It’s the Paloma Curse…REVERSED.
7am in Junior Apprentice Mansion and Turner Prize Gallery (that explains why the boys have been so miserable and bitchy this year by the way – there’s a giant Lady Gaga made out of rhino poo in the corner of their room) and it’s Harry 2’s turn to answer the phone, which I’ve just noticed is tragically bland and old-fashioned in these garish surroundings. It’s like an office has had a major shiny-shine refurbishment to get it into the 21ST CENTURY, but they can’t figure out how to reconfigure the phone lines so they’re just stuck with the old lot from 1983. In short, it’s AMSTRAD.
Just once I’d like the phone-call to be from someone else. Who wouldn’t love an episode starting with Gbemi’s mum ringing up going “HAPPY BIRTHDAY DARLIN’!” and then everyone else leaping out from behind the cushions with a cake and a signed JLS poster. Just for how embarrassing it would be. Anyway, Cousin It wants the candidates to come meet Lordalan at Wembley Stadium and the cars will be there for them in 45 minutes. Harry 2 rushes to tell everyone that they’re OFF TO WEMBLEY! Gbemi straightens her hair and prays for a football task so the girls can get some free Bonus “How Could We Be Expected To Understand?!” points like the boys always get on the fashion/perfume/flowers tasks. Well I do, Gbemi just stares vacantly at herself in the mirror. Lizzie rouses Haya, James…sprays the air in front of him with deodorant and walks through it (which I guess explains…some of their choices in the advert later on) and Harry 2 makes his bed, because since his wife left him, he’s had to learn to fend for himself. It’s a jungle out there in the Holiday Inns of the world. You don’t get the maid-service that you used to. Harry 1 artfully fluffs up his hair, and wonders if the task will be to try to be a football manager.
I was wondering how Andre Villa Boas got his job. (A HO HO HO, IT’S A FOOTBALL JOKE. Don’t get used to them.)
The Apprenticars roll up, the candidates roll out. Haya and Zara both marvel at the wonders of Wembley Stadium as they approach. Zara hopes that they’re all going to be stood in the middle of the pitch or something, because they’ll never get the chance to do that again. Gbemi fails to give even this much of a shit about it. I think she might be hoping they get their task stood in the middle of the men’s changing rooms. Whilst they’re in use. Again, I may just be talking for myself via Gbemi this episode, but…it’s not as though she’s going to be doing it for herself, so why not eh?
Turns out…ZARA’S RIGHT! They’re getting the task in the middle of the field, although it turns out that this isn’t for their benefit so much as getting Lordalan’s Giant Disembodied Head up on JUMBOTRON. He guffs on about up to 90,000 people watching the world’s greatest performers do their thing, and this apparently has an unpleasant side-product.
Sadly, the answer is in fact “sweat”. Hayley guffaws and grimaces because of course she never sweats, and if she did, thanks to GOOP it would smell of apricots. Lordalan wants them to come up with a NEW ANTI-PERSPIRANT DEODORANT! Well…not really, he wants them to design a can, shoot an advert and do a pitch for anti-perspirant deodorant. They’re not going into the lab or anything. Oh and just in case they’re worried about coming up with a target market, Lordalan is giving one to them. It’s KIDS! LIKE WHAT THEY ARE! Don’t worry, it’s still going to be him and a bunch of middle-aged marketing people deciding who wins though.
It’s left to Kaen and Nick to work out this week’s team swaps. Kaen announces she will be following Atomic Kitten, and coming with her from Generic will be Zara and Harry 2. Nick will be galumphing after Generic and he’ll be carrying Harry 1 over on his back with him. If you can keep track of who’s been on which team after that, good luck to you. All I know is that Lizzie is GENERIC 4 LIFE and Atomic Kitten now consists of no original members, and therefore are to be re-named “Sugababes”. Oh and Nick & Kaen are also picking PMs – conveniently enough it’s two people who haven’t done it yet. Harry 1 vs Zara. CLASH OF THE POSHOS AHOY! Harry 1 grins the grin of a demon-child at the news he’s getting to be leader, finally. Everyone else on the team…not so much.
Unfortunately the team’s HQs this week are not in Wembley itself, so they’re dispatched back into their Apprenticars off to their design agency – JWT. Surely there must be some corporate junket suites they could use? Anyway, in Sugababes Apprenticar A, Zara waxes lyrical to Harry 2 about how she KNEW she was going to PM this task, because she just LOVES film. She really wants to bring elements of Yasuziro Ozu into the work, as she doesn’t think it’s ever been done on The Apprentice before. Harry 2 stares at his finger and thinks back to how Zara made them all watch that 3 hour video on middle-aged loneliness in pre-war Korea rather than letting him have that Indiana Jones marathon he wanted. Jessica loved those films. She told him HE WAS HER INDIANA JONES. *sniff*
Generic Apprenticar A meanwhile just has Harry 1 telling Lizzie he is SUPER-PUMPED YAH to be Project Manager, and Lizzie grinning “it’s about time”. This is the grin of someone who has never worked with him, clearly.
Once the teams arrive at JWT they all convene to discuss what they want to do. At no point does Helpful Voiceover Man tell us how much the deodorant industry is worth in BILLIONS OF POUNDS, so I’m guessing it’s, like £32.17 after overheads. Harry 1 tells the rest of Generic that he wants to focus on “the female market”, but Lizzie disagrees. She wants to go for “the male market”. They are still talking about the task right? Apparently James and Gbemi both agree with Lizzie, or at least she says they do whilst James and Gbemi strenuously avoid interacting with Harry 1 at all. Naturally Harry 1 backs his own horse, saying they’re going for the female market regardless, so boo hoo to them, NICK, WE’RE GOING WITH GIRLS!
