September 22 2005

The Apprentice:Martha Stewart Episode 1

So, The Apprentice:Martha Stewart started last night. I’m not even sure where to start. It follows the same format as The Apprentice:Donald Trump (applicants, tasks, suite to live in, the boardroom and so on), but there are a few changes. The theme song is “Sweet Dreams” by The Eurythmics, instead of “You’re Fired”, the phrase is “You just don’t fit in.” and this is followed up by Martha writing them a letter…I kid you not…she writes them a “thank you” type letter.

The teams were made up of creative vs corporate people with the teams taking the names Matchstick and Primarius respectively. Their task this week was to rethink a fairy tale for modern times for the publisher Random House. Their books would be read to groups of children, with Random House gauging which book engaged the children the most. Matchstick picked Hansel and Gretel and Primarius took Jack & The Beanstalk. Each time would rewrite the story and be given access to designers and illustrators.

Now, the boredom sets in. As with every version of The Apprentice, you had an idiot team and a well thought out team. Matchstick’s biggest problem was with their project manager, Jeff. He made executive decesion after executive decesion without any thought to input from his team. He originally wanted Dawn to write the book since she had a background in writing. They butted heads when she asked for quiet while she wrote, and this was just not acceptable to Jeff at all, so he decided he would write the book himself. Speaking as a person with a history of proffesional writing, it is a taxing endeavour and I also needed quiet when I wrote. No music, no TV and as little talking as possible. Like any “art”, you can not just ask someone to turn the faucet on and off on command, and if she needed quiet, she should have been afforded that.

Over on Primarius, they decided to actually talk to kids about what they liked about what they were writing. They worked as a team and pulled it together. So let me cut to the chase, they won and their prize was dinner with Martha. (since this was filmed during her “house arrest”, I was surprised dinner wasn’t at her house, but oh well)

As the time for the boardroom approached, Jeff made it clear he wanted all the blame to rest with Dawn, but Jim decided the team could get rid of Dawn at any time and Jeff made a lot more sense strategically. While I agree Jeff should have been the target, Jim went about his attack all wrong and landed himself in the boardroom with Dawn and Jeff. In the end, Martha saw the blame really did deserve the blame and he was told “you just don’t fit in” and received the afore mentioned letter. (Which I shall now refer to as the LoD, Letter of Death) On their way out, Jeff and Jim traded some barbs, but they were really boring, pretty much like the entirety of the show.

Interesting small tidbits, Martha’s henchpeople are her daughter Alexis Stewart and her Chairman of the Board, Charles Koppelman. This is where things got a bit odd as it turned out Charles knew one of the candidates. Bethenny is an old friend of one of his daughters, but he assured everyone she would be treated no differently than anyone else.

Of the candidates, only a few stood out immediately to me:

Shawn – A television anchor from Orlando came off as abbrassive and too forward in my opinion. Way too much in your face and is probably painting a large target on herself.

Howie – Howie cracked me up. After his team dinner with Martha, he was pretty sure he now had a small crush on her. Quite amusing.

I am sure I will give the show a few more episodes, but for now, something just doesn’t ‘feel’ right about it. Not sure what it is yet.

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