A reality-tv based program in which contestants compete for a job with media mogul Martha Stewart.




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A reality-tv based program in which contestants compete for a job with media mogul Martha Stewart.

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21 September 2005 (USA)  »

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Referenced in The TV Set (2006) See more »


Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
Written by Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart
Performed by the Eurythmics
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User Reviews

We've seen it all before, 6 days ago actually, and a whole lot more interesting
6 January 2006 | by (www.liquidcelluloid.blog.com) – See all my reviews

Network: NBC; Genre: Reality, Game; Content Rating: TV-PG (for language); Perspective: Contemporary (star range 1- 4);

Seasons Reviewed: Complete Series (1 season)

No matter what you think of Martha Stewart's 2004 felony conviction, it is hard to deny the artificiality of her media hyped return. Industry experts have predicted that after her prison sentence was served, Martha would make a comeback (because going to jail makes her inherently more interesting) and once again reclaim her place as one of the most powerful and influential women in America. And, by God, she's going to have that comeback if Hollywood itself has to bend over backwards to give it to her.

The task of Martha's image makeover is taken up by reality-TV maestro Mark Burnett who sucks dry any supposed capital accrued from an increased interest in Stewart to bring us "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart". Stewart's "Apprentice" is the format of "The Apprentice" – done verbatim only this time with the decorating diva at the center of it.

It seems like I'm always sticking up for "The Apprentice" with the claim that it is the best reality/game show on TV. Burnett probably thought a show that follows the exact same template of the ratings smash right down to the music couldn't loose. The ugly truth is that "The Apprentice" works so well because of Donald Trump. The uglier truth is that we like Trump's bluntness, decisiveness, and no-nonsense, to-the-point way of telling people exactly what he thinks of them. People like Trump, or love to hate him, for the same reason they like Bill O'Reilly or Hugh Laurie's Dr. Gregory House.

Stewart's version takes us back to a cushy, namby-pamby, touchy-feely, feel-good show despite the best intentions of some of the contestants to create some cat-like friction. The boardroom is changed to a white conference room, the theme is, strangely, "Sweet Dreams" and instead of the terse finality of "you're fired" Martha bumbles out something like "You will no longer be working for me at this time…". And if there is still any doubt Martha is still Martha, and kinder and gentler than Trump , she even writes the fired contestant a nice letter explaining herself, reassuring them that it isn't the end of the world and that they will go far in life. I'd love to see what happens when a contestant opens up their mailbox and finds that letter. Trump's show is the NFL, Stewart's show is a suburban flag football league that doesn't want to keep score so no one's feelings are hurt. That's the plan anyway.

It also feels like there is something bigger at stake in Trump's version. The tasks seem larger and more specialized to train someone in business. Stewart's contests make a new salad dressing and bake cakes. Instead of a secretary calling from her desk, Stewart personally calls the team to their next assignment on her cell phone while trimming rose bushes at her country house. It is all profoundly silly and comes off unintentionally hilarious. On top of that, Stewart's heart doesn't appear into it. She appears physically exhausted with bags under her eyes as if any moment she is about to go face first through the conference room table.

Despite Burnett's shameless back-peddling that this was only supposed to be a one-season show to capitalize on Stewart's new, tough, post-prison image, NBC made an amateur mistake scheduling this show just a day before original episodes of Trump's "Apprentice". Not only does this beg for the inevitable comparisons, it "Apprentices" people out. Logic would have put this show on during Donald's hiatus when people would be hungry for another "Apprentice". Either way, we've seen all this before.

But the best scheduling in the world can't change the real reason this show is such a tiresome dud. It is that unequivocal reality (that has nothing to do with her being a woman or a felon or tough or any of that) that puts a death-blow on this and all of Martha's projects and that the mainstream media is to politically correct to come out and say...

Martha Stewart has no personality.

There. It's out.

* ½ / 4

3 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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