So nice that he didn’t at all turn into the type of PM he’s spent the last month whining about isn’t it? James and Lizzie both protest that they haven’t had a proper discussion yet, but Harry 1 just snorts that the DECISION HAS BEEN MADE. Then grins a bit. And possibly feels a tingling in his trousers. HARRY’S IN CHARGE HERE, PEOPLE.
Meanwhile, Zara has picked the boys market for Sugababes, and is floating the idea of a two-in-one deodorant and aftershave. Don’t you normally use aftershave on your face? Normally? Mostly. Isn’t that why it’s called aftershave? (Again, maybe this explains some of Generic’s advert later). Anyway, Harry 2 is brainstorming concepts and has come up with “at work (you know, for kids, like what he is, definitely), on the field, through the night” and Hayley flips her hair and says that sounds REALLY good Harry! *giggle*. Someone’s angling to be a secretary again this week aren’t they?
I would not be surprised to find out that her daddy is called Harry. Just sayin’. Harry 2 mutters something about meaning “at school” as well, hoping he hasn’t just completely blown his cover, and the whole of the team get on bored with this concept, whilst Zara bides her time until she gets her hands on a Super 8.
Meanwhile, back with Generic, Harry 1 is bellowing that he wants a BIG, FUN, BRAND like I LOVE MY DEODORANT, whilst Lizzie and Gbemi both sit there rolling their eyes. James is the one to break for cover, and says that he thinks that the concept should probably become before the name. This puts him ahead of 95% of people on advertising tasks in this show’s history. Nick practically falls out of his chair at this burst of insight. Oblivious, Harry 1 asks James what brand names he’s come up with then that are so special?! Not so much with the listening is he? James repeats his point, Harry 1 says that HE DOESN’T CARE, BECAUSE HE IS PROJECT MANAGER, NAMES COME FIRST! James at this point all but loses it with Harry 1 and starts grunting sarcastically about how they’re not even allowed to do anything other than spit chintzy names at him then, and Harry 1 replies, yes, BECAUSE HE IS PROJECT MANAGER.
He then interviews that he thinks it’s really important to be decisive as PM. Yeah, that’s one word for it…
His next idea? Sweat Doctor. Gbemi hates it. She’s right to. Lizzie suggests “Vanity” and Gbemi coos her approval, whilst James shoots daggers at them both for not staging some sort of sit-in unionised protest with him until The Man lets them discuss concepts. He mutters “…yeah…Vanity” clearly checked out of the task already. Harry 1 is MOST PLEASED with Vanity. HUZZAH!
Midday now, and Haya, assisted by Harry 2 (hiding behind his notebook in case any of them recognise him from having fired them in the past or something), is staging a focus group with a bunch of teenagers (who…look like they might be cast as teenagers in Saved By The Bell maybe) about what they want from their deodorant. She’s actually making a really good job of it – working out that nobody likes Harry 2’s idea and refining Zara’s “aftershave + deodorant” idea down into something that makes a vague amount of sense.
She and Harry 2 return now to Hayley and Zara, who are in the middle of storyboarding their advert. By which I mean Zara is drawing great big pictures and talking about her Grand Vision for “There Will Be Blood : A Deodorant Movie” and Hayley is nodding her head and simpering and wondering how she got stuck playing secretary/batman to a girl boss. Haya breaks the news as gently as she can (“Zara! They HATED IT!”) that the storyboard that Zara just created is never going to happen, because the focus group liked the “deodorant with a hint of aftershave” advert best. I’m starting to wonder if that idea didn’t come from Haya or Hayley rather than Zara, even though she was the one shown saying it, because she doesn’t seem very keen to adopt it. I guess maybe she’s now STUCK IN HER ARTISTIC VISION for “at work, on the pitch, picking your kids up from school, through the night”. Still, after some mild huffing and puffing, Zara accepts the focus group findings and gets to think on how these silly little facts can be crowbarred into her MOVIE MASTERPIECE.
Sadly we never get to see Generic’s focus-grouping. It probably consisted of a group of girls telling Harry 1 that they don’t like the idea of buying something called “Vanity” because they really see anti-perspirant more as just a practical thing, and perfume as being a vector for expressing your fashion tastes, and Harry 1 bellowing “I DON’T CARE, I’M PROJECT MANAGER!” at them all. Instead we get James saying that he’s got an idea for an advert about how popular girls are all bitches and geeky girls are fun to laugh at. Harry 1 agrees that this is an hilarious concept. Oddly enough, no ACTUAL women are present at this time, unless you count a small chance of the cameraman being a cameralady. Harry 1 suggests that they show the geeky girl SPINNING ROUND IN A CHAIR and emerging as a goddess. James does not get it. Why would the girl spin round in a chair? Who knows?
James then interviews that everyone already hated Harry 1, and this just got ten times worse when he got a position of authority. Yay! He has stupid ideas, he’s not creative at all, he tried to make them all play a game with a biscuit which James doesn’t even want to talk about. It’s awful. Back in the room Harry 1 suggests all the bitchy girls in their advert have a cat-fight and it turns all the men watching on. Even Mad Men would look at this brainstorming segment and think “WOW, THIS IS REGRESSIVE!”
