Monday, January 11, 2010

1x03: Pies

In which Pinnacle tried solving for the value of pie, and got "whatever."


The following recap is brought to you by brackets. Brackets: What You Use When You Want To Say Something That Isn't Important!

Previously on Cereal Offenders (And Other Mixed Nuts): Useless Sabrina continued to show no signs of competence. Carmen's transformation from overbearing hellhound into likeable background character began to take shape. Blake once again grabbed awesomeness by the balls and squeezed so hard it ended up doubled over in awe. For the task itself, though, teams had to design a new brand of cereal, complete with cuddwy widdul chawactew. Both teams came up with wild animal mascots so asexually gay even Austin Powers would have thought they were tacky, in a decision that made me wonder: Why did both teams assume during the focus group that they had to go with oddly-coloured animals? Why not some other oddly-coloured twee motif? Why not red pirates? Or purple aliens? I wouldn't be averse to eating a big heaping bowl of blue zombies. (Metaphorically speaking, of course. If we're talking actual blue zombies? It would totally depend on how hot they were. As though you'd be surprised hearing that out of my mouth by now.) (I just know that somewhere in Canada, my straight mate EmoHunk is probably about to start writing me an email, saying something along the lines of, "Zombies aren't ever going to be actual living people, you whore!") The end results of the task resulted in me deciding to swear perpetual allegiance to my toaster, cholesterol be damned. Oh, and Lynton was fired. Ten gerbils remain. Whose tiny little ball will go rolling away... TONIGHT?

Andrew "The Jolly Dodger" Daddo (tm EmoHunk) gives us another rehash of the This Is A Job Interview speech. Yawn.

Credits. You know, it's nowhere near as good as that awesome little noise they used to have in The Amazing Race's credits before they fucked with the music, but that little sting they've got here isn't that bad. Needs a proper theme tune to go with it, though. It's not like they're starving for room or anything, what with the episodes going ten minutes longer than a normal episode of any other show I've recapped.

Previously: Two episodes. It's now Week Three.

A phone rings loud enough to disturb the entirety of Sydney. At the Maison D'Moron, Mary-Anne answers the phone in leopard-print pyjama pants, while the rest of Sydney rolls over, hits its giant Opera-House-shaped snooze button, cutting their collective hands on the sharp edges in the process, and blames Channel Nine for not filming this show in Melbourne. Carmen looks like she's had her eyelids held wide open with some tweezers or something for several months. Mary-Anne tells her they've got an hour to get ready to go to a construction site. At least she'll be keeping an eye out for falling tools. Heather brushes her teeth, while Sam irons a shirt. Meanwhile, Gavin is shirtless, and Amy is hoping the teams will get mixed up, because it's gonna be "a lot more fun" if they do. Gee, they're really trying to hit us over the head with the foreshadowing on this show. I wonder what will happen to the teams this episode.

Sydney! You know, people who work in glassy buildings exposed to the sun like that shouldn't cast the first global-warming-sized stones.

The Product Placement Drivemobiles arrive, and everyone falls out. Not literally, obviously, because that wouldn't be befitting professional businesspeople, but you know what I mean. They walk up to a cardboard box strategically placed right in the middle of the construction site to retrieve their hardhats, and somehow are suddenly wearing bright orange construction worker jackets when they open the box. Lesson: Construction workers like the orange. The Jolly Dodger tells us that the gerbils "have no idea what they're about to face". And, again: It's no Amazing Race "the teams have no idea what's in store for them", but it does have a little charm of its own.

They walk up to Bouris, Brad, and Bobblehead, who are waiting in blue hats to contrast the gerbils' yellow hats. You may notice how Bobblehead's hat fits like a baseball cap, while everyone else's hats are just perched like a set of scaffolding on their heads. Hee. I like the hat on her. No, really. Bouris tells everyone they should be wondering "what the hell [they're] doing here in the middle of a construction site", and Heather makes a mental note of it. Bouris clarifies that Channel Nine's OH&S people wouldn't let them risk themselves spending longer on a construction site than was strictly necessary for the purpose of misplaced intrigue, and the gerbils celebrate. We learn that there are over 150,000 brickies, sparkies, and other assorted tradies in the country, and that Bouris has decided (based on absolutely no statistical information) to decree that they all treat salad like it's a one-night stand on Schoolies Week they got pregnant and never want to see again. Today's challenge is "to create, to make, to market, and to sell a completely new flavour... of pie!" (No, gerbils, "blue zombie" is not an acceptable pie flavour.) They'll be getting some pocket money from Bouris to help them start their pie cart. Once again, Brad's going with the Pinnacle Penis Party, while Bobblehead joins the Eventus Estrogen Extravaganza. As you'd expect, the team who makes the most money wins, while the losing team loses somebody. Everybody stares in shock, because they totally thought people were going to be saved because selling a uniquely Australian product isn't a task you'd see on another version of this show.

But first! They have just sixty seconds to choose their project manager. The Jolly Dodger explains that being Project Manager is a "double-edged sword", silently thanking the ancient Greeks for not making their discuses sharp enough to stab people with. They discuss, men group-hugging as they do it. We learn that Amy will be the female Project Manager, because she wants to be louder than all the other women on her team. Blake and Gavin both want to do the task, but Gavin gets it, because he's claimed to have worked in hospitality. Gavin confessionals that it's time to stop playing nice and start "get[ting] real". And he'll have to do that with Eventus, because Bouris forces he and Amy to switch teams for no reason except to pay off Amy's piece of foreshadowing a couple of minutes ago. And also because Not Enough Twisted Twisty Twists was deemed as one of the reasons Australian Survivor failed, so they're going to go all out this time.

As they make the long walk two steps away to their new team, Morello has time for a confessional, talking about how Pinnacle is "a loud bunch" with "a lot of alpha males", and having Amy as Project Manager will be "a spanner in the works". Hurrah for clichés, woo! Morello appears to be wearing a white ribbon, so it's good to know that even though he claimed he and the other men could beat the women's team a couple of weeks ago, it will be a purely metaphorical beating. (And with that, I'm all out of domestic violence jokes. Probably a good thing, really.)

On the other hand, Carmen's first confessional this week tells us that she thought Gavin was going to "absolutely have it all over [the Eventus women]", even with "some really big personalities". And also Useless Sabrina, who is so useless I can't even be bothered to evolve that further into a decent nickname. Gavin tells us the women "need to be controlled". Despite his attempts to smarmily backpedal, Carmen's just earned her Identifying Sexists On Sight Merit Badge. Bouris sends them out, and once AGAIN Brad and Bobblehead don't seem to notice.

The Jolly Dodger reiterates the concept of the task (yes, thank you, dear, we were all just here exactly three minutes ago), and adds that they'll be splitting up to sell the pies, both at a farmer's market, and from a renovated Mr Whippy van.

At 10:28am, Eventus walks across a crossing. Shockingly, and disappointingly, they do not mimic the Beatles. Bobblehead could have been their Yoko, and told them to break it up! Such wasted opportunities. They walk into Hannah's Pies to have a brainfarting session. Uh, a brainSTORMing session. That's totally what I meant. I love how the word "hot" has actually been written on the sign as though it was an afterthought. (As an even more off-topic aside, Hannah's Pies supplies, among other places, Harry's Cafe de Wheels, an absolutely frigging awesome roadside kiosk which you should make an effort to eat at when you're in Sydney. Or Newcastle, apparently, according to their website.)

