Last week on Martha, Matchstick beat Primarius, selling outdoor products on QVC, which prompted Martha to address her letter of doom to Howie. Oh yeah, and we got a little peek into Martha’s quirky home decorating fetish…dead fish mounted on walls. Nothing invites your guests to curl up with a good book like a mounted dead tarpon watching over them.
Dawna is sharing the boardroom play-by-play with Ryan, Marcela and Amanda back in the loft, and she’s distressed that she might have hurt Bethenny’s feelings in the boardroom. When Jim and Bethenny return to the loft, Dawna hugs Bethenny, apologizing for her actions, but Bethenny reassures her that all’s fair in love and war. Amanda, watching everything, declares she’s unsure exactly what it is that Martha is looking for, and states, “I think I’m just going to screw off tomorrow.” Dun. Dun. Dun.
Coffee, Tea Or Me
Martha introduces the next task holding a cup and saucer in her perfectly manicured hands and tells the team via video that we’re all addicted to the perfect cup of tea, the perfect hot chocolate and the perfect cup of coffee. (I dunno. Sometimes I just want a jolt of java…perfection isn’t high on my list, but maybe that’s just me.) There’s a new gadget called The Tassimo Hot Beverage System, that will make all of these beverages, perfectly. Each team will get $40,000 to set up a retail store, and the team that sells the most machines, wins. (Who in the world thought putting Jim anywhere near caffeine would be a good idea?) Check out this week’s shameless plug here.
Work Is In The Eye Of The Beholder
According to Martha, work is a four-letter word. When she plans on gardening, she never says, “I’m going to work in the garden,” because this implies a negative connotation. She says, “I’m going to garden today.” Personally, I never say I’m going to do vacuum work, or dust work, but call it vacuuming and dusting, and it still feels like damn mundane work to me, so whatever.
Who’s The Big Pussy?
Marcela Project Manager, Ryan, Leslie and Amanda
Immediately it’s apparent that Amanda and Ryan have issues with Marcela. We’re already aware of Amanda’s declaration that she’s not going to be very productive, but et tu, Ryan (say it ain’t so *whimper, whimper*)? The two of them are showing attitude and bucking Marcela at every turn, and even though Marcela practically begs for their cooperation, they appear to have decided to do the bare minimum. Could it be the threat of going to the boardroom just doesn’t hold much fear anymore, and they‘re ready to go home? It’s difficult to tell if Marcela is just too timid a leader to whip them into shape, or if she simply doesn’t stand a chance with two people who have decided to do whatever they can to see that she fails. Either way, Ryan is sadly disappointing me tonight, and I’m so crushed I can hardly continue. *deep calming breath*
The following morning the dysfunctional team arrives at their storefront, and the Tassimo boxes are stacked everywhere. They immediately begin unpacking the goods, and arguing with each other. Being in the food industry, Marcela is dreaming about all the pastries they can offer to go along with the beverages, and even suggests bringing in a pastry chef. Amanda is annoyed, saying they should be concentrating on a promotional scheme to sell the most products, and she’s worried with Marcela’s plan, the drinks will become a side note to the food, although she stops short of actually coming up with a plan.
Leslie volunteers to walk around the neighborhood, to get an idea where their store is located for the flyers, and Marcela joins her. While they’re outside, Ryan and Amanda bitch to each other about Marcela. Last week, Ryan couldn’t stand Amanda, but they have obviously joined ranks on this task. They want to hire a celebrity to draw in the crowds, and Ryan discovers Vincent Pastore, (the actor from The Sopranos) is available. Of course, the fact that his character’s name is Big Pussy could pose a problem when it comes time to put the name on a flyer. (I don't get HBO, so I have no idea who the Big Pussy is, but the thought of getting to see Martha's reaction to the flyer: Drink some beverages and meet the Big Pussy, delights me to no end...sadly, Marcela nixes the idea.) With MS2.0 and the Big Cigar, observing, Ryan tells Marcela he hasn’t been able to find any chefs available. Within minutes, however, Marcela secures a chef and they’re in business.
