Mixed Greens
The Apprentice: Martha Stewart: Episode 5


No monkey business! Previously, Matchstick lost again thanks mainly to Leslie, who volunteered to join Matchstick as its newest Project Manager. She had this bright idea to spend six hours brainstorming and four minutes actually trying to carry out the team's oh-so-brilliant ideas. Needless to say, the Primates won again. In the conference room, Martha couldn't fire Bethenny because it wasn't really her fault that the team lost and she couldn't fire Leslie because she didn't think it was right to fire Leslie who "stepped up" to lead. So despite Leslie sucking big time as a Project Manager, Dawn got the walking papers because of her not being a team player. Oh well. Twelve more Apprenti remain, so Martha wants me to wonder who will get the cut by the end of this episode. It's a good thing as any to ponder for three seconds while the credits roll.

In the Loft, as the Matchsticks await to see who will return from the conference room, Jim predicts that Dawn would be gone. You know, I wonder at the effort he expends into constantly forcing his voice to come off like a cross between Daffy Duck and Goofy. Wait, you're telling me that that is his real voice? Get out of here! Marcela tells the camera that she feels so disillusioned about her team losing four times in a row and she's sure that everyone else in Matchstick feels the same way. Marcela adds that she feels like quitting and going home to a life of teaching unappreciative students the finer arts of preparing Mexican cuisine. Won't she rather be on TV, honestly? Anyway, the door opens and Leslie walks in with an expression like she's Joan of Arc who has just returned triumphant from a war. Bethenny on the other looks pinch-faced like she always does.

As Leslie hugs her new team mates and acts like she's some war hero with them, the phone rings. Carrie runs to get the phone because Carrie wants to be the boss and does everything. Watch this woman. I bet her meltdown will be spectacular. It's Julia and she tells Carrie that Martha wants all the Apprenti to head on down to the conference room again. Everyone scrambles and starts changing out of their cozy clothes, except for Jim who just pulls on a T-shirt (the kind people wear to sleep) and some pants that look like they're pajama bottoms. As he and Leslie, the last to leave the room, almost bump into each other, he chuckles and asks her whether he looks like a Martha Stewart employee. She coos that he does and he smacks her backside. Bonus points deducted from this bizarre scene for Jim not saying as he smacks her backside, "Good doggie!" Still, I have to give props to Jim for openly showing disdain to Martha like that. It's not easy for anyone to get away with it, but I find it funny that he can. Oh dear, I'm in trouble.

Martha, Alexis, and Charles await in the conference room. Martha jokes that she expects to see some of the Apprenti in their pajamas, although this being Martha, the joke still comes off like a reprimand from some stern schoolteacher. The others chuckle insincerely like the trained bootlickers that they are, except for Jim who cheerfully pipes up that he is in his pajamas. Martha doesn't look amused. Charles looks like he always does. I don't think I've ever seen any emotion cross his face, come to think of it, only his mouth moving to form words. Alexis, in the meantime, looks like she desperately needs to run to the toilet but her mother has barked at her to stay put in her corner and Alexis doesn't dare to disobey her mother. Martha tells the Apprenti that it is the custom of MSLO to bring in "different blood" into a team that isn't being functional. What a coincidence, really, that the format of this show also calls for a team reshuffle when one team gets thinned out! It goes to prove that Mark Burnetto is right: this show and MSLO do go together and this show is the Perfect Reflection of the Real Business World! I will never doubt my reality TV shows ever again.

Martha asks the Primates who among them haven't been Project Managers yet. Dutifully, Ryan, Jennifer, and Sarah raise their hands. The hands stay up when Martha asks who among them want to be the next Project Manager. Martha therefore chooses Ryan and Jennifer to be Project Managers and allow Ryan and Jennifer to pick the Apprenti that they want to be on their teams. Jennifer goes first and she quickly grabs Howie. Ryan, no doubt thinking in his heart, "Ah, cruel world, why can't we be together?", then picks Dawna. These two continue to pick in this way until it's down to Jim and Marcela as the last two waiting to be picked. Jennifer will regret for the rest of her life that she goes insane and chooses Jim, leaving Ryan no option but to take poor Marcela and her thousand expressions of hurt into his team. Martha announces that the new Primates-R-Us will consist of Jennifer, Howie, Sarah, Carrie, Bethenny, and Jim while the new Matchstick will consist of Ryan, Dawna, Amanda, Leslie, David, and Marcela. Martha tries to tell Ryan and the other Primates that are now drafted into Matchstick that the name shouldn't "have anything to do with success" as "it is not a jinxed name". She clarifies, "The people were jinxed!" The Apprenti laugh nervously because they are hoping desperately that Martha is joking and laughing is therefore the appropriate reaction. Martha changes her mind and now says, "And you know what? I don't even think it was the people, it was the mix of people!" Martha then dismisses the Apprenti ("So, I will say adieu! And I will say goodnight!") after telling them that she'll be giving them the instructions for their next task in the morning.

