Ways to kill a vampire :
a) stake through the heart
b) exposure to direct sunlight
d) weighing down with pure silver
e) supermarket ready meals
6am and frankly, given his innate advantages
I’m surprised that Alex hasn’t been accruing more points in Phone Answering Wars. Just like being PM he has left it far far too late. Scores at this stage are :
(Natalie : 2)
Luisa : 1
Jordan : 1
Neil : 1
Dr Leah : 1
Alex : 1
Francesca : 0
Myles : 0
Jason has sadly been removed, as he is no longer eligible to win. Everybody else up there is still in play. Until the end of this episode, at least. The Voice tells Alex that he and the candidates are to meet Lordalan at the Gherkin, with cars arriving in 30 minutes. For those of you were fans of Alex primarily because…well…reasons, you’ll be glad to hear that the camerapeople are willing to help him go out with a bang.
This really has been a banner year hasn’t it? It looks like the cameraman’s lying on the floor to get that shot. It’s the gender-reversed equivalent of an upskirt. As Alex barrels upstairs waking everyone up, we get fascinating bonus footage of
Dr Leah drawing her face on. If anything, she looks LESS pouty when preparing her make-up.
Luisa : “I feel, like, a bit SHET”
Dr Leah : “Why’s that?”
Luisa : “Because I was just, like, in the BOARDROOM”
Dr Leah : “Well it’s because you’re coming across aggressive, so tone it down a bit”
Luisa : “Me? Aggressive? What about NEIL? PITBULL! He should be ILLEGAL!”
Dr Leah : *wanders off*
Luisa and Neil feuding feels so right that I can’t believe we’ve not seen any of it until this second. Then again Luisa feuding with EVERYBODY feels so right.
The candidates head off to the Gherkin and of course there’s nobody that Luisa’s feuding with SO much that she can’t use them as a bitching board for somebody else.
Luisa : “ZOMG you guys, don’t you think Alex HAS to be PM this week? IT’S WEEK NINE FORFUCKSSAKE! WHAT A LAME!”
Neil & Francesca : *nod along disinterestedly*
Meanwhile, in Endeavour Apprenticar A, Alex is sadly mumbling to Jordan
like it’s 1:00am and Jordan is a very sympathetic barman who’s suddenly regretting those 24 hour drinking laws coming into force, that he’s wanted to be PM for AGES but it just feels like nobody trusts him and that’s really sad because HE KNOWS he could be a great PM, what do you think it is ABOUT him Jordan? What is it about him that people just don’t like? Also Jordan is Alex’s best mate he is. Jordan briefly texts Myles and Dr Leah through his back pocket just to make sure that the plan is still totally for them all to vote Myles as PM right? He’s got experience in eating things!
The teams arrive at
Darth Vader’s helmet, here serving as the entrance to the Gherkin. Just in case you need any ideas JJ Abrams. They make their way up to the restaurant, as the music people play a soundtrack direct from a DTDVD knock-off of Pirates Of The Caribbean called “Jake Starling & The Raiders Of The Mediterranean : Legend Of Octopus Pete’s Gold” or something. Basically the music people are openly taking the piss at this point, given that they are soundtracking the beginning of the battle of Neil Neckbeard & Count Dickula to make semi-edible microwavable pasta.
Dr Leah would make a cracking figurehead though.
Anyway, Lordalan tells them all that they’re at a restaurant famous for its excellent food, and also for that fact that it’s in a gherkin. BUT! WAIT! Apparently there is an increasing market for excellent food OUTSIDE of a gherkin, and that market is being served by ready meals. It’s worth over a BILLION pounds per year. ONE BILLION. ONE BILLION POUNDS worth of lasagne made out of horse knobs and thai green curry made out of shredded cats and the less said about what goes into “tuna pasta bake” the better. The teams have to try to live up to these high culinary standards, as they create their own ready meals and then pitch them to three major retailers. Or as it usually goes “two major retailers and their slightly backwards country cousin, ASDA”. The team that sell the most win, the team that don’t done sell the most don’t win, and then Lordalan will fire whoever he likes.
Oh and speaking of which, Alex is automatically PM for Endeavour without there having to be a vote.
I’ve never seen Myles look more pissed off. It’s like Lordalan personally burnt his favourite yacht down. Evolve meanwhile are told to sort it out amongst themselves whose turn it is.
As the teams saunter off, Helpful Voiceover Man tells, without a hint of irony us that “ready meals are one of the hottest trends in food”.
MMMM! Even before the horsemeat scandal that would have been a tough sell.
Before we start, obviously there’s the small matter of Evolve electing a leader.
Luisa : “OMG you guys, it’s blates obv I’m not going to be PM after last week, because, like I nearly DIED and shet trying to turn you useless plonks around. You have a go!”
Neil : “I should be Project Manager because I am great rarrgh rarrgh Neil Neckbeard for Apprentice 2013 rarrgh!”
Francesca : “I should be Project Manager because I eat ready meals all the time in my tiny flat that seems to get brought up every other episode in a way that suggests my portion of the Final Five episode is going to be BLOODY BLEAK”
Luisa : “Oh oops, looks like I’ve got deciding vote and I decide Neil should be PM because Francesca smells LOL, ALLIANCE, WHAT ALLIANCE? LAST WEEK’S OVER FRANNIE FAT FANNY!”
