If you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit…well not a lot of chocolate, half of a lot of chocolate, and if you like half your biscuit (half the chocolate side and half the non-chocolate side) to be digestive and…
Where was I?
Previously on The Apprentice :
C’est pas me faute, et quand je donne ma langue aux chats je vois les atures, ca plane pour moi, Joe le taxi, non je ne regrette rien. Embrasser c’est Francais – la vie en rose, un homme quand un gare desolee. Ma cherie amour, voulez vous…voluez vous couchez avec moi ce soir Michelle ma belle? Je ne sais pas pourquoi, je suis un rockastar. Denis, Denis est Psychokiller qu’est que-ce ah fah fah fah fah fah fah fah fah fah. C’est la vie (OI FOIGHT LOIKE ME DA AS WELL) – je t’aime. OH OUI JE T’AIME!
Le freak. C’est chic.
Sunday evening hovers ov…wait what? Why isn’t it 6am? Why are they messing with the format like this? I hope this is it and they don’t say, completely remove the Interview stage in the most idiotic move this show’s made since they let Alex Wotherspoon in a final. Or anything like that. You know. Not that they have.
Anyway, it’s Sunday evening and look
Zoe and Susan are happily stood within 2 ft of one another with sharp objects, which shows you that we’re still in the middle of the Entente Cordiale between them that commenced last week. Who said the French never taught us anything? Meanwhile, Natasha and Melody are recreating their favourite horror movies :
American Psycho and
At the same time, Jim and Tom are homoerotically stabbing one another to hide their guilt (CORN SYRUP!), and Helen is standing in the lounge in a prom dress covered in pig’s blood vibrating horribly.
AND OH LOOK, THERE’S HER SOUL AGAIN.
Into this tranquility comes
Lordalan, of course. And there’s a hand for a horror movie if ever I saw one. Tom scores another point in Door/Phone Answering Wars
putting his glasses on as he goes. For some reason. He gives Lordalan a supremely awkward “Good evening…Lord Sugar…” before staring awkwardly at him like he’s disturbing Tom in the middle of…certain deeds…that he would rather Lordalan not see. So if he goes away now (*shifts a rug over the blood-stains on the floor with his foot*)… Lordalan of course is here on a mission, and asks Tom to call everyone into the kitchen.
Jim wanders in, and Helen materialises out of nowhere, possibly another dimension,in a most unnerving fashion.
To collect the rest, Tom sprints upstairs yelling “HELLO! HELLO!” and rouses Melody from her slumbers,
which amuses Susan greatly. She cackles directly into Melody’s face that she’s
CERTAINLY DRESSED FOR THE OCCASION A HA HA HA. Oh watever Susan, remember how Alex Epstein appeared for this bit last year? I think he may have had half a bollock hanging out his shorts. Susan skitters downstairs giggling, and, after Tom asks Melody about a million times to hurry up and put some bloody clothes on and put down the make-up cement mixer she lies under each morning, she finally turns up.
Everyone around the table, Lordalan says that he’s called them all here together so that he can REVEAL THE MURDERER!
Not really. Here’s here to reveal the task. Guess what, it’s the front end of the dog food task welded onto the arse-end of the apps task, with a little soupcon of the grossly over-inflated numbers from the France task liberally sprinkled here and there! Create a new brand of biscuit, then pitch it to whatever supermarkets Lordalan has sat on. Not including Tesco sadly. They’re too big for even Lordalan’s mighty frame to be able to sit on them completely. You don’t have to do an advert, but if you randomly want to improv one in the middle of a pitch for no earthly reason, that’s cool as well. Oh yeah, and the biscuit market is crowded so aim for something “unique” and by necessity land on something idiotic as a result please.
And as if sitting on ASDA, and risking all the venereal disease that entails wasn’t enough, Lordalan has ALSO laid on a biscuit manufacturer for the teams. In Wales. So half the teams will be going off there tonight. Boo. Not that I don’t love Wales, but who wouldn’t want to see both teams trying to summon up their biscuit samples from the ovens of the Apprentice House from what’s in the fridge? MMM! MAYONNAISE BITES!
Finally there’s the most awkward team reshuffle ever. Instead of directing people around to reform the teams, Lordalan just kind of waves at half the room and says
“you’re a team, and you’re called Venture. The rest of you are Logic”. He then makes Logic sing “TO THE LEFT TO THE LEFT” and Venture sing “EVERYTHING YOU OWN IN A BOX TO THE LEFT!” and whoever’s louder automatically gets a bonus 5,000 orders to start off with. Apart from that, the team with the most orders wins, the teams with the least most doesn’t not lose, someone’s getting fired, hope it’s not yoooooou.
Or at least the eating of biscuits does. What more exciting thing were they going to be doing with their Sunday evenings anyway? Watching the Strictly Come Dancing results show? Helpful Voiceover Man tells us that the teams will be forced to charge £1.99 for their biscuits, which is pretty steep, even in these troubled times.I mean, I checked in Waitrose today, and even in there you’re struggling to find anything that costs £1.99 a packet, let alone Asda. There are probably whole aisles in ASDA you can get for £1.99. Melody announces to Logic that what they want to do is to create something new and exciting. Susan agrees. Well I’m glad that’s sorted.
At some point Kaen and Nick creep in like the world’s
worst burglars. Thankfully nobody stabs them. They’re just in time to see the teams deciding on who should be the Project Managers this week. Kaen
,looking like a 10 year old’s drawing of Queen Anne sits bored as Helen tells everyone how she worked in Greggs. Or at least…the old Helen did, so she can scrabble around in this brain in here now for some memories of how things worked before she took over the shell. Jim and Natasha both agree to Helen being Project Manager on these grounds, knowing full well that she’s screwed if they lose. Like that could ever happen. This is, naturally given that the fact that Venture consists of all the nicest people on the show (minus Tom, probably, although he still might be a little dark-sided, just a feeling). much smoother than what’s going on over at the Logic Ranch.
Yes, Susan and Zoe both want to be Project Manager, even thought they’ve both done it twice already. And Melody hasn’t done it in two months (apart from how Melody does it in her own head every single week these days except when Natasha subdued her via the magic of lesbian flirting). Anyway Melody and Tom watch on,
with Tom looking a bit like if Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver’s baby from Ghostbusters would grow up to look, were he not fictional, as Susan lays out her credentials. She puts ingredients together to create new products all the time, which is very like this task, definitely it is. At this, Zoe snots in to say that Susan works in the COSMETICS industry (*sniff*). She works in the food industry, she owns her own factory, she pitches to major supermarkets all the time and oh, by the way Susan, apropos of nothing, your last pitch sucked and you smell.
