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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


FACT FILE:
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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Swimming Against the Tide - November 2

Establishing shot of Manhattan at night:
The applicants in the loft wonder who will return: will it be David or Marcela? Marcela comes back with her luggage and waves a little “toodle-oo” at the others, who were apparently expecting David instead. Nevertheless, they all want bygones to be bygones, no matter what was said in the conference room.

Sarah and Carrie start planning strategy for the next day, as Sarah is going to be Project Manager for Primarius. Carrie is going to be Sarah’s second-in-command, and she says “I totally got your back. I believe my job is always to make my boss look good.” Carrie notes that the blondes will be running the show, and maybe Martha, being a blonde, will like that. [I suspect that none of them are natural blondes.]

The next morning, Leslie picks up the phone. Apparently Martha is busy again, so she won’t be able to meet with the applicants in person. [You’d think maybe Martha could rearrange her schedule to be there, but nooooo! Of course, it’s all staged anyway, as if a conference call is more dramatic than a face-to-face meeting.] They have to meet instead with Martha’s friend, Peter Arnell, at 130 Prince St. at 9:30 a.m.

The applicants travel by van, as we see Peter talk to his mute cronies [Chad and Tara, who don’t say one word] about something-or-other. Martha conference-calls in and says that Peter invents product brands, and that he and his team will judge them on their next task. Each team has to create a live-action, mobile billboard for Tide-To-Go, an instant stain-remover pen. [Sounds like they already have a brand {and I’ve already seen commercials for this product}, so what do they need these amateurs for?] Each team will have access to an Art Director and an Illustrator, a 24-foot custom truck, and a manual labor crew to build the thing. They have to make a live “event” related to their product brand and generate ‘buzz’ around NYC as they drive around.

Primarius starts brainstorming. Jim wants something with fresh food and drink. Bethenny says that a coffee cart would work, because the coffee is “to go”; Sarah says that Bethenny is off the mark, but offers nothing better. Sarah wants “constant movement” as the theme, “something with acrobats is what I would be attracted to.” [Then you’ll need lots of shiny, spinning things.] Charles walks in to observe, and Jim drops a handful of the stain-remover pens on the table and says, “Don’t forget to focus on the product.” Sarah stupidly says that she doesn’t want to focus on the product at this point. Sarah then delegates Jim to “start thinking visually” and wants Bethenny and Howie to start thinking about Manhattan [OK, Sarah, I’m thinking about Manhattan. Now what?!]. Sarah then wants everyone to brainstorm silently, and Carrie likes this plan. Over an hour passes, with no results.

We return from commercial to learn that Martha Stewart thinks “Martha Stewart means quality”. Some drivel about branding.

Dawna is Project Manager for Matchstick. They are brainstorming with an eye towards the live-action part of the project. Maybe they will all act as stains… Then Ryan comes up with a doozie of an idea, “I got it, I got it! Build a blouse with [bleeeeep].” [I can’t tell exactly what he said, but from the reactions of the women, I was probably “cum stains”. Maybe it was “milk stains”, or “snail trails”, or “skid marks”…but I’m just guessing here.] Ryan continues, “No, I’m serious. Think about it….We’ll make it gender-specific.” Dawna vetoes the idea, but at least is encouraging, because that’s what a brainstorming session is about: getting ideas out there. “Keep thinking…just don’t think…pornographic.” Ryan’s next thought is a boxing ring coming out of the billboard, and Tide-to-go is a prizefighter knocking out all the stains. The girls all like this idea. So they create a superhero called ‘Tide-to-go Joe’ with their art director.

Primarius is still thinking more than an hour later after we last left them. Sarah steps out of the room [presumably to go potty], allowing the others to bitch about her in her absence. Howie and Bethenny are concerned so they decide to take action. They make calls to hire some street performers for their event. Sarah comes back into the room and says, “The biggest buzz: this is what I’m talking about,” as if it was her idea to start making phone calls. Jim says, “So we’re not really showing the product at all, are you aware of that?” Sarah snottily says “Yes.” She then sends Bethenny and Howie to visit a props house to help generate ideas. Howie picks up some giant prop boxing gloves and says, “So, it ‘knocks out stains’ or what?” They call Sarah all excited about their discovery. Sarah asks the others what they think, but Carrie shakes her head with a disgusted look on her face, and the idea is shot down. Howie figures that they’ll go with the idea of having no idea.

