The Apprentice – Week Two

The Apprentice Week Two review

Well this is unusual.  The advertising task in Week Two, which this year involved devising a marketing campaign for jeans.  Hey, that’s cool, Apprentice dudes, nobody’s ever done that before!

Anybody remember who got fired last week? No, me neither.

Blah blah recap, blah blah holding phones horizontally the way nobody in the history of mobile phones has ever held them blah blah. Taxis, please be quiet, you is not the kind of person ah want to go inta bizniss wiv, blah blah.

The telephone rang, at OHMIGODWHATTIMEISIT, and despite having only minutes to get ready, ironing/hair straightening/admiring the view took place.  The numpties were summoned to – er, not sure, somewhere that used to be a textile factory and is now a “renowned fashion school”, and told to come up with an advertising campaign for Japanese denim.  “One of yoo will be ‘ung outa dry.”  Oh haha, Sirsugarlordalan.  Very droll.

Big K (twat) waffled on about not wanting to pluck his monobrow because he didn’t want to be like everyone else.  Whevs, K.  One of the girls announced she had a fashion plan. What’s that?  The girls couldn’t decide on a project manager.  “How many for Rebecca?” Rebecca held up her own hand. “You can’t vote for yourself.” “Oh.”  JEEZ.

Jessica was PM (that’s project manager to you, not the prime minister.  Although I can easily imagine Theresa May in this scenario).  The girls did a quick focus group on the street. “What makes you choose a particular brand of jeans?” Her respondent replied as though speaking to a very slow, very small toddler.  “The fit. And the fabric.”   The boys wasted time stopping blokes to question them, and then telling them they were too old to know anything about jeans.  Well done, boys.

Everyone started blabbing on about straplines.  “Claim your fit.”  “Wozza strapline?” “The thing that sits alongside the branding.” Man, this was already shaping up to be a doozy.  Dillon, he of the mascara to emphasise his eyelashes, was, if I have got this right, art director.  He declared he couldn’t be interrupted during his thought processes.  Everyone in his team gave him the side eye.  Their brand was Day After Yesterday Denim.  What does that even mean? The girls chose something that I think was both Unclaimed (eh?), and  Claim Your Fit, which frankly would have worked a lot better with an apostrophe.  Jessica had a panic attack, which amused everyone (nice), and went outside to recover whilst her team took the opportunity to conspire against and say loudly how unreliable she was.   They also seemed to have mislaid their jeans. Cracking start.

Mukai tried to call his artistic director who was busy auditioning hot models for the advert.  The girls blabbed on about “share your image” and directed a photoshoot with genius suggestions such as “do a fake laugh”.   It was all kinds of mess, like trying to make mayonnaise using egg whites instead of yolks.    At this rate the whole lot of them were going to get fired and Sugarlordsiralan would spent the rest of the series having botox injections in the fruitless pursuit of looking less like a disgruntled Shar Pei.  Jessica declared that today had been not at all smokin’ (quote) and that tomorrow she would be better. She missed out that to achieve this she would be an entirely different person with a working brain and a few ideas.   The rest of her team had a hugely enjoyable session bitching about how hopeless she was.  “She just lost it!” “Yeah.”  As far as Jessica is concerned, the sisterhood is dead.

The next day dawned – the day of filming their ads.  The girls were on point. “You need more lipstick.”  YEAH GURL. They filmed in a toilet, to the sound track of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it off” which was, frankly, an unfortunate choice.  Over in Brixton, Dillon gave directorial instructions to a skateboarder.  “When you fall, can you take off your sunglasses?”  Special K , behaving like Donald Trump at a Miss Universe pageant, suggested he remove his own shirt because he was so hot.  Everyone shuffled their feet in an embarrassed fashion and pretended they hadn’t heard him.

The pitching.  Speaking as a pitching expert (modest) they were all crap.  The boys in particular were appalling.  “I’ll now hand you over to…. thanks, Big Guy…. creative juices…. yeah, love it…. sorry if I’m going a bit quick.”   There was a terrible bit where DAY denim or whatever they called it, launched into their presentation and Mukai, barely one word in, said: “I’ve completely fucked it.”  Yes, he actually said that. It is only fair to say the girls were no better.

Alansirlordsugar listened intently on a corded phone (get with the 21st century, Daddio) as the advertising experts slagged off both teams.  Everyone declared everyone else to be an idiot.  “Did you all go orf talking too much abaht the jeans bean Japanese?” enquired Sirsugarlordalan.  “Wotissit? You wait hours for a terrible bus advertisement and then two come along at once!”  It was hard to disagree with him, and he was properly angry about the dross he was presented with. “Arm not putting ma name to EYE VERR OF VEESE ADVERTS!” he yelled.  “Viss is ma favritt tarsk! GIT OUTTA HERE!”

Both project managers were sent out and told to chose two people each to accompany them back into the boardroom.   The Cafe of Despair was full to bursting as both teams told each other they were crap.

“Arm bitterly disappointed,” declared Alansugarlordsir. Mukai brought back JD (who? Does he have a sports clothing company?) and Special K.  Jessica brought back Alana and Natalia (no, me neither).    The boys started arguing almost immediately.  Special K’s monobrow disappeared into his hairline as he criticised JD.  Mukai’s bow tie drooped with disappointment.

