by pantomiming a neck slice while intoning, “Dawn is gone!” Lucky for Jim, he’s not playing in the NFL as that is an offense worthy of a $20,000 fine these days. As if that weren’t scary enough, suddenly the phone rang! OH MY GOD! THE PHONE! With a look of sheer terror frozen on the faces of Bethenny, David the Silent Croatian, and some bland blond from Primarius, Carrie sprinted across the loft to answer it.
OH MY GOD! IT’S LIMEY JULIA ON THE PHONE! (Get it? She’s British AND she looks like she’s always sucking on limes. Damn, that’s good. It’s LimeyJulia from now on… Must add new word to spellchecker.) There was some concern over the call, because LimeyJulia said Martha wanted to see everyone in the conference room pronto. But they had just left the conference room! What monumental event warranted their immediate return? Had Charles finally lit his stupid cigar? Had Alexis awoken from her slumber? No, Martha had simply decided it was time to reshuffle the teams, as Matchstick’s losing streak had left them with a distinct numbers disadvantage.
Using a convoluted method, the new teams broke down as follows: Jennifer, Howie, Sarah, Carrie, Bethenny, and Jim were the “New Primarius.” Ryan, Dawna, Amanda, Leslie, David, and Marcella; the “New Matchstick.” I know, I’m thinking the same thing right now – “Jennifer? Dawna? Sarah? Who?” Turns out they are three of the random women that have been on PrimeRealEstatius all along. Who knew? Honestly, I watch this show more closely than pretty much anyone (it being my duty and all) and I can’t for the life of me remember anything consequential said or performed by those three. And Jennifer is only noticeable because she’s the only non-Caucasian on the show. (Unless you count the elevator kid with the stick we catch a glimpse of at the beginning and end of every show – I don’t know about you, but I want to know about about the Elevator Kid) Now that the teams were completed, a tired Martha said, “I will say adieu and I will say goodbye.” Not content with her odd bit of redundancy, she then broke into song, “So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehn, adieu! Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu!” If only.
Both teams were full of optimism that night when last-picked Jim decided to be an idiot again. Kissing his paltry biceps he noted, “I’m the strongest person on this team.” Then he went off on some rant about how he’s the “Desperado” on the team and how he simply “needs to win for his family.” Oh, you mean the family that is one daughter larger now than when you last saw them? I especially liked the touch of him showing off the ultrasound picture of his new daughter – the one that was actually a week or so old at that point. Am I wrong for thinking the birth of a child should supercede a stunt casting on a reality show? Because there is no way in a billion years Martha would hire an ADD/ADHD buttwipe such as Jim.
The next morning the phone rang again, setting off a race to answer it. Remember when you and your sibling were like, six, and you’d race to answer the phone? Well, that’s exactly what Ryan and Carrie did on the show. These people can be so weird – I mean, it’s only LimeyJulia calling and she couldn’t care less who answers the damn phone. What’s more, this week was another VideoMartha moment so she had pre-taped her bit days prior. Actually, VideoMartha explained that she was attending to “Business in Bedford.” She was “At the farm preparing new recipes with lettuce from her very own garden right there.” Two things: how many excuses for, “my parole does not allow me to travel to the city today,” can she come up with and, wow… lettuce… from her very own garden? Christ, I grew lettuce this summer and I don’t know shit about gardening. (EdHill is a total garden nerd, by the way.)
On to the task: Each team would create, market, and sell their original salad dressing and whoever made the most money would win. Proving that Martha’s version is the poor sister to Donald’s, this week’s sponsor was Wishbone, “A 300 million dollar a year company!” Pssst, Martha… If it’s not “Billions with a B,” we don’t care. Each team would set up shop at a local(ish) Stew Leonard’s supermarket and have a certain number of hours to ply their wares. Awesome, a chance for me to school you with some of MY local knowledge – enough of this LA dirt from J-Unit – Stew Leonard’s only has stores in Connecticut and one in Yonkers. This is gonna be exciting! (Stew Leonard’s is a step above your national chain supermarket, but a notch or two below the Wild Oats and Whole Foods of the world.)
The teams were whisked away to the Wishbone test kitchens in New Jersey and began their work. Each team had a resident chef (Marcella and Bethenny) and both leaned very heavily on both. Marcella set to work immediately and came up with a delicious spicy dressing, which relied heavily upon her Mexican background. The team loved it – if we’ve learned anything from reality TV this summer, it’s that “Everyone Loves a Spicy Latina Salad Dressing!” Well, everyone except The New Matchstick’s resident dominatrix Amanda: “It’s green! It looks like vomit.” Back to the drawing board.