Back on Sugababes now, and Haya has another idea – why not make the advert a street-dance extravaganza! She’s noticed that one of the actors in their casting portfolio is a street-dancer! Why not just show him dancing and then using deodorant and that can be it? No need to a big new storyboard! Zara visibly shudders. She’s not HERE TO MAKE A MUSICAL, PEOPLE! SHE’S HERE TO CREATE CINEMA VERITE! Haya protests that “young people today are very influenced by the hip hop”. Lord, she wasn’t kidding when she said her best friend was her grandmother was she? Zara says that she’s still not feeling it, artistically, and Harry 2 tells her she can add a dumb voiceover if she wants. Read out a Robert Frost poem backwards or something. Zara is still squirming a little, and says she’ll think about it, and make a decision after seeing the street-dancers moves at casting.
3pm now, and in Generic Apprenticar B, Lizzie and Gbemi are bitching up a storm about how awful Harry 1 is, and on their way to design their can. Lizzie in particular does an impression that’s second to Lewis’ in terms of sheer venom, but still a worthy attempt. If we were judging this whole series based on the nastiness of the impressions of Harry 1, then Lizzie would be a worthy finalist, and could help Lewis blow his winnings on Haribo. At this point Harry 1 rings them and demands that the can be LANDSCAPE and Vanity should be MIRRORED. Lizzie asks Gbemi if she likes this idea. Gbemi does not like this idea. Personally I’m not even that sure what this idea IS. James meanwhile suggests a mirror being somewhere on the can and that there should be bright colours – pink and reds. Lizzie protests and asks whether they’re designing the can or if James and Harry 1 are doing it. Harry 1 says that these are just suggestions, he definitely won’t kick off if they’re ignored or anything.
5pm now, and Haya and Harry 2 are designing the can for their product, called “Raw”. Yes that’s what I want to think of when I think of deodorant. Rawness. Why not call it “Chap” as a clever pun? “Chafe”? “New Lynx Burning Sensation”?
With the can itself, they are at least working well together, although the end-product is TRULY hideous and looks like something you’d find on a market stall imported from Liberia.
The designing session involving Gbemi and Lizzie however is…not going so smoothly, as they both have their own ideas about how to incorporate James and Harry 1’s ideas into their can, when they don’t really rate them much. It all goes fairly well, if disagreeably until Lizzie calls one of Gbemi’s ideas stupid, and then Gbemi huffs that it’s not stupid and she doesn’t like any of Lizzie’s ideas SO THERE. Gbemi then interviews that she designs clothes and Lizzie designs guitar straps so they are clearly FROM TWO DIFFERENT WORLDS, so it’s no wonder their aesthetics clash. They sit and bicker over whether the mirror on the can looks better in gold or black, whilst Nick pulls his mouth into a cat’s bum and feigns a headache. He interviews that the can looks HIDEOUS to him, but hey, they’re teenage girls, so maybe they’re right and he’s wrong. He’ll see. We’ll only see if he’s right and they’re wrong obviously, otherwise they’d have edited this bit out.
Personally I think it looks alright as some sort of naff-oid Made In Chelsea/Geordie Shore knock-off tie-in product which, whilst close to nothing, is still better than the Sugababes’ can, which looks like something you’d get as part of an awful £10 birthday present bathroom kit set for a 12 year old.
7pm now, and Zara is casting, whilst Hayley writes “when is she going to stop wearing that same coat, she’s awful, she won’t let me dress her like Harry 1 did” on her note pad. In honour of Haya’s concept, she gets all the auditionees to dance whether they want to or not. And some of them definitely shouldn’t be. She closes on some guy with an afro who is alright, if hardly Diversity, or even Flawless, and she finds faith in him that doing a street-dance movie might work after all! Maybe she can take the Julia Styles role. Actually, I’m surprised they didn’t get Hayley to do it, given that her street-dance was her one positive contribution to this series so far apart from helping with the pricing of the flowers. She rings Haya and Harry 2 and asks for their approval about 50 times before Hayley finally snaps and mews “make a decision Zara!”. Zara does – Step Up 51 it is!
Zara then interviews about how brave she thinks she is ditching her old concept and going with this new one. She really has forgotten there is anything else to this task at all hasn’t she? Although it appears the show has as well so…*shrug*
After missing out on their focus-group, we don’t see Generic’s casting session either. Probably because it made Army Christopher’s pervo Octy-Clean sessions look family-friendly. I bet both Harry 1 and James had cigars.
9am now, and time to shoot the adverts. Zara and Hayley are in an abandoned leisure centre, and getting their first glimpse of the can Haya and Harry 2 designed the day before. If anything, it’s more hideous in the flesh. It’s a GCSE art project wrapped round a bottle of shampoo. It even has a check-list on it. Zara back-peddles furiously away from it, saying “it’s not what she imagined” (ie, it’s all Haya’s fault) but she’s happy with it. For now.
Guess what? Generic aren’t even filming yet. Instead they’re all sat round the breakfast table back at Apprentice Junior Mansions and Pat Sharpe’s Fun House (Now Revived on Sky Arts HD), with James telling Harry 1 that he’s been a rubbish Project Manager and delegated too much to everyone else. He’s protesting on Gbemi and Lizzie’s behalf that Harry 1 has made them go to market research without him (…oh, so THAT’S why they edited it out. I bet Gbemi was really good at it, and they’re trying to justify her rando-firing even more!) (Not really…), he made them design the can without him, and now he’s making them write the pitch without him! I don’t really see Gbemi or Lizzie protesting at the “without him” part.