Jim continues working on the graphic design, and even Sarah admits he’s doing a good job. Meanwhile, Sarah and Carrie fritter their time away on the budget and other tasks that don’t actually get anything done. Jim is upset at all the busy-work they are wasting time on. “Sarah’s management is in the toilet, and Carrie is just putting another nail in Sarah’s coffin.”

Later that evening, Matchstick is getting their truck together. Ryan shows off his Lycra costume to the ladies, who seem doubtful at first. But when he returns dressed as “Tide-to-go Joe”, the boxing superhero complete with cape, they are impressed indeed.

Primarius arrives to work on their truck. Carrie is still optimistic: “Sometimes true inspiration doesn’t come until the 24th hour. [Umm. That’s the ‘11th hour’ you ditz!] So we can still pull this out.” Howie bitches to Carrie that they don’t have a plan, and Carrie retorts that they [meaning the team members who aren’t Sarah or Carrie] have to come up with a plan. Howie is pissed that Carrie “takes on the role of accountant, and when it comes to anything else she is useless.” Carrie starts to yell that her pen is missing. When Jim points out that she has a pen tucked behind her ear, she says “No, that’s a green pen. Does Sarah have a blue pen with her?” [WTF is wrong with this person?] They get their graphics mounted, and then return to the loft to sleep at 4:15 a.m. In the loft Sarah says. “I think I have it. The stick is called ‘to-go’. Our billboard is on ‘the go’. The purpose of the stick is that you can ‘go with it’. So we have people there who are juggling it, moving it,…dancing with it. Our entire theme is based on movement.” Carrie likes it, but everyone else thinks it’s a self-evident, yet shitty, shadow of a theme.

Later in the morning, the teams drive into the city with their trucks. It’s Ryan’s first time driving in NYC and he gets honked at. As Matchstick sets up, Dawna is happy that everyone is staring at Ryan (Tide-to-go Joe) and Marcela (in a red leotard) rather than her (in a Tide T-shirt). Ryan’s comment to Marcela: “At least you look like a ballerina. I just look like a freak.” They pass out samples and demonstrate the product at a table, and try to get people to come watch the Main Event of Tide-to-go Joe vs. 3 different stains. They have hired two actresses dressed in colored leotards as “Wine Stain” and “Coffee Stain”, while Marcela gets to be “Ketchup Stain”. They put on an incredibly hokey pseudo-boxing match, but at least it is marginally entertaining if only for the schadenfreude it elicits. Dawna is hoping she will be the first applicant to win twice as project manager.

The Primarius team is very loud, and that’s the best that can be said. They start a repetitive cheer, “It’s time for Tide-to-go, it’s time for Tide-to-go” and just continue ad nauseum. Passersby hold fingers in their ears. They’ve got some jugglers, break-dancers, stilt-walkers, and mimes…and that’s it; there’s nothing more to their event – just loud and obnoxious. Bethenny says “it was not innovative, nor did it market the brand. It was just desperate.” Nevertheless, Sarah thinks if they get 2500 samples distributed, then Primarius will win again. Charles and Alexis do not seem amused.

Martha visits Peter in his office to find out how the teams did. Peter thinks that one of the teams was extraordinary, and the other team might as well have stayed home. [Gee, I wonder who won?] The teams enter the office to learn of their doom. Peter says he liked Matchstick’s presentation, they understood the task, and their branding could be used tomorrow if needs be. He likes that they invented a character. He was completely and totally underwhelmed by Primarius. It was chaotic and the most pathetic display he had ever seen. He thinks their event was even damaging, as it cut into the credibility of the product. “It was actually a waste of my time to go over there and see it.”