When has Zoe ever seen Susan pitch? I’m so confused. Anyway Susan whines “that’s really unfair” or suchlike for the billionth time, then everyone votes Zoe into being Project Manager.
Nick retreats to Nickterview
that Zoe just slapped Susan down rather like someone would slap down an adorable little yappy puppy that they secretly want to marry, but clearly Zoe is the best woman for the job. She’s in the food industry after all! So there!
Next up, brainstorming of ideas. Tom draws…
things, whilst Helen and Jim decide between them to target kids, specifically the idea of an “after-school treat”. Of course. Kids have been the answer to everything on this show ever since Kristina Grimes went around jamming orange eczema lollies up 6 year olds noses and charging their parents a fiver to dislodge them again before the stick got embedded in their brains. Meanwhile Melody is spooling off her one idea (this is all Melody does now – has one idea, and then repeats it, forever, AND IT IS ALWAYS AT LEAST A LITTLE BIT WRONG), which is sharing. How many times have you been in the supermarket and thought “I know, I’ll really surprise my partner with some BISCUITS!”? Apparently this is something Melody thinks happens often, so that’s her idea. Biscuits to share, for Valentines Day, in the shape of hearts which SPLIT IN TWO.
Susan thinks this is too niche. Shrug. It’s better than Kate Walsh’s Heteronormative Chocolates With Bonus Transgender Drawer.
Anyway, this is far too much thinking time, they’re almost having cogent ideas, QUICK, MAKE THEM SPLIT IN HALF AND DRIVE TO SWANSEA! WHO’S DOING MANUFACTURING, AND WHO’S DOING BRANDING AND PACKAGING DESIGN? WHO WHO WHO? Zoe initially wants to go to Wales to oversee production, but Melody and Susan quickly talk her out of it, saying that branding and packaging is really important and she should stay and make sure the outside of the packaging is as appealing as the contents. This is not at all to do with them potentially getting to go and make flapjacks and jab their fingers in maple syrup all day or anything, rather than staring at a computer screen and talking about fonts. At all. Zoe declares her mind changed. She’s staying put, and Tom and Melody are going to Swansea. Zoe then straight up tells them this is because she prefers working with Susan to working with either of them.
Nice. And yes, when I think of cohesive Apprentice Double Acts, ZOE AND SUSAN is one that springs to mind IMMEDIATELY.
Back on Venture meanwhile, Helen has decided that Jim is going to Swansea on behalf of them. Helpful Voiceover Man deems this to be “half the team”. Poor Natasha. On the way, he, Helen and Natasha brainstorm names for their brand over the phone, and come up with variations on “Munch Men” that they think sound a bit
OOH RUDE, which totally don’t, but this is what passes for interesting footage beaming out of Planet Helen, so let’s just go with it. OOH! MUNCH MEN! SOUNDS A BIT LIKE THEY’RE GETTING GOBBLED OFF OR SOMETHING.
Tom and Natasha are now also Swansea bound, and from their Apprenticar, Tom tells Zoe and Susan all the many ideas that he’s brainstormed. An “emergency biscuit” called “Emercrunchy”. When there’s an emergency you buy this biscuit…
Why? I mean, I like the odd biscuit, but they’re not a comfort food. When I’m depressed or stressed it’s right in with the chocolate, or the ice cream, or the 4 giant bags of Roast Beef Monster Munch washed down with Skittle vo…this is too much information isn’t it? Anyway, biscuits are not something you turn to in an emergency, they’re not something you have as part of a girly night in, they’re not foreplay, the whole World Of Biscuit every single one of these people live in in this episode is WACK. Is my basic point. Zoe and Susan both pull faces, and sign off, and then Susan says she appreciates Tom trying to think outside the box, but WACKY AND OUTSIDE THE BOX for Tom is…pretty much bumping the lid for the rest of humanity.
6am Swansea, and the production teams are rolling up to the biscuit production line in Swansea. And to be honest, if I’m as sleep deprived as these people currently are,
this is not what I want to be seeing in my workplace. I’d probably try to break it with my foot whilst screaming “FUCK YOU LERPRECHAUN!”. Melody meets
a real life Oompa Loompa, and discover they’re not quite so mystical and charming in real life.
Quite. Still, they are experts in the production of biscuits, so the teams would do well to heed their words. Everyone tours their new surroundings, Jim wonders
if you could fit a Melody in here, and…
excuse me for a minute. I got distracted.
Tom tells the Chief Oompa Loompa that they’re really going to try to PUSH THE BOUNDARIES with their exciting AND FRESH ideas for biscuits. Head Oompa Loompa’s face just reads “please don’t burn the place to the ground”. Meanwhile, Jim just spends the whole time eating biscuits and calling it research. Good man. He asks his Oompa Loompa if it were possible that he could maybe make a biscuit for children to eat. WOAH! SLOW DOWN JIM! DON’T BLOW THE POOR MAN’S MIND! The Oompa Loompa seems for this DANGEROUS idea, so obviously he’s the rebellious one, which means he never gets to ride the gondola down the chocolate stream. Oh, no, wait, that DOES sound dirty. Jim pours popping candy on a chocolate biscuit. Yeah…I’ll pass on that one thanks. If you don’t mind. Karen tries it, and promptly throws up in a bin as Jim flirts with her and holds her back and calls her a pretty lady. Or similar. We close with Jim asking his Oompa Loompa if he could maybe make a star shape biscuit.
WOAH JIM, SLOW DOWN, WE DON’T WANT TO WAKE UP TOMORROW AND FIND A GIANT BISCUITY CRATER WHERE SWANSEA USED TO BE!
Meanwhile, Melody and Tom are similarly testing the limits of biscuitry to destruction. Tom wants to make a biscuit that’s made of TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF BISCUIT! Melody wants to make biscuits
THE NEW…well she says POPCORN, but by the looks of it I think she really means POLYP. The words are quite similar, it’s easy to get confused. They could market them as the only biscuits to look the same coming out as going in. She then interviews that she is really a big picture person, whereas Tom is focused on details. IE she has one idea per episode that she rides like a meteor into the centre of the Earth, and Tom deals with making facts and knowing stuff and shit like that.