Inside, Gavin decides to strap on his condescending I-Am-Talking-To-A-Gaggle-Of-Five-Year-Olds voice as he asks what the team is thinking. I'm sure he's probably a wonderful person in real life, but he is coming across as though he thinks women were invented to carry semen from the bedroom to the toilet here. The Jolly Dodger thinks it's time to tell us the teams have been given $2500 seed money, so they aren't exactly going to be making foie gras and truffle pies. (I, on the other hand, have one thought: Never use the words "Gavin" and "strap on" in the same sentence if you've just managed to get your mind out of the gutter. Because it's just going to end up back there anyway.) Mary-Anne explains that there's eleven whole kilograms of meat in every hundred pies, and so it'd be a smart idea to try something without any meat in it. But then how will it be a pie? That's like having a pizza without cheese! Mmmm, pizza. Heather recaps that "will save [them] on costs". How much? Only about sixty per cent. So lentils and tofu it is! The Jolly Dodger, unable to keep his trap shut for even thirty seconds, explains that Mary-Anne works in catering (try to look surprised), and loves the idea of a vegetable curry pie. Mary-Anne explains exactly the same thing in a confessional. I suddenly feel as though I'm watching The Biggest Loser. Quick, Bobblehead, bitch about the calorie content! Gavin thinks "you can sell ice to Eskimos if you sell it properly", and someone's been spending too much time hanging around the Morello Cliché-O-Matic 2000. The Jolly Dodger explains that Carmen's "an accomplished cook", and as such will be in charge of cooking. It's a good thing the teams didn't completely shuffle for this episode, because we'd have an even more noticeable chunk of Women Belong In The Kitchen about it otherwise.

Over in Pinnacle's office, Amy has decided to try and figure out how her iPhone works instead of deciding what sort of pie they would like to make. Daddo claims she's doing it because she wants "market research" on the venues. It sort of makes sense, but the problem here is twofold. Firstly, they already know that they'll be selling at a farmer's market and from a van, so they can sort of figure out the sort of customers they're likely to get, and from that the sort of pies they'd be likely to be. Secondly, the market research Amy wants consists entirely of asking some person from the farmer's market how busy they'd be on a Friday. Which, really? Not important. You don't have the choice of not selling there. (For the approximately zero of you playing along, combining this comment, the known three-days-per-episode filming schedule every version of the show sticks to, and the one spoiler we have for this season, I am "literally two hundred percent" certain that this scene was filmed on Thursday, August 20th, 2009.)

When she can't get the market lady to make with the psychic predictions, Amy tries to blame Sam's "tone", even though he's not speaking, and even though none of the rest of the group is doing anything to make him seem like a slacker. Shut up, Amy. Sam correctly points out that they still need a pie idea. It's a good thing my lame jokes are just a touch above Ryan Shelton's unbelievably lame jokes, because otherwise we'd both be sick of hearing the non-existent portmanteau "pie-dea" by the end of this recap. (Also, shut up, Ryan Shelton. GOD.) Unfortunately, Amy agrees that they're spending too much time on meaningless research, and then... calls them back immediately after. Brad stifles his laughter, and manages to not write the words UNBELIEVABLE IDIOT next to Amy's name in his ledger.

"While frustrations are building [with the editors' inability to segue from the scene] at team Pinnacle [to one with] Gavin and the girls at team Eventus" without a Jolly Dodger voiceover, we are informed that Eventus is still happy with their vegetable curry pie, and are already on to shopping. Mary-Anne wants pre-peeled carrots and potatoes, because the benefits of saving time cooking outweigh the benefits of saving money. Wow, they're really storming their way through the list of This Totally Feels Like A Different Reality Show reality shows tonight. I almost thought that we were back in the good old days when the same debate was a common part of The Amazing Race, back before the entire focus of the episodes turned into "Do we want to be seen on national TV in a panto cow costume?"

Almost. Probably would have helped if Mary-Anne was the sort of woman who would get cast on The Amazing Race. (No, Mary-Anne, this does not mean "move to California and start a lifelong pub crawl".) In any event, they manage to get their vegetables delivered by 1:30pm.

Hey, look! No transition voiceover! Yet! Sam nuts out the possibilities of souvlaki and kebab pies, while John pretends to be interested. To be honest, both sound about as delicious as deep-fried roadkill. But the next ideas out of the group's mouth are for hotdogs, spaghetti bolognese, and avocado, so suddenly the thought of a kebab pie doesn't sound so unappetising, much as it otherwise would. Also on Pinnacle's board: Veal parma. Pork and apple. Mushroom and fetta. I'm sorry, PORK AND APPLE? At what point do you eat an apple pie and think to yourself, "You know what this needs? More pig carcass!" Amy wonders if some sort of fish pie would work.

John correctly points out that "some of these things may not, just may not work in a pie". And by some of these things, he means "all of them", including the Eggplant & Olive idea that's been added to the board at some point. They come up with the idea of a Sunday roast pie, which in and of itself is far better than anything else they've thought of so far, and then mutate it further into being a Lamb & Potato pie. Eh. I liked it better when it was the roast. Maybe because my first thought when I hear the word "lamb" is of Shari Lewis's puppet, and my first thought when I think of "roast" is of turkey, which would be a great pie flavour. But now, of course, I can't get the image of a little hand puppet in a mincer out of my head. (My mind is wonderfully morbid at times. You may have noticed.) They call Morello and Blake to tell them of the decision, and it's only now that I realise they're not in the room. I am the most observant recapper EVER.

Gavin and Mary-Anne go to pick up their delivery from the front of the warehouse. They've ordered enough non-meaty crap for seven hundred pies, so there will be no emergency blue zombie pies made by this team.

Sydney! Has buildings! And cars! Boy, I'm learning all sorts of stuff!

Sam, John, and Morello arrive at a wholesale butchers in order to haggle on the prie of their meat. As the butcher guy, who looks eerily like Barry Hall (but is probably less likely to get away with assault on the grounds that it happened while he was wearing red short-shorts), tells them the lowest he'll be able to go is $9.20 per kilogram. Assuming Mary-Anne was right about the eleven-kilograms-per-hundred-pies thing, and assuming they also make 700 pies, this will cost them $708.40 all up. So you know, it's a pretty big chunk of change. In a confessional, Morello takes the credit for doing everything, including remembering to let Sam and John out of the car for air while he controlled the negotiations. Meanwhile, back in the real world, they agree on buying $598 worth of meat, which works out to exactly 65 kilograms. So they're either planning on making far fewer pies, or they'll be hoping "Lamb And Air" is original enough to count as their pie flavour. Or they could even be doing both. It wouldn't be the first time men have tried to claim they've had more meat than they actually did. Sam explains that his job was being in charge of the calculations. At least, it was, until Morello called him a nerd and snatched his calculator away. Brad tells us that he's worried because Pinnacle haven't worked out a strict budget yet, even though they're already spending their money. It might help ease Brad's concerns a little bit if he realised that their budget is half a grand higher than he seems to think.

Coming up: Manufactured drama! (See what I did there, with the puns? Because they're making pies in the clip? Never mind.)

Commercials. There are people who bug (Paris Hilton), and there are people who suck (Perez Hilton). Apparently, there's now a special third category just for breakfast TV hosts. Shut UP, Richard Reid.

Sydney! Someone really should fix that road. That curve in the middle can't possibly be safe to drive on.

Hannah's Pies is still there, and so is the Jolly Dodger, repeating the basics of the task for our very own non-enjoyment. We learn for the first time that two people on each team -- Gavin and Useless Sabrina on Eventus, and Amy and Blake for Pinnacle -- are in charge of "promotions". Useless Sabrina wants caps and T-shirts. Amy has decreed that she wants two hundred flyers. I'm not sure this is going to be the best use of your budget, really. You're only going to be there selling pies for... what, eight hours? And since the teams are so small, you can't spare enough people to make handing them out anywhere aside from the two stalls an productive effort. You might get one or two extra customers this way, yes, but the costs of the commercial printing (per the Jolly Dodger in a couple of seconds, $75) would outweigh the profit you'd make from the pie, unless you were inflating prices like a petrol station, supermarket, or public transport "provider". They manage to get the flyers done pretty quickly, and the finished product reveals that their pies are going to be sold at the Hyde Park Fountain from 9:30 until "lunch". Quick, someone travel back in time and get us a spoiler! Also, why on earth would you stop selling pies at lunchtime? Isn't that exactly the point when you're likely to be the busiest?

