Episode 5 (12/8): The Little Engine That Wouldn't
I Hate My Job Episode 5 (12/8): The Little Engine That Wouldn’t
Wouldn’t life be easier if things always went the way we wanted? Every outdoor event would be greeted by a clear blue sky, every new book we went to buy would be in stock, and our favorite team would win every year. Heck, I’d actually get through my to do list every day at work. Oh well.
You Reap What You Sow
As the episode opens, Frank goes to enjoy his prize. He is to meet with a stylist downtown for his wardrobe makeover. We then see never before aired footage of Josh R. acting shocked that Wannabe Josh actually earned $50 last week. He thought he’d earned nothing. Frank tells us that he can’t wait to see what happens with the stylist. We skip most of his makeover with Hollywood stylist Stephanie Fiallo (sp?). Either she’s so famous I should know how to spell her last name, or she is so cheap that unlike everyone else who has appeared on this show she refused to pay Spike for graphics to show how to spell it. Jim’s prize of performing with the improv group apparently went well. All we see is him in character doing a bit about sex toys and receiving applause. Art seems pleased with the results of his $500 “shopping spree.” He thinks he got a lot of great new tools. Personally, even though I hate shopping, I hardly consider $500 a spree. Where are Stacy and Clinton when you need them? Josh’s penalty is truly punitive. It includes cleaning a disgusting urinal. Those of you who are gluttons for punishment (i.e. read my first recap) will remember that I can relate to how unpleasant this task is. Josh acknowledges that if he screws up again he’s up bleep creek. Considering he’s off the show if he gets another penalty, I’d say he’s spot on.
Don’t Hit the Hurdles
Back at the house, the guys meet with the Rev and Stephanie. Al tells them that “some say three is a charm. We’ll see if that’s true for the four of you.” At least he resisted the urge to try to make it rhyme. Al lets the guys know that the stakes are higher and reminds them that if any of them receives two penalties, he is gone. We don’t hear Al tell the guys what their challenges are. Instead, he and Stephanie leave.
Jim informs us that his next challenge is to arrange to do open mike at four comedy clubs in one night. Jim goes to meet with his mentor Barry. Barry is possibly the nerdiest man ever. Think Gilligan Gooner with blonde hair. After imparting his wisdom regarding the best comedy clubs in town, Barry illustrates his lack of original humor by telling Jim, “A lot of phenomenal comedians can’t get on. The chances of you calling up and getting on are slim and none and slim left town.” Jim is a little nervous about this challenge because open mike is so notoriously brutal. Barry tries to reassure him by telling him that he’s resourceful. Of course, that scene is followed by Jim making phone calls to comedy clubs and looking like futility personified. The highlights include Jim saying “that woman’s insane, won’t be going there.”
The Joshes are sitting on a couch at the house looking like one of the body language posters hanging in the copy room at my office (I’ve rented space at the same place for two years, and I’ve still never worked up the nerve to ask why the posters are there). Jersey Josh looks like he’s giving Josh R. the Heisman and saying to him that “I think you’re changing what my goal is dude.” Josh R. and his magic 8 ball cane call him on it, and we flash back to a scene of Jersey Josh telling Josh R. that he is sick of not getting paid for his troubles. Josh R. says that if you had asked me, I would have told you that the normal fee for planning an event is 15 to 20 percent of the budget. He follows up by telling Wannabe Josh that if he had clarified this part at the beginning, the Rev and Stephanie would have still been able to nitpick the garbage, but they wouldn’t have had any big ammunition. At the end of the conversation, Wannabe Josh says “I got you dude.” I’m disappointed because I was hoping for a duel complete with pistols at 100 feet.
Compton Frank appears afraid to enter the B2B Salon(?). Once again, the lack of graphics or a shot of the business sign leave me to guess as to the exact name. Tomiko manages to coax him inside; she gives him a lecture on the importance of foot and hand care. Frank seems to think that pedicures aren’t so bad after all. I could have told him they rock. Finally, we learn that Tomiko has set Frank up for the Great Mustache Ambush. Frank goofily seems to think that shaving his mustache off might “give me a less masculine look towards a gay look.” Let me just say, not so much. More like less of a ‘70s porn or Shaft look. Tomiko is quite pleased by the no longer mustachioed Frank.
Art and the Zen of Motorcycle Maintenance
Art’s challenge is to build a mini-chopper. Jerry once again cues up the Jeopardy music and tells Art that he has four hours to complete his task. This time, Jerry adds a twist in an off-handed manner. There are no instructions for building the bike.
