The Apprentice: Martha Stewart
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Sixteen men and women have been chosen by the queen of good things for a 12-week job interview, in which only one can be named president of one of his companies.

Who will Martha Stewart choose as his next Apprentice? Keep track at the Portfolio.

Recaps by Julie Suchard, GSNN

Host: Martha Stewart
Assistants: Charles Koppelman and Alexis Stewart
Creator: Mark Burnett (based upon "The Apprentice")
EP: Mark Burnett, Donald Trump, Jay Bienstock
Packager: Mark Burnett Productions, Trump Productions
Airs: Wednesdays at 9:00pm ET on NBC

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Bake It 'Til You Make It - October 6

Establishing shot: Manhattan skyline near dusk.
David, Bethenny, Shawn. and Marcela are talking about who Martha is going to send home and who will return to the loft. David, the Napoleon Dynamite look-alike, says that they have to pull things together after two consecutive losses. David says that Dawn is the center of the conflict, and they all dread seeing both Jim and Dawn return. Marcela also says that Dawn has got to go.

Well, speak of the devil, and what do we find? Of course, Jim and Dawn re-enter. Everyone else is at the dinner table, and no one stops stuffing their face to greet them. They do all share knowing glances. As Dawn unpacks, she rhapsodizes about having to learn to work with people you don’t like, since she knows the rest of her team despises her [and it’s really tough to be the most hated person on this team with being so freaking abrasive].

Jim makes a phone call. From the tone of his voice, it sounds like he’s talking to a developmentally-delayed child. In reality [and much scarier, in my opinion], he’s talking to his wife, who apparently appreciates being spoken to as if she’s a retarded invalid. Also, it seems she is pregnant and just about to give birth. She had been having some contractions, but it turned out to be a false-alarm. Jim asks if there is anything he can do [Yeah, buddy! Get your sorry ass back home and be there for the delivery! What made you leave home at a time like this?!?]. He says his wife wants him on TV, because it’s making their life better in the future [Not at the rate you’re going it won’t, Jim]. Right before he hangs up, Jim says, “Good luck with your task!” [Huh? That sounds like something she would say to him, rather than the other way around.]

The next morning, Carrie, runner-up in the 2000 Miss California USA pageant, answers the phone. Martha is calling from the stables where she is admiring her black horses again. Martha seems surprised that most of the applicants are still sleeping, because she has been up for hours. [Yep. Methamphetamine will do that to people.] She tells them all to meet at a photo-shoot in her offices at 9:00, then she kisses her horse on the nose.

Martha talks to faux-George (Charles) and faux-Carolyn (Alexis) about wedding decorations, in a room that looks like it was decorated for a boy’s baby shower. Actually, Alexis just stands there and lets the others do the talking, as per usual. The applicants arrive, and Martha tells them that her weddings book was the second to come out after “Martha Stewart Living”, and that the wedding industry totals over $72 billion dollars per year. For their task, each team has to design and bake an original wedding cake. Each team will have their own baker and their own kitchen at the Culinary Arts Institute, and then they will have to sell the cake at a bridal fair hosted at Michael C. Fina. Whichever teams makes the most money selling their cake will win. Martha playfully says that she hopes Matchstick won’t be the team she’ll be seeing in the conference room again. Shawn responds, “I guarantee it will not be.”

Howie is the project manager for Primarius. They head over to the Culinary Arts Institute and start their strategery. Their overall plan is to “sell low” and win with volume of sales. [Didn’t Matchstick try this for the flowers? That didn’t work too well.] Amanda, the freakish bird-woman, checks out some wedding cake websites, including those affiliated with Martha Stewart, for ideas. Carrie comes up with the idea for layers in different shapes. Howie assigns an “away team” to check out a bridal store in the city [I hope they don’t have any “red shirts” on the team, or they’re toast!]. Ryan, Sarah, and Jennifer leave to check out New York Wedding Center Incorporated on Grand Street. It turns out that this is a specialty shop for Asian weddings in Chinatown – not really the look they are going for.

Martha then gives a little speech about trying to avoid limiting your customer base. [I suspect this will come into play at some point for this task.]

David is the project manager for Matchstick. David is ecstatic because both Bethenny and Marcela are cooks. He sends those two plus Dawn out to design the cake. David, Shawn, and Jim team up to do marketing and research. Shawn finds a website for Sylvia Weinstock Cakes Ltd. Apparently, Ms. Weinstock is a celebrity-cake designer [Yet another job description I had no idea existed before watching this show]. Shawn gets Sylvia on the phone and tries to impress her with flattery, which she eats up. Sylvia makes cakes that go for $10,000 or more, and Shawn thinks that brides shopping at Michel C. Fina would be in the market for high-end cakes like that. [Umm. My guess is that anyone who can lay down that much for a cake is not doing any of their own shopping at a bridal expo.] Shawn asks about individual cupcakes, and Sylvia nixes that idea because peeling paper off the cakes is inelegant.

