January 13, 2006

Martha whoops Tyra's bootay

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I'm talking about ratings, of course, although I'm sure M. Diddy could take her down in a fight, too.

Sorry I'm a little behind the times with this -- I've been in near-hibernation since the Amazing Race finale, at least blog-wise. The reality-TV pickins are slim in January, but I've still been watching my Martha! And it seems like other people have too, as the show's ratings have picked up a bit over the last few months, and it's been renewed for another season.

Thank God! I personally love the show -- it's much more "real Martha" than the fake-ish, uber-scripted Apprentice: Martha Stewart. Where else could I learn how to make the most complicated and delicious cake ever (I've set aside 36 hours this weekend to prepare one myself), while listening to Martha and Fran Drescher discuss how much they love to date men who are much, much younger than them?

If only Martha would have Phil Keoghan on her show, my life would be complete.

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 5:50 PM | Category: - Martha -

December 1, 2005

I hear it playing, and it's playing for Leslie

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You know, Linda, funny you should mention the "stupid music." I was just musing about that tonight as I was watching last night's episode of The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. The two teams were challenged to spend $65,000 (!!!) to design and execute a showroom for a new Buick that is trying to be classy enough to be considered a Cadillac. Team Primarius, the sensible team, decided to make a minimalist design with black contemporary benches surrounding a silver platform in the middle that featured the car. It looked nice and the GM executives liked it so much they decided to use it in their 2700 showrooms around the country! I saw the relief in their faces as they realized they wouldn't have to use that "I like my car so much I took it out to dinner" campaign they had been busy planning.

So imagine their horror when they saw the final result of Team Matchstick's $65,000 disaster. It consisted of some platforms stacked on top of each other with some dirty canvas tarps thrown over them and a vase of flowers in the middle (see above photo). The idea was that the car was so luxurious that you wanted to take it into the restaurant with you, hence the slogan "No Valet Necessary." Too bad the "restaurant" looked like it had been built by the outcasts on Survivor. Even Alexis was appalled, "The elegant restaurant just wasn't elegant."

Now, for the record I thought the "take your car to dinner" idea was cute (being Ryan's idea, how could it not be?), but as soon as Team Matchstick started putting it together, the "stupid music" began and it quickly became apparent that Matchstick was going to lose, even though Jim and Betheny of Primarius were bickering like five-year-old children throughout their project. The music drove home the point that Project Manager Leslie Sanchez was simply not content to ruin the United States of America (by creating expensive Republican marketing campaigns directed at Hispanic voters for the Bush administration), but she wanted to ruin Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia as well, by using her dubious market research skills to, as Martha put it, "talk a lot but say very little," and eventually produce nothing. Way to go Leslie! Now that Martha has kicked you out, you can go back to writing Republican propaganda and being generally tacky.

On a side note, did anyone find Dawna and MSLO CEO Susan Lyne strikingly similar-looking? I think that could work either for or against Dawna, depending on whether there is room for another blonde at MSLO.

Posted by Karen Heins at 11:18 PM | Category: - Martha - | Comments (3)

November 18, 2005

Jim is invincible!

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I’m not trying to feed his manic delusions or anything, but I’m starting to actually believe it’s true. Jim is invincible! Or at least he’s on a bit of a lucky streak.

Last week, Martha tasked the teams with a project that echoed en episode of last season’s The Apprentice: hawking crap on QVC. This time, it was fancy air-pump-things and retractable hoses.

Primarius definitely had the short end of the on-air-talent-stick, though, with Dawna (who is only modestly more exciting to watch than Alexis Stewart, who is actually modestly less exciting to watch than Henry Kissinger), and the trio of Jim, Bethenny and Howie (who have a tendency to scare old ladies and babies, which incidentally represent 99% of QVC’s viewership). The original plan was for Howie and Dawna to be on TV. But when it became apparent that Howie was going to be a total disaster, Project Manager Bethenny replaced him at the last minute with Jim, who surprisingly performed fairly well. At least he didn’t claim that the product cured skin disorders, or recommend massaging your wife with it. Hmm, air pump massages. Kinky!

Alas, fairly well wasn’t good enough, and Dawna, Jim, Bethenny and Howie were sent to the conference room, and ultimately Howie didn’t fit in.

Fast forward to this week and Dawna was having a mini-breakdown because she had to be “mean to Bethenny” in the conference room. Um, have you met Bethenny? I think she can handle your “meanness,” sweetie.

