The Final Approach
The Apprentice: Martha Stewart: Episode 11

No monkey business! Previously, a Buick Lucerne had dinner at the Matchstick table. Ryan thought his idea was a great one. Leslie thought she could do better. Marcela kept her thoughts mostly to herself. When the idea flopped, DOA, Martha sent Leslie packing. It's now down to five. Who would have expected that original Matchsticks Jim, Bethenny, and Marcela would have outlasted so many of the original Primates?

Evening, the Loft. Dawna and her new best buddies Jim and Bethenny laze around as they speculate who would be send home in the conference room. Bethenny is convinced that Ryan would never be sent home. What do you know, when the door opens, in walk Marcela and Ryan. When she sees them, Bethenny goes, "Aaaah!" She claps her hands as Jim gets off the stool and says, "This is it! The Final Five!" Ryan, in a manner that may or may not be showboating about his own records, mentions that Martha pulled out their records "very early". He says that he is 7-2 with two wins as a Project Manager and no losses. He of course tells Marcela that she is 3-7 and 0-2 as a Project Manager. Marcela gives this look to the others as Ryan is saying this, the way someone would do when she is pretending to smile while trying not to scream. Dawna asks Ryan how many times he has been called back inside the conference room. Ryan says twice. Bethenny asks Marcela how many times Marcela has been inside the conference room. Marcela says five and Bethenny acts like she's shocked to hear the answer. Marcela can only smile wanly because she knows that she holds the poorest record among all the remaining Apprenti. It must be tough to be stuck in the middle of a bunch of people discussing performance records when everyone knows that she's underperforming as a whole.

Bethenny now tries to pump up Ryan, reassuring him that he is destined to the Final Three while telling the camera that she wants Ryan to believe that he is "pretty much safe" so that he will not approach the next task with a "killer instinct". Later, Ryan and Marcela talk about how they are now a team of two versus a team of three. Marcela believes that she can concentrate on working better when she's not the Project Manager and Ryan is more than happy to be Project Manager on the next task. Marcela tells the camera that she can concentrate better when she's not saddled with the anxieties that come with the responsibilities of the Project Manager, which she feels is important to her as if they lose the next task, she knows she is the one to go due to her poor track record. Back to the Loft, Marcela thinks that they will do well and they will have fun. Ryan, looking like he's thinking about something that Marcela may not like much, nods and says agreeably - and ominously - that having fun is going to be the key when it comes to the next task.

In the living room, Bethenny and Jim are discussing about how "it's just a matter of time at this point" according to Jim and how these people don't seem to be aware of that according to Bethenny. Jim calls these people sheep being led to slaughter, Bethenny wonders how these people don't know that they're being led to slaughter, and Jim says that if they know it, he will acknowledge it by just sitting there and waiting for their fate. Jim says that he will be grinding the ax. The conversation then cuts to Bethenny saying that "this is the win" and "this is the win that matters". Notice that the show cuts to their conversation in the middle of it so I have no idea what they are talking about in the first place. Are they talking about Ryan and Marcela? I suspect that the editors want me to believe that Jim and Bethenny are plotting some nefarious plans by splicing the bizarre conversation about sheep being led to slaughter to a later moment of Bethenny saying that they really need to win the next task. Really, the editors are not being very subtle about their agenda at all! Back to Jim and Bethenny, she tells them that they need to work very well together like they did in the previous task and mentions that she is the Project Manager. She again reiterates that this next victory will take all three of the Primates into the Top Three.

Bethenny says that she is raring to go because she came into this game on a losing streak but she is now winning. She thinks that she has an advantage over some people who came in with guns blazing but are now starting to show that they are tired. She is right, by the way. Notice how she and Jim are the only ones who seem energized for their next task while Ryan obviously doesn't care anymore. Bethenny says that it is important that she leads the team to victory as a Project Manager this time around because the last time she led the team, it was to defeat. Oh yes, that task where they sold nearly twice as many QVC junk as Matchsticks but still got accused of being lousy salespeople. Back to the Loft, Bethenny tells Jim that it will be so "embarrassing" if they don't "cuh-reem" the Matchsticks. Jim echoes like those zombie monsters in old Bugs Bunny cartoons, "Cre-eee-eee-am them!" He then follows this by climbing onto the table and thumping his chest as he acts and sounds like an excited monkey. I love it, I have never laughed so hard in a while, heh! Dawna walks in on Jim at this moment and she can only stare at Jim in disbelief. Bethenny sees Dawna and they both exchange a look that says, "Yeah, I can't believe it either." I have to pause and repeat the scene again. Jim, seriously looking too sexy for his cartoonish confessionals, tells the camera that he is being deliberately obnoxious in order to fluster Dawna and hopefully get her to lose her focus and allow Jim to have an advantage over her in this competition. Back to the Loft, as Jim gets off the table, Dawna tells them all to just "keep focus" on the task and that is all she cares about at the end of the day.

