It’s all about Jim this week, and frankly, I’d rather see more from the candidates who are actually taking themselves and their tasks seriously. Jim doesn’t seem to care about the tasks or the end goal. He just wants to get as much attention and camera time as humanly possible, and try to play the blame game in the conference room. Something tells me that Martha can see right through him, however.
Back From the Conference Room
As we kick things off this week, the candidates are in the loft waiting to see who will return from the first conference room session. Dawn and Jim enter, and everyone cheers. Guess Jeff wasn’t all that well-liked, not that this is surprising. Jim morphs into a hyperactive child, pumping his fists and yelling about how people shouldn’t mess with him. Or something. Sometimes it’s difficult to really know what he’s blabbering about. He says privately that he’s trying to send a warning to his other teammates not to mess with him in the conference room, because he will take them all down.
Sarah, meanwhile, says that she is now seeing Jim’s true colours. He’s showing her that he is ruthless and unpredictable. Jim is bragging that he was the one who got Jeff fired with his performance in the conference room, and hints that he could have had Dawn fired instead. Dawn rolls her eyes. In the kitchen, Jim threatens Bethenny that she should have his back and be his friend, since that would be in her best interest. Please send this guy home Martha. The sooner the better.
Planting the Seeds
The phone rings, and it’s Julia, Martha’s secretary. She instructs Howie (who looks a bit disappointed that Martha herself didn’t call) to gather everyone in front of the video screen at 9 o’clock, and warns them not to be late. At 9, Martha appears on the screen surrounded by flowers. She asks if they know the names of all of these flowers, and some of the guys look a bit nervous. As Martha rattles off the names of the buds, Shawn starts writing them down. Heh – a lot of good that will do. Their task this week is simple – open up a flower shop, and make more money than the other team.
Matchstick quickly appoints Chuck, who has experience with flowers, as their Project Manager. He decides that they need to keep it simple – stick with one spring flower and sell them in bunches. Chuck, Shawn, and David head out to look at flowers. They find a vendor who will provide them with 2000 tulips by 6:30am the next morning. Since their store will open at 8, this is perfect. The vendor explains that the blooms are fresh from Holland, and Shawn jumps on that as their marketing angle. Has David even spoken at all yet, by the way? I mean under the radar is fine and all, but who the heck is this guy?
Chuck, Shawn, and David are satisfied with their purchase. Jim, however, is not. He gets on the phone with Chuck and animatedly describes his plan to sell the flowers to nearby hotels. Chuck puts the kibosh on the idea, saying that hotels have their floral suppliers lined up well in advance, but Jim won’t take no for an answer. Bethenny, who is back at the loft with Jim, tries to get the phone away from him so she can talk with Chuck, but Jim refuses. Bethenny finally gets the phone, but Jim is jumping up and down like a monkey on caffeine making things very difficult. Chuck finally gets off the phone and is not a happy camper. Shawn tells us privately that her team is not functioning well together. Talk about an understatement.
Cut to the “Ask Martha” segment, and the question is, “What makes a good leader?” Martha must have been taking lessons from Big Brother 6′s Maggie, because she never does actually answer this question. Instead she tells us that being a good leader is essential to creating a successful business, as we see her go over some designs for furniture and remind some guy that attention to detail is important. Okay then.
If There Be Thorns
Back to Matchstick, because, I’m assuming, Primarius is doing well and experiencing no controversy, which we all know makes for a dull television experience. Let’s stick the with the drama queens. The entire team is back in the loft, and everyone is talking over each other quite loudly, getting nothing accomplished. Poor Chuck is looking around in shock, wondering what to do. Shawn wants to order Dutch girl costumes, but Dawn says that would be trashy. Bethenny wants to focus on appealing to children with a “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” slant (because apparently kids in New York like to spend their lunch money on fresh floral arrangements), but Shawn doesn’t like the idea.
Chuck calls everyone together and tells them that he’s feeling overwhelmed. He wants to do something that no PM has ever done – hand the job over to someone else and leave the loft. That’s not what you want to be remembered for, Chuckaroo (tm Richard, “Beauty and the Geek”). Jim rallies around Chuck, telling him that this is Everest and he’s getting near the top – he can’t quit now. Privately though, Jim confesses that he wants Chuck to stay because he’s obviously easily rattled and will be just as easily picked off in the conference room.
Everyone reassures Chuck that he can do this, and indeed, he does seem to pull it together rather quickly. He pulls everyone in for another attempt at a meeting, and tells them exactly how things will go down. He assigns tasks and lays down the law – and his team actually seems to be listening to him. Score one for Chuck.
Finally it’s time to check in on Primarius. They’re just arriving at their store, and Carrie, the PM (go Carrie!) tells us that Martha told them to “create a gorgeous, welcoming” shop. Maybe the video was actually much longer than what we saw, because I didn’t see or hear Martha tell them anything of the sort. Anyway, Jennifer suggests that they find a “celebrity” floral designer to bring people in. I’m trying to think if I know any famous floral designers off the top of my head, and the closest I can get is, well, Martha Stewart.