Kaen : “Mmmm, smells like chicken”
There’s just absolutely no respect for turn taking this series is there?
Next discussion turns to what their concept should be. Luisa squeaks that Pan-Asian food is really healthy, and Neil says that he wants to develop this further and likes the idea of fusion. I mean…Pan-Asian already IS fusion cooking. It turns out what Neil means is “throwing noodles at Caribbean food”. Francesca nods along happily. Fusion it is.
Over on Endeavour, Alex is PM, and Nick has probably officially had to tell Myles to stop deliberately pretending that Dr Leah is Project Manager and also to stop talking to a point two inches to the left of Alex’s head and also to stop addressing Alex as the Project WOMANager.
Alex : “LET’S DO PAELLA!”
Jordan : “Maybe we can think about who we should be marketing our product to rather than just jumping in and picking a dis…”
Alex : “NO, LET’S DO PAELLA!”
I sense this is going to be a struggle. Dr Leah pushes Alex to pick a target market from the list they quite clearly have in front of them, and Myles says that he wants to create a product for kids, because that way it will be really easy to be unique and to stand out. Dr Leah says that she agrees. Alex meanwhile interviews that
oh dear now he has to win as Project Manager because it is make or break. It’s quite generic, but I’m including it because it’s the moment when I realise that Alex is the most Aardman looking human being this show has ever seen. Can we shoe-horn him into the next Wallace & Gromit as the antagonist, and soothe all our memories of that Bake-A-Lite girl bollocks that frankly ruined my childhood forever?
Back in the room, Alex decides that he and Myles are going to work on the branding, because Myles is the only parent on the team, so he’s needed for his keen insight into the kiddy market. I can’t wait for their range of foie gras burgers, complete with fun map and cut-out-and-keep instructions for pickpocketing from aristocrats whilst daddy does a striptease for them. Myles Mordaunt’s Monaco Munchables – a surefire task winner if ever there was one.
Jordan and Dr Leah meanwhile, are dispatched to kitchen duty, with Jordan designated as leader of the subteam. Words Alex actually says to Dr Leah : “Dr Leah, I know you don’t like cooking, but I’m sure the chef will be lovely to you”
Over on Evolve, a similar team subdivision is going on. Neil initially wants both women in the kitchen whilst he goes off and does the important work.
Ghost Of Feminist Icon Natalie Panayi : “WOO AND SHIT!”
Francesca protests that she wouldn’t have a clue how to even start in a kitchen, and Luisa says that she too is an awful cook. Baking she can do, cooking, she can’t. Briefly the thought of Luisa tangling with Mary Berry fills my mind and warms me. With nobody wanting to go in the kitchen, Neil says that he’s going to leave Francesca on her own, as he wants to “use Luisa’s marketing and branding experience”. In response, Francesca looks like she’s choking on her own tongue. Poor Francesca.
Kaen interviews that she finds Luisa’s refusal to go in the kitchen despite her supposed food industry experience suspicious, but she does like how she and Neil have reached a detente after spending all of last week “at one another’s throats” which I don’t remember. It IS kind of asking for Nick to burst in right of shot and go “ACTUALLY KAEN, I’LL TELL YOU HOW IT WENT……….BECAUSE I WAS THERE!”
Also Kaen seems unaccountably bothered by her own name, for some reason.
As they leave, Francesca tells Neil and Luisa not to murder one another. They both promise that they won’t. One Apprenticoup per series is enough, let’s face it.
The kitchen teams are dispatched, apparently to Derby. I guess this explains why Jason had to be got away with last week. Surviving Birmingham is one thing, but DERBY? Doesn’t bear thinking about. On the way, the Endeavour kitchen wizards discuss what they can cook. Jordan says that he can cook a pie. Fascinating stuff.
The branding teams however, are off to…erm…brand. Myles, deadpan as everything, turns to Alex and suggests that they call their product “Dracula’s Dinners”. Alex and Myles’ random hatemance is so amazing. Alex then replies, ignoring Myles utterly, that he wants to do a range of foods from around the world. Of course, what Alex really means is that he wants to create a funny little mascot (called Popty Ping, which is Welsh slang for “microwave”) and what better thing can you do with a funny little mascot than to stick him on a gondola and/or shaking some maracas? Myles seems bored by this development. They don’t have funny little mascots in Monaco.
Neil and Luisa on the other hand, have arrived at a target market. They’re going for students, and brainstorming brand name ideas. Neil turns to Luisa and says “go on Luisa, bounce one”. Not the first time Luisa’s heard that I’ll bet… Luisa’s bouncy one in this instance is
“Good Stuff”. Neil crinkles up his nose. Neil, as the inventor of “A Bitter This” is a fine one to wrinkle anything.
Back on Endeavour, the process of feeding back ideas is involved and discursive :
Alex : “My ideas is “Meals From Around The World” for kids!”
Jordan & Dr Leah :
“WE LOVE IT!”
