Last week on Martha’s Apprentice, our hapless heroes were asked to come up with an advertisement gimmick for the Buick Lucerne. Ryan’s brilliant idea, which PM Leslie and Marcela foolishly agreed with, was to take the car to dinner. Huh? The winning team went with a sleek and elegant presentation, so it was not surprising when Leslie took the heat for the loss in the conference room, and was sent on her merry way. Oh, and we learned Alexis must not have a fashion consultant.
As Ryan and Marcela return to the suite, Bethenny, Jim and Dawna compare everyone’s track records. Ryan has won both tasks in which he was the Project Manager, so Bethenny tells us later it’s to her advantage to make Ryan feel as comfortable as she can, because she doesn’t want Ryan to have the ‘killer instinct’ on the next task. She is really pumped up, and volunteers to be PM. Jim tells her that the “other sheep have no idea they’re going to slaughter.” (Okay, here’s the thing. As erratic as Jim is, and as much as I can’t imagine for a minute Martha would ever seriously consider hiring him, this sounds like something she, herself, would say.) Speaking of erratic, Jim is suddenly leaping around on top of the stainless steel kitchen counters in his bare feet, making ape noises and beating his chest. Lucky for all of you, I speak ‘monkey,’ so I can interpret: King Kong will be showing at a theater near you December 14th. Later he tells us he is intentionally annoying Dawna so he can focus on how to win, while she’ll be focusing on how much he bothers her. Well that, and I’m sure she’s also focusing on finding the strongest disinfectant she can, to kill whatever smarmy bacteria his stinkin’ feet have left behind.
As the teams break off into separate groups anticipating tomorrow’s task, Ryan steps up to be PM, and he and Marcela decide the main focus will be to “have fun tomorrow.” Uh oh.
Just Another Crummy Commercial
Since Martha is in a furniture store in North Carolina, she announces today’s task via the monitor in the loft. Martha tells them it is Week 11 in the interview process, and there are only five contestants left. I find it amusing when Martha says the number “five” Dawna immediately jots it down on her handy steno pad. Maybe it hadn’t occurred to her she was one of five? We learn that this will be the last of the team competitions, and that Martha has a furniture line coming to the West coast. Silly me. I was assuming their task would have something to do with furniture, but in an odd transition, she then tells them their task will be to create a 30-second in-flight video for a $99 New York to Los Angeles flight via Song Airlines.
Who Cares About A Target Audience?
Ryan is excited about this task, and immediately wants to go with the premise of a baseball player missing his team flight, and with only $100 in his pocket, is able to book the $99 Song flight and still make the game.
Marcela calls the executives at Song to ask about their target audience, but Ryan is hesitant to do this because they already have their idea. He further states they’re going to go forward with the idea regardless what the executives say, and he’s not worried about the target audience. Oh, I have a bad feeling about my man, Ryan. By the way, the target audience is female, age 40 and above.
Ask the customer all the questions you need to come up with a good solution to what the client needs and wants. Investigate, research, then develop. Brilliant!
Low Style, High Cost?
In contrast to Matchstick’s approach, this team seems to be doing a good job researching the company, with Bethenny even noticing that the airline serves organic food. One of the executives states they feel they don’t need to advertise (well, until today, I guess), but rely on word of mouth. Our team is also informed Song is the only airline to serve cocktails in acrylic martini glasses. Ooh, book me, I love acrylic martini glasses. For whatever reason, Jim begins asking them if their customers wear sweat pants, a-line skirts or Pullmans. It’s a good thing that’s not a burning question of mine, because we are not told the answer. Bethenny and Dawna agree they will pretend to be the only two on their team, and ignore Jim. Bethenny zeroes in on the tag lines, High Style, Low Cost, or High Style, Low Fare…we are a breath of fresh air. Bethenny says the three of them have fallen into a pattern: Dawna, the administrator/organizer, Jim, the artist, “spewing things out,” and Bethheny, as the person with the “big ideas.” While brainstorming, Jim is continuously talking about how the women in their commercial should have beautiful, long legs. I’m guessing here at Week 11, he’s really missing his wife. It would be interesting to know if she misses him, or if this has seemed like a well-deserved holiday for her.
The Cigar and Alexis come in to observe, and I’m horrified to notice that not only does Charles continue to insist on carrying around that ridiculous unlit cigar, but he is also fond of the expensive business suit, tie and dress shoes without socks, fashion. Ack. The image of his pasty white, varicose-vein riddled ankles are burned forever in my brain, and I’ll never be the same. It’s difficult for me to concentrate on what he’s saying, but I think he said something about being impressed with their concept.
