Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Apprentice 2012: Week 1

Ah, week 1.  So full of promise.  A blank slate.  A chance to start again.

"I truly am the reflection of perfection" says chap called Ricky Martin, and WE'RE OFF, donning our cheap suits, plastering ourselves with eye shadow, and packing our teeny tiny little wheely cases with enough clothes for 12 weeks.

Dum de dum de DUM de dum de DUM de dum de DUM!

"I'm a shark, I'm at the top of the food chain" boasts our friend Ricky, who may well be taken by suprise in a Chinese restaurant near you some time soon.  "I will literally roar my way to the top" says Gabrielle, demonstrating something of a misunderstanding of how business works, but promising good entertainment.

Blah blah, more cliches, idiots in polyester, blah, everyone walking across a bridge, blah blah, and it's 8am and we're IN THE WAITING ROOM, looking nervous.  And now we're in the boardroom, and a chap in a red tie is looking nervous.  There's a girl with scary eyeshadow, and a bloke in a shiny suit who has an unfeasibly large eye-to-face ratio and no chin.

"I'm not looking for a friend.  If I want a friend, I'll get a dog" says Lord Shug.  Which would make a good series, actually.  "It's not Where's Wally" he says later, which would also be worth considering, producers, if you're watching.

And so to the task: they have to buy blank stuff, print stuff on it, and flog it.  All very simple.  Red Tie Chap is looking wet. "You look like you're sweating. You're not nervous are you?" says Shug; "No, not at all" says Red Tie Chap, thereby leaving open only the possibilities that 1) he's standing under a hole in the roof, or 2) he's leaking.  Neither of which is a great start, to be honest.

So they go to the house, which looks like an explosion happened in a chemistry textbook, and they start into the important task of team names and project managers.  The team names bit is usually painful, but not this year. "I was finkin, Pheonix" says the boy with no chin, and they go with that, on the basis that it's all about rising from the ashes.  So at least they're starting off with realistically low expectations.  The girls go with "Sterling", because one of them dreamt it.  No, really.  None of the boys want to be in charge, but eventually Nick (not my friend Nick, a contestant called Nick) caves in and it's high-fives all round.  Chez the girls, Gabrielle leaps in because she has a print business, and no one else can hold a candle to that, so we're done with the formalities.

They flick through books of blank stuff, and the girls choose t-shirts.  The boys can't decide between big bears and small bears.  The Irish one on the girls' team goes on about margins a lot.  Off to the warehouse with half of each team, and the warehouse looks GREAT.  Tons of blank stuff that you can buy to print things on.  The other half of each team goes to the print place.  The girls draw a tiger, a lion and a penguin, and that's that sorted. The boys faff about doing not much for ages, and then eventually they open a book of images, go 'feck it', and opt to bung union jacks on the bears (the big bears).  For their bags, they draw a bus, and then write "This is a" above it, which they all think is brilliant.  It's not.  Karrrrren is worried that it doesn't stand out from the other tourist tat out there.  The other boys come back and hate it.

When it comes to making the stuff, the girls have an advantage, because Gabrielle actually knows what she's doing, so they do a reasonable job of printing their animals.  Their stuff actually looks quite good.  The boys, on the other hand, are incapable of making anything other than a mess, but it has to be said that they do it with great enthusiasm.

Next day, they head off to sell their wares.  The boys go to the South Bank, where they bicker about whether they should sell the bears at £12 or £15.  Clearly, they should sell them for something closer to a reasonable price, but they decide to give £15 a go and see what happens.  The girls are at Greenwich Market, where half of them are preparing to set off for London Zoo. Gabrielle starts being very odd and telling passers-by that she loves them, but despite this they seem to be selling fairly well.  Meanwhile, the zoo expedition has got as far as a traffic jam, which turns out to be the most successful part of their day.

They go round in a gang of 4, arguing over whose turn it is to try to sell stuff.  Why they don't split up is a mystery which remains unsolved, and instead Bilyana (from Bulgaria, and dressed as a giant effeminate bagpipe) bulldozes through and doesn't let anyone else speak.

At the end of the day, there's the usual "flog the leftovers to an unsuspecting shopkeeper".  The boys accost a girl in a shop, and make her buy all their bags.  The girls at the zoo decide to find the nearest shop; Bilyana claims to know where it is, and walks them round London for what appears to be several hours.  As with the traffic jam, though, they might have done better if the walk had been truly endless, as they do eventually come upon a shop, in which they all yell, simultaneously, at a woman who clearly doesn't have the authority to empty the bin.  When she says she can't make the decision because they're putting her under too much pressure, they flounce out.  A man, who is presumably the owner, gives them a complete dressing down in the middle of the street.  A nation cringes.

The boys, meanwhile, have been dragged back to the shop they sold the bags to, because they're so badly made that the woman is demanding a refund.  Karrrrren shakes her head, sadly, as they leave.

Back in the boardroom, we're all a bit disappointed in the bus bag, because it's badly designed AND badly made.  We like the girls' penguins though.  Anyway, it turns out that tourists will buy anything you throw in front of them, because the boys have (againsts all odds) won.  They go back to the house and eat food off tiles, for some reason.

The girls go off to the Cafe De Los Failure, which has a new table.  Probably paid for out of Lovely Tom's spend in there last year.  Looks like the same old tea, though.

Back in the boardroom again, and the Irish girl talks more about margins.  Jade-who-drew-the-picture is a bit psycho.  My good friend Nick dobs them in about the trudge around London and the shopkeeper shouting at them.  Bilyana gets in a weird argument with Lord Shug about whether Camden Town is closer to London Zoo than the shop she went to.  Eventually she shuts up, and everyone looks at Katie and asks what she did, which turned out to be not a lot.  Gabrielle senses a weak one, and picks Katie and Bilyana to come back into the boardroom.

In the boardroom for the final time, it's all turning against Katie, for not doing anything, and she looks like she's about to be sick.  Meanwhile, Bilyana starts talking again, and points out that she came from a communist block of flats and made it to the top of Canary Wharf, or something.  Which I suppose explains how she likes long walks. She was also head girl, which is of no relevance whatsoever, but gives her more words to say.

So it looks like Katie's going, but just as she's about to be fired, Bilyana starts talking again, and in a miraculous twist, talks herself out of the process.  Which is a shame, because she had entertainment value.

1 comment:

Fat Dormouse said...

Teehee! An excellent summing up, WhyNotSmile. I agree with you about the mystery of why the Zoo Contingent didn't split up...They were all moaning about Bilyana "stealing" their customers and "not taking turns" when they'd've done so much better if they'd all tried to find customers.

And the other Great Mystery - how the hell did the boys' team win?!

Still "The Apprentice: You're Fired!" was hysterically funny. I *heart* Dara O'Briain