Once Upon A Time
The Apprentice: Martha Stewart: Episode 1


No monkey business! Horses! Chickens! "There's a wonderful saying that there is no place like home," comes a woman's voiceover. Eh? Am I watching the wrong show? This looks like some inspirational feel-good movie. In a way, it's a feel-good movie of sorts as out comes our Martha Stewart in her beautiful kitchen (love those small pots of orchids arranged in a straight line along the dining table) to say that this saying inspired her to start her own catering business in her own kitchen, oh, years ago and from there she turns "it" into "one of America's most prestigious brands". She talks about her writing (her first book is Entertaining) and how she becomes a bestselling author. Do you know that she was also K-Mart's "spokersperson" and "lifestyle expert"? Cue Martha in her plane telling her parole officer over the cell phone that communication is very important so let her get her cigarettes, bitch. Because Martha needs to spread her wings, she inked a deal with Times-Warner to reissue her books as well as started her own daytime show. "Martha Stewart has become a household name!" she says. This was a pivotal moment in her life, she says, but she wants to grow without being "lost" in Times-Warner's "shadow", so with a loan of 85 million dollars, she bought back her magazine. In 1997, Martha Stewart Living went public. "And overnight, I became America's first female self-made billionaire," she says happily as she gets into her grey Suburban. "And it felt really good."

Alas, the "path to success" has never been easy, she says. Cue a short clip of Martha coming out of the court during that period in her life. She shrugs it off, saying that she has learned from the experience and still manages to remain optimistic. She surrounds herself, she explains, with bootlickers and slaves... er, "creative hardworking colleagues". Martha says that she now wants to add to her money, er, "team". She walks out to stand before the Living Omnimedia rainbow mosaic thingie on a wall and says that she is looking for someone with big ideas, or maybe just one big idea. This person, apart from having a head swollen with big ideas, must also be a team player. "I am looking for the Apprentice!" she announces with a pleasant smile, as if she has just announced that she has made her parole officer her new bodyguard.

Cut to Martha visiting the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia HQ. The camera discreetly keeps away from the huge signs pasted on the wall ("Smile and respond to Martha sweetly today or you'll be fired without severance pay!" et cetera) as Martha walks in and exchanges friendly greetings with her employees. She loves this and that, ooh. She claims that this office has the perfect environment and here are where her Apprenti will be wrecking havoc in.

The man with the short-cropped hair the show will later introduce as Jeff walks down the street to the office. Marcela steps out of a cab. Jim walks down the street dragging his baggage and looks up at the sky, maybe to check for birds flying overhead. Martha asks an employee to "update" a bestselling towel thingie. Here comes David. He has a moppet hairstyle and looks like someone who was mercilessly picked on at high school. Out of a cab comes the blonde woman the show will later introduce as Carrie. Jennifer, a Vietnamese American, walks up the street dragging her baggage bag behind her. Dawn, who looks like the geek I want to look like when I grow up, walks out of the elevator with her bag. Dawna and Leslie also make their way to the HQ. Chuck is so cute with his bald pate.

Then out of the elevator comes Shawn, a woman who is physically memorable if only because she has her hair trimmed to resemble that of Martha's daughter Alexis. She exchanges greeting with Martha's receptionist and is asked to take a seat. Shawn ("TV newscaster") tells the camera that coming to the HQ is "such an overwhelming experience" and says that while it may sound "dorky and cheesy", she has tears in her eyes just sitting there. Oh dear. I suspect that her trying to look like Alexis isn't just a strategic ploy - Alexis has better watch her back because Shawn may just go Single White Female on her one of these days. "All this could be mine!" Shawn says excitedly to the camera, emanating stalker vibes all over the place. Meanwhile, the other Apprenti start coming in one by one. The very cute Howie ("fashion company owner") thinks that Martha and him have plenty in common, although he's still working on having a multimillion dollar business thingie. "Me and her are going to be amazing!" he gushes. I'm starting to think that stalkers have invaded the show. Here comes Bethenny ("natural foods chef", whatever that is - maybe she's the kind of chef that doesn't use unnatural food like styrofoam in her beef stew), looking like a horse, which is probably understandable since I hear that her father was a famous horse racer. She wants to work for Martha and insists that there is no one more eager to work with Martha than she. Okay. Which rival of Martha Stewart sic Bethenny on that poor woman? ("Maybe she's Martha Stewart's former parole officer!" suggests hubby.)

