Thursday, 18 November 2010

The Apprentice 2010: Week 7

So this week is the DVD task The what? The DVD task. I don't remember that one. Yes, I think it might be new. Oh.  We begin with the usual bum bum BUM bum - bum bum BUMbum - bum-bum-be-dum-dum bum-bum-be-dum-dum, 'tough economic times', 'job interview from hell', 'brightest business prospects', 'steady Eddies', 'cautious Carols' etc etc etc., quick overview of the fiasco thus far, 'bunch of bladdy amateurs', and then a reminder of last week's slow, painful, car crash.

This week, it's Laura who answers the phone and starts the frenzy.  They've to go to Pinewood Studios, which Sandeesh thinks is a furniture store, making Laura go all wide-eyed and gasp 'do you think we're making furniture?'.  Even I know Pinewood Studios is a place where they make films.  Meanwhile Stella asks Chris how many tasks he's won.  "Two".  Bit mean there, Stella, but we quite like it.

Standing in front of the biggest blue screen in Europe (oooOOOOOOOOooooh), they're told they need to sell the 'big screen experience' to the general public.  Basically, what this is, they get a 'background film', and then they go to shopping centres and film people acting like they're in the film, and then mash the two together and flog the people a DVD of themselves in the film.  Trust me, it'll become clearer as we continue.  Sandeesh and Chris swap places with Joanna and Stella; Stuart is in charge of his team (Laura, Joanna and Stella), and Sandeesh is in charge of her lot (Chris, Christopher, Jamie and Liz).  It's hard to see how it could go wrong.

Step 1: decide what the movie will be about.  They have 3 movies each - 2 are chosen from an archive, and then they need to make one themselves.  Stuart is immediately obnoxious.
  Stuart: "We'll take a vote on it.  Hands up for waterskiing.  Hands up for waterski - LAURA! - HANDS UP FOR WATERSKIING!! - yes or no? - THAT'S HALF UP!"
  Laura: "I think police chase".
  Stuart: "You think police chase?  Well SAY THAT THEN".
  Laura: "Ok, police chase".

Over Chez Sandeesh, it's a lot quieter, as they stare at films of people underwater, but without the people.

Having chosen their films from the archive, they now have to each add one of their own.  Jamie thinks they should make one of skiing, because that means he gets to go skiing for a while.  Never mind that there's a limit to how good a film you're going to be able to make in an indoor ski centre.  Also, they're targetting kids, because kids love pretending to ski.

Stuart is targetting the adults, though, because that way he gets to decide they want motor racing, and go to Brands Hatch.  Joanna likes the fair.  Stella thinks they should think things through, but Stuart can't be arsed, and has to be true to himself.  Nick is 'trembling with irritation', but Stuart is pleased that 'every decision has panned out to be right'.

From each team, one lot go off to learn how to make the DVDs and practice belly dancing very, very uncomfortably.

Stuart and Laura go to Brands Hatch, where Laura is immediately sidelined while Stuart tells the nation he has a fancy car - I miss the details, because it's all letters and numbers like C78 and MLP24.  Stuart is having to rein in his 'extreme masculinity', but thankfully is only on the planet for 'a certain number of years'.  Laura is filming, and Stuart is driving.  And driving.  And driving.  He does about 600 laps, while Laura stands at the side of the track with a camera and chequered flag, and looks very very slightly more narked with each passing hour.

Christopher and Jamie, meanwhile, go skiing in Milton Keynes.  To make it more fun for kids, they then dress as penguins, so the film now consists of a bit of normal skiing, and then more normal skiing, but this time with a large velour penguin weaving in and out, and then the penguin falling over and his head coming off.

Laura finally manages to bring Stuart to a halt, whereupon he announces that they really need to aim this experience at kids, rather than adults, which is probably a good thing (because there's a limit to the number of adults who will stand in a shopping centre and pretend to drive a car, and that limit is zero), but a little late in the day.

Liz and Sandeesh do some careful working out of how many DVDs they'll need (eventually going for 110, despite the fact that, even at maximum capacity, they can only burn 88 of them); Stuart says random numbers and then winges about having to make a decision.

For reasons presumably clear in her own head, Sandeesh now decides that all the people who learned how to make the DVDs should teach the others (Jamie and Christopher, who were away skiing at the time) how to make the DVDs, and then the people who originally knew how to make the DVDs should go and sell.

Joanna asks whether £15 is a bit much to pay for a film of your kid pretending to drive a car, but Stuart knows it's just because he's so great and she doesn't share his vision.  Any other questions?  No?  Good.