As Tom, Melody and Jim get on with reinventing the biscuity wheel, back in London, Susan is talking to herself in the mirror,
saying that she’s really confident about today, because she’s got some ideas she thinks Zoe will like. But she still hates her, and thinks she’s one of the bitchiest and most backstabbing people she’s ever met. And she’s met Melody. And Leon. And Evil Edit Edna. And Nick. And herself. Anyway, she and Zoe pop out to a co-op to do market research, and Susan narrates, as thought she’s speaking to a class of 9 year olds, not
just the one individual Zoe, that hey, let’s look at the prices of these biscuits, this is REALLY important, £1.99 is actually quite expensive for a packet of biscuits (isn’t it class?). She and Zoe then wonder what might be a nice colour for their biscuit packing. Pink. Orange. Purple. Maybe all three!
Meanwhile, Jim’s biscuits are ready, and he’s presenting them to
a room of adorable kids. HOORAY! No fit dads though. This show continues to find new ways to let me down. Although Kaen has
put on a lab coat, especially for the occasion. HERE COMES THE SCIENCE BIT! Anyway, Jim is great with the kids, and the mums, and works with them towards an idea of star-shaped biscuits, as an after-school treat, preferably flapjacks, and DEFINITELY NO RAISINS. Jim laughs adorably with all the children about how he’s going to steal all their ideas and give them no credit, because he’s a contestant on The Apprentice. The whole room laughs. It’s funny because it’s true.
Focus group over, and three mothers’ phone-numbers in his back-pocket, Jim phones back to Helen and Natasha, who appear to have just
gone down the pub, to tell them that nobody in the focus group ever drives in Paris, so they can…oh no, wait, I’ve got confused. He tells them about the flapjacks and the stars and ting. Natasha and Helen grizzle that that all sounds a bit unhealthy, but Jim says that it was a runaway winner with the focus group. He’s also decided on a slogan for their “Special Stars” brand – “Any Time Is Treat Time”. Natasha says she strongly disagrees, but then Helen gets all
“WELL HAVE YOU GOT ANY BETTER IDEAS?!” ratty, like she’s done anything at all yet herself, and Natasha demures.
Well, a bit. She still validterviews outside that she thinks “after-school treat” and “any time is treat-time” are contradictory, unless you like home-school or something (EW!) and she really thinks it’s a mistake to sideline someone on the team quite so ruthlessly as Helen and Jim are doing to her. Normally yes, but I’m guessing when “someone” = “Natasha” then…not so much.
Meanwhile Jim is
Jimterviewing that it’s not his fault that he’s so much better than Natasha, and not his fault that his ideas are so much better than hers that Helen’s gone with his over hers, whatever they were, shortbread tits with macadamia nuts for nipples. Anyway, he likes Helen’s personality, because it’s really really passive, and who doesn’t get on with people like that?
To be honest, normally I’d find that last bit a bit…weird and gross, but it’s been so long on this series since someone liked someone else, that I’ll let it slide.
Jim finishes making his approved biscuits, which turn out to be
giant star shaped SLABS of chocolate on top of flapjack, and he and his Oompa Loompa have a good old matey laugh about how long it took Jim to get the stars on them right, ho ho ho. Jim declares himself pleased with his finished product. To be honest, it looks like two entirely separate things unnaturally and awkwardly forced together, although Lordalan DID invent that phone/e-mailer/fax-machine/gramophone/toaster thing, so he’ll probably love it.
Meanwhile, over on Logic, Melody and Tom are bringing in about
17 different trays of different types of biscuit, because they’ve not come to any sort of consensus on anything. They’re pitching ideas to a slightly older focus group, so I belatedly adjust my Logic Dream-Team Line-Up to allow Susan to take part in this bit. She probably would have mushed up the biccies with a bit of water before she started handing them out, and asked the old people if they’d like to do a word-game. These
are Tom’s “Emercrunchies”. Look boring. Tom outlines his concept to the group, looking
very terrified indeed, like Tony Blair’s sweaty insides. If something goes wrong and you REALLY NEED A BISCUIT, like you’ve accidentally cut your son’s leg off or something, then THESE ARE THE BISCUITS FOR YOU. Some woman mocks him and his stupid idea to his face, and Tom grins “ok, lead balloon” and moves on to his next idea.
THIS! IT’S ONE BISCUIT SURROUNDED BY ANOTHER! These terrifying women
who are members of the WI (*FACE OF SHOCK*) like the idea, although I think it might be more that they just like Tom. A bit. Next up, Melody’s idea – lumps of malformed dough with bits of cornflake and marshmallow stuck in them. WI Woman asks if these things have a name, so she can tell the CIA, and Tom says that he likes the name “Popscuit”.
Quite. Sounds…like something you’d have to exhaust an entire Glade plug-in to get rid of the smell of. Finally Melody exposes her
dry, dusty, biscuity heart to the world, and tells the focus group to imagine that half of it is covered in chocolate and also that they could split it in half without getting crumbs all over the sofa. This idea meets with less resistance than the Popscuit, and ties with Tom’s “Two Biscuits In One” idea in the ultimate vote, although still with
this woman’s STERN resistance. She just loves Tom THAT much.
Focus group done, Melody phones Zoe and says that the focus group really liked the HEART shaped biscuits. They may have said something about the “two-biscuits-in-one” shit as well, but mostly the heart shapes. Zoe says that she doesn’t care, they’re not doing a heart shape, she wants a ROUND biscuit. Melody reiterates that the focus group said they liked the heart-shape best, and Zoe
starts air-punching at the phone and pulling faces and generally acting like a two year old. Outside she
bitchterviews that Melody is a NIGHTMARE to work with, because she keeps on having IDEAS that other people don’t like, and then tries to establish an evidence base that she’s RIGHT about it. She bets that Melody repeatedly punched the focus group in the face until they waved a white flag and agreed with the hearts idea despite HATING IT. That’s DEFINITELY what happened. I mean, not that we saw, but hey, it’s Bitch-Edit Melody, let’s all decide we did anyway.
Anyway, Melody keeps on droning on and on about the hearts until Zoe has to ask her to shut it, and then asks Tom what he found out. Tom outlines his “two biscuits in one” idea which I really don’t get, because biscuits with more than one element are not exactly new, but whatever. He’s going for a digestive outer-ring and a butter-crisp centre. Nice and bland. Oh and Melody keeps on droning on about what an awful idea this is that she doesn’t like, she doesn’t like it, she doesn’t LIKE IT ZOE,
because she’s determined to prove me wrong about how she’s not a complete waste of time.