Morning. The phone rings and Bethenny picks up the call while trying to fasten her robe. Sorry, perv hounds, she turns her back to the camera while she tightens her robe. Julia tells Bethenny that Martha's away in North Carolina and she will be calling in through the video thingie - what, so they want me to go along with the pretense that it a video conference thingie and not some pretaped clip? - at the Loft living room at 9:00 am. Every Apprenti should be there to say hi to Martha! As the Apprenti gather around the video monitor, Jim says, "And then there were Five!" Yeah, yeah, as if I can't count on my own. A few seconds later Jim and Ryan exchange this intense look. What is that look all about, hmm? Martha comes on to say that she's at the Bernhardt Showrooms at High Point, North Carolina for the launching of her new furniture line. She then says that this is the first time MSLO is branching out to the West Coast and says that this is why good marketing is important. Huh? Martha then says that marketing is involved in their next task, as if the previous tasks have nothing to do with marketing at all. Martha is pulling at straws a little bit more than last week to pretend that the next task is in any way relevant to MSLO. The task? To design a 30-second inflight video for Song Airlines, an airline that Martha calls "innovative" for offering "high class with low fares". The videos will be shown to a plane full of "frequent flyers" (read: people pulled off the street) who will then rate the video in survey sheets that they will fill out. The team that creates the video deemed most effective in promoting the $99 flight from New York to Los Angeles will win. Actors, production crew, et cetera at their disposal while the Song executives Tim Mapes and Joanne Smith will be available by phone to answer any of their questions. As the clip ends, Jim asks, "So, what are we doing again?" Only Ryan chuckles in response.

As Ryan and Marcela leave the Loft, Ryan talks about how really "pumped" and "excited" he is and how everything is going to be fun. "Are you going to have fun with it with me?" he asks Marcela. I don't think Marcela is the first person to answer in a dazed manner, "Absolutely!" As they walk down the pavement to their vehicle, he promises her that he will still get her in bed early that night - oh, that naughty boy - before yelling at the top of his voice, "Party, New York City!" Ryan tells the camera that with the short turnaround time they have, he doesn't think that they have time to sit around in some office and think up ideas. Translation: ain't nobody gonna stop him from carrying out his ideas now, bwahahaha! Oh, and he has this wonderful idea. You will be surprised to know that he thinks that his idea is "genius". His idea is to have this baseball player missing his flight to LA. He arrives at the airport with only $100 in his pocket and naturally Song Airlines will save the day. Marcela of course is agreeable to everything Ryan suggests. Ryan wants to be the baseball star in that video, supposedly to save money on the professional actors that they already have at their disposal and Marcella giggles and says that she wants to be the person behind the camera. As they and the crew start gathering their equipment and setting up whatever that need to be set up, Marcela calls up Tim Mapes. Tim Mapes and Joanne Smith are very camera-conscious dweebs by the way and they certainly won't be convincing anyone to fly on Song anytime soon with their awkward and overly-rehearsed antics on this show. Ryan meanwhile tells the camera that they already have an idea and they are going to carry out the idea so he doesn't see the need to call up the Song executives. Marcela asks whether there are anything sports-related on the flight and is told that there are four channels of ESPN available. Joanne even tries to lump poker-playing with fellow passengers as a "sport". Um, Joanne, keep the day job. Both Song executives assure Marcela that their target audience are "females, really forty and above" - as opposed to not-really forty and above, I presume. Upon hearing that, Ryan still thinks that women should relate to the video because... um... he tells Marcela that he never specifically targetted women in her video. So there! Marcela worries that Ryan is ignoring their target audience but since Ryan is the Project Manager, she feels that they have to go along with his plan. Ryan tells Marcela that he doesn't care about the target audience. He only cares that they emphasize the price of the flight, the destination, and the brand.