Martha invites Matchstick over to her house for breakfast in Bedford tomorrow as a reward. Peter is a close neighbor, so he might drop by. As they travel, Martha is making waffles and puttering around the kitchen. They sit down for an outdoor meal and Peter Arnell does drop by [I never would have guessed it]. He says that he was truly impressed, and Martha mentions that he always speaks his mind and this is not idle chatter. Amanda, Dawna, and Marcela can’t shut up about how excited and impressed they are to be dining with royalty…when Martha begs some food off of Marcela. “Can I have a piece of your sugar bun?” [Unless this is some kind of strange lesbian euphemism I haven’t heard before]. She grabs Marcela’s buns and digs in. Marcela says, “It’s such an intimate experience to be sharing with her.”

Back in the loft, Sarah and Carrie plan for the conference room. When talking together, Carrie makes it seem as if she will continue to guard Sarah’s back, but in private she tells the camera that Sarah is on her own. Sarah complains to Bethenny and Howie that they couldn’t come up with an idea from the prop house. Howie and Jim complain that Sarah couldn’t manage even a small team. Jim complains about Carrie: “Carrie just sits back and hides in her shell. She’s an accountant, she’s a secretary, she’s a bean-counter. [As an accountant myself, let me say “You’re mean, Jim.”] That’s not what Martha Stewart is looking for.” Sarah tells Carrie that she’s not worried because [whisper] she’s not the weakest player here. [Then who is it, Sarah?]

In the conference room Sarah admits that she made the fatal mistake of allowing the brainstorming session to go on for too long. Charles wants to know whose idea it was to make their event look like a High School talent competition. It is generally agreed that it wasn’t anybody’s plan, since there was no plan at all. Martha heard that Howie actually suggested a boxing motif, and he says that Sarah shot down that plan. Sarah claims that people at the event were having fun, but Bethenny says that they didn’t brand a product, they simply had a promotion. Charles asks Bethenny who should go home, and she picks Sarah. Charles asks Sarah who should go, but she only says that she’s the strongest person at the table. Charles asks Carrie, who says that Sarah’s leadership was a problem but that she isn’t the weakest player on the team [So then, Carrie, would the weakest person be…hmmm…you?]. Carrie thinks that Bethenny provides more criticism than ideas and help. Bethenny retorts by saying that everyone thinks Carrie is the weakest and doesn’t do anything. Carrie raises her voice at this, and points out that she always does the budgets. Martha tells them all to wait in the reception room.

But then after the commercial, Julia tells them all to go back in. So what was the point of sending them out in the first place? I know: Alexis said something very profound, but they couldn’t air it because of its extreme profundity.

Martha asks Sarah who did the best job. She says it was Jim, “I can’t believe I’m saying that.” Everyone has a chuckle. So Martha sends him back up to the loft. Charles asks Sarah again who she would send home: Howie, because everyone says he never does anything on any task. Bethenny can’t stand it, and interrupts to say that she can’t put up with Sarah’s dishonesty, because she never said anything like that: “You’re just desperate right now. It’s really pathetic.” Martha asks Howie to name the weakest players, and he goes with Sarah and Carrie. Charles asks Carrie if there was a lot of accounting to do. She says that there wasn’t, but that accounting for her is a “no-brainer” and she would do it every time because it’s easy for her, and she doesn’t want to hide behind accounting as her only contribution. Martha says that Howie has been very good on every task up until now and he will get a second chance. Bethenny also seems to give it her all. Sarah demonstrated no leadership capabilities, and Carrie as second-in-command is also to blame. So, in a blatant rip-off of Trump’s Apprentice where he fired four people last week, Martha fires both of their asses.

Sarah and Carrie both thank Martha, and then take the walk of shame, holding hands part of the time. They both get a short meaningless letter. Carrie gets her luggage caught in the door on the way out.

Next Week:
Jim gets crazier than ever, spanking his own ass on live TV.

Read Martha’s letters to Sarah and Carrie: http://www.nbc.com/The_Apprentice:_Martha_Stewart/letters/index.shtml

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