Harry 1 blusters that James is just being tactical here, and he’s not going to listen because as Project Manager he’s not going to accept any criticism untill the Boardroom. Now get behind the team and SHUT UP. He then asks Lizzie and Gbemi if they think he’s over-working them, and Lizzie neatly sidesteps the issue by saying that she can handle it. HA! Nice manoeuvering there Lizzie. James carries on whittering about how Lizzie might as well be Project Manager (to be fair, she’s doing less than Haya appears to be doing for the other team…) and Harry 1 just says “PARK IT!” about 50 times. James passive-aggressives that this is fine as long as Harry 1 is prepared to lose the task. Harry 1 tells him for the fiftieth time that this is enough, and says they’re leaving now. Which they are, after he apologises to the girls for James’ behaviour. HA! Lizzie really had him thinking she was on his side with that “I can handle it” business, as well as making James think she was siding with her. I mean…it’s basic manipulation, but these ARE teenage boys, who possibly fancy her a bit.
On her way to the pitch with Gbemi, Lizzie of course establishes she’s on neither of their sides by bitching with Gbemi about how awful the advert they produce is going to be, and it will be both their faults.
Speaking of which, Zara and Hayley are well into their advert-shooting now, and going at each-other like very polite WI wives. Doesn’t Zara think the deodorant should be the focus of this shot, rather than the dancer’s bags? Doesn’t Hayley think that should be something they consider in the editing suite rather than on the set? Doesn’t Zara think that she’s a big old bossy-boots who won’t listen to anything Hayley says in the editing suite? Doesn’t Hayley have some self-esteem issues she wouldn’t rather be working out somewhere else? Doesn’t Zara think her career as a film director might end up rather closer to wedding videos than Katherine Bigalow Oscar glory? Doesn’t Hayley have Harry 1 to fawn over, OH WAIT HE’S ON THE OTHER TEAM THIS WEEK, WHAT A PITY? Doesn’t Zara have shopping trolleys to NOT SELL, AT LEAST I GOT RID OF ONE OF THOSE BIRD-BOXES YOU HAG?
And so it goes.
James and Harry 1 meanwhile are rolling up to their set, a basement bar, hours late due to James’ breakfast breakdown, and interacting with their cameraman. He wants to know if they have a storyboard. If by storyboard he means “lots of doodled pictures of girls fighting, then getting sprayed by deodorant, then lezzing up”, then yes. Sadly this is nothing to do with the advert. Nick holds up their OFFICIAL BLANK STORYBOARD, just to drive the point home. James then walks the cameraman through their advert, but Harry 1 interjects and then they start arguing and thrashing out the logistics in front of the crew. Harry 1 then knocks over a lighting stand, as James dead-pans “it wasn’t me”. Yeah, alright Shaggy.
Back at the leisure centre, and afro-man is still dancing, and Zara is making sure that she’s getting lots of footage so it can be edited down to make a workable advert at the end of it all. Kaen protests in interview that their dancer is getting rather sweaty and this defeats the point of the whole advert surely? Erm…this is an Advert du Zara Kaen, the point is probably how we all mask ourselves with the Westernised concept of romantic love to mask the stench of death that permeates our lives, rather than anything else.
Back in the basement bar, and the actors have arrived, including a couple of generic hunks, a bitchy girl, and Racist/NotRacist Emily from Big Brother 8 as the geeky girl. Ironically enough, she’s styled a little to resemble Big Brother 11 winner Josie Gibson. I apologise if I’m the only person here who still keeps track of Big Brother. I probably am. Anyway, the advert involves Racist/NotRacist Emily spraying some black guys in the face (HATE CRIME/NOTHATE CRIME!) with her deodorant, then they want to dance with her. To be honest it’s all carried by Racist/NotRacist Emily’s exhuberant performance, but I have to admit, I laughed at the stupidity of it all, which this show shouldn’t be rejecting as an important marketing point because…well isn’t that why we’re all watching in the first place?
Nick wonders whether James and Harry 1’s “collaborative approach” to direction will ever be able to yield results, because whilst it works for the Coen Brothers, it might not work for everyone. Yes, because Zara and Hayley’s product is practically Powell & Pressburger isn’t it?
Racist/NotRacist Emily takes off her geek cardigan and whirls it round her head as Jennifer Lopez plays in the background (obviously Racist/NotRacist Emily would rather it be that NEW MUSIC, COMING THROUGH, THAT’S CALLED INDIE, THAT SHE INVENTED!). It’s already mroe watchable than “Burn After Reading” was, NICK. James interviews that he really wants to play on the humour in the advert, speaking as a man who has never laughed at anything in his entire life except the thought of Harry 1 being kicked in his nads. She sprays, the hunks come calling, the bitchy girl gets pissed off and leaves. Fin.
Back on Sugababes, Hayley and Zara fight like (well-mannered) cats in a sack over whether one shot should have a bag in the background or not. No1 curr. Hayley thinks that having a bag in the background of the shot will make the dancer look like a tramp. Zara hears what she’s saying but it’s all a matter of opinion isn’t it? Hayley then snits OUT OF NOWHERE, that “THIS DOESN’T MAKE ZARA BETTER THAN HER, SHE’S NOT HIGHER UP THAN HER IN ANY WAY!”. Kaen looks bored. Hayley complains in interview that she thinks that because Zara makes her own films, she probably thinks that Hayley’s opinion is less valid than hers and it SO isn’t. IT SO ISN’T!
Generic now, and Harry 1 and James are airing their finished advert to the girls on the team. They like it. Harry 1 and James high-five. Hooray!