Not so fast, says Martha. In her Moral of the Week clip, she says that it is important to know one's audience, to ask them questions to come up with the solution that meet their needs. In other words, Matchstick is toast. We can skip the rest of the episode until the conference room, hurrah!

The Primates, unlike the Matchsticks, start by going online and checking out the Song website. Jim waxes poetry about the S in the logo, comparing it to comets and other things found only in Jim's beautiful mind. Bethenny realizes from the Song mission page that the target audience is women. Bethenny tells the camera that their strategy is to find a message and a hook. Everything will fall in place from there. Dawna calls up the aspiring clowns pretending to be Song executives and gets confirmation that the target audience for Song has always been female. Or, according to Joanne, "female boomers". That sounds painful. I don't think I qualify under that demographic. Bethenny takes over and introduces herself as a natural foods chef (100% human chef, no artificial or alien DNA!). She then compliments Song for having organic food served during flights. I wonder whether Bethenny has a point to make other than she approves of what Song is doing and somehow she thinks that her approval matters to the Song executives. Joanne and Tim give this overly-rehearsed and scripted speech about the special martini glasses they have when Jim interrupts with his important question about the clothes worn by their passengers. "You know it's not people in sweat pants, but is it people in Diesel jeans or is it people in A-line skirts and Pullmans?" The Song executives are stumped, needless to say. As Jim rambles on and on, Dawna tells the camera that she always cringes when Jim opens his mouth because he never asks relevant questions and goes off on tangents all the time. She hopes that Jim won't cause too much problems. As they leave, Bethenny tells Dawna out of Jim's earshot that they will let him talk all he wants while they do what they want. She tells Dawna that she is going to pretend that she is only working with Dawna. Dawna chuckles and says that she understands exactly what Bethenny is telling her. To Jim as well, Bethenny announces to all that their theme for their task is "high style, low cost. Something like that." She pauses and improvises, "High style, low cost; a breath of fresh air." Jim agrees that it sounds good to him. The three of them finally leave the Loft.

In their vehicle, Dawna suggests that they brainstorm a story. Jim will draw out the storyline. Maybe that will help them "see" their plans better, I suppose. Bethenny explains to the camera that Dawna is like the organizer, Jim is the artist "all over the place", and Bethenny is the one with the big ideas. Gotta admire how she makes it seem as if she is one pulling all the strings in her team without hogging all the credits. They come up with a scenario of a businessman with his martini glass, which gives Jim free rein to imagine how much of a porn star the air stewardess will look like in his artwork. Bethenny and Dawna try to stop him but Jim will not be stopped. They reach their studio and sit down with the casting director. Bethenny tells the camera that the Primates' video is basically a montage of clips of people flying on Song Airline and enjoying themselves. She knows who to cast, she says. In her rapid-fire but efficient style, she starts rattling off to the casting director about the physical appearances of the actors and actresses that she has in mind for the characters in her video clip. Alexis and Charles walk in shortly after and they quietly sit down and watch Bethenny work the casting director over like a pro. Alexis has this lovely smile on her face that she should show more often. Charles whispers something to Alexis. I don't think it's a comment on Jim's butt like some people are saying. I suspect that it's more like, "I hear this is how Burnetto's casting director picked the Apprenti for this show!" Anyway, Charles tells the camera that Primates-R-Us are organized in this task and utilizing their resources. He adds that this is the moment that the Apprenti should show their strengths because MSLO is serious about looking for an Apprenti. It looks like, to him, that the Primates are taking this seriously as well. Back to the studio, the casting director marvels at how business-like Bethenny and Dawna are. Dawna smiles and says that they have to be quick as they have a short time to work. Jim, feeling ignored, starts labelling the cast they have picked: "He's the flight attendant, she's pencil skirt, twin set, he's Ralph Lauren..." Bethenny, looking like she's fast losing her patience, snaps at him to think of the big picture.