Martha meets up with Alexis and some old guy named Charles and asks them whether they want to join her to meet up with the Apprenti. Those two pretend that Martha hasn't just given them an order and of course follow her, always careful to walk at least two steps behind her.

Credits. Hey, they're using the Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This). The credits reveal the members of each team. For Primarius, or Primates-R-Us to you and me, the members are Carrie, Jennifer, Ryan, Amanda, Howie, Sarah, Leslie, and Dawna. Over at Matchstick, the members are Shawn, Jim (sigh), Dawn, Chuckie, David, Bethenny, Jeff, and Marcela. I like the fact that there are several women who aren't in their early twenties (Leslie, Dawna, Amanda).

Martha arrives! Shawn quickly rushes forward to shake her hands but poor Marcela finds her hand rejected as Martha asks them to join her in her conference room. Martha chirps about her company being so fun, yadda yadda yadda, and introduces Alexis, her daughter, and Charles Copperhead, Martha's "chairman". Alexia and Charles will be following the teams, of course. Alexis gets the Apprenti to chuckle weakly as she introduces herself as Martha's original Apprentice who hasn't been fired yet. Charles talks about being in the music business before joining Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and then brings up the fact that he and Bethenny know each other since she "knew his daughter" some fifteen "or sixteen" years ago. Which makes Bethenny right now about 49, I suppose. Both pretend to be ignorant of the other being on the show and Martha pretends to know of this for the first time. "I just want you to know, Bethenny, that I've been in business my whole life and the truth is, if you're a great Apprentice, you'll have the same opportunity that everyone else has to win or lose," Charles tells her and she thanks him in return. Now that everyone is satisfied that Bethenny is playing on equal ground and she is not, say, Charles' girlfriend or anything (which may explain poor Charles' constant and Freudian gripping of his unlit cigar), the show must move on, at least until the others gang up on her and get Martha to fire her horsey behind. Martha tells the Apprenti to appreciate the opportunity to learn from her because back in the Renaissance people pay to learn from tradesman. Ooh. And today, people pay to advertise on shows like The Apprentice. Progress is so cool. She also adds that they have no boardrooms here, only conference rooms, and oh, she wants the Apprenti to have fun on the show.

Carrie ("creative director" who looks like American Idol 4's Cattle Underwood twenty years down the road) tells the camera that everything in her life has "worked up" to this point in her life where she is on Martha Stewart's TV show. Um, yeah. I'm sure Martha will appreciate her ambitions. She is wearing Martha Stewart's colors (blue and green). I think every Apprentice on this show is a stalker unhealthily obsessed with being Martha Stewart. I hope they know that the prize is a figurehead position in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and not Martha's hand in marriage or something. Meanwhile, the Apprenti leave the studio as Martha tells them that she will see them tomorrow. Jim takes the opportunity to leer at Martha before he leaves.

