September 27, 2005

Martha, Martha, Martha

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This past Wednesday, Martha Stewart, the self-made billionaire and sometimes-convict unveiled her new version of “The Apprentice.” The show is an offshoot of Mark Burnett’s ever-burgeoning idea-bank. I guess Donald Trump should now be referred to as “the original Apprentice” (as opposed to “the one and only.”) Her new catch phrase, which she used to out the first contestant, is simply “You don’t fit in.” The ratings were dismal, as nearly every source reported immediately, but worse, watching Martha felt creepy.

Maybe it’s Martha who doesn’t fit in.

Watching Martha was almost eerie. After describing how she climbed to the top and became the world’s first female self-made billionaire (claws hidden) she says only: “It felt great.” This non-emotive response is exactly why I find Martha disturbing.

Martha’s relationship with her daughter also made my skin crawl. Alexis Stewart sits beside her mother in the white obsessive-compulsive boardroom and refers to herself as “the original Apprentice.” It’s made pretty clear that this is a job you and I would never want. Throughout boardroom ’bouts Martha talks down to her daughter constantly. During the first competition, which required the contestants to write children books Martha chided Alexis for not yet giving her grandchildren and, well, not being good enough. (Fun fact: it was Alexis who introduced her mother to the Investment Banker who was her downfall. Coincidence, I think not.) It’s all very Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Luckily (or unluckily), this early episode revealed that there might be a mini-Martha in the bunch. One contestant, Jim, screams at another, “You don’t control my actions, I control your actions.” Yeah, well said psychopath.

Being on a job hunt myself I cannot judge too much, because you take what you can get, but what type of crazy interview is this? I can only ask with fear, who will be the next Apprentice?

Archived article by Logan Bromer