Shawn calls the cake design team to tell them that according to Sylvia Weinstock: 1) No individual cupcakes, and 2) Pink icing is very popular. Bethenny and Marcela want to do an oval-shaped cake; Dawn prefers round, but acquiesces. Marcela talks to their assigned baker, and he wants to make sure they are going with a 4-layer oval cake with the layers off-set asymmetrically. Dawn remarks to the camera that they are seriously limiting their appeal by making a non-traditional cake, but she feels she needs to keep quiet.

Charles comes to visit Matchstick, and Shawn immediately starts bragging about her great idea to contact Sylvia Weinstock. Then she says, “If we don’t win this one, you have my word [that] you can fire me personally.” Charles is a little taken aback by her bravado, and tells the camera that sometimes you get what you ask for. [Dramatic foreshadowing?]

Primarius is making a more traditional five-tier wedding cake. They are also making five different flavors to choose from, and bringing them all for the customers to taste. The “away team” comes in, and Ryan gets on the phone trying to purchase a cake stand. Howie completely flips out, wondering what the hell the team was doing for so long if they didn’t already get a cake stand. Sarah and Howie yell at each other while the rest of the crew looks on in horror. Sarah tells Howie that he sent them to an Asian wedding center, and mild-mannered Bruce Banner transforms into the Incredible Hulk. Howie yells that he didn’t send them anywhere, says “Bullshit” several times, and calls Sarah a liar. Dawna tells the camera that she’s not sure of Howie’s leadership abilities, if he can go ballistic like this.

After the commercial break, Howie and Sarah are talking more calmly, apologizing to each other, and they give one another a quick hug and kiss. Alexis meekly enters the Primarius kitchen and tells them embarassing anecdotes about Martha. [Alexis used to clean Martha’s closet. Wonder what she found?] Howie glances up at a mirror and asks, “Is it me, or am I getting better looking as the day goes on?” Alexis gives him a sly wink.

In the Matchstick kitchen, Jim is obviously not helping with the cake because he is still dressed in suit and tie. He gets a call from his wife Michelle, who just had a baby girl. He makes some more inane comments about how he wants to be there, but being on the show is just so important.

Back at Primarius they are assembling and decorating the cake. They leave a list of tasks left to accomplish; at the bottom it says, “Sleeptime…Never.”

David and Marcela worked all night long on their cake. The rest of the team got a good night’s sleep, because they would be involved with sales the next day. When they enter the kitchen they scream in delight at their cake. It looks like a stack of white straw hats with pink bows and a floral bouquet on the top. Shawn doesn’t like it though, and she let’s Marcela know about it.

David directs Bethenny and Jim as they carry the cake to the van outside. David is wearing latex gloves [for no evident reason, because he isn’t touching anything but air]. Jim is praying to God the whole time, hoping that they won’t destroy the cake. Of course, he’s the one who puts a hand in the frosting when they finally get it in the van. The music reaches a crescendo, and Dawn says, “Aww, fuck!” However, it is not a disaster, because they actually have three cakes (one masterpiece and two sheet-cakes for taste samples), and they will just cut up the sheet-cake with Jim’s pawprint in it.

Primarius puts their cake into a U-Haul box before moving it. [These guys are a lot smarter, in my opinion.] Howie is driving like Hans Moleman from The Simpsons, trying to protect the cakes no matter how many other drivers he has to piss off in the process.

So they arrive at the bridal show, set up their cakes, and play the waiting game. [Homer: “I’m sick of the waiting game. Let’s play ‘Hungry Hungry Hippos’!”] Two hours later, Primarius hasn’t made one sale. Shawn tries to bullshit some customers, saying “We’re Matchstick Cake Design. We’re a superbly up-and-coming cake design company.” Some of the customers say that their off-center oval design looks like a cruise-ship smokestack or a boot. They laugh, but they don’t buy.

Ryan (Primarius) talks to a dweebish young couple who met on-line. They decide to buy a cake at $6/slice for 120 people. The bride-to-be cries tears of happiness. Ryan shyly tells Howie, “I sold you a cake,” and gets a loving kiss on the cheek and a pat on the back in return. Spying for the other team, Bethenny runs to tell Matchstick about the sale. They try to lasso in an Asian-American couple with over 300 guests at $10/slice. The couple whispers to one another, but do they buy?

