The Apprentice: Martha Stewart: Episode 2
Previously, Martha Stewart with the help of Mark Burnetto and Donald Trump gathered sixteen "entrepreneurs" (even if you're a lawyer) to duke it out to be her new Apprentice. These Apprenti divided themselves into two teams on their own accord into "creatives" (Matchstick) and "corporates" (Primates-R-Us). Their first task was to rewrite and put together a fairy tale updated to modern settings and Matchstick crashed. Jeff, the Project Manager who had this assumption that he had just been crowned the Hitler of the Office Space, launched executive decisions. Since everything was his decision, Martha didn't have much problems in letting him go. No matter how bad Dawn and Jim might be, everything was Jeff's idea, decision, and ultimately, mistake. Hey, Jennifer speaks in the recap of the previous episode. With that... credits.
Night, the Loft. Howie and Ryan are dressed up in caps, shorts, and baggy T-shirts, like boyband members who are still waiting for a career revival after their second CD flopped seven years ago. Ryan is asking Howie whether Howie would take a strong person out in the boardroom or take a risk in keeping that person around. Howie tells Ryan in a voice straight out of a Seinfield episode that they must think of "now" because "there is no tomorrow". These two guys are very excited. They are actually leaning towards each other as they speak. Who would've figured out that Martha would get these pretty boys so hot and excited?
Interrupting the impending manlove session is the sound of the door opening. All Apprenti stop in whatever they are doing to watch the door expectedly and in excitement. In walks Dawn. "Oh my God!" Bethenny exclaims and Amanda runs forward to meet Dawn. Then in walks Jim, hollering like he's just won some gold medal in the Special Olympics, and Howie and Ryan immediately run to grab him in an invitation to a cozy arrangement that I find myself wishing to get a copy of the home video of. "Stop kissing me!" Jim growls playfully at them. "Last night was enough!"
Jim says to the camera that he walks into the Loft with the most obnoxious "bravado" that he could muster and "lets loose" on everybody there. Back at the Loft, he is giving this very exaggerated and cartoonish account, complete with hand gestures straight out of a Loony Tunes cartoon, of how he "took the scythe" and cut the "mighty oak" that was Jeff at the "ankles". "Later, biatch!" he goes. He tells the camera that he is trying to tell the Apprenti that the fate that befell Jeff would hit them if they try to go after him. Um, yeah. The other Apprenti are actually staring at him throughout his cartoonish performance, looking as if they don't know whether to laugh in disbelief or to just stare in bewilderment at Jim. Poor Jim. I suspect that their reaction is more towards Jim's psychotic display of Elmer-Fuddhood rather than they being shocked at how powerful Jim is. Sarah tells the camera that Jim is "completely unpredictable" and "unstable". She believes that Jim will do whatever it takes to win. Back to the Loft, Jim announces a toast, "The King is dead! Long live the King!" Back to Sarah, she thinks that Jim's tactic is "ruthlessness" (shouldn't ruthlessness be a little more subtle than Jim's hysterical shtick?). Back to Jim, he is now telling some others that he was the "architect" of Jim's demise. Dawn disputes this and Jim nastily tells her that it's how he sees things. "If I had told the truth, maybe someone else would have gone home instead of Jeff," he tells her. Dawn makes an exasperated sound and walks away. Jim tells the camera that he is the most cunning person on the show, "possibly". We end the night with Jim telling Bethenny to get off his back because he is just trying to succeed in business. What business is he talking about? One in the local Mafia? Oh, but they're still "friends", he and Bethenny. I'm sure she's feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.
