The Junior Apprentice 2 – Week 2

Hooray for hippos!

7am at the Apprentice Mansion and Off-Ramp Modern Art Gallery off-shoot. A cat and Harry 1 compete to be the most desperate camera-hogs, the cat by yawning and stretching and nuzzling a tree as the sun rises, Harry 1 by sprinting for the Apprentiphone in his dressing gown, mugging harder than Boris Johnson himself, pulling a clownish face of surprise when he finally locates the phone after swivelling his head around looking for it like Finders Keepers never got taken off-air. I wish the camera had stayed with the cat. Cousin It tells Harry 1 that Lordalan would like to meet them at the Royal College of Art. Given all the jejune stabs at artistic merit decorating the walls, I’d be surprised if they weren’t already there. Working Class Lizzie plumbs the depths of her mouth with a pink toothbrush and ponders her role in the class struggle, and if it can please be smothering Zara in her sleep with a pillow ; Gbemi applies eye-liner the likes of which they don’t have in Peckham , and Harry 1 tells the recording of Cousin It to “have a great day” (*boke*) and rushed off to tell everyone their irrelevant destination of the week.

Lewis ponders “what is the Royal College of Art” bleary-eyed and confused. Get this boy a leaflet, STAT. Gwynny Hayley retreats back to the ladies bedchamber, muttering “I absolutely hate art”. She explains further that she used to get the lowest grade in art at school, and that the school kind of gave up on her as a result. Oh Gwynny Hayley, anything you can create can be art. A whimsical bird-feeder, a potato-print collage using your daughter’s face as the potato, a vase made out of dried lavender chips…don’t let modernity crowd out your natural creativity! FOR GOOP! Kaya meanwhile says she did Art GCSE (duh, Haya did GCSEs in EVERYTHING.) but it wasn’t really her thing.

I would love if this task were in fact “do a drawrin” like everyone is apparently now expecting it to be. I bet Ben has a unique urban point of view than might have saved him *sniff*. As it is he just sprays aftershave on over his clothes and trudges sadly to his fate. Zara dresses, as ever, like she really wants to be a baddie in Sarah Jane Adventures, and then it’s OFF! TO THE APPRENTICARS!

In Genetic Apprenticar A, she waffles on to Hayley about how satisfying it is to create a piece of art from scratch and what a real sense of accomplishment it gives you, right in your soul! It’s revitalising! She’s a film-maker you know! She just signed off on the final cut of “Where Come The Girls? – Proper Point Of Sale Etiquette For Boots Employees” and feels SO ALIVE. Gbemi tries to hide her eye-rolling behind the cover of scratching her nose. She fails.

Meanwhile in Atomic Kitten Apprenticar A, it’s ALL business, as Lewis has decided he wants to be Project Manager this week. He’s not going to accept NO MESSIN’. Harry 2 says that if nobody else if capable of doing it (Spoilers : Have you SEEN the boys they’ve cast this year? They aren’t. I think they might somehow even surpass the record set by last year’s boys of never winning as PM) then he’ll just have to do it again. He thinks he was making real headway at the end of the last task, in terms of getting the boys in his charge to listen, respect their team manager, and even function as capable grown-up human beings. Lewis blows his nose and examines his bogies. James beams happily out the window like a dog.

The teams arrive at the Royal College Of Art, which is nicer as a building on the outside than on the inside, where it looks a bit like a factory floor for IKEA rejects. Still, it is the country’s LEADING THING OF ART AND DESIGN says Helpful Voiceover Man, and who am I to argue? Lordalan waddles up to the teams, gets them to mumble through the whole school assembly bit, and declares to them that this place has seen the BIRTH of many a great DESIGN. If you see where he’s going. Where he’s going is that this task, as the episode 2 design task, is to design a product for the parents and baby market. They’re going to design a product and pitch it to one leading retailer, and two complete wastes of time, as per usual. The team that comes back with the most orders will win, and one of the losing team? WILL BE FIRED!

No team switch-ups this week, sadly, which means I’m going to have to watch Harry 2 be dragged down by the rest of his team for at least one more week. Before the teams are allowed to brainstorm though they have to visit a lady to tell them what a baby is. Not that this show is dumbing down or anything. All the kids sit around as she hands them a model (OF A BLACK CHILD, OH MY GOD, THE HYSTERICAL DISTRACTION OF IT ALL! HOW COULD THIS OSTENSIBLY WHITE WOMAN HAVE A DOLL OF A BLACK BABY?!) and explains to them that babies have heads and also arms like everyone else does! They’re also quite heavy! All the boys pass around the baby doll like it’s made of dynamite, whilst the girls, particularly Lizzie, ponder just how much these boys paid attention in Sex Ed beyond the part about putting a condom on a banana.

Guess what kids? BABIES ALSO PEE AND POO. 10 times a day! That’s enough to fill 40 black sacks a year with nappies. Hannah (the generic heart of Generic) wrinkles her face up and asks if you have to change the nappy every time, or if she can’t just leave it a bit? What about if it happens in the middle of Eastenders? She can still watch right to the end right? Also, babies move, and breathe, and have hair, and eat and drink, and you shouldn’t shake them or hold them upside down or try and find where the batteries go.

So patronised, the teams wander off and pick team leaders. Harry 1 stumps for Lewis, because he’s so enthusiastic and that’s what creativity is all about. Lewis says that he’s definitely all about creativity, and also about learning and representing his team. God only knows why you’d want to represent this team, rather than transcend it, as Harry 2 does, but there we are. It’s like wanting to “represent” one of those X Factor groups that goes out at Judges Houses. Lewis decides he WILL be Project Manager. Ben sucks a pen.

