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The Apprentice: Martha Stewart - Episode 9 Summary

'For Want Of A Big Pussy (Another Adventure In Rough Paraphrase)' By Estee
Original Airdate: November 16, 2005

{Establishing shot: a large country manor. It's very large. (If it was a sports car, we'd all be screaming 'Overcompensation!') A woman is standing in front of it. She's of indeterminate age and, thanks to way too much plastic surgery, indeterminate species. She's pacing back and forth, looking very much like a caged animal with raw meat in front of it -- raw meat that's been hooked up to deliver a massive electric shock. Each forward series stops very abruptly against the border of an invisible cage, followed by an ankle pivot that shouldn't be biologically possible and a furious stride back towards the house. The woman begins to talk as she paces, the impacts of her footsteps becoming harder with each passing sentence.}

Martha: 'Hi, I'm Martha Stewart, and to demonstrate how much better than you I really am, I've just asked NBC not to renew my show for a second season. It's become painfully obvious that Donald has no chance of living up to the high standards I set every week, and there's no point in embarrassing him further by staying on the air, especially since the man seems to be completely immune to embarrassment. But I still love Donald even while wanting him to die. Of course, that's the way I feel about all men and any woman whose only aspiration in life is not to become me. Because that's the real reason for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. We exist to create a world full of clones. All women must act like me. All women must decorate like me. All women must be me. If you are not me, you will be mercilessly culled in my new Martha Stewart Living Hell Concentration Camps. They're very good things. I decorated them myself. No more boring grey and white stripes for the subhumans! I thought something in spring colors would take their minds off being made into Martha Stewart Formerly Living Lampshades. Don't you just love the way light refracts through skin?

'So in last week's lesson on How To Be Exactly Like Martha In Every Way Or Else I'll Have You Tastefully Killed Too, my little happy homemakers were asked -- it was really an order, but I have such a sweet way of phrasing them that people feel like helping poor little me out -- to help QVC out by selling products during supposedly-live air time. I'm an expert on supposedly-live, and I'm not just saying that because my bark needs trimming. Since QVC is the second leading producer of completely useless products that cost too much and do nothing whatsoever -- I'm the first -- it seemed like a perfect match. A Martha match. A lesser avatar to my divine status as the only true woman on Earth. But naturally, my candidates could not live up to my example. They were not clever. They were not perfect. They were not me. Except for Jim, who would like to be me, or at least the me I don't normally let the cameras or the courts catch, and might even be willing to have the surgery to prove it. He even has my complete lack of ability to perform for the cameras on supposedly-live television. So when Jim wandered off his mark, blew his lines, and messed up the entire presentation, I didn't write him a very polite death sentence for it. Instead, I blamed Howie for not keeping Jim under control, the same way I blame everyone in my organization for not going to jail instead of me, and I gave Howie what he deserved. What everyone who cannot be me deserves. What half of Martha Stewart Walking Dead got after they refused to sacrifice themselves for me. How dare they! Don't they know who I am? What I am? What I will do to them once I finally take over the world? Nothing will stop me! Nothing can contain me! Nothing shall --'

{A sudden, extremely loud, very rapid beeping sound rings out across the land. MARTHA's face flushes with the blood of a hundred murdered infants.}

Martha: 'Oops.' {takes a step backwards. Beeping stops.} 'Err... roll something?'

{The opening credits swallow hard and roll. A parade of faces flash by. No one has any idea who half these people are. Including Martha. And that's just the ones who are still here. The completely inappropriate music finally finishes playing, the unintentionally funny shot of the corn fades away, the camera shows that it's night and so much for Martha/Superwoman's 'all stories take place during the day' theory, and we join the waiting monks and nuns in -- huh. What are we going to call this? Donald's minicorps live in Suite #1, and the justifired move to Suite #2. This is a loft, which would be just another word for 'suite' if it didn't have Martha's stink all over it. It's a non-tastefully decorated waiting room for the gas chamber. We need a good term to describe that, and 'Loser Lodge' is taken. Let me think -- got it. Let's join the occupants of Stalag 17 in their door-watching game, already in progress. DAWNA walks in first, the only one spared from Primarius' latest tongue-lashing. And when you've been lashed by Martha's tongue, you know it. The wounds never heal.}

Dawna: 'I can't talk about it. It was horrible. It was evil. It was -- Jim. Jim, I tell you! JIM! How can people expect me to act like that! I can only speak ill of others when there isn't a camera in my face! I don't know if I can face another boardroom conference room! I can't lose this week... I just can't... I'll die if I lose this week... I'll never be Martha if I die... Martha's living dead and I don't know how to do that... Maybe if I finally let Mr. Burnett bite my neck...' (confessional-tell) 'I don't like hurting people, but I think I really hurt Bethenny and now she's going to sit on my head until I hatch...'