THE FOCUS GROUP LIKED IT MELODY, THE SAME ONE YOU JUST USED AS A BASIS FOR PUSHING THE…oh I give up. Fire away with your finger-guns Zoe.
2pm Windsor, and Helen and Natasha are meeting with a design agency to come up with their packaging and branding. It’s all very dull and efficient, and the
packaging looks quite nice in a “Government Reading Scheme” sort of way, so it’s left to Kaen to try to SPICE THINGS UP by reiterating Natasha’s concers from earlier about the suitability of their slogan and pulling a few faces.
WELL NOW I’M EXCITED AND INTRIGUED AGAIN! THANKS KAEN’S FACE!
Natasha tries to explain to the branding guy that their “Special Stars” actually bend all time and space to their will, and if they can’t, Helen can, so technically speaking their slogan is accurate. Any time IS Treat Time, because the stars…make…after school…time…time…any? Yeah? The branding guy doesn’t look convinced. Natasha even less so.
3:30pm now, and Logic have finally got a decision from Zoe as to what their product’s going to be. It’s Tom’s TWO BISCUITS IN ONE BISCUIT idea, and Melody and Tom get to work creating it.
BRING BACK THE POPSCUITS, ALL IS FORGIVEN! At the same time, Susan and Zoe are brainstorming names in their Apprenticar. I love how at this stage Venture’s product has a concept, a name, a distinct branding, and the power to warp time and space, and Logic has a big soggy ball of wheaty grain and Susan babbling “bix lix dicks mix chix fix ECLIPSE CLIPS BIX CLITS!” and that’s it.
HEE HEE SHE SAID “DICKS!”
Eventually Melody and Tom get all their ducks in a row and start churning out stuff that looks…
well, not good. Not even edible. But certainly… it’s a coherent shape with no noticeable holes, well done. Looks like a biscuity Pokeball (missed tie-in opportunity there I feel. Jim would have spotted it). Tom Tomterviews that they’ve decided to go for the low to mid end of the biscuit market, nothing luxury here. For £1.99 a packet Tom? How many were you planning to put in each packet, 50? He finishes up spraying a thin veneer of chocolate over one half of each of the biscuits (so Melody managed to ram her idea in there somehow anyway, I am surprised), and then Melody grandiloquently tells her Oompa-Loompa that she
GIVES HIM BIXMIX! You know, if he doesn’t wear a condom.
Next up, Zoe and Susan arrive with their branding and marketing guy,
who is this week’s Incidental Character Boyfriend – Owen the Brander. What? It was that or a Popscuit, and I’ve not sunk that low yet. Give it time. Zoe tells Owen that they’re aiming for the upper end of the biscuit market, so she wants luxurious colours, like golds and purples, and Susan foists her idea of vaguely sexually intertwining ribbons on Owen. He goes with it, and they wind up with something a little
own-brandy, but servicable. Their finalised name is “Bix-Mix”, and their tagline is “designed to snap and share”. Just like men, eh Zoe? Poor Glenn.
Nick merrily wrongterviews that he remembers Lordalan telling the teams to make their biscuits stand-out, and he thinks that the Bix-Mix has THREE things that make it unique. Varying textures, that part of it is dipped in chocolate, and that you can share it.
Jesus Christ Nick, where did you get your last biscuit, the era of rationing?
5pm now, and Natasha and Helen are reviewing their “Special Stars” product pictures. Well, Helen’s reviewing them, Natasha’s just sitting there glowering and doing
Bobby Robson impressions with her forehead. It’s all fine, but Helen worries that the biscuit looks a bit unhealthy.
On the way back to London meanwhile, Melody’s brain is whirring. It’s alright, she only managed to force 90% of her first idea on the team, but now she’s got one that she knows will win them the task for sure. An idea so amazing, she doesn’t know why she’s never seen someone do it on the show before. That’s right, the two greatest words in the English language.
“ROLE PLAY”. Hilariously, as she says this, the camera does a random crash-zoom in on the Apprenticar exterior, like Psycho or something. Bizarrely, instead of throwing himself out the car-door into oncoming traffic, Tom plays along and they practice a little scene in the back of the car. Melody chides him for his lack of naturalistic acting style. Hey Melody, it’s not his fault he’s not worked with extensively with Glenda Jackson, Ronald Reagan and Marlon Brando like what you have. Not quiet happy with how much she’s diminishing Tom she pokes her finger in his face and tells him that tomorrow…
THEY ARE GOING TO BE LOVERS! Tom laughs the grim laugh of a condemned man. Listen closely, and it sounds like crying.
Next morning, 9am, and it’s time for
LONDONPORN, as the teams products arrive. Logic’s
both. I ponder how much Zoe is really aiming for the lux market if she’s calling her product “BixMix” and trying her damndest to make it look like a Galaxy Bar offshoot. Anyway, she snaps her biscuit and tastes it, and then twitchterviews
that she really liked the taste of the biscuit, and they’re a good old-fashioned hearty, tasty biscuit. Back in the room, Melody asks her if she’s thought of any specific scenario which they can use as an example of who they’re marketing to. Zoe says “anybody, school-children, friends, partners, escaped convicts hilarious chained together, conjoined twins, Vincent & Ellie, ANYBODY”. Melody whiffles on to Zoe about how to pitch properly and professionally, like she’s not about to expose her Stanislavsky Technique to a room full of strangers.
Nothing interesting happens on Venture. Repeat to fade.
TO THE PITCHES! Susan tells Zoe that she really liked some of Melody’s ideas about how to do the pitch, so maybe they should incorporate them, and Zoe snaps that she COULDN’T GIVE A SHINY SHIT ABOUT MELODY. Is she trying to sleep with Susan now? Is this what this is? This bonding via bitching about Melody? She conquered Glenn, now it’s time to find a new vic…partner. Meanwhile Helen is
looking more terrifying with every day that’s she’s possessed by the all-powerful deity from another dimension. Remember when she looked like Lisa Stansfield’s mousy younger sister? What happened to that sweet girl? Answer – SHE’S GONE! She’s rattling through some ideas with Jim about the linking of stars to academic achievement, and hence these biscuits.