In interview Lewis says that he has every ingredient to make a fantastic cocktail of success. Which may be true, but he has the mixing skills of Abu Hamza. His first act as PM is to tell the team that he does HAVE ideas, but they’re all rubbish so erm…it’s up to them. Also he’s not going to say what the ideas were, but HE DID HAVE SOME HONEST. Harry 1 pulls a face. Well…you asked for him.

Meanwhile over on Generic, Gbemi wants to be Project Manager because she’s got two younger siblings, who are 6 and 9, so that whole baby talk was a bit wasted on her. She WELL already knew that babies had faces. DUH! She knows all about baby things. She also designs clothes, so she knows about designing, and is good at giving speeches to large groups of people. Oh Gbemi, you’re not pitching to everyone who works for Mothercare. It’s two people behind a desk, not the Royal Institute Christmas Lectures. Lizzie also wants to be Project Manager, because she designs guitar straps. Generic Placeholder Extra-Ordinary Hannah asks if anyone else wants to volunteer, and Zara tries the whole “if no-one else wants to do it, I’ll do it” manoeuvre which is most odd given that…two people already said they wanted to do it. The team votes, and Gbemi is unanimously elected as Chief Generic.

She interviews dressed in a mustard cardigan, white shirt, white cravat and giant rainbow coloured ear-rings, that when people first see her, they think she’s a shy, quiet, retiring person. Yeah…I didn’t.

Back on Atomic Ktten, Harry 2 says that it sounds like disposable nappies are a real pain (or at least…they were for his kids *tears up*) so maybe they could create a sort of sealable smellproof bag for them so that they cause less hassle. James says this is rubbish – nobody’s going to carry soiled nappies around with him. Once his idea’s out of the way, Harry 1 and James just descend into a protracted game of idea tennis. Harry 1 wants to do a soothing sounds Baby Player. James thinks this is rubbish! James wants to do a neck-support strap for carrying babies. Harry 1 SCOWLS at this. Harry 1 wants to do a baby-sized bath-tub. James rams his chin into his chest and stares daggers at Harry 1. James wants to do a book where parents record their voices to read back to the child and Harry 1 snits that it’s ALREADY BEEN INVENTED, DUH, IT’S CALLED THE iTeddy. Really this is the platonic IDEAL of brainstorming isn’t it?

Meanwhile Generic are…actually creating and developing an idea, bouncing off one another maturely and building on one another’s ideas. THAT’S NO FUN! Just sit there saying that everything everyone else is saying is rubbish! That’s how we brainstorm on this show! Between Lizzie, Gbemi and Hannah they come up with an arm-strap with memory foam that makes carrying a baby easier for both mother and child, and the whole team get behind it.

Midday now, and the girls are off in their Apprenticars to do Apprentice busywork, in this case- market research. Gbemi, Lizzie, and Hannah go to a baby store and get positive feedback for their portable baby arm-cushion thing idea. The boys meanwhile are also in their Apprenticars on their way to market research, but idealess, and floundering. Lewis is perched miserably in the middle of a Harry 1/James sandwich, pretending to be attending to important iPhone business, whilst both of them accusing the other of shutting down everyone else’s ideas solely to make themselves look good, rather than for the good of the team. ON THIS PROGRAMME?

All three arrive at a department store, and go rooting through the toddler department. Lewis expresses DISGUST that a stripy toy zebra could cost £11. DISGUST! HE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT IT’S FOR! After a while they find the department manager and ask him questions. Which is to say that James shoves all his ideas on him because his ideas are bestest. The department manager likes his idea for a talking book, but he also likes Lewis’ idea, that just appeared this second, for a milk bottle contained inside a toy animal. Harry 1 seems very keen for this animal to be a hippo, for some reason. I guess everyone has to have a favourite animal. At this point we get a peek at Nick’s Notes for probably the first time ever. They say

“Wandering

Questioned Dept Manager for ideas

Toys – biggest (*something*)”

Well…at least his handwriting is nice.

The boys wander off, settled on this toy idea, scrapping like cats in a sack over whose idea it was. Lewis believes it was his idea, Harry 1 is all “UH, NO, IT WAS MY IDEA!” and James, now that it was definitively not his idea chosen, has decided that it doesn’t MATTER whose idea it was, like he wasn’t just scrapping for attribution of EVERYTHING not 5 seconds ago. Nick interviews to the effect of “…boys eh?”

3pm now, and Harry 2 and Ben are casting for their advertising materials. Harry 2 shoves a camera right up in a small boy’s face and takes a photo, whilst Ben asks the mother of one cute girl called Samantha (who will be very glad in future years to look back on this show and see just how diligent they were in getting her bogies right on film) what the child’s interests are. Dance? Toys? Abseiling? The music of Bruce Springsteen? The girl’s mother replies that Samantha really loves swimming, pre-Raphaelite art and Tikkabilla. Oh and she’ll also sit still. Ben interviews that he’s not so great with babies, but he’s really looking forward to the creativity part of the task. Erm…Ben, you’ve already done that bit. You sat there chewing your pen whilst Harry 1 and James fought like a junior production of Women In Love. The photo-shoot goes ahead, Harry 2 does everything, pretty much. Apart from pulling faces. Faces which get no reaction from Samantha whatsoever. Oh BEN.