Day 3 now, and it’s time to pitch. Both teams leave the house, and embark in their Apprenticars back to JWT, where they’re going to be pitching to top ad executives. In Sugababes Apprenticar B, Haya tells Harry 2 that he has to NAIL this pitch, but she has confidence in him. Which is a good job, because he’s up first. He gives good blather, telling the executives that Raw represents the untarnished, untampered, virgin strength of a young person. Guys around his (pretended) age aspire to be stronger, harder (meow) and more attractive to “whoever they’re interested in”. Harry 2 sort of, almost, accidentally probably, recognising that not all “guys his age” are exclusively attracted to women only cements his position at the top of my favourites list.
He goes on to say that they asked young people in the market research what makes them buy deodorant, and were told “BO, cool packaging, and cheap price” and he intends to give them all that. Well apart from BO, probably. He then cues up the advert which is awful, and looks more like it’s for a chat-line than a deodorant, and the last show is pure Blaxploitation movie. The selling-point about being an aftershave is also…buried in there somewhat. The LORDALAN UNNCESSARY PRODUCT SHOT count is about 3-4 times. The slogan turns out to be “Live it raw” (although the spray’s name is apparently “Force by Raw”, like that’s their Haus or whatever. One of the ad execs asks what exactly this is supposed to mean, and Zara replies that it is about being without limits and being free of the chains that you can be bound by by human society. Next question is to Hayley, about what image she thinks their product would project of its buyers. Hayley says that they would be sporty, and also want to smell nice.
Pitch over, and they all hug, with Hayley smiling at Zara that she really liked her answer about how their deodorant would free humanity from mental slavery or whatever. Zara says that she is so proud of all of her team. Well done!
Lizzie’s next, and she tells the executives that she’s here to give them the low-down on what it’s like to be a teenager, as it’s clearly been YEARS SINCE THEY WERE HO HO! The executives all laugh at this joke at their expense, as Lizzie goes on tell them that teenagers today do things like fall in love and want to buy things. She hopes they can relate. It’s a lot more informal and chatty than Harry’s pitch in style, but it’s not bad. She cues up the advert, which is still funny, but which is generally lacking in LORDALAN UNNCESSARY CLOSE-UP PRODUCT SHOTS. Which is odd, because the deodorant can is there constantly, but you can’t really see any branding or identification on it til the end. Probably because the writing on it is illegible. Their branding is “Something Selfish by Vanity”, their slogan is “change how you smell, not who you are” and Lizzie closes on some guff about how everyone has a form of vanity, and this is hers. That and dyeing her hair the colour of beetroot and scribbling cartoons on her guitar straps obviously.
First question is from a lady exec, who really likes the message of being who you are (ie, the geek in the advert remained a geek even after she used the deodorant to attract men, this wasn’t a She’s All That “LET’S REMOVE THE PAINT SPLATTERED OVERALLS AND SHE’S A MODEL!” THING) but wonders if the figure in the advert was aspirational enough. Would anyone REALLY want to be a geek? Harry 1 says that he agrees that nobody would want to be a geek – she’s just there to laugh at. James agrees, and says that he could not stop laughing all the way through the editing process. Well, as long as you had a good time James… (Cue interview : “I LIED in there. I did not laugh ONCE during the editing of that advert, I can ASSURE YOU OF THAT”).Next up and the team are asked if the whole theme of vanity is really the most appropriate angle for an anti-perspirant, and specifically the mirror on the can. Lizzie protests that most women do carry around a mirror and check themselves out in their reflection. She then guffs out that it’s a self-affirmation – you look at yourself in the mirror on the can and say “this is who I am, and this is who I’m gonna stay”.
Outside, Lizzie and Gbemi hug, and James says “they laughed!” over and over again. Well done on winning the stand-up comedy task James! (Although…he would, wouldn’t he?)
The ad execs now feed back to Lordalan. It’s the usual vague deliberately misleading statements that don’t identify which products they’re talking about. Let’s skip it shall we?
The candidates all file into the atrium. Gbemi chews at her mouth, Harry 1 style. Haya glowers around the room, like she’s in any danger of getting fired this week. James sulks and crosses his arms and pouts, realising that towards the end there he was almost giving off the impression that he doesn’t totally hate Harry 1. Zara’s wearing that white dress AGAIN. Every part of Harry1’s anatomy is twitching in every direction…it’s time for Cousin It to usher them in.
Where the man himself stops practicing his Racist/NotRacist Emily dance-routine, and enters. He opens by saying that some people think marketing is a very complicated and mystical thing, but in fact it’s not. All you do is SLAM YOUR PRODUCT in people’s faces and YELL ITS NAME at them, and they’re sold.
First on the slab are Generic, and “good team leader?” gets negatives from Gbemi and Lizzie, and a volte-face from James, who has decided that Harry 1 was in fact “ok”. You know, apart from the whole of the first day, but other than that he was FINE. James thinks they all worked really well together as a team, honest. Oh James, you were many things, but “a team” you were not. You were two sets of people given entirely different sets of projects to work on, with no integration, and it SHOWED.
Gbemi is asked why she thinks Harry 1 sucked then, and she replies that he had his own idea and went with it, and refused to listen to anyone else. Lordalan asks what this idea was, and Harry 1 says the idea was “fun”. Also it was about image. And feeling good. And stuff. James and Gbemi both articulate the idea more succinctly and with more focus in the background, making it obvious just how much better they would have been at managing this task. And this is GBEMI and JAMES we’re talking about here.