Back at the Loft, the alarm clock goes off. Ryan's hand reaches out to silence it. He then goes to exclaim that he's late. Oh, it's Ryan as the Baseball Player Dude. He's wearing a black T-shirt and a pair of white boxer-briefs. In short, he looks just like an minimally anatomically-correct Bert who is late for his appointment with Ernie. Ryan is a very bad actor, a fact that he should think over if he's hoping to be a soap star or something as a post-show career. He's smiling despite the fact that he has just exclaimed that he is late, for example, and he mouths his lines like he's having difficulty reading the cue cards. Marcela tells the camera that Ryan is not a good actor but she thinks that is okay because this video is meant to be a comedy. She sounds and looks like she's close to tears in this confessional, which has me wondering whether it is filmed after her dismissal. To Ryan, she deadpans, "It was good, you're awesome. You're going to get an Oscar after this." I know that she is trying to humour him and maybe a part of her is enjoying the sight of Ryan in his boxer-briefs as they keep reshooting the scene of him getting out of bed, but shouldn't there be some point where she goes, "Hello, this is not going well!"? Then again, seeing how Ryan and Amanda steamrollered her two episodes back, I don't think Marcela can do anything about the predicament she's in, given her personality and all. Ryan tells the camera that he is finally living out a dream of being a professional baseball player, at least temporarily and one that is late for a key game, apparently because he had always wanted to be a professional baseball player but that dream didn't pan out. He also happily reveals that he is the actor, director, and upcoming editor for this video clip. Sheesh, if he wants to relive his childhood dreams, don't they have hypnosis sessions for this kind of thing?

Alexis and Charles walk in on them where Alexis is thrilled to see that Ryan in his shorts. She is really relaxed in this episode and I wish I have seen more of this easy-going and even cheeky Alexis in this show. Ryan tells Charles that "they" are having fun with "this one". Charles just goes, "Great!" While he may exchange smiles with Alexis as they stare in fascination at the sight of Ryan's butt as the man is pulling on his pants, however, Charles tells the camera that Ryan is taking a "big gamble" because "being the director, the producer, and the star... not to play on an old baseball adage but what Ryan's trying to do is to pitch and catch at the same time, and the ball's travels too quickly!" Ryan asks whether they shoot reshoot that shot of him getting out of bed again, and this time he hops out of the room forgetting to pull on his pants. They have to reshoot. The director rubs his face wearily and Charles and Alexis take their leave. Charles tells Alexis that at least Ryan looks good in his uniform and Alexis actually giggles for the first time in the entire season.

The show moves to JFK where the Matchsticks continue to film their video. Ryan runs to the Song ticket counter, exclaiming that he is late and he has only $100 and good heavens, he is truly an awful actor that makes the cast of Passions look like legitimate thespians. Ryan gets on the plane where he then insists that the actor playing a boxer to put the headgear on. He thinks the headgear will be funny, you see. So that's two career options that Ryan should scratch out in his career plan - director and actor. He really should replace them with "underwear model". The script is such that Ryan will ask those baseball players and the boxer whether they have all missed their flights and then everyone will shout about what a great thing Song is. It's not a bad script, of course, but this video is too ambitious for the resources at hand that Ryan is willing to use, such as a handsome actor that can actually say his lines without making me cringe, for example. Ryan asks their director how the whole scene looks and the man answers perfectly, "It is what it is!"

Meanwhile, the Primates are also at JFK to film their video. Jim directs how an actor playing the security officer should move around until Bethenny calls him impatiently to move aside so that they can start filming. Jim does, for a few seconds, before he walks back in to direct the actor around some more. Bethenny once more tells him to get away from the actor. She tells the camera that Jim thinks he's Fellini and while she'd love to film a Fellini film, she has only twenty minutes to film a thirty seconds inflight video. If this twenty minutes is the time given to the teams by the JFK folks, that makes Ryan's multiple takes of his feature film starring his ego even more foolish, doesn't it? Under such a ridiculously short time, the only way to go is to keep things simple yet serviceable, like what the Primates are trying to do. After ten seconds of shooting, Jim announces that the scene is so perfect that he feels like puking, so he heads out once more to direct things. Bethenny and Dawna laugh helplessly as they talk about how crazy "this" is. Generally, Jim is ordering everyone around and I have a hunch that he's really enjoying himself, while Dawna and Bethenny can only try to push him in the right direction when he seems to be veering off the path. They move to the plane for the shooting of their next scenes. Jim tells the camera that the martini shot (which is in the scene with the businessman that they talked about in the vehicle - remember that one?) is very important, especially if he gets to have a martini in the process.