Haya, Zara and Hayley meanwhile are casting their advert and seem to have a whole room full of children who refuse to behave, sit still, or indulge in any sort of behaviours that aren’t throwing themselves around the room screaming and crying. Apart from one very cute, very pale, very tiny infant called Beth. Unfortunately the woman they have cast as the mother in their advert is HORRORS, BLACK! Haya wonders how you can have a dark-skinned mother and a pale-skinned baby in the same advert? I don’t know Haya. Maybe the child is adopted? Maybe she’s from the (white) father’s previous relationship? Maybe genetics work how they work in the real world and not in your neat 50:50 Photoshop head? Zara explains that Beth was really the only child suitable for being in the advert because of her behaviour, but BOO TO THAT. Let’s hire the least qualified person because the colour of their skin fits right? RIGHT?

Debrabarr’s Black Baby is OUTRAGED here people. OUTRAGED.

Both market-research teams meanwhile, meet with their product design people to prepare a prototype product to pitch to stores. The Generic meeting passes uneventfully, but the boys get into a minor petit-mal over what animal should be wrapped around their bottle. Lewis doesn’t want a hippo. All James has to say is that you can’t do a multi-coloured panda (OH MY GOD, YOU’RE WORSE THAN HAYA JAMES! A PANDA CAN BE ANY COLOUR IT WANTS TO BEEEEEEEEE!). Lewis ponders the possibility of a multi-coloured monkey. Harry 1 doesn’t like monkeys. He finds them intimidating. Unlike HIPPOS! The design people tell them that a hippo would probably be the best design given its shape, and Harry 1s smugness flies off the charts and lands somewhere Saturn. HE ALWAYS SAID A HIPPO! ANOTHER VICTORY FOR TEAM HARRY 1! AND FOR HIPPOS IN GENERAL! HOORAY FOR HIPPOS! HIPPO HIPPO HOORAY!

All work done for the day, it’s time to head back to Apprentice Mansions, but not before Team Gbemi rings up Team Zara and have a good old laugh at the very idea of a mixed race family. Or possibly they’re having a laugh at how pussy-footed and tightly-wound and awkward Zara’s being about the whole issue, delicately saying “the colour of the mother” rather than…you know, black. Especially as Hayley laughs as well, and she agrees with Zara. (Incidentally there wasn’t even a casting choice at the audition that would have matched what the show would have you believe the girls should have been aiming for. The supposed “ideal” child racially looked Asian. Which…unless you’re going by Hollyoaks rules, is no more conceivable than a white child, if not less so. But I guess they’re ALL BRAHN to Lordalan).

Zara tells Gbemi to compose herself and to “take control of the situation”. Gbemi asks how Zara suggest she “take control of the situation”. Give the baby a tan? Such a shame that Katie Price isn’t Project Manager isn’t it? She’d go the extra mile. Once the phone-call is over, Zara says that she hopes that Gbemi will be the Project Manager she knows she has the potential to be – controlled, professional and reasonable, so she can explain to her the decision that she made. I think Zara might be disappointed.

Next morning now, and the products are arriving, freshly baked at Apprentice Mansions. You will be unsurprised to learn that this year Apprentice Mansions has a fake plastic cow in the back garden. Hey, maybe Katie Price IS Project Manager after all! (BA’DUM TISH!) The Generic product (Comfi-Curve) looks a bit like an arm-sling made out of Fruit Salad sweets, but it’s functional as a product, and it does what it says it does. Whatever that is. The boys product meanwhile, called “Harris The Hippo” is super cute but the size of a bread-bin. Lewis mimics being a toddler and hugging the giant plastic hippo that has no give to it whatsoever. It’s kind of…un-natural.

This over, the teams take to their Apprenticars, and get on with today’s work. Firstly they have to finish their packaging designs, and then do their pitches. Gbemi has decided that she is doing the pitches (it was after all part of the platform which she campaigned to be PM on), although Haya has decided she would also like to lead a pitch, and Hayley would like Zara to do it, because they are mates and also Zara speaks dead clearly and that. In the end Gbemi says that she’s still doing it, but they can all participate in creating the pitch (Lizzie : you can decide what colour pen I use, Zara : you can hold the paper still for me while I write, Hayley : you can hold Zara still whilst she holds my paper, Haya : you can spell-check, Hannah : erm…FETCH ME WINE!)

Zara, Haya and Hayley dispatch themselves, presumably to work on packaging, but Hayley has decided that it’s a really bad idea to let Gbemi pitch. Zara thinks they should ring her and let her know they have concerns about how rubbish she is, and so Hayley picks up the phone and lets Gbemi know that they they all think she’s going to be crap. Gbemi replies that they just DEALT WITH THIS AND EVERYONE SAID THEY WERE FINE WITH IT. They all nodded their heads and said they were fine with it. Why are they giving her this rubbish now? Zara says that they just wanted her to know their concerns. How Gbemi does not respond to this with “wank off Zara” I don’t know. One of the few occasions where Gbemi is more mature than I am probably.

She explains, as shy and self-effacing on first sight as ever, wearing the wallpaper from an Indian restaurant, that she has made her decision now, and it is FINAL!