Over in the New Primari – you know what? I absolutely hate the name “Primarius.” I was really hoping with the reshuffle that we’d get some new names. I don’t know why I hate the name so much… Maybe because it’s the most Patentently Retarded and Idiotic Moniker Anyone Recalls In the United States? Yeah, that’s it. Anyway, a very confident (uh-oh) Bethenny produced what she deemed an Asian Vinaigrette. Everyone Loves a Spicy Asian Vinaigrette! Not-So-Spicy Asian Project Manager Jennifer gave it the thumbs up and Jim confidently (uh-oh) set to work on designing the bottle label. The scene ended with Bethenny singing that stereotypical Chinese pan flute sound you often hear after a gong ring in old Charlie Chan movies. It wasn’t offensive, per se, but I still secretly wished Jennifer karate chopped Bethenny in her peanut head. Cuz, you know, all Asians know karate.
Marcella’s second attempt produced a “Rosemary Lime Vinaigrette” which was received with a very noncommittal group response of “It’s fine.” I bet LimeyJulia would have loved it. Despite the tepid reaction, The New Matchstick rolled with it and made their way over to the Yonkers supermarket to begin selling. The crowd response was overwhelmingly positive right off the bat. In fact, one creepy looking customer positively gushed, “It’s got a nice tang and it’s got a little bit of spunk.” Ummmmm, okaaaaaay. “Tang?” “Bit of spunk?” Sounds like something they mopped up off of the floor at one of those Times Square video booths, but whatever floats your boat, big guy.
Over the Cross County Parkway and up I-95 to Norwalk, Connecticut, The New Primarriedwithchildrens prepared to sell their Asian Vinaigrette. Immediately, Idiot Jim played the fool as he thought he was selling some Cure-All Tonic at the 1895 Biloxi Town Fair. He was positively shouting nonsense about the dressing “Curing warts,” and being a good medium for “Massaging your wife.” Life According to this Jim is so stupid and grating, it makes Life According to that Jim actually seem funny. Jim’s teammates were justifiably pissed off at his shenanigans, but PM Jennifer didn’t try to control him. She claimed her reluctance to rein him in was borne out of fear – and I believed her.
Later, the Jim Show continued (after a highly ill-advised Red Bull) with such sales pitches as, “Wishbone! Wish I wasn’t being boned right now!” Huh? I hate Jim. And so do the moms and toddlers of my fair state. You see, in a moment of extreme idiocy and Red Bull fueled aggression, Jim growled, “They don’t have the f*ckin’ balls…” He was referring to the New Matchstickers, but he did it within earshot of soccer moms and their kids. Kids were appalled, moms were aghast. One whiny hausfrau even complained to the store manager about that mean old Mango look-alike, Jim, and his decidedly non-Gold Coast Connecticut potty mouth.
The manager reprimanded Jim and Jennifer for the transgression and as a result, Jim toned down his massage and bunion pitch in deference to saying gems like, “Marinate your meats and pasta. I marinate my pasta all the time.” Yeah, I really hate Jim.
Down in NY, shenanigans of a different sort were afoot. Leslie was going for a hard sell of her own – actually surreptitiously slipping extra bottles of their dressing in carts when no one was looking. While her teammates discussed the legality of such chicanery, they quickly learned the gig was up when cashiers returned 30 or 40 bottles back to their display stand. Yonkersites ain’t that stupid, Leslie. [Aside: I do, however, still find it funny to slip adult diapers into carts of unsuspecting fellow shoppers at the checkout. Try it sometime.]
With the allotted selling period over, the New Primartians exuded confidence (uh-oh) and were full of pats on backs. Despite Jim’s lunacy and Jennifer’s ineffective leadership, they still sold a shitload of bottles at $3.99 a pop. Both teams strode into the conference room and took their places. In a particularly odd moment, the Silent Croatian was caught with a totally creepy grin. Since this was David, and since David is a weird dude, I shudder to think what was causing him to grin like that. Did he get a boner and was really enjoying the feel of the corduroy? Did he just kill a hobo? Did he lay a noxious fart and blame it on LimeyJulia? Only Silent Croatian knows – and you damn well know he’s not sayin.’
Actually, Martha even asked him what he was smiling about (I think she was scared) but he simply shrugged it off and attributed it to the “fun challenge.” This was this week’s one MarthEnunciation moment I’ve come to expect and enjoy, as she compared David to the “Shehshure” (as in Cheshire) Cat – oh Martha, how you confound and fascinate me. She then tasted each dressing and gave them both her stamp of approval – the raised MarthaBrow. The sales results? The new Primaretardos sold $1560.09 worth of dressing at $3.99 a pop whereas the new Matchstickers came correct with $1580.97 after selling more bottles at $3.49. A $20 victory, but a victory nonetheless.
Time for a commercial break – a truly horrible commercial break. We’ve come to learn that poor Alexis Stewart apparently hates being on camera, and has absolutely no stage presence. Unfortunately, the Wishbone Company missed that memo and thought it would be fun to feature her and Charles in a show tie-in spot for their limited edition salad dressings. I wouldn’t call Alexis ugly, but for some reason, make-up and hair simply does not work for her. Now I know why she appears so plain and dour on the show. Anyway, here’s the commercial – for those of you who don’t watch the show, Alexis is the one with the darker hair.