Myles : “My idea is “Deadly Dinners – Healthy Horrible Histo…I mean Food”
Jordan & Dr Leah :
“WE HATE IT!”
Feedback over, Myles and Alex roll up to
Daddy Donkey at Leather Lane market. I mean…this place has “Myles” written all over it doesn’t it? In my favourite moment of Alex and Myles bitchery so far, as they wander the street, Myles tells Alex to
put his bloody umbrella down, because it’s not even raining. They’re here because Myles is on the look-out for mums. You know. For market research purposes. He and Alex both approach a few likely looking women, and the feedback is the same. They like Alex’s idea, they don’t like Myles’. Also Alex still won’t
put that bloody umbrella down. This is officially Myles’ worst day since all his micropigs escaped and ate the Duchess of Devonshire’s best sundress and that was the end of that grift. About the only woman he can find to endorse his idea is this
vaguely Gothic looking woman, and even she says that she thinks she’d be more likely to buy Alex’s idea. AND this is after Myles deliberately explains Alex’s idea really badly so it sounds as dull as possible. Alex interviews that his idea is getting much better feedback and he thinks it’d be better because it could be sold all year round, whereas nobody wants “Dracula’s Christmas Bolognese”. Erm, I DO! THAT WOULD BE THE BEST THING EVER!
On the way back to the car, Alex giggles to Myles that the market research was “food for thought”. Myles snarls back that he hates it when Alex says stuff like that. Such an inspirational pairing.
Alex : “LOOK MYLES! LOOK! POPTY’S ON A GONDOLA!”
“IT’S ITALIAN, INNIT?”
Myles *spluttering* : “What has that got to do with geography?”
Alex *with pinpoint perfect oblivious timing* : “Nothing” *blink* *blink* *blink*
Alex : “Anyway Myles, what are your ideas?”
Myles : “MY IDEA IS DEADLY DINNERS!”
Alex : “No Myles, what are your ideas for POPTY? Shall we make him ride around in a kangaroo’s pouch? OOOH OOOH I KNOW! LET’S HAVE POPTY HUGGING A MOOSE!”
Myles : *digs manicured nails into his hands so hard he draws blood*
My favourite part is Alex advertising Spaghetti BOLOGNESE with a picture of Popty in a gondola, ostensibly to teach kids about geography. It’s like advertising haggis with a picture of a mod.
Sadly we are dragged away from this mess before Myles garottes Alex, as Neil is telling Francesca that they’ve settled on a Caribbean-Thai fusion
and that they’re on their way to a Caribbean restaurant for inspiration. Once there, they eat some Caribbean food, and it burns Neil’s mouth off.
In other food-prep related news, Dr Leah, Jordan and Francesca are all now arriving in Derby. There, Dr Leah has finally found the answer to all her hair related problems.
It’s like that moment in The Sword In The Stone where King Arthur dons the crown for the first time isn’t it? At this point the edit also chooses to mock Francesca for appearing in the kitchen in heels
like she’s supposed to keep a pair of trainers on her at all times for occasions such as these. Although having said that
this IS admittedly a hilarious visual. Luisa reads her recipe for Carribbean Jerk Chicken (obtained from the Caribbean restaurant) down the phone to Francesca who
looks comedically baffled, whilst Neil nurses the owie that’s rapidly spreading over the roof of his mouth. The recipe up to this point has literally been “sweat an onion for a bit, then throw a bunch of stuff in the pan after it”. Inspector Kaen
stands around looking at Luisa suspiciously, and then interviews that clearly Luisa is a lying liar who lies because she’s ALL OVER THE FOOD, despite having claimed not to know how to cook. Seriously, Luisa is just reading “and then you add the lemongrass and then you add the coconut milk and then you add the green peppers and then you add the horsemeat and then you add the paprika” off a sheet of paper and everyone’s acting like she’s Julia flipping Child. She suggests to Francesca that she adds two teaspoons of paprika rather than one, and everyone falls over like she just bust out the liquid nitrogen and suggested a sous vide.
Luisa tries to encourage her by telling her that really it’s just like cooking a stir fry. Francesca’s all “WOAH WOAH WOAH A STIR FRY, I’M NOT ON MASTERCHEF!” and Luisa and Neil tell her just to try it. It might go fine. Honest. Luisa closes by telling Francesca just to add some passata at the last minute to make the sauce a bit wetter.
Francesca aint got time for no passata. To cap things off, she gets to work and asks the chef watching over her if it’s possible to burn chicken.
I mean…there’s “can’t cook” and then there’s this level. We are officially past even Lucinda claiming not to know what you do with a camera.
