Junior Apprentice 2 – Week 1

It feels oddly appropriate that this is replacing “The Bachelor” in my recapping schedule. WHO WILL LORDALAN GIVE HIS ROSE AWAY TO?

We begin as always with a healthy dose of London Porn. What would this show be without it? It is leavened with shots of young people, all packing their bags to run away from home and set up with Lordalan, the 21st Century Fagin. A solid-looking young man, like Draco Malfoy had a third sidekick ruled out at the last minute left to wander society alone, fair HURLS his clothes into his suitcase and stomps off through his out-of-town housing development. (BEN!) A prim looking young blonde girl fixes her tiny pink bag in her immaculately OCD angled duck-egg blue loft chamber and sneaks out the back of her detached house, careful not to up-end the patio furniture (HAYLEY!). A blurry young red working-class and proud girl snatches up her shiny aspirational handbag and high heels and escapes (LIZZIE!). A wavy haired-young Steerpike dressed in his school uniform ducks down an alley-way right in the middle of a Hovis advert and stalks his way through the sort of DREARY puddles you only find in the North. (LEWIS!)

An overconfident proto-Boris sighs and blusters his way out of Rugby and tells us all that he has set up and run three businesses, sold them on for major profit, AND he’s only sixteen AND he’s had sex and everything. With a woman (HARRY!). Every Bond-villain sidekick ever seen, condensed down into one person, tiny and angry and overdressed and with sharp little teeth, pounds the pavement in an ivory suit and says that he don’t go to no posh school or nuffink but he can take your head off with a bowler hat at 30 paces (MAHAMED!). A young Katie Hopkins by way of Sparkle Motion says there’s a difference between ordinary people, who lie in bed at night dreaming, and people like her, who get up out of bed and make those dreams a reality. (That’s also the difference between ordinary people and John Hinckley dear. Just saying) (ZARA!). Hibah’s baby sister rolls her little suitcase past the Gherkin and tells us all she got 8A*s and 2As at GCSE and no-one intimidates her because she knows she is better than them she would quite like to be the first boot please? (HAYA!)

This Series’ Fun Bitch click-cacks around in heels, a pencil skirt, rainbow-coloured ear-rings and a mustard-coloured cardigan, and tells us she is like Marmite – overdone in reality tv terms (GBEMI!). A Boy-Badger crosses the road and tells us that money doesn’t buy happiness. Or a comb by the looks of it (JAMES!). Finally one “boy” who is clearly already a 32 year old stockbroker tells us he is not here to make FRIENDS! He is here to achieve his GOAL! To start his life over after losing everything in the RECESSION as a 17 YEAR OLD AGAIN. Oh and to BE…THE JUNIOR APPRENTICE! (ALSO HARRY!)

Who needs The Hunger Games when we’ve got this?

All the kids line-up outside Headmaster Lordalan’s office and we are treated to a close-up of Mahamed’s giant gold watch, which of course he has, OF COURSE. It has, like seven dials and global positioning and works underwater and in space and even in THE NORF probably. Just don’t expect to actually tell the time on it. Zara flutters her glittery eye-lids about and is pretty much the only female cast-member to have body language exuding a vibe of anything other than “whatever”. Lizzie already looks like she’s crept into the job with a hangover and the munchies after staying out too late at a Wild Beasts gig the night before. Harry 2’s suitcase is HUGE, and full of secrets and possibly a paper-trail connecting him with five collapsed venture capital firms.

Lordalan rings his secretary (who really should have been played by Hannah Cherry this year, cheerily waving at this year’s crop of victims, but we can’t have everything) and she ushers the kids in. Hayley appears to have last minute second thoughts and wanders off set. Lord knows what that was about. (She probably left her suitcase on the other side of the room, but still, may have been better to listen to those doubts).

Everyone sits down, and Harry 1 is clearly getting a contact high just from being in the same room as Lordalan. And of course it’s time for Lordalan’s Annual Opening Speech – Kiddy Variation. Apparently people have been asking Lordalan why, in these troubled times, he’s still interested in business. Why doesn’t he just retire and go on Dancing On Ice instead? WHAT FOOLS THESE PEOPLE ARE! Lordalan will always be in business, because he enjoys screwing people over and also teaching the young people how to pick a pocket or two. He loves the young people! Working-class, middle-class, upper-class, HE LOVES THEM ALL! But not, you know, like that. He loves them like an uncle. No, not that sort of uncle. Anyway…

He advises them all not to try and come across like they know everything, like that’s not the entire reason they were all cast. It would be embarrassing if they did! As embarrassing as if he and Nick put on caps and tried to rap. I love that Kaen is left out of that, like we’d suddenly find out she was the new Lil Kim if she laid some beats down.

Oh look, Lordalan’s got the candidates CeeVees! What’s a CeeVee when it’s at home? Surely he means a RAYZEUMAY? Anyway, these CVs tell us that James got one of the highest scores in GCSE Economics in Northern Ireland. No offence, but I can’t imagine that’s an incredibly large field of competitors. Also Gbemi is a fashion designer, Zara makes films in her spare time (snuff films I’m guessing) and Ben listed Richard Branson as one of his idols. This piques Lordalan mightily, because HE IS THE ONLY IDOL THESE KIDS ARE ALLOWED NOW! WORSHIP HIM!