Jennifer and Carrie make some phone calls, and end up connecting with Rene Holmstead (I believe that’s his name – as I said, the world of “floral designers to the stars” is unfamiliar territory for me). He’s worked with Oprah, so he must be good. Rene arrives, and wow, he’s a tall dude. At first he’s a little taken aback by the stark and bare shop, but he eventually agrees to put his reputation on the line and go ahead with the project. They didn’t show it, but someone had to have thrown Martha’s name in there somewhere to convince this guy to play along. Rene says that everything has to be done his way, and his prices must be solid. They are not to give discounts or sell things off at lower prices to get them moving.
This was apparently the biggest drama they could scrounge up for Primarius, because now we return to see how Matchstick is doing. Dawn, Bethenny and Marcela are all gussied up in little black dresses and headed out for the evening. They’re not planning to party – they’re going to go and spread the word about their flower shop. At night. Dressed like hookers. Interesting marketing plan, ladies. Out on the street, Bethenny is leaning into some guy’s truck telling him that they will be selling tulips the next day. Then she tells him he’s cute. Dawn tries to get a word in, and Bethenny tells her to step off – this one is hers. Wow. This is just terrible.
The rest of the team is actually making good use of their time, fixing up their shop. Jim wants to get some Brass-o to shine up the hardware on the door. They paint the place in bright colours and even paint the windows with leaves and flowers. It actually looks pretty nice, in a kitschy kind of way.
The ladies of the night show up to see how things are going, and immediately Jim and Dawn are at each other’s throats. Jim asks what the girls were doing, and when he finds out, he suggests they make themselves useful by going to pick up the Brass-o for the door. Dawn argues that they don’t need to be spending money on something like that, but Jim insists that it’s only about six bucks, so it’s no biggie. Have to agree with Jimbo on this one, as much as I hate to admit it. The argument continues until Jim insists that Dawn leave, which she does with Bethenny and Marcela in tow.
Chuck is getting stressed again, and pulls his hoodie over his head and huddles in the corner. On the way back to the loft, Jim is still going on about Dawn, saying that they have to get rid of her even if it means having to lose this task to do it. Shawn is not keen on the idea of losing, and tells Jim to tone it down. Jim insists that Dawn is destroying his business model, whatever the heck that means. Shawn says in a confessional that Jim is ruthless in his pursuit of Dawn now.
It’s flower day, and Primarius is hitting the streets with flyers as Rene desperately tries to get his arrangements ready for the shop’s opening. Rene has brought along everything they need to make the shop look nice, and indeed, it looks very pretty in a thrown-together-at-the-last-minute kind of way. The customers start to arrive, but are quickly discourages by the $45-$150 price tags for floral arrangements. I would be too, quite honestly. Who wants to spend enough to buy a week’s worth of groceries on flowers that will be dead in a week? Howie calls it “sticker shock”, but Carrie is undeterred; she says that with one or two big sales, they’ll be just fine.
Matchstick, meanwhile, has hired some models to strut their stuff in the Dutch girl outfits. They have plenty of customers buying bunches of tulips for $15 a pop. Some guy comes in and buys 10 bunches, and Dawn says that if she ever sees him again, she’s “going to make out with him for three hours”. Hope this guy is mentally stable and not searching for your address and phone number right about now, Dawn. Charles and Alexis, Martha’s eyes and ears, are watching this all unfold. They aren’t impressed with the models, and Charles notes that the teams have very different angles on this task. He wonders which one will be more successful.
Primarius is still waiting for their “one or two big sales”. Howie is getting anxious and explains to Carrie that they need to do something about it now, rather than wait until the last minute. Carrie agrees, but is a little worried about honouring their agreement with Rene. They both go to discuss their concerns with Rene, and surprisingly, he agrees to lower the prices. Howie goes straight into action mode, and the flowers start flying off the shelves.
And the Winner Is …
Back in the conference room, Martha asks how the teams fared in the floral business. Charles says that Primarius did well, outsourcing the arrangements and working together. They brought in a little over $1880. Alexis reports that Matchstick took a different route selling only one type of flower at a lower cost, and ended up with a profit of only $969. Anyone surprised?
Martha congratulates Primarius and tells them that for their reward, they will be helping a charity create a flower garden. They all have smiles on their faces, but you just know they’re thinking “Work? Our reward is work?” As for Matchstick, they will be returning to the conference room so Martha can decide which one of them just doesn’t fit in.
Primarius meets up with the charity folks and turns a plot of dirt into a garden with the help of some kids. They all seem to be having fun, and Sarah says that she understands that Martha was trying to show them that rewards can sometimes be about giving. She points out that Martha does a lot of charitable work herself. There’s a legal sentencing joke in there somewhere, but I’m not going to take the bait. Dawna is in tears while she tells us how meaningful the experience was for her.
Back at the loft, Jim is rallying to get Dawn out of there. He’s telling a small group of teammates how useless she is, while Dawn is sitting at the computer just a few feet away from them. Jim says that Chuck is a “beautiful and eloquent” guy, but calls Dawn a virus. He wants to keep Chuck and sell Dawn down the river in the conference room.