The girls fared no better. “On Day One, arr lost ma head,” explained Jessica.  “But on Day Two, arr found it.  Natalie could’ve done more, but she just got on with the job I gave her.”  WTF?  Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do, ie your job?  “Oooh, arrve lost ma train of fought,” flustered Jessica, who had mysteriously turned into Sue Pollard.

Natalie waffled on about not letting anybody down and doing 100 hours a week with passion but Alansugarlordsir was unimpressed and gave her the boot.  “Thank you, Lord Sugar.”

JD was given the benefit of the doubt and was allowed to stay.  Special K was declared to be a loose cannon but also allowed to say.  His monobrow looked grateful.   Anymore to be fired? Nope.

Next week, manufacturing and selling their own sweets.

The Apprentice – Week One

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Oh man.  “My business acumen would be like a bouncing puppy.” “Behind my boyish good looks…’ “All I’ve ever wanted is money, and power.”  “Arm here twin.”  Look, there’s 18 of them.  I can’t write down every brainless quote.  Stick with me though, because I have a feeling this series is going to be television GOLD.

“So.  You lark to be called The Big Kay arr hear?” Siralanlordsugar interrogated Karthik Nagesan.  “The Big K for friends and fans,” smirked K.  “But you can call me K.” Sugarlordalansir gazed at him in wonder.  It’s been years since a candidate has revealed their idiocy so early in the process.  He then delivered his annual boardroom sermon of doom. “You can compare this to being on a life support machine and one of your colleagues here pulling the plug out just to charge their mobile phone up,” he warned. “That’s how competitive it will get.’’

So, the task.  But first, team names.  The boys chose Team Titans.  Hey, have I heard that name before?

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The girls chose Team Nebula, because who doesn’t want to be thought of as a cloud of gas and dust in outer space?

Someone called Paul was project manager for the boys, Michelle for the girls.  They had to go through piles of antiques, find valuable stuff among the rubbish and sell it.  One numpty reckoned he’d got it covered because he had seen an episode of Bargain Hunt.  Off they trotted to a car boot sale, the boys proudly setting out their crap trestle table with broken china and an old statuette. The girls hadn’t even unpacked when some old lags who knew what they were looking at took them for a ride.  The girls, of course, celebrated.  “We’re gonna make some MONEY!” they yelped.

Then they dragged their stuff off to experts to find out how much their rubbish was worth, buy new stuff blah blah (I missed a bit due to the cat having a fit that I’d put out dry food instead of wet, so I put out wet and he promptly started eating the dry. Frickin’ cats).  Anyhoo, Paul was quite taken with a perfectly hideous Alan Partridge-type chair and got a £300 valuation from his expert. “Hipsters will like it,” declared Paul.  Yeah, they probably would.  Add a couple of antique trombone parts and an ironic lampshade and you’ve got a deal. The girls sold the same chair for about fourpence.  Go, girls!

Michelle spent what felt like the entire day quizzing her expert, only to ignore him entirely and go to Camden instead of heading for Portobello market.  The Titans, however, DID go to Portobello on the basis that it’s the ideal place to flog junk to unsuspecting poshos with money but no sense.    Blah blah how much shall we drop the price blah blah where’s the antiques dealer blah blah run run run run RUN!  “Guys, comman see our stall we sell THINGS!”   Meanwhile, the camera cut repeatedly to shots of Mukai walking around the market wearing an insane orange crocheted bowtie with matching pocket kerchief.    Then there was the usual running around shops with five minutes to go thrusting hideous tables and plastic candelabras at bemused dealers.  “£60 for the lot.” “£50.” “£55?” “£52.”  “Done.”  They had obviously all read that bible of business acumen, Donald Trump’s “The Art of the Deal.”

The boardroom.  Nebula were immediately roasted for selling stuff too cheaply and spending hours with an expert they then ignored.  Michelle, project manager remember, praised everyone.  Everyone repaid the favour by telling her she was rubbish.

SugarSirAlanLord moved onto the boys.  “Arve had the feedback from Karren fat sum of yoo were like lost lams.”   Everyone gave each other serious side eye as they tried to explain their brilliance and blame each other for their failure simultaneously.  They didn’t need to.

The boys won.  Their prize was a lesson learning how to lindy hop (that’s a kind of jive, young ‘uns).  They looked underwhelmed at this, but not as underwhelmed as the Nebula gals who gathered in the Cafe of Despair.  “Lemme finish torkin!” “IN MY OPINION!” “Arl fight my corner!” etc etc.

Back into the boardroom they trooped and promptly started looking for a bus under which they could throw their team mates.  “There was a lack of leadership.”  One candidate boasted of selling some vases for £15.  “Do you know how much they were worth?” enquired SirSugarLordAlan.  “Er, no…” she replied, sensing that he was about to tell her, and she wasn’t going to like the answer. “Three hundred pahnd.”  “Oh. Sorry.”  Hopefully the vases’ new owners were watching the programme, shouting “Joleen! Them fackin’ vases are worth a fortune!  Gettem on Ebay, now!”

Michelle brought back Alana and Rebecca (nope, no idea.  Soz.)  Rebecca gave a pretty good account of herself, despite selling nothing.  She turned on Michelle’s lack of leadership and zero business acumen.  “Five, ten, fifteen, twenty.   That’s not a pricing strategy.”  Alana declared herself to be the second best seller.  Way to go, Alana. Who wants to come first? Second is where it’s at.  There was a lot of tedious bickering, and Michelle got the boot.

