Now, I have to point out that I've been in bed for most of today, with a Tummy Thing which also made me very very sleepy. Concentration levels are low, and if I nod off in the middle of this, well, it's just because of how sick I am. I will also have to take frequent breaks; best not to ask.
So, a fortnight ago, we had the Foreign Task. You know, the one where they go over to Europe and yell at foreigners in funny accents? Yes, that one. The premise behind this one was that they were selling the 'Best of British' to les magasins de Paris. And, apparently, the Best of British is a teapot on a string and a tangle of pipe cleaners that holds your mobile onto your car vent. Now, given that Lord Shugagh tells us at the start of every episode that he's "not looking for bladdy salespeople", I'm not quite sure what we're meant to make of this task, but let's run with it anyway, because it's a good one.
Melody is immediately obnoxious, because she used to speak 6 languages, and has worked at the highest level, and other things we REALLY DON'T CARE ABOUT. Also 'used to'? But then what happened? Oh, you taught yourself Italian and brought it up to 7? I see. I still don't care.
Everyone else speaks no French, or comedy French (petits pois, says Jim), so this should be good. Team 1 is Lovely Tom, in charge of Leon, Natasher (yeah?) and Melody; Team 2 is Zoe, Helen, Jim and Susan, and they can choose their own leader. Susan, as always, thinks this is right up her street, because sometimes she buys things; she does not, however know ANYTHING about France, at all. Never been there, never spoken to French people, couldn't find the place on a map. So they put her in charge, of course.
I'm scared for Lovely Tom.
Leon and Melody, and Jim and Helen are off on the recce to La France (Leon hoping someone, somewhere in the country will speak English, but mostly looking forward to breakfast). The rest of them stay behind to decide what they're going to take to France to sell. They key here is to know something about France, so Susan starts asking inane questions. "Do the French like their children? Do a lot of people drive in France? Do the French breathe air?".
Susan and Zoe want to sell a booster seat / backback thing, and a beanbag / bed thing (I'd describe these, but you'd be none the wiser). Lovely Tom also likes the booster seat, and a pop-up postcard with cress seeds in it, and the teapot light. They phone ahead to the others in France, to get them to do market research. Melody hates the booster seat, and sneers at lovely Tom, and says they're going to Paris, and not like, Manchester or some dirty place up north, and I REALLY CANNOT STAND HER.
I really do not want Lovely Tom to choose the postcards, because they're going to sell at about 10p each, and they're going to have to sell MILLIONS of them. I want him to choose the booster seat, which has won "over 36 awards" (that'd be 37 then, I'm guessing). He phones Leon and Melody to find out more about La Redoute, which they're pitching to tomorrow, and Melody looks all sceptical. She then takes Leon into a train station and bulldozes about, asking people whether they'd rather buy a lovely teapot-shaped light, or a stupid booster seat. Leon draws pictures of teapots, because he doesn't speak French. Thankfully, when people say they'd much prefer the booster seat, she's able to tell Leon that they think it's a rubbish idea, because he has no clue at all. So she phones Lovely Tom, and says that they all take trains in France, and no one drives there, so they won't buy the booster seat. Jim and Susan, meanwhile, are doing actual market research, and everyone LOVES the booster seat.
Next step: phone around and try to get people to let them across their doorstep with this tat tomorrow. Jim's calling a French woman:
Jim: "Hallo, 'Allo, parlez vous Anglais?"I mean, I know from experience that the Northern Irish accent doesn't always travel well, but really? populair?
French lady: "I can try"
Jim (in French accent): "Ah, excellant. We 'ave two products, they are very populair in United Kingdom. We could call tomorrow, demain, at 12 noon."
Meanwhile, Melody is using all her French-speaking skills: "Bonjour. Parlez vous Anglais?", and then, when they say 'yes', talks in normal English, like a sane person (but I still don't like her). Leon cannot join in, because he can't speak French, so Melody is doing all the work.
At the end of the day, the ones who stayed in Angleterre arrive with the products in tow. On Team Susie, they see the products, like the products, and then go through the appointments which have been set up for tomorrow, and decide who will do what. Much as I'm not a big fan of Susie, I have to concede that this is sensible.
Team Lovely Tom laugh at the teapot light, because it looks like a plastic teapot on a string. Yeah, Melody, and YOU made them choose it. They don't show the reaction to the cress postcards. They also don't show them organising their pitches, because they're leaving that till the morning. At which point they discover that Melody is keeping ALL the appointments she made. She's not giving her appontments to ANYONE else. Even though they were all busy doing other things, and she had been sent to Paris to make appointments for everybody. For so many reasons, I want Lovely Tom to punch her in the face, but he doesn't.
There are a few clips of people going to high-end shops to sell pipecleaner mobile supports, and then we see Leon and Melody stuck in traffic. Melody is whining because all the people yesterday said no one drives in France. OH THE IRONY. They go into a shop and sell some teapot lights. Well, Melody does. Leon does not, because he can't speak French. Which is odd, because Melody is speaking English.