Meanwhile, Dawna learns that the actual martini is used so she quickly warns everyone not to serve Jim any martini, heh, heh, heh. The attendant that Dawna is talking to sees Jim's inebriated-looking face and asks Dawna whether Jim already had too many drinks, heh, heh, heh. "He's already crazy as it is and we don't need any alcohol in his system," Dawna tells the man. I love her already. They both agree that anyone but Jim can drink alcohol. Bethenny comes into the plane where Dawna tells her that they all need about seven minutes to get the equipment set up. As Jim directs the attendant on how to mix the cocktail and stuff, Bethenny realizes that real alcohol is used in this shoot and agrees with Dawna that no amount of alcohol can touch Jim's lips. In the meantime, Jim carries a glass of martini and goes, "Whoops, it fell into my mouth!" Fortunately for Dawna and Bethenny, he's only playing. The filming of the scene with the businessman drinking his martini goes smoothly and all seems well.

Ryan, in the meantime, gulps down a bottle of beer as he, Marcela, and the editor watch the reel of their video clip. He says that he hates a particular scene in the clip and tells the editor, "I hope you're amazing, Chuck, because my acting isn't going to help you!" Marcela also giggles and jokes about the video. She looks flushed too, so I don't think Ryan is the only one drinking in this room. Marcela tells the camera that they are at the editing house where the editors will help them put together a coherent video clip. It seems like inebriation brings on self-awareness on Ryan's part because he's now drinking another bottle of beer as he laughs with Marcela. And then, with an obviously different bottle in hand now, he towers over Chuck and starts slurring about how much he loves the "flow" and the "continuity" of the scenes in the reel. Marcela chimes in her agreement while Chuck looks like he wishes that he is someplace else where he doesn't have to deal with two drunken loons.

Ryan announces that he needs another beer and asks Chuck whether he wants one. Chuck's answer - "No, thank you" - is amped up so that the audience won't miss his answer. Ryan however says sure, he'd get Chuck a beer. Music of buffoonery plays as Ryan raids a fridge packed with beer. He tells the camera, "When we got to the editing studio, the refridgerator was packed with beers. You know it's going to be a long night and that's what those guys do. The guys that work in that business, they drink beers and edit!" So Ryan takes a drink. And another. And another. Now he takes two bottles per trip. When he finally talks to Marcela, she has to take a few steps back away from him because his breath really reeks. He pushes this great idea of his to a doubting Marcela: "$99. JFK to LAX" on the screen and a tagline under that which says "Need we play more?" Marcela thinks that "Need we play more?" doesn't make any sense but once Ryan has an idea, he's not going to budge. Ryan slurs to the camera in an inebriated manner that the idea came to him after the fourth Sopporo and before the fifth Heineken. He claims that the idea is sheer genius and he can't wait to see what another seven beers will bring out. The content of his stomach, maybe? Marcela tries to say that it makes no sense but Ryan just keeps running over her. She says that he may be the Project Manager but whatever she wants to say next is lost when he tells her to print out the screen image of the screen with "Need we play more?". Maybe he wants to frame it and hump it every night. Still, there seems to be no hard feelings on Marcela's part since she is laughing with him at how drunk he is. Ryan assures her again that his idea is perfect. The sad thing is, he seems to genuinely believes that. To the camera, Ryan says that yeah, maybe he's a "little bit drunk" and he then goes on to this hilarious and ridiculous tangent about how Van Gogh cut off his ears so Ryan should... um, cut off his senses? In order to be creative? I think Ryan is on his way to being Van Gogh if he's talking about being insane like Van Gogh. In the editing room, Ryan wants the editor to insert some subliminal message - the Song logo - into the video. He thinks it's hilarious. Marcela tells him that everything here is his call as she watches Ryan single-handedly crash their ship into the iceberg.

It's time for the teams to show off their video. The Primates go first. To a plane filled with passengers (with Alexis and Charles seated in two of the front seats), Bethenny talks about how their theme is "High style, low fare; Song - a breath of fresh air". The video isn't the most interesting but what's important is that it works. It's a sleekly produced montage of passengers being treated like gold by the plane crew and the friendly ground Song staff warmly welcoming passengers. The "frequent flyers" fill in the survey forms after watching the video. The camera zooms in on pleased expressions because the show wants everyone to know that the Primates are doing something right. The Matchsticks now take over and Marcela tells the "frequent flyers", "Okay, imagine: a plane trip that you actually look forward to. Well, ladies and gentlemen, imagine no longer, it's real! It's time to come and play with Song!" The video is awful. Some passengers snort at how Ryan miraculously manages to have only $100 with him at the Song counter, as they should, and the camera zooms in on people looking mystified, bored, or pained. When the video ends, they can only laugh awkwardly the way people tend to do after they have watched something so awful that they wanted to boo but they are too polite to boo. Marcela tells Ryan as they leave that she thinks their video went down very well.