‘THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE OPPORTUNITY!” she yelled in response.  Seriously, think of something else to say, you losers.  “I DIDN’T F%*KING WANT TO BE YOUR KNOBBING BUSINESS PARTNER ANYWAY!” for example.

The lesson, dear readers, is never, ever, volunteer to be project manager in the first week.   But you knew that, didn’t you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Apprentice – preview

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:01:00 on 27/09/2016 - Programme Name: The Apprentice S13 2016 - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: * Strictly embargoed to 00.01 hrs Tuesday 27th September 2016 * (L-R) JD O’Brien, Natalie Hughes, Michelle Niziol, Karthik Nagesan, Mukai Noiri, Courtney Wood, Sofiane Khelfa, Frances Bishop, Alana Spencer, Samuel Boateng, Dillon St Paul, Oliver Nohl-Oser, Trishna Thakrar, Jessica Cunningham, Rebecca Jeffery, Paul Sul - (C) Boundless - Photographer: -

Apparently the first task involves testing the candidates’ negotiation and selling skills. As always, they’ve a shaky grasp of grammar and an inability to know when they’re talking bollocks.  Take a look at this year’s numpties:

1

The Tasmanian devil occasionally stirred up a tornado.  Not a torpedo. JEEZ.

 

2

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

 

3

Not a sentence, mate.

 

4

Because I’m worth it.

 

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You play IN the team.

 

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Close the door on your way out, love.

 

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Except in order to win something, there has to be an element of competition.

 

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“I’m short, so I’m, er, a pocket rocket! Aaaaaaaaand….. I’m fiery! (GEDDIT!) And I, er, nope, I can’t stretch this metaphor any further, soz.”

 

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Likely to volunteer to be project manager in the first task, and also first to climb into the Taxi of Doom.

 

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Hey, it worked for Frida Kahlo.

 

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D’you want some wax for that cross?

 

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Don’t look like him, pal.

 

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And what do hustlers, walking the mean streets of Glasgow want?  That’s right. THEIR OWN HAIR SALON.

 

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“And mummy says I’m the best at tying my own shoelaces.”

 

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“And I am absolutely not whingeing when I say that people foolishly mistake my enthusiasm for silliness or positivity for naivety.  I’m not, I’m not, I’m not.  Stop being mean. IT’S NOT FAIR.”

 

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“I’ve even adapted to getting to the age of 32 and not rising any higher up the corporate ladder than sales exec.  Go me!”

 

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And nothing conveys the inalienable aura of strength quite like a bow tie.

 

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“I’m better than Samuel at tying my own shoe laces, so THERE.”

The Apprentice – episode 11

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The interviews episode is always the best.  Bear traps are laid, and the unwitting candidates fall into them. Every year without fail there’s a numpty who believes the little lie about graduating from Cambridge/getting Highly Commended in Grade 4 Ballet/discovering the Higgs Boson won’t be found out.

So: Joseph Valente, Richard Woods, Vana Koutsomitis, Charleine Wain and Gary Poulton faced Claude Littner, Claudine Collins, Mike Soutar and Linda Plant.  Who was first up with a creative CV? Step forward Gary.  “You managed 600 people and had a budget of ONE BILLION?” “Well, er…” “Your reference says when you left you were in charge of three workers.”  Gaz made a sound like a balloon losing air. “So your business plan is….” “A global, multi-sensory experiential event planner…”  Linda Plant looked doubtful.  “It’s just a mobile disco, isn’t it?” Gary refused to be cowed.  “We’re very popular in the West Midlands.”  Not really New York though, Gazza, is it?

Linda turned out to be a bit of a star interviewer.  She certainly frightened the bejesus out of Charleine, who was startled into bringing out the big guns early. “I’m very big in wedding hair.”

Richard’s business plan was full of the kind of wank marketing people are prone to.  “Project X… an outsourced marketing concept…climbing a mountain… reach the summit of your desires….”

Joseph, who had shaved off his moustache in honour of the occasion, did rather well.   “Claude, don’t worry.  Arm very confident.”  Claude told him his franchise model probably wouldn’t work.  Joseph wasn’t having any of it and Claude listened to him intently, looking quietly impressed.

Linda Plant read Richard’s business plan. “A trail blazer, you say.” Her lip curled. “What’s a trail blazer, Richard?” “Er…”  Richard looked worried. “It’s someone who does something first.” “Yes, and I…” “You haven’t done anything first, have you?”  Richard spluttered defensively. “Well, now.. I…” “EVER.”  The very small amount of Richard that was left slumped out of the interview room.

In the boardroom, the panel gave their opinions on the candidates. “Charleine’s expectations are probably beyond her abilities.”  Everybody thought Gary’s idea of a global party app was rubbish. Vana’s dating-come-gaming idea was liked by everybody, but Mike Soutar tore her financials into shreds.  They all liked Joseph, but worried about the height of his ambition. Lordalansugarsir felt he wouldn’t be able to handle corporate clients.  “Fen we did feh property task, ee woz a fish outa warta.” Linda defended him.  “He’s not a fish out of water in the plumbing business.”  Which is lucky.