But wait! There is a problem! What is it? Nick’s not well? The prize has been reduced for these troubled times? They’re going to have to hold the entire first task in this building because Zoe’s waiting outside with a flick-knife? Revenue & Customs have followed a paper trail seven miles long back to Harry 2 and are here to ask him some questions? No. None of these. It turns out that Lordalan is confused (SO SO CONFUSED!) by there being two Harrys so he is going to force them to brand themselves individually. Whatever Lordalan, thanks to middle-class unoriginality in naming, there were 7 Christophers in my year at school. Out of about 120 of us. Maybe Harry 2 can use his…old name. From before. Sadly no, he is going to be Harry H, and Harry 1 is henceforth known as Harry M. Except here, where they are Harry 1 and Harry 2 forever.

PHEW! PROBLEM SOLVED!

Our first task? Create and sell a range of “frozen treats”. Lordalan has sat on a factory who will produce the “frozen treats” for them, but it’s up to the kids to work out where to sell them. The measuring stick is profit… oh and it’s Boys vs Girls. Again. Some more. Forever. I notice that Hayley has randomly plonked herself amidst the boys just in case this wasn’t going to be the case. Oh Hayley. I wouldn’t bother, there’s not a looker in the bunch.

As we zip over more London Porn, Helpful Voiceover Man tells us that the ice-cream business in the UK is worth a nice round billion. Nice convenient figure there. And only about 2% of that is me scarfing down Coconutterly Fair Ben & Jerrys. Meanwhile the children are getting to know one another in the back of their Apprenticars. The girls shake one another’s hands warmly with big smiles, whilst James grips Harry 2 by the wrist and digs his fingers in hard. They both still make a thorough-going job of patronising Mahamed asking him “done any business stuff?”. Mahamed has! He has sold satellites on the internet. Installed them too. Great big jobs for broadcasting laser-beams to take out Prague. Mr Blofeld was very pleased with him that day, yes sir.

Meanwhile in Boys Apprenticar B, Lewis asks Ben where he is from. The answer is Birmingham. A deathly awkwardness falls. Hey, it’s not as though the boy can help it! Harry 1 meanwhile lives in Northampton, but travels to Rugby to go to school (he also winters in the Azores, and couldn’t leave without his weekly shops in Harrods). He smirks that there’s no guesses where Lewis comes from given his HI-LARIOUS accent. He’s from Liverpool! Ho ho. Harry1 interviews that he doesn’t mind people if people “flaunt” their opinions of him (good job really) because he is here to be recognised for his success, globally. Oh Harry 1, barely 4 million are watching the show in this country, let alone globally..

Lewis asks him what his skills are then, if he’s here, and he says he’s going to be a great leader, because he’s super-charismatic and like a ball of energy ready to explode all over every with his SUPER ideas. Lewis snarks “well someone’s good at English”. Makes a change on this show.

The teams pull up to their Apprentice Mansion, and ooh and ahh and coo as per usual. Gbemi is particularly excited because she grew up in Peckham, which is nowhere near as posh as this house. Zara coos over all the pretentious art and tacky chandeliers and chairs shaped like prolapsed vulvas. IT’S A MASSIVE EXPLOSION OF COOL! As if to disprove this, Mahamed rolls around on the bed like a puppy giving itself a dirt-bath. Harry 2 meanwhile is more sombre. One day he’ll be able to afford to live like this (again). MAYBE THEN HIS CHILD WILL LOVE HIM AGAIN! IT’S ALRIGHT BABY, DADDY’S COMING HOME!

Now it’s time to pick some team names. Oh good, this is always horrific. Ben wants Slytherin Superstuds (/”Ambition) but this is shot down quickly as clichéd. James meanwhile wants “Future” because they are children and they are the future and they are a-coming hey hey hey. Lewis and Harry 2 meanwhile are not impressed. It’s really cheesy and naff. What would be much more cool would be calling themselves ATOMIC! Sadly Lewis says this, so they are now, forever, Atomic Kitten. It’s just the Liverpool way. James grumps that they will be selling food, so they can’t call themselves Atomic because people will think their frozen treats will be laced with POLONIUM or something. Nobody else cares, and they are now, officially, Atomic Kitten. Mahamed starts gibbering to himself in the corner about how Atomic is dangerous and bad and out there and exciting, and playing with his shoe-knives.

Meanwhile the girls are also choosing. Haya likes “Sixth Sense” because there are six of them. Nobody else does. Gbemi likes Core, because you can’t have a bright shiny sun without a core. Or an apple. Or The Corrs. Or…no, that’s it. A girl I’ve not seen before, who looks like she should be in an X Factor girlband, called Hannah suggests Kinetic. Zara says that she likes Kinetic because it is different to anything that has come before. NO! NO IT ISN’T KINETIC! EVERY SINGLE FEMALE TEAM IN THE HISTORY OF THIS SHOW HAS BEEN CALLED KINETIC! I CANNOT RECAP ANOTHER! In the end the girls plump for…oh great. “Kinetic”. I redub them “Generic”.

Team Leaders throwdown now, and James asks everyone if they’ve ever run a market stall. It’s a fair bet, let’s be honest. Sadly it turns out no, so Lewis, with his experience of selling fish and chips and working in a hairdressers, is the closest thing to a salesman the team has, but he doesn’t want to play, because his experience amounts to trying to persuade women to have Botox. He fatally says “I’m not strong enough to lead the team on this specific task” so Harry 2, who is leading the whole discussion anyway, sighs, all “this is too, too easy to win already” and puts himself forward for the role “if nobody else wants to do it”. Nobody else does.