Conference room time. Waiting with Alexis and Charles, Martha waits until the Apprenti have sat down before her before pointing out how clever the Apprenti are to wear green, Song's color, during their presentation. As if they are not told to wear green, pffft. Marcela thinks that Matchstick had a "positive reaction" from the audience. Unless she means "positive" as in "positively revolted", she's completely misread the audience. She's proud of eliciting some giggles from the audience. I don't know. She can make people giggle too by wearing her underwear on her head, but that's not something to brag about, is it? Bethenny thinks that the Primates did well and they are so proud of their product. Upon Martha's query, Charles reveals that the Primates received an average score of 4.2 out of 5 from the audience. Alexis reveals that the Matchsticks received 2.8 only. Oh dear. Martha reveals that she has watched both videos and she agrees with the scores. Martha asks Bethenny whose idea it was for the Primates' video and Bethenny claims credit for it. Charles chimes in to say that the Song executives told him and Alexis that the Primates' video will be used in Song's advertising campaign. No jokes about the eventual sad fate of Song, please. This is a happy moment, after all. Martha reveals that the final reward of the season is a trip to Martha's home in Bedford where they will ride horses and play Scrabble with Martha Stewart. Wow, how exciting! Martha mentions that this is the first time she will be spending time with Jim and Bethenny outside the conference room and she is looking forward to the experience. She's one tough and brave woman, that Martha. Oh, and one of the Matchsticks will be sent home in the next conference room.

Oh, Bedford. Hi, horses. Hi, Bethenny. In the car taking them to Bedford, Dawna tells Bethenny and Jim that she has "never ever" played Scrabble before. Well, I never played Scrabble until they started selling those overpriced board games here in the 1970s so Dawna isn't the only sad twit in this world. I never liked Scrabble anyway. I preferred Monopoly because there's more fun in making money and bankrupting other people compared to competing with other people to see who is the better walking dictionary. Bethenny tells the camera how happy she is to have won and to visit Martha at Bedford. Martha welcomes the Primates in her stable and, after congratulating the Primates for their third win in a row, tells them the Primates are like some carriage, "three abreast" all working in unison. She then chuckles evilly over the fact that the three of them will have to cut each other's throats to become the sole Apprenti, although she says that in a more tasteful manner. Horse-riding sees Jim bragging to the camera that he intends to cozy up to his future boss. Jim's horse leads while Dawna's trails behind, and Jim sneers at how Dawna is missing out on making her moves on Martha. Later, they play Scrabble where Dawna gets so flustered that she can't seem to come up with a word from her pieces to add to "fluster", which is Jim's word on the board. Yes, yes, I know - it's the sign! The sign! The same thing with Bethenny's pieces that come together to form "moral". You know, I think this game must be rigged somehow because there is no way that Jim can come up with "fluster", after which it is Dawna's turn where she then gets flustered at not knowing how to follow up her move, while Bethenny has "moral" on her side. Anyway, even Martha starts to look impatient when she was at first patient enough in teaching Dawna how to play. ("Dawna, I understand! Call me!" says Alexis.) Bethenny mocks Dawna to the camera, saying that Dawna needs "special attention" because Dawna is "all freaked out and flustered". Martha manages to deflate poor Dawna's tension by wondering about the "significance" of the word "fluster", causing the other three with her to chuckle. Poor Dawna, she's like the class star pupil who, upon embarking on a field trip with her favorite teacher, learns that she is socially less capable than other not-so-stellar pupils in making this teacher laugh and have fun. It must be a disconcerting as well as disappointing feeling. Bethenny gushes to the camera what a fine day it is and how she adored being with Martha. As the three leave, Jim tells the others that Martha is cute. Martha goes, "Whoever calls a boss 'cute'?" Jim is thrilled because this is exactly the reaction he wants from Martha.