The Apprenti return to the Loft, with Jim saying to nobody in particular, "Way to pick me last, guys!" As Ryan takes his team aside for some pow-wow, he tells the camera that he picks his teammates on the basis of making his team united and work well together. He doesn't want Jim in his team because he has no doubt that Jim will cause all sorts of unnecessary trouble for everybody. Jim is meanwhile showboating to his teammates, the females in particular, kissing his biceps to show everyone how strong he is. To the camera, Jim says that he is some kind of desperado because he wants to win and he has to win in order to give his family a better life. What, by being one of the most hated men on reality TV? I don't think so, buddy. Besides, I don't think even he is that delusional to believe that he has any chance of being hired by Martha unless it's for the position of that guy in a fat chicken suit that cars try to run down on a daily basis. And even then, why hire Jim when the ineffectual David could very well don the chicken suit as well, eh? As if to drive home the fact, the editors splice in a scene of Jim showing Howie the ultrasound scan of the kid his wife is carrying. Jim is wearing an entirely different set of clothes in this scene and I honestly doubt that Jim and Howie are still friends at this point so this scene must have taken place sometime about the second episode when Jim was reveling in the spotlight while his wife was doing all the work carrying the kid. Dear editors, it's not working. There's no way that Jim can be softened in any way now that he's proven himself to be someone who stirs trouble just because he can. Why not let the audience make up their own mind about Jim?

Elsewhere, Ryan assures Marcela that he picked her last because he's heard some things from the others about her being a good follower who rarely steps up or takes the initiative (a description that, until now, seems like a very fair one to attach to Marcela). Marcela nods and says that she intends to show Ryan and her new team mates what she can do. I have to admire Ryan for approaching and clearing the air with Marcela though, which is a brilliant way to make her feel at home in the new Matchstick with no hard feelings between any of them. As of now, Ryan's golden.

Martha's Moral of the Week time. She emphasizes the importance of teamwork and to demonstrate, listens to and even jokes with her employees in some brainstorming session. The cameras are careful not to capture any of the trembling of these employees' knees because these poor employees are probably ordered to stimulate camaraderie with Martha Stewart or die the pain of a zillion broken Tupperware cases stuffed down their throats.

Oh, and Bethenny tells the camera that she is excited about being the new Primates-R-Us with Jim because she is tired of the both of them doing all the work in that team. As if me liking Jim isn't embarrassing enough, I'm starting to find Bethenny alright as well. She's bitchy and she often gets too emotional when she's under pressure but so far she's right about her and Jim delivering more than her team mates in the old Matchstick. Anyway, it's now morning in the Loft and the phone rings. Carrie, because she wants to be the boss, rushes to the phone even if Ryan is closer to the phone and she tries to grab it, only to have Ryan snatch up the phone first. Ryan, alas, is completely clothed. Bring back the towelled and dripping wet Ryan! Julia tells Ryan that Martha is under house arrest, sorry, "busy" in her house at Bedford and Martha will address the Apprenti through video conference at the living room.

"Video conference" is more like "watching a pre-taped Martha talking like she's on her old TV show" as the Apprenti file in to watch Martha wax rhapsody about the first salad dressing her mother bought when she took Martha shopping for the first time. It was a Wishbone salad dressing and coincidentally enough, Wishbone is paying a lot of money for product placement in this episode. Ooh, what a small world, eh, people? (At least this product placement is still related to MSLO in a way, so it's still tolerable.) Martha stresses that Wishbone makes a lot of money selling salad dressing. For this task, she wants each team to come up with a recipe for a limited edition Wishbone salad dressing, come up with the bottled product, and sell the limited edition salad dressing at a predetermined Stew Leonard store. Naturally, the team that rakes in the most dough wins. To close the video clip, Martha asks the Apprenti to notice the lettuce on the table in front of her, saying that she grew her own vegetables in Bedford - I guess there's not much she can do when she's under house arrest after all, eh? - and she would love to have some new salad dressing to dress the lettuce with when she chomps on it. It's too bad that she doesn't proceed to munch on a lettuce because that would be evidence to prove wrong all those people out there that insist that she eats only babies and puppies for nourishment.