Morning. Martha's receptionist calls and introduces herself as Julia. So that's her name. Hello, Julia. Howie picks up the phone but the highlight is shirtless Ryan walking up to him and putting his chin this close over Howie's right shoulder. It's the kind of gesture you'd do if you're trying to get the whiff of the perfume of someone you're intimate with. The naysayers are wrong! Martha's house is full of love! Anyway, Julia tells Howie that Martha is too busy to see them personally but there is a video screen in the living room waiting for Martha's prerecorded message to be played to them. The Apprenti dutifully file in to the living room. The screen comes to life with Martha standing in what she calls her "favorite wholesale florist", taking the opportunity to plug her own florist website. Martha asks them whether they know the names of these flowers - "delphinium, allium, dahlias, and even the wonderful chartreuse euphorbia!" - and really, I don't blame Jim for rolling up his eyes theatrically at the camera because Martha is channeling the fake-sweetness a little too thickly here. Martha explains that today, the Apprenti will be given retail space and enough startup funds to start some fly-by-night flower business. The Team with the most "revenues" (as Martha puts it) will win. When Martha is done, the Apprenti - led by Shawn, the queen of suck-up - clap as if they have just been told that they are allowed to take a signed blank check each from Martha's checkbook. "Awesome," Jim says sarcastically as he claps half-heartedly. Really, as much as I want to hate him, I have to laugh at his cynical attitude as well.
Chuckie is appointed the Project Manager by the Matchsticks because he's had experience in "freelance flower work". I'm not sure what "freelance flower work" is. Did Chuckie arrange flowers, sell them, or wear them around his neck? Anyway, Chuckie finally gets some screentime and he's adorable and sweet. Unfortunately, as we shall soon see, he's way out of his league dealing with Jim. Anyway, Chuckie tells the others that he'd like to keep things simple. No fancy bouquets, just back-to-basic flowers. He, David, and Shawn head out to scout wholesalers while Bethenny, Dawn, and Jim, three of the most disruptive members of Matchstick, stay behind with poor Marcela. I hope the Loft is still standing when Chuckie, Shawn, and David get back. Shawn has this idea of selling only tulips, using "Fresh from Holland!" as their business tagline. Chuckie likes the idea and uses his walkie-talkie to inform the other three in the Loft of their decision. However, Jim tells Chuckie that he has a better "marketing plan" so Chuckie should set aside some money to buy "three prototypes" that they can hawk to hotels. Chuckie tells him that no hotel will buy anything on the spot because hotels buy flowers in advance for whatever it is that they need these flowers for. Jim naturally starts to talk down and fast, causing Bethenny to try and grab the walkie-talkie from Jim.
Jim tries to stop her but she grabs it nonetheless. Jim protests, saying that he needs to talk to Chuckie. "But no one wants to talk to you because you're insane!" she snaps at him, thus winning herself plenty of goodwill points from me. She tells Chuckie to tell her what he is proposing and then she will tell Chuckie what she, Jim, and Dawn are proposing. Jim tells her to just tell Chuckie what they are proposing (which is to say, cut down Chuckie) and she turns her back to him. To the camera, Bethenny says in a tone of embarassment tinged with exasperation that she and Jim are fighting like three-year olds and she is understandably unhappy. Chuckie tries to listen to the other end but all he can hear is two people squabbling. Shawn tells the camera that the Matchsticks are always fighting. There is "something wrong" with her team, she concludes. Yes, Jim. Back to Chuckie, he whispers to David and Shawn that he is very unhappy. She assures him that they will get through this.
We now cut to Martha's Moral of the Day clip, where she emphasizes that a good leader needs to be flexible. I like that even she seems bemused by how staged this scene is.
The Matchsticks are now back at the Loft where they are trying to brainstorm marketing plans. Being who they are, this means that there are plenty of shouting and argument flying around. Shawn talks about getting two women to wear some Dutch outfits in order to promote the store. Dawn must have really enjoyed her recent Dutch visit or something because she twists her hair into ponytails and says to Shawn in her best seductive voice, "It's so slutty and trashy. I love it!" Yes, it's true, all those stories about nerd girls going wild once the lights go down! Chuckie seems confused. Maybe he'll perk up if they get two hot guys to dress up in Dutch outfits instead? "We get children and it's called Tiptoe Through the Tulips and kids are who bring people in," Bethenny says as she proposes a more family-friendly event to lure in people to their upcoming tulip shop. "The angle is that they're flown in fresh from Holland!" Shawn tells Chuckie. Er, what, the kids? Pandemonium erupts as Bethenny tells the camera that they are like an octopus with each tentacle (or "hand" if you're Bethenny) reaching out in a separate direction. Chuckie tells the camera, as he slowly freaks out in the Loft, that he is feeling increasingly overwhelmed by the noise. Perhaps his team needs a "greater direction" from him, he says, but he has honestly no idea where to start with that! Instead, to the Matchsticks in the Loft, he announces that he's handing over the management of the team to someone else because he's going to walk out of the Loft.