First, though, a completely pointless scene where Natasha
sadly doesn’t sing karaoke at passers-by
but instead corrals a bunch of small scared-looking children into sampling the Special Stars brand.
I’m thinking the production team just took pity on her and created this on the spot to give her something to do whilst Jim and Helen did the big boy work. She discerns via asking
the least famous one out of Smack The Pony, that Special Stars taste really nice, but only as a sometime food, given the high fat content. I’m a bit worried that, imbued as they are with Helen’s Special Powers, Special Stars may in fact be the new crack and/or heroin. I think the limited supply of them may actually cause World War Three to break out globally. I think flapjack is in fact the new oil. By necessity, to make Natasha less ashamed, Melody and Tom also do a taste-testing. They discover their biscuits taste of dog-turd.
As the pitching teams finally arrive, Helpful Voiceover Man tells us that Britain’s supermarkets dominate biscuit sales. Don’t they kind of dominate everything sales? Sainsbury’s first, and Melody tells Zoe that she really thinks they should be aiming at a specific target market with their product, and Zoe says she’s happy for that to remain as a nebulous “everyone”. Except dirty loner perverts I’m guessing, unless they’re going to try to stuff half a Bix-Mix down their webcams. This nothing decided, it’s time for this woman
to feel the FULL FORCE OF THE ROLE-PLAY!
FEEL IT! Anyway, Melody walks in on Tom cracking one out to James May’s World Of Toys (*again*)
and blissfully ignores him, asking if he wants to “stick a movie on tonight?”. Tom breathes heavily “hi honey…GIVE ME THAT”
before grabbing the Sky remote off her. Already this is too porny to function. Melody finds a film she likes, probably something that suits her demure femininity, like Candyman or Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Babe 2 : Pig In The City or something, and gives it the full
SCARLETT O HARA, “NO, AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, I WILL NOT GO WITHOUT CHICK-FLICKS AGAIN!”. Tom agrees to keep the film on if Melody has at least brought him something decent to eat. Melody flaps her hands and says she’s been craving BIX-MIX(/cock, sorry it’s just crude and not even a punch-line, but it’s there, and I am acknowledging it)
ALL DAY! Tom says “BISCUITS, BISCUITS, THAT’S NOT A PROPER DINNER YOU USELESS TART!” and backhands her down the stairs. In come the doof-doofs, “anyone can fall in loooooooove”, scene.
OK, not really, they eat the bix-mix, Tom lets Melody eat his chocolate part because he loves her (WHAT AN HONOUR!), Melody sighs “WHERE WERE THESE MANUFACTURED? HEAVEN?!?!??!?!??!” (so the best bit, of anything,ever) and then Zoe groans “No actually, this product was manufactured by Logic, here in the UK”. Nick is so mortified he forgets to even pull a face.
That’s how bad that just was.
Anyway, the pitch then covers the idea that their biscuit is for everyone who enjoys the concept of sharing (directly contradicting the part of the pitch where Melody just ate one), and the buyer points out that
no bloke’s going to buy a product with that packaging, so that’s half of “everyone” down already. She closes by saying that she’d rather Zoe had been more specific about who she was aiming at. Zoe
puts on the face of someone who’s realised that Melody was just right for the first time in a month, and she ignored her. Oops. Outside they all reconvene and Zoe asks them how they all felt that went. Tom whimpers that the questioning part was kind of a bloodbath. Zoe reassures them all that she deals with people like that on a daily basis. HARD people. Whatever Zoe, they’re all in business, Susan dealt with Smuganza AND Tea-Bag, that wasn’t an orc.
Next up, the Venture pitch. The Sainsbury women bring up how parents are going to hate their slogan, because no parent wants their child repeating “any time is treat time” back at them. Natasha decides to try to save the pitch by ladleing in her unique brand of business waffle on top of the team’s already muddled concept.
Yeah. Exactly. Nice try Natasha.
Outside Kaenterviews that every time Natasha speaks, both Jim and Helen roll their eyes at her in unison, and it’s getting to be a bit…well rude. As if to compound this, Helen and Jim very tersely tell Natasha that unless they miss something absolutely vital, they’d appreciate it if she not talk please. Poor Natasha. She then probably sits and plays Rock, Paper, Scissors against herself, but it’s just not the same.
Next for Logic it’s
ASDA, and ROLE PLAY number 2. But first, let’s have an unedifying scrap in public. HOORAY!
Melody tells Zoe that, based on the feedback they got from the Sainsburys people, let’s do what she said from the start – pick a target market and stick to it. Let’s pick the most inappropriate one – Girls Night In! With Biscuits! Zoe of course leaps on the “from the start” like a velociraptor and wags her finger at Melody and says “that’s VERY NAUGHTY MELODY!”. Good grief, has the role play started already? Is zoe about to tell Melody that she needs a good spanking with a Bix-Mix? Anyway, Melody (correctly) says she’s been saying this from the start, Zoe says she hasn’t and then starts yelling about how she’s “NOT HAVING THIS!”
(inside, Susan’s dancing). Melody tells Zoe she doesn’t appreciate her tone, Zoe says there’s no tone – she’s saying this nicely, and then Melody crashes into her with a full-on
eyebrow-pulsating, eye-rolling, teeth-gritting, huffy sneer, and tells Zoe that she’s never said anything nicely. Ever. But, hey, we’re about to go into a pitch, don’t scream at me in public or anything, you’ll put me off and I’ll end up accidentally acting out the part of Gandhi or something. Nick, weighing up whether this or another role-play is going to get more tragically entertaining makes the right call for once, and tells the women that play time is over – it’s time to pitch. And more importantly
ROLE PLAY! It’s like Thelma & Louise isn’t it? No faffing about films here, Melody gets right down to her cravings, because she’s with her best gal-pal and this is how they talk. Remember the episode of Sex And The City where Miranda talked about her first experience with a chocolate hobnob, and then Charlotte got all mortified and said she just wanted to eat a nice plain Arrowroot Biscuit from Manhattan? Then Samantha wanked off a sailor and Carrie spent the rest of the episode monologuing about Ginger Nuts. The end. Best episode ever. Anyway, Zoe and Melody whitter on about their biscuit cravings until this ASDA Woman
actually starts muttering obscenities to herself. We close on Zoe hogging the chocolate half of the Bix-Mix and grunting that it’s because she’s SPECIAL. As Darius Danesh once said
FEEL THE LOVE IN THE ROOM!