The Matchsticks' test kitchen, courtesy of Wishbone, is in New Jersey so this is their next destination. The test kitchen is nice to look at, no doubt because a massive spring-cleaning and utensil overhaul must have taken place before the cameras invade the test kitchen, although only Marcela seems to have a clear idea of what everything is used for in that place. Since Marcela is the professional chef of the team, Ryan decides to give Marcela autonomy in coming up with a recipe for the Matchsticks' salad dressing. As he says to the camera, nobody tells the Pope how to pray, after all. I think I will swoon over Ryan more if he doesn't come off like a guy who puts on too much lipstick and blush in that confessional. Besides, I've seen him and Howie in matching Backstreet Boys outfit and... really, no thanks, I'll just do without. Anyway, Marcela gets to work, eager and even desperate to prove herself to her team mates. She finally comes up with some green concoction that she calls "a Latin flavor", having added cumin, poblano, and cilantro into it. The other Matchsticks dip Saltines into it. Ryan says that it tastes good but Dawna proves that she is another wacko who only comes off as inoffensive due to the lack of camera time on the old Primates-R-Us by announcing that the salad dressing "freaks" her out. Amanda adds that the salad dressing looks like vomit to her. Why, because it is green? I personally think it looks quite appetizing. Because Dawna is a wacko, she tells the camera, "When Marcela made that first salad dressing, although it tasted wonderful it looked like something you'd find in a health food store where you kind of have to plug your nose and just drink. And at that point I feel that she definitely needs to be watched over." Wow. That's like saying that the neighbors look shifty because they paint their front door green so the cops should step in because these neighbors need to be watched over. First Carrie acts like the overzealous gangleader, Amanda acts like a fruitloop, then Leslie proves to be a batty wacko, and now Dawna is showing her wacko side as well. I have a hunch that the old Primates-R-Us isn't as Corporate Utopia as the show suggested it to be. Marcela offers to make a few more salad dressings.

The Primates visit their own test kitchen at the Wishbone plant, although I'm not told whether it's in the same building as that of the Matchsticks. It probably is. Jennifer tells her Primates that she wants "a salad dressing" meant for "salad lovers", "primarily for salads". Huh? Huh? Huh? Later on when Jim goes crazy with his sales pitch, I can say that the blame lies in Jennifer when Jim takes her too literally. "Primarily for salads", she did say, after all, therefore she pretty much says that the salad dressing should have other "not so primary" uses as well. Jennifer tells the camera that her "strategy" is to delegate the design of the label to Jim and the creation of the salad dressing to Bethenny. (Isn't it convenient that each team has one professional chef in it? Hmmm.) Bethenny gets busy, opening cabinet doors and taking out jars of herbs and what-not, as she announces that she's making an "Asian vinaigrette" since "Asian" is so "in" at that moment. How nice, really, but what I'm curious to know is, since Asia is a continent, which part of Asia is she specifically talking about? Is she making the salad dressing in an Indian style? Or maybe Japanese? Korean? Chinese? Tibetian? Since Bethenny mentions that she'll be adding wasabi into her dressing, I guess she's talking about Japanese vinaigrettes. The funniest thing is, many Asians never use salad dressings in the first place! Bethenny tells Jim that no one can cook better than her on the show. "I'm a natural foods chef and I happen to make phenomenal salad dressing. I love Marcela but there's no way she can touch me in the kitchen," she tells the camera. Okay, suspense over. This team will lose at the end of the day. What's on the other channel? Anyway, the Primates taste Bethenny's concoction and they love it. The show plays this gong at the end of the mass orgasm scene of the Primates so I'm now confused again because the gong is a Chinese thing while the wasabi is a Japanese thing. What kind of salad dressing is Bethenny making again?

And am I pathetic in that I really want to try the salad dressings of both teams while watching them work? At least give me the recipes so that I can try to make them myself, Burnetto!

Over at Matchstick, Amanda suggests that Marcela use rosemary because apparently it's a popular herb at the moment. I wonder how she figures that rosemary is popular. Is there a herb "Up/Down" chart thingie going on in one of Martha Stewart's magazines? Marcela obliges and comes up with a rosemary lime salad dressing. Amanda and Dawna approve, saying that the salad dressing is "fine" while Ryan says that he "likes it". Marcela is not happy with "fine" because she wants people to love her salad dressing. Ryan just shrugs and walks away. I think he really likes the original green salad dressing much more than the rosemary lime concoction.