Back at the Loft, Marcela tearfully confronts Ryan, saying that they both know how much she wants a job with Martha and that she will be the one to leave when they fail. She wants to know whether Ryan deliberately tanked the task by drinking and having fun. Well, since she encouraged him and fed his delusions by telling him how awesome he was so many times during the task, she's a little too late in asking him that question in my opinion. Ryan of course says that he is solely responsible for the mess. He says that he worked hard and it is unfair to say that he skated through the task. Yeah, yeah, he's Mr Integrity, I know. He justifies the drinking by saying that he was celebrating the conclusion of their task, forgetting the fact that he was in the process of editing the video when the drinking began. In the end, Marcela says that she will go pack her things and Ryan says that he will do the same as well.

Conference room. Julia greets them with a smile and tells them to go in to see Martha, Charles, and Alexis. Martha tells Matchstick that this is the third consecutive loss of theirs and wants to know what happened. Ryan says that they tried to cram a minute-long commercial into a thirty-second time frame. See what I mean about not keeping things simple? Ryan's video concept, like the Buick Lucerne presentation, will work very well only if they have more time and money to spend. Ryan fully acknowledges that the whole concept is his idea. He even admits that he "literally" came up with the idea five minutes after watching Martha's instruction video, er, I mean "teleconference session" in the Loft. Normally I would say that this is not a smart thing to admit to in the conference room but what the heck, Ryan has no way out of this mess so he can say that he is Gandhi for all I care. Martha then asks them to look at the video on the TV. Oh dear, I have to watch that atrocious clip all over again. What did I do to deserve this? Martha, at about the part when Ryan grabs his money from the bedside table and step into a cab, tells Ryan and Marcela that the audience can't see how much money Ryan is holding. Then Martha resumes the video until Charles asks her to stop because he manages to see something flashing on the screen. Oops, Ryan's "subliminal" message has been discovered. Ryan lamely tries to explain what he tried to do but Charles cuts him off by saying that subliminal messages can be confusing. Not to mention that it's stupid, ranking up there with messages when records are played backwards when it comes to being spectacularly boring urban legends.

Martha cuts short the discussion by saying that she wants to see the rest of the video. When the video is done, she wants to know what "Need we play more?" is all about. Ryan talks about the phrase being a play of words on "Need we say more?" but he is interrupted by Alexis who wonders whether Matchstick has even asked the Song executives about the target audience of the flight. "The target is not guys and sports," she says, hissing out the last word ("sports-sss-ss-sss...") for some reason. Maybe she dropped by that editing house before she came here. Ryan says snarkily that he has this belief that "forty-year plus women" don't have a problem seeing guys in uniform. I agree. However, we are talking about a video clip where Ryan isn't the sole subject of the video and he's always moving too fast or wearing too much clothes for the target audience to appreciate him better. Okay, I know where he is getting at, the whole stereotyping about the women and sports and all, but Martha isn't happy with the answer and that's what that counts the most at the end of the time. Also, stereotypes are pervalent because they have some elements of truth to them.

Martha brings up some responses from the surveys. Someone says that the "athlete thing" makes "no sense", others pan the acting, some wonder whether the video was an actual commercial, and - my favorite - someone says that the video is like "a bad sitcom with clowns". Martha points out that the Matchsticks not only missed Song's "high class, low fare" message that should be delivered, they also ignored the client's wishes for a "promotional spot with a $99 fare." Charles says that the Matchsticks are destined for failure because they are not Woody Allen. He means that it's hard to do everything in a movie. I would argue that even Woody Allen isn't good at doing all that nowadays, if his recent movies are anything to go by. Come to think of it, Ryan's insistence on being the main star in his movie is pretty Woody-Allenesque in nature. Charles should stop with the overreaching comparisons before I thoroughly confuse myself. Ryan admits that his plans backfired. He would have said more if Charles the habitual interrupter hasn't interrupted him to ask Marcela whether she drank as much as Ryan in the editing room. Charles, you see, has spoken to Chuck the Editor, who I'm sure is happy to tell with hand gestures, especially a particular hand gesture, to boot. Watch as Ryan rubs his jaw in unease when Charles mention this, heh. Marcela says that she had only one Corona. Charles points to Ryan and says that he knows Ryan had "threw back quite a few". Ryan says that maybe he had four or five drinks.