Amanda, in typical Burnett-esque-painfully-obvious-foreshadowing, said, “I’m just confused at this point what Martha Stewart is looking for, because I don’t know. If she likes Jim then she’s probably not going to like me, because we're very very opposite.” Oh Amanda, you and Jim are not that different! First, you both love to make crazy faces.

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Jim’s Phil Koeghan impression

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Amanda’s girl-with-no-legs-and-a-weird-face impression

And second… well, OK, that’s all I got. Yep, you’re totally getting booted today.

The following morning, Martha’s floating head delivered the next assignment. Actually, it was Martha’s floating upper body this time, as he had to hold a delicious hot beverage prepared using her Tassimo Hot Beverage System.

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Mmmmmmm. Hot beverages.

The teams would be given $40,000(!) each to set up a retail space to sell the THBS (it is much more than a mere coffee maker, you know. I actually kind of want one. Must… buy… everything… Martha… touches…).

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Leslie was so excited about the THBS that she threw up a little in her mouth.

The teams were off and running, and the newly-Howie-less Primarius came up with the (great) idea of hiring a promotional team with expertise in setting up retail spaces in very short time periods to oversee the task. They did have a $40,000 budget. What else could you possibly spend that much money on?

Apparently you could also spend it on a “celebrity pastry chef,” as Matchstick did. Now, the idea doesn’t sound totally bad. There are lots of celebrity chefs who I think could draw a crowd. Unfortunately, Matchstick chose someone who even I have never heard of, and I (a) love pastries, and (b) literally watch cooking shows almost 24 hours a day (with breaks only to bowl, pee, and watch other shows, such as this one). So, maybe this gal made some delicious cupcakes, but unless the goal was to attract the “oooooh free food!!!” crowd that was randomly wandering the streets in the middle of the day (which I would not imagine to be the most likely to purchase a $169+ hot beverage system on the spot), the idea wasn’t the smartest.

Ryan, incidentally, had the idea to get a non-food-related celebrity to attend the event. For some inexplicable reason, however, when given a choice between Mary Tyler Moore and Vincent Pastore aka “Big Pussy” of the Sopranos, he got totally excited about the idea of inviting Big Pussy, which, of course, totally got shot down.

Side note: I wanted to title this post “Everybody Loves Big Pussy!” but I thought that might be a little too dirty-sounding. Would you have been offended?

Umm guys, FYI. Who loves Mary Tyler Moore? Who is very likely to buy a fancy kitchen appliance like the THBS? Who has their National Headquarters in Manhattan? If you answered gays for all of the above… ding ding ding, you’re right! Duh, it was the perfect marketing strategy.

In any event, the pastry-fest flopped magnificently, with Matchstick selling only 9 units of the THBS (I’ve started calling it the “thibs” in my head), while Jim led Primarius to a decisive victory with 36 units sold. Booyah! That means Marcela is 0-2 as project manager. She barely escaped dismissal last time, so now we can assume she’s totally done for, right?

The whole team seemed to be against her, and she was sobbing away and moping around, so it almost seemed like a foregone conclusion. I was sad, because I do like Marcela (mostly because she’s obviously the biggest Martha-maniac among the group, which I can totally relate to.) FYI Martha, my sugar buns are even better than Marcela’s, and they are much more satisfying.

But then, in comes Jim to console a distraught Marcela. Well not console, exactly. He actually prepared her conference-room offense for her in exact word-for-word (crazy face-for-crazy face) detail. Why would he do this, considering she’s on the other team? I actually have no idea. But it was definitely a good thing.

In the conference room, Alexis hit Matchstick with some stinging criticism.

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You guys were like, dead. The most morose… (Sorry, I missed the rest. I fell asleep during her sentence.)

Oh, Alexis, I kid you. I still love you (and your recipe for Brown-Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies). Mmmmmmm.

Marcela decided to bring Ryan and Amanda back into the conference room with her. Martha asked Amanda why she wanted to work for her, and she gave some long-winded, totally incomprehensible answer about loving to garden (not work in the garden, just garden. It’s much more fun.) and being “flawed.” Um, yeah, your flaw is that you make no sense. I don’t think that’s a plus.

Marcela, on the other hand, talked about bringing MSLO to the Latin American market (i.e., actually buying the products, not just making them), and called herself the “Mexican Martha Stewart.” Linda Weaver then popped in to translate: “that’s Martha-o Stewart-o, for my Spanish-speaking amigos.”