As they leave, Daddo informs us that Blake doesn't want to waste (uh, I mean, "spend") any more of the budget on custom T-shirts, Amy is pushing for it. Amy's entire argument, it appears, consists of "Morello needs one to look a bit less like a random yobbo when he harasses you to buy pies." So why not just have him wear a suit? Why not have everyone wearing matching, non-specially-made clothes? This whole idea just seems a little bit hare-brained, given the advantages, once again, are minimal. Blake counteroffers to sticky-tape a flyer to his shirt, and that would be This Week's Reminder Of The Fact That He Has Kids And I Should Stop Being So Inappropriately Lusty. Seriously, do you think he'd offer to do that if he didn't have young children with which he spends a lot of time? Blake tells us that "if you use your personality, you don't need a T-shirt". Makes sense. Amy gets her way, but Blake tells us that the T-shirts cost $90, and... that's a pretty big expense for a task like this, when you're not going to be making a huge amount of profit, no matter what you try. I'd kind of like to see a task where the players are literally told, "Here's some money, go turn a profit!" It'd be interesting to see what people could come up with.

3:08pm. Sydney has a lot of people walking around. Not as many as a Where's Wally puzzle, because even Sydneysiders like to claim they have more interesting things to do than stand around while some guy tries to draw them as cartoons, but still.

Gavin and Useless Sabrina also want some shirts and posters, but they've decided to see if they can get them for free, by allowing the printing company to put their own advertising on the things. It's a good idea, certainly, but it risks of diluting the entire concept of the show a little bit -- if people in future seasons use this idea repeatedly (and there's no reason for them not to, the same way there's no reason for people on Survivor not to start searching for the hidden Immunity Idol without clues, or the same way there's no reason for people on The Biggest Loser to waterload before the initial weigh-in, or the same way there's no reason for people on The Amazing Race to go for the Fast Forward when they aren't already in first place), then it becomes just another thing people are going to do all the time, and it will get very, very repetitive very, very quickly. (Just like the word "very" is.) Anyway, they get the free stuff, but not before the printer makes them agree to a pie for every poster he has to do for free. Heh. Gavin explains that, basically, his dad told him to whine like a spoiled brat if he wants something, and people will give in much easier than if he were to just work silently, not pestering them at all. There's something to be said for "ask and ye shall receive", yeah, but the way he says it makes it sound like he's saying "you can't get something for nothing", which is exactly what he was trying to do. Damn hypocrisy-implying clichés! And, admittedly, I have such a crippling self-confidence problem that I'm almost twenty, don't have a driver's licence, and haven't had a job in... well, ever, aside from the non-paying part-time recapping gig, which is really more of a hobby, but which is also as far off topic as me randomly busting into Holding Out For A Hero in the middle of a recap would be... but even I don't expect to get anything for nothing. Unless it's Christmas or my birthday, in which case I'm probably going to ignore the card anyway. (And once again, I am reminded that I need to work out how to make money out of this without resorting to enough spam to fill a Monty Python sketch. And that I am completely unqualified for analysing this show in any manner other than "here's why it makes better television than Australian Survivor." And that I start too many sentences with the word "and".)

Sydney! Loves violins! (Also salad, unless you're a tradie in Bouris's mind.)

At the pie factory, Carmen and Mary-Anne are all hairnetted and ready to make pie mush. The Jolly Dodger exposits quite pointlessly that the pre-washed and vegies mean they can skip every step between "cut hole in packet" and "hold above pot". Carmen tells us that she loves to cook, so this is the sort of thing she's going to relish. (Obviously, of course, she won't be using actual, physical relish until she's selling the pies, though.) Mary-Anne is happy that they're in the kitchen first, and confessionals that hanging around in a kitchen is one of the things she does in her regular job. Hilariously, Carmen gives their mixture a taste test, as Bobblehead leans in inquisitively. And as she decides that the mixture needs "more cracked pepper", Bobblehead nods silently. HA! It's like Brad is the Penn and she is the Teller. (Of course, that makes Bouris the bullshit. Which he totally isn't. At all. Really. WHY ARE YOU GIVING ME THAT LOOK?) Carmen claims that she and Mary-Anne are "quietly overconfident" about their current situation. It's not so quiet, really, especially compared to what's about to happen here.

Mary-Anne decides to check on Pinnacle, and "psych 'em out". No! No psyching people out! This is a serious job interview! Just ask Bouris! The Jolly Dodger explains that there's a strict deadline of 9pm for the teams to finish making their pies, as a clock shows that it's now 3:52pm. I don't know about the deadline, really. It seems as though it might be early, as far as food preparation deadlines probably are, but then again, this isn't Cadbury, and they have their own actual business to run when they're not whoring out their factory to reality TV producers (who, presumably, offered more than them getting to put their logo on the back of crew T-shirts in exchange). Bearing in mind that there are probably more than two people working in the kitchens each day, and that they don't have to source suppliers and food, nor create the entire pie flavour from scratch, and it seems to me as though it's possible they could have finished in the kitchens for the day before the teams would even have been ready to begin, and that this whole sequence is done less so as a show of how they're so ready for tomorrow than as Mary-Anne trying to wile away the time before the piemaking machines themselves became free. I just can't see any reason why they wouldn't be starting on their pies as soon as possible and then getting back with the rest of the team for more preparation otherwise, you know? (And then, I assume, the fact that there's only one piemaker to share is mostly about the actual workers saving on cleaning time after both teams have finished, and cutting down on the risk of the contestants breaking something, with the added Drama!!1!1! on screen as a bonus for Channel Nine's advertising department to have wet dreams about.) I'm still not a hundred percent sure about the hours, but assuming they usually finish for the day at about dinner, someone's gotta stay around for a few hours to make sure nothing gets broken and then clean up afterwards, and that'd cost a fair bit in overtime, I'd think. Plus, they'd likely have to come in the next morning anyway, what with this being a Thursday and all, and there'd be OH&S issues about the lack of downtime between shifts. So, to summarise, the wacky deadline makes a weird sort of sense. Anyway, Mary-Anne arrives in Pinnacle's kitchen to find... nothing. No Pinnacle, no food, no cooking, not even a random guy holding a wilted flower while a sad trombone plays in the background. She giggles screechily at the sight of an empty kitchen.

The non-Blake men of Pinnacle are still at a supermarket grabbing flour and spices from the shelves. Surely Hannah's Pies doesn't actually do it that way, right? They're also buying their potatoes unwashed and unpeeled, which is going to take up a chunk of time they may not even be able to spare at this point. (I realise I should be caring more about other things at this point, like how long this recap is and why I'm using brackets after every couple of sentences, but why does Masterfoods have an entire line of "Spaghetti Bolognese" herbs?)

Sydney! Only has so many cars and office buildings before this gets boring!

The Pinnacle shoppers finally arrive at quarter past four -- two hours after Eventus started, and half an hour after they finished. The Jolly Dodger, of course, is not counting the magic time freeze allowing them to get all their ingredients into the kitchens and change into aprons while it's still only 4:15 on the clock behind the Eventus cooks in this next scene. Carmen earns a point for faking concern that Pinnacle is only starting now, but then loses it and several others by snidely pointing out that lamb takes forever to cook. John disagrees with the career caterer, and... that's your first sign Pinnacle really haven't thought this out very well. Your second sign is that Sam apparently has no idea how to use a vegetable peeler. It's... like, he needs to essentially give the potatoes a Brazilian, and he's plucking individual hairs out with a blunt tweezer, it's that slow and ineffective. (I am aware that potatoes don't have pubic hair. I am using the disturbing metaphor ANYWAY.) Morello explains after Sam shows him how slowly he's going that he was worried they wouldn't even get the pies made. As is always the case with reality TV confessionals, the tone and phrasing suggests that Pinnacle did indeed manage to get some pies made. But let's watch anyway. What Pinnacle should have done, I think, is had Amy and Blake organise the other groceries instead of going advertising. They'd still be in a similar situation with regards to the potatoes, but at least the meat would be well on the way to being cooked by this point, and they'd have something to show for their efforts. And, really, nobody's going to make a special trip to one specific market pie stall just because it's there for the day, so the advertising is as useless as Useless Sabrina. The Jolly Dodger intones that they're going to need all the help they can get.