Over on the girls team, Hayley is press-ganged into being Project Manager because she likes cooking. Well…it’s A reason. Hayley, going from zero to Paltrow in no seconds flat, GOOPs about her love of fine natural ingredients and sometimes people might believe they find her a little bossy and patronising but hey, this is just how the life of an Oscar winning Hollywood actress works. Hatahs gone hate, hair-flip. Back in the room, she says that, for their range of ice-creams they should go classic…BUT WITH A TWIST. How about chocolate…BUT WITH PLAYFUL BANANA in it? How about marshmallow…WITH FRUITY, TRADTIONAL STRAWBERRY in it! How about vanilla…BUT WITH ADDED SUSTAINING, ZESTY MANGO?! This way they can market their ice-cream as healthy, because it’s the same old fattening stuff as normal, but with added chunks of fruit salad! That’s sure to help you lose weight! FIRE UP THE NEWSLETTER, IT’S TIME TO MAKE, GO, GET, DO, BE AND SEE! TEAM GOOP!

Back on Atomic Kitten, Kaen is either giggling or suppressing a burp or scratching her lip or something. James and Harry 2 are currently battling out on the ratio of frozen yoghurt to ice cream within their product line. You can see why she’s bored. Harry 2 seems to get his way (two ice-creams, one frozen yoghurt) and it’s time to decide on flavours. Lewis wants plain old slabs of custard yellow vanilla that tastes like your throat closing up, but James disagrees. He wants something exciting! Like watermelon! That’ll draw people in! WATERMELON IS EXCITING! Harry 1 protests that he’s never heard of anyone buying watermelon ice-cream and James protests “Exactly! Exactly!” Mahamed has an opinion but James flaps him away dismissively. Doesn’t he have a piranha tank to clean or something? Mahamed grumbles “honey tastes sweet on the tongue” over and over Harry 1 dismissively sneers that honey is something his fag smeers on his toast for him before prep, not something he puts on his ice-cream!

These boys have such dull palettes I swear. Watermelon is not daring and innovative and exciting, and honey is not some exotic and out-there flavour. Are they not educating these boys stomachs at Rugby these days?

Ben suggests cookie and marshmallow and everyone is happy with that, so we’ve somehow ended up with that, vanilla slab, and watermelon and apple frozen yoghurt. One of these things is not like the others. James continues to honk that he doesn’t want to do vanilla, but Harry 2 tells him to can it because he has decided. Kaen meanwhile, is interviewing that James seems like a right grumpy wee sod.

8am next day now, and the teams are on their way to make their ice-cream and, in the grand tradition of Apprentice busywork, come up with a brand to help them sell it. For Lewis, Ben and Harry 1, this involves a trip to an ice-cream parlour to…eat ice-cream. Market research in action. CAREFUL HARRY 1, IT LOOKS LIKE YOURS HAS GOT SOME SORT OF CRAZY EXOTIC MENTAL SAUCE ON IT! AIEEEEEEE! Lewis is in raptures. Anyway, after sampling some of the parlours wares, this particular sub-team gets down to making it. The other three boys meanwhile, are in a warehouse “developing their brand identity”. Their brand identity being “pirates”, as per James, and more specifically “Shiver Me Timbers”. He also wants to call their ice-cream “Sea-Cookies and Marrrshmallow”. What the hell is a “sea-cookie”? It sounds very much like a euphemism. Everyone giggles at this lamery, but they’re happy to go with it. Particularly Mahamed who is, as is becoming rather a thing, just reeling off a list of adjectives. It’s unique, it’s exciting, it’s different, it’s wow!

For someone who’s such a “bad boy” he’s certainly sounding a lot like a one-joke incidental Reggie Perrin character.

Harry 2 and Mahamed paint their ice-cream wagon, and James “directs”, much in the manner of all Apprentice creative directors ie Cecil B Demented. More portholes darling! He simply must have more portholes! Mahamed meanwhile has hit on the idea of painting the team’s “mobile unit” as a treasure chest. I feel this was the one thing the editors gave him so he didn’t look completely functionless.

At the same time, in Generic Apprenticar B, the sub-team of Zara, Haya, and Gbemi are brainstorming idea for Hayley’s ice-cream range. As if the team weren’t generic enough, Gbemi and Haya have come up with “I Scream”. I’m thinking Haya might be the worst person at naming things ever in the history of the show. Zara on the other hand has come up with “Treat N Trim : Treat the lips and trim the hips”. This is the idea that Hayley (communicating via Apprentiphone) ends up going with, because it’s a big fat lie, and “I Scream” is just, like, SO WRONG and not what GOOP Jr is all about. THIS IS NOT THE ETHOS GIRLS, IT’S ALL ABOUT HEALTH AND WELL-BEING!