The five victims were then grilled by Siralanlordsugar.  Gary attempted to explain his global events whatsit doo-dah again but was dismissed immediately. “Ar don’t geddit.”  Gary and his disco ball sat in the Taxi of Doom and headed back to the capital of partydom, presumably Birmingham.

Richard’s business plan came under fire.  “Ah, but this new plan is different.” Claude disagreed. “Isn’t this what you do already with the agency you run with your brother?” “Nah, that’s just a web build thing.” Richard’s brother must be thrilled.

Charleine revealed her plans for world domination of the hairdressing market.  “I’d move to London where I could charge phenomenal prices compared with Plymouth!”  She was fired.

Gazza and his Skype disco got the boot. A weary Sirsugaralanlord, by now looking like Sid James several weeks after death, indicated his difficulty in choosing who else to fire by asking the three remaining candidates to step outside whilst he quizzed Claude once again.

Back they came. Vana gave a good account of herself and her credible, although potentially financially crushing, business idea. Joseph explained that he could talk to posh people. Richard said he wouldn’t sell his shares in his agency with his brother (although his brother may now have a different opinion on the matter).  He later changed his mind but it didn’t work. He got the boot.

Vana and Joseph inthe final.  I may win the office sweepstake yet.

 

The Apprentice – episode nine

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This week, the teams (I use this term loosely, as they all appear to loathe one another) were summoned to the Southbank Tower. “Arve told previous team to sell all forts of fings,” said Siralanlordsugar. “Coffee. Erm, flowers….” there was a long pause as he tried to remember what else.  Nope, nothing.  Move on, Al, you’re losing your audience. “But viss time…feh priciest product around: property.”  Abramovich’s yacht broker may beg to differ.

On Twitter, Alansugarlordsir had brought his customary witty wordplay to proceedings:

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GEDDIT?

The tiny noble had found two developers in London about to launch a range of luxury apartments (revolutionary thinking, guys; really, well done) and the teams had to pitch themselves as sales executives to represent them, the team making the most in commission being declared the winner.  Given that these chumps couldn’t sell Simon Cowell a teeth whitening kit, it was always going to be interesting watching them try to sell Thames-side penthouses to some of London’s “most discerning buyers”.

Joseph, aka Gomez Addams, lead one team, Richard led the other. Each team met Developer Number One who was called, if I recall correctly, Harry Hardhat Stan. He was “passionate” about his property.  Joseph was less bothered with such detail and wanted the skinny on how much money he would trouser. “What are the prices? We’ve got to make a lot of commission.”  Hovering in the background, Claude made a face like a man who has a crushing hangover and just discovered his cat has vomited by virtue of getting out of bed and planting his bare foot in it.

Pitch blah blah decisions etc.  Scott and Brett had their property selling patter prepared. “These are the walls.”  Vana and Richard looked round a Canary Wharf show flat. Vana knew she could sell it, no problem, because “I like Canary Wharf.”  It’s not often I feel sorry for Lordsirsugaralan but seriously.  These people?

Charleine sold a flat for £350,000. Her complicated hair-do filled with triumphant static.  “You could buy a whole street in Wales for that price!” she squeaked excitedly. You could practically hear the Cardiff property market plummet.

Superior Selina tried to sell a flat to a clued-up buyer.  “It is quite expensive.” “What’s the average price per square foot of property in Stratford?” “Um…” The buyer looked at her with thinly-veiled amusement mixed with contempt.  Selina nimbly shifted the blame for her ignorance onto Gomez Addams.  “Joseph didn’t ask the developer the right questions.”

Meanwhile in Lewisham, Gary was busy waxing lyrical with the kind of poetic linguistics only an Apprentice candidate can come up with.  Apparently some people like looking at “the greenery”, some people like looking to the “city” and some people like looking at “Lewisham”.  He was practically Oscar Wilde.

Over on Twitter, Sugarlordalan might have revealed who WON’T be his business partner.

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Just as an aside, I assumed, since the chumps were selling property, that there wouldn’t be the usual running around the streets selling their wares trying to make a few quid at the last minute.  How wrong can a girl be?  90 minutes trading left and they were OUT ON THE STREET trying to sell flats. “My husband’s going to kill me,” laughed a woman, who promptly spunked several thousand grand on one.  Imagine the dinner conversation that night. “Do much today, darling?” “I just popped into Waitrose and picked up some mangos and a couple of Advent Calendars for the kids.” “Lovely.”  “Oh, and a flat.”  “A…. what the fu…….?”

Anyway, the ghastly Selina lost and Richard and Vana et al won and went off to try out a speedboat, but before they left, Sugarlordalansir had a word of warning for one candidate. “Scott, Karren has warned me abaht you. You’re a lucky man to be still in feh process.”  Scott promptly fired himself. “I’d like to resign.”  In a dog-eat-dog process, this dog ate himself.  It was a kindness.

In the Cafe of Doom, Selina and Charleine exchanged insults. “Let me speak. Let me speak! LET ME SPEAK!” Joseph’s moustache quivered with fright.  They drooped into the boardroom. “Joseff, yous a bull in a china shop,” announced Alanlordsugarsir. Joseph looked puzzled. “In what sense?”

