Welcome to Episode 2 of The Apprentice - Martha Stewart edition. First we get a look back at last week, and since I don’t have a prior summary to point to I’ll go here:
In week 1, the candidates split themselves into two teams. The self-described “creative” castaways banded together and selected the name Matchstick. Presumably this represents how their team will go down in flames. The less creative, more business oriented candidates became the second team and decide to call themselves Primarius. Of course, Martha liked the more creative name of Matchstick and had little to say about the other team’s name selection. The teams were challenged to create a children’s book by choosing a traditional fairy tale and adapting it to a more contemporary setting. The Matchstick team was led by Jeff, whose abrasive, dictatorial leadership style made for good, fun TV, but little else. Like, say, winning the task.
Suffice to say that Jeff sucked as a project manager and his team lost, mainly because their fairy tale was downright scary. He tries to pin the blame on Dawn because she wanted a little peace and quiet when she tried to write the story, but Martha doesn’t buy his story and finally tells Jim “get the hell out of my office”. Oh, sorry, that was a different show. Actually, she tells Jeff he just doesn’t fit in. In this case, that’s a good thing.
Back in the tastefully decorated loft, the teams are busy making dinner, waiting for the conference room survivors. They act surprised to see Jim and Dawn, but really, how could they be? Jim, whose creative talents are mostly focused towards crafting his niche as the Martha Apprentice villain, let’s loose. He tells the other players he took control of blaming Jeff in the boardroom, trying to give the message that he’s not to be messed with. He talks about using a scythe to cut down an oak tree. He cut the mighty oak at the ankles and it fell like a great timber! Somewhere, Martha is shaking her head, aghast at the mixed metaphors Jim is using. The others think he is unstable and psycho. They know where he stands – he’s there to slit their throats and nothing else. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the rest of his team gang up on him soon.
Martha wants them to meet her at the video screen at 9am. I guess after months of 6am prison wake-up calls, she isn’t too enthused about starting the day too early. Anyway, Martha is at a florist shop talking about flowers, which will be part of their next task. They will set up a flower business and the team that sells the most wins. Once again, Martha’s trusty sidekick, Charles (who is the closest thing they could find to clone of Donald’s George) and her daughter Alexis will be Martha’s eyes and ears for this task. Last week, Charles carried an unlit cigar wherever he went, which made him look like an idiot and was not well received by the viewing public. I’m wondering if he’ll keep his cigar in his pocket this episode.
The Matchstick team appoints Chuck to be the project manager because he has done freelance flower work before and they believe he can pick flowers. He decides they should stay away from arranging flowers and focus on simple bouquets. Shawn tells us that they realize what they need to do is get a PRODUCT before they figure out how to SELL it. Wow, pure genius! I can see these are definitely the creative ones. This reminds me of a Dilbert cartoon: Dogbert is a consultant for small businesses run by artists. The artists will think his “obvious generalities” are brilliant. In the final panel, where Dogbert is meeting with his clients, one client says “Whoa! Are you saying we need revenue to make a profit?” while the other client says “Ouch. I’ve got a headache on one side”. This is one of my favorite cartoons and I can just see the entire Matchstick team getting a headache as they try to grasp these simplest of business principles.
Team Matchstick takes a road trip to the flower market. Tulips? Lilacs? Which will they choose? They decide to keep it simple by selling fresh tulips imported from Holland. Jim wants to sell them to hotels, but Chuck doesn’t think that’s a good idea. Of course, this prompts Jim to react like a three year. Chuck is not happy.
Dawn complains there is no list of tasks to perform. There is no organization, just chaos. Meanwhile, we’re 15 minutes into this episode and haven’t even seen the other team. Is there another team? Chuck can’t handle the pressure and decides to step down as Project Manager. He dramatically declares he will leave the loft. What a freaking baby! His teammates want him to stay – after all, they need a convenient scapegoat this week. Chuck, who seems somewhat revitalized at this transparent show of support, takes charge and decides what they are going to do, but doesn’t tell us. All we know for sure is it won’t be spectacular!
Finally we get our first glimpse of the Primarius team, where Carrie is the project manager this week. She plans to organize her team and delegate tasks effectively. Their concept is to latch onto a celebrity florist, since this is a high end neighborhood and they want the best. What the hell is a celebrity florist? This is now the top entry on my list of phrases I never thought I would hear during my lifetime.They decide on renowned flower designer to the stars, Rene Hoffstead. Jennifer calls to ask if he’s interested in the project (introducing herself as Jennifer from Primarius Corp as if he’s supposed to recognize the name and be impressed.) He will be there in five minutes as he lives right around the corner.
Rene arrives and asks them who they are saying he’s never heard of Primarius Corporation and they sound like a fly-by-night corporation. Very perceptive! He has some advice for them about selling high-end flowers, with rule number one being don’t give discounts! They agree - no discounts. In fact, they’d like to mark up their flowers even higher than he normally sells them for. Rene agrees to partner with them. Carries tells us - when you don’t know how to do something, outsource it. She’s got a valid point there.
That night, the Matchstick girls dress up in all black and try to tell spread the word about their flower shop to the people on the streets. The problem is, they look more like hookers than anything else. <<Insert you own pistil/stamen joke here.>> Shawn and Jim are busy prepping the flower store. The ladies in black come in and argue with Jim who wants them to go to the store and buy him some brass cleaner. The ladies think it would be a waste of $4.00, so Jim throws them out of the store. Jim is excited because he has something to use against them in the conference room if they lose: Iwe lost because our brass wasn’t shiny. Matchstick is already preparing for their project to be a disaster. Back in the loft, Jim campaigns to the other women on the team to get rid of Dawn, but the girls aren’t buying it. We’ll see how persuasive Jim is later, after their inevitable loss. After all, Primarius would have to be a total disaster to lose to this train wreck of a team. Will the Glamorous Ladies of Matchstick fall in line with Jim since at least it’s not one of them he’s targeting?
Primarius is relying totally on Rene for their project. The décor, props and equipment are all his. The store looks great, all they need is customers. Since their store is located in a high-end neighborhood, they’ve come up with a highly innovative marketing plan - handing out flyers in front of the store! Oooh, now I have a headache on one side! People are coming in to look, but their eyes are popping out of their heads because of the prices. Seems celebrity florists aren’t quite enough to pull in a huge throng of flower groupies willing to pay $150 for a flower arrangement. Once again, it reminds me of an old joke; the one with a kid selling lemonade for $1,000 a glass. “You’re not going to sell many glasses of lemonade at $1,000 a glass,” says a potential customer, ]“Yes,” replies, the child, “but I only have to sell one.”