Everyone, even Jim, seems shocked by this announcement. They regroup as one to persuade Chuckie to hang in there and stay with them a little longer. Jim however tells the camera that he only wants Chuckie to stay because he now knows Chuckie's weakness that he can "expose" if, or more precisely, when they end up in the conference room. His voice is going, by the way. Either it's from his constant shouting or he's been sniffing something he shouldn't be sniffing in the bathroom before his confessionals. He encourages Chuckie by saying to the man, "It's Everest, man - just a little higher!" And "higher", of course, is the operative word here.
Chuckie nonetheless seems to regain some sense. He tells them to be quiet and "sit down on this yellow sofa" because he's going to tell them how things would be done, much to Dawn's relief. In the end, things finally seem to settle down for the Matchsticks. Nah, it's probably just the calm before the storm.
Oh, there's another team on this show, right? Primates-R-Us visit the location of their fly-by-night operations and of course they love it. Everything is perfect! Carrie, who is the Project Manager as it turns out for the Primates, is all about the love. Jennifer, or so the editing suggests, comes up with this idea that they can get a celebrity florist to sell his or her wares in the store. After all, people love celebrities, right? I try to think of a celebrity florist but... er... does Martha Stewart count? Jennifer tells the camera that she tries to call up a few such florists but finally, only one René Hofstede seems to reluctantly agree to at least meet them for a discussion. I suspect that René must have owed Martha a favor to actually agree to help the Primates. Apparently René has done flower thingies with Oprah before. Later that day, when tall and blond René shows up, Jennifer nervously adjusts her sleeveless top as she walks up to meet him. She tells the camera that it's now or never because there is no Plan B, just René. René pretends to be skeptical and interrogates them a little but come on, we all know that Martha gave him a phone call the moment the Primates decided to grab a celebrity florist so of course he agrees to help the Primates. Amanda tells the camera pretty much to the effect that, because the Primates are corporates, of course they will understand the importance of "outsourcing". With René helping the Primates, it's going to be a beautiful day indeed.
Night falls and Bethenny tells the camera of this great plan that she, Dawn, and Marcela apparently came up with: they will dress up in their best black hooker get-up and walk the streets, trying to drum up interest in their upcoming flower shop. That's a wonderful idea, I must say. Funny music plays as the three ladies approach a lucky guy. I have to love Bethenny telling one guy that the Matchstick's flower store is opening in the morning but she'd give him a "tour" of the premise if he'd like. Nope, nobody will mistake these ladies for hookers. When Dawn and Marcela try to say something to this guy, Bethenny tells him that he's very cute before telling the two ladies to go "find" their own "men". Nope, they're not hookers, no siree. The man can't flee fast enough. Dawn says as the three ladies walk down the street that they "look" like "hookers". Self-awareness is a beautiful thing.