Frank arrives at the California Market Center clean-shaven and looking fine. At the Center, Frank meets up with Mikey Kaufman who is surprisingly a woman. How to describe Mikey? If she signed up with match.com, she’d get matched up with Art’s mentor, Jerry, the tattooed, Harley riding guy. She is wearing a see-through mesh top and her right arm (but not her left) is covered in tattoos. Frank is immediately comfortable with Mikey because they have similar backgrounds. Mikey tells Frank that this is where the business end of the fashion industry happens. Every six weeks, the buyers for stores are shown product. Frank’s success in this challenge will depend on his ability to help move the product. Mikey makes Frank knock knuckles with her before they get down to business and cross the street.
On the way across the street, Frank remarks that his goal is to keep it gangsta. After they enter the Da Nang showroom (the clothing line Frank will be modeling), Mikey demonstrates that she has marshmallowy goodness inside. She sits Frank down and lectures him about not wanting him to pigeon hole himself. She tells him she wants him to succeed and thinks he is attractive and ambitious. He shouldn’t sell himself short. The impression Frank makes in the first 20 seconds is critical to his future in the industry. She repeats a recurring theme, telling Frank that models are to be seen and not heard. And, here I thought that was children. Frank is grateful for her advice and really seems to respect Mikey.
Jim has managed to turn his luck around and book himself at four clubs. He leaves the house feeling confident about his material but worried about the logistics of performing at four clubs in one night. Jim is determined to take Barry’s advice to heart. His first performance seems to go relatively well. He leaves to a nice round of applause, and tells us he definitely didn’t bomb.
Joshie Bar the Door
Josh’s challenge is to act as a doorman at two clubs. The first club is Club 66. Josh chats with the owner, Nick Moller (graphics included). Nick tells Josh that a doorman’s job is to prevent anyone undesirable from coming in and ruining the club’s little Disneyland atmosphere. Huh? Josh demonstrates that he has learned something by inarticulately questioning Nick about getting paid for working. Nick informs Josh that he normally pays his doormen $15-$20 if things go well. No word on what they get paid if things don’t go swimmingly. Josh acknowledges that he’s been working his ass off and yet he has nothing to show. I hate it when that happens. Nick the Owner introduces Josh to Nick the Doorman. Enough with the duplicate names already Spike. Nick the Doorman tells Josh to lose the jeans (not literally) and wear slacks. It’s more professional. Josh checks ids and manages to demonstrate a little bit of a spine. On the whole, it goes well.
Josh then starts whining about Josh R’s mentoring technique. The bottom line is that Jersey Josh has a hard time retaining the pearls of wisdom bestowed upon him. There are a lot of “dudes” in the actual speech. Miraculously, Josh R. then shows up to impart his knowledge on a somewhat overwhelmed looking Wannabe Josh. Wannabe Josh even tells us that, “It’s like a drive by shooting with advice you know.” Josh R. extols the virtues of being a kinder, gentler but firm doorman. I’m pretty sure this part went completely over Jersey Josh’s head.
Mikey gives Frank shirts to model and tells him to layer them. Mikey then demonstrates that assuming means we might actually see Frank’s ass by casually saying to Frank that she assumes he has underwear on. As it turns out, it’s not such a safe assumption. The day is saved, however. Frank has brought underwear (and I’m pretty sure it’s not the underwear Art discovered at the Junkyard) to change into. Mikey steers Frank into a box-filled closet to change. When Frank emerges with the layered shirts, the assembled critics are not so impressed by the look. They are even less impressed with his walk. Mikey arranges an emergency lesson for Frank with model, Zoska Aleece (graphics also included). Frank takes to the runway strut like a duck to water. Six minutes later, he’s turning and strutting like a seasoned pro.
Jerry tells Art that he wants to “be riding this puppy tonight cruising up and down Main Street picking up women.” This is probably more effective for him than match.com anyway. Art spends some time trying to figure out how the mini-chopper goes together. When he encounters what seems like a problem to him, he asks Jerry for advice. Art is careful to phrase his question to make it clear he doesn’t want Jerry to solve his particular issue. Jerry advises him that sometimes you have to improvise and tells Art to use what he can to fix problems. Art thanks him and searches for parts.