Photo-shoots now, and Professional Film-Maker Zara waffles on about wanting her shoot to be done in a minimalistic style, with influences from Felinni, Truffaut, and McG, whilst Haya waves toys around acts the goat to keep Beth distracted. She’s looking for a fresh, clean, modern look that can blah blah blah you get the idea. I can’t wait for the advertising task, she is going to be a JOY. She also wants there to be as much colour as possible in the advert. Unlike Gbemi, Lizzie and Hannah, who are filing through the photographs and merrily whittering away about how the family just looks WRONG in a way that’s…kind of uncomfortable. Gbemi huffs that she should have been told about the casting for the photos before it happened, so she could root out everyone who didn’t match her imaginary ethnic ideal.

Meanwhile, the boys process goes much more smoothly to begin with, with Professional Photographer Harry 2 handling the shoot deftly with the minimum of fuss, and everyone else drooling at the mouth about what an amazing photographer he is. But then Harry 1 writes the copy. Lewis and Ben are quite keen to flag up how the product is practically designed to keep the bottle warm and other down to earth properties, but Harry 1 starts boggling at the eyes and yelling about how the point is the HIPPO! HIPPOS ARE FUN! HIPPOS ARE FRIENDLY! HIPPOS ARE CUTE! HIPPOS WILL PRACTICALLY RAISE YOUR CHILD FOR YOU! I WOULD MARRY A HIPPO IF I COULD! I WISH MY MUM HAD BEEN A HIPPO!

Nick, even by Nick standards, looks terrified. Lewis moans in interview that Harry 1 is obsessed with hippos to a degree that he’s starting to think is frankly sexual. The point is the insulation! That is the practical point that’s going to make people want to buy this unwieldy piece of junk. Meanwhile Ben…chews his pen. It’s almost as though he doesn’t understand the point of the design task is to be as loud and obnoxious as possible, on the grounds of “at least I had ideas!”.

Pitching time! First for the girls, John Lewis. Gbemi pitches and mostly talks about all the incidental features of the product (it’s warm! it’s fashionable! it’s portable! it’s detachable! it’s adjustable!) rather than…you know…what it’s actually for. She also can’t get through a sentence without stumbling over one word or another. Once she’s done the John Lewis woman asks her what the product really DOES. Gbemi is at a loss. Personally I’m not really sure either, but I’m not a parent. Kaen gurgles briefly into life to say that it’s never a good idea to get to the end of a presentation and have people ask “what is it for?” I’m guessing she knows from personal experience. Possibly from half the audience saying it about her at the end of every episode.

The boys first stop is Jojo Maman Bebe, a small specialist retailer of baby products that might as well have put up “H’RNK H’RNK! WE ARE POINTLESS!” written over this whole segment on a banner. I’m so sure they’re going to make ALL the difference. Lewis reads his pitch off a sheet, never making eye-contact with his audience, covering some key points of their product. He does seem to be focusing on taking the thing out and about with you as a means of maintaining the temperature of your bottle, when it’s the size of an average toaster. I don’t really think that’s an angle that’s goingg to work. Jojo Maman Bebe say that whilst they appreciate the thing is very cute and well-made, giant-eyed cartoon hippos aren’t really their thing. I’m surprised Harry 1 didn’t reach over and punch her in the face there and then. EVERYBODY LOVES HIPPOS!

Outside in Atomic Kitten Apprenticar A, Lewis says that he thinks that pitch went well. Harry 1 points out that it, in fact, did not. Meanwhile in Atomic Kitten Apprenticar B, James complains to Harry 2 that they’ve got a really good product, but Lewis just RUINED it with his awful pitching. Lewis rings Harry 2 up, and asks if he minds if Lewis does the next pitch, with Harry 2 covering the last one of the day. Harry 2 huffs and puffs and pulls faces, possibly wondering what on earth the point of that would be as a plan but in the end agrees to whatever Lewis thinks is right. Ben fiddles with a box.

At John Lewis now, and Lewis is pitching again. Apparently he has discovered that parents from all over are looking for a bottle which insulates and is familiar. Apparently. He demonstrates the product to John Lewis Lady, who wonders if he’s expecting the baby to hold the hippo itself as it feeds. Harry 1 busts in to say no, really, the parent will hold the HIPPO and the baby will be distracted by the familiar, comforting and fun sight of a hippo with its head ripped off and replaced with a rubber nipple. This will comfort the baby during “the ominous task of what is feeding”. Harry 2 stares at Harry 1 like he can’t quite believe he shares a name with this doofus. Ben holds up a sign saying “Harris The Hippo”.

Outside, Lewis flaps and flusters and scratches himself, and says he’s had enough of pitching now and would quite like to just go home now. Someone else can have a go.

Over at Jojo Maman Bebe, Gbemi is giving exactly the same pitch as last time, with exactly the same results. Except the feedback from the queen of Jojo Maman Bebe has a lot more use of the word “super”. Surprisingly enough.

Still all this is as dust in the wind though, as it’s time for the last pitch – Mothercare. AKA the only pitch that counts. On their way, Zara Lady Macbeths to Haya that really she should wrest control of the pitching stick from Gbemi because really, she’d be the best person for the job. So flattered, Haya confronts Gbemi outside the front steps of Mothercare, and says that she’d really like to do this pitch. To her credit, Gbemi realises that she’s getting nowhere and lets Haya take this final pitch. After a lot of if you’re REALLY confident admittedly, but at least she gets out the way.

