Pandora's Box

Episode Report Card
Miss Alli: B+ | Grade It Now!
Box of tricks

Stephanie starts the presentation, telling everyone that "this little cart can go anywhere in your house." Thus, you know, the use of the word "cart," with its vague suggestions of...mobility. Stephanie also promises that it's possible to put the whole thing together in fifteen minutes. Or, of course, buy one at Target. And then -- oh, man. They're staining the wood for the top of the cart. Why would you do that? For this dinky little project, you're going to get all newspapering-the-floor and all that? Damn. If I'm getting out stain, it's going to be for something better than a rolly-cart that isn't even big enough to put a microwave on. One of the Home Depot guys says that he does like their energy level. Oh, hello, bright side! We're looking on you. Angie interviews that in order to make sure that the presentation was loud enough, she involved Chris. You can't fault her logic in that regard. One tends to hear Chris whether one intends to or not, after all. As it turns out, like many people, Chris is louder than he is packed with finesse, and he went up front and promptly put part of the cart together upside-down. Angie pronounces Chris "amazingly bad at everything." Except, undoubtedly, volume and recreational spitting for distance. Carolyn looks on with some horror as Stephanie opens some of the supplies and some of them slide out and land on the ground. You know, when your customers fill out their comment cards at the end of a presentation like this, you're really not looking for them to deem the show "delightfully slapsticky." Furthermore, Home Depot Guy mutters to Home Depot Lady that this demonstration, sworn to take only 15 minutes, has now taken 35, kind of proving the opposite of their point. To wit, a guy on his way by helpfully says to the executives, "I like the product, but it seems too complicated." And it is! Because it's a utility cart! And there's just no need to build it yourself, let alone stain it yourself! Bleh. I think this project was foolish ab initio, and has not improved.

Over at Magna, they're bringing people in to work on the Boxes, and a particular dynamic is beginning to emerge, which is that they're selling the opportunity to make something personal, not something extra-functional. In other words, they're selling the boxes as blanks, and telling people that the key will be how they dress them up. Tana is painting kids' hands so that they can make handprints on Boxes, and that is an awesome idea. Because the kids are having a ton of fun, and because parents are big suckers for stuff involving their kids. Alex even speaks Spanish to a guy working on his Box. Yay for multiculturalism! It really is like a big Sesame Street episode. Tana paints more hands. Craig speaks admiringly about the handprint idea and the way that after all, your kids' hands "will never be that small again." Again, aww! See, they even have me doing it! And I'm really mean. Carolyn talks to George about how well Tana, Craig, and Alex are all doing. Not great news for Bren and Kendra, although I'm not sure anyone but Craig is going to walk out of this with any enormous sense of satisfaction.

Kendra gives maybe my favorite interview on this show ever -- well, maybe except for some of Troy's classic ones -- when she says that nobody on the team had any faith in The Box as an idea, and they were all wrong, and Craig was right. She pretty much says it like that, straight-up. "We did not give our leader the respect that his ideas deserved," she says. Awesome! Who knew they would ever cast anyone on this show who was remotely capable of that? Bren finds a way to remain critical, as he says that while Craig may be "brilliant," he's not good at getting his ideas across to people. Yes, indeed, it is Craig's fault that Bren snorted at this idea so emphatically that he couldn't hear it creeping up on him with its stealth excellence. Alex, meanwhile, is playing with little girls who probably think he's really cute. And he is, although again, I don't really believe in sleeping with Republicans. Craig talks about how great it was to hear and see little kids building stuff with their parents. Aw! My dad and I built a screech-owl house once. I just remembered that. We never built a mobile kitchen island, though, I'll tell you that much.

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