Selina went for Joseph’s jugular. “I get negative feedback because I’m too pushy and take the lead.” No shit. “You weren’t the kind of person who can lead.”  Everyone turned on Selina, and about time in my opinion. Selina rose above it all. “I pride myself in getting on with people.”  Joseph cleverly brought Selina and Gary back in the boardroom with him so that he and Gary could gang up on her, and Charleine breathed a sight of relief.

Joseph’s audition tape came back to haunt him. “Arm the godfarver of bizniss.”  Sugaralansirlord was unimpressed. “You’re not.” “But arm 26 years old!” “Ar don’t care, arm not ear to babysit.”

Selina got the boot and looked furious.  “Pfft. Okay,” she spat.  Well, I did ask them to come up with something different.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Apprentice – episode eight

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This week, those chumps remaining in “the process”  had to prove to Lordsugarsiralan that they could plan parties for the children of wealthy parents.   And so the only people in the world able to rise at 6am and leave the house 20 minutes later looking immaculate were summoned to the Museum of Childhood.  Yes, it’s a real place.  Now if it were my Museum of Childhood it would comprise sadistic nuns, Refreshers, Spangles and a school report which said I would do a lot better in life if I stopped considering my teachers to be my academic inferiors.  Whevs, Mrs Murray (Head of Sixth Form).

Anyhoo, said wealthy parents wanted to hold parties for their little darlings, budget of £2,000. That’s right. Two thousand pounds for a child’s party.  TWO THOUSAND POUNDS.

There was much eye rolling as Selina “I don’t like children” was made PM whilst Gary helmed the opposition.  Selina bombarded her client (a cool American girl called Nicole) with crap suggestions but failed to get the mother’s telephone number.  Meanwhile Gary’s client, Jamal’s mother, had a nut allergy, which she felt was important. No shit.  Try sitting in the boardroom explaining to Sirsugaralanlord that the reason you failed to win the task was because you’ve accidentally killed your client.

Gary’s team decided Jamal and his mates would like an outdoors party, which they decided to host themselves, instead of bothering with piffling details such as staff who know what they’re doing.  David foolishly admitted he had experience of working in children’s camps and set to work to demonstrate his entertainment talents.  “YOU PUT YOUR LEFT HAND IN!” he squawked into the ensuing silence. “COME ON!” The dead-eyed children looked unimpressed.  But David had other songs with which to get the tots on-side.  “YOU PUT YOUR LEFT HAND IN…. YOU CUP IT AROUND… PUT IT BEHIND… Like that one?” “No.”  Tough crowd.  Making them all wear glow sticks that don’t work in daylight didn’t help.

Selina also chose a sporting theme.  What happened to just running round the house, screaming your heads off whilst high on sugar, like normal children? Parents these days are idiots.  Back to Gary. The parent with the nut allergy were told that perhaps the birthday cake contains nuts. Well done, Gaz. Back to Selina.  “We have party bags.”  She proceeded to talk Nicole’s mother through their contents, which consisted of naff plastic mirrors and sweets.  “Had you suggested these last night, my instinct would be to say no,” said Nicole’s mama. Selina pressed on, regardless. “Can we discuss costs? These are £10 each.”

I am, on the whole, in favour of party bags, as they are a clear signal that it’s time for the children to leave. I give those parents of young children that tip, gratis.

Gary’s team messed up on Jamal’s t-shirts and all the money they spent on them went for nothing. His party bags were transparent sandwich bags with sweets in them, which ordinarily would be perfectly acceptable but Jamal’s parents had spunked two grand on this shindig and thus had clearly expected Nigella Lawson to turn up and make some praline truffles and perhaps throw in a hand-job for Dad for good measure.

Cake disasters, blah blah, icing, marshmallows, blah blah.   The ghastly Selina won the task and assumed the expression of a cat who had just knocked back three pints of cream with a dead mouse chaser.  Gary, who runs his own events business, looked like the dead mouse. Selina’s team went off to snowboard.

In the Cafe of Doom, Gary told David he would bring him back into the boardroom because he burnt Jamal’s t-shirts.  “He left a sour taste in the client’s eye.” I’m just going to leave that quote there, without comment.

In the  boardroom, Gary, having said David was in the firing line,  then asked Charleine and Joseph to decide which of them wished to throw themselves under the bus.  They protested they had done everything 50:50 and he would have to make the decision for himself. Gazza refused.  Sugarsirlordalan looked even more like a furious Shar Pei than usual, and told the four of them they were all up for firing.

Charleine, desperate to save herself, started arguing in so shrill a voice that only dogs could hear her. Joseph hid behind his Gomez Addams moustache, and Gary smirked (I don’t like Gary). David got the boot. “Thank you for the opportunity.” My GOD, someone think of something else to say, why don’t you?

“Joseph has been a brilliant candidate,” declared Gaz. Good.  That 14 quid office sweepstake is looking promising.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Apprentice – episode six

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This week, those remaining in “the process” schlepped off to a warehouse situated on some Godforsaken piece of land where warehouses live, and were told to set up and run a handyman business.  Handymanandwoman? Handyperson? Handyman. This is my blog, not the Guardian.

“Odd jobs have become BIG BUSINESS,” informed the doomy voiceover.  They have? I spend every frickin’ weekend doing odd jobs yet have somehow failed to become a billionaire, but I’ll take the Beeb’s word for it.