3:30pm now, and fresh from downing five pints of milk, Neil is arriving with Luisa at a branding and design agency. He describes the team’s fusion concept to this Missing Weasley Twin
who says that it “sounds different”. And by “different”, he means “disgusting”. Luisa noisily suggests they call their product “Ginger Mister” and Mr Weasley
pulls this face. I’ll tell you this, the branding & design people don’t normally give this strong a selection of faces. For performing above the call of duty, The Lost Weasley Twin can be this week’s Incidental Character Boyfriend. Anywho, what happens next is kind of beautiful, in that during the brainstorm of product names, Luisa and Neil start off pulling from different directions and disagreeing with one another, but somewhere around Luisa’s suggestion of “Oh My Pow” they both start slowly finishing one another’s sentences and having the same ideas and merging their minds until Luisa is just
gawping at Neil in the realisation they OMG THEY HAVE, LIKE, BECOME THE SAME PERSON AND SHET. It takes about 7 seconds all told, but it’s so much fun. Anyway, Luisa interviews that she’s really glad to be working with someone who is just as strong as she is for once. To produce
this. Ah well.
Back on Endeavour, Myles and Alex are still in their car to nowhere, and Myles is
still plugging away with his Deadly Dinners idea, despite having found nobody else who’s interested. He tells Alex that his concept is very muddy, whilst at least his is clear. Alex claims that he is TORN APART over these two ideas and frets and frays and doesn’t appear to notice that he should probably be seizing his one chance to be PM with both hands, not wringing them together. Then for some reason, out of nowhere, he decides that Myles was right, and lobs Popty Ping in the bin to go with Deadly Dinners. It’s one of the most baffling decisions I’ve ever seen on the show, not least because it’s come out of absolutely nowhere.
Indeed, Jordan and Dr Leah still appear to be cooking to Popty’s brief, having some up with a spaghetti prawn bolognese and another prawn…pasta…thing that both taste great. Jordan feeds the resulting mixture to Dr Leah and it all gets
a bit too erotic for me to handle. They takes their wares to a conveniently assembled focus group of food testers.
The Universe, outraged at Jason’s departure tries to force him back into being but instead
just gets all his body hair to burst through this poor innocent individual at once. He was smooth as as a freshly waxed Ricky “The Fitness” Martin before this episode started. Dr Leah leads the session, and then makes the mistake of asking everyone how they feel about how Endeavour have integrated prawns into their product, as they’re a food that young kids often aren’t considered to want to eat seafood.
This woman then launches into how all her children love prawns and have sophisticated palettes and she’s been taking them on holidays to Spain where they’ve learned how to cure their own chorizo and little India is particularly into keeeeeeeeeeenwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
(I kid, it’s just a sweet little anecdote about her little girl wanted a box of prawns for her birthday. But still…cool story bro.)
In a vote, the prawn bolognese wins, and Jordan and Dr Leah report this back to Myles. Who promptly tells them that they’re now doing Deadly Dinners. Jordan shrugs to Dr Leah as if to say
“I don’t know how, but he’s somehow screwed Alex over again. Bravo Myles, bravo”. Once Myles is off the phone, Jordan chats merrily with Dr Leah about how this is just typical Alex.
And so it is that “Deadly Dinners” is born. We get some shots of bored looking factory workers slopping it around on conveyor belts and their mascot
erm…Skully the skull. Myles says they should probably write in the “boring bit for parents” that the product doesn’t actually contain bats blood. Alex wants Skully to be surrounded by fresh fruit and veg, making him the Carmen Miranda of the afterlife. Myles says “no”. Personally I think Myles should defer to Alex on matters pertaining to the undead.
Nick, having just warmed up on Luisa last week, unleashes a veritable TORRENT of stupid Nick faces all over Skully The Skull
He thinks it’s a stupid idea, because you’d normally see pictures of skulls on dangerous products, like bleach, drain cleaner, or Haribo Hallowe’en Mix. Either that, or Nick just doesn’t like being reminded of mortality. I WONDER WHY.
Back in Derby, Francesca is wondering if you have to cook ginger
and is just swilling noodles around her frying pan. She then throws some at the wall to see if they are ready. They are ready. Sadly not ready enough for their focus group, who think they’re disgusting. The noodles are dry and taste horrid and don’t go with the Caribbean chicken. She feeds this back to Neil and Luisa, who ask her if she at least liked what she produced herself. She says that she doesn’t know, because she didn’t taste it. Luisa and Neil boggle their brains, and decide that they’ll just have to go with it at this point, because they’re stuck.
2 minutes before the deadline for product design now, and Alex is stuck with Skully. Stuck in
a slightly surrealist place. He keeps on fussing and poking and rearranging until Myles forces him to just press “print” already. Myles interviews that
he has found this day with Alex slightly trying. Also finished are Neil & Luisa
The BBC produced a spoof knock-up of this packaging, but with Neil & Luisa’s faces on it in little stars, to show that they were the powerful minds. I believe it is a testament to Neil and Luisa both that it took me a full day to realise that this was a joke. Luisa brags that her package is young, funky, and contemporary. Neil nods that it really does. What an alliance. She and Neil CACKLE at one another that they either LOVE ONE ANOTHER or HATE ONE ANOTHER there IS NO IN-BETWEEN. I literally do not remember them interacting at all before this week, but ok.
Kaen break in to sententiously interview that Luisa has taken on board feedback, stopped game-playing, and pulled together with her team to create a truly harmonious working environment.
