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The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, Episode 8: You Just Don’t Fit Inby Betsy Wasser -- 11/10/2005
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Welcome to another week of The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, in which Jim inexplicably continues to escape firing. Speaking of Jim, he’s in the loft, telling the rest of the team that Martha was “extremely displeased” with the way the team failed at the last task. Marcella and Leslie are amazed that Sarah picked Jim to go back to the loft, and I can’t say I blame them. Howie and Bethenny return, revealing to the other candidates that both Sarah and Carrie were sent home. Bethenny is still pretty steamed about the Conference Room. She says that the two of them lied and it got them fired. Well, that’s not true; they were fired because they were incompetent. Nevertheless, Bethenny tells the group about how Sarah claimed that everyone in the suite was against Howie. She adds, “She was a snake,” and says she’s glad she’ll never see Sarah again. Ooops, until the reunion show, Bethenny.
Bethenny and Jim joke about what the next task might entail. Something like, “Find a good bagel in New York.” Jim says that he, Bethenny, and Howie are the “fun kids on the playground.” Bethenny then jokes that the next task will be “the quiet game,” a game that her team would have a hard time winning against the likes of Dawna and Leslie. Dawna says that the Primarius team is crazy. She wouldn’t want to work with them. Did you hear something? Were those the flapping wings of the Irony Fairy?
The teams go to meet Martha to learn about the next task and find her pretending to work with Charles and Alexis. Martha tells her viceroys that they need to even out the teams. She asks the member of Matchstick with the best record as project manager to join Primarius. Hey, it looks like the Irony Fairy has indeed played a visit, because that’s Dawna! Martha tells Bethenny that because she is the only person left who has not been project manager that she needs to lead her team this week. Bethenny is a slacker! Martha then explains the task. Each team will choose an outdoor product, then will be given 10 minutes to sell it live on QVC. The team with the most revenue wins. Martha says that QVC can mean big business – the last time she was on, she sold 55,000 books. She adds that they must know and believe in the product they select and find a way to sell it to a broad audience.
We start things off with Primarius, on the bus on the way to QVC. Dawna confesses in an interview that she was sad to leave her old, conflict-free team. Jim announces to the group that this is not a hard task. Bethenny immediately hears the Irony Fairy’s approach and tells Jim, “Let’s not eat our words.” In an interview, Bethenny talks about the responsibility of leading the team and the importance of choosing the right product. She thinks that the wrong product will lose them the task.
The team starts planning their strategy. Bethenny thinks Dawna would be good on TV, and Jim adds that Howie would do well also, better than he would. Wait, was that a bit of humility and self-awareness from Jim? Hang on while I adjust my TV. They tell Jim he should come up with a slogan for whatever their product is. Jim goofs around, making silly noises and faces, and it’s a lot for Dawna to take in. She says in an interview that she wants calm and peace in a working environment, and that the rest of her team is very unprofessional. Jim, she adds, constantly makes her cringe. As Jim spazzes around the bus, Bethenny tells him to “reel it in.” In an interview, Bethenny says that she knows how to manage Jim, and sometimes she just needs to tell him to simmer down. She adds that Dawna can’t seem to work unless things are quiet and controlled. Good luck on this team, Dawna!
Over at Matchstick, Ryan is the project manager. Oh, good – I like Ryan. He tells the team that the first thing they should do is choose the product. That seems logical enough, right? Well Amanda then jumps in and talks about how they’ll do research on the way, then their gut instinct, guided by all of this research, will allow them to quickly choose a product. The next important thing, she says, is to have a great set with lots of fantastic props. Amanda talks a lot about getting props, including grabbing everything they can find that looks good. As the team talks, she constantly interrupts everyone, Ryan in particular. In an interview, Leslie observes that Amanda really wants to be in control at all times. Marcella adds in an interview of her own that Amanda needs to back off. Finally, we hear from Ryan, who says with a person like Amanda on your team, you need to pick your battles. Right now he’s letting it go.
Now it’s time to Ask Martha. This week’s question is, “What makes a good sales pitch?” This time, Martha actually answers the question directly – You must talk about and show the product well, know the product, know your customers, and know the right tone to take. And now for Ask Betsy. This week’s Betsy Question is, “Why doesn’t Martha Stewart have a catchphrase?” As you might recall, Martha said before her show aired that she wouldn’t be using Trump’s trademark, “You’re fired.” For one thing, she doesn’t like to fire people - too harsh. For another, Trump pretty well owns that baby. The trouble is, she doesn’t have a catchphrase of her own. She says something different every time she lets someone go, and I think it’s to her detriment. I once saw an interview with Mark Burnett in which he talked about the importance of ritual in reality TV. Ritual lends importance and credibility to the goings on of these shows. Burnett’s best shows demonstrate this – tribal council on Survivor is full of ritual. If Jeff Probst said something other than, “The tribe has spoken. It’s time for you to go,” it would be jarring. Ritual is also used effectively on The Apprentice, The Amazing Race, and The Bachelor, to name just a few. There is no ritual in Martha Stewart’s Conference Room, and it makes things seem a bit more haphazard.1 2 3 Next-->
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