Back on Atomic Kitten, Harry 1 is doing some basic maths to help them work out how much to make, based on how fast they’re going to be able to sell it, and the sort of profit they’re going to want to make. After an initial lower estimate, he is predicting at this point costs of £135 for 60 litres of ice-cream and sales of £630, working at a rate of selling 15 scoops of ice-cream each an hour at £1 a scoop. Harry 2 is fine with this, so long as everyone agrees to really sell hard. Meanwhile the girls team are going through the same process. Except…they aren’t, because none of Hayley, Hannah and Lizzie (the Generic CORE is you will) can add up. MATHS IS HARD! *twiddles hair*. It doesn’t help that, whilst the boys are working out their numbers on a calculator, the girls appear to be doing the same on their iPhones. MY ANGRY BIRDS KEEP RUNNING OFF WITH MY DIVISION SIGNS! I CAN’T FIRE THE MULTIPLICATION PIGS AT THEM FAST ENOUGH!

The whole mess culminates in Hayley saying “3×4 = 28” and Nick huffing around in the background about declining standards in school. In the end PM Hayley just decides to make 80 litres, because it’s the most they’re allowed to make. GOOP JR IS ABOUT PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES AND NEVER ACCEPTING THE LIMITATIONS PLACED ON US BY OUR MODERN TECHNOLOGICAL OBSESSIONS, LIKE BASIC MATHS OR STUPID FILM CRITICS! Nick asks her if she knows how many scoops that is. She hems and haws and says 800. This is not counting Zara doling out her scoops to 5 year olds with a melon-baller. It’s a special junior scoop. That’ll be £2 extra please!

Generic Team B are told of Hayley’s excessive demands, and set about Shepherds Bush Market, haggling for mangos. Their efforts are somewhat fruitful (LOL) obtaining a 17% discount. If you’re wondering who this year’s “middle-class girl who thinks she can negotiate but actually can’t” is, it’s totally Haya. She’s a little more Hibah Jr every day.

4pm now, and Harry 1 is misusing his Atomic Kitten ice-cream maker and spurting white creamy milk all over the floor of the ice-cream parlour. Like all the best private school educated kids faced with a technical malfunction, he just stands there going “OH NO! OH NO!” as Lewis and Ben are left to actually stop the flow, sprinting over from half-way across the room. Lewis then similarly has an accident near his ice-cream maker, leaving Ben to be the only remotely practical young man on the sub-team. Eventually, ice-cream happens. Eventually. Frozen yoghurt also occurs, although Kaen is not impressed by the flavour. She wonders how many people are really going to want to buy “apple and watermelon frozen yoghurt”, especially at a stall where the other flavours are so crowd-pleasingly generic.

Over on Generic however, things are running much more smoothly on the technical front. That’s right the girls can cook but they can’t add up. This show is busting stereotypes all over the place. Unfortunately though, the teams maths failures are returning to haunt them, as they’ve not ordered enough fruit. Lizzie huffs to Gbemi over the phone that they ordered 3kg of mango and 3.2kg of banana but they’ve wound up with 1.4kg of mango and 2.7kg of banana. Gbemi hand-waves away that they’ve probably taken all that off themselves by peeling and skinning the fruit (to be fair, it looks like whoever’s carving up the mangos is being…generous with their hacks) and Team Gbemi is too busy to go buy more now. THEY’VE GOT A VERY IMPORTANT MEETING TO ATTEND! Going by the boys teams day, I’m guessing that meeting is “paint a trolley”.

Hayley wanders over at this point and simpers down the phone to Gbemi that they’ve bought their base mix now and made it, so they really need that fruit so could they please go and get some? Gbemi lays it down that the production team have got them booked into a meeting they can’t get out of now, so maybe Hayley should stop wringing her hair at her and buy her own darned fruit if she’s in such a rush and it’s so bloody important. Hayley just whines “please” into the phone a bunch of times and eventually tries to shush Gbemi in a fit of pique. Actually going “shhhhh!”. Over the phone. Go cry in the corner Paltrow.

The upside of all this is that 30 litres of ice-cream is dumped, bumping the team down to 50 litres to sell out of a grand total of 80 litres planned for. Hayley’s response? She is gutted that they only have “3/5” of their stock left. D’OH! Her maths just keeps on getting better and better doesn it? Day over and all the ice cream is now locked up, and ready to be sold tomorrow.

WHICH IS NOW!

A sunny Sunday and according to Helpful Voiceover Man, the market for ice-cream should be at its peak, because it’s quite warm and that. The boys have opted for a day out at Southend-On-Sea, whilst the girls are at Chessington World Of Adventures. Given that this is probably where the girls won the task it would have been nice to see…any of their logic behind going there, but that would be making a winning team look logical and competent. Can’t be having that.

The boys arrive at their pitch, and Harry 1 is worried about their spelling of “Shiverrr Me Timbers!”. It has three rs in it! That is clearly factually inaccurate! What if it drives away custom? James explains that it is all part of their pirate theming, along with the aforementioned “Sea-cookies” and something called “Captain Vanilla”. Indeed, every r on their board is there in triplicate. It does rather give the impression that someone fell asleep on their keyboard mid-type.

Next decision – how much to charge. Apparently Harry 2 has had words at some point, and boosted Harry 1s initial pricing up to £1.50 per scoop, a decision that James disagrees with, because he really thinks “£1 per scoop” is something to shout about. In so much as it makes it sounds like your ice-cream fell off the back of a dog-food truck, yes it does. Ben backs Harry 2 up on his £1.50 estimate, and that is that, with James grumbling all the way. Lewis, Harry 1 & Mahamed man the mobile treasure chest and sell to saggy semi-naked old men with tattoos and the remaining three stay back at the stall. Kaen grizzles (wearing a pair of ostentatious sunglasses in Southend-On-Sea like she’s imagining the French Riviera the whole time, an impression probably bolstered by Harry 1 bellowing “CHEAPEST ICE-CREAM ON THE STRIP!” at everyone) that their pricing is far too low.