Martha wants to know why Ryan was drinking so much when he was on a task. Ryan's perfect answer is that the beer was free - Alexis winces upon hearing that hilarious response - and that the refrigerator was stocked. He wanted to have fun on the task so he was in a celebratory mood when he reached the editing house. Martha doesn't think that Ryan needed to "partake" so much beer. Charles correctly guesses that Ryan put in the subliminal message thingies when he was very drunk. Ryan insists that he just wanted to be "creative". Creativity is not the same as a boatful of crazy, Ryan, no matter how much Jim wants you to believe that. Alexis drawls that she doesn't find the subliminal message thingie creative at all. Martha says that Ryan had a "real responsibility" to "get across a simple message" and Ryan tried to do too much and messed up as a result.

Charles asks Marcela whether Ryan gave "100%" to the task. Marcela thinks that Ryan was "slightly more relaxed" because he knows that she will go home if they end up in the conference room. Ryan disagrees, saying that he worked the hardest on this task. "So despite being totally involved in every aspect of this promotional video, do you feel that you really had a passionate approach?" asks Martha. Ryan misreads the question or deliberately misunderstands it, saying that he would give anything to be that baseball player in that video (how sad, really) and he also had fun. What kind of answer is that? Charles says that Ryan wanted to have fun while working, which is fine, but Ryan had to deliver the goods while he was at it. Alexis agrees, saying that a combination of work and fun has to be found. Martha says that when a team keeps losing, it doesn't bode well for both members of the team. She asks Ryan what he wants to do with MSLO. Ryan shoots himself in the foot completely by telling Martha that he loves business and he's in this show because it's a chance to get an executive position without having to work his way up. It's an honest sentiment, of that I have no doubt, but sheesh, to say that before someone who is taking this competition seriously as a job interview is tantamount to madness. Martha widens her eyes and says so-cuttingly while being so-politely, "Maybe you should go back to business school?" Only, coming from Martha, that isn't a suggestion as much as it is an eviction order. She softens her edge by saying that at business school, Ryan could develop his creativity in school.

Martha doesn't like the fact that Ryan started out strong only to peter out so weakly by this stage of the competition. I have a hunch that Ryan doesn't care about that anymore. He just wants to see Howie again and they can both act like crazy fratboys again. Jim can join them too. Martha blames Ryan for the concept and the failure of the concept. Martha then tells Marcela that she doesn't see any "real passion" from Marcela and she worries about that because at MSLO, according to Martha, employees have to "push" to get their ideas across. She finds Marcela too passive. She is also bothered by Marcela's poor record of losing two tasks as Project Manager and being on eight losing teams. Marcela's eyes are bright with unshed tears at this point as she knows what is coming next. However, she probably doesn't expect Martha to can Ryan as well. She tells them both that neither of them fit in with MSLO and tell them goodbye. Those two thank her and leave.

As those two leave - Marcela's body language being that she is walking ahead and as far from Ryan as possible, heh - Martha tells her cohorts that it really wasn't a difficult decision to can both Ryan and Marcela. Especially, of course, when a double-can was penciled into the schedule of this episode even before the season began. Alexis agrees with Martha that those two didn't "shine through". Charles says that he can't imagine Marcela as Martha's Apprentice. Martha goes, "Yup!" I don't find this exchange mean-spirited like some people do but I guess that for some people Martha can't do anything right while Donald Trump is their faultless icon. Martha writes Marcela a letter:

"Dear Marcela, your passion for food for the Hispanic market in America and your hard work are qualities we admire at MSLO. I think you have the makings for a really good food editor, food maker, and even television performer."

And to Ryan:

"Dear Ryan, you have the desire to try new things and a lot of self-confidence. I think you need more focus. Possibly, more education, business, for example. And I know you will then be ready for a big challenge. Best wishes, Martha Stewart."

There's no question that Ryan deserves to be canned but oh poor Marcela. While deserving to be canned since she is too much of a follower too often, it is heartbreaking to see her holding back tears as she walks with Ryan to the exit of the building. I don't think she can go any further in this competition and I know such a moment is inevitable, but there is still some heart in me that breaks when I see her leave, defeated like that. But judging from Martha's kind words to her in Martha's letter to Marcela, Marcela will be fine. I wish her well in everything she does. As for Ryan, the only way I'm wishing to see him again on TV is if he's going to appear naked and completely silent. Big ideas, my foot!

My Favorite Pages

Search for more rubbish:

My Guestbook Return to Idiot Box Chatter Email