Next to be covered is the packaging, and Harry 1 places the responsibility on Gbemi and Lizzie. He gave them a remit of something bright, bold and colourful, using the colours red and pink. And they came back with this grey thing with a mirror stuck to it. Gbemi claims that she told Harry 1 over the phone that they were going to use a dark background with pink writing and a mirror on it, and Lizzie backs her up. Harry 1 protests that this never happened which, if it did, must have been in unaired footage.
James continues to straddle the fence MANFULLY, saying he likes some things about the design and he doesn’t like other things. Gbemi wonders why anyone would care what James thinks about aesthetics. Again, I’m reading her face mostly via my opinions here. To be honest,s he just scowls. He then brags that he came up with the idea of the mirror, although he did want “vanity” written across it, which would obviously have made the whole thing SO MUCH BETTER.
Next up, we run the advert. Racist/NotRacist Emily shakes her thang, and Harry 2 summons up a weak smile. Haya looks vaguely appalled. Lordalan however, looks confused. He says he thinks he gets it. The Geeky girl used her muscles, particularly in the leg and arm areas, in order to move her limbs in time with the music, in a practice known as dancing. However, as her movement were uncoordinated and in many ways old-fashioned or absurdly large and pantomimic, the on-lookers, who were all more familiar with the societal concept of “cool” and adhered to it in order to preserve their place within the confines of social strata, found this amusing and considered the geeky girl to be unworthy of sexual or social contact. However then the geeky girl sprayed Vanity deodorant in their faces via an aerosol mechanism, and the attractive smell made the heterosexual male contingent amongst the onlooking crowd aroused, thereby superseding their need to present a facade of superiority and coolness, and provoking them to also move their limbs in a rhythmical fashion to the music, in company with the geeky girl, thereby displaying their desire to get with that. In this, they encouraged the person at him, aka “the consumer”, to believe that if they purchased Vanity deodorant, then it would improve their chances of congress with the opposite sex, particularly in a nightclub or downstairs bar setting. Then that bitch one had a strop. The end.
You will be glad to hear that Lordalan thinks this is a very clever concept.
Next up, Sugababes. Lordalan says that he has noted from Zara’s RAY-ZEU-MAY that she is a film-maker and videographer, who is also looking to move into writing. Zara confirms that this is true, and she’d really love to talk to Lordalan about her business-plan – the Lordalan biopic starring Bob Hoskins as Lordalan, Helen Mirren as Margaret, a Snorlax doll as Kaen, and that one what was the Demon Headmaster as Nick.
“Good team leader” prompts all Hayley’s pent-up inner rage to spew billiously forth, as she meekly whines “not really Lordalan” and shimmies her hair like she’s trying to gently dust it out. She says that Zara was a rubbish Project Manager, because she never listened to her once. All her many many ideas were utterly disregarded. Lordalan then asks what she wound up doing then, given that he told her last week that she had to step up and actually contribute to the tasks. Hayley’s all “well, I tried but *face*”.
Next up, we cover their awful brand-name, and how people what an anti-perspirant that is kind to their skin not something that leaves them…well, raw, really. James gives a tiny smile that indicates that he in GALES OF INTERNAL LAUGHTER over this development. Harry 2 protests that the name is about the raw strength of a young man, before it all goes horribly wrong in illicit hedge-funds and late night visits to the off-licence with the company cred…I mean anything that might happen that might turn a man against the world, Lordalan. He also protests that there is a big checklist on the back, talking about how it moisteurises. Jeez, deodorant, aftershave, moisteurising cream…can I also use it as a shampoo? Can it take dead skin off my feet? (Not that I have any you understand).
Next up, the advert and, when asked to describe their advert to him, Zara decides to haul out the entire rigmarole with their initial idea, and the storyboard, and the focus group, and Haya talking her into a last minute change of plan, and all that business right here, as thought it’s relevant. In doing so she turns Haya at least against her, because she feels like she’s being roped in as a target. Neat boardroom strategy Zara. Anyway, they watch the advert, it’s still shit, the soundtrack still sounds like someone humping a moog, James positively RADIATES contempt (even more so than usual. Lordalan likes it though. He likes the voiceover (which Zara glomps credit for) and also how it had a decent amount of LORDALAN UNNECESSARY PRODUCT CLOSE-UPS.
LORDALAN’S VAGUE OPINIONS THAT HAVE NO GROUNDING IN REALITY TIME!
Sugababes advert contained more LORDALAN UNNECESSARY PRODUCT CLOSE-UPS, so they win. Fundamentally. I mean he says some other stuff about product integration but…come on. Personally I think Generic’s was a better campaign and product design, but entirely by accident, and I can see why you wouldn’t want to praise Harry 1’s team because…it didn’t exist, beyond a vague patchwork with only James really trying to hold it together.
Their reward is to go down to Lordalan’s “local airfield” (I hope he means “Heathrow Airport”) to do some stunt flying. He suggests they hold off on lunch otherwise there is going to be some HIGH QUALITY VOMIT SHOTS. Remember when Susan Ma did this reward? What a star… Outside they all hug, and Hayley whines that she was really scared for a minute there. Zara to her credit does not chin her. We don’t even see the other team being told they’re dismissed. They just are. (Actually I feel a lot of stuff was missed out of this episode, but hey ho)
To the airfield now, where the pilot promises them that what is about to happen will be 10 times more exciting and exhilarating than Chessington World Of Adventures. WOW-EEE! Zara drones that she works as hard as she does because she dreams of one day being as succesful as Lordalan and then she might own a plane like this! And here was I thinking it was all for the art, Zara. You’ve disappointed me AGAIN. As she goes up in the air, Harry 2 jokes that it was nice knowing her, and tells a guffawing Haya and Hayley to pipe down and pay some respect for their poor dead friend. He’s so my favourite.