Unfortunately, Blake and Amy are down at "popular tourist destination Darling Harbour", handing out flyers. If this is such a popular place, why can't they just, I don't know, set up the pie van here tomorrow and take advantage of passing tourists, as opposed to spending time and money handing out flyers to people who probably won't come anyway? Amy tries to give a flyer to a poor tourist who doesn't understand what she's trying to explain to him. Oh, lucky tourist guy. I don't understand why she's doing this, and I already speak the same language as she does. She comes very close to annoying, Mirna-style pidgin English as she explains the concept of a pie cart to him. Ugh. I need a doctoro. (It's an emergency-uh!) Some other lady says, in English so perfect it gets subtitled, that she doesn't speak English. Hee. Blake tells us that he thinks he's wasting time handing out fliers, and hopes that they'll be back in the kitchens to help out "as close to five as possible".

5:02pm. Sydney is impatiently waiting, tapping its Opera House shaped watch nervously as it does so. Then they remember why exactly their hand has a bandage on it in the first place, and vow to make a new watch in the guise of Bondi Beach. (The numbers will be painted like red and yellow flags, and the hands will represent the flailing arms of little tiny drowning tourists.) All of Sydney's waiting is irrelevant for now, because Carmen and Mary-Anne are almost ready to use the pie machine. The Jolly Dodger informs us that because there's only one machine available for the teams, it's first come, first served, and that whoever goes first gets to ensure all their pies will definitely be made. Mary-Anne estimates that she and Carmen will be ready to start within about ten minutes. This, naturally, gives Carmen enough time to call Gavin and Useless Sabrina to tell them. Or, at least, that's what the editors would have you believe. Not only do I find it hard to believe Carmen might waste time by calling them, especially when they're so close to being ready for the pie machine, but the flow of the conversation strongly implies to me that it was Gavin calling Carmen, not the other way around. At the end of the call, Gavin tells her that he's going to try and get some pre-orders sorted out. When will they have time to deliver them, though? You'll have a group at the market, and you'll have a group in the van. They won't be able to get away to deliver them, will they? Especially considering people are almost literally NEVER working entirely on their own on this show -- they're always in pairs, at the very least. Anyway, at 5:11pm, Carmen pronounces their mixture "beautiful", and Bobblehead nods again. Hey, maybe she really is a bobblehead! If she's not, though, she might just be really, really hungry. I wouldn't blame her, because Hannah's Pies? Delicious. Mary-Anne tells us she's concerned about Pinnacle, because "they still haven't got [sic] their potatoes diced".

And if you didn't know we were going to cut to a shot of the Pinnacle potatoes still in their box, you do not watch enough reality television, my friend. Brad is also worried, and confessionals that they shouldn't have bothered with "the T-shirts and the funky flyers", because now they might end up not having a product at all. God, I wish I hadn't already made a reference to the sorry state of Victoria's public transport in this recap. Amy and Blake finally arrive, and John takes charge, because Amy is too busy trying to make small talk about the posters to actually be a decent project manager. He has the right idea here -- you can talk while you work, but don't drag the team down while you complain about people who were wondering what the hell you were on -- but still comes off as a bit of a douche. John explains: "I'm probably more comfortable in the kitchen rather than the others, so I took it upon myself to get things moving along." It's about time someone did. We learn that Sam is in charge of peeling the potatoes, while the others are chopping them up. Probably not a wise move, given what we've seen so far. Morello tells us that John is a single dad with four kids, so that's why he's such a good cook. I suspect the number of kids John has really isn't as important as the fact that he's a single dad in a small country town without many take-out options. John and Brad have a little discussion about his being the "head cook" and "running the show", and... I can't remember any other time where the advisors have actually talked to a contestant during the task. Between this and Bobblehead's attempts to scam a taste test, it's really refreshing to learn that the observations during the boardroom segments come from talking to the contestants themselves, rather than sitting back while they all bitch and snipe at each other. If this gets another season, I wouldn't mind seeing this a little bit more often. It would certainly help get rid of the unbelievable sterility of the boardroom sequences.

Brad and Bobblehead both make excellent judges, but -- and I think this episode is the best example we've had by this point of the season -- the combination of Bouris's personality being toned down for TV and the obviously fake boardroom/reception set really make it hard to suspend disbelief that this show isn't low budget filler. I think that if the boardroom set looked a bit more like a... you know, boardroom... it would help severely. I don't think it's a coincidence that these episodes begin to feel phony as soon as they enter the boardroom. Fix that, and the only real weak links are the too-frequent voiceovers, and Bouris himself. That's a pretty impressive place to be in after only three episodes, all things considered. And speaking after the fact, I'm willing to chalk up the issues with Bouris to simply his getting used to the role. He really did seem a lot more at ease with everything by the end of the season than he was at the beginning (compare his wondering how to choose who to fire in the first episode with his open mockery of the album cover in the music task). Give him another season or two to get entrenched into the position, and he'll be on a par with Trump or Sir Alan. Everything else already is equal to the other versions we've seen, if not better. The original challenges are great ideas, they've picked exactly the right challenges to recycle, there's exactly the right combination of advertising-heavy and sales-heavy tasks, there's just enough local culture without it feeling tacked on for the sake of it, the casting is diverse in terms of backgrounds if not necessarily in terms of ethnicity (and, really, it's better to have twelve interesting people of one race than boring people from twelve different cultures), and the editing is among the best we've ever seen on a local reality show (not saying much, really, but still). It's certainly the best Aussie reality show since Grant Bowler was still hosting The Mole, and I think it's very much like an newer, better version of Australian Survivor. This has similar teething problems as that did, but the producers of this show appear to have sat down and learned a great deal from it, which is really more than can be said for, ironically, that Celebrity Survivor dreck. (Part of this, I suspect, is Channel Nine not wanting another dismal failure on their hands, given their only real successes in nine years of trying have been The Block and The Farmer Wants A Wife. Every other reality show they've had has sucked so hard that I wouldn't be surprised if Canada has agreed to apologise for Celine Dion, if only we'd apologise for Australia's Perfect Couple.)

And now back to your regularly scheduled snark.

Brad compliments John about his good business sense in a confessional. Honestly, though, the concept of working hard to get a job done isn't business sense, it's commonsense. Then again, thse are contestants on a reality show, so we have to take small victories. Amy tells us that everyone is "working like Trojans" in order to get done in time. It's a good thing they didn't come up with a horse flavoured pie, then. Their biggest concern, still, is finishing on time. I know, I was shocked too.

Carmen and Mary-Anne are already loading their mush into the pie machine, which Daddo once again takes care to remind us is the only one. Do you think it's going to be an important plot point? And do you think it's also going to be important that it's taking time to get all the pies on? I don't know. I suppose the They Are Slow part of the storyline would be more important if John and Morello were actually finishing off their prep work instead of trying to look in from their kitchen. Carmen and Mary-Anne have apparently made a mistake somehow, and ask for the pie machine to be stopped.