The Apprenti enter their loft which is filled with K-Mart stuff (not that they know that, of course) and shriek and howl like they've never seen K-Mart stuff before. They find the champagne bottle (reality show contestants have inbuilt radar to detect alcohol from a great distance) and toast to "all good things" (thanks, Carrie). Shortly after they discover the penned note from Martha - they've got Martha-Mail, which sounds better than Tyra-Mail, come to think of it - and learn that they must separate into two groups. Carrie groans and moans that they are about to have a good time when the Martha-Mail brings them back to earth. How sad for them. Still, there is nothing in this world that can come between the Apprenti and their alcohol so they get down to party. They decide to grill Bethenny about her relationship with Charles and apparently Bethenny "dated" Charles' son while living with Charles' daughter in Paris. Does Martha know about the "dated his son" part? The other Apprenti say that they are not challenged by Bethenny's relationship with Charles at all. Why should they? Sleeping with the boss - or the boss' kid - is as valid a method as any when it comes to moving up the company hierarchy. Anyway, Howie says to the camera that Bethenny may even be at a disadvantage because Charles may be harder on her - "harder" in a non-sexual context, naturally - in order to prove that he is being fair to the others.

Now, it's time to divide into groups. They come up with the bright idea of separating according to the nature of their jobs - "creative" versus "corporate". Personally, I'd balk at this arrangement because it's like a bunch of temperamental undisciplined airheads in one group and anal-retentive blockheads in the other. Shouldn't they be picking out both corporate and creative folks to form a well-balanced group? Jeff ("creative director"), who's in the creative group, thinks that his team members will either surprise "us" (he is referring to himself in third person - not a good sign) or need constant babysitting. Foreshadowing alert! They try to come up with a name. Someone suggests "Flair" but Jim thinks that the name makes him feel like some "limp-wristed sissy boy". Um, he's going to be working for Martha Stewart. It's a little out of place to be worried about how he will be perceived as when he is wearing a pink tie. Dawn is seen asking him to be quiet because she can't think. To the camera, Dawn ("PR consultant") says that Jim is getting on everyone's nerves with his constant joking and hopes that he won't be like this tomorrow. "I've always had a problem with people who want to control my actions," Jim ("Ad executive") snaps theatrically to the camera, complete with hand gestures and all. "You don't control my actions - I control your actions! Get it right!" Sigh. The devil in me that adores the likes of the Robfather wishes that he has the goods to back up his arrogance and darkly handsome looks because I'd love an evil bad boy to root for. Back to the disastrous Creative Congress, Jim says, "Does anyone like The Mamas And The Papas? Because that's one I've had in my head for years and I don't know why." He then guffaws and chortles that he's just joking. He's the only one laughing among his group.

Morning arrives and Martha, at home, calls up the Loft. Marcela picks up the phone. Martha tells her that she is "working from home" (read: writing a reply to her former parole officer's blackmail missive asking where she has to drop off the money and adding a stern warning that this time around Martha fully expects to find the shower room tapes in the bag) and asks the Apprenti to meet her at the lobby of Random House-Bertelsmann. Be ready to leave at 8:00 am, Martha tells them.

Cue a staged scene of Martha and the two Random House folks assigned to babysit Martha talking about how smart children are and how they must be encouraged to read from an early age. How nice. As staged as this scene is, I must say that the sentiments are in the right place.

Here come the Apprenti! The creatives tell Martha that they are called Matchstick and the Project Manager for this task is Jeff. Martha likes that name and thinks that a burning matchstick makes a great logo for this team. Yeah, and all that's left of the matchstick is a small pile of ash on the floor. Think about that, folks. Dawna explains that the corporates are called Primates-R-Us and she is the Project Manager. Martha politely tries to mask her distaste at the ugly name of that team. Martha instead introduces her companions as Anne Schwartz, an editor who specializes in illustrated children's books, and Chip Gibson, the head of the children's book division. After some silly and insincere staged chatter about how Martha wants grandchildren (cue Alexis' eyeroll) and how she and Alexis still read children's books (no jokes about Alexis' literacy abilities, please), Martha reveals that the Apprenti must today come up with a contemporary retelling of a fairy tale and produce a bound and illustrated book. The Apprenti will have access to illustrators and other professionals at Random House so it's not as if they will be doing the grunt work themselves. The Apprenti will then read their story to a bunch of first-graders. Anne and Chip will then decide which team has come up with the better book. The winners will get a special treat from Martha (that sounds scary, doesn't it) while the losers will meet her at the conference room. "And one of you will have to go home," Martha tells them mournfully because firing a staff member is the hardest thing she has ever done in her life.