Stephanie shows up to observe Art’s project. Maybe it’s my imagination, but Stephanie seems to be flirting with Art a little. Not that I blame her. His slightly longer hair and goatee have done nothing to detract from his appearance. Stephanie asks Art what is the closest thing to this kind of project he has ever done. It turns out that the answer is assembling a riding lawnmower. When Stephanie asks Art about the lack of instructions, he replies, “Well I’m a guy so I don’t read the instructions anyways [sic].” He illustrates his point by making a flinging motion which both Stephanie and I find endearing. Stephanie says that’s right, “you don’t ask, don’t read, don’t take.” Art acknowledges the truth of Stephanie’s statement and they both smile.
We cut back to Josh on his way to his second nightclub. He’s starting to show a little desperation, telling us that he’s hoping if his dream of being a promoter doesn’t work out, he can get a doorman’s job with a club. Josh enters the Roxy where Josh R., the owner Nick Adler and the head of Roxy Security Leo “Leeno” Ceron (graphics again included) are waiting. Wannabe Josh again demonstrates (1) that his grammar sucks and (2) that he learned last week’s lesson by stuttering something like, “I just want to ask this right away but like what does it pay.” Nick answers that he considers it training the first night but if it works out, they can talk about pay. My inner lawyer instantly starts musing about whether this is a minimum wage violation. Josh checks a few bags and ids. He even checks the id of a 52 year old woman who acts a lot more indignant than I would have expected. I would have gleefully forked over my id if I were her.
Jim is on to his second stop, the LA Improv. After a little trouble finding it, he does a set that includes a joke about a Beverly Hills housewife heckling a homeless person. Afterwards, he tells us that he did what he needed to do, but it wasn’t his best performance. He seems to be more enduring the night than reveling in the experience. Jim’s third performance is at the Friar’s Club. He found it the most relaxing because there were eight comics sitting there and the guy who went before him got no laughs. He knew he wouldn’t get any either. As he explains, the audience looked at me “like I was the biggest dickhead.” True to his expectations, you could hear a pin drop during the part of his set we are shown.
A tired Jim then slogs off to his fourth stop, the M Club where he feels like he should switch up his act. He starts out fine when it turns out there are people from Minnesota in the audience. After that, things quickly go down hill. The audience is ignoring Jim and talking to themselves. Jim gets off the stage as quickly as possible. Barry gives Jim a lecture in the parking lot, telling him, “You can’t ever bail.” He continues by saying that every moment you have on stage is like more education and when you bail after three minutes of an allotted five minute slot, you lose an opportunity. Barry acknowledges that no one in the audience did want to hear him but that happens to even the best comedian. He finishes by saying that it’s okay to be unlikeable; if you go on all night and even one minute works it’s a success.
Project Runway Compton Style
Frank is continuing to model clothes for buyers. One of the buyers requests that he model some pants topless. I’m not sure whether she really wanted to see what the pants looked like or was using this as an excuse to see Frank without his shirt. One of the buyers remarks that the pants are a little big. Mikey continues to mother Frank by telling him to make sure to buckle the pants on the side. The buyers feign disgust at Frank having a little butt crack showing. Mikey tells us that he had a little butt crack and front showing. He needs to be conscious not to offend high end buyers. She then ushers him back to his dressing closet and reminds him he has to make sure he’s all put together before coming out to model.
Art’s bike comes together before the clock stops ticking. He goes outside with the bike to meet with Jerry’s client, Bill Freiburg. Art tells him that he has a little present for him. Bill notices a little chip in the paint, but is in general pleased with the appearance of the bike. Bill then says he wants to hear it run. The next sequence gives me flashbacks to a time many years ago when I was in charge of mowing the family lawn. Art tries repeatedly to get the motor started but has no luck. Much as I used to do with our crappy lawnmower, he continues to pull the cord with no results. Jerry anxiously looks on. By the end, it’s painful to watch, and Art is clearly upset.
Josh has survived his time at the Roxy door and is given the opportunity to work solo at the door of On the Rox, the VIP room of the Roxy. Nick and Josh R. observe him on a monitor and through a live feed. The band playing is supposed to be done already and Nick and Josh R. are expecting a mob scene once the encore is over. We see Josh let in a guy and girl who tell him they are part of the band without providing any verification. He then lets in some guy who gives a lame line about being part of the show without checking his id. At this point, Josh R. utters the line from last week’s preview about Josh being off the show.