Ninety minutes until knockoff time. Morello and Amy come in and demand to know when Eventus is going to get the hell off the machine and let them get some pies made. Carmen says they'll probably be "at least another half hour". Mary-Anne says that the process is slow, and there's a chance Pinnacle won't be able to get any pies made. Except then there wouldn't be any point for the next twenty minutes or so of episode, so... you know. Channel Nine would probably move heaven and earth to make sure a challenge on one of its biggest hopes for the end of the TV season actually worked before pu... uh, never mind. Amy mopes a little bit, trying to get some sympathy pies (the secret ingredient is pathos!), and Mary-Anne offers a compromise of finishing at 7:50, regardless of whether they're done. Carmen, of course, has an issue with this, and calls Mary-Anne "crazy". Mary-Anne points out that Pinnacle probably won't get finished anyway, if they only have 70 minutes to get everything done, and Carmen once again sinks the proposal, because they "can't afford to". It's like this is Copenhagen, and she is China. (Except I don't remember about China complaining so much about anything that doesn't involve the Dalai Lama.) Amy snits that it's "not in the spirit of what [they're] doing here." In the spirit of... pie machine communism? In the spirit of... treating a competition like a competition? Sometimes, I just don't know. Or care, really.

Carmen points out, quite correctly, that she doesn't have to get off the machine just because they want to use it, and that she and Amy -- whom I have just noticed is not wearing a hairnet through this entire scene -- are not on the same team any more. She calls Amy the Coca-Cola to her Pepsi. (Hi, I'm Dr. Pepper, and I'll be your recapper this evening.) When Mary-Anne sides with Carmen, reminding Amy that the team could have gotten to the run earlier, Morello tries to turn this into some morality play about whether they should have slowed down enough so that all five team members could be working together to cook. Okay, two things. Firstly, SHUT UP, Morello. Secondly, where IS Heather, anyway? She's not here, she wasn't part of the advertising pair... she's gone kapoof. It's not a matter of not showing her, here. She's not actually doing anything on this task, as far as I can tell. Carmen tells him to "get a grip", as well he should. Why should it matter whether the entire team is there? They were smart enough to pick a theme that was easy to cook, and even smarter to buy ingredients that take significantly less time to prepare. I don't see why Eventus needs five people here, when two people were able to get most of their prep done before you guys even arrived in the kitchens. What's going on here, I think, is that Amy is expecting everyone to play nice, conveniently giving her a chance to look good as Project Manager in front of Bouris, for no apparent reason beyond "because I said so". On the other hand, Carmen is a single mother, has no patience for lunacy, knows that she's in the right, and really couldn't care less if she argued and argued until after teams had to stop working, if that's how long it takes for Amy to get the hint that this isn't The Brady Bunch. Of course, as they leave, Carmen then has to kvetch at Mary-Anne about even suggesting the compromise deal. Sigh.

Commercials. Oh, look, another electronic pet claiming to be "truly lifelike". It must be time for another sacred religious holiday. (And where is Ramadan Rabbit when you need it, anyway?)

Sydney! (Drink!)

When we return to the kitchens, it's still 7:30pm, and we get both a rehash of the exact same footage I just recapped, for all you people TiVo-ing this, as well as a new Jolly Dodger voiceover, for all you people who would have just turned over from Good News Week. Amy provides a late-night confessional in which she claims that "the spirit of the competition is to be fair." At what point was Carmen being unfair? You had a chance to get your pies done before them and you didn't. And now she's expected to help you make up for your own lack of time management skills? How is that fair to her? John, washing up, points out that the longer they argue, the longer it'll be until they can start making their pies. Morello confessionals, complete with fingerpointing, that he's "got a lot of respect for them, both as businesswomen, and both [sic] as people in this house, and just the way they acted was very childish, and it was the sort of thing that kids do." Yes, because kids never whine about stuff being unfair. At all! Grow up, Morello.

And just like that, Carmen and Mary-Anne are done. Good. We learn that even after the pie machine debacle, they've still got to cook the pies and leave them to chill, and they're barely going to make the deadline even now. Now, by her numbers, it's going to take 70 minutes for the pies to be cooked and chilled, plus the unknown extra time it'll take to pack them. In other words, they're already going to be working past the deadline -- they'll just be coming out of the fridge at nine o'clock. Pinnacle, therefore, has no hope at all, which makes me think either Mary-Anne is misunderstanding the deadlines, or the wording in their task briefing (because surely, SURELY, they get more information than what we see from Bouris's introductions) is ambiguous enough production could have decided they just had to be away from the pie machine at nine. The Jolly Dodger explains that even though they have less time to finish, Pinnacle have all five people manning the machine. Morello wants everyone to make the pies "firm but fair", which is kind of disturbing, because the meat mixture does look they went pooper-scooping.

Eventus have a grand total of "528 beautiful pies to sell". Mary-Anne watches on while Pinnacle works, and remarks that the pies won't count if they aren't in the fridge in time. With fifteen minutes left to get said pies into said fridge, Amy confessionals to tell us, essentially, how proud she was that they were able to whine their way into getting any machine time at all. Carmen and Mary-Anne realise that Pinnacle have managed to make more pies than they have. It sort of makes you wonder how much meat is actually in each pie, though. Anyway, time is up, and yet Pinnacle is still shoving their finished pies into the fridge. Mary-Anne is, as you would expect, screeching long and hard about how they shouldn't be allowed to do it. It appears that the pies in question are indeed allowed, which doesn't seem fair. But that's really not anything out of the ordinary here. They have 612 pies. For whatever reason, Morello seems to ignore Blake telling him twice, and Sam telling him once, that there are 36 pies on a tray, as well as Sam telling him the exact total. Fuck off, Morello. So they've got 86 more than Carmen and Mary-Anne were able to make, and their meatiness means they can get away with charging a higher price. Mary-Anne thinks she was "shafted" a bit by their decision to get off the production line early. Ew. I did not need to be reminded of that particular TV show right in the middle of this. Even if making a hole in the floor to swallow the gerbils up is beginning to look like a worthwhile proposition. Anyway, pride on three! Carmen points out that even though Pinnacle made more pies than Eventus will have, they still have to be able to sell their pies in order to win.

Sydney! Likes stock footage! And morning, now that it has a new, less pointy alarm clock! But not as much as it loves listening to the Jolly Dodger rehashing everything we've seen so far!

Mary-Anne explains that in order to win, they have to sell as many of their pies as possible. No shit, Sher-harpy. Blake is in bed, hair all mussed up and confused about where he is and possibly a little bit hungover and GRAPEFRUIT! Gavin, also with a bad case of bedhead, explains the situation to Eventus. The Jolly Dodger finally explains why Heather's yet to be seen doing much of anything on this task -- she's got the flu, so she'll be staying home and away from the food. Probably a good idea. Less of a good idea? Me pausing the video to write this at exactly the moment she looks like the love child of ET and Amanda Seyfried.

Once again, we have to put up with the explanation of teams having both a market stall and a food van to sell their pies. The Product Placement Drivemobiles drive off.

Suddenly, we are down at Bondi Markets, because literally everywhere else in Bondi is the subject of a Channel Ten show at the moment. There's a rush to grab the best stall, and Eventus gets it first. Blake comes up with the idea to try and "make them negotiate" for the stall, apparently not realising that they kind of don't have to negotiate for a stall when they've already claimed it and you haven't. Also, his idea of negotiation is pretty much "You want this stall? It's a good stall, isn't it? Gimme, gimme, gimme!" John's isn't much better -- arm-wrestling Carmen for it. She's up for it, because she is Superbitch. (That's Ms. Superbitch to you.) Eventually, Carmen gives them twenty bucks to fuck off and quit annoying her while she's trying to set up. Wow, that was exciting.

But it's about to get even more slightly non-boring, because Eventus have decided to hang up little posters in order to get back some of the money they just lost. One of them has the words "Home-Made Bondi Pies TODAY only!" on it, as does the blackboard they're using to advertise. This will probably be important, given that we do not see any of the other signs they're supposedly making. Soon, they're trying to get the people working at the other market stalls to buy a pie from them, and call Heather to try and get some corporate types (are there any other, at least on this show?) to come down and buy some pies from them, with the assistance of her Product Placement Wireless Widget. Ms. Superbitch and Mary-Anne walk around, scouting for businesses who might be good ideas. There is calling, and there is answering, and there is me hoping something else will happen soon.