Cut to later when the salad dressings are all bottled up and ready to go. Chronology is fuzzy on this show so I would guess that this scene takes place a few days after the salad dressing cookout. Ryan, edited definitely to be the golden boy of the show, is shown offering a hand to the Wishbone guys who unload boxes of Matchsticks' salad dressing to the Stew Leonard store. I feel this urge to fill a truck full of boxes filled with, um, heavy things and unload them right in front of Ryan's doorstep. Okay, he looks like he abuses lipsticks on the sly and there's a Jay Mohr vibe about him that doesn't appeal to me but I am still a sucker for a gentleman. Okay, enough about me embarassing myself, let's move on. The Matchsticks set up a corner for themselves and set the price of their Rosemary Lime Vinaigrette at $3.49, which Ryan feels is a price that is just right. Selling the salad dressing as a versatile product that can be used as a dip, dressing, or marinade, the Matchsticks offer passers-by a taste. Plenty of complimentary feedback fly, including someone saying that there is "a bit of spunk" inside the salad dressing (don't ask... and don't snigger either) and another person asking Marcela to come cook for him (Marcela's truthful answer is that she lives in Mexico so it will be a long drive). It's Marcela's show, this week, because what follows is a montage of scenes where Marcela practically glows with pride and self-confidence as she successfully charms people into buying her salad dressing. Ryan once more says the right thing by telling Marcela that the people who tasted the vinaigrette tell him just how much they love it. Marcela's smile of joy is a really heartwarming sight to behold. Dawna tells the camera, "Marcela was on fire! She felt in control, she was confident, and I literally just wanted to hug her and tell her what a great job she was doing. Thank goodness we picked her, whether it was last or first, thank goodness we had her on our team!" Yes, because she's helping Dawna win, so Dawna can obviously afford to widen her mind by an inch for now.

Over at the Primates' side of the world (which has someone dressed in a duck costume - who is that?), it's a little slower but people seem to be buying Bethenny's Asian Vinaigrette so things look quite okay there as well. The Asian Vinaigrette is priced at $3.99. Oh, look, there's Jim. He thinks he can move the bottles - which are very nicely packaged, by the way, thanks to a catchy label, and I'm sure you know who did the label - by using his own brand of humor. Jim therefore offers a variety of pitches, saying that the vinaigrette can cure warts, for example. He tells an old guy to try the vinaigrette before the old man dies (he must be trying to rhyme). He promises to browbeat people if they don't buy what he is selling (okay, this one I find funny). Meanwhile, Carrie rolls up her eyes in disgust while Sarah complains that Jim is making a lot of noise in order to pretend that he's actually working. Howie says that the bottles are selling but Jim is being vulgar at the same time. Jim right now is hollering that people can use the vinaigrette to massage their wives' feet with. I wonder whether it can be use as a disinfectant as well. And I must say, I laugh in horror when he hollers, "Just Wishbone... I wish I was being boned right now!" Sarah in the meantime says that she is being embarrassed by Jim and she is frustrated that Jennifer isn't doing anything to stop him. Indeed, Jennifer seems content to hide behind the counter, arranging bottles on the tabletop while casting nervous glances at Jim. Meanwhile, Howie wonders to Jim whether the Matchsticks' product is priced higher than $3.99. "They don't have the balls," answers Jim, "they don't have the fucking balls." A rather stout woman - because people who always complain about language are stout and female, doncha know - looks offended when she overhears Jim. The show even edits in the scene of a little kid looking traumatized and a man sticking his fingers in both his ears. Yeah, right, as if that word is so powerful that it can stop people in their tracks. Oh, and Jim says something aloud that he must have deliberately come up with for the cameras: "When I worked in the meat-packing industry, I used to stuff my sausage into the lower intestine." That has to be said for the camera, that has to be!

This lady complains to the store manager about Jim using that word, which leads the manager to tell Jennifer and Jim that he will be forced to throw the Primates out of the store if Jim says another bad word. Jim denies ever saying that word. To the camera, he says that he is trying to move the vinaigrette using humor and he insists that his method is working. "And if by going mass-market I have to step on a few toes? Oh, well, cry me a river!" He then asks the imaginary Primates accusing him in his mind, "I'm selling the product. What are you doing?" Back at the store, Jim hollers, "If you're marinating chicken, shrimp, pasta - I marinate pasta all the time!" Is that before or after he stuff his sausage into the lower intestine of a pig? I'd also love to know what he marinates his pasta with because I have never heard of anyone marinating his pasta until now. Come to think of it, after Jim's public profession of his fondness for lower intestines, I really don't want to know the answer to that question. Meanwhile, Howie takes in Jim's increasingly nonsensical ramblings and rolls up his eyes while trying to rein in his temper.