Meanwhile at Chessington, Haya is dressed as a banana. Good job that Team Gbemi got to that important meeting where these things are decided. Lizzie is dressed as a strawberry. Tragically the team have been unable to source a mango costume. So lazy. Also, as a positive BOON to continuity and my recapping, Zara has dyed herself brunette overnight. As their stock had to be dumped, the girls have ramped up prices, charging £2 for one scoop, £3 for two, 30p for one topping, 50p for two, and 20p for a cone. That is a tortuous and terrifying pricing system right there. Naturally the product is being pushed on the grounds of health, still, entirely spuriously.

Nick gives a brief interview that of all the girls selling he’s most impressed with Zara, because Zara is “upselling”. Apparently in the brief period between the last Apprentice doing it and Zara doing it, upselling has now been redefined to mean :

  • Identifying a lone child, the younger the better
  • Shoving the most expensive ice-cream possible into its hands
  • Letting it eat a bit
  • Hounding their parents for £3.80

We see this process in action with one particularly cute 7 year old whose mother angrily starts waffling on about the price and charging for a CONE of all things but, you know, still pays. I think that brunette dye-job might have turned Zara evil. Well…more so.

Back with Atomic Kitten now, and James is dressed as…I guess he’s supposed to be a pirate but he looks more like a mayor, stomping up and down the pavement shouting “I’M CAPTAIN VANILLA, WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRY SOME OF OUR FROZEN GOODS TODAY!” whilst waving around a foam sword.

It has to be said, he’s not the world’s most natural salesman. Harry 2 tries to calm him down, but it appears to be to little avail. After a while he checks back with Ben as to how many they’ve sold in the first hour. Ben tells him they’ve sold 21 in the first hour, out of a target of 45. And as Hayley will tell you, that’s only 14% of what they’re aiming for. IT’S TIME TO SEND THE MOBILE UNIT GLOBAL!

I.E. just down the road. Harry 1 turns on his posh-boy charm, trying to offload his sprinkles onto old ladies with some success. Mahamed’s tactic of charging up to people grunting “choo wanna bah sum luvvlee ahs cream we got over ere?” is…somewhat less succesful. BITE THEM MUHAMED! BITE THEM WITH YOUR METAL TEETH! THAT WILL SHOW THEM. Lewis tells him to somewhat soften his persona. Mahamed refuses. He’s just keeping it real. Not selling much, but THAT’S NOT THE POINT. HE’S GOTTA BE TRUE TO HIM!

Back at Chessington now, and Haya is still working her banana costume like a super-model. I’m sensing a future theme for Britain And Ireland And The Isle Of Man’s Next Top Model. All this work has given her a brainstorm. ANIMAL SHOWS! She grabs the team’s Apprentiphone from their stall and rings up the mobile team (Hannah, Lizzie, Gbemi) and tells them to get to the PENGUIN PRESENTATION NOW! The mobile team head off, and the large captive audience proves a real sales generator for the girls, as literally hundreds of people are just sat around with nothing better to do than watch a man throw fish at a sea-mammal. I have to say, apart from their rank inability to add up, the girls are stomping all over the boys team.

Back with Atomic Kitten now, and Harry 2 has a new sales idea. He’s going to go down to the beach and take an order form. That’s right, he’s going to actually hunt down sales rather than just standing at the stall waiting for passing trade, who’d have thought it! This also appears to be a success, albeit on a smaller scale than the ice-cream massacre at Penguin Presentation. James meanwhile decides to move their placard, and plonks it down with all the authority of a man who’s actually done something. Harry 2 beams that his tactics are really working – people are even buying ice-cream for their dogs! (/buying ice-cream that turns out to be “for their dogs”…and the very hungry bins).

Generic meanwhile have run out of ice-cream on their stall, but the mobile unit still have two tubs left. Nick walks Hayley very slowly through the maths of how many litres they have left. This turns out to be 10 litres. OH MY GOD THAT’S *counts on fingers* TEN HALVES OF WHAT THEY STARTED WITH! END OF DAY STOCK-SHIFTING PANIC STATIONS AHOY! The entire team run around like blue-arsed a capella choir flies and quite literally give their tubs away. For…more or less what the boys were charging anyway, especially once you factor in Zara’s cone transportation charge and Urine-Free Guarantee Premium. The boys are also in the middle of their end of day panic, as they still have some ratty watermelon and apple frozen yoghurt that nobody wants. Or at least James is on an end of day panic, running around yelling “50P A SCOOP!” like there’s a shark attack going on.

(*comedy cut to Zara*)

TRADING ENDS!

RESULTS TIME!

Everyone files into the boardroom, and Lordalan smiles that it’s been an eventful few days. I am at least glad that they aren’t quite holding the children to the same “do a task in 5 hours” standards as they do the adults. It’s always less fun to watch a 17 year old girl have a stress-related meltdown than it is a full-grown woman.

Oh, ok, usually.

He outlines what the task was about. Apparently it was about working out what their product was, deciding whether it was going to sell, working out how to charge for it, and, “most importantly” how much is it going to cost. That last “most important” one, having made next to no impact on the actual results. Oh well. Lordalan says he hopes the contestants were thinking “KER-CHING!” every time they sold an ice-cream, not “I just sold an ice cream for £3 and made £1.50”.