The show cuts to Martha talking about the importance of communicating with the target audience, which she has stressed to the Apprenti before sending them off on their way. "Communicating" will come up quite often later on in this episode so take note, people.

Over at the Primates-R-Us pen, Dawna has the ball rolling with a possible retelling of the Jack and the Beanstalk tale. Something about the beanstalk growing underwater is suggested. However, everyone is throwing ideas at the same time and poor Dawna says that it is tough for her to rein everyone under control. She finally decides to send three people to look for kids willing to be their guinea-pigs while three others will work on the story.

At Matchstick, Jeff plays his hand by telling everyone that they will be working on Hensel and Gretel, saying that they can adapt the story to fit the contemporary setting because "the city is a scary place to run away to". He then tells Dawn to work on the story because she has a background in publishing. Hmm, and I suppose the others will take turns at spellchecking? Dawn nonetheless agrees to work on the story. "I'm just going to ask nicely that everyone please try to respect a little bit of personal space," she announces to the others, adding that she needs to have some quiet to work. It seems like a fair request to me, especially when Dawn is going to have to come up with the story by herself. Jim however scoffs at Dawn in his confessional, wondering how anyone can actually work when it's quiet. Well, I can see that Jim's mouth, at least, works overtime when it comes to noise and discordance. I need to work harder at disliking him. Jeff tells the camera that Dawn needs some peace and quiet to work and apparently that doesn't sit well with him as well because he then takes over the writing and asks Dawn to look over his shoulder and admire his brilliance.

Meanwhile, the Primates are approaching some children to drop by for a test-drive, so to speak, of their story. Howie meets the kiddies and he seems to have this way with children and storytelling that he gets them to go "Ooh!" and "Aah!" with him while he moves his hands and what-not. I am impressed too. Nice biceps, Howie. Maybe he can come by my place and read some of my books to me one of these days. Carrie brags about how great Howie is to the camera. I don't know, I think those chocolate chip cookies the Primates hand out to the kiddies play a big part in keeping them happy. Sarah cooes at the kiddies some more - I see from the way she acts a possible beauty pageant stint in her past - and while the Primates are happy with their progress, Carrie is worried that Matchstick may be coming up with something better.

Well, whether it's better, the other Matchsticks aren't so sure as they listen to Jeff reading out his story to them. For one, everything is written in stanzas. The story is about two kids who dislike their names and run away from home because they can't get their parents to change their name. I hope Jeff is not writing about his own childhood demons. Maybe his real name is Joo-Joo. Jeff announces after he's finished his story that he thinks the story is "good". Of course he will, snort. Dawn however is concerned about the message the story is sending out to the children. Marcela agrees with Dawn. "You know what they learn? They can leave the house by themselves and they'll make it back," she tells Jeff. Jeff however insists that the story is fabulous as it is, "It's trust of strangers and missteps and, in my opinion, that would be a very dark story!" I think this bozo has completely missed the point about the kind of book Martha wants them to write. Marcela voices her doubts to the camera and says that Jeff is not willing to listen to her or anyone else so there's nothing she can do about this. Sure enough, Jeff is right now saying to the others, "Shut up right now and listen so we can get through this!" He snaps some orders to them, making sure that they know he will not tolerate any arguments. He then waves the pages of his story at the other Matchsticks and snaps at them that he has spent hours working on that story and he is happy with it, leaving unsaid the fact that only his opinion is all that matters to him. He doesn't have to say it because the others already get it at that point. He's so fired.