Morning. Shawn and Jim start work on the store. Shawn explains that they paint and clean the store from top to bottom. Jim, in a rare moment of normalcy (which is to say, he is yapping in his cartoon voice but his eyebrows aren't trying to fly off his head), announces that he'd get the door gleaming brightly once he has his hands on some Brasso. Jim loves to shine doorknobs, I see. Later, the three hookers finish their shift and walk in, and Shawn tells the camera that the ladies immediately start "complaining". I don't see any complaining going on but I do see Jim and Dawn once more going at it. Dawn thinks that six dollars - the cost of the Brasso according to Jim - is not a wise investment, especially for a door that is going to be left open the entire day. Jim naturally starts cackling and jibbering like a pinata on the verge of exploding. I love how Dawn deliberately tilts her chin up and gestures to her nostrils as a perfect "Hitting the toilets again, dear?" insinuation that Jim will no doubt notice only when he watches this episode on TV. Jim hollers to the camera, "Don't you dare come back when you don't even know what's going on and tell me that we don't need brass cleaner that costs four dollars!" Is it six or four dollars for that Brasso? Marcela wisely drags Dawn out of the room while Dawn tells Jim that he's rude. Jim's parting shot is that he'll see her in the conference room. Meanwhile, Dawn complains to the camera that she had just been hustling on the streets like a "whore" to get people to buy "frigging tulips" and now, to be yelled at by Jim, why, her day is now perfect, thanks a lot. Chuckie complains that he is once more not happy and he is sure that dear Martha will not be amused one bit.
Shawn, Chuckie, Jim are now in some van and Jim is telling them to get rid of Dawn. Shawn tells Jim that they cannot "throw Dawn under the bus" just because he doesn't like her. Jim of course can't see why not. "She sucks! She's completely disruptive! She doesn't listen to the business model!" he squeals. He's trying to sound manly about it, but dude, he's squealing. Shawn tells the camera that Jim is gunning for Dawn because poor Dawn is the only one who dares to stand up to him. "That seals Dawn's fate," Shawn says dramatically.
Over at Primates-R-Us, Howie is pretending to be a lisping flaming nelly as he carries flowers into the store. He's much better at being a flaming nelly when he's with Ryan, if you ask me. At least, for his wife's sake, I hope he's pretending when it comes to Ryan. Howie walks around camping it up because you have to be gay if you're a guy dealing in the flower business. Not the fashion business though, because Howie is straight and even if he and Ryan look into each other's eyes as they indulge in boyband verbal foreplay in the Loft, dude, he has a wife, he is straight. Carrie tells the camera that the Primates rely entirely on René in this task - they are using his products, they are using his advice on decor, and they are probably using the things he supplies to them as decors. I don't really like this dependency on someone they bring in from the outside and I won't be too proud of myself if I were them. Back to the store, René and the Primates agree that they are selling artistic products so nothing is priced under fifty dollars. Needless to say, people who walk in blanch at the prices and quickly leave soon after. Howie tells the camera unnecessarily, leaning against the railing of the stairs (I suspect that this empty store is the standard retail location for this show's every fly-by-night operation since the first season of Donald Trump's version of the show), that people are experiencing "sticker shock" when they walk into the store. Hmm, and here I am thinking that flowers have always been exhorbitantly expensive. Carrie asks someone to juggle outside the store. Yes, that will really get people to buy something inside the store.
"Fresh tulips from Holland, boys! Fantastic premier tulips of the Netherlands!" Jim yells in his best maniacal voice as the Matchstick store opens. They are selling bundles of tulips for fifteen dollars each. Chuckie tells the camera that they have hired "three lovely girls" in Dutch outfits to walk around and hawk tulips to people. The costumes by themselves aren't skanky, if you ask me, but they look tacky because they are exactly the costumes women will wear right before they rip the blouse to an appreciative male audience all holding up dollar bills in their hands. At least they can dance well, these ladies, I suppose. Alexis mutters to Charles as they watch the proceedings that the ladies are standing at the wrong street corner. Charles replies sarcastically that it all depends on what the ladies are selling. In a hilarious edit, the show then cuts to Jim yelling to passers-by, "We're selling tulips! Tulips! New York - over here!" Meanwhile, Dawn sells a hundred and fifty dollars worth of tulips to a guy. She tells the camera that this guy is her "VIP customer" and if she ever sees him again, she'll make out with him for three hours. Dawn's going rate is fifty dollars an hour, people. Anyway, I think I actually like her and it's a pity that Jim drags her into this toxic feud from which she will never recover from in Martha's eyes. Charles tells the camera that the Matchsticks' plan - "to stack them high and stack them deep and move them out!" - is a good one but of course, the Primates have a different strategy.