Susan does the actual pitching part, saying that they’ve gone for the concept of sharing, specifically amongst women. Nature’s sharers. Obscenity Mutterer (sounds like someone out of Upstairs Downstairs doesn’t it?) says that if she was having a Girls Night In, frankly it’s a bottle of tequilla and a tub of Ben & Jerry’s each, not sodding two-quid digestive biscuits. Susan tries to make out like digestives are some sort of Universal Truth, but the ASDA women
Once the pitch is over, Melody tells Tom in Logic Apprenticar B that she didn’t appreciate the way Zoe snapped at her in Asda, IN PUBLIC. Tom makes sympathetic “oh I know” noises, like he’s suddenly her Stanford Blatch. He tells her that Zoe’s clearly had a problem with her all day, in fact he thinks the only reason he’s been stuc…
placed with Melody is because Zoe didn’t want to work with her. What a stirrer.
Next up Helen is at Waitrose. There’s no role play. So *shrug*. The Waitrose guy raises some health concerns about how the product will fit in with Waitrose’s current range, but I shop in Waitrose and…yeah. Not evident. Helen, really nervous and shifty for once, says that frankly, if parents wanted to buy their kids a healthy treat, they’d get them an apple. And this is a biscuit task, not an apple task, so what concern is it of HERS trying to make it healthy EH? EH?!
is the most spare of parts.
Finally for Logic, they’re also chatting to Waitrose, and
Zoe’s hair is really telling us all how she feels her day has gone. Susan on the other hand is still a bundle of energy, bouncing around saying that they’re making biscuits FUN by having one half chocolate and one half…plain. Gawd, at least make it caramel or something. Waitrose Man, clearly charmed by Susan, says that he loved their pitch, and the quality of their ingredients, and the packaging, but unfortunately, their biscuits taste of dog-turd. Zoe is
SHOCKED at this development. SHOCKED!
6:30pm, and time for Helen, now
fully consumed by the evil posessing her soul, to arrive with her minions at ASDA for their final pitch of the day. Jim leads, because the dark forces are currently making Helen’s voice come out a bit like Tim Curry’s. Probably. Anyway Jim is very confident and assured and tells the ASDA Women that they’re planning a fully integrated marketing approach, above and below the line, including television advertising and possible endorsement from stars like the cast of Harry Potter. WOAH WOAH WOAH JIM, YOU’RE NOT MELODY, DON’T TRY AND CLAIM YOU HAVE THOSE SORTS OF CONNECTIONS! Finally, the ASDA Women are told to “go big or go home”. So there.
Kaen interviews that Jim’s promising a whole bunch of stuff to ASDA that he can’t guarantee he’ll deliver. Oh well.
They still win (SPOILERS!)
In randomterview, Zoe says she hates Melody, and Helen reminds us all that she’s won 8 tasks and broke an Apprentice sales record on the last one. Thank you, your Helenifficence. Outside the Boardroom, Natasha and Jim look as nervous as
only two people who don’t know the other team did a ROLE PLAY can, and Giant It ushers everyone in.
Lordalan finishes playing with his
FREE BADGE?! WOWWIE! and enters.
We start with Logic, and Zoe specifically. She says that, as she works in the food industry and pitches to major retailers all the time, she felt compelled to take on the role. Also a little bit because Susan wanted to do it. Let’s be honest. “Good team leader?” gets the most ear-splittingly deafening silence of the entire series so far.
Tom mutters “…it was a tough one”. Melody huffs that Zoe does have some strengths in Project Management, somewhere, but her weaknesses let her down here. Specifically that of not recognising Melody’s awesomeness.
Lordalan asks Zoe to outline what happened on the task, and she talks about the process of the first day, when they were deciding who should go to Swansea. Tom, ALREADY aware they’ve lost and trying to save himself by pointing out what went wrong, says that they had a big conversation on Day 1 about their USP, but nothing got decided upon until much later. Lordalan ignores this and asks Zoe to sum up what their USP eventually wound up being. Zoe says their USP was “snap and share”. Nick backs up that Waitrose thought this was a great USP to have.
We then move on to pitching. Zoe talks about how she knew that the buyers would be tough because she works in the industry but Lordalan’s all
yeah yeah get to the part where you staged an amateur version of A View From The Bridge for them in Sainsburys car-park. Melody tries to explain that is a really valid technique and great for making an impact and everybody else in the room is all
Over to Venture now, and Helen is identified as team leader, and she says she put herself forward very quickly, because she works for Greggs. Or at least, the old Helen did. Although she never worked in manufacturing or marketing, so don’t go asking New Helen any specifics. “Good team leader?” gets Natasha saying that she preferred working with Helen before when she was PM, because she at least acknowledged her by breaking up her bitch-fights with Melody. This week she just got told to play with her Flintstones Phone in the corner. Also before there wasn’t the constant eerie hum, the light shining out of Helen’s eyes, and the constant slight smell of burning in the air.
We then move on to how Jim came up with the idea for the star shapes, and also how their strap-line is confusing and contradictory. Natasha nods away vigorously at this last bit, because objecting to it was the only time she was allowed to speak before Helen shoved a ball-gag in her mouth. Finally it’s Jim’s pitches, as Jim is asked how he thinks they went, and he says very amiably that she thinks he did a clear and crisp job. Lordalan then
guffaws in his face about how Kaen told him that Jim was being entirely unrealistic with what he was claiming he could do in terms of marketing. For his imaginary product that had had a whole one day’s production run, for free, from a leading biscuit manufacturer, after meeting with a focus group of 6 kids and their mums. A product which had somehow got audience time with three head buyers from three of Britain’s largest supermarkets off no track-record whatsoever, with no long-term production plans in place, and for which he is about to receive an order for £1.6 million worth of stock, none of which will ever be in shops.
Yes everyone, it is Jim who has slipped free from the moorings of reality here, not THE ENTIRE SHOW. The only realistic answer to “what marketing can you offer?” is “NONE, BECAUSE IT’S NEVER GOING TO ACTUALLY HAPPEN”. Give them an actual marketing budget, or bugger off, and stop pretending that business is so easy that you can doorstep Tescos on the back of one day’s work and 5p stump money, but not quite so easy you can’t get one of the Weasley twins to appear in your tv adverts.