Once she’s done, Zara enthuses to the rest how awesome it all was, though obviously not before squeezing herself back into that red coat. Harry 2 goes up, enjoys it all, calling it the best thing he’s ever done in his entire life (…that and Jessica *sniff*). We don’t get to see Haya or Hayley enjoying themselves. Oh well. Editing out needs must. I bet Haya THREW UP fulsomely.
Loser Cafe meanwhile is in full swing, and it appears that Harry 1, Lizzie and James have all thrown a Thanatos Gambit and decided they’re ALL going to drink the poisoned Coke. Gbemi meanwhile has wussed out and is drinking orange juice. This, clearly, is why she was the one who had to die. Harry 1 is lecturing them all about how disappointing it is for them all to be sat there, because it means they’re all going to have to accept responsibility for the things they did. James meanwhile, has decided that Harry 1 is solely responsible for the failure of the task. Suddenly. Because he didn’t come up with a concept you see. That’s why.
Gbemi next breaks in to say that why did Harry 1 say their concept was fun? She thought the concept was confidence! She made a confident can, and they made a fun advert! No wonder they failed! Harry 1 looks billious. James protests that their concept wasn’t confidence, and it wasn’t fun, because they NEVER HAD A CONCEPT. Gbemi interviews outside that Harry 1 should go, because his communication skills were awful. Back inside James is still droning about their lack of concept until Harry 1 flips his wig COMPLETELY and starts flapping around calling everyone pathetic and bitchy and telling them he’s not going to sink to their level. In the middle of Loser Cafe. Has it come to this? Lizzie rattles her finger-tips on the table, sailing on through, merrily under the radar being everyone’s best friend, tum-ti-tum, just playing her guitar.
The team gathers in the pre-lounge, all jammed right into the corner of one of the two sofas as hard as they can stuff their rear ends. So you know, body language can tell you that this was a close team. Lordalan calls Cousin It, who ushers them in.
We start with Harry 1, more specifically the fact that he now has a 0% winning record as PM to go along with his 0% record in general. Is there any sort of metaphorical nail-file he wants to pull out at this point to mediate against the fact that he is absolutely useless at this game show? Maybe we can start with the concept for this advert? What was that? Harry 1 retreats to the idea that he was very clear from the beginning that the concept was “fun” and James snides in to say that no it wasn’t – there was never a concept, Harry 1 told them all to just come up with a name, and then just dispatched them all to do whatever. He TRIED personally to save them all, but ho hum, his noble efforts fell on deaf ears. Lordalan then interjects to tell Harry 1 that he is wrong – the concept ended up being “confidence”,b by accident, and even that had random Frankenstein limbs from other ideas jabbed in it, an arm for an eye and a liver a nose style.
The advert is covered next, and Harry 1 vainly tries to make out that his ideas and James’ were VERY different. James wanted ONE evil bitch girl in the advert and he wanted TWO. Very different. It’s not his fault they wound up with only one. Lizzie and Gbemi both point out that in fact James and Harry 1’s ideas for the advert were in fact exactly the same – silly geeky girls LOL. The lack of storyboard is also covered, with Nick being particularly appalled that James didn’t think to draw one out, given as how he is “Mr Structure”. Worst Superhero Ever. Oh and why was Racist/NotRacist Emily spraying deodorant around like fly-spray? It was “to play on the humour” says James. I know people explaining how their jokes work is always cringeworthy and dull, but having JAMES do it just makes it ten times worse somehow. Lordalan protests that it WASN’T FUNNY! Well there’s no accounting for taste…
Of course we then come to the real point of the entire task, which is that it didn’t feature nearly enough UNNECESSARY LORDALAN PRODUCT CLOSE-UPS. Which, by the way, brings him to his next point – how this is all Gbemi’s fault somehow. She done the packaging and it’s rubbish. The logo is insipid, and it’s got a bleeding MIRROR on it? WHY? Gbemi waffles stuffily about how she really brought her design skills to bear on the can, and she’s proud of her work. Lordalan just snorts “NO! IT IS A BAD DESIGN! THIS DESIGN COST YOU THE ENTIRE TASK! BAD DESIGN GBEMI!”
Lordalan then asks Lizzie to speak, just we can cover her decent-ish pitch, so we can establish that Gbemi is the one who deserves to go home, because they definitely lost because of the can, somehow, and not at all because Harry 1 somehow managed to both over-manage AND under-manage this task. She does so, and Nick back-handedly compliments her by saying that her pitch was much better than he thought it was going to be. Lizzie thanks him, which is more than I would do.
Harry 1 next is asked to explain why he, as Project Manager is not responsible for the complete incoherence of the campaign and general lack of direction. He says that the team were really difficult to manage, but he got them all to come together, and work as a team. Yes, AGAINST YOU. James protests that the reason they all worked well together is nothing to do with Harry 1, and Gbemi agrees that it was just because of their general awesomeness, nothing to do with him. Harry 1 protests with how James is not in fact awesome but incredibly rude and abrasive and disruptive. He hauls up James’ breakfast table intervention on Day 2, when he confronted Harry 1 with the fact that he wasn’t in fact actively participating in the task in any way. Duh, James, he’d told them all to come up with a NAME, what more do you want?