Brett the builder (seriously?) got the PM job and was visibly delighted.  Seemed like a bit of a fix to me, but The Apprentice likes to set up people for a fall, so there was no telling how things would turn out.  Elle headed up the other team, looked gleeful and then immediately found out her team hadn’t got a clue. “Simplicity is key here,” she announced.  No shit.  Mergim, who confided he had been “dying for it” got the sub team role.  Imagine dying to be a team leader on The Apprentice.

Elle’s bunch of chumps missed the deadline for printing their marketing material. Well done, love.  Both teams had to pitch for corporate contracts, and both quoted to do up the costume department at the Theatre Royal in Stratford, east London and some South London football club (I missed which one, but I doubt that matters). Brett’s team did a lot of measuring and making knowledgeable noises about wood. The club wanted their seats cleaned and their white lines re-painted and someone called David, I think, randomly quoted £500.  His team-mates stood back in awe, clearly having no idea if this offered a decent profit margin or not.   Mergim’s mates put up a shelf that was wonky, but confidently declared it was supposed to be, as though designing a Tate Modern installation.

Blah blah quoting for contracts, blah blah.  The corporate client called Elle to discuss prices. “I have no idea about negotiation” wailed Elle to her fellow chumps (well done again, love).  Where do they find these people? Joseph, aka Gomez Addams and my pick in the office sweepstake, seemed on it. Perhaps that £14 will be mine after all.  “Ar feel lark arve really taken ovah vis tarsk,” he confided modestly to camera.

By this stage, I’d lost track of which team was which, but the one with Brett the Builder realised they had no chance of finishing their job at the football ground and told the football bloke.  Claude looked thrilled.  “He’s going to have to re-negotiate on price, and it’s going to cost him,” he whispered, looking like Ernst Blofeld (post-corrective surgery).  The football bloke knocked forty quid off the price.  “Even if we lose, I’ve shown my leadership,” squawked Brett, proudly.  Er, okaaaaaay.

So, to the boardroom. Atop his booster seat, Siralanlordsugar was keen to show his superiority. “Ar laid on two big jobs. ”Props to the candidates here for not laughing.  “So ow did yoo lot do ven?”  A moment here to praise April for the bun on top of her head, so high small planets were circling it.  How does she do it?

Brett the Builder won – what a surprise – and he and his team went off to a spa, which appeared to comprise nothing more than a small sauna and one mud face mask between six.  Wowser.

April, her bun now reaching hitherto undiscovered galaxies, defended her non-existent pricing strategy.  “It was a mistake, and I learned from it.”  Sugarlordalansir turned to Elle, disturbing her mentally working out a new way of saying “thank you for the opportunity.”   She was fired. “Thank you VERY much for the opportunity.” In the taxi of doom, she said she wouldn’t have done anything differently.

Back to the boardroom. “Vis ain’t finished.”  Richard came under fire, but Gomez Addams defended him.  “Ee woz sweatin’, Lord Sugar.”  April and David were chosen to come back with Mergim for the potential chop.  “Charleine, you’re off da ook,” “Can I say something?” “NO.”

Mergim fought hard to stay in the process. “Ar always fink outside feh box.” April saw an opening. “He didn’t lead his team.”  Mergim wasn’t having any of it. “Arm passionate about being a millionaire.”  So am I, Mergim.  So am I.  He was fired, but the firing was tempered with kindness, a rare glimpse of humanity from the teeny boss man. “Keep striving for ya dreams.”  April looked relieved, but unexpectedly got fired as well. David grabbed his chance to boast. “I do shine.” “I didn’t see any shining,” came the withering retort from Baroness Brady.

“Lord Sugar’s search for his business partner continues.” Poor sod.

The Apprentice – episode five

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Not being a fan of turning nouns into verbs, I winced on hearing Siralanlordsugar declare that the remaining chumps were to be “tasked” with demonstrating the essential business skill of writing a children’s book.  Yes, in boardrooms throughout the world, cowering minions wish they too, could write “Five Snort Cocaine In The Square Mile” with the same level of skill as their CEOs.  Because anyone can write, yeah? NO.

Anyhoo, the morning call came and off they went to the London library, described, weirdly, as “home to the writers’ library”.  Well DURR.  They were to write a book for the three to five years age group, record an audio version, and then market the result.

Sam wanted to be project manager.  “I have a degree in English Literature,” he declared, his hands waving about like Oscar Wilde in a gale. Charleine, a hairdresser, insisted that because she was clever and more knowledgeable about children’s books than J K Rowling (I’m paraphrasing) she should have the PM role, and promptly grabbed it for herself before the rest of them could shout “HUBRIS”. Her team then blathered on about bees “collecting honey from flowers”, rather as a human might pop into Marks and Sparks and pick up a ready meal.  Bees in Charleine’s world don’t bother with shizz like nectar or, you know, making the stuff. They just collect it.

Sam’s team, initially keen on dragons, (“I like dragons”) eventually went for a mythical creature called Snotty Dink.  Eat your heart out, Roald Dahl.  Meanwhile Charleine’s book, crap rhymes and everything, was written – yep, it takes minutes folks, why aren’t we all authors? – and it was into the recording studio.  Having appointed Richard sub team leader, Charleine then made it clear she loathed him and refused to speak to him even when she was speaking to him, a talent of sorts, and instead spent the time available kissing David’s butt.  Sam, now on draft 2,347 of his script, took rather more time and then panicked about being behind schedule.  “Pfft. We’re done,” smirked Charleine, making it clear she didn’t think much of Sam’s English degree.  “I hope we’ve beaten Shakespeare over there.”  I don’t think Shakespeare went to university, did he? Eat that, Charleine.