Well, the Primates' strategy of selling a few at a high price each isn't going so well because people that walk into the store are leaving empty-handed. I don't think these people have watched the infamous episode where Omarosa finally got fired - there is a high chance that you won't sell enough expensive product to catch up with the other team who is selling a high volume of cheaper product. Howie urges Carrie to lower the prices but Carrie is worried that they may offend René in doing so. After all, René and the Primates have agreed earlier that René's products are high-market or something like that. But as 2:00 pm rolls in, Carrie starts to get worried herself. Lo, René agrees that they should cut down the price. I suspect that Martha probably made another phone call to him. Lo and behold, but slashing a fifty dollar product down to thirty and such, the Primates see their products flying off the tacky shelves and out the store. As the Matchsticks run around giddily in joy, Alexis and René have a bizarre moment of semi-flirtation where she asks him the name of some purple flowers, he tells her that they are anemones, and she tells him that her mother would've known that. Poor Alexis; I get Carrie "I Will Still Have Issues With My Parents When I'm 98" Fisher vibes off her.
Later that day, Martha waits as the Apprenti file into the conference room. She asks Charles to report on the progress of the Primates. Charles talks about being impressed with the Primates before revealing that the Primates made $1,886. Alexis reveals that the Matchsticks only made "about half" of the Primates - $996. Martha congratulates the Primates and reveals their awesome reward: they will help the Hudson Guild, a Chelsea community center, build a garden for "their recently renovated recreation, arts, and children's center". The Primates look like they've just been ordered to kiss Charles' stinky toes as a reward. That will teach them to clap at everything Martha says like the biggest suck-ups in the country!
The Primates are forced to give plenty of happy, cheerful "This is best gift ever because it's all about giving, woo-hoo!" confessionals when I know it has to kill them to know that they may be getting diamond shopping sprees if they're on Donald Trump's show, heh. I howl in laughter when Carrie says solemnly that Martha has done a lot of community service before (seriously, that's what she says) and this is Martha's way of teaching them what really matters in life. Or something. Howie really looks sweet around the kids though. I hope that when Ryan and he get married, they will get to adopt plenty of children and become best friends with Angelina Jolie whom they meet at the local daycare center.
Now, I know this reward is far from the lavish frivolity one would expect from The Apprentice but at the end of the day, some kids get a new playground and that's more than alright with me.
Back at the Loft, Jim is gathering Bethenny, Shawn, Marcela, and David to let them know that they have to get rid of Dawn. "She's a roadblock on the way to our success! And Chuck isn't," he says as his prime reason to get rid of Dawn. Bethenny agrees with him because she doesn't like Dawn as well. Jim defends Chuckie by saying, "Chuck's a better person who can move the roadblock aside! Chuck is an eloquent, beautiful man!" Is he kidding? Who is he trying to fool with such obviously insincere babble? Meanwhile, Dawn is just seated by the PC near them, listening to everything as the Matchsticks sans Chuckie aren't even pretending not to notice her. Dawn tells the camera that she has been sitting there and listening as they rip her apart. She doesn't understand why Jim thinks she's the obstacle in their team because he is as much as if not more disruptive than she is. Meanwhile, Jim is telling them, "The cancer can still be cured, but the strong people that I need to beat have to go." Note the part where he just told the others that he's getting rid of the threats to him. I have to revise my opinion of Jim as a cunning person if he persists in such verbal diarrhea because a cunning person will never let drop anything that others can use against him in the future.
While I'm sure Bethenny is just crazy, I suspect that Shawn, David, and Marcela are keeping quiet because they know very well that Jim is certain to go down in flames one day and he will not hesitate to drag as many people as he can claw onto down with him. He's already destroyed Dawn's chance of winning in Martha's eyes and who knows what he can do to them. If I'm they, I'd best keep quiet as well and let Jim dig his own grave.
