October 20 2005

The Apprentice:Martha Stewart Episode 5

The Apprentice:Martha Stewart started off with a major shake-up to the teams. Martha first asked who on Primarius had not yet been project managers, and from those she selected Ryan to head the new Matchstick and Jennifer to lead the new version of Primarius. She then asked them to choose their teams in a school yard, one at a time, format. Matchstick contained only two original members, David and Marcela. Martha assured everyone she did not think the name Matchstick was cursed, just the people, so let’s refer to them as Matchstick 2.0.

Back in the loft, Ryan talked with Marcela about the fact he had picked her last and that he wanted her to understand he felt she just hadn’t had a chance to shine yet and that he hoped she would step up in whatever the new task was. Over at Primarius, Jim made an ass out of himself. I know…you are all shocked.

The next morning Martha video-conferenced from her home’s kitchen since she would be working from home today. (House arrest anyone?) She explained that they would be creating limited edition salad dressings for Wish-Bone, along with it’s packaging. They would then take the toppings to two different Stew Leonard?s grocery store locations and the team to generate the largest gross take would win.

The teams headed to Wish-Bones offices and test kitchens to come up with their flavors. Ryan put Marcela in charge of Matchstick 2.0’s dressing, seeing no reason why anyone should question a proffesional chef’s domain over the kitchen. To call her giddy and energetic would be an understatement. Her first try tasted great, but didn’t look the best. Her final attempt was Rosemary Lime Vinaigrette. Over at Primarius, they did the same with Bethenny since she has a background in being a natural foods chef. Jim, who has a degree in graphic arts, was assigned the task of designing their packaging. Their final mixture was Asian Vinaigrette. What is with the Vinaigretes? Oh well, neither of these will be for me.

The teams went to their respective stores and set up for business the next day. It would do good to mention her we were clearly shown the motto of Stew Leonard’s, which happens to be on a huge rock next to the front door:

“Rule #1 — The Customer is Always Right”; Rule #2 ? If the Customer is Ever Wrong, Re-Read Rule #1.”

Well, they have never worked for me it would seem. Anyway, Matchstick set their price at $3.49 and Primarius went with $3.99. The difference in the teams was astounding. Matchstick 2.0 was energetic, orgnaized, Marcela was rocking the sales in English and Spanish while setting up the demos at the same time. The only fall down was last weeks disaster-of-a-project manager Leslie, who thought it was ok to just places bottles of the dressing in people’s carts without permission. Yeah, that was a winning idea and bottles of their product were found all over the store. Nothing like selling the same product twice.

Over at Primarius, well…yeah…things weren’t pretty. All of the problems can pretty much attributed to Jim and his…”sales tatics” which were over the top and offensive. After he used the “F” word while talking with his team, and a customer overheard, the grocery story manager, Les, stepped in to tell him to calm down or the team would be thrown out. Wait a minute! Les? What is up with reality shows this week and guys named Les? (If you don’t get that, see my Amazing Race recap) Jennifer considered moving Jim off of sales, but thought he might cause a larger scene if she did that, so she left him on there.

Back in the conference room, the teams were brought in to be told who the winner was. Primarius sold 391 bottles for a total of $1560.09. Matchstick 2.0 sold 453 bottles for a total of $1580.97. Wowzers that was close. It was pointed out that Marcela needed to be credited with much of the win and she beamed like a lighthouse. Good for her. The team was rewarded with a trip on a large Schooner. Quite amusing how Martha was thee to greet the team, but informed them she would be unable to go with them (darn that house arrest!), but she brought them all blankets to keep them warm. I think this is part of the problem with this version of the show. People are only paying attention to these aspects of Martha, but as was seen in this weeks conference room, Martha is not to be trifled with.

Up in the suite, Jim went around to his team telling them how they can’t slay “this dragon” and not to even try to come after him. Howie, who I feel is one of the strongest players in this game, took exception to this. Can’t say as I blame him, and I for one would have seen nothing if he had snapped Jim like the twig he is. Can anyone tell yet I really feel that Jim is one of the worst people to appear on reality television EVER? He brings nothing to the table besides an amazing ego that has nothing to back it up.

In the conference room, Martha dismissed the fact that the win was only by a margin of $20, she was more concerned with the fact it was a margin of 15% difference in the number of bottles. Instead of answering this, Jennifer complimented her team. It was quick to be pointed out how Jim had been admonished for his language and sales tatics. Here was another thing got me about Jim, his posture in the conference room. He sits as if he owns the room and shows no respect to anyone else in there. Man I just want to smack that smirk off his face.

Martha asked Jennifer directly why she did not pull Jim off of sales and she gave the answer of fearing he would explode more. It was fairly evident that Martha was not impressed with this answer. Instead of giving the usual choice to Jennifer of who to bring back in, Martha proclaimed it would be her and Jim and the rest were to return to the loft. The two were called back in and both fought like crazy to defend themselves, in the end it was Jennifer’s inability to manage a problem such as Jim that caused her to be sent home.

I have to say, this was a tough call. As much as I despise Jim (oh how I despise Jim), Jennifer’s lack of willingness to control Jim is what made her the better one to be let go. How could she manage anything if she can’t take care of a problem such as him out of fear of what might happen? She couldn’t.

It has to be said, I am actually enjoying the Martha Stewart Apprentice more than Trump’s. Her ratings are lower, Trump is now bad mouthing her and I don’t care. She is sharper and more decesive than Trump, her tasks are deceptively easy and fluffy and I am just constantly impressed by her, far more than I ever anticipated.

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