As if to cap off this beautiful moment, Neil and Luisa emerge from the design agency, as the music swells romantically,
arm in arm. Luisa looks so much more into this moment than Neil. I would bet you VEGAS MONEY that this little skit was prompted by her braying “GO ON NEIL, IT’LL BE A LAUUUUUUUUUUGH!”
9am, and it’s time for the Design Elves to magic over the finished product to the Apprentice Mansion. It does seem a bit like less effort has gone into this than usually would have. Their arrival sees
Francesca and Luisa already bickering over something on Luisa’s laptop. Maybe Francesca doesn’t like the seats Luisa’s got her for the Justin Bieber concert. Just so the team don’t get to glory on camera TOO much more about their packaging, we jump more or less straight to the product itself.
MMMMMMMM. Luisa says it’s too bland, and Neil says that the noodles are too chewy. Francesca says nothing, and gives them both evils.
The finished packaging for Endeavour meanwhile
looks like this. Dr Leah dismissively whines that it looks like a “Hallowe’en Meal” and therefore is a bit too seasonal. Is it wrong that, rather than Skully, or the oozing “deadly dinners” name, what really bothers me is that it’s grey? It’s just a bit unappealing. Also
I know I’m a fine one to talk, but SPELL-CHECK THAT SHIT. “Heatlhy”?
The teams now head out for their second day duties. One half of the team is staying back at the ranch to put their pitches together, whilst the other half of the team go out to get “market feedback”. What they’re supposed to do with this market feedback, God only knows. Alex and Jordan are the market feedback team for Endeavour, and they are both clearly envisioning a Jedi Jim “Million Pound Order” situation. Poor lambs.
They arrive at their feedback location, which is a primary school. What ensues is a bunch of children falling so in love with Deadly Dinners that they actually start stabbing one another with forks to get at it. When faced with a low-cost healthy (probably, I dunno, moreso that Turkey Twizzlers anyway) ready meal that their children will literally stab their peers to consume, the parents
whine about the packaging. OH NO, IT’S GOT A SKULL ON IT! What a bunch of sour bores. I bet these are exactly the same people who snapped up “GENUINELY DANGEROUS AND EXCITING WILDERNESS KNIFE BOLLOCKS FOR BOYS!” two weeks ago. Jordan gets the kids to vote – one hands up if they liked it, two hands up if they loved it. All the children
throw all their limbs up in the air like they’re coming to Jesus at a Baptist arrival. I think some of them start speaking in tongues. Meanwhile their parents sit at the side sulking. Personally I think it’s because they’ve learned that their children love Deadly Dinners more than they love them. Nick re-explains all the above, again, for the hard of thinking, as Jordan and Alex depart on a wave of pre-teen affection normally only reserved for anthropomorphised woodland creatures.
Meanwhile, over on Evolve :
Student : “It’s really bland, I can’t taste the chilli, the noodles are really gluey…”
Luisa : “Yeah, it does taste like shet doesn’t it? I think whoever cooked it was probably dropped on their HEAD as a BAYBEE? Like, really HARD. So it made their BRAIN not work? Like, so buying it, you’re like helping out people with like, REAL PROBLEMS FUNCTIONING.”
Luisa and Francesca then engage in a round of competitive feedbacking, wherein Luisa reads out as many negative comments as she can find, whilst Francesca reads off the positive ones. It’s just…really pointless ego boosting on both parts but…I still don’t even understand why they’re even collecting this feedback, so ok. Neil calls them up and asks them what the feedback is. Luisa says the feedback is “OUR BITS ARE GREAT NEIL, BUT FRANCESCA’S BITS ARE LIKE WELL CRAP AND SHE SMELLS!”.
Work that into your pitch. Neil says that he’s come up with a strategy – go into the retailers and say that they’ll promise to make their product better, but only if they pre-order it in huge quantities. Also he is from Nigeria and recently he has come into a lot of money and is looking for someone with a good head for business transactions that will be brought to UK in form of “Oh My Pow” ready meals for potential total value of £10,00,000,0!
Of course this strategy actually works. THANKS ASDA!
On the way to the pitches now are Dr Leah and Myles. Jordan rings up with their market research and Dr Leah forces one of those smiles of hers.
She’s going to have to iron that out in the morning. Francesca and Luisa meanwhile are playing with their statistics. Apparently 93% of the students said that they thought “Oh My Pow!” stood out, but only 33% would actually buy it. Luisa says they should probably leave that bit out. I don’t know… What % of people who saw an Amstrad faxtoasteremailer bought one? Are there enough decimal places in existence to convey it?
Alex and Jordan are now arriving at their first pitch, heralded by
two pieces of arrow based humour. Is there any better kind? JORDAN POULTON IS DIWALI! They rejoin with Myles and Dr Leah, and Myles begins the pitch, staring down
this bunch of ASDAs. And it totally is the same bunch who bought into Jedi Jim’s “Lucky Stars” as well. Throughout the pitch, Alex decides to cap off an entire episode of getting under Myles’ skin, by repeatedly, very slowly, pricking the film lid of their Deadly Dinner with what I can only presume is a toothpick. A tiny tiny toothpick. That makes a lot of noise. This sends Myles right to the edge of stroking out. At one point he actually
spins his head to yell at Alex, then remembers not to, because they’re in a pitch. Part of me hopes that Alex has been doing this two day long Chinese Water Torture to Myles as a form of revenge for ruining his chances of winning. A very significant part.