The following day the store is buzzing with customers, but they are concentrating more on eating and drinking, than they are buying the appliances. Mouths are definitely moving, but product is not. They reduce the price several times, but will they be able to outsell Jim’s team? I’m not sure I can withstand the pressure…
Jim Project Manager, Bethenny and Dawna
Although Jim is the PM, Dawna has stepped into a leadership role. She comes up with the brilliant idea to hire a company to help them set up a retail shop, bring customers in, and help man the store. Dawna confides to us that she’s taking a pretty big risk having such a strong influence on this task, but she feels if she succeeds, she’ll keep her team out of the boardroom. She decides to go alone to the meeting with the company that will be helping them, and Jim and Bethenny have decided if she fails, they’ll point all fingers at her. During the meeting, Dawna seals the deal for $30,000, clearly without consulting Jim, the Project Manager. Meanwhile Bethenny and Jim arrive at the storefront, and come up with the strategy that if Dawna’s ideas work, great, they’ll win. If not, they can place the blame squarely on her shoulders. It’s a win/win for them. I’m simply hoping the team can keep Jim away from the caffeine tomorrow…this guy definitely does not need it.
Morning comes, and the doors are open for business, but the team is off to a rocky start. Although there are people running around the neighborhood with flyers, so far the store is empty. They also have included pastries in their presentation, but the difference is Bethenny reminds the servers that the goal is not to hand out pastries, but to make the coffee the star of the show. By noon, business has really picked up, and Charles feels this team has an intensity in their eyes, and says they have that desperate salesman look about them, qualifying that Jim always looks desperate. Ha.
Time’s up, and everyone joins Martha and her sidekicks in the boardroom. Charles informs all that Matchstick hired a pastry chef, and a caterer, and sold 9 machines for a total of $1891. Alexis says Primarius concentrated on sales, and they hired a PR firm to help them out, ending the day with a total of $6,621. Charles tells Matchstick he feels they lost the passion in this challenge, and that even though Primarius only had three members on their team, they had a fire and determination that was unbeatable. Their reward is to see another of Martha’s homes *yawn*, via private jet to Bar Harbor, Maine. In addition, they’ll get to do some sightseeing on a boat. I can’t wait to see what dead things she decorates with in Maine. While in the boardroom it’s apparent Jim is hoarse again. We’re obviously not getting the whole picture here, because what in the hell does Jim do that makes him hoarse week after week? Is he hollering in fits of rage? Is he screaming for joy when he learns his team has won? I’m more curious about this, than seeing another of Martha’s unlived-in homes.
What? No Dead Fish?
Primarius arrives at Martha’s Bar Harbor home, and Alexis is waiting on the front porch for them. As they enter the home, Alexis tells us it was built by Edsel Ford in 1925, and there’s an original letter penned by Ford, framed on the wall. In the kitchen, Alexis raises a roll-top door on a wall, to reveal tablecloths rolled on rods like at yardage stores. What I notice is that the 10 or so cloths that are stored there, all look exactly the same…blah beige. It’s apparent Martha doesn’t like color of any kind, unless it’s old, washed-out antique, unbleached ecru linen. It strikes me that we might as well be touring a museum, as her ‘home’ is cold, sterile and definitely doesn’t make you feel like you’re someplace to relax. I do notice everyone is allowed to wear shoes here, though…and there aren’t any dead animals in sight, so there’s always that, I suppose. Jim feels as though they’re walking inside Martha’s mind. I think he’s right, too. She definitely gives me the impression that she’s uptight, cold and sterile. I’d love to see her wildly passionate about something, instead of being so controlled and ‘perfect’ all the time. Come on, Martha, loosen up a little. Alexis tells us that she (Alexis) likes being alone, as a matter of fact she, “need, need, needs time alone.” Must have been all those stimulating times growing up with Martha as her mom.
On the boat tour, Alexis makes lobster sandwiches for everyone, and she specifically makes a vegetarian sandwich for Bethenny, which greatly impresses her. Jim tells us he’ll never forget this reward, and will be regaling his grandchildren with stories about it. Oh, they’re going to love that. Jump to the future, “Mom, grandpa’s rambling again…where are his meds?”
Good/Evil Jim To The Rescue?
Back in the loft, Marcela is having a meltdown. She tells us she just wants to “cook for the woman.” She didn’t realize it would be so cut-throat, and she proceeds to cry and wipe her nose with her hand several times…and not delicately either.