Natasher and Lovely Tom are playing Rock, Paper, Scissors to decide who will pitch at La Redoute. Please, for the love of Lovely Tom, never let this be mentioned again. Natasher is wearing low-rise jeans, and we can see her tummy button. This is La Redoute! I have heard of them! Natasher, spruce yourself up! Seriously... oh... what's that? Lovely Tom just offered to sell them 10 teapot lights? La Redoute? Isn't that like going to Asda and offering to sell them 3 apples? Yes, yes it is. Awkward. Natasha ups it to 50 units, which is like an entire packet of apples.
Anyway, here come Helen and Susan. Helen has done her research, and has bought from La Redoute before. She does an impressive pitch, slapping down their objections in style, while Susan whitters about and sits on the childs' booster seat to show how comfy it is. I like Helen.
I do not like Melody, who has taught Leon to say 'un... deux... trois' before he lifts the teapot out of the box. So he can't speak French? Well THAT is letting the funky music do the talking. Lovely Tom is having less success, after Mean Melody refused to help him AT ALL and was mean to him, and now he has to make appointments all by himself. He phones up a place, and, when they don't speak English, he gets in a panic and asks to speak to the Postcard Manager. But at least he says it in French. Really, really, poor French, but French, nonetheless. Natasher (innit) tries next, and is no better. This is not good.
Good news, though: Leon and Melody are stuck in another traffic jam (irony upon irony!), and decide that since they're going to be late for their appointment, they'll pretend they made it for Lovely Tom and Natasher, so they phone them up and tell them to get on with it. I really dislike Melody. Then they get there, and Natasher (innit, still wearing jeans), tells the guy to take a seat (in his own office), and then the guy growls at them because the teapot is an idea, not a concept. In other news, Melody lets Leon have a go at selling lights, because she's nice like that.
And so to the boardroom. We revisit Susan's stupid questions, and Helen sniggers at her. Then we move to Team Lovely Tom, and Melody is horrible and irritating again. She brings up the market research that she lied about. Lord Shugagh calls the Champs Elysees the 'Champs Elysees'. Like, literally. We skirt past the Rock, Paper, Scissors incident, thankfully.
On sales, Team Lovely Tom have sold about £11,000 worth, while Team Susie have sold about £14,000. Or maybe that was in Euro. I'm not sure. La Redoute, however, bought about a million booster seats, which is over £200,000. Let's hope they REALLY, REALLY liked the postcards. Um, no. Nor did they like the teapots. Ooops. So Lovely Tom has lost by, like, £200,000, and has at least achieved a boardroom record.
Team Susie get sent off to learn to fly. I think Lovely Tom would have liked to learn to fly, and I am a little bit sad. But mostly I'm kind of worried, for Lovely Tom. What we need is some way to turn this all into Melody's fault, since it was, really. But Melody is not having that. She points to her market research, but she does not mention that she lied. Lovely Tom has also not sold anything, so at least it is clear that he's not a bladdy salesperson. He has that in his favour.
Back in the boardroom, Lovely Tom points out that Melody and Leon were feck useless at market research, and Nick backs him up that they didn't do what they were told. Melody yacks a bit. With every word, I like her less and less. We are well into negative numbers with how much I like Melody. Leon tries to defend his uselessness by saying he couldn't help at all because he couldn't speak French, and Melody was speaking in French the whole time, and he didn't notice that actually she was speaking in English.
Melody spends some more time subtracting from how much I like her.
Lovely Tom brings Leon and Melody back in. Please let it be Melody who goes. Please please please please please. Or Leon. Or Nick. Or Lord Shugagh or the lady who answers the phone or Karren, but please not Lovely Tom. But also if someone could punch Melody in the face, I would also be quite happy. I dislike how she makes me want to punch her. We go through her awards, which include "Woman of the Future". Oh help, oh please, oh for the love of Lovely Tom and all that is lovely, let this not be the future of women.
Unfortunately, Lord Shugagh seems to like Melody for being all obnoxious. I hate this. I really really hate this. I don't want Lovely Tom to work with Lord Shugagh. I do not want Lovely Tom to go over to the dark side, I want him all for myself. I want Lord Shugagh to take Melody and go and be evil somewhere far away from me and Lovely Tom, who will frolick through meadows with the sun on our backs.
Then the Rock, Paper, Scissors comes up again, and I imagine my dream may be realised. But then, curveball from Lord Shugagh, and Leon gets the boot for doing nothing at all, which is both reasonable and a relief. This is a little bit sad, but at least we have a bit more of Lovely Tom to look forward to before he comes to find me.
At the house, Melody boasts about how Lord Shugagh read out all of her awards, and said how great they were, at which point they all start talking about how great Helen is.