{The front door opens, and the guards kick-shove BETHENNY and JIM back into Stalag 17. DAWNA catches BETHENNY before she hits the floor, which sort of makes it look like they're hugging each other and apologizing for the conference room problems: isn't editing fun! JIM weebles and wobbles, but doesn't fall down. Again. AMANDA is having trouble with the concept.}

Amanda (c-t): 'At this point, I have no idea what Martha is looking for. It's not a competent employee. It's not someone sane. It's not a person with any delusion of ability whatsoever. Jim's still here, and that knocks all three out of the box in one go. Maybe she's just looking to keep the strangest people around in the name of driving up the ratings -- oh, God. I'm still here!' (mainstream) 'Maybe I just won't do anything tomorrow and give Martha an excuse to get rid of me. Since I have no chance of winning the so-called job, there's no point to my sticking around just to give someone a foil in the interview process.'

The rest of Matchstick, choral response: 'Sure, Amanda! That won't sabotage us tomorrow at all! We'll just work around you and win anyway!'

Amanda: 'I guess she isn't looking for people who can piece together cause-effect relationships, either.'

{Early morning, and all good little future slaves are out of bed and exercising. The phone rings, and MARCELA, clad only in a large white towel and the shredded remains of torn-apart dreams, answers it. MARTHA wants all remaining experimental test subjects in front of the monitor at nine that morning, so she can give them their next task without actually having to be in the room with them. This isn't a case of Donald needing a few minutes away from the stink of failure. This is 'I only have so much time I can spend across the border before the warden shocks me into a state of deeper stupor'. This removes half the fun from the series, which was waiting to see just when the built-in taser would go off. The other half is hoping someone will rig up a remote control that'll let them trigger it whenever they want.}

{Everyone gets dressed, the appointed hour comes, and the monitor turns itself on. MARTHA is standing in front of a wall that's displaying a few hundred color patches. An unpaid extra is pointing at them for her, since Martha only gets fifteen minutes of court-allowed pointing time per week. Thanks to the plea-bargain, her shilling time is unlimited.}

Martha: 'So I think those colors -- whrrrr! skrrrickt! -- would work best -- oh, hi! You've happened to surprise me in the middle of a Martha moment of perfection! Now how did that happen? zzzt! I was just picking the cover colors for a February magazine, because it's never too early to start the plan of mass brainwashing through chromatology. Hello Jim, Primarius, Matchstick, and go ahead: read something into that.' {The SLAVES shift position uncomfortably, except for JIM, who beams. Or eats a small bird. It's hard to tell.} 'You may have noticed I'm holding a cup of coffee. I don't have half of Donald's acting ability: I have three hundred times his amount and don't want to show him up again. So I'll just get directly to the unpaid -- well, you're not getting paid -- shilling. This week, you will be working for Braun, promoting their new Tassimo machine. It makes coffee. It makes tea. It makes hot chocolate. Perfectly. Every time. Each one contains three grams of extracted Martha Stewart Living DNA. They are all my children, and I'm very proud. I want you to sell my children into slavery at a suggested retail price of $169, just like I did for Alexis so many years ago. I still have the stub of the check... You'll each get a retail space somewhere, presumably in Manhattan, for one day. Each team will receive a budget of $40,000 to fix up their space, arrange promotions, and do whatever they have to in order to win, up to and including having people on the other team killed, starting with the men. The team with the highest gross sales wins the task: profit margin doesn't count and neither does recovery of expenses or saving part of your budget. That team will get another one in a series of increasingly spectacular rewards that are, once again, all about me! The other team gets an even more special experience: time spent with me in the conference room, where I will personally send one of you off to be several patches in my next color sample wall. Won't that be fun?'

Everyone, choral response: 'Yes, commandant!'

Martha: 'You're all so sweet! I could just eat you all up!' {Looks at RYAN. Licks her lips.} 'Come back with your coffee cup or in it. whrrrr! blrrrat! Bye!'

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