Certainly them thinking the former makes for more exciting tv anyway. KERCHING KERCHING KERCHING!

We start off with Atomic Kitten and Harry 2 is asked how he became team leader. He says he was the only one who offered to do it, and the rest of the team agrees. Really it’s not fair to have boys on this show whose voices have broken. Puts the rest of them at a real disadvantage authority wise. “Good Team Leader” gets an emphatic affirmative response from Ben (who I like, but is clearly one of life’s sidekicks. Not that that stopped Arjun from winning). James says he was really pleased with Harry 2’s leadership, because he listened to all his ideas, even the obviously wrong ones.

We then turn to the watermelon & apple frozen yoghurt, with Ben proferring that the whole mess was pushed really hard by James. James nods along happily to this, but Harry 2 offers up when asked that it was a load of rubbish that didn’t really sell, and he regrets listening to James about it. But, you know, he says it nicer than that, because he’s got 15 years experience on everyone else here. James gulps.

Next topic is the “theme”. Who came up with the theme? Mahamed says that he did. He came up with the treasure chest and the pirate and the octopus and the “rrr” that was him, that was all him Lordalan he did it, in-between secretly rigging roulette wheels under the table for Mr Big. James disagrees noisily, saying that he came up with the pirate theme, and Mahamed protests that he did the treasure chest. Yes Mahahmes, but that was IT. He developed the idea and made it articulate (?) and different and quirky and exciting and new and fresh and young and dynamic and kinetic and atomic and AMAZING. James repeats that he came up with PIRATES! Mahamed repeats that he came up with PIRATES!

Kaen is presumably asleep at this point yes?

Next up, the business plan, and Harry 1 takes the credit for the numbers, even though Harry 2 changed them later by increasing the price by 50%. I guess it’s a good thing that he’s able to add up anyway, compared to Hayley, and Lordalan agrees that it was great that they had a business plan in place before they started. It’s been about 3 series since anyone bothered with that on the adult version.

Over to Generic now, and Hayley is identified as Chief GOOPer. The team are asked what their theme was and Zara (now randomly blonde again) repeats their nonsensical “healthy ice-cream because we stuck a bit of mushy banana in it” theme back at him, including her great tag-line what she done. Lordalan guffaws that it’d be great if it was true, and Zara ices back that it was the right title for what she was trying sell ie “bullshit”.

Next we cover the mess that was the girls maths. Hannah says that she was in charge of the maths, but then all the numbers scared her and it went a bit wrong. Oops. Lordalan snarks that he’s not expecting “quantum physic scientists” but on some of the girls RAY-ZEU-MAYS (HOORAY!) he does see A Levels in Maths amongst them. (A quick check of the website reveals this to be Haya, Zara and… Hayley. Oh dear.). So why can’t they even do adding up? Silence reigns until Haya and Gbemi protest that THEIR half of the team knew what adding up they were doing and THEY had an important meeting to attend drawing little cartoon squirrels on their cart, yet THEY still managed it. Hayley tried to bring up their failure to order enough fruit, whilst Harry 1 and Lewis pull “GIRLS EH?” faces at one another.

We cover next the fact that the girls only made 48 out of the 80 litres they intended to, and thus wasted a whole lot of money. Lordalan declares them to be more like TOM & JERRY than BEN & JERRY LOL! I do like about the kids that they’re far less likely to laugh at Lordalan’s stupid jokes than the adults are. Hayley full on rolls her eyes at that one, as well she might.

Next we move on to how the girls determined pricing, and Zara reels off that they brainstormed it separately and both came back together the same basic sum of £2 per scoop. Well…Hannah and Hayley came back with a price of 2kgs of Euros per centilitre. But there was a two in there! This is compared to the boys price of £1.50 per scoop and not charging for a cone (although interestingly the boys charged far more for toppings 50p vs 30p. Hmm) but all that is irrelevant numbers in the face of Zara’s insane child-thieving sales gougery as the eventual number come in as :

Atomic Kitten spent £118 and made £677, for a total profit of £559
Generic spent £131 and made £839, for a total profit of £708

A VERY GENERIC VICTORY!

What I wouldn’t have given for Hayley to boo-hoo “WE’VE LOST OH NO!” as the figures were read out. Ah well, tis not to be. James is on the verge of tears, Harry 2 looks despondent (HE CAN’T SLEEP IN HIS CAR ONE MORE NIGHT, HE JUST CAN’T!) and the girls are sent off to zorb. Again, speaking of “generic”. The boys are told by Lordalan that he thinks the problem was probably that their sales price was too low. Really they should have come up with the innovation of charging people for reading their sign, because their eyes were causing wear and tear to company property. They are sent up to their rooms to think about what they have done.

REWARD TIME!

The girls all zorb, with Hayley being particularly “OH NO, I CAN’T, I MIGHT DIE, ROLLING DOWN A HILL IN A BIG PLASTIC SPHERE MIGHT REACT BADLY WITH MY MACROBIOTIC LIFESTYLE!” about it all. Lizzie and Zara (brown again. I’d proffer that this is a “roots” thing, but I don’t understand girls hair. Obviously) on the other hand fair throw themselves into it, squealing merrily all the way. We end on a group high-five and a “GO TEAM GENERIC!”.