Luckily, we cut to Pinnacle, where Blake has come up with the much better idea (at least by today's standards) of giving people discounts on their pies if they bring them an Eventus coupon, on the theory that if they're offering coupons, then they've clearly got a pie flavour they're expecting people to not want to pay full price for.

Harbour bridge! Wait, where are we again?

Gavin decides to rehash the entire concept of "Sell! Sell!" to Useless Sabrina, but the Jolly Dodger (for once) decides that explaining something we didn't already know is more important. They'll be in the food van, as you may have gathered, and first have to go and pick up the free marketing stuff they organised the day before. As Gavin comes in with the free pies he's bartering for the promotional crap, we all learn that the guy's thrown in some free shirts as well. He suggests giving them away if people spend more than twenty bucks on their pies. Wow. My local Chinese place doesn't even give out free prawn crackers until you spend over thirty. Which is presumably part of the reason we get fish and chips so often. Gavin calls the women at the market to tell them about the shirts and chef hats (huh?) they'll be getting in a little while, and we get a shot of the front. Note that part of the shirt says "For a real home made taste".

Sydney! Fountain! Well, at least someone's probably getting wet, watching all this travel porn creeping into a show about business.

Morello and his icky sailor hat direct the van down an empty street. Yeah, I don't know either, but apparently that hat has a three-picture deal or something. He, Sam, and Amy (who, you'll remember, is the Project Manager as a consequence of her having the biggest boobs on the men's team, though it's pretty close) will be selling from Hyde Park. I wonder if that "sheila in the Aussie cozzie" is still waiting there for the people to do that damn RoadBlock properly. Amy explains that they wanted to sell there because there were likely to be plenty of customers. Deep. Soon, Morello sells their first lamb pie, to a New Zealander. The Jolly Dodger sounds surprised and a little disgusted that Kiwis don't mind trying to find other uses for sheep. Apparently, the pie isn't baaaaaaaaaaad. (No, don't get up, I'll show myself out.)

Amy tells us she's deliberately decided not to set a price, so she and Morello can give out discounts if they feel like it. In other words, they're acting lie It's The Last Twenty Minutes Before We Close all day. Getting discounts from Sam, of course, is strictly verboten. Morello's busy trying to get a women to buy four pies in order to get a fifth one discounted, but he take the time to explain to us that it's all about profit margins. One wonders, therefore, why they're giving out so many discounts so early in the day. Wouldn't it make sense to get decent prices for as long as possible?

Sydney! And... Sydney! (Rumour has it the edited-out third shot was a cartoon lemon, with an accompanying "buh-BOW!" noise.)

12:07pm. Boy, the morning sales must have been boring. "Gavin and Sabrina are only just setting up their van", which they've decided to take to Darling Harbour, which is apparently no longer a "popular tourist destination". Hey, maybe they'll run into the people Blake and Amy spent all afternoon trying to accost! The trade-off for the free promotion is that they've lost two hours of selling time.

Over at the markets, Ms. Superbitch and Mary-Anne are busy selling their pies, for $4.50. A cute guy in a ridiculous sombrero agrees to buy a pie. Yes, that's right. I'm not hallucinating. A freaking sombrero. At least he's protected from the harsh August sun, I suppose. Mary-Anne thinks that if the team can shift a hundred pies between the four of them every hour, they'll be fine. But they're not accounting for what they're about to learn, which is that Gavin and Useless Sabrina are STILL setting up. Ms. Superbitch tells us she's "really pissed off" that they haven't even started selling pies yet.

Commercials. Which is worse: Flying an American actor to Australia to do ads for premature ejaculation therapy, or hiring someone who pings the gaydar in every way possible to tell us how America also has hot women? (Either way, Jeremy Jackson, just shut up and continue to look pretty. And slo-mo running down the beach in a revealing bathing suit wouldn't hurt, either.)

Sydney! The city of a thousand stock shots!

12:23pm. Jolly Dodger rehash. Brad, as you may remember from god knows how long ago we last saw him, is watching Pinnacle. He explains the reason people who are trying to make as much money as possible don't just set their prices astronomically high and hope someone takes the bait. He also tells us that Pinnacle have decided to sell their pies for $5. Or so he thinks. Some random claims that the pie "reminds [him] of Mum's cooking", as though we cared. Blake gives an on-the-spot interview, saying he's happy with the price they set.

Over at Eventus, they are also selling pies. I am shocked. The Jolly Dodger claims that Ms. Superbitch has decided to advertise the pies as "home made", even though they were made at the pie factory, and even though "home made" was written on the promotional items, which Gavin and Useless Sabrina were in charge of. Ms. Superbitch digs her own grave in her confessional, finishing with, "I think perception equals reality, in this case". Okay, firstly, perception never equals reality. Facts equal reality. Perception is always clouded by personal opinion ("The whole American Pie series sucked!"), and every person has a slightly different point-of-view of the same events to begin with ("I have always wondered what Play That Funky Music, White Boy would sound like played on the bagpipes, therefore I love Band Camp!"/"Band Camp went straight to DVD, therefore it sucked!"), so not only is there no one true perception, none of them will ever equal reality. Here, it's simple. Yeah, they're advertising them as home made, in a "we don't work for a big company!" sense, but they're also doing it -- inadvertently though it may be -- in a market filled with people who actually DO make their goods from home, so in that sense what they're doing is wrong. Bobblehead, also making her first appearance today, explains that it "might be a Trade Practices problem" to advertise something as home made when it really isn't.

Later, Blake is busy trying to poach some more Eventus customers, and Ms. Superbitch and Mary-Anne take the opportunity to badmouth the Pinnacle pies, explaining that "it's gristly" and "they used the cheapest cut of meat to make theirs to keep the costs down". One wonders how Ms. Superbitch would know this if she was making her pies at home, but... you know. Logic never is a reality contestant's strong suit. (Ironically, neither is a firm grasp on reality.) The guy is sick and basically implies, "Well, I'm here already, I'll take this pie." While he's still around, Blake argues that its "in poor form" to try and win a sales competition by trying to minimise the opponent's sales. Not that he's been doing the exact same thing all day or anything. He must be taking lessons from Amy. Ms. Superbitch and John all tell us it's getting aggressive, but Blake instead uses the word "dirty". I'm not going to make a joke about what I'm thinking about right now. Not going to do it. At all. Nuh-uh. Really.

Sydney! Does that damn bridge ever get a day off?

At Darling Harbour, Gavin is busy yelling into a megaphone, while Useless Sabrina doesn't appear to be doing much of anything, really. One woman offers to buy another shirt if Gavin takes his off. Heh. Gotta love the Sydney sluts. He offers to show her his abs, but apparently doesn't, because we don't get to see it. And you know this show tries to find every possible piece of Gavin shirtlessness for you to watch. Bobblehead explains that the free shirts -- not their idea, you may recall -- appear to be doing more to sell the pies than the actual pies are. She explains that Gavin and Useless Sabrina are doing whatever they can to sell their pies. Of course, we only see Gavin doing anything, because Useless Sabrina is so obviously useless they aren't even going to pretend they have footage of her doing work any more. Why do you think it took them hours to set up? Because she didn't help, that's why.

Sydney! My God, that fucking bridge better be getting paid time-and-a-half for this. The opera house too.