Later that day - or maybe it's the next day, I don't know, since chronology in this show is not clear - Jeff has a mock-up of the book. He wants Dawn to read the story to the children. He tells the camera that Dawn has had twelve hours to prepare for her reading. It's probably the next day that this scene is taking place then. However, Dawn says that she'd like to eat something first, which leads some of the others, especially Bethenny, to act as if Dawn has just asked everyone to carry out a ritual puppy sacrifice to some dark deity. Lots of confusing arguments erupt, causing Dawn to wonder aloud, "I said I want a banana before I talk. Can you guys wait twenty seconds for me to run to the kitchen? I mean - whoa!" Because a banana is an unreasonable thing, Bethenny fumes at the camera, saying that Dawn has no sense of urgency and is so disrespectful. Because she wants a banana? Huh? Am I missing something here?

Back to the confusion, Dawn says that it will be good if she sits down with the children when she reads with them. It's a good idea but Jeff tells her rudely instead that she doesn't need to be likeable in order to read to the children. Dawn tries to tell him that the children may be intimidated by her, just like how she'd be if an executive towers over her while reading aloud to her. Jeff misunderstands her and assumes that she just doesn't want to stand up while reading. He therefore tells her that he just doesn't think it is "proper" for her to sit with the kids while reading them a story. Kids need to be shown their place, after all! Dawn at this point wants to know what the other Matchsticks think of her idea of sitting down with the kids. Jeff tells her coldly that he is the Project Manager. Dawn asks him just as coldly whether he'd like to dictate what her wardrobe will be as well. Jeff at that point decides that Dawn will not be reading to the children. Shawn will have the honors instead.

Jeff then announces that he's off to take a shower. Dawn is not happy at the way he has treated her and goes after him, telling him that he is not a team player. Jeff tells her that he's better than that - he's the team leader. "And if you don't see that this is good for our team, then you are not playing on my team," he tells her. Dawn tries to say some more but he keeps interrupting her, at one point asking her whether she intends to follow him into the shower, and ending the scene with the most charming statement he can come up with to Dawn: "I don't care what you're trying - you're failing."

The Matchsticks leave the Loft and now it's off to the Kiddie Pen where the kiddies are assembled to listen to the Apprenti. The Random House folks along with Alexis and Charles (plus his unlit cigar) watch from behind a glass screen as Shawn, dressed up like a newscaster, sits before the children and reads them the story in exactly the way a bored newscaster will breeze through the local news. Shawn tells the camera that public speaking is her forte. Yes, but I don't think children is. The adorable Chuckie says to the camera that the children like the story. The camera cuts to a kid looking really bored and sulky. Oh, Chuckie. Chuckie concedes that maybe the children don't like it as much since they aren't laughing. When asked for feedback by the woman that watches over them, the kiddies give a weak and tepid response to the story. Jeff insists that he, sorry, his team did a great job nonetheless. Howie then shows up with the Primates-R-Us' story and does an excellent job in getting the kiddies all excited and worked up over the story. They react more favorably to the story but Dawna decides to err on the side of caution, preferring not to be so optimistic about the Primates' chance of winning.

Cut to some Random House office - maybe Chip's - where it's judgment time. Anne praises Matchstick for their book's attractive illustrations but she doesn't think much of the story. On the other hand, Chip loves everything about the Primates' book, from the binding to the story to the illustration, so it's obvious to all but Jeff at this point that the Primates have won the first task. The Primates will be dining with Martha while the Matchsticks will be meeting her at the conference room where someone's head will roll.

Evening falls. The Primates ooh and aah as they walk into the HQ and see the sushi dinner being prepared for them. Martha introduces the chef of Masuri to them and tells the chef that the Apprenti are "winners" of a "contest". The chef nods. And here he is thinking that he's just being paid to give a discount "Last Meal Before Being Fired" banquet to some losers! Howie takes the opportunity to talk to Martha in a hammy and overenthusiastic way that will rub people off if he isn't so cute. He gushes to the camera about how he may fall in love with Martha - "But let's keep that low!" - and how he wants to show Martha the "real Howie". The camera cuts to a scene of Martha telling the others that she doesn't really know Howie that well. Ooh, burn! Anyway, Howie is like Troy from the first season of The Apprentice - I know he's fake and insincere but he has this charming way of making me feel that it's okay for him to be fake and insincere with me. Sigh. I'll see if he'll fare better than Troy.