So it’s Haya and Harry 2 doing the final pitches and obviously, as story-mandated both go really well. Harry 2 better than Haya, but both clearly better than Gbemi or Lewis’ efforts. Team Generic high-five, whilst Team Atomic Kitten are still shuffling around attribution as awkwardly and obviously as an unconsidered game of pocket billiards. Harry 1 says that the KEY CONCEPT IS FAMILIARITY AND HIPPO FUN, whilst Ben disagrees. It is INSULATION AND TOY. Harry 1 smugs that they’ll just have to see about that in the boardroom, which prompts Lewis to do a snorting impression of him and tell him to stop throwing his toys out the pram just because not everyone wants to snog a hippo as much as he does. Lewis tells him to stop being aggressive, and Harry 1 benignly smiles “I’m not being aggressive in any way whatsoever”.

I’d say that these kids will learn what “passive-aggressive” means soon enough, but then again, judging from last series, Kaen still doesn’t know, and she’s WELL OLD, like 40 or something.

RESULTS TIME!

Atomic Kitten and Generic gather outside the Boardroom. Gbemi wonders if sparkly silver lip-liner was really the best choice. Or at least she should. Lewis’ hair starts to demonstrate the first signs of Cocozza-ism. Ben tries to remember if tasting the pens is something that’s got people saved often on this show. James is sulking so hard he’s started to look like an Eminem album cover. Lizzie and Harry 1 sit next to one another, twitching their mouths, trying to hide their cross-class lust, like a modern day Downton Abbey. Cousin It ushers them in, they enter.

Once inside, they survey the works of the other team. Hayley looks downcast at Harris The Hippo. How could the noble hippo be traduced into such a work of commercialised soulless tat? What has this modern world wrought? Harry 1 meanwhile contemplate the Comfi-Curve and look a bit bored. It’s alright, but really it’d be better if it was HIPPO SHAPED. Maybe the strap could be the hippo’s tongue emerging from its gaping maw? COMFORTING AND FAMILIAR!

Lordalan enters and says this task is really simple – design a product, and then pitch it. Oh also we stuck some time-wasting bumf about advertising materials in as well. Hope that provides some storyline material! Rest assured though, it will be utterly irrelevant.

We start with Generic, and Gbemi is identified as Project Manager, and she says that she beat Lizzie and Zara for the role. Zara’s all “whatever, I wasn’t really trying”. “Good Team Leader?” gets aye’s from Lizzie and Hannah (ie the two people she drafted under her wing all day) but eye-rolls and frosty silences from Hayley and Zara. He asks Gbemi to explain their product, and Gbemi does so, neatly, in one sentence. Mystifies me why she couldn’t do it in a pitch then. Lordalan and Kaen banter about how it looks like a football scarf, and the pillow will be handy for watching YOUR TEAM KAEN, CAUSE YOU’LL PROBABLY NEED THE SLEEP HO HO! All the kids make laugh faces but produce no noise, probably to save energy.

Next up…oh good. Lordalan snorts “is the baby adopted?” and we cover the whole race-wank argument (that I guarantee would never have come up if it hadn’t been a bone of contention in an otherwise placid team. Guarantee, especially as there’s no way it has any bearing on the task result, none). Zara explains that she chose the only child that fit the age range of the product and which would behave itself, and everyone else is all “YEAH BUT IT LOOKS WRONG!” and I can’t be bothered to cover this in any more detail than to wonder why everyone is sitting there saying that a mixed-race family “looks wrong” and why this is apparently acceptable past 1962.

Pitching is covered next, and Gbemi explains that she did the first two pitches, and Haya did the last one. Hayley takes this as an opportunity to complain about how “everyone wanted to pitch” (you sure as hell didn’t), but “Gbemi The Project Manager” wouldn’t let them. Gbemi says she didn’t come down hard immediately and say no-one else could pitch, and Hayley snits that she thinks she did. Lordalan asks how Gbemi was at pitching, and Zara says that she could have smiled more and been more engaging. Nobody mentions that she could have…you know…explained what the bloody thing was for. Beyond being portable obviously.

Oh no, hang on, Kaen is lurching to life to point that out. Thanks Kaen. Bout time you did something. Lordalan splutters in disbelief that this is a thing that could happen. That a pitch could occur and nobody knows at the end what the thing actually being pitched about it. Gbemi admits she could have been clearer.

Atomic Kitten now, and “Good Team Leader” for Lewis, yields an immediate emphatic negative from Harry 1, who describes him as being aggressive and unable to make decisions. Lewis decides to start a scrap, but Harry 2 swoops in, aware that he can probably defend Lewis better than Lewis can, praising him for being “charismatic about the product”, especially when other people were being so unco-operative AND RUDE. Not naming any names. But, you know, staring right at Harry 1.

Ben is asked for his input, and he says he thinks Lewis did a good job, especially given that he had to manage “all our big personalities”. Bless him. He’s wacky him.

Next up, we cover their product itself, and Lordalan asks them how the hippo evolved. Well, Lordalan, scientists would say that they share a common ancestor with the whale, and other cetaceans, and diverged from a sea-going evolutionary path about 55 million years ago. Lewis talks about the brainstorming process, and James takes this as a jumping off point to whine on and on about how all his ideas are ignored and they are the best ones. They talk through his “talking book” idea, which Lordalan seems impressed by, but then Lordalan realises this is a diversionary route away from the idea of the hippo. Who wants to talk about the hippo?!