Alex : “THE MICROWAVE WON’T TURN ON!!!”
ASDA Gorp : “Try pressing the big “on” button at the bottom”
Alex : “OH, OK THEN!”
The head ASDA gorp says that (*deep preparatory sigh*) AS A MOTHER she has serious issues with the packaging because it has a skull on it.
I personally have issues with how Endeavour have apparently configured themselves as a team to perfectly represent a perspective based optical illusion. In the end, I bet it turns out that they were ALL THE SAME HEIGHT ALL ALONG.
Evolve’s first pitch is to upmarket online supermarket Ocado.
They’re so upmarket, they’re just going to casually show off how shiny their tables are. So shiny. Luisa leads the pitch and it goes relatively well, although the expected outcome occurs – Ocado like the packaging, but they don’t like the contents. Neil pulls his “we’ll make it taste nicer, honest” gambit, and they’re away.
Morrisons are next, and Dr Leah
is faking enthusiasm as hard as she can. So very hard. She pitches her little socks off, but she keeps on getting interrupted by Myles’ tales of his tomboy 10 year old daughter and Jordan explaining the brand in detail and Alex’s…face. Nick interviews that Endeavour don’t seem to have that much confidence in Dr Leah’s ability to answer basic questions. Mmmmhmmm.
Next is Neil’s pitch to ASDA.
Yes, now that’s it’s come to the crunch, Neil Clough’s pitching skills have left Kaen cold, and wondering if maybe she shouldn’t just take over herself to finish things off. It does appear mostly to be him reeling off percentages from their market feedback session with very little flair or elan. Interestingly, as Kaen concludes with a “I don’t think it was a very good pitch at all” soundbite
she’s actually standing in the Ocado office. The plot thickens. Again, the team are questioned about their flavours, and Luisa says that if they make a big order, they will definitely adjust the product by adding scotch bonnet and pineapple to increase the flavour. Well, at least she’s being specific. I just hope they’ve budgeted for it (LOL budget what now?)
Whilst Luisa negotiates the possibility of getting her pineapples out for a hefty fee, Endeavour are on their way to their last pitch, to Ocado.
Jordan : “Yeah, I think it’s really great that I’m pitching. Really it’s past time. Lordalan has rightly criticised me for not seizing the opportunity, and now I’m going to show him that it’s one of my key skills. Oh, by the way Alex
why aren’t you pitching?”
Alex replies that he’s really more of a manager than a public speaker. Maybe if he did it in the form of a jingle?
Anyway, Jordan pitches to Ocado, and I can think of nothing nicer or nastier that I could possibly say other than he sounds like he does this literally every single day of his life. Possibly without sleeping. Outside, everyone celebrates Jordan’s amazing pitch,
Dr Leah bending like she’s bracing herself to move a particularly heavy garden water feature as she does so.
7pm, and it’s Francesca closing out the pitches for Evolve, to Morrisons.
It goes fine, although she does come out with one truly memorable piece of Franny Waffle when she says that “Oh My Pow targets the people that want to eat it”, which sounds more like a strategy for surviving in the jungle than in the ready meals market. Their food just gets called bland, again, some more. Neil does his strategy move, again, some more.
Amazingly, this session ends with Kaen saying the following :
“Yet again the retailers have come to the conclusion that the food makes no impact at all because it’s tasteless. They’ve tried to sell the idea that they’re going to develop the flavour, change the flavour, improve the flavour…It just now is down to whether the retailers believe them”.
Bless her, thinking this is all real. Someone’s gone a bit too far down the rabbit hole for her own good. Seriously, it’s like she’s gone LARPing, wandered into Heathrow Airport and started swinging her sword at all the metal birds. IT’S NOT A MATTER OF “BELIEVING” ANYTHING KAEN! THEY ALL KNOW IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!
I love the idea that this task is being decided solely by whether the head buyer for ASDA thinks Neil has a nice trustworthy face by the way.
Let’s move to an even better scene, QUICK!
Luisa : “Hey Francesca, do you think all the retailers were really disappointed that the marketing that Neil and I did was SO GREAT that it inevitably left them with expectations that no human-created food could fulfil, let alone the dog-muck you SHAT OUT? I mean…you didn’t even TASTE it. Not that I blame you because it tasted like sucking a teabag through one of Becky’s gym socks but that’s kind of what you do to food. I mean, NEIL would have done it wouldn’t you Neil? And made it not taste so bloody horrible? Right?”
The Universe : “ALRIGHT LUISA, YOU’VE MADE YOUR POINT!”
The new secretary is
trying to pull focus with that blouse. It’s not happening new secretary. Let it go.
Candidates enter, and sit. Lordalan finishes spooning the last of his oh my pow down the lav, flushes, and enters. He starts by reminding the teams that this week the task was about ready meals. Or, more specifically, the boxes they come in. Can I just say that every time I think Dr Leah’s hair can’t possibly be more full of secrets…
it proves me wrong.