Back at the Loft, Jeff is rallying the troops against Dawn. Bethenny and Shawn support him. To the camera, Bethanny talks snottily about how Jeff is their leader and therefore has value while Dawn has none. Huh? Jeff is a lousy tyrant of a leader but he still has value? Jim however doesn't agree when Bethanny brings up the Down with Dawn campaign to him. He asks Bethenny, "Every task you go on, Dawn will be a problem. Dawn can be sacrificed at any time. Jeff may never fuck up again. You wanna lose to Jeff?" He tells her that the both of them can beat Dawn when it comes to the final showdown, but Jeff is a threat. Ooh, this show is turning nasty so early in the season. I like it! Bethenny however insists that she'd like to win "fair" and still wants Dawn to go. Jim watches her leave and tells her behind her back that it's time to "sacrifice some lambs". To the camera, he cackles maniacally that he's born to play this "game" or something. He's going to be either a very smart and evil player or a lousy idiot with a big mouth. I reserve the right to wait a little longer before making any judgment because he's freaking hot and I want to see him on my TV some more. To the camera, Dawn says that Jeff is in for a big surprise and he'll be gone. Ooh, is this some kind of secret plan she's talking about? She's going to stuff a banana down his throat or something? Jeff, in a scene that he will never live down for a long time after this show, says to the camera most patronizingly that he'd hang his head in shame if he can't "whoop" Dawn's "ass" in the conference room.

Conference room time. Martha goes straight to the point: she doesn't like the story at all. She dislikes the fact that it's about children refusing to answer to their names just because they hate the names and also about children running away from home. Marcela says that as a mother, she has some concerns about the story as well. Alexis also chimes in her agreement. Martha asks whether Dawn wrote the story because she knows that Dawn had a master's degree in some writing and literature program. Dawn brags a little about this before happily shoving the entire blame to Jeff. It's the truth, after all: Jeff is the idiot behind the story. Martha now asks Marcela whom she feels didn't contribute to the team. Marcela mentions Dawn, saying that Dawn contributed only "negatively". David agrees that Dawn didn't contribute as much as she could have, but defends her by saying that Dawn should have been given the "creative space" she needed in order to write. David correctly states that it is Jeff's responsibility as Project Manager to make sure that Dawn gets what she needs to do her work. Chuckie says that he doesn't think he can continue working with "someone like Jim". Jim looks like he's shocked that someone doesn't find him as amazing as he does himself.

Bethenny takes this opportunity to launch an attack on Dawn. If she thinks that it's a good way to further the Down with Dawn campaign, Bethanny is sadly mistaken because when she accuses Dawn of sleeping all night instead of working and Dawn denies that hotly, it is Bethenny that comes off like... well, let's just say that it becomes clear that she's on this show not because Martha will ever hire her but because every show needs a psychotic loud-mouth bitch so it may as well be the ugly one that looks like the rear end of a horse. Dawn comes off in this scene as someone who may not be able to stand up to assertive people in public but when she's backed against the wall, she's going to go down fighting with claws out. Jeff finally cuts in to say that it's "obvious" who should be removed from Matchstick. Jim then says that he understands Jeff in a way - in that Jeff just wanted to protect Matchstick - but starts sinking his blade into Jeff's back by saying that Jeff took on more responsibilities than he could handle. Martha asks Jeff to pick two people to join him in the conference room's execution session. Jeff picks Dawn and Jim. Everyone else is dismissed while Jeff and his two buddies have to wait in the lobby.