There are some bumps in the Matchsticks' journey to their happy ending in this episode as Leslie proceeds to demonstrate why Amanda said last week that the old Primates-R-Us are glad to see Leslie gone. "My strategy is that I gotta sell multiple bottles. They have the top salesperson on the team - that being me!" blubbers Leslie to the camera. Since when is she the top salesperson? Who made her one? The voices inside her head? Back at the store, Leslie is acting like an obnoxious salesperson, pushing three or four bottles of the Rosemary Lime Vinaigrette into people's shopping carts even as she tells them that they just have to take a hundred, no two hundred of those bottles or else Leslie's jaw will dislocate and she will then swallow those poor helpless sods whole. Unsurprisingly, many people begin abandoning those bottles all over the store. Ryan happens to see some guy dropping the bottle alongside onto a shelf and realizes what Leslie is doing. He rushes back to the counter only to gape alongside Marcela as they both look at Leslie who is shouting to people passing by, "Everyone have their second and third bottle?" I dare say that she's lucky that people are just quietly leaving the bottles all over the store instead of breaking them over her head or shoving them down her throat. As the other Matchsticks gape at Leslie, a store worker shows up with a basket full of unsold vinaigrettes left all over the store and tells Ryan that there are more out there. Amanda tells Leslie about the unsold bottles and Leslie looks like she's actually shocked that people aren't buying just because she, the top salesperson in the whole darned Leslieworld (population: one), tells them to. Ryan tells the camera unhappily that they have to resell forty or fifty bottles.

Over at the Primates-R-Us side of the world, Jennifer is finally doing something about Jim's actions... by complaining to Bethenny even as Jim is trying to hawk their Asian vinaigrette as the perfect cereal for children. Jennifer asks Howie what she should do and Howie says that he has no idea. This is a noteworthy scene because it's clear that these people like Howie do know what to do, just like Sarah does, but they are willing to let Jennifer take the fall. I mean, she asks Howie and he could have reassured her that she will be doing the right thing by delegating another task to Jim but he chooses to instead refuse to commit himself. This is like Dawn all over again with Jennifer taking over the role of the one who will take the fall whether she likes it or not. I'm not saying that it is wrong for Howie or Sarah or Carrie to keep quiet since this is a competition after all and they are not obligated to help another competitor survive the conference room. But I just wish that in times like this, these people will do the decent thing and help Jennifer out. She's obviously out of her league as she tells the camera, "After the reprimand, my intention was to pull Jim out, but I truly did not know how Jim's reaction was going to be. I think Jim might have been unpredictable and exploded even more." If she is a savvy competitor, she'd be wishing for Jim to explode because that will be a perfect reason for Martha to get rid of that man. But poor Jennifer, she just isn't that savvy self-centered competitor.

Carrie probably is, as she is standing aside and watching as Jennifer hangs herself while saying to the camera that it will be interesting to see what happens in the conference room as Jim doesn't connect with the audience. How nice for her to be so interested. It will be nicer, though, if she will can the hackneyed business seminar jargon and actually do something to help the team instead of just watching as Jim runs amok and Jennifer quakes nervously behind the counter. Later, Alexis drops by and notes to the camera that Jennifer doesn't seem to be an active leader as all Jennifer can be seen doing is helping Bethenny behind the counter. Straightening the bottles, as the camera seems to suggest. Jim makes a celebration out of selling the last bottle of Asian Vinaigrette and really, as much as the show tries to make a fuss about how the Primates are utterly disgusted by Jim, they seem to participate in his brand of corny and not-always-on-target "humor" just fine on their own. Come to think of it, judging from how they clap and hug him after he sold their last bottle in exactly the same manner that Carrie, Howie, and Sarah made a big fuss about, I may even be led to believe that they encourage him. Howie thinks to the camera that with their price set at $3.99, which he believes correctly to be higher than Matchstick's price, the Primates will be just fine in this task.

Conference room time. Martha awaits with Alexis and George. She first remarks about David's smiling like a Cheshire cat and nods, pleased, when David says that he has had fun in the task today. She then talks about how every task on this show should be fun. And if you buy that, I don't know what to say to you. Martha now decides to test the teams' vinaigrette with that lettuce like she threatened to do early on. She first dips a lettuce in Bethenny's Asian Vinaigrette and makes an approving sound. She then asks Bethenny about what she put inside the vinaigrette and Bethenny rambles off a list that includes peanut butter, wasabi, and wine vinegar. Martha then tastes Marcela's Rosemary Lime Vinaigrette while Marcela looks on with a rather desperate "Please love me, pleee-eee-ease" expression on her face. Martha's praise isn't as effusive as the ones she gave Bethenny's, but I think it is most telling that Martha continues to dip her lettuce into Marcela's vinaigrette while she continues to talk to the Apprenti.