Next morning, having opened boxes of their books (“Wow!” “Brilliant!”) it was time to pitch their books to various publishers.  Waterstones told Charleine her book was rubbish. Her extravagant hair-do drooped with disappointment.  Blah blah publishers, blah blah retailer discount percentages (“er, what?”) running through streets blah blah. “OUT OF MY WAY, PEDESTRIANS!” screeched Selina, who then sold a load of books for two quid each, whilst Sam looked distraught at such a rock bottom price point.

To the boardroom. Sirsugaralanlord delivered his customary bon mot, wiggling with delight in his booster seat: “One of youse will not be livin’ ‘appily ever arftar!”  Shakespeare/Sam lost, and Charleine, chippy, mean-spirited witch that she is, was triumphant.  “Me and Richard are totally fine!” she yelped, as Richard gave her the side-eye but was sensible enough not to say anything in case she slipped him a poisoned apple.

“I’m sorry,” said Sam to his team.  Instead of making the kind of “It’s alright mate” noises nice people murmur in such situations, they stared at him as a hungry lion might a wounded wildebeest calf separated from the herd.  Sam, who is far too decent a person to work with Alansirlordsugar, couldn’t decide who he would bring back into the boardroom with him.  “Er…. um….er…..” Aeons passed. Tectonic plates moved. New galaxies were created. Finally: “Nat and… and…. and…” It was worse than waiting for the who has to dance again decision on Strictly. “Um….Brett.”  “Oo?” enquired Sugarsiralanlord. “Me,” answered Brett, looking furious at the snub.

Mercifully, all three were relatively polite, there was no shouting and minimal recriminations, probably because Sam was so reasonable that even when the other two were telling him he was shit he saw their points of view.  “Natlee,” sighed Sugarlordalansir. “Your pitch woz rubbish.”  Natalie got fired.  “Thank you.”  “Natalie, I’m so sorry,” said Sam, looking close to tears.  What a gent.

Back in the house, there was an entirely different atmosphere. None of that politeness and decency HERE, thank you very much. “I’d like to raise a toast to myself!” shrieked Charleine, as the others glumly knocked back the booze, hating her.

I rather hope Sam doesn’t end up as Alansirlordsugar’s business partner.  He’s much too decent a person for such a tawdry bauble.

The Apprentice – episode three

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The episode kicked off with a video message from the Great Leader, who had been kept away on urgent business (apparently).  “Arm sorry ar carnt be wiv you,” intoned Siralanlordsugar to the 16 remaining candidates, gathered in the “wartime tunnels” underneath Dover Castle.  “Where’s Dover?” enquired one dunderhead.  “I know it’s on the coast,” she added knowledgeably.  “But…., er….” There was a long pause as the cogs whirred and GCSE Geography papers were recalled.  After what seemed like an age, everything fell into place. “Are we going to Ireland?”  Okay, a failed GCSE.  How does Sugarlordalansir stand it? I’d never manage to run The Apprentice.  I’d fire the lot of them in under five minutes.

They were told some of them would be dispatched to Calais while the rest stayed in Kent. Also told to remain in their girls vs boys configurations, they were given a list of shizz they had to buy.  Project managers were chosen.  Vana spoke French but Elle, inexplicably, declared that working in the construction industry meant she was good at cracking problems.  Vana generously allowed her to be her deputy, whilst smirking happily.  Vana does not like Elle.  Elle looks like Nigella Lawson.  Perhaps that’s it?

Gomez Addams, aka Joseph (the bloke I’ve drawn in the office sweepstake God help me) confessed that although he couldn’t speak French – to be fair, it didn’t stop Girls Aloud – he nonetheless wanted to be leader. Several other team members had French language qualifications but craftily agreed to Joseph’s wishes, presumably in the hope that he would fail.

Tasked with buying champagne flutes, lace, a mirror, cheese, a galvinized anchor, (yes, really), an inflatable boat – or goat, I didn’t quite catch – and, if I heard correctly, animal poo, half the team headed to Calais (not Dublin) and half glumly stayed put in Kent.  Joseph declared that the girls would have an advantage because they were pretty.  His pencil moustache drooped at the thought of this unfair qualification.

In Calais, he wasted a great deal of time asking people if they spoke English. Sam, who could speak some French, was not allowed to come forward until Joseph had run out of permutations of the same question:  “Madam, Do you speak English?” “Miss Your, do YOU speak English?” and finally the desperate, although admittedly direct, “ENGLISH?”  Meanwhile Claude stood close by, gleefully confiding to camera: “I’m fluent in French.  I’m going to know EVERYTHING.”  He might as well have thrown his head back and give us his full plot laugh.  Claude is ace.

Anyhoo, lots of running around, paying daft prices for stuff, hurling themselves into restaurants and asking to buy mussels, and one idiot, Gary, who bought a child’s inflatable dingy instead of a proper one as Sirsugaralanlord had stipulated. Remember the cardboard skeleton of last year, Gazza? Fool.