Martha apparently liked the idea, and by the end of Marcela’s spiel, she had already constructed a beta-version of the Martha Stewart Everyday Tortilla Press (aka the MSLO hot flat wheat-or-corn-based meal system) underneath the table using only her toes (she is a multi-tasker, you know).

In the end, Martha said that Ryan was an upright young man, and Marcela was passionate about her work. But Amanda was not a “team player” and “that sort of behavior has no place at MSLO.” She wrote her a very cordial note where she informed her that perhaps she should stick to her gardening. Ohhh was that a dis? I think so!

So last week Jim escaped another conference room firing. This week, he led his team to victory, and then basically orchestrated the ouster of the person he wanted fired from the other team! JIM IS INVINCIBLE!!! Mwahahahahah.

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 12:31 PM | Category: - Martha -

November 12, 2005

The many faces of Martha

Yes, the witch below is none other than the queen of Halloween (and everything else), Martha Stewart! I just love Halloween, but who has the time to put together a costume every year? Well, since Martha doesn't sleep, she does... and I've assembled a sampling of some her spooky incarnations below.

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Gosh, all of these creative costumes make me want to dress up next year! Maybe I'll go as Michelle Godlewski... I wouldn't really even need a costume, just a funny accent and a silk-screened t-shirt! Now, if I can just convince Karen to go as Marion Paolo.... holy crap!

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 4:47 PM | Category: - Martha -

Name that witch!

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Who is she???

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 8:59 AM | Category: - Martha - | Comments (2)

November 4, 2005

Blondes do it better

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It's true what they say! Unless, of course, the blondes in question are the two ladies pictured above, and the "it" that they’re doing is anything that requires leadership, creativity, rapping, and/or stain-removing pens.

In this week’s episode of The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, we witnessed the worst Apprentice defeat since that time a team built a batting cage inside Dick’s Sporting Goods with the goal of boosting sales, and instead caused a 30-something percent decline in revenues. Oh wait, wasn’t that last week? Yeesh.

This week, Martha phoned the teams to say, "I’m sorry I can’t be with you today. I’m on my way to an important business meeting." (Translation: "I'm sorry I can’t be with you today. I haven’t figured out how to take off this damn ankle bracelet yet, so I’m in the backseat of my car, parked in the garage, pretending to be on my way to an important business meeting.")

The latest task challenged the domestic-divas-in-training to advertise "Tide To Go" (a pretty amazing little "pen" that "erases" stains instantly) by creating a "live action mobile billboard." What on earth is a "live-action mobile billboard," you ask? Well, it’s basically a truck (mobile) that you dress up with some advertising props (billboard), and then you park it in Times Square and have people in costume harass passers-by with obnoxious advertising "skits" (live-action).

Sounds cool, huh? Because if there’s anything Times Square really needs it’s humongous vehicles that occupy 5 parking spots, and more advertising (that screams at you!).

Primarius was led by bumbling-blonde Sarah and her second-in-command, blown-out-blonde Carrie. While Jim designed a fairly professional-looking backdrop for the truck mobile live-action billboard and Howie came up with the obviously ridiculous idea of creating a boxing character, the fair-haired leadership conceptualized this marketing scheme: "Tide To Go – It’s on the go!" I’ll just let the brilliance of that concept sink in for a bit. You really need to think about it for a minute to truly "get" it.

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Little known fact: Carrie and TAR:FE’s Weaver Mom share the same hairdresser.

Matchstick, on the other hand, under the leadership of better-blonde Dawna, created "Tide To Go Joe," a (gasp!) boxing character who was a cross between a superhero and a detergent stick.

Side Note: The best part about The Apprentice this season: lots of cute guys in unitards! (I know Karen would agree with me, because anyone who knows Karen knows that she loves a man in a unitard.)

A few weeks ago, on Donald’s show, we witnessed Mark dress up as Ginny the Blizzard Genie in an advertising task for Dairy Queen. Then, on Martha’s show this week, Ryan donned orange spandex to perform as Tide To Go Joe! Who was cuter? My vote goes to Ryan, but maybe the playing field wasn’t exactly level, what with Mark wearing fake boobs and all. What did you think?

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In the end, Matchstick’s spandex hero won over the ad execs, while Primarius’s very uncreative slogan, "Tide To Go... Tide To Go... it's time for Tide To Go!" which was made even worse by rapping it at the top of their lungs while each team member pantomimed a 4 hour seizure on top of the truck, was a complete flop. Imagine that!