Anyway, Lordalan and Kaen guffaw away about what an idiot Jim is, and Jim looks at them like he wishes them dead for pulling him into this trap, and just says calmly and smartly “I stand by it all” as Lordalan proclaims him the Biggest Bullshitter In The World.
I’ve never liked Jim more.
Logic sold 0
Venture sold 800,000 units. On the grounds that Helen grants ASDA exclusivity. She grants ASDA exclusivity. Thank God Laura Moore wasn’t Project Managing.
THE CURSE OF NOTHELEN ROLLS ON!
Lordalan beams about how this is clearly the launch of a major new product, and tells the team he’s booked them a hotel to arse around in. Do whatever they want – no skin off his nose. (FUN SIDEBAR FACT : In every single series at this point the team of 3 have beaten the team of 4. Every single one. Spooky. Almost as spooky as Helen)
Anywho, Venture have a big ol
group-hug. Which includes Natasha somewhat as an afterthought. How symbolic. She snorts “HELEN! YOU HAVEN’T LOST A TASK YET!” at her and yes, this is now a UK Apprentice record. She just surpassed the benchmark set by…oh. Lucinda Ledgerwood. Almost meant something there didn’t it?
Back in the room, Logic are told to go away and think about what they’ve done. No orders. None. Not a one. How awful. At LEAST one of them is going to get fired for this. (*insert point about the egregious double firing of Vinnie Disney and Ellie here*)
JIM’S OVERWHELMING SENSE OF SUPERIORITY!
Jim smugs that obviously he’s really happy for the entire team, but he’s really glad that his pitch to ASDA was the one that sealed the deal. Helen says that of all her many wins, this has been her favourite so far, although obviously not as glorious as next week when she annexes Portugal. Til then
CHEERS! To close, Jim cracks a “well that takes the biscuit!” joke that makes Helen
crease up. Sometimes competence really is boring isn’t it?
Prison Cafe now and
ooh, they’ve upped the security. I guess we are getting towards the end now, no point risking an irate Susan breaking out and running amok in West London with a bread-knife and a mustard Squeezie. Inside, Melody sighs and says that she’s REALLY disappointed, before immediately doing a bitchterview outside
about how Zoe said that she did this EVERY DAY, and yet they just came back with no orders. They should have identified a target market!
Meanwhile, as Susan tries her best to look sympathetic to everyone else, knowing full well she’s safe as houses,
Tom whitters on about how the packaging didn’t match the product, but doesn’t explain this further, just waffleterviews
outside about how Melody should get fired because she gave birth to the abomination that is Popscuits. Zoe may have been a crappy PM but she didn’t do…that…that THING. Zoe closes by groaning that it’s all the biscuit’s fault. If the production team had made a decent biscuit, then they would at least have sold some to Waitrose.
That’s it. Nobody mentions the role play. WHY IS NOBODY MENTIONING THE ROLE PLAY? DID I JUST DREAM THAT WHOLE FIASCO? IT’S ENTIRELY POSSIBLE.
I’m sad that this is as close as Susan and Tom have got all task. Did they even speak to one another? Boo.
Candidates are ushered in by Giant It, natch.
I love that Susan’s so sure that she’s safe that she’s actually turned up in her pyjamas. Lordalan starts by saying that Nick’s told him what went wrong with the task, based on the feedback he received from the supermarkets. Would any of them like to guess what was said?
What is this, Family Fortunes all of a sudden?
Anyway, Zoe’s survey is saying “the biscuit” (DING!) and specifically the fact that it tasted like dry weetabix sucked out of a hoover bag. She quotes back Waitrose Man on this matter, and Susan agrees. Melody’s survey however (conducted with three tramps hiding under the off-ramp to the Autobahn) says “the lack of a target market” (ALSO DING!).
Lordalan says they’ll start with the dodgy biscuit. Whose fault was that? Susan fingers Tom and Melody for the crime, and says that they should have had a tighter handle on what made a tasty biscuit base. Tom,
hand suddenly possessed by the ghost of Alex Epstein, says that he didn’t know he was supposed to make a biscuit that TASTED NICE. He didn’t know it was one of those LUXURY biscuits, it was only FOR £1.99 a packet.
Hands up who thinks Tom’s wife/mum/robot helper does all his shopping for him? Yeah, thought so.
Lordalan asks Zoe why SHE didn’t go and oversee production of the biscuit, given that she works in food manufacture and could therefore have insight into how the machines worked and solve the Oompa Loompa riddles a bit faster. Zoe replies that she wishes she could have split herself in half (don’t tempt me…) as she thinks branding and product quality are equally important. Lordalan tells her that she is
dead wrong. He has decided this week that product quality is far more important. Sorry.
Zoe says that she agrees, in hindsight but bigger boys and much much smaller girls made her do it Lordalan. They persuaded her to do a bad.
Lordalan then goes on to explain the bigger error of the biscuit design – you always need one person who likes plain, and one person who likes chocolate. Really it should have been designed so you split it so you got one quarter each of chocolate and non-chocolate. YEAH LORDALAN! Then you need someone who likes chocolate AND plain AND digestive AND butter-crisp. I mean those are all pretty basic flavours but…ok.
Tom says that he agrees, and piles A BIG OLD PLATE OF BLAME onto Melody, saying that she both had no ideas whatsoever compared to him, and also that the half-chocolate idea was entirely her fault because she forced in her chocolate hearts and sharing ideas into the product in a bastardised form, which makes no sense. Melody then also starts whittering about how Tom didn’t have ideas or concepts, he just picked random names out from nowhere, which also makes no sense. Neither of them are making ANY sense AT ALL, which I guess is how they came up with Frankenbiscuit – the bastard child of 3 different concepts over there.
Lordalan decides to chime in on this front by claiming that all three supermarkets said the packaging was bad, even though Waitrose are ON CAMERA as saying it was good. Tom places the blame for this on Susan and Zoe saying that the packaging made the product heavily female-orientated, and they only realised this halfway through the pitches, meaning the first one was a waste. Zoe says this isn’t true, she started off with a target market of everyone but then Tom and Melody, the SO-CALLED COMMUNICATIONS EXPERT
set up those bloody role-plays, and that narrowed down the target market too far and took the concept away from “snap and share”.