2 hours to go. That fountain is still flouting water restrictions. The Jolly Dodger informs us that Pinnacle, at Hyde Park, still have "hundreds" of pies to sell. So now they're going completely mad! Two pies for $3.50! A fifth pie for $2! Brad explains that with each pie costing $1.92 to make, they can't afford to sell them for two bucks each. Makes sense, but if they're selling the two-dollar pie with four other full-priced pies, they're still aking money. It's the two for $3.50 deal that's going to cost them more -- instead of gaining eight cents for every $2 pie they sell, these ones are costing them 34 cents every time they do it. Even if you are having trouble selling your pies? Why would you willingly put yourself in the red when you don't have to? Unless you really are going COMPLETELY MAD! (Just imagine me doing the Crazy Warehouse Guy voice every time I have to say something like this.) Eventually, they realise that they aren't getting customers anyway, and head to Darling Harbour. Where Eventus already is, not that we get to see this, of course.

Instead, Morello decides to call John and Blake at the market from the backseat of their Product Placement Drivemobile (who's driving the van?), and get them to lower their prices to "liquidation sale" levels so they sell all of them. And if you eat too many, your body will probably have a liquidation sale of its own. Everything must go!

Fine, I'll stop now.

Brad explains that Amy is doing fuck-all as Project Manager. He should meet Useless Sabrina. Anyway, the market team begin selling their pies at cut rates.

One hour to go. The Pinnacle Pie Patroller is now set up at Darling Harbour, and Gavin is jealous they were able to get it done so quickly. Morello explains, in the middle of trying to sell four pies for ten bucks, that "there's no point in saying no to business", and "even if [they] get a dollar back for each one, that's fifty, fifty percent of, of the debt... gone." And there's still fifty percent of the debt there. Unfortunately, the task isn't about minimising debt. It's about maximising the profits to a level beyond "zero, unless you count our losses as 'reverse profits'". Boy, it's hard to see how this could possibly hurt them, isn't it? Inside the PPP, Sam knows they're not making as much money from the pies as they could, by which he presumably means "we're not making any money". He warns Morello about it when Morello sells four pies for five bucks (total loss: $2.68), and Morello decides to have the largest temper tantrum he can have without actually punching the van. (Punching The Van, by the way, is the title of my latest hip-hop album.) Sam is understandably pissed, and explains that they're losing six bucks every time he does it. Which: no. To lose six bucks on four pies, you'd have to be selling four for $1.68. Frankly, they're probably going to be doing that, the way they're going. Morello tries to explain that a sale is a sale. Why can't they just sell them at the absolute minimum price possible in order to make a profit, then? It's not really that much higher, and you won't be undoing your hard work to sell some pies for decent amounts. Shut up, Morello. It's great that you've chosen to attend every challenge dressed like the Skipper, but you're really more of a Gilligan.

Markets Of Starting On Time With Decent Prices. Ms. Superbitch and Mary-Anne have now decided to cut their pie prices down from $4.50 each to $4 each, or three for $10. And theirs only cost $1.20 each to make. See, Pinnacle? That's how you offer discounts without sacrificing your profit margins. Note that they can still cut the price in HALF and be making profits. You guys would barely be making profits if you DOUBLED your current prices. By 4:46pm, with Blake apparently still hanging around and being a pest, all of their pies are sold. And all of them made at least 150% profit, for those of you playing along at home.

Over at Pinnacle's stall, they've had enough of not being able to sell their pies, and have basically decided to have "a complete fire sale". Good idea. Their profits are going up in smoke anyway. Blake decides to give away any pies he sells within a minute away for fifty cents. You heard me. And these are really "twelve of Australia's brightest minds"? We're all doomed. Doomed, you hear me? Dooooooooooomed.

At Darling Harbour, Pinnacle have sold out of their pies. Would have been embarrassing if they didn't.

Sydney! Don't you wish it was Hobart or Adelaide or some other city with a sense of modesty about itself?

Ms. Superbitch and Mary-Anne call Gavin and Useless Sabrina to see how they're doing. Unfortunately, they've only sold about 135 of their pies. The market stall apparently only had 230 pies to sell, so the van got 298 pies all up. If Useless Sabrina's right, they've still got 163 or so left. Here's the thing, though. Even though they had less than half of the pies, the pricing at the market stall means that even if they were selling them all at their discount prices, they still made enough profit to cover the production costs of all 528 pies, with change left over. And they had free marketing, and Gavin and Useless Sabrina also sold just under half of what they had, presumably for decent prices. Add in how badly Pinnacle were doing at selling them, and there's no tension at all with regards to the results of this task. But, you know, just pretend I haven't told you any of this, because we're supposed to not know the results yet. Even though Helen Keller would realise it by this point.

Day follows night, which follows day. It's the circle of life, death, and purgatory. Guess which one I feel like I'm experiencing at the moment? I guess the cliffs are appropriate, then.

See? Gavin, shirtless. Told you they'd find a shot of it. Unfortunately, they did not find a shirtless shot of Blake. Blake himself tells us he's always nervous in a boardroom, because he just doesn't know WHAT to expect (Drink!). Amy wants to believe she isn't going to be held responsible if her team loses. Good luck with that. The Product Placement Drivemobiles await.

Sydney! Is comprised of just one building this morning, it seems.

In the foyer, we get our first appearance of Hortense this week, all recovered after accidentally watching the Two Girls, One Cup video, but still with the appropriate psychological scars. (If you haven't heard about Two Girls, One Cup... don't look it up. You have been warned.) Gavin believes he did "an amazing job", but that he thinks the boardroom is "a harrowing experience", and obviously isn't much of a fan of going back. Amy decides to decree Pinnacle the winner, because their product was better and they did a better job of selling them. Well, then. Let's call the whole boardroom scene off and just say you won.

The phone rings and our gerbils enter the boardroom. An eternity later, after enough time has elapsed for the entire Indian population of Melbourne to be wiped out in a spate of non-racially-motivated attacks, Bouris enters. He rehashes the task, and once again boasts that Aussies (real Aussies, that is, none of these lame immigrants with all their wacky ethnic foods like "pizza" and "fried rice" and "kebabs") absolutely adore pies, before getting into this week's instalment of How Did The Teams Do? Diane and Brad both rave about how the teams worked, Brad taking the time to tell Bouris that he'd have loved the Pinnacle Pie. Does that mean he bought one? How much did he pay? Doesn't that potentially count as influencing the results of the task?

Bouris asks Amy how she thinks she did, and she badmouths the other women for attacking each other. Wow, hypocritical in one comment. I'm impressed. He then asks her who she thinks the weakest link was, and she says she'd "rather deal with that once I know the result", but Bouris rightly orders her to answer the question right now. She continues trying to not answer the question for a while longer, and Bouris eventually gives up. That is all the talk we get to have with Pinnacle at the moment, so you can bet they'll be coming back later to get their bitch on.

When Gavin is asked how working with the women of Eventus was different than Pinnacle was, he implies that Pinnacle really didn't care too much about anything. I wonder if they realise that to answer the question "What has changed?", you don't need to start your answer with "My old team sucked because...". Gavin gives a reasonable explanation for why he can't tell Bouris who the weak link was, given that he spent most of the day working with only Useless Sabrina. Bouris tells them he loved that they got free promotional crap, but zeroes in on the "home made" thing very quickly. Ms. Superbitch babbles on about how she and Mary-Anne made the pies themselves, and Bouris is sort of like, "That's nice, dear. Now answer the question." Sabrina butts in to say that the shirts had the "real home made taste" thing on them, and Bouris decides to have a hissyfit, pretty much. He's entirely right about this, and frankly, someone involved with the production should have made them take down the poster and rewrite the sign if there was going to be this much potential legal trouble. So far this episode, we've had Brad buying a Pinnacle pie, interviewing John in the middle of trying to prepare food, and possibly some shenanigans with the pie machine timing. I don't think "stop the show from getting sued by the government" should be too far of a stretch. Having seen the ruckus it's caused, Gavin wisely says he wouldn't have put the sign up if he was in their position. More Bouris ranting.

Commercials. You know what's a really stupid invention that somehow got popular? Jockstraps. How on earth are underpants with the arse cut out supposed to offer you MORE protection? Gimme a break.

