Sunday, 26 December 2010

The Apprentice 2010: The Final

I'm doing this from memory, as I'm at home and The Parents are insisting on watching the weather, as The Sister has to go to The Boyfriend's this afternoon.  So I can't have The Apprentice on the background, in case we miss something.

Anyway, this week was The Final, with Stella and Chris, and it was so obvious that Stella would win that the main entertainment was always going to be seeing how many ways they could try to make it look like Chris was doing better in the task, and in having Mel back.

We started off, of course, with Sports Personality of the Year, which seemed to over-run so interminably, that had The Apprentice come on and they announced that we were all just going to watch Chris watching paint dry for the episode, we'd have been over-excited.  In the event, we start with our finalists getting up and answering the phone, Stella chirping excitedly and Chris looking ravishing in his dressing gown.  I'll say this for him, he can carry off nightwear.

The task itself is to come up with a new alcoholic beverage, and make it and market it and so on.  It's The Germinator Redux, basically.  Splendid.  In time-honoured fashion, the previous contestants are brought back, although, interestingly, not all of them.  No sign of Baggs, Laura, Dan, Raleigh, Joy or Sandeesh, but we do have Mel (yaaay!), Paloma, Joanna, Jamie, Liz, Christopher, Alex (yay!) and Shibby.  We begin by picking teams.  Chris has a sudden upturn of fortune, and gets first pick.  He opts for Jamie.  Stella's first choice is Joanna.

We end up with: Chris in charge of Jamie, Liz, Alex (? Alex?  You choose Alex over... well, over Paloma and Shibby... ok then) and Shibby; Stella in charge of Joanna, Christopher, Melissa, and Paloma (nice quiet team that, then).  Thankfully, we've ditched that Apollo/Synergy nonsense.

They have 3 days or something.

Day 1: Decide what they're making.  Well, you'd think, at least.  They begin with a bit of "let's all forget about being mean to each other in the boardroom" and then launch into talking alcohol.  Alex thinks mojitos are where it's at.  For dear sakes, Alex, even I've heard of mojitos, they can't be that on-trend.  Liz suggests adding gooseberry, but Alex points out that pomegranate is the fruit de jour. Right.  Stella's off to do market research - you know, that bit where they talk to people who think their idea's resoundingly dreadful, and then they take all the negative points and cram them together to get the final product?  Yeah, that bit.

Chris wants to call his drink something British, like 'crumpets'.  He also doesn't want it to be a weird colour.  It's important you remember this point, as we'll be revisiting it presently.  Stella's going for some kind of bourbon, and they decide it should be blue, for the following non-reasons:

1) Then they can call it "summink like "Blue Bourbon", know 'ot ah meeen?"
2) "Blue means you're happy, dunnit?" according to Joanna.  "No, it means sad" say the others.  "Oh, yeah, blue's like gay innit" corrects Joanna.

Oh holy goose, they're visiting marketing professionals, who are all too man to carry a brightly coloured drink, so that knocks the blue on the head.  Chris has a great idea for a frosted bottle with a clear drink inside (again, please note, a clear drink).  He thinks if they add three fruits to it (we seem to have abandoned deciding between gooseberry and pomegranate), then they could call it 'cubed'.  You know what, that's not great, but it's actually not appalling.  But then they talk to a man in a liquor shop, and he doesn't like the idea of it.

In a fit of inspiration, Stella comes up with "Urbon" as her drink name, knocking back Joanna's idea of "Young Heritage"; Chris has dumped Cubed and come up instead with Trinity.  Alex suggests Trio.  That's a chocolate biscuit.  They want to call it whatever Italian is for '3', but no one can count above 2.  They're dangerously close to being right back to "OctiClean".

Meanwhile, the drinks have to be made.  Mel and Christopher sup shots thoughtfully. Liz and Shibby try out the pomegranate stuff, and it's fairly foul, so they dye it bright pink.  Heh.  Shame Chris is, at that moment, naming the stuff "Prism", owing to its purity and clarity and how a nice clear prism would look really cool on the shelf.  They tell Chris about it being pink, and he's so annoyed that the edges of his mouth go up a little bit.  He's all worried he's going to lose because of this, but I don't think he need worry - there are plenty more things going against him.

They design their bottles (Prism = something you could take out a gladiator with; Urbon = one of those bottles you get really, really, really extra-virgin olive oil in), and then have to get clearance from the ad people so they can start filming in the morning.  The rules of alcohol advertising are essentially that you're not allowed to make it look like the drink is in any way associated with fun, sex, having a good time, or anything other than complete and utter sodding misery.  But don't worry, these people used an octopus to fail to sell a cleaning product, so I imagine we'll be thinking outside of all societal norms.  Oh, wait, no... Chris is basically planning on showing a guy using Prism to get a girl paralytic and then have his mediocre way with her.  Back to the drawing board then.

Next morning, it all gets more cheery when the samples arrive.  They don't look dreadful, so everyone's relieved.

Day 2's task is to shoot adverts.  Chris manages to get landed with an actor who is absolutely incapable of getting ice into a glass without also scattering it all over South East England, and ends up spending most of the day trying to film that, leaving himself having to film the remaining 90% of the advert in half an hour.  It is supposed to consist of 3 people walking into a room, looking happy, but since he has hired the worst actors in the world, it turns out more like 3 reject Blue Peter presenters escaping some kind of Ritalin-antidote trial.

Stella's lot are equally bad, and have even less raw material to work from.  The script is this:
2 girls in a bar, with Christopher Farrell slouching on the end of it
2 guys come in
Guy (to girls): What would you like to drink?
Girl: We'll have Urbons please
Guy (to the barman): 4 Urbons please.
If this is how pulling works, I think I've realised why I'm single.

It remains only to write and practice their pitches.  Stella gets Paloma to help, and Paloma comes up with a lot of marketing nonsense.  During the run-through, the girls realise they haven't had a good squabble in a while, and start making up for lost time.  Christopher sits there looking like he'd rather be in Afghanistan, to get a bit of peace.  Chris delivers his pitch to his team, who are beyond looking interested.  Jamie takes him aside and has a wee word, so Chris ends up looking like a man who's not very good at pitching trying to look like he's good at pitching.

The Industry Experts arrive, and then Lord Shugagh appears.  Chris comes on stage with some more escapees from the anti-Ritalin thing and then quickly slows the pace when he opens his mouth.  He talks a bit, we have a snark at the advert, and we're done.  The Industry Experts are worried about the weapon potential of a pointy-pointy bottle with alocohol in, but Chris isn't that bothered since children aren't likely to get their hands on it.  Yeah, 'cos all the bar fights I've ever seen involved 5-year-olds.

Next door, more manic dancing, and then Stella appears and sounds like she knows what she's talking about.  We watch the advert, and I almost want a glass.  There's some discussion about whether the drink is for men or women, and then about whether people who live in the country will want to drink something called something that sounds like Urban.  Stella says if she wins she'll move to the country and drink Urbon there, which puts the final straw in the coffin.

Back to the boardroom, where everyone thinks their project manager was wonderful fab brilliant; Alex would hire every single person in the room if only he had a successful business and wasn't a completely unemployed communications manager.  Something of a change of tune for someone who, not 6 weeks ago, was well up for seeing both their skinny asses fired forthwith.  Stella and Chris both get in trouble for sending other people to make the actual product, since taste is the main point of the whole endeavour, even though from this point onwards no one mentions how it tastes ever again.  Shibby points out that you drink with your eyes, or something.

Everyone out, quick chat with Nick and Karren, back in and STELLA WINS!


So that's that, and no doubt we'll do it all again next year.

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