Baseball Analogies Galore
Ryan has decided to step up to the plate/take bat in hand (<--- shameless baseball analogies), and takes on the challenges of actor, producer and director of their commercial. Charles feels he’s taken on too much, and compares the decision to his own baseball analogy, saying Ryan is trying to “pitch and catch at the same time.” Ryan is having a great time shooting the video as a baseball player, and Marcela is warming up to the whole idea. If they don’t pull this off, at least they’ll have the terrific memories of the day they almost scored (hey, not that kind of score) and laughed a lot.
Crazy Is As Crazy Does
They are also at the airport filming, and Bethenny seems to have everything under control. That is, everything but Jim. As usual, he is bouncing off the walls, hands into everything, raining chaos. It is clearly evident that Jim is here on the show to bring some effort of entertainment to Martha’s audience. (Don’t worry Jim, I suspect you’ll be home with your wife soon enough.) They end their ad with a businessman being served his martini (in the acrylic cup, of course), and Jim feels they cannot lose. Dawna is told there really is alcohol in the glass, and she instructs a Song employee not to let Jim have any, because “he’s crazy enough as it is.” Heheh.
Party On, Ryan!
While editing their film, Marcela and Ryan continue to enjoy the process and each other. Ryan is also enjoying the free beers stocked in the refrigerator, and we see him drink what looks like, at least nine bottles of beer. He says that’s what editing folks do…they drink beer and edit. In direct contrast, I notice the person actually doing the editing, however, seems to be knocking that theory right out of the park (<---- one more lame baseball reference). The more he drinks (at times two fisting them), the louder he becomes, and the less sense he makes (imagine that). He gets hooked on the tag line, “need we play more” He says it’s a play on the words, “need we say more” or “need we pay more.“ He loves it, but Marcela tells him it doesn’t make sense. He insists it’s almost genius, and he wonders aloud what he’ll come up with after seven more beers, because he’s just getting better and better. Ryan, you’re breaking my heart, sweetie, although his silly grin does get cuter and cuter with each beer he downs. *sigh* Several beers later, he wants to throw in (<--- yep,one more) a subliminal message to fly Song. Hoo, boy.
Pitching (<----Yet Another) Their Ideas
The passengers who will be critiquing the commercials, as well as Alexis and Charles, are on the plane, when Primarius enters to introduce their vision, A Breath of Fresh Air. It’s a concise message with graphics clearly stating the $99 fare, that also includes an emotional tug in the form of an adorable little girl saying she’s going to Los Angeles. The survey forms are completed, and then it’s Matchstick’s turn. Marcela introduces their video by saying, “it’s time to come and play with Song.” The video is rather disjointed and downright silly at times, but the audience seems to laugh at their antics. When filling out the survey forms, we see someone begin writing, “you won’t…,” but we’re left to wonder how she finishes the sentence, and the not knowing is killing me, so I’ve come up with a few suggestions:
1. Let me run around naked?
2. Let me off the plane whenever I want?
3. Catch me flying this lame carrier.
4. Catch me trying to be Martha’s apprentice.
Marcela and Ryan think their video “rocked the house.” Yeah, well, we’ll see about that.
And The Winner Is…
Martha asks Matchstick how they feel they did, and Marcela says they saw a positive reaction from the test audience. When she asks Bethenny about their presentation, she says they’re very proud. Charles breaks the news that Primarius received an overall score of 4.2 out of 5 points. Matchstick came in at 2.8, clearly losing the task. Martha agrees with the survey, and Charles adds that Song was so impressed with the Primarius video, they’re actually going to run it as a real spot. I hope the team is satisfied with the win, because Martha informs them her (lame) idea of a reward is to go horse-back riding with her tomorrow, followed by a rousing game of Scrabble. They can hardly mask their excitement at the thought. How low is the budget for this show anyway?
Who’s Playing Whom?
Martha’s staff is busily brushing, feeding and maintaining the horses, as our friends pull up to her majestic estate. I don’t know much about horses, but I know enough to recognize a beautiful horse when I see it, and she’s got plenty of gorgeous steeds romping around her property. Martha joins her three hopeful apprentices and likens them to driving a carriage. She tells them since there are three of them, and they’ve won three tasks in a row, they could be called “three abreast.” I wait for Jim to come up with a sexual innuendo, but he remains silent, disappointing me. Since Martha’s only looking for one person, she says the “trinity will have to become a single.” Nice way to say hello, Martha. Yeah, you’re all great, but since only one of you can win, I’m looking forward to watching you scratch each other’s eyes out vying for my so-called Apprentice position. Now, let’s go have some fun!