Really Harry 1 should hope that James didn’t try to stage a Helen-Creature style coup, because I would imagine, given his comparative lack of finesse, it would have involved a baseball bat covered in barbed wire and a flaming table.
Time now for Harry 1 to decide who is coming back into the Boardroom with him, and he selects Gbemi immediately and, after an unnecessarily lengthy pause, also James, who then does a James Firing Selection kick-off and starts yelling about how he COULDN’T HAVE DONE MORE FOR HARRY 1. HE FOLLOWED ALL OF HIS INSTRUCTIONS! HE HAD SO MUCH INPUT! HE DEFINITELY DIDN’T SPEND THE WHOLE DAY YEARNING FOR THE DAYS WHEN HE WAS PROJECT MANAGER AND ACTUALLY WON A BLOODY TASK FOR ONCE! Naturally this falls on deaf ears, and makes James look like a bit of a twonk. Oh well.
Candidates go out, Kaen wonders if Gbemi’s had long enough now to advertise her clothing range for the booty-unchallenged by wearing a different outfit that emphasises her ba-donk-a-donk every week, because let’s face it, that’s the only real reason she applied, candidates go back in again.
Once everyone’s sat down, James is told that he wanted to ask Harry 1 why he was here so…go on then. James does so. Harry 1 replies that he was a hive of negativity throughout the task who was very difficult to manage and who was constantly actively trying to turn the girls on the team against him. James protests that this is NOT TRUE! HE SAID THAT HARRY 1 WAS AN OK PROJECT MANAGER ONCE! Lordalan concedes that this is true. Harry 1 protests that Lordalan didn’t see the Day 2 meeting, and asks Gbemi to “justify” this. Gbemi then does “justify” this, but points out that she agreed with it when it happened, because Harry 1 was a terrible Project Manager. Harry 1 ploughs on, saying that it was terribly demoralising for the team and stopped them working. Oh Harry 1, it was probably the most fun anyone else had in the whole 3 days.
Harry 1 is next asked why Gbemi is there, and he cites her poor product design and her lack of listening skills. Gbemi protests “I didn’t listen to what?” (*snort*) and Harry 1 replies that he gave her a clear product design brief and she didn’t stick to it. I think Harry 1 believes “didn’t listen to me” means “didn’t do exactly what I said, including the bits that I didn’t really explain properly”, although that may just be me remembering that Harris The Hippo debacle. Oh and she’s a big ol bitch as well. Not as much as James, admittedly but still.
Gbemi breaks in with an exhortation to BE REAL, and tells Harry 1 that whilst it’s fair that he made the final decisions, being Project Manager, he didn’t listen once, to anyone else, at all, at any point. Harry 1 asks what exactly it was that she said that he didn’t listen to, and she points out the whole “having a concept”/structure thing. She finishes in a blaze of glory, telling Harry 1 that there are other people on the team, and it is “not all about YOU, HARRY M“.
Sadly she then decides to nail herself into her own coffin by standing by her product design, and waffling about how she thinks it will stand the test of time as blah blah blah blah. I mean, she was doomed anyway because she’s a bit rubbish, and sulking with the occasional outburst of sass isn’t great TV, and also Lordalan is invoking a REVERSE PALOMA CURSE on Hannah’s crappy Boardroom decisions from two weeks ago, but still. Learn when he wants you to peddle away from something AT SPEED, Gbemi.
It’s time to ask who should be fired, and Harry 1 selects Gbemi for the packaging, James does the very James thing of suggesting that both Harry 1 AND Gbemi should be fired (probably hoping that Lordalan has to do a double firing soon. SPOILERS : he doesn’t – we’ve got a QUADRUPLE MEGA-FIRING on the horizon), and Gbemi goes for Harry 1, for his lack of structure.
Harry 1 gets the fire-teasing with Lordalan pondering why Harry 1 has been on the losing team every time. Is it just lucky (no) or is it because there’s something about him that’s fundamentally unworkable (yes)…hmmm…well let’s draw it out for a while longer and fire Gbemi. Gbemi squeaks out “thank you Lordalan” and Lordalan actually grunts out “…ok” like he’s had to put a labrador to sleep and it’s just slipped away now. Gbemi leaves to her sofa, and actually manages to look less surly here than at any point before it all episode.
Happily this illusion of only mild garrulousness is disrupted when Harry walks up to her offering to shake her hand and she says “yeah sure”, he takes this as a cue to go “HUG?!”, and she replies in a “I’m TOTALLY fine with this though” tone of voice to repeat that a hand-shake will be fine. So she shakes hands to show she’s not a TOTAL poor sport and then…gives James a massive hug. Oh Gbemi. Never change. In her TAXI OF SHAME she persists with saying she’s a great designer and this was just one job that got bad feedback. She’ll carry on learning and improving!”
Back at Apprentice Mansions and Secondary Colours Soundclash, Haya says that she’d be really disappointed if Gbemi left, and Hayley sighs that Harry 1 is probably going. Harry 2 says that James definitely shouldn’t go, and Lizzie says that she has no idea who’s coming back. SURPRISE, SURPRISE, IT’S THE BOYS! Hayley and Harry 1 share a fulsome hug (ugh, worst Evil Alliance ever), and he says that on the basis of the task Gbemi had to go. James dead-pans that Harry 1 is LYING and that he nearly went, and have has a good old giggle. OH HARRY 1, WHAT A CARD.
Next week : 10 ITEMS! Prepare for a confusing mess of an episode with lots of running around and arbitrary fines!