Alex is identified as Endeavour PM, and also as only being Endeavour PM because Lordalan forced the issue. He’s asked how he came about his ideas, and he says he was oh so torn for the entirety of the first day between Popty Ping and Skully. We’ve all been there. Lordalan says that Popty Ping sounds all WELSH and that. He doesn’t think you’d sell anything with a WELSH name in the rest of the country. At this Jordan unleashes such an
epic smug face I’m not sure anybody else should bother ever again. Except possibly Andre Rieu.
Alex explains that he was trying to broaden children’s culinary horizons, so a non-English name was perfectly in-keeping. Lordalan asks Alex how then, given that he was so in love with Popty Ping that he spend all day creating a 45 episode Canal+ tv show about him, he ended up doing “Deadly Dinners”. Did Popty have a nasty accident on his gondola? Alex replies that he went with Myles’ opinion on marketing to children because he has kids and Alex doesn’t. Myles looks
Lordalan gets all
“WELL I HAVE KIDS AND IF I SEE A FING WIV A SKULL ON IT I KEEP IT AWAY FROM EM! I HAD TO MOVE LEE MCQUEEN OFF BABYSITTING DUTY CAUSE OF THAT BLAHDDY NONSENSE, I AINT MAKING THE SAME BLEEDIN MISTAKE AGAIN!” about things, to which Myles replies that all kids love gruesome things. By “all kids” I presume he means his daughter, who is increasingly sounding like a handful even by the usual standards of the children of international con artist man-whores.
(Full disclosure : At the age of about 10 I got so wigged out by an episode of Only Fools And Horses that I couldn’t sleep on my own for a weekend. Feel free to speculate on which one. I’m just saying, not ALL kids love rolling around in fake intestines)
Lordalan goes on an extended riff about how this product could be part of an extended range, including “lethal lasagne” and “homicidal hummus”. Homicidal Hummus is the hands down actual funniest thing that Lordalan has ever said (on purpose), right? If you can remember anything better, put it in the comments section, because I am DYING to hear it.
“Goodteamleader?” gets a muted positive response from Myles who then, with practically no prodding whatsoever, then admits that really he made all of the actual decisions for the team. Alex was just a puppet figurehead. In fact he goes so far as even to say that Deadly Dinners was “the only genuine idea the team had”. Alex defends himself against this nonsense by…nodding and blinking. To this bragging, Lordalan gives Myles such a Dirty Old Man leer that
even Steptoe would find it a bit much.
We move next to Evolve, where Neil is identified as PM. Lordalan asks how this came about, and Neil explains that, as the only person to not make a grab for power, Luisa put herself in the position of getting to choose between the candidates. It’s like how in Busted Matt always got to pick who rode shotgun. Lordalan asks Luisa if she was “too sore from last week” to put herself through it again, and Luisa says that she just wanted harmony on her team. How noble. “Goodteamleader” gets very enthusiastic responses from both ladies, Luisa in particular.
Neil outlines his first day in command next. We cover the decision to put Francesca in the kitchen, whilst he and Luisa created their brand – “Oh My Pow”. Lordalan snorts that it sounds like a dog food brand. It really doesn’t. He then asks Francesca how their food tastes. She says that she doesn’t know.
Fair enough. She goes on to say that she just cooked the thing as quickly as possible, and didn’t have time for things like tasting. Lordalan calls this “the most bizarre excuse he’s ever heard in the Boardroom” which…let’s not start, because we’ll be here all day, but I’ll just start with “wind is my least favourite type of weather” and leave it at that.
Kaen explains to Lordalan that “Neil’s problem was that neither of the ladies can cook” (ooft) and then Luisa promptly falls into the trap her own ego has made by piping up that she SO can cook. Kaen points out, imperiously that
this isn’t what she said earlier. Luisa “clarifies” that it became clear over the course of the day that she knew far more about food than either Neil or Francesca. I love that Luisa’s argument is basically “I thought I couldn’t cook, and then I saw Francesca”.
The second day is covered next, and Neil gets to hear unedited portions of the market feedback for the first time.
It includes some wag who said “Serving Suggestions : Don’t Serve It”. Personally I think “Serving Suggestions : Don’t” is pithier but…everyone has their own sense of comic time I guess. Neil then recounts how he bounced back from this setback, setting operation “Claim We’ll Fix Everything” into motion, and then gets some backhanded praise from Lordalan for his judicious use of statistics in his pitch. Mostly the positive ones.
Neil : “I really do think I put a lot of passion, dedication and effort into my pitch, and I really think I sold the brand and push…
Lordalan : “Kaen said it was boring”
Neil : “….ok”.
For Evolve, Ocado ordered 300 units, Morrisons ordered 0 units, and ASDA ordered 2500 units, for a total of 2800 units
For Endeavour, Ocado ordered 1000 units, Morrisons ordered 0 units, and ASDA ordered 0 units, for a total of 1000 units
They are told that their reward is to go drive around in a Ferrari. Luisa is so excited by this that
she actually does jazz hands. Actual jazz hands. They all run outside to hug and the cameraman
does his best to find the angle where it looks most like Neil and Luisa are Frenching. Meanwhile, back in the Boardroom Lordalan tells Endeavour about how he got the shits from seafood once. Classy guy. Now go away to Loser Cafe and prepare for a similar fate. Those bacon butties are MURDER on the small intestine.