I’m surprised it took Harry 1 this long frankly. He rambles on about how he talked to “of of the sales assistants” in the department store they visited (he was the department manager Harry 1 but yes, they are all “trade” one supposes) and he inspired the idea of a FUN, FRIENDLY HIPPO! WHO WOULDN’T LOVE A HIPPO? HARRY WOULD! HE’D RIDE HIM AROUND ALL DAY AND GIVE HIM MUD-BATHS AND THEY’D FROLIC MERRILY IN THE SUN, HOW HAPPY THEY WOULD BE, NOT A CARE IN THEIR LONG LUXRIOUS MANES OF HIPPO HAIR. Lordalan jokes that the whole concept brings a new meaning to “hip flask”. No it doesn’t Lordalan.

Finally the point of the product is revealed, I guess, and Lordalan ponders whether a child could go to sleep with Harris The Hippo and cuddle it, just like he used to go to bed with a piggy-bank. And Mrs Lordalan still does.

Pitching is covered now, very briefly, and Lewis says that he did the first two pitches, and would just like to say that everyone agreed the first pitch was great, apart from Harry 1, who was REALLY RUDE. James decides to break in at this point to say that he thought the first pitch was rubbish as well. SO THERE. Lordalan asks who did the second pitch, and Harry 2 identifies himself, and James snots again that this went MUCH BETTER because he was much more professional than Lewis who IGNORED HIS AMAZING IDEAS.

James of course being best placed to discern professionalism.

NUMBERS TIME!

Atomic Kitten got 1200 orders from Jojo Maman Bebe, 0 orders from John Lewis, and 4000 from Mothercare for a total of 5200 orders
Generic got 0 orders from Jojo Maman Bebe, 0 orders from John Lewis, and 7500 from Mothercare for a total of 7500 orders

GENERIC WIN!

They all sigh and smile, whilst Lewis fiddles with his hair distractedly. Their reward, after Gbemi gets chided for not deploying Haya as a pitcher earlier, is to go and do a dance with Diversity. Hannah and Gbemi both look MORTIFIED. They are WELL too cool for Diversity. Also, you know, it just looks a bit WRONG. They run outside and hug and squeal Gbemi waffles on about how her heart was proper PUMPING. Especially as she would have been fired if they lost. Probably.

Boys are dispatched to their rooms, and told to think about what they’ve done.

REWARD TIME!

The girls all meet with Diversity, including the one I always thought was a girl, to learn some street moves. Gbemi doesn’t look any less mortified at any point. They all wear big baggy t-shirts which say “Dance Is Power” and shuffle around a bit. Lizzie interviews that she can’t believe that her idea that she made actually won her team the task. Hey, Gbemi added the memory foam! Anyway, everyone learns the routine, and does the routine, and Hayley’s probably the most natural mover, surprisingly, like this is Save The Last Dance 3 : Gwynnie Goes Street or something. Strictly Champion 2018 in the making there, once they’ve resorted to the level of having “notable businesswomen” on.

Loser Cafe now, and it’s Ben’s turn to hold the memorial Mahamed glass of Ribena/coke. I can’t wait for the Internet conspiracies to fly up that it is CURSED. James is holding court to begin with, and he has now decided (surprise surprise) that the product was in fact wrong all along, and his idea was much better. He’s so transparent sometimes. Lewis huffs and plays with his hair, as James decides to take another tack, slagging-off wise, randomly mugging Ben for not contributing to the task. WHATEVER JAMES, SOMEONE HAD TO HOLD THE SIGNS UP. Harry 1 also wants to know what Ben did, which leads to Ben snotting “WHAT DID YOU DO?”. Harry 1 then reels off a long list of what he did, which, to be fair, is quite a lot. Even if most of it revolves around hippos.

Lewis interviews outside that there was so much tension in his team that it was UNREAL. He couldn’t have been expected to manage them properly, he simply couldn’t. Everyone hates Harry 1 in particular. This is then backed up by…everyone hating Harry 1, all over the walls of Loser Cafe, telling him that he’s rude and disruptive and awful. Harry 1 protests that he was only trying to make everyone see sense all task! He was just being him! Everyone bickers and scraps and sulks, and maybe we need Kaen to tell them how poorly they’re representing 16 year old boys in business? Or something.

BOARDROOM TIME!

Cousin It ushers the candidates in, and Lordalan starts by telling them that the failure of the task is down to them selling fewer units of their product than the girls sold of theirs. Thanks for that Lordalan. Lordalan thinks this may have been down to the fact that Lewis’ presentation skills were awful. I wonder how awful they could have been in reality, given that he got Jojo Maman Bebe to sign up for 1200 plastic cartoon hippos, given that they didn’t look like they sold anything made out of anything other than flax and 100% natural hemp. But that’s the edit I suppose. Anyway, Lewis, why did you pitch given that you turned out to be so bad at it? Lewis replies that he thought it could be something for him to do. It’s his sort of thing. Sort of. Lordalan basically tells him that Harry 2 is the only one of them who comes across as half-way normal, so he should have done the pitch.

Lewis crashes on and says that he didn’t want to just be stood at the back holding up a sign (BEN!) so he did it. Kaen asks if he was “glory-hunting”, and Lewis replies “yes”. In the sense that he wanted glory for the TEAM Kaen. Glory for the TEAM. Whatever.

James now decides that he’s gone 5 seconds without whining about being overlooked, and that is FAR TOO LONG, so he’s going to whinge on about his book idea again. The department manager liked it, so it was CRAZY they decided to go for…another option that the department manager liked. Crazy! Harry 1 starts to waffle on about something (…hippos again probably), but James wants Lordalan to know just how much everyone hates Harry 1. He is awful. It’s like having one of the girls in your team trying to sabotage you!