Anyway, Chuckie finally shows up in the loft. Where has he been? The psychiatrist's office? Jim, in a move I can't help but to admire for his sneakiness, immediately starts affecting an effeminate man's motions and intonation as he persuades Chuckie to abet him in getting rid of Dawn. Unfortunately, Jim ruins everything but speaking in an over-the-top "Bite the apple, Sleeping Beauty!" manner that even a child will find insincere and suspicious ("Do you want some water? Because I put this here for you!") so much so that Chuckie is suspicious of Jim's motives. Sure, getting rid of Dawn will help Chuckie but... Chuckie doesn't know, really, and Jim's personal reasons in getting rid of Dawn, whatever they are, troubles Chuckie dearly. Meanwhile, Marcela is standing behind the doorway and listening to those two men. To the camera, she says, "I know what Jim is all about and I know what Jim is capable of doing." She adds that she knows that Jim loves "gratuitous cruelty". Actually, Jim isn't cruel as much as he is just cartoonish and disruptive. If the Matchsticks can put aside their petty differences, they can gang up on Jim and hopefully convince Martha to fire him. Hey, it worked when it came to getting rid of Crazy Stacy in Season Two and Mad Melissa in Season Four of Donald Trump's show. Back to the Loft, Chuckie walks away from Jim, not entirely convinced by him or buying his nonsense, and Jim is reduced to muttering like a nutter on the brink of an epileptic seizure, "I love you. I love you!" Oh Jim. If he's more subtle or he shows some intelligence behind his mania, I would take him more seriously than I currently do.
Conference room. The first sign that Martha isn't amused with the Matchstick's second loss in a room is her dead silence and her cutting look when Chuckie says as he takes his seat, "Well, we've been here under better circumstances." Martha immediately asks Marcela where the Matchsticks went wrong. I notice that Martha has asked Marcela first for two weeks in a row now. Hmm. Marcela says, "Lack of delegation and lack of communication." Martha asks sharply, "And whose fault is that?" Chuckie speaks up, taking responsibility for the Matchsticks' problems. As Martha's expression becomes more and more disgusted, Chuckie says that maybe the Matchsticks have been more focused on being creative rather than trying to "operate a business". Here, Jim is shaking his head because he is sucha desperate attention-hog that way. Martha pooh-poohs that statement, saying that the Matchsticks weren't so creative because as per Alexis, all the Matchsticks did was to make the store "look cute" and that was all.
Martha also thinks that the Dutch girls were a "terrible idea". "What the heck are the girls walking around in outfits selling tulips... what do they have to do with the brand?" Bethenny says that they are just trying to keep to a theme. Shawn says that it is her who contributed the idea - how noble of her to try and stop Martha from thinking that it is Bethenny who entirely sucked - but she is ignored, thanks to Bethenny who just can't shut up even if her life depends on it. Bethenny hilariously says that there are not many famous things that Holland is well-known for. Bethenny can only think of windmills. Martha tells her that Bethenny is going to get plenty of mail from Holland. Well, if she's lucky, that is, because I don't think this show will be that big as to be aired in Holland. Martha brings up Vermeer and Van Gogh. Bethenny insists that "semantically", she can't think of anything "mainstream" that Holland is famous for. Is "mainstream" the politically correct term for "ignorant people" nowadays?
Alexis says, "That the fact that the Matchsticks couldn't answer the question ..."
"Was pitiful," Martha cuts in. Awesome!
"... shows that they didn't go check and make sure that they were even on the right corner of the street," finishes Alexis. Heh, I like her. She may not be exciting TV material but she has a sly sense of humor that catches me by surprise at times like this.
Jim, meanwhile, is muttering, "Oh, they were so ridiculous. They were just set loose on the street like dogs." He then chuckles and looks to the person next to him. No, not Dawn, the other person. Whose bright idea it is to seat Dawn and Jim next to each other, anyway?