Back in the boardroom, Joseph was questioned by Lordalansugarsir.  “You woz made project manager?” “Yiss. Fust fing ar did woz find out oo could speak French.” This is the kind of spectacular business acumen boardrooms across the country are looking for, people.

There was much amusement at the teams’ ignorance over the Frenchie’s tendency to “go on strike” over lunchtime, hahahajingoismha.  The girls bought the “wrong cheese” and the boys won and went off to a wine tasting.  Wowser.  Vana looked like Wallace being told that Grommit had run out of Wensleydale, and off they trooped to the Café de Despair.  Accusations of being a “morale vacuum” were bandied about.

Back in the boardroom, the girls quickly descended into being vile to one another and it really wasn’t pretty.  Vana chose Elle and Jenny for the chop, and quickly lay into Jenny, who didn’t buy anything at all.  Why did she choose Elle? “I was counting on her logistical prowess.”  Elle gave an excellent account of herself, being reasonable, fair and avoiding any kind of snarkiness.  “Ultimately, this is Vana’s fault.”  Jenny didn’t buy anything in the task, and in Alansirlordsugar’s book, that’s a crime punishable by death.  Goodbye, Jenny. She eschewed the usual “thank you for the opportunity” and instead gave a long speech that made Vana and Elle look at each other with identical “spot the loon” looks on their faces as Jenny finished her Oscar length oration.  Packed resentfully into the Taxi of Doom, she declared “I’m gonna achieve massive things.  I bet you anything in a couple of years he’s gonna be knocking on my door wanting to be part of my business.”  Er, okay.

When Vana and Elle returned to the house, Selina eyed Elle speculatively, as a cat might an unsuspecting mouse.  Watch out, Elle.

The Apprentice – episode two

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It’s a bit early in the series for my favourite task (advertising and branding of course), but I’m not complaining.   After all, who can forget the arse-squirmingly appalling Pantsman ad of 2009?  Tonight Siralanlordsugar challenged both teams – back to boys versus girls, yawn – to create and market a brand new shampoo.  And not just any old shampoo. One with a unique ingredient – cactus seed oil.  I shall refrain from making any reference to it being suitable for a bunch of pricks.

Back to the teams.  Elle was more than happy about the battle of the sexes, as it meant she didn’t have to put up with someone she considered to be entirely unsuitable for the task, Brett: “coz he’s bald”.  Nice, Elle.  By the way the team name that eluded me last night is “Connectus” which I erroneously imagined to be the most ludicrous name ever but a quick Google revealed it’s not just idiots on telly who come up crap names.

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The teams picked their leaders. Ten seconds after she was anointed, Aisha threatened her team with the boardroom if they lost the task. Richard went for the diplomatic approach.  “Everyone will get a chance to pitch their idea.”  He forgot to add “and then we’ll go with mine regardless,” but top marks for effort.

Onwards to the brainstorming.  Mergim’s contribution was invaluable: “My idea is sexiness.”  Ground-breaking.   And what would they call this sexy cactus shampoo? “What about…. Cactus?”  Eventually they chose Western, because, er, cacti. Meanwhile the girls adopted a similar theme and called their shampoo Desert Secrets, even though most of them hated it but Aisha, whose role model appeared to be Mussolini, overruled them.  There was an immediate stampede to confide to camera they thought the name was rubbish, just in case they lost and Aisha dragged them into the boardroom with her.

Let us draw a merciful veil over the filming of the ads, and speak of them no more, except to say the boys’ ad featured so much foam on the male model’s face it looked like the Phantom of the Opera taking a shower.

So, it was time to choose who would pitch their shampoos to a leading panel of industry experts.  Charleine and Natalie stepped forward, but Mussolini picked Natalie, which incensed Charleine who declared everybody to be intimidated by her shampoo expertise.  Er, okay.  The pitch was terrible though, so maybe Charleine had a point.  The boys prepared themselves.  “The time is now,” declared David Brent, I mean Richard.  Their pitch was equally terrible.  I really think Siralansugarlord should consider firing squads rather than being sent home in a taxi. That might sharpen them up.

Back in the boardroom, Ruth eschewed her clown suit and instead plumped for a leopard print, Jackie Collins-meets-Siegfried-and-Roy-the-Las-Vegas-years, jacket.  But she was the only one on her team to give a firm but softly-spoken explanation regarding the ideas behind the creation of the ad, and described Mussolini as being “good, but also frustrating”, so snaps for Ruth.  Alas it counted for nothing.  The girls lost, and the boys won an afternoon of anti-gravity yoga.  Clearly the budget had all been spunked on last night’s visit to Nobu and next week the big prize will be 20 minutes in a paddling pool in a field, described by Alanlordsugarsir as a “visit to a luxury spa”.

Mussolini chose Vana and Natalie to beg for survival, and immediately laid into both of them.  Natalie was slammed for delivering a shite pitch (true) and Vana was slammed for no other reason than Mussolini didn’t like her.  Lordalansugarsir saw this immediately and saved her.  Natalie was told off for her negativity, but it was Musso who got the boot.

In the Taxi of Despair, she made it clear she hated everyone in her team and that she was utterly brilliant and should be made Empress of All She Surveys.  She’ll go far.