They all don those black English riding helmets, climb aboard their chosen horses, and slowly clomp around Martha’s grounds. She continuously asks the rhetorical question, “isn’t this beautiful?” making sure they covet all that she owns. Yes, Martha, we adore you and your possessions. Jim muses that while Dawna was riding in the rear by herself, he was up front riding alongside Martha chewing the fat with her. Eventually they bob their way back to the homestead where we can only anticipate the excitement of playing Scrabble with Martha.
Dawna’s bio states she was a former Olympic swimming hopeful. I bring this up as an attempt to explain how in the hell she can be born and raised in this country, in this day and age, and yet have never played the board game Scrabble. She must have been swimming every spare moment she had, to not have known the thrill of being able to take advantage of the ‘Z’ or ‘Q’ tile on a red triple word score spot. Jim is able to make the word fluster, and it seems rather prophetic as Dawna is truly thrown by the concept of the game. Martha, keeping a somewhat insincere smile pasted on her face, helps Dawna with her plays. The exciting *yawn* reward ends, and the trio heads back to their car. When leaving, Jim states that Martha is “cute,” which she overhears and coyly says with a flirtatious laugh, “whoever calls the boss cute?” You know she’s not truly buying what Jim is selling, though, and I’m guessing after that comment, Bethenny or Dawna can anticipate shopping for the new wardrobe they’ll be needing for the apprentice job.
Let’s Start Packing
Meanwhile, back in the loft, Marcela tells Ryan they both knew he was in a secure spot when the task began since his record was two wins, no losses as PM. She wants to know if he slacked off during this task, knowing that if they lost, she would be more at risk of going home. He’s dumbfounded (or was he just dumb during this task?) that after all the work he put into acting, directing and producing, she could even question his effort. He says the “beer thing” was just his way of celebrating that they had completed all the tasks (however premature it was to celebrate BEFORE they had actually completed this final one). They both decide to pack their bags, just in case.
Games People Play
Martha, Charles and, I think Alexis, are already seated in the conference room when Ryan and Marcela enter. You see, I think that’s Alexis seated to Martha’s right, but it’s hard to tell because she’s SO FAR AWAY, SHE MIGHT AS WELL BE IN ANOTHER HEMISPHERE. Ryan acknowledges the whole concept from start to finish was his (crappy) idea. The group watches the Matchstick video and early on Charles stops it. He asks Ryan what the heck was that image that just flashed across the screen. Ryan explains it’s a subliminal image to get the viewer’s attention. Charles scoffs at the idea, and says it’s just confusing. They finish the video, and Martha zeroes in on the Need We Play More line. Ryan explains it’s a play on words. Alexis asks (from the other hemisphere) if they knew the target audience wasn’t men, to which Ryan replies he felt 40+ year-old women wouldn’t have a problem seeing guys in uniforms. Martha then reads some of the comment cards: “the athlete thing made no sense,” “the acting was bad,” “hard to believe this was an actual commercial,” and “I felt like I was watching a bad sitcom with clowns.” Ouch. Ryan begins to squirm in his chair, and Marcela slouches more than usual, and exhales loudly. Charles tells Ryan he’s not Woody Allen, apparently telling him he hasn’t married his step-daughter. Oh, wait, he means “it’s hard to write it, direct it, star in it, edit it, think of subliminal approaches…”
From there Charles turns his attention to Marcela, and says he spoke to the editor, and he wonders if she had as much beer as Ryan. She says she had one beer, and Ryan admits to drinking four or five. Martha questions why he drank so much, and his outrageous reply is that “it was free.” Oy. Martha says they both messed up, and Charles says it’s okay to have fun while working, but you need to deliver the goods. Martha tells Ryan his video didn’t work, and perhaps he needs to go to business school to get more education. If Marcela is beginning to think the heat is off her, Martha puts her back on the fire by telling her she doesn’t see any passion in her, and her record as PM is two losses, no wins, and that she’s also been on eight losing teams. Then in an attempt to wrap up this dismal season as quickly as possible, Martha goes with the continuing baseball analogy of a double play and screams with the gusto of any seasoned umpire, “you’re outta here!” (well in my mind anyway). In reality, she simply bids goodbye to both Ryan and Marcela.
Lame letter #1:
Your posture leaves a lot to be desired. Stand up straight, then perhaps I'll let you cook for my horses. M.S.
Lame letter #2:
I won’t be hiring you to work for me at MSLO, However, you are an adorable drunk, and I could always use you for cheap entertainment at my holiday parties. M.S.
Next week we can look forward to the scathing interviews as the final three are put through the wringer, Martha style. To book Ryan and his lampshade for your holiday party (after me, of course), contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Yoo, hoo, Ryan!