UPDATE: If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth... a million? I don't know. Anyway, check out TVgasm's video of this truly unforgettable (though I really wish I could) performance here.

Better-than-you-at-everything-blonde Martha was most pleased with Matchstick’s performance, rewarding them with a trip to her Bedford estate (Note to beautiful-bowling-blonde self: if ever sentenced to house arrest, get a Bedford estate). They were treated to a lavish breakfast, and Marcela was the very personal recipient of an unusually intimate bun-grabbing experience.

But back in the conference room, billionaire-businesswoman-blonde Martha was most displeased with the work of Primarius, calling their live-action mobile billboard "an embarrassment." Someone had to be fired, and despite bonehead-blonde Sarah’s best efforts to pin it all on Howie, boss-of-the-boardroom blonde Martha wasn’t buying her b.s., and she sent both of the blondies (sorry, I ran out of adjectives that start with a "b") packing.

Lessons learned: Blondes usually do it better, but sometimes even blondes have bad ideas. And, cute guys in unitards = always a good idea.

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Posted by Linda Ruiz at 3:14 PM | Category: - Martha - | Comments (2)

October 29, 2005

I love crazies!

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On TV, I mean. Real life is another story. Once I visited Washington DC and a very crazy lady ran up to my mom and pointed at her and screamed “YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE!!!” She stared at us for a few seconds, then sat down on the bench next to me and started playing the guitar, while simultaneously peeing in her pants. I certainly could have lived without that experience. But on television, crazies are so much fun, and The Apprentice always delivers in that respect.

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Remember these gals?

This year, The Donald’s show doesn’t really have a certifiable loony. Toral was kind of nuts, but in a psycho-self-important-corporate way, not in a psycho-fun way. Thankfully, Martha’s edition does…

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No, not her! She's just like you and me. I always wear gold clogs when I walk my dogs.

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Yes, Jim! He’s totally crazy. Seriously, I think he’s manic or something. But he’s fun to watch.

Jim thinks he’s all-powerful. And things that he wants to happen actually do, which only reinforces it. He wanted Dawn out, and Martha fired her. He “warned” Jennifer not to take him into the boardroom, and now she’s gone! Then he said if Martha made him project manager, victory was guaranteed. No problem. He’ll be like Babe Ruth and hit one out of the park! And he was right, again!

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Whoa! Don’t screw with me, little pinky finger! I will cut you down, GUARANTEED!

All of this seems to be feeding his crazy delusion that he can do anything, beat anyone. And I must admit, I think I’m getting sucked into his little Jim-world, because I’m really starting to like him.

Or maybe I’m just liking the fact that I know that he’ll eventually self-destruct, and it will be totally fun to watch the truly all-powerful being (Martha, of course) spank him back to reality.

Hmm, it’s probably the latter.

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 8:23 PM | Category: - Martha - | Comments (1)

October 16, 2005

Martha!

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Since TAR isn't exactly riveting this season, I figured we could talk about some other shows that we like, too! Karen and I are big Apprentice fans, and I'm absolutely loving this season of The Apprentice: Martha Stewart!

Well, many of you may not know this, but the BEST part of the show actually takes place the following morning, when the "fired" contestant makes the requisite appearance on Martha's daytime show, Martha! It's especially fun when someone totally annoying gets booted (like the last two, Dawn and Shawn, who incidentally bears a freakish resemblance to Jerri Blank). The interaction usually goes something like this:

(Martha plays video of contestant doing something extremely stupid and getting fired)

MARTHA: (grinning) Welcome, _______. You were really AWFUL last night! Really, I mean, I'm sure you're not totally stupid (at least you look like you might be intelligent), but you just made a complete fool of yourself!

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REJECTED "APPRENTICE": (uncomfortable smile)

MARTHA: How could you be so lazy? Aren't you totally embarassed watching that?

REJECTED "APPRENTICE: No, it was fun! I learned a lot! (awkwardness)

MARTHA: Yeah, I'm sure you're a nice person, I would just never want you to work for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You're just totally incompetent, and we can't have incompetent lazy people at MSLO! Now lets make glitter pumpkins together!

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Except with Dawn, Martha just skipped the pumpkin-glittering entirely and instead, chatted with Mark Burnett after dissing her for 5 straight minutes.

Martha, you're AWESOME!

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 2:23 PM | Category: - Martha -