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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A Ridiculous Display - November 30

There is an establishing shot of the loft at dusk.

Jim tells Dawna that he had a pep talk with Marcela and told her what to say in the boardroom to save her own ass. Jim tells Dawna, however, that Marcela isn’t a threat to either of them. Jim then remarks that Sun Tzu says, “Everyone observes the victory, but no one observes the strategy that provided the victory.” Jim says that he has the strategy to provide a victory for his team and for himself. Dawna observes the fact that she and Jim are playing the game differently. While he wants to keep the week players around for an easy win, she wants a tough competitor in the end so that her victory will have more meaning. Jim says that nobody cares how you win, they only care that you won.

Later that day, Marcela, Ryan and Leslie come back to the loft. Bethenny screams in delight and practically dry humps Marcela on the floor in delight. Jim gives Ryan a big manly hug, and then Jim embraces Marcela. Marcela says that she underestimated herself, and it wasn’t time for her to go. Jim, once again referring to himself in the third-person, says that “Jim is a mastermind of strategy. Jim is a master of this game and there is no denying it.”

The next day there is an early morning phone call. Who could it be? It’s Martha. She says that everyone has to travel to her house on Turkey Hill Road. [This woman gives out her street names so much, it’s like she wants stalkers.]

Martha talks to two people in suits about how wonderful her garden is at this time of year and they pretend to be interested. We later find out that they are Doug Osterhoff and Margaret Brooks, two executive from General Motors. The applicants come into the garden and suck up to Martha by telling her how wonderful her garden looks. Martha introduces Doug and Margaret along with Renee McGuire, co-chair of the Buick dealer marketing board.

Martha reveals the task. Each team has to create a showroom launch display to promote Buick’s new Lucerne. Each team will receive an empty dealership showroom, a $65,000 budget, and an office at an advertising agency. Whoever creates the worst display will go visit Martha in the conference room. Martha then leaves on “business” [in reality she probably has to relocate before her ankle bracelet goes off.] Martha tells each team that she hopes that they put in as much work at their showrooms as she does in her gardens.

Leslie decides to be project manager for Matchstick and decides that her team needs to come up with “something clever” [No duh!]. Ryan comes up with the concept that ‘the car is so nice you would take it to dinner’ campaign. Leslie looks at Ryan like he is crazy, but Marcela likes the idea. Ryan starts bitching about the fact that Leslie “shuts down good ideas.”

Dawna decides to be the project manager for Primarius. She says that she wants to “think big.” Dawna comments that this is her third time as project manager and she has the possibility of winning for the third time. Bethenny comes up with the idea of “Driven by Elegance”, then mulls over the fact that her teams have lost when they overthink their tasks. They arrive in the showroom where Jim looks at the car. He makes some growling noises, then calls the car “very tactile.” [At least he’s not slapping his own ass, like he did during the last task.]

Martha talks about trends. She says that you shouldn’t look for the tread, you should develop the trend.

Meanwhile at Matchstick’s dealership, Leslie calls Ryan and tells him that she needs measurements of the showroom. Ryan thinks that Matchstick should create a video to go along with their dinner table display. They go to a nice restaurant and film a table, nicely set with a full array of matching dishes, with the intention of making a movie with the car sitting next to the table as an invited guest.

At Primarius, the team hires a design firm to help create their concept. As the team decides on what they need, Jim and Bethenny start fighting. Bethenny observes that she and Jim are like a married couple who fight and then make up. Dawna says that it’s unfortunate the design firm has to witness the fighting because it alters their impression of the group and might impact the final product. As Dawna works with the designer, Jim and Bethenny fight some more. Dawna goes out into the hallway where they are fighting and begs them to stop so that they can win their task.

At Matchstick, Leslie talks about how she hired a PR specialist to help the team with their task. At 1:00 a.m. Leslie and Marcela go to edit the movie using the text created by the PR person. Ryan is upset that the concept has completely changed, particularly because the film will no longer match the display of the car eating at the dinner table.