Martha now asks Alexis how Alexis "thinks" the Primates fared. Alexis emphasizes that she "knows" (heh) that the Primates sold 391 bottles of their Asian Vinaigrette and raked in $1,560.09. Charles reports that the Matchsticks sold 453 bottles of their Rosemary Lime Vinaigrette and - to Ryan's dramatic relief - therefore Matchstick wins the task by bringing in $1,580.09. Martha is amused that only $20 separate the two teams. Still, there's no denying that Matchstick wins this round. Martha says that there are two "losers" on this reshuffled Matchstick and asks Ryan how these "losers" - David and Marcela - fared. Ryan diplomatically gushes that they are so much more than what he had initially heard they were (which aren't very much to start with, of course). Martha takes a dig at Ryan choosing Marcela last and Ryan suavely responds by saying that he wanted another male to do the grunt work. Without batting an eyelid, Martha deadpans that Marcela can surely grunt pretty well. Martha in a semi-flirtation mode can be a scary sight to behold, I tell you. Martha announces that Matchstick's reward is to sail on "a wonderful old schooner built in 1893" called Lettie G Howard to "demonstrate" their "teamwork". Ooh, I wonder what Martha said to the owner Fred Howard to allow these Apprenti who - let's be honest now - haven't shown themselves to be most capable team around to put their hands on the historic fishing schooner. Throughout the conference room, Howie has a thunderous expression on his face and it doesn't let up when Martha says that the Primates have an appointment with her in the conference room where one of them will be dismissed with extreme prejudice.

I know there is a Wishbone commercial featuring Alexis and Charles during the commercial break but the episode I received does not come with that commercial, bummer. Moving on, back at the Loft the Primate ladies Carrie, Jennifer, and Sarah sit with Bethenny as Jennifer asks Bethenny what Bethenny intends to say in the conference room. Bethenny says that she intends to just be honest because things don't often go the way they plan it to. Like Dawn staying on when they want to be rid of her and Dawn finally leaving when they stop gunning for her relentlessly, I suppose. Jennifer tries to blame Jim for the loss of the team, calling Jim "manic" and "crazy". The other women nod their heads. Bethenny to the camera sneers at the women for being scared of Jim and she thinks that they are weak because of that. I wonder whether she will revise her story when Jim puts her straight in the line of fire one of these days. I must admit, though, the other three women's fear of Jim is ridiculous. He's loud, he lies, and he's a complete ass, but he's not some monstrous psychopath like they are making him out to be.

It's happier tidings as Matchstick get ready to set sail on Lettie G Howard. Martha shows up and fusses about blankets and what-not because she's officially sweet now unless you happen to be a DA. She then says that she'd love to join them (and criticize everything they do along the way) but she has to go home. The Matchsticks pretend to look sad when they are probably glad that she's not going to order them to sail her straight to Gibraltar where those horrible cops will never bother her ever again. And then, woosh! The Matchsticks are allowed to pull, push, and do whatever it is that people on schooners do, minus the storm that kills off half the uglier secondary cast to leave the handsome ones hollering for mercy while holding on to broken timber in touching states of half-undress. There is a scene which I hope isn't a foreshadowing of sorts where Marcela is nervous to steer the schooner, saying that she is nervous about taking control of things. I like her but she seems to be in need of a huge boost of self-esteem and confidence, this Marcela. Meanwhile, Ryan fits in very nicely with the whole "let us set sails and sail into victory, backed by a dramatic Vangelis soundtrack in the background" theme by talking to the camera about wanting to show Marcela and David what it feels to Win and Keep Winning, look ma, I'm driving the chariots of fire, dum-dum-dum dum-dum-dum, amen.

Back at the Loft, Howie and Carrie sit in silence, sullen and unhappy because they are not sailing into victory in a schooner captained by a handsome metrosexual hunk who is right now dreaming of Howie's big arms. Jim startles them when he vaults over the couch and plops himself down heavily next to Carrie while crowing at them to tell him what is going on. I have to hand it to Jim: he knows how to work that cartoon villain aspect of his notoriety to the hilt. I couldn't have done it any better myself with that dramatic entrance of his. Carrie refuses to say anything, neither does Howie. Jim correctly deduces that he's the target. He asks them why Jennifer shouldn't be held responsible for the Primates' defeat. Carrie answers simply that Jim asked a good question. Jim is on the roll now. He says, "Yeah, tell me, what was it? Did she think of the labels? Nah. Did she think of the flavor? Nah. Did she do sales? Nah. And I'm wrong because I'm the big, bad loud guy? Wrong! And Martha Stewart knows it and you know it and I know it!" Carrie tells the camera that she'd rather have Jennifer by her side than Jim because Jennifer won't at least hurt her while she is sleeping. How ridiculous of her. Shouldn't Carrie be the one stabbing Jim first before he stabs her in the back? All this talk about Jim being this scary psychotic guy is becoming really laughable now.