When Chuck enters, Jim tries to work him over. He tells Chuck how much he likes his jacket, calling it “vintage”. When Chuck starts to protest that his jacket is brand new, Jim hurries him over to the table where he’s set out two bottles of Evian and two glasses. Chuck wants nothing to do with it though, and listens while Jim says that the team will stick with him if he agrees to go after Dawn, Jim emphasizes that Chuck can’t resign, or that will ruin everything. Privately, Chuck admits that he has mixed feelings about Jim’s motivation for wanting to keep him in the game. When Chuck leaves, Jim calls out “I love you!”
Reap What You Sow
It’s show time. Martha meets up with Matchstick in the conference room, and is quick to point out that this is their second loss in a row. She asks Marcela why she thinks they lost, and Marcela points to a lack of organization and concentration. When Martha asks Marcela who is responsible, Chuck jumps in and says that he is. Jim starts getting antsy. Chuck explains that they are creative people, and thus are able to come up with many ideas, but lack the discipline to tackle the business end of things.
Martha says that their business plan wasn’t complicated – they stuck to only one type of flower and offered only one product; bunches of tulips. She says that the shop was cute, but she hated the Dutch girls. She thought they were tacky. Sound familiar? Bethenny says that they had trouble with focusing on Holland as their theme, because all they had to work with were tulips and windmills. Martha is shocked, and says Holland has a lot to offer and that she doesn’t want to get hate mail from the Dutch. Heehee – methinks Martha has received her share of hate mail. Personally I enjoy her, but I don’t think I speak for everyone in that sentiment.
Chuck again takes responsibility for the loss, saying that he had trouble organizing the group. Jim, who never misses an opportunity to be dramatic, says that he takes Chuck’s words as a deep, hurtful insult. He further explains that Chuck is throwing his teams’ support back in their faces by admitting defeat and resigning. Chuck insists that he’s not resigning several times.
Jim, not willing to shut his trap and keep attention away from himself, says that the group has a “charlatan” among them. Of course he’s talking about Dawn. Dawn is prepared for the ambush and pulls out a list she made of her contributions to the task. Perhaps this is what she was working on while Jim was trying to get everyone else against her in the loft. She starts out by saying that she pulled in 1/3 of the sales they made, and Bethenny and Jim both start shaking their heads in disagreement. Martha jumps in and tells Jim that she feels he has an agenda, and he agrees that he does – he wants to remove the anchor that is dragging their team down.
It’s time for Chuck to decide who to bring back to the conference room with him. No surprises, he chooses Jim and Dawn. Shawn holds everyone up and asks Martha if she has any advice for them. Martha doesn’t think she can offer them much help, because they need to learn to work within their talents and learn to get along and work together. She’s astounded by the whining and complaining that’s been going on within the team, and amazed that anyone would even think of quitting.
Bethenny chimes in and says that she’s so ashamed right now that she feels like crying. Martha jumps on that and says that if she does cry, she’ll be going home immediately. “Women in business do not cry!” And with that, Martha sends them out. Heh, I’ll bet Shawn is really glad she asked for advice now.
In the conference room, Charles calls this a “revolting development”. He says that Jim clearly has an agenda, and Alexis points out that this team sorely lacks leadership. Martha points out that Jim is protecting certain people and selling out others. She calls Chuck, Jim, and Dawn back in.
Chuck tells Martha that he’s not a good leader. He feels that he’s good at what he does and he can manage his own business, but he’s just not cut out to lead a team. Martha points out that leading people is a big part of the executive job that Chuck is competing for. Alexis wants to know why Chuck brought Jim back, and Chuck quietly explains that he wants what’s best for his team, and that Jim and Dawn are the sources of most of the fighting and complaining. If by some chance Chuck is not the one to go, his team will be stronger if it’s one of them who leaves. Well said, Chuck.
Martha says that this team needs focus and commitment, and needs to lay off the infighting to work towards a common goal. She adds that she has never even considered quitting a job and can’t imagine anyone who would get this far and think of quitting. She went to jail for goodness’ sake, but that only made her stronger. She says that this team needs someone to lead them, and that Chuck is not a good leader. With that, he is asked to leave. Hmm, she didn’t say “you just don’t fit in”. So much for the catch phrase.
With the candidates gone, Martha starts writing her letter. She tells Chuck that he’s easily frazzled and it’s for the best that he leaves early. She’s probably right, and I’m pretty sure that Chuck agrees. He left with his head held high, having learned something important about himself in the process. I don’t think he’s too disappointed that he won’t be sticking around for more of Jim’s ranting and raving.
Next week the teams must create wedding cakes, and Trump makes an appearance as a taste-tester. With all of his trips to the altar, I guess he makes a good judge for this sort of task. Also, things will get dicey in the conference room.
Should we start a pool to see how long Jim lasts? I’m giving him two more weeks, max. Send me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.