In the kitchen, Ryan, Amanda, Dawna and Leslie rehash everything. Later Jim talks to Ryan and realizes that Marcela is going to be slaughtered in the conference room, and will be served to Martha on a fine-china platter. For some reason he has taken it upon himself to rescue Marcela. Now, let’s ponder this for a moment. Does he buck her up because he really cares, or does he buck her up, because he’s hoping Marcela (whom he’s got to consider one of the weaker players) will stay and that one of the stronger players will be sent home instead? Hmmm. He lets Marcela know her team is planning to crucify her, and tells her to have an offense ready. He wants her to tell Martha she had the professional chef there, the crowds were there, but Ryan and Amanda simply couldn’t sell anything. He hates that they’re so pompous, and wants her to tell Martha they were sabotaging her. She’s very appreciative, tells him she likes him now (heheh), and he skips away (well, not literally).
When Martha asks Marcela what happened, she says she felt she didn’t have the support of her teammates. Amanda concurs that she didn’t support Marcela, but it wasn’t because she doubted her from the beginning, but because she doubted her ‘decisions.’ Very dead-like, rather morosely, Alexis tells the team they were acting dead, and morose during the task. (Pot, meet kettle…it’s hilarious, really. And please, while we’re discussing Alexis, someone pour her a few cups of that caffeinated coffee as she needs a burst of energy, quick-like). Ryan says he’s willing to share the blame for their loss. Leslie says as a fellow Latina, she wanted Marcela to succeed, but she felt like part of the team was pulling one way, and the other, another. Marcela says Amanda tried to make her (Marcela) accountable for more, so that she (Amanda) could be accountable for less. Charles flat-out asks Amanda what her expertise is. She says she has a promotion/marketing background, she’s an attorney and has a public relation degree. Martha asks what she’s looking for, and she says she loves to cook and decorate, and her husband is re-landscaping their backyard, and she’s pleaded with him not to plant the flowers yet, so she can get her hands dirty because she loves to garden, (I notice she didn’t say, work in the garden, but will that help her?).
The boardroom dramatics veer off on a weird angle like no other when Amanda goes on to say that the public doesn’t want to see someone perfect, unflawed and professional (like you, Martha, maybe that's why ratings are low?). From there, Marcela tells Martha, “for some reason you have not wanted to tap into the Latin-American market, and there are 40 million of us in the United States.” Martha jumps right on that, and says they certainly do want to, and Marcela claims people call her the “Mexican Martha Stewart,” but tells her she wants Martha to be considered the Mexican Martha Stewart. Amanda looks defeated, and Martha looks, well, robotic, as usual. Marcela chooses Amanda and Ryan to return to the boardroom with her.
Are We Having Fun Yet?
In the lobby, Ryan is insulted that his loyalty was questioned in the boardroom, and Amanda is furious that Marcela said she didn’t work hard. When Martha phones her receptionist, Julia, to tell them to return to the conference room, Martha tells her, “it’s getting a little difficult” with a weird inflection in her voice.
Martha looks more pinched and stern than usual as the three return to the conference room. Before sitting down, Ryan addresses everyone by saying that it’s a stretch to question his loyalty, and he claims Marcela shut down. Martha comes as unglued as she probably ever allows herself, and tells them, that Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has many, many opportunities…something for everyone. Charles declares hard work can be fun, and Alexis points out that Amanda is the one who said, herself, she didn’t support Marcela. You can hear the familiar *beep beep* sounds that signify someone back peddling, as Amanda tries to get out of this sticky situation by saying she didn’t mean to imply she didn’t support Marcela, she simply didn’t support her decisions.
Martha to Ryan: I like your sense of self, I feel you have a great sense of propriety, and that you’re an upright young man, but you should help your PM when they’re floundering.
Martha to Marcela: You didn’t have the respect or control of your team.
Martha to Amanda: You sensed a weakness in Marcela, and did nothing to help the team. You haven’t proven you’re a team player, so you can now get your hands dirty in your garden like you’ve been so anxious to do. Ciao.
Note: The show will not air next Wednesday, so have a delicious and safe Thanksgiving holiday, and we’ll reconvene on 11/30/05 (with the fabulous Suncat7 recapping), where it looks like Jim may finally be sent a Martha Letter…or are they simply toying with us again? Will Ryan be able to recapture my heart next time? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.