Martha denounces the Dutch girls as "tacky". Bethenny and Shawn nod their heads because they are in a contest to see who can suck up to Martha more. Martha then turns to Chuckie and asks him what he did as a Project Manager. Chuckie says that he did some "timelines" and mentions his nervous breakdown. Oh well, it's not as if Martha isn't aware of that, so there's no point keeping quiet as she'd bring it up, I suppose. Jim then starts insisting, complete with spasms and facial tics that once more remind me of someone at the brink of an epileptic seizure, that Chuckie didn't have a nervous breakdown. Heh. Chuckie says that he takes full responsibility for the team's failure. Jim insists that Chuckie should not take full responsibility for their failures. "I think that it's a flagrant disregard for a team that rallied around you and did everything they could to make this work for you, man. I mean, how dare you resign - how dare you!" Chuckie turns to Martha and says, "Am I resigning? I'm just telling you that I take full responsibility." Martha shrugs and says that she has no idea whether he is resigning. Jim says that Chuckie should take responsibility only for the business model. Chuckie insists that there isn't any business model in the first place. Jim desperately insists that there is, a mom and pop shop, apparently, and Jim adds that he thinks that the business model is fabulous. This is hilarious: Jim is trying to save Chuckie in a transparent manner and Chuckie is intent on sabotaging Jim's efforts. I love it!
Since Jim seems to know everything about the team, Charles thinks that he should ask Jim whom Jim thinks is responsible for Matchstick's failure. Oh, Charles, that is exactly what Jim wants him to ask. Says Jim dramatically, "I have to tell you that there is a charlatan amongst us and it's Dawn." Dawn is prepared for this and says that she has brought a list of her contributions to the team, pointing out especially how she sold enough tulips to generate one-third of their revenue. Bethenny shakes her head because Dawn is lying. Lying! All she did was to eat all the bananas in the kitchen! And Bethenny wants her bananas! Jim says that Dawn did "too little, too late", because generating one-third of the gross revenue on her own counts as "too little" in Jim World. Martha points out that Jim seems to have an agenda. Jim insists that his agenda is the betterment of his team and points out that Dawn is "the weakest link" that is "dragging" them "like an anchor". "We are drowning because there's one person who at every step of the way is a roadblock. At every step is a vizier into the project manager's ear and just poisons him!" Jim says. With that, Jim has stepped completely off the ledge of sanity. I mean, what the heck did he just say? Seriously?
Martha has had enough and tells Chuckie that Matchstick has "major problems with each other". She asks Chuckie to take two persons with him whom he thinks should go home. Chuckie picks Dawn and Jim. Martha tells the others to leave. Shawn then decides to earn major points in suck-updom by asking Martha whether she has any advice for "a group of this nature". Martha gives her this "Please die, bitch!" look. In what is obviously a jump into the midst of an epic Martha Stewart rant, the next scene is Martha telling them that she doesn't know how the team can pull their act together because that's something only the Matchsticks can do. But she does know something, though. "You can't whine and you can't kvetch and you can't complain. It's ridiculous!"
"And you can't quit!" Charles says.
"And you can't quit!" says Martha after a quick nod to Charles. "Quitters? Forget it! If I ever hear the word 'quit' from this team..." Meanwhile, Jim is muttering spastically, reminding me of some crazy old coot that talks to himself. "It's insane!" says Martha. "This is not the way to behave."
Bethenny decides that Shawn isn't the only one who can suck up like a vacuum cleaner. "It's shameful," she says forlornly. "I'm so embarrassed in front of you right now, I want to cry."
"Cry and you're out of here. Women in business don't cry, my dear," answers Martha. Bethenny's face falls completely.