Now it's time for the pointless chatter between Martha and her underlings, as if Martha's mind hasn't already been made up. Martha and Alexis commiserate about how difficult it is for Martha to fire anybody. Earth to Martha: Earth isn't made yesterday but thanks for trying. Charles says that it should be pretty easy, this decision, because Jeff is the one who didn't follow Martha's edict about the importance of communication with the target audience. Alexis thinks Dawn is a downer. Martha says that they should ask the three to come back into the conference room in order to hear both sides of the story. Earth to Martha: Thanks for trying, but really, you needn't bother.

When Jeff, Jim, and Dawn are seated, Martha asks Jeff why he brings two people who have apparently contributed a lot to the team. Wait... since when did Dawn contribute anything? Anyway, Jeff starts to respond by pointing out that Jim is a disruptive person to work with. Jim says that sure, he likes to have fun, but when he has to work, he really works. Maybe it's Jeff's stammer, but Dawn senses a chink in Jeff's armor and moves in for the kill. She points out to Martha that the only good thing about their book are the illustrations and Jim played a big part in getting the illustrations done the way they were. Jeff goes on a different tangent. Sure, he agrees that maybe Jim is focused when he is working but he then tries to imply to Martha that this isn't often. Jim disagrees loudly, telling Martha that Jeff is having a case of "sour grapes" because Jim worked hard on that task. Dawn backs him up. It's double-ganging on an obnoxious asshole time, people. Where are the popcorns?

Alexis asks Jim whether he likes Jeff's story (duh). Jim goes, "Was I more impressed by the poetry and flow than, you know, the Pied Piper of Hamelin here, who kind of led us down the road, or was I being snowed by the fact that..." Martha mercifully interrupts Jim's rant to tell him laughingly that he is mangling his fairy tales. As Jim pauses to catch his breath, Charles asks Jim whether Jim thinks that Jeff is their Pied Piper. Jim says yes and, with an accusing finger at Jeff, points out that everything wrong with the book and the project can be tracked down back to Jeff. Dawn nods aggressively at Jim's every word.

Martha finally closes the conference room session by saying that she has emphasized the importance of communication with the target audience. Jeff doesn't get that. She thinks that he also doesn't communicate well with his own team. Here, Jim and Dawn nod as one. They will resume hating each other tomorrow morning. Right now, they have a mutual enemy to rip to shreds. Martha says to Jeff, "You don't fit in." Dramatic drumroll tells me that this is her "You're fired!" line and for a second, I am waiting for her to saying something more dramatic, like "You're goosed!" or "You are not a good thing!" But Martha just tells Jeff goodbye and holds out her hand like a queen, thus forcing Jeff to stand up and shake hands with her. Jeff thanks Martha and leaves the room.

It is an uncomfortable moment when the three Apprenti share space at the elevator lobby. Jim tells Jeff that it's nothing personal, just business. Jeff says that he'll look forward to Jim's "failing" then, hopefully by next week. Dawn laughs, not very nicely, after Jeff has taken his elevator down to his shame, and tells Jim that Jeff definitely has a case of sour grapes. Jim chuckles, pleased with himself, and they both head up to the Loft.

Martha in the conference room once more sighs about how hard it is to fire someone. Charles reassures her that she did the right thing because Jeff flunked Communications 101. Martha then proceeds to open a notepad of pink paper and writes in a rather sloppy manner: "Dear Jeffrey, I'm sorry that you are the first to go... not to fail, but rather, not to fully succeed. You entered this serious endeavor knowing that someone would have to leave after the first task. Unfortunately, it is you. Personally, it is hard to make such a judgment call but it is part of this interview process. Good luck, travel safely, it was great to meet you. Cordially, Martha Stewart."

And with that, Martha Stewart's first foray into reality TV is done.

Do I like this episode? Yes I do, actually. While I am cynical, I do find much of Martha's attempts to soften herself and the show a refreshing change from Donald Trump's over-the-top exaggerated elements in his show. I roll up my eyes when Donald Trump sent his Apprenti running all over a golf course looking for a helicopter but I find myself intrigued by this show. This show is like a new start all over again and I look forward to seeing more.


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