FINALLY! FINALLY WE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT THOSE HORRIFIC EMBARRASSING ROLE PLAYS THAT MADE ALL THE BUYERS HATE LOGIC FROM THE SECON…oh, no, wait, Melody’s taking umbrage at Zoe’s use of a sarcastic tone on the phrase “communications expert”, so we’re going to get them spilling out all their mutual issues that have built up over the course of the last two months. This will be fun. Over the course of the next three minutes we cover :
- Melody’s penchant for the melodramatic
- The screaming cat-fight in ASDA which ZOE STARTED
- Melody getting on everyone’s tits with her stupid voice
- Melody abandoning her team as soon as it looks like they’re going to lose
- Zoe building up in-house alliances
- Zoe making stuff up based on gossip
- Melody bitching about other members of the cast
- How Zoe is a greasy sooky liar
- How Zoe is not a greasy sooky liar, Melody is in fact the greasy sooky liar
- How Melody came back from the Boardroom bragging about how Lordalan was impressed by all her awards
- How Zoe stomped out the bedroom two weeks ago whirling a used condom round her finger and flicked it onto Susan’s forehead giggling “GUESS WHAT I JUST DID!”
- How Melody did a giant smelly poo and didn’t even flush it properly, honest Lordalan you’d never believe how such a tiny woman could do such a MASSIVE POO
And, you know, other things as well. I can only assume Kaen’s mouth was too full of biscuit at this point to deliver a “WIMMIN IN BIZNESS!!!!” lecture. Lordalan’s face though
has its own opinions. Eventually he tells them to stop, but they clearly aren’t going to, so he asks Susan if she’s got some sort of alliance going with Zoe now, like Melody says, and Susan says she hasn’t, but she will explain exactly why all three of these people who aren’t her failed. Zoe for her lack of focus, failure to communicate, and inability to locate a target market, and also Tom and Melody for their crappy biscuits. Another Boardroom, another victory for Susan.
Lordalan asks Zoe who’s coming back, Zoe, clearly rattled, assures him that this isn’t due to personality clashes, but it’s Melody and Tom. So there.
Candidates go out, Kaen does a impression of Tom that sounds like a cross between Roley Mo and Harold Bishop, candidates come back in again, Tom at about 100mph, almost tripping over the door a la Frank Spencer. OH TOM. (Always have to get at least one in there…)
We start with Zoe being taken through all her failures (three times in the Final Boardroom and two losses as Project Manager). No real reason, because we’re about to ask Tom to do the whole begging thing. It was just fun is all.
Tom’s begging takes the form of him taking the credit for all the ideas on the task, and saying that it should have been conveyed to him that they were making a luxury product. As it wasn’t, the fact that his biscuit tasted like a cremation isn’t really his fault.
Lordalan tells Tom that he’s putting him on notice, because 2 wins out of 9 is starting to look not so much like “Tom isn’t quite getting his ideas across” now as “Tom is operating entirely out of hindsight and never had the ideas in the first place”. Tom disagrees with this, saying that he’s learning just a little bit more every week to trust his instincts more. Lordalan points out that this is in fact not a school, it’s a competition, and the winners of competitions are normally those who…well, win.
Zoe also breaks in here to say that it’s Week 9 and people shouldn’t be learning how to read task instructions, or the price of biscuits. On the one hand it’s a valid point, on the other, don’t say “learn to read”, you’re not a messageboard troll or a snarky recapper who fronts like he knows what he’s talking about even vaguely but actually doesn’t. Secondly, this isn’t Supermarket Sweep. Sadly.
She then starts full on lying, for no reason whatsoever that I can see, that she knew as soon as she tasted it that the biscuit was awful, with a horrible thick wheaty ring, and it tasted COMMON AND HORRIBLE. Melody and Tom reply that this was never pointed out to them at any point – in fact quite the opposite. Zoe said that she really liked the biscuits. This sets Zoe off saying that she stressed to them AGAIN AND AGAIN how important the quality of the product was, but it was out of her hands. Lordalan points out that if it was so important to her she should have gone and done it herself, and then Zoe just decides to go
full Piranha 3D on Tom about how he doesn’t know the price of biscuits. G’RARRRRRRGH!
Melody decides to speak now, and say what she contributed. First of all she created the concept of sharing, in a collaboration with Joan of Arc, Jam Master J, Abraham Lincoln and The Munch Bunch, and she graciously allowed the team to use it, despite her holding all the intellectual property rights. She also came up with a number of daring concepts for biscuits, and Zoe asks her which ones. Melody’s all “DUH! POPSCUITS!”. Biscuits are the new popcorn. Popcorn is the new forty! Forty is the new black! Black is the new gay! Gay is the new Lady Gaga single, OUT TOMORROW ON iTunes. Buy it now, or you’ll make a transgender cry.
Tom points out to Melody that every single person who saw them thought that Popscuits were an abomination against God and gouged their own eyes out a la Oedipus’ mother shortly afterwards. So the Popscuits may have been daring, but only in the same way as using spaghetti for your bungee rope is “daring”. Melody replies that they’re ONLY TEN PEOPLE, AND THEY DIDN’T EVEN USE THE PARIS METRO SO WHAT THE FUN DO THEY KNOW? POPSCUITS FOREVER!
When asked, both Melody and Tom say that Zoe should go, and Zoe says Tom.
OH TOM! (There, have a bonus one).
Fire-teasing is Tom, and not just a fire-teasing, but a “with regret” fire-teasing, which is a new one. Well done for mixing it up Lordalan. NOW BRING BACK INTERVIEWS! (*ahem*). But leaving us is
Zoe. For failing at her day job. Ish. That one? Not so new. She eeps out a barely audible “thank you” and sweeps out. Lordalan sends the other two off after her, and Melody stalks out stompily without so much as a by-your-leave. Tom on the other hand makes sure to give Zoe a
conciliatory peck on the cheek. Bless.
In her Apprenticab, complete with apparently now requisite
SCARF OF FAILURE, Zoe says it was all down to the product, and if she had her time again she’d make sure she was in the factory, but the others talked her out of it this time, ho hum. Eh, even if her biscuit was alright, she still would have lost, because of her distinct lack of Helen, which really was out of her control. Meanwhile in their Apprenticar
Melody bitches all the way home about how unprofessional and childish Zoe was, as Tom makes various noises that sound a bit like a steam piston. They walk back into the midst of Susan
pontificating about how she was the only good one on her team this week. Everyone hugs mildly, and Tom grins “Special Stars!” to Helen. Quite.
Next week :
The teams apparently film Stranger Danger adverts. Should be a lark.