I give this harmony amongst the girls about a week, probably until they have a PM that’s less hard to dismantle than an ice-cream wafer.

Loser Cafe now and the boys stir their polystyrene cups of tea and listen to Muhamed (drinking Ribena), who is wearing the shiniest suit I have ever, ever seen, as he berates them all over how if they’d listened to him, they wouldn’t be in this mess. He disagreed with the watermelon & apple theme and that was the worst bit! Harry 1 says that they managed to sell out of everything, so it didn’t matter in the end, but Mahamed still thinks that honey would have been better. James snarks that he’d like to know what Mahamed did on the task and Mahamed protests that he sold every scoop of ice-cream on the entire team! What is James TALKING ABOUT! And he invented pirates!

Outside Harry 2 nobly reflects on how difficult it is to single two individuals out and potentially end their dreams, just like he did all those poor people at Northern Rock. That was a bad one. He can still hear the crying. Sigh.

Back in the room and James and Mahamed are still going at it, so Harry 1 decides to make things better by telling James that he currently has the personality of a bulldozer, and he did all task as well. SO THERE! James closes by interviewing that Mahamed should definitely be in the boardroom, and he thinks Harry 2 will definitely bring him back to “cover his own arse”.

A SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD! SWEARING! WHATEVER NEXT!

BOARDROOM TIME! (is what’s next…)

James sits outside in a massive Gordon Brown style strop, arms folded, lips pursed, and shoulders up round his ears. Mahamed meanwhile hopes that Lordalan doesn’t press a button and drop him through a trapdoor into a volcano, like his last employer did. Harry 1 fidgets manically, Ben licks his lips, Lewis twiddles his ear, it’s time for Cousin It to send the children in.

They enter, and prepare themselves. Lewis mostly by really looking at the company he’s in for the first time and wondering what he’s getting himself into.

Lordalan starts, and says that the team clearly lost on price, he’s just decided now, but he really wants to probe deeper about this whole static unit vs mobile unit theme. Apparently at the pirate ship, Ben did the scooping whilst Harry 2 and James sold. Harry 2 protests that Ben sold as well, and it all went really well, especially with James “shouting his head off” in a pirate costume. James agrees that his team on the task did really well and besides, he came up with the theme, so obviously it must have been the mobile unit (*cough*MAHAMAED*cough*) who messed things up.

The mobile team are asked who was selling for them, and Harry 1 states that it was all three of them, wandering around, grabbing people where they could. Mahamed’s selling being interrupted by constantly trying to affix lasers to squirrels and cutting his fingers and going “damnit!”. Lordalan asks why they didn’t adopt the system of the other sub-team, wherein one of them scooped and the other two sold, and Lewis decides to bitch irrelevantly that Harry 1 is a big old ham who was trying to hog all the sales for himself, so it descended into being every man for himself. Harry 1 on the other hand decides to talk about how Mahamed was weak. Natural Mahamed protests, yelling that he was confident and approachable and dynamic and persistent and exciting and calming and lovable and persuasive and amazing and talented and young and fresh and likable and charming and… Lewis again breaks in to say that Mahamed is in fact just aggressive. Harry 1 says that he got a complaint from a customer about Mahamed and he had no real passion on the day for selling. Just for gibbering like a loon.

Mahamed repeats that he was the best salesman on the team! He sold at least £120 worth of stock. Lordalan, doing a better job than Kaen at calling Mahamed out on his nonsense (ie, he’s doing it at all) says that he sold £62 worth of stock, compared to Harry 1’s £134 and Lewis’ £69. Leaving £412 between the other three, but let’s not go into that. I bet it was almost ALL Harry 2, apart from Ben getting Draco on the line to do him a small favour. (Lordalan says the other team sold £365 worth so…I’m not sure where his maths is at). Lordalan snarks that James is so vain he probably thinks those sales were about him, and James agrees that, in fact, he does.

Pricing is the next issue on the table and Harry 2 says £1.50 a scoop was his idea, and £2 for two scoops was Harry 1s idea, but everyone signed on and agreed, and it’s not as though anyone was suggesting a higher price. In fact James suggested a lower price, quite vociferously. This outrages Lordalan, because as “an Economist” (Jesus Christ Lordalan, he’s got a GCSE in it. He’s about as much an “economist” at 17 as I was an IT Consultant). he should know better than to start selling cheap from minute 1. James huffs that he is being blamed unfairly for the price here, and Lordalan says he’s not BLAMING him, because he didn’t set the price, but he is shocked he wanted to set an even lower one, which would caused the team to lose by even MORE. (As did Harry 1, but I guess that’s by the by). What would he have done if their prices were so low that they’d sold out by 11am? WHAT THEN JAMES, WHAT THEN? A CAPITALIST APOCALYPSE, THAT’S WHAT!

Next up the dumb old watermelon & apple frozen yoghurt that was not only unappealing but stood out from the rest of their range like a 30 year old man in a room full of schoolchildren (*cough*HARRY 2*cough*). James admits that this was a mistake, and Lordalan huffs that it was completely wrong for the market. Apple and Watermelon would be more suited to the HENLEY REGATTA than BLAHDDY SARFEND ON SEA! (Yet again, location being a key factor in the task that we have no idea as to the logic behind, just saying).