And so, the doors of the shopping center (where they're selling this experience) are flung open, and Joanna is wearing butterfly wings.  Their stand is quite good, though - they have a toy car, so the kids can be filmed driving in the car, pretending to race against the cars in the background, they win, and then they get a chocolate medal.  In the back room, Stuart and Stella are in charge of producing videos.   Technically, Stella is producing them, and Stuart is in charge of 'quality control'.  Stuart is astounded by Stella's organisation (i.e. writing things down), as he keeps everything in his head, presumably where it is safely padded by all his ego.

Back to Sandeesh, who's still explaining to Jamie and Christopher how to make the DVDs, even though it's taking up an hour of what might otherwise be selling time.  Jamie whinges a bit.  Anyway, it turns out that even when they do open, no one is all that bothered, so maybe it didn't matter.  Jamie whinges a bit more.

Stuart, however, is selling so much that he decides to put the price up - the old law of 'supply and demand' has not passed him by.  This would be fine, except that they also put the price up for people who have already filmed their DVD, and are just waiting for it to be made.  So, they came to the stall, were told it was £10, let their kid film it, got a receipt for £10, came back half an hour later to pick it up, and were told they had to pay £15.  I'm fairly sure this is not legal.

Anyhoo, they've made an even more monumental feck-up than that, having managed to produce the DVDs in such a way that several children appear on each one.  So you get your DVD of your kid in his little racing car, and then you get home to show it to Granny, and as she watches, some other kid appears, out of the blue.  This will not be good for Granny.  Thankfully, Stuart solves it by knocking half off the price.  I'd be reasonably sure that you can't sell people DVDs of other people's children, even if you sell them cheaper.

At Sandeesh's place, it's all very quiet, even after she's knocked prices down, so Liz takes a sneaky peek at the other team's stand and immediately steals all their ideas.  One thing in their favour is that people are actually picking up their DVDs, whereas over with Stuart and Co, there's a large pile of unclaimed ones.  Stuart is pretty sure that, if the actual owners don't turn up, 'no one else is going to buy them'.  Yes, Stuart, I'd say that's about right.  Maybe you should have asked for a deposit?  Just saying.  Because otherwise you've basically just entertained someone else's kids for free for 10 minutes.

Anyway, trading over, and into the boardroom.  How was Stuart as a team leader? *silence* We relive Stuart's driving experience, and then he boasts about his goodwill in charging people the agreed price,  rather than forcing them to hand over an arbitrary amount plucked out of the vast, ego-filled space that is Stuart's head.  Stella gets all passive-agressive while Stuart basically provides her with the ammunition.

Sandeesh's team think she was quite good, but then there's some wittering about how they didn't get started until an hour after the place opened.  Jamie is pleased at how well he fulfilled 'the most crucial role', and with being able to give 'excellent feedback'.

Stuart's lot have made £262.50; Sandeesh and co have made £222.97, and are declared losers.  Now, I think this is unfair, since Stuart has just sold films of children to other children's parents, but rules is rules, and off they go to taste champagne.  Stuart thinks it tastes like anti-freeze, tacky boy.

In the Cafe De Doom, Jamie reminds everyone how perfect he was, even if everyone else thinks he was a whingy get; Liz is so gutted 'it actually hurts', which seems a bit over the top.  Anyway, they all agree that someone has to go home, so at least they've demonstrated a basic comprehension of the rules.

Back to the boardroom to snipe about who was or was not in charge of costing, why they bought too many DVDs, why they dropped their prices instead of just making better DVDs, and whether Jamie was really the most amazing fabulous team member ever ('yes', according to him), and why he had done so much whingeing and depressing everyone else.  He overdoes it a bit, and if Sandeesh brings him in, there's a good chance he'll go, but... no.  She's bringing in Chris and Liz, which is like entering a marathon and choosing Paula Radcliffe as your opponent, when you could have had WhynotSmile.  Well, maybe not quite, but, you know, choosing someone who can clearly run better than you.  You enter a marathon, you want the WhyNotSmiles of this world up against you; you go into the Apprentice boardroom, of the presently available options, you want Jamie.

Needless to say, there's the obligatory cursory questioning of what Chris and Liz did wrong, which is basically 'not a whole lot', and then Sandeesh gets fired.

Back in the house, Stella points out that it was a good thing Sandeesh's team made so many mistakes, because otherwise her own team would've been sunk, and then sneaks a little sneer at Stuart.

Next week, we're off to Germany, for sprechen sie Deutsch, sauerkraut, and a bit of casual racism.  Can't wait.

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