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Le Apprentice

Posted by Johanna on May 11th, 2011 and filed under TV. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

“I believe I can be the champion thoroughbred this business requires,” says some poor sucker – ahem - wannabe apprentice right at the beginning of series 7. Given that Lord Sugartits is still removing hoof prints from Stuart Baggs’ field full of ponies rushing towards him in the last series, maybe the candidates could leave out the equine metaphors. Most of them stick to the tried and tested ground of proclaiming how if you cut them they bleed frozen iron filings, so cold and steel-filled are they, but one can’t help noting that the vast majority of candidates who run their own businesses don’t actually employ anyone. While this is partially because they aren’t so much ‘businesses’ as ‘being self-employed’, it’s also because no-one would work for these mini-Hitlers.

“I’m not ‘Sir Alan, Patron Saint of Bloody Losers’,” Sugartits says, accidentally demoting himself. Except of course that, in doing this programme, that’s exactly who he has become.

The big problem with this series is not that the ‘winner’ doesn’t get hired by Amstrad or whatever, instead going ‘into partnership’ with Sugartits, but that this was explained to the competitors beforehand. Imagine how much more compelling viewing it would make if the candidates were unaware that not being fired would not necessarily lead to being hired. It’s too late for a last minute twist, right? Shame.

Melody “I was personally trained by Al Gore” Hossaini is my favourite candidate for king bullshitter. Does she mean like how Monica Lewinsky was personally trained by Bill Clinton? A quick review of her website does not reassure me. InspirEngage – a one horse outfit if ever there were one – covers subjects as diverse as international relations, poetry, climate change training and ‘TV’. And many, exhaustingly many, more. I look forward to Sugartits’ apoplexy when she tells him she was trained by the Dalai Lama, which conjures up a delightful image of the Tibetan spiritual leader in a corporate meeting room at the local jury’s Inn, ensuring learning outcomes and reassuring attendees that the biscuits provided at tea time will be an improvement on those at the morning coffee break.

Task one is to buy a bunch of fruitnveg and sell it, having added some value. The boys – I assume they agreed a team name but they spent so long faffing about I fell asleep before they came to a conclusion – decide to buy a bunch of veg, mash it up and make soup. Once they get to New Covent Garden market, they go long on 1400 oranges. Admittedly, they did establish that no-one knew how to make soup, but seriously, oranges?

The girls – Team Venture – have been watching too much Bargain Hunt, and have decided to limit their potential losses by not spending their total investment. Given they only had £250 to spend, Nick and I both feel this could be a potentially problematic strategy. Still, at least they aren’t squeezing 1400 oranges by hand. Which, in turn, doesn’t explain why they don’t start selling their lunchtime pasta until 2.15, requiring a whole new marketing campaign aimed at positioning pasta as a delicious midafternoon snack.

In the Boardroom, Sugartits gripes about Venture not spending his total investment and, although they are the winners, he grumbles that he would have preferred three times return on his full £250. Did he not notice he also had to fund pasta, vans, kitchens, uniforms and containers? I’m not surprised he goes under on a semi-regular basis. Venture are rewarded with ‘a champagne reception’ (aka sparkling plonk round the kitchen table) with three butler/stripper blokes thrown in. Hmmm.

Edward, Project Manager of the boys, apparently wrote on his application form that if his team lost he would blame the PM. Sweet hubris, your name is Apprentice. ‘I was too ambitious!’ wails Edward. O’er vaulting ambition, the fact that none of this lot can tell a hawk from a handsaw even when the wind is in the north west, the whole being presided over by a grizzled old man, this is getting positively Shakespearean. Also Shakespearean, Sugartits’ line in insults. “Edward’s like a slow dial-up internet line”. If only Anne Hathaway’s cottage had broadband!

Edward’s attempts to save his arras get desperate. “I’m the youngest! And the shortest! I had to mould a motley band of young men!” Despite this, he is hoist by his own petard. Those of you who have ever wondered what a petard is can now rest in the knowledge that it’s ‘keenness to be PM when you should have kept a low profile’.

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