Harry 2 is asked who’s coming back into the Boardroom, and he selects Mahamed and James, who blusters and protests that Harry 2 told him he was great and simply heavenly to work with just yesterday. Harry 2 just solemnly nods and says “I’ve had perfect time to reconsider since yesterday James” and nods his head. Awesomely. I swear, he is so much more put together than every single other person I have seen on any version of this show that it absolutely terrifies me. HARRY 2 FOR THE WIN! GIVE HIM BACK HIS DREAM HOME!

Candidates go out, Nick wonders if he’s got time to pop out for a quick sea-cookie, Kaen still has no input to give about the team she spent three whole days following, candidates come back in.

We start with Harry 2, and more specifically what he actually contributed as a leader. I think his calm, charismatic demeanour speaks for itself. If he was living in the 13th century he not only would have been leading the Children’s Crusades, but they would have won. He even makes the hoary old “I was PM in week 1 so that’s automatic immunity right there” argument sound valid. James barks in saying HE DOESN’T KNOW WHY HE’S HERE HE’S TOTALLY CONFUSED HE DID SO MUCH NOBODY ELSE DID ANYTHING DID THEY COME UP WITH PIRATES NO!

Lordalan jokes that it sounds like James has told himself enough times that he’s the best that he’s actually started to believe it. He wants James to list all his ideas, including passion-fruit and ginseng sorbet and charging 10p a scoop, not just the obviously good ones like dressing up as Captain Vanilla With Poles For Hands and spelling things with 3rs. Harry 2 agrees – all the ideas for the task were arrived following intense discussion (chaired by him, naturally) and not only is James taking all the credit for all the ideas, he really doesn’t like that James refuses to take the blame for any of the bad ones.

Again, very smooth repackaging and regurgitation of what Lordalan just said. This boy is good. Tragically this is interrupted by Mahamed jiggling up and down like he’s trying to work something loose pointing about wildly saying that HE DONE THE PIRATES, HE DONE ALL THE PIRATES THING. James yells at Mahamed that he’s LYING IN THE BOARDROOM (Kaen is still silent) and Harry pulls constant Tim Canterbury/Jim Halpert faces everywhere. He tells Lordalan that Mahamed is really also full of it. But again, nicely.

Lordalan then calls Mahamed out on having done nothing really all day apart from this treasure chest, because it’s clearly that he’s actually done about 20% (or, if you’re Hayley, twelvty% and a half of sugar) of what he’s said he’s done. Mahamed, whilst constantly bouncing up and down again like a jockey mid Grand National protests that he sold really well, and Lordalan brings back that whole “the number of pounds you personally made suggests not” thing again.

It’s time to ask who should be fired – James says Mahahmed (because he can’t stop lying (an argument that Mahamed only strengthens by…taking this as an excuse to lie further, about everything), Harry says Mahamed (because of his lack of contribution) and Mahamed says James (because he came up with the watermelon & apple frozen yoghurt that they couldn’t really sell).

FIRING TIME!

Harry 2 gets the fire-teasing, such as there is one, over something regarding not recognising the mobile unit getting most of the sales (which is not born out by the numbers and has never been mentioned up to this point), but leaving us this evening is Mahamed. Mahamed just stands up and leaves robotically, probably relieved that his employer didn’t shoot him in the head for failing him, just like his last one did.

As they leave, Harry 2 just walks past him, whilst James oddly enough is the one who takes time out to shake his hand. On the other hand it comes as close as a human being can give to being a sarcastic handshake, so really it’s a bit of a wash. In his cab home, Mahamed says he’s surprised to be fired, but at the end of the day, he’s got a solid job down driving slave labour in Mr Scaramnga’s diamond mines to go back to, so Lordalan can bite him.

Back at Apprentice Mansions, Lewis and Harry 1 are bitching about what an utter pain and glory-hog James is, just before he and Harry 2 walk through the door. Hannah goes mental, and Gbemi wipes away a tear. Everyone crowds around and asks Harry 2 what it was like in there, and he says it was like the battle of the BLAHDDY Somme in there.

No it wasn’t Harry 2. Don’t ruin it now.

Next Week : BABY PRODUCTS! In the tradition of all 16 and 17 year olds left on their own to babysit, I’m guessing this is going to be the week the awkward teenage fumblings are going to happen in.

8 thoughts on “Junior Apprentice 2 – Week 1

  1. Tim

    Top observational detail as always!

    Mahamed’s constant bobbing up and down was a tad distracting, wasn’t it? He’s no great loss, although we have been denied some potential moments of physical comedy genius with him being dwarfed by Big Ben. Or any of the other boys. Or, indeed, the average hobbit.

    Or maybe it’s just as well – he might have been confused for a toddler in next week’s task …

    http://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2011/10/25/young-apprentice-kinetic-energy-wins-the-day-as-atomic-implode/

    Reply
  2. lois

    I’d be offended by the comment about Northern Irish GCSE Economics, but the AS French class in my year did the poetry option in the Literature exam on the NI Exams board, and they were the only 8 people to do it in the country, so… yeah.

    Angry mum was the best part of the episode.

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      Maybe my perception of GCSE Economics as a course is warped but… isn’t it normally the sort of thing kids start doing at A Level as well? I’m so out of touch…

      Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      Physically she’s very Kiki, but the whole “people tell me I’m patronising but I’m just confident” thing was very Paltrow.

      Reply

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