The next morning Primarius went into their dealership to complete their display. Their fabricators were late, so the rest of their hired tradesmen had to stand around and wait. Jim talks about how Dawna really needs to win the task, otherwise she will be gone. Bethenny doesn’t care for Jim’s plan of wanting to be surrounded by weak people. Dawna realizes that if the team loses, Jim will go after her and try to get her off the team. The fabricators arrive at Primarius and the display quickly gets put together.

Matchstick is also working on their display. Ryan comments that because Leslie changed the concept, she seemed sort of “lost” and the display didn’t match the video. The table that is brought in for a display is too small, so the team improvises by using old platforms covered by table linens. Marcela says that her role in this task is to pick up items for the tasks, like carpets, and to pick up loose ends. Leslie says, on the other hand, that Marcela is dead-weight. Ryan says that Leslie lost focus and didn’t seem to know what she wanted to do in the showroom.

At Primarius, Jim is on his hands and knees making sure that all aspects of his team’s presentation are perfect. The GM executives come in and Dawna explains their display. She says that the theme of their display is “Driven by Excellence” and that her team wanted the display to be an experience for the people who come into the showroom and to really showcase the car. Bethenny explains that the team did a gallery wall showcasing interesting views of the car, which she says is both practical and elegant. Dawna says that she is impressed by Bethenny’s presentation.

The judges walk into Matchstick’s showroom and do not understand their bizarre presentation of a car sitting next to a dinner table. Leslie does a bullshit job using the terms “market research” and “elegance”, but the judges are not impressed with the team’s efforts. Ryan can tell the team was “swinging and missing” and he says that he felt uncomfortable. Leslie says that her team is going to “hit this out of the park.”

The teams go into a conference room. Since Martha is on a business trip, the GM executives call her on her private plane. Doug says that Matchstick’s display was confusing and he didn’t ‘get’ the car sitting at the dinner table idea. Margaret says that Primarius’ display “absolutely took our breath away. We loved the fact that the car was the star.” GM is so impressed that they are going to use the display at all of their Buick dealerships. Primarius wins. As a reward they will have dinner at the Four Seasons Restaurant with Charles and Susan Lyne, President and CEO of Martha Stewart Omnimedia. Martha tells Matchstick that one of them will be sent home.

At the dinner, Jim, who has diarrhea of the mouth, talks about his strategy of destroying the strong competitors so that he can go up against the weak players in the end. Charles and Susan don’t seem impressed by his ramblings and Dawna is surprised the he would bring up the strategy in front of potential bosses.

The next day, Ryan and Marcela talk about what a failure Leslie was as a leader, while Leslie tells Bethenny how she had to do everything on the task. In the boardroom Martha asks Leslie why her team went wrong. Leslie said that they didn’t have the best idea; they had a good idea, but not the best idea. Leslie thought that their idea was a little confusing. Martha mocks them by showing them their display and asks them if the car was set next to a bed [rather than next to a dinner table. Frankly, it does look like a bed. So, are they trying to say that you’re supposed to love this car so much, you’re going to want to make love to it?]. Charles calls their display a disaster.

Ryan admits that it was his idea, but that Leslie changed the concept in the commercial. Martha mentions the face that both Leslie and Marcela have lost two out two tasks that they lead as Project Manger. Ryan has won two tasks and Martha says that he is working with two losers. Ryan says that Leslie is to blame because of poor execution. Marcela also blames Leslie, while Leslie blames Marcela. Charles says that there was a decent idea, but horrible execution. Martha sends them out of the conference room

Martha says that Leslie is a problem for her because of “the way she talks.” Alexis says that she “talks too much and says too little.” Charles says that Marcela is a shrinking violet, who shrinks so much that she nearly disappears. Leslie, Marcela and Ryan return to the conference room.

Martha says that she wants Ryan to show more backbone and stand up for his ideas. She comments about Marcela’s horrible posture and how she doesn’t even show backbone when she sits in the conference room. Martha’s problem with Leslie is that she talks a lot without saying terribly much. She wants people who think for themselves, rather than using focus group. Alexis says, “the company started by showing people what to like,” and Martha says that she “wants to continue the method because it works.” Martha says her company needs substance. She would prefer to have a doer over a talker, and then tells Leslie that she doesn’t need her.

Martha writes a letter to Leslie, which you can read here:

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