Mikey once again has to remind Frank to make sure that he’s totally put together before he comes out to model. She grabs the front of his pants and points out he needs to button up. Frank tells us that he’s putting all his pride on the line, his whole family’s health care on the line, and his financial responsibility on the line. Unless he remembers to button up, he’s putting a lot more on the line. The buyers are done looking at clothes. Mikey asks if they are writing an order, and the buyers say yes rather emphatically. Tomiko and Mikey discuss how Frank did. Mikey thinks he did well, but there are a few things he needs to work on. She reviews the sloppy prep and the butt crack incident and surprise, surprise throws in that there was too much talking. The bottom line though is that Frank managed to move $25,000 worth of product. Tomiko is suitably impressed. Mikey and Frank say good bye with an elaborate knuckle knocking ritual.
Maybe Josh won’t be off the show after all. He starts to turn people away after Nick called him and told him that no one else is allowed upstairs at this point. Next thing you know, six of Josh’s extremely drunk buddies show up. Coincidence? I think not. They hassle him to let them in. Josh stands firm and shows some spine shoving one of his incoherently babbling friends away from the door. He continues to stand his ground and Nick and Josh R. are pleased. At the end, he feels like he did his best and kept the right people out.
It turns out that Jim has booked a fifth comedy “club.” The final place is Hostile. Oh wait; it is actually, a hostel. Jim does a pretty good impression of Kermit the Frog as a preacher. The backpackers are appreciative and give him a big round of applause. He doesn’t feel good or like it boosted his ego. We see him flop down on his bed exhausted.
The Penalty Phase
Back in the Judgment Room, the Rev tells the guys that his expectations have risen. Jim is the first in the hot seat. Barry says that his only critique is that people aren’t carrying Jim on their shoulders yet. Stephanie thinks his style is a little aggressive. Jim defends himself saying that he only has one sense of humor and it’s probably a little angry and aggressive. He can’t change it for the audience. The Rev reserves judgment. Josh nervously enters the spotlight. When asked how he did, Josh R. breaks into a grin and says he did well. The Rev asks Josh R. if he thinks Josh learned from his punishment. Josh R. emphatically states that he knows he did and that he is proud of Jersey Josh. Stephanie opines that Josh was a man who was going to get his job done no matter what.
Frank and Tomiko are next. Tomiko tells the Rev that one of the major things I told Frank was that he’s walking around for clients. Tomiko mentions the low pants incident. She then decides to share too much, saying that if pubic hair is showing you can ask the designer if they really want you to wear the clothes if you are not comfortable. Tomiko emphasizes Frank’s overall performance, however, and states that $25,000 is an outstanding day. Stephanie pipes up that Frank looks amazing and he delivered. When asked by the Rev, Frank delivers a lame line about how he is going to take professional criticism and the Rev somewhat calls him on it. Art and Jerry go last. Jerry explains that there was a small piece of flashing or dirt in the carburetor when the customer came to pick up the bike so it wouldn’t start. Stephanie says that the bottom line is that Art’s performance was negative. Art tells the Rev that he once again had fun. When asked directly about the engine problem, Art doesn’t even try to defend himself and says there is nothing to discuss. I think this may have been a mistake on Art’s part.
Jim gets a reward. He is going to meet with Emmy award winning writer K.P. Anderson and sit and talk. I have no idea whether this is a good or sucky reward because I have no clue who K.P. is. The Rev tells Josh that he showed good judgment so he is not going home. Al is making him a VIP and sending him out with three buddies for a VIP night on the town complete with a VIP wardrobe. I suggest he not bring any of the friends who showed up at On the Rox. Frank also gets a prize. His prize is a night out with big people in the industry. The Rev was a little vague about who he considers big. Not too surprisingly, Art gets a penalty because of his lack of performance. Al wants him to pay even more particular attention to detail. He is to design 10 logos for Jerry’s shop, one of which will be displayed on the door. Al switches sports this week to baseball, telling the guys that “some of you hit and some of you missed.” I can hardly wait for next week’s hockey speech which I’m sure will involve slap shots and pucks. He then tells us he’ll catch us on the rebound again. Sigh.
A very relieved Josh says you’ve got to step it up or if you stay on the same path you go home. Jim’s Ivy League roots are showing as he arrogantly tells us that being a stand up comedian is more difficult than any of the other guys’ dream jobs. Frank is worried about his focus. Art is philosophical about his penalty. He knows these things happen.
Will Someone Go Home?
Next week, Josh has the fun job of handing out flyers on a street corner. Frank has to take off his wedding ring and pose up close and personal with hot models. Art appears to be screwing up again. Finally, Stephanie busts Jim regarding his continuous flirting with her. I’m not so sure she’d have brought it up if it was Art.
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