Sydney! Still has a bridge, if you were concerned. It's good that they're catering to the mentally incapacitated with this repetitive editing, though.

Anyway, Eventus earned $567.60, while Pinnacle only got $194.70. So Eventus quite clearly wins, but Bouris warns them not to fuck up the advertising again. Their reward is that a French chef is going to come and cook them a meal at the Maison D'Moron. When they move out to the foyer, Mary-Anne says she'd like a bucket, probably in preparation for the French food she's about to be fed. Or, alternatively, to store the leftovers. Gavin makes like Om-Tay Ooze-Cray once again. Next week, the Risky Business underpants dance, or I refuse to recap it.

Suddenly, Pinnacle are spread out in the boardroom. Bouris reminds them that $372.90 isn't exactly a small loss. Eventus earned almost three times as much as they did! Bouris asks Amy in a roundabout way if she made the rest of the team understand how the pricing structure was going to work. She says she did, but then says they couldn't sell pies for less than two bucks "in order to recoup our costs". Wonderfully, the shot we get of her saying this is with Morello -- the guy who was selling four pies for $5, an average price of $1.25 each -- sitting in the background. HA! After spending a few seconds trying to ascertain whether everyone knows the difference between revenue and profit (evidently, judging from the task, Morello doesn't), Bouris asks Blake if there was a set price written down anywhere for the team to work from. Blake blusters his way around the word "no", eventually getting there. Amy explains that she trusted the team to set their own prices according to what they thought was fair. Bouris explains that there isn't a business in the world that wouldn't have a set pricing structure, and he has quite clearly never heard of Lentil As Anything. Brad explains that there were a lot of discounts given out, simply because there was no margin policy. He's trying to say "they set their discounts too low", rather than "they had discounts, therefore they suck at business", which would be the literal reading of what he says. And... if discounts were bad for business, we'd never have Boxing Day sales, and as a result I'd never have learned that Deb from Australian Survivor was one of the major post-production types on Farscape, which is by far the most awesome Aussie drama in the last decade. (Also, we really need more sci-fi shows in this country that aren't targeted at children. Seriously, there's Farscape, and then... the next closest to adult sci-fi is Round The Twist, and EW.)

Back in the boardroom, where stuff I'm actually supposed to be talking about is happening. Sam explains when asked that he was aware of the poor pricing, and raised it with Morello. Morello confirms this. John posits, as though anyone wants to know what he thinks the problem was, that they started discounting too early, and set the discounts too low. Seems about right. One point for John. Bouris calls their effort "a disaster", before asking Amy who she wants to bring back. She's taking Morello and Sam, probably the best decision she could have made under the circumstances. Blake and John get to head back to the Maison D'Moron and pack for their road trip (spoiler!), while the rest of the team goes back to the foyer to help Hortense look for online psychological help.

Commercials. On Facebook? Friend me for all the inane ramblings that aren't even funny enough to make it into a recap. You won't believe the crap that gets cut out!

Maison D'Moron, where Eventus is getting their reward. Here's a quick recap: I don't care. Neither do the editors, seeing as we get less than thirty seconds of footage from it.

Sydney! At night! The bridge is taking the opera house on a nice, romantic date, and has requested privacy. So here are some random skyscrapers!

We don't get to see Bouris and his advisors discussing the task and who to fire, because this episode is already too damn long.

Foyer, where Amy and Sam are sitting while Morello stands impatiently. He does know there's more than enough room on the couches, right? Or is this some sort of metaphorical "the team is split up!!1!" thing orchestrated by the producers? And was that ugly centrepiece on the wall always there? If it wasn't, it turns out Hortense really likes the orange. She sends them into the boardroom.

Bouris begins by getting Amy to explain why the others were brought in. She chose Sam because he "didn't express the maturity or the business acumen that some of the other team members had", and Morello is here because his bargain basement discounts resulted in the team "not realising [its] full potential". So, basically, Sam is young and Morello isn't even good at the part of business he's supposed to be best at. Amy would fire Sam, again because of a lack of this mystical concept of "business acumen". He takes offence to it, as he should, and Amy decides to blame him for not accounting for all the discounts in his profit estimates. Sam and Morello would both fire. Morello blabbers on about how he's "going on experience here" in explaining that he knows what the job of being a project manager entails. Yes, it's such a hard nut to crack without doing it yourself. They might as well have called it Junior Vice-Presidential Candidate In Charge Of Synergy, or Connex Apologises For Any Inconvenience Caused, or Stage 3A Water Restrictions, if the name wasn't going to mean anything. Amy tells us she likes taking risks. Someone should tell her that part of taking risks is ensuring your bungy cord is attached to the platform before you jump. Bouris briefly explains why he thinks everyone is in the boardroom, calling Sam out on... whyever he's actually in here, and claiming Morello is "one-dimensional", when he needs "people with multi-dimensions". He totally watched Sliders! Awesome. (Well, not the show. The show sucked, as has everything else Jerry O'Connell's been involved with. But it's awesome that he can naturally slip in an obscure reference to a long-forgotten TV show like that. Next week, he's going to try and mention E.C. Plays Lift-Off. Unless it was unintentional, in which case we'll probably have to settle for an unintentional reference to Challenger.) And also, Morello really is pretty one-dimensional in everything not involving body shape. But Sam being young and Morello being the Gilligan really come down to Amy not managing to lead properly, or something. So she's fired. Probably won't miss her. She reminds me of the gossipy sluts at every high school who swear they're neither gossipy nor sluts, and yet pretty much everyone knows they are. (The male alternative of this, of course, is the "everybody except themselves knows they're gay" kid, a category I once fit into.) (Also, now that I'm out of high school and will probably never see any of the people I had to put up with again outside of reunions I plan on conveniently leaving town to avoid, I would totally make out with several of the guys in my year. Some of them were pretty hot.)

Back in the real world, where the people I went to school with would rather punch me in the face than make out, Bouris tells Sam he needs more confidence, and Morello that he better start doing something other than being a mediocre salesman, before sending them out. As they go back out into the foyer and hug Amy goodbye, Bouris explains that she basically forced him to fire her once she took responsibility for her decisions. Brad and Bobblehead agree, and there's a whole boys-club "Wasn't she a brave little woman, standing up to us like that?" sense about this whole scene, so thank God it's over.

Amy tells us she thinks Bouris made the right decision, but she's still annoyed about losing. Perhaps she should have tried harder. She does the stupid Look Up At The Building And Marvel At All The Lost Opportunities thing, before the Taxi Of You Don't Deserve Product Placement drives off. She tells us she had fun, and learned a lot.

Maison D'Moron. Heather has apparently recovered enough from her flu to be getting drunk while waiting to see who got fired. And boy howdy is she drunk. And rambling. Everyone is shocked. Heather gives us a confessional telling us that Amy was "pretty cool". Well, that was important to hear.

One job. Nine gerbils. One recapper, still pretending to care, but coming closer to actually caring. (Maybe by the time I finish recapping this, I might be invested enough to use the experience to help me with a university essay, much like I did with Australian Survivor.)

Next time: ROAD TRIP! Presumably, there will be less Sydney! stock footage.

To watch Amy's exit interview in full, go to yet another confusing TV show website and just sort of click your way around until you stumble across it.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, do I detect a shout-out? Yes, I do. In fact, I'm a recurring theme throughout the recap. I feel so famous!

    Useless Sabrina is a fitting enough nickname, it does not need to go any further, and indeed, she doesn't deserve the effort that would go into creating one.

    Some of those pie ideas did sound vile. In fact, just about all of them.

    I agree that here's your money, go make a profit would be a very interesting task. But it will never happen.

    And I also agree with the paragraph you wrote regarding how surprisingly good this show was. It actually was.

    Morello should have been fired this week though. In a double with Amy, who also needed to go.