Harry 1’s input is covered, and he says “familiarity” and the idea of the hippo being a “repeated feeding tool” to help the baby become familiar with the feeding process. Lordalan asks if this is one of them cycleology fings what are to do wiv da brain an stuff, and Harry 1 says it was, but Ben and Harry 2 RUINED it all by making the thing an insulator. Harry 2 points out that he mentioned both aspects of the product in his pitch, and the only thing that’s really bothering him is that his wasn’t the one true idea represented in the product. Ha. So true. Lordalan smirks that the whole psycho fing is a good idea though. Harry 1 looks…well, smug.

The packaging is covered next, and Harry 1 and Ben are identified as primarily responsible. Lewis says he was very pleased with how it all went, but Lordalan wants him to specify what it was that Ben did. Lewis…can’t come up with anything. Ben breaks in, and asks Lewis what more he could have done to make him happy. Anything? Anything at all? Lewis can’t come up with anything there either. Ben protests that he went to the casting and made notes and asked questions. Harry 2 then points out that one of the questions was basically “…so, going anywhere nice for your holidays?”. Everyone looks abashed and simultaneously amused. Harry 2’s Bitch Burns for the win! Again!

Lewis is asked who he wants to bring back into the boardroom. He selects Harry 1 and Ben, and Lordalan says that they’ll find out the reasons later, like the reasons aren’t incredibly apparent already. Lewis melodramas clutching his head in his hands whilst Ben looks at him wounded. Clearly this is a betrayal between the two boys who actually get on. I’m not counting Harry 2. (Justified) worship is not the same thing.

Candidates go out, Kaen and Nick both wonder who this Ben person is, candidates come back in again.

We open with Lewis being asked why he brought Ben back in, and he says that he’s “confused” as to what Ben actually did on the task. He is frankly affronted that Lordalan has given them all this opportunity to shine (*slurp slurp*) and Ben is wasting it sitting at the back chewing pens. Ben protests that he’s just a relaxed sort of personality and doesn’t have to stand up or shout or actually do anything in order to contribute. Nick asks if he means “calm” rather than “relaxed” and Ben’s all “sure, whatever, I’ve not got a thesaurus to hand”. Lewis says that Ben just sits back and lets everyone else do the work, and Ben vociferously snaps “I contributed!”. Lewis response is pretty much a “mmm hmm” ghetto-smirk. Could have done with a “talk to the hand” or a Jessie J style hair-flick to really drive your point home there Lewis.

He’s then asked why he brought Harry 1 back, and Lewis says it’s because he’s rude, arrogant, and doesn’t fit in. Maybe on the Adult Apprentice… Harry 1 says that he was only rude because nobody was listening to him, and he got frustrated. If people had listened to him, he wouldn’t have had to be such a bulldozer. I am frankly amazed that someone who got all his ideas adopted is playing the “I wasn’t listened to” card quite so aggressively. Lordalan calls him out on this blatant lack of logical consistency in his argument, and Harry 1 starts waffling on about how they didn’t adopt his USP of the psychological stuff. Lordalan is again all “erm…yes they did, look, your hippo of familiarity is sat right here. On the table. Now.”. Harry 1 does his best “confused” face whilst Lewis reiterates that Harry 1 is a great big poo who nobody can work with.

Lordalan chides Lewis for bringing Harry 1 back on the grounds of his odious personality rather than his contribution. HE decides who’s got an awful personality, not Lewis. Thank you very much. Still Harry 1, if you do have an awful personality then, erm, shame on you. And stuff. Oh and also he thinks Lewis isn’t “here for the right reasons” (*memorial Bachelor recap drinking game DRINK*) and is quite possibly just acting like a big personality for reality tv. So prove that you aren’t by coming up with a coherent business reason for why they lost. You know, like Lordalan did at the onset with that whole “it’s because you sold less than Generic” bit. Lewis decides to throw himself on his sword, and say they lost because of his pitch to John Lewis. He takes full responsibility for stumbling over his words and not being at his best. IT’S ALL HIS FAULT LORDALAN, FORGIVE HIM.

Lordalan instead decides to just move on to begging, asking Ben to outline why he should stay. He says that he’s been in business since the age of 13, he’s very passionate, he’s done a lot of work with his local council (between Ben and Mahamad, the show’s not been the BEST advert for youth politics has it?) and erm…that’s it. Harry 1’s begging is next, and takes the form of him saying that he’s very confident in his performance to date, and he’s shown glimmers of hope that he can be developed into being a successful businessman. Lewis begs last and he also bigs up his experience, and the possibility that he might, at some point, blossom into greatness. Hmmm.

FIRING TIME!

The fire-teasing goes to Harry 1 for generally being off-putting, but in the end, Ben is fired, for exactly the same reason as someone is always fired in this sort of task. Under-the-radar-ness. He glumly thanks Lordalan, and goes outside to sulk and wonder if Draco will take him back. Lordalan chides Lewis for his poor decision making and Harry 1 for making everyone hate him, and sends both of them back to the house with a flea in their collective ears. Harry 1 gives Ben a handshake on the way out, whilst Lewis does the same, but stands there for a good three seconds trying to look conflicted. SUCH A BETRAYL!