It is at this moment that I realize that I absolutely love this show. People who complain that Martha Stewart is too nice is missing the point completely, and by "the point completely", I am referring to her icy cold delivery throughout this conference room session, full of cutting disdain that culminates in a perfect delivery in that statement of hers. My dear. Donald Trump is an egomaniac who tramples around in the Boardroom like an elephant, out to satisfy our desire to watch a circus show starring his ego. His decisions rarely make sense and it's clear most of the time that he's firing people just to second-guess his audience or to boost ratings. On the other hand, Martha Stewart seems to be above this incessant need to be the center of attention. She seems to be genuinely looking for someone to work in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and when she's being a very exacting taskmistress, she often makes sense in the process. What I'm saying is that Martha is probably as ersatz as Donald but Martha manages to come off as a genuine self-made successful entrepreneur worthy of judging the Apprenti, the lesser mortal wretches that they are.
Left alone with Alexis and Charles, Martha breathes deeply and says simply, "So?" Charles says, "What a revolting development!" Alexis thinks that Dawn is a weak link but she agrees with the other two that Jim seems to have a personal agenda against Dawn. Martha calls the three back in. How sweet of Julia to wish them luck after telling them that Martha wants to see them. Julia comes off like someone who isn't sure of how to behave in front of the camera.
Martha asks Dawn why Dawn should stay. Dawn says that she did contribute to her team and the team need to take off their "blinders" if they can't see that. Jim shakes his head theatrically and once more Charles bites the bait. Jim tells Charles that Dawn always has plenty of things to say about what she can do, but when it comes to actually doing anything, Dawn doesn't deliver. Now it's Dawn's turn to shake her head theatrically. Chuckie cuts in and says that the Matchsticks are grasping at straws throughout this task. When prompted by Martha, Chuckie explains that he learns now that he has problems managing people. I suspect that it isn't people as much as Jim that Chuckie has problems managing. However, as Chuckie explains, Martha shouldn't discount Chuckie's ability to manage himself or a business. Oh dear. Chuckie has just placed the noose around his neck and Martha pounces, saying that managing people is part of the job description of the job Chuckie is vying for in her company. Chuckie can't think of anything to say to that because, really, what else is there to say?
Alexis asks Chuckie why he brought Jim with him to the conference room. Chuckie explains that while he may or may not return to his team, he intends to bring two people that are the most disruptive in the team. If Dawn or Jim leaves, the problems with Matchstick will end. Call me silly but I think Chuckie is way more optimistic about Matchstick than I am. Martha however is not amused like I am. She says that teams in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia must work together in a "focused way" towards a common goal: success of the project. She doesn't like the backbiting and infighting and quitting.
She adds that she has never quitted on a task, pointing out that she has gone to jail. She could have given up after her jail time, she says, but instead she makes the best of a "very very difficult decision". She thinks that one of the most important criteria for a job in her company is the ability to make the best of a very difficult decision, which in this case is a team that is "malfunctioning". "That team has to be pulled together. It has to be encouraged. It has to have a true leader," says Martha to Chuckie, "and I don't think that I can keep you here as a team player if you can't be a leader in the one time that you had, your one chance to be a leader here." She stands up, offers her hand, and wishes Chuckie good luck and goodbye.
Chuckie nods and looks somewhat relieved that he has been dismissed. Jim looks like he's been kicked in the balls. Martha tells him and Dawn that she is giving them one more chance and tells them to "repair what's going on and put your talent forth a little bit more." Here, Alexis rolls up her eyes. Beautifully done, Alexis.
As Chuckie takes the elevator down, Charles tells Martha that she made the right decision because Chuckie is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Martha and he agree that Chuckie is not "executive material". So Martha writes a letter to Chuckie:
"Dear Chuck, in a business like Martha Stewart Omnimedia, teams work in unison towards a common goal: success. The project can be simple or complex but the team makes it happen. There is no teamwork here and little leadership. I think you are creative but you are easily flustered in a confusing situation. It is better that you leave now and concentrate on your strengths. Most cordially, Martha Stewart. Good luck, safe traveling."
Dawn and Jim walk back to the Loft as the dramatic tantara of the closing theme plays. Dawn shuts the door behind her and we're all done for today.
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