At least the winners got sort of a reward this week. I’m sure the bitter taste of victory was still in the old Primarimariquitecontraryius’s minds after last week’s “sit around and stare at the walls” non-reward reward. This week, the winners got to sail around Ellis Island on an old 1893 schooner. Martha saw them off on their journey saying, “I just wanted to make sure the boat was in order and it is.” Sure. The funny part was when one of the nondescript women yelped, “Thank you so much,” as if Martha performed a rigorous inspection on the ship. She bid them farewell with a mournful look which said, “I’d love to join you but a) it’s actually quite cold and miserable, b) you actually have to work to sail that damn thing, and c) my parole officer is calling.” The winners sailed around and spouted a bunch of clichés about teamwork and getting wind in their sails. Ho-hum.
The real action was up in the loft where Jim was once again aggressively fighting for his MarthApprentice life. He saw the writing on the wall that his new teammates were in agreement about getting rid of him. His strategy was to go after Jennifer, the Project Manager, pointing out that she “did nothing.” It would be a tough sell, as one of his female teammates said, “At least I know Jen isn’t going to kill me in my sleep.” That’s a pretty reasonable argument, but I feared it may not work on Martha. After all, she lived several months in jail where getting killed in her sleep was a nightly expectation.
Jim moved on to a strategy discussion with Howie and Carrie. It was going well until Jim made the mistake of mentioning that the dreading “F word” gaffe was also equally the fault of Howie. Whoa! While not quite Hurricane Howie, this Howie certainly did become Tropical Depression Howie and started screaming at weasely Jim. Out of nowhere he yelled, “I’m the dragonslayer, bro, bring it on motherf*cker! Don’t even try to slay this dragon motherf*cker because you will go down!” Wow, can’t wait til Martha sends him packing. Jim backed down a bit and said he was simply “warning” Howie to watch out. This, of course, caused Howe’s neck veins to pop out even further and warn Jim not to warn him. Because that makes sense in meathead world – a world I avoid at all costs.
Finally, it was time for the conference room and of course it was finally time for that jackass Jim to go. He was completely unprofessional and inappropriate during the challenge, he’s insane, and everyone hates him. Bethenny showed up in what appeared to be a negligee top and Martha told a little story about shopping at Stew Leonard’s herself back when she lived in my fair state of Connecticut. Like Trump, the whole conference room discussion seemed like the New Primarats got crushed in the competition. I hate that – they lost by a measly twenty bucks, and really, maybe the foot traffic at the Yonkers store was substantially greater than in Connecticut? These things bother the shit out of me.
Then the most annoying conference room session thus far got going with Charles calling out Jim for his annoying snake oil salesman tactics. They discussed the “good for your bunions” lines and then Charles made another funny. The problem was, it was too cryptic for most viewers – Jim said he thought he was being “witty” and Charles said, sarcastically, “Well, you were half right.” In other words, he was calling Jim, “Shitty.” At least I think that’s what he meant. Then, for some reason, Charles turned his wrath toward Jennifer, blasting her for not controlling Jim more. Jim, currently the most annoying person on reality TV, then agreed with Charles. So yeah, Jim was agreeing that Jen did a poor job of stopping Jim from being a total jackoff.
What’s more, Jim also said, “Martha, you have ten-thousand Jennifers at your company and very few Jims.” Martha said it best when she said, “And there might be a very good reason for that.” This nonsense went on a while longer as everyone agreed that Jim was “a raving lunatic,” “a nut,” and “scary.” Martha dispensed with formality and told everyone to return to the loft except for Jennifer and Jim – which made perfect sense. Alexis, Charles, and Martha discussed the two on the chopping block, also agreeing that Jim was crazy, but also that it was Jen’s fault for not controlling him better. HELLO?! The dude is INSANE – you can’t control a person like that. I couldn’t believe that they were even contemplating sending Jen home.
With Jen and Jim back at the table, Martha began using polite euphemisms for Jim’s constitution. She called him “experimental,” and “spontaneous.” Sigh, I knew what was going on here. Jim even called the show a “Game,” which raised Martha’s ire. When she told him it wasn’t a “Game,” Jim nodded and agreed vociferously. But… He… Just… Said the opposite! Jen presented her case very well and Jim was still acting like a coked up imp. Amazingly, Martha told Jen that she was, “Just not working for [her], goodbye.”
I’m sorry, but that was ridiculous. In fact, after Martha cheekily said, “Sometimes it’s better to have a livewire around,” (For your company or your show, Martha?) the scenes from next week’s show contained a whole mess of scenes with Jim being the asshole we’ve all come to hate. Gee, go figure.