Carrie continues by saying that Jim did sell "20%" of their total sales while Jennifer only sold 5% so Carrie is blaming Jennifer for the loss. Huh? Assuming that Carrie, Howie, Sarah, and Bethenny also sell the product and Jennifer sold 5%, that means Jim didn't sell a significantly higher amount of Asian Vinaigrette by any wide margin. And if Jennifer is going to be an effective leader, she can't be expected to sell the most products either because she's supposed to be coordinating everything to go smoothly. Carrie's logic is completely rubbish because Jim has the right idea: Jennifer should be blamed because she is a lousy leader who didn't lead proactively, not because Jennifer didn't sell the most bottles. Then again, Carrie's probably just stupid like so many of the Apprenti.

Back to the cozy trio, Jim now warns the other two, "When Martha realizes that Jen did nothing, she's going home and I'm staying here. And you can either be my ally or you can be my enemy and if you try to drag me down, you will pay. And it's not a threat, it's a promise. That's all I have to say." Here, Howie loses his temper and steps up to Jim. I don't really see any scary loss of temper here like some people do because Howie doesn't do anything other than to snap at Jim. He raises his voice but Jim started it. Howie didn't lose his temper here for no good reason as much as he is just angry at Jim's ridiculous threat. Perhaps a more reasonable person would laugh Jim off but I'm sure we all know what happened to Dawn when she did that to Jim. Anyway, Howie is at least fighting fire with fire and I'd take that over whispers and cowerings in the corner. They argue about the F word and Howie slaying dragons and Jim threatening to take Howie down and really, it's hilarious to watch, especially how Howie just walks away at the end while Jim is reduced to gibbering threats at Howie's back like an impotent vizier.

The Primates now meet Martha and her ornamental cohorts in the conference room. At Martha's first verbal shoot-off, Jennifer explains what she did as a Project Manager, which unfortunately only emphasizes what Jim and Bethenny contribute to the team instead of giving her own leadership abilities a boost in Martha's eyes. By describing Jim's work on the label, that's one point for Jim already. Thanks, Jennifer! In a bizarre segue that I can only attribute to non-sequitur editing, Martha now talks about how the customer is always right. That rule, if you ask me, only applies to the employer - the employer is always right because that bastard is controlling the paycheck. If Martha says that the customer is always right, everyone agrees with her because Martha is always right if they want to keep their jobs. It's the same with Steve Job and Bill Gates. Oh wait, Martha now says that the customer is always right, which proves that Primates-R-Us lost because they failed to connect with the audience. Charles then cuts in to bring up Jim's "connection" with the audience. Jim lies and downplays the situation and both he and Charles never mention the F word, just how unsuitable Jim's pitches are. Howie, Carrie, and Sarah, who could have mentioned it and help strengthen Jennifer's case against Jim, keep quiet. How strange that while on Donald Trump's show we have contestants happily banding together to nail potential troublemakers like Toral and Melissa on this show these people are willing to nail Jennifer to the wall just to keep themselves out of Martha's radar. Are they wrong to do this? No. It's just that I feel that they are being a little hypocritical if they express how much they dislike Jim on principle, et cetera, only to then sit quietly and let him run amok. Instead, Jim just rolls up his eyes and twitches like a spastic ragdoll as Charles accuses him of trying to be witty and failing.

But Martha doesn't have an ax to grind with Jim. She needs him for ratings, for one, and he isn't one of those people responsible for the anklet she is wearing at that very moment. So it's now down on Jennifer time as she dresses Jennifer down for not taking Jim off from his crazy salesperson antics. Jennifer doesn't have any good explanation to avoid coming off as being afraid of Jim. She lamely says that she is helping Bethenny with the salad. Martha correctly says that Jim could have helped with the salad. Martha once more says that Jennifer should have corraled him, or at the very least, don't let him deal with customers because he has a history of being, you know, that kind of person. Martha lets her personal agenda against Jennifer slip when she mentions that Jennifer is a DA - she practically spits out that word "DA" - and Jennifer should have controlled Jim in a courtroom. Er, so is this a courtroom now instead of a conference room? Why not? Martha, after all, has appointed herself the judge, jury, and executioner of DAs all over the world. Jennifer gets personal when she, desperately, brings up Jim's batcrap crazy antics and says that she is worried about what he would have done if she takes him off the sales team. Oh dear, that is the sound of Jennifer choking as she'd just hung herself.