It’s Conference Room Time again:
Martha samples both teams’ cakes. She likes them both, and says they taste home-made, which is the goal. She then looks at pictures of the cakes. Primarius had a five-tier stack of alternating squares and circles. The team says that customers liked the color best. Martha is a bit surprised [and disappointed?] at Matchstick’s asymmetric oval cake. Charles reports that Primarius sold 5 cakes for a total of $3658. Although they try to keep the suspense going, everyone on Matchstick knew they lost, because they sold ZERO cakes! [A slightly-comic tiny Chinese gong sounds in the background.] Howie smirks, and Jim and Bethenny hide their faces in their hands. Martha says, “This is clearly not a good thing.”

As a reward, the Primarius team is going to the Jean-Georges restaurant to eat dessert with New York’s most famous newlyweds, Donald and Melania Trump. [Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t the name ‘Melania’ basically translate into English as ‘Blackie’ or ‘Darkie’?] Charles says that Donald has chosen a lot of wedding cakes, resulting in the expected forced laughter.

Ryan is absolutely transfixed by the sight of Melania Trump (nee Knauss). She looks like a young Raquel Welch with more than a soupcon of Mongol blood in her. []
Martha interrupts by calling Donald on his cell-phone, and they rudely talk about the applicants in front of them. They feast on candied ocelet’s paw-pads, chimpanzee scrotum, and other assorted tidbits. Donald then asks if any of the applicants would like to work for him. Ryan politely begs off by saying, “I’m on another job interview right now.”

Jim and David are half-naked in the bathroom together talking about the upcoming conference room meeting. Jim says the cake was too specific, and someone else has to take the blame. David’s plan is to say that he had two professional chefs tell him to go with a pink, oval, asymmetric cake, and there was no way he would go against that advice. Marcela tells the camera that she has never baked a wedding cake (she does Mexican cuisine) and didn’t even have one at her own wedding. She plans to put the blame on Sylvia Weinstock [and, I guess, Shawn, by association]. Shawn continues to complain about the pink cake, that so many prospective customers said didn’t fit their color schemes. Bethenny can’t believe that Shawn can’t even remember that said she wanted a pink cake. David tells Dawn, Bethenny, and Shawn that he’s prepared to pick any of them for possible eviction/firing/whatever it’s called on this show. Dawn wants to know why she might be going, and David says that he can’t see her being able to be an effective team leader with the rest of their group. [Dawn, they all find you annoying. It was your request for complete quiet and need to eat a banana in the first show, if you don’t recall.]

In the conference room, Martha wants to know what happened. Didn’t they see all of the wedding magazines that were in the room? They have only ever had one asymmetric cake in the magazine. Marcela says she wanted to think “outside the box”. Shawn brings up the cupcake issue again, and how Weinstock argued against it. Martha retorts that you don’t have to use paper liners, which Shawn never thought about. Martha expresses her great respect for Sylvia Weinstock’s creativity, but Martha says she’s sold more wedding cakes than Sylvia has.

Charles (now sporting his traditional unlit cigar) asks Shawn the obvious question about her essentially asking to be fired if they failed again. She responds, “Oh Charles, how I knew this was going to haunt me…. In my business they say, ‘Fake it ‘til you make it.’ Admittedly that was a lot of puffed-up confidence…” Martha, Charles, and Alexis all shake their heads. Martha says, “Not in my business.” Shawn valiantly tries to back-pedal and retract her statement, but the damage is done. Martha asks David to make his choice of two people to bring back for possible dismissal. He chooses Marcela and Dawn. Martha sends the others back to the loft.

Martha tells Charles and Alexis that “something is not right”. She is upset with the lack of sales more than the unusual cake. So she gets her secretary Julia to call the loft and get all of the applicants back in the conference room. Once they all arrive, Martha continues, “Upon further reflection, Charles, Alexis, and myself have decided that this was not really a baker’s problem, it was not Dawn’s problem; it was a basic market-research problem.” She then scolds each of the applicants in turn, and then says there was something else that bothered her especially: “Fake it ‘til you make it.”

Shawn apologizes and says that it’s simply a TV term that applies to newbies in the field. Martha explains that she has been in TV for 12 years, but has never used that term, which is also against her business philosophy. Martha also brought up Shawn’s statement about going home if her team lost the task. “Remember, this is a job interview. You would never say that to a potential employer….And being part of that awful sales-team is just ‘icing on the cake’. I wish you well, but I have to say goodbye.” David lamely attempts to shake Shawn’s hand, but she’s off and out of the conference room.

Here is a link to Shawn’s letter:

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