Ben departs to his Apprentaxi, and says that Lordalan didn’t see the best of him. Such a shame he didn’t get a chance to show him what he could actually do. There were pens IN the Boardroom Ben, there was an opportunity.

Back at Apprentice Mansions and Amateur Art Gallery, Harry 2 plaintively wails that he hopes it isn’t a double firing. He hated when he had to fire two of his staff in one go, back in the day. Their little face. So sad. James meanwhile rubs his hands and bellows “NOTHING LIKE A DOUBLE FIRING!”. Hannah looks vaguely ill.

Lewis returns and gets triumphant hugs. Harry 1 creeps in the side and…taps Lizzie on the hip from behind? To surprise her. Lizzie spins around and grins at him sweetly, and they sit in the corner and chat as everyone else talks to Lewis. Such chemistry there, I swear. Harry 1 then gives a big speech about how he really wants to get along with everyone now moving forwards, on the task as well as in the house. Lizzie gives him a little proud beam. I SMELL A SHOWMANCE!


Next week : Flower arranging! And more maths fails! Hooray! I can’t believe we went a whole episode without any!

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19 thoughts on “The Junior Apprentice 2 – Week 2

  1. Tim

    To be honest, I thought the black baby/white father thing was an issue, although not as big as Sugar made it appear in the boardroom. Not because most people would find it confusing, but because SOME would do. The whole point of product packaging is to communicate what the product is about, not to make potential customers scratch their head and wonder about the slightly peculiar differences in pigmentation of the family. Why create a distraction in the first place? Make consumers focus on the product. Of course it’s very possible that such a family unit can – and indeed does – exist. But packaging and advertising aren’t supposed to represent real life. It’s why car ads always show them being driven on lovely mountain roads with no traffic – as opposed to real life, where cars spend most of their time crawling in traffic or bumping over pot-holes.

    Anyhow, I thought this task was a bit dull, in truth. We all knew the boys were going to lose, and we all knew it was all about the Mothercare pitch. Harry M (brother of Boney) continues to give public schools a bad name by being THE most arrogant tosser since Ben Wotsisname from Sandhurst. Actually, he’s even worse. The more spectacular his demise, the better.

    My usual on-the-night thoughts are here: http://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2011/11/01/young-apprentice-no-go-as-jojo-says-no-no-to-hippo/

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      I think the key point though is that it…wasn’t an issue, because none of the retailers mentioned it as an issue. It was a point of difference amongst the girls, which is why it was brought up, but in terms of the results of the task it was a complete non-starter. And realistically it was never going to be, because Mothercare isn’t going on tv and saying “we’re not spending on this imaginary product because there’s a mixed-race family on the packet”. Lordalan can huff it was a MAJOR MISTAKE all he likes, but it wasn’t because it didn’t make any difference, and it didn’t even come close to doing so. I could maybe see it if this was a pure advertising task, where Lordalan decides what meets his values and what doesn’t, and chances are that someone from an advertising agency would have explained the issue more articulately than sitting there giggling about how “wrong” and stupid it looked or making snotty vague comments about adoption.

      Reply
      1. Tim

        True, we didn’t see any of the retailers raise it as an issue – but then I wonder if it was edited out because the girls won the task. Of course, if this had been a “real” product it’s simple enough to ask for the packaging to be redesigned, so it needn’t have been a major issue regardless. In the greater scheme of things, it wasn’t a major mistake (unlike pretty much everything about the boys’ product and pitch). But, having worked around the retail trade for over a decade, I suspect many buyers would have balked somewhat at the awkwardness of it all, even though they themselves would personally be fine with it.

        For sure, Sugar’s comments were ham-fisted.

      1. sevenstories

        I can certainly attest to the fact that as a redhead people nearly always seem to remember who I am and often leads to awkward conversations with generic brunettes who I can’t remember.

        When I’m watching it I’m fine with who they all are but when I’m reading your recaps I can’t for the life of me picture two separate people (now that you’re not doing pictures, humph!)

      2. sevenstories

        Having looked on their website to look at their photos the problem is actually that I just forgot that Lizzie existed.

  2. Ferny

    I thought Hippos were responsible for more human deaths than any other animal? Or have I just made that up? It’s too late for Google.

    I sort of got the black mum/white baby thing, not because it can’t happen, but because it was a bit distracting on the ad and was a noticeable thing, when all attention should have been on the product. I couldn’t understand Lord Alan’s angle on it though because he seemed to be saying that that family is an IMPOSSIBILITY. Anyway, arguments revolving around race are always fun 🙂

    Reply
    1. FuTeffla

      I think your hippo fact is correct – hippos are all kinds of scary. I wonder if Harry 1 is only so deferential to hippos for fear of what they might do to him.

      Reply
    2. monkseal Post author

      I think it’s of any mammal? Or African mammal. I’d imagine the animal in total would be the mosquito or something. Maybe.

      Reply
  3. Ms Tinsel

    Lewis is clearly a marginally more cheerful clone of last year’s Rhys Rosser. And James is what would happen if Jim and Stuart Baggs had a love child. Scary stuff…

    Reply
    1. sevenstories

      I certainly thought of Rhys this episode with Lewis starting to get his moan on. He was quite appealing last episodes so I’m disappointed that he’s turning into Rhys 2. He does at least look credibly 16 instead of Rhys was would struggle to pass as 12.

      Reply
    2. monkseal Post author

      See, I quite like Lewis, and I couldn’t abide Rhys. I guess they are both quite undersized and snotty.

      Reply

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