Jim goes for the kill, calling Jennifer a "scared little rabbit" and adds that he is special while Martha can find ten thousand "Jennifer"s in MSLO. "There might be a good reason for that," says Martha. Jennifer now says that Jim told her that Martha looks into the mirror every morning and sees Jim. See, it's that kind of nonsense Jim says that prevents me from taking him seriously. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case for Jennifer. Jennifer's inability to see past Jim's cacklings will make her a poster with a high post count in some popular reality TV show forums out there (the whole mirror thing comes close to the "Narcisstic Personality Disorder" catchphrase that these posters love to throw out in their posts to give the impression that they have read a psychology textbook and therefore they know why that handsome guy is their best friend forever while that loathsome freak beats his wife and was abused as a child because he cackles like a villain on TV) but as someone who seems to take Jim literally all the time and therefore thinks that he is more dangerous than he really is, she is a lousy leader because of that. Those two begin arguing about whether Jim is a raving lunatic or Jennifer is a trembling scared rabbit - they can be both right, of course - until Martha steps in and asks the other Primates on their opinion on who is most responsible for the loss of their team. Carrie says Jennifer. Howie however says Jim. Sarah says that Jennifer is good at "delegating". Bethenny of course sides with Jim. Martha says that "obviously" Jim and Jennifer are the ones she has to speak to so she'll ask those two to stay while the other Primates can return to the Loft.

Alone with Charles and Alexis' rolling eyes, Martha pretends to care about what the other two think. Charles offers, "I think we're dealing with a nut on one hand and a weak manager on the other hand." Alexis says that it is probably too easy to blame Jim. Martha asks Julia to call those two back in and allows them to bicker some more before telling Jennifer pretty much that she sucks because no matter how right she is about Jim she isn't good for the ratings and besides, she's a DA so it's time for Jennifer to be given the heave-ho. "So, Jennifer, you're just not working for me!" Martha snaps after telling Jennifer that she is a failure for not controlling Jim. "Goodbye!" she snaps coldly. I can tell that she has wanted to say that for a long time to a DA. She probably practises saying that in front of the mirror every morning. If Martha Stewart is not Martha Stewart, I'd expect her to give a gleeful "See ya, bitch!" after shaking Jennifer's hand. Even her letter to Jennifer is especially nasty:

"Dear Jennifer, thank you for being an Apprentice candidate. I hope you found it an interesting diversion from your regular job. We're sorry that it didn't work out. We wish you well. Travel safely. Cordially, Martha Stewart."

Martha insists to those two that it is better to have a live-wire around than an ineffectual manager. Charles says that MSLO isn't built on Jennifers. Alexis of course agrees. But who are they kidding? I have defended this show against cynics often in the past but I can't do that in this episode when it's very obvious that Jim is kept around solely for ratings purposes. Martha insists that this show is a very serious job interview but who is she trying to fool into believing that she will ever hire someone like Jim? I have a hunch that she will hire someone who is more like Jennifer (except for the DA thing) than Jim in real life. There is no way that Martha can fully justify her keeping Jim after all her talk about the show being a serious job interview on MSLO's part.

Having said that, Jennifer deserves to be dismissed because as a leader, it is her responsibility to control the members of her team. On one hand, you can argue that it's better to fire a troublemaker and train the ineffectual manager to be a better leader and therefore Jim should have been sent home. You can also argue that the troublemaker can be controlled by a better leader and therefore since Jennifer isn't that leader, she should go. But all semblance to the corporate world flies out the window tonight when Martha talks about the seriousness of this "job interview" and how no one, not even Jim, can treat it like some game and ten seconds later dismisses Jennifer because apparently in real life she'd rather hire Jim than Jennifer. The fact that Jennifer goes sits well with me but the reason she goes is a different story. For the first time petty prejudices (although Martha's dislike for DAs is more palatable than Donald Trump's firing of not-so-pretty female candidates just to keep braindead beauty queens on the show) and ratings consideration come into play so obviously in the show. Yes, I know I shouldn't be so gullible in the first place, heh, but I will be more cynical about future episodes of this show. Thanks a lot, Martha, thanks a lot. And I like Jim, mind you!


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