Evolve congregate to race Ferraris about under an
angry looking sky. They’re welcomed by “Russ” who asks them who wants to go first. Neil smirks that he normally leads the way, so he’ll do it.
Luisa draws up a groan that sounds rather like an offensive impersonation of a Chinese gentleman. Like she’s about to throw a “MISS GORIGHTRY!” on the end. Also, I think Neil may be wearing items woven entirely from his own neckbeard. Business plan, perhaps?
Anywho, Neil goes first, with Francesca following and
beating his lap-time, barely. Look at that face. I can’t remember such pure joy ever being seen on this show. It’s transcendental. You can tell she did a dance as soon as she got out the car, and I’m sorry we didn’t get to see it. Finally there’s Luisa
squeaking “LATERS LOSERS!” and zooming off spraying dirt in their faces. She doesn’t win. She doesn’t even change gear, according to Neil. But the important thing is that she did it in a FERRARI.
At Loser Cafe meanwhile,
Jordan walks in with his collar popped. Quite right too. Just because it’s a cafe for losers doesn’t mean you can’t go in big pimpin’. In there, Alex is a sad panda, mostly about how how he lost because he followed Myles’ opinion regarding Deadly Dinners. He should never have made the mistake of listening to somebody who has children. As if to affirm this, Myles then calls Deadly Dinners “his baby” and says that if that’s why they lost the task, then he has to take some responsibility after all. It was 50% of his DNA. And judging from how it came up looking, 50% Count Alex’s. (ZOMG IT’S A GAYBY! HOW ADORABLE!)
We open with Lordalan shaking his head that a couple of the major retailers chose not to buy any of their ready meals, and asking Alex why that is. Alex immediately blarts out it was because of the branding and the concept and that was all because of Myles Lordalan. Myles done it. Myles, Myles, Myles. Myles, clearly so fed up of Alex that he’s going to take to wearing a crucifix made out of garlic around his neck, says that he personally doesn’t think the brand was all bad.
Lordalan says that they’re now going to “analyse” where the brand went wrong. By “analyse” he means
“read off a bit of paper”. He reads “Mum is our customer, and packaging must appeal to Mum”. Effing ASDA. Obviously this is where Myles went wrong, because he is a DAD, and dads don’t know NUFFING about NUFFING. If Dad went out to do shopping he’d accidentally buy MAGIC BEANS and wind up crashing his car into a WONDERBRA advert, bloody MEN. To be fair, it’d be hard for Myles to listen to “mum” when “mum” got shoved into Monaco harbour locked in the boot of a Jaguar when she worked out where Myles was funnelling her trust fund off to…
What a trail of broken hearts and bodies he has left.
Alex then says that he’s gutted, because his instincts all along were to market to parents rather than to children. Myles asks him why he didn’t say this whilst they were actually doing the marketing then. I suspect the answer is “because this is something I only picked up by listening to Jordan’s pitch and now Imma pretend it was my idea all along, and I wasn’t just captivated by the idea of Popty doing the cha cha in Rio dressed as a drag queen”. In response Alex just
glares at Myles. Not really an argument is it?
Next we bring up the team’s “market research” at the school (I thought that was “market feedback”? Hmm?) and how the parents all hated the packaging and brand name for Deadly Dinners.
Lordalan : “What’s the point of market research if you take no BLAHDDY notice of it?”
a) NOT WHAT YOU SAID LAST WEEK
b) BECAUSE THEY COULDN’T, BECAUSE THE PACKAGING WAS ALREADY COMPLETED
I mean, there’s “oh we’ll add some pineapple chunks to it and it’ll be fine” and then there’s “we’ve completely changed our product name, brand story, and packaging all in the last five seconds”. Alex says that he did listen to the market research (/feedback) – specifically the parts where the children all loved the product. Lordalan and Nick both huff that of course kids loved the product, because it was “a bit of terror”.
Nick : “Of course they loved it, they were all egging each other on! It’s fun! They’ve never done this before!”
Nick’s schooldays there.
Dr Leah’s pitch is covered next, specifically the fact that all the men on the team kept on jumping in and trying to take over. As if to prove the point, Myles jumps in before Dr Leah can answer, saying the pitch went round in circles and he had to jump in to save Dr Leah because nobody was listening to her. Dr Leah affects disgruntled disbelief
/a migraine and says that she admits that her pitch wasn’t the best. But it was still as good as Myles, if not better, because that was as DULL AS DISHWATER. Nick takes this opportunity to sidle in (because he knows…BECAUSE HE WAS THERE) and say that Jordan gave the bestest pitch Lordalan. Like Lordalan’s not capable of judging this from the fact that it was the only one that resulted in any orders. Dr Leah agrees that Jordan’s pitch was by far the best of the three.
Kaen, now in the hunt for a new boy toy after Neil’s pitching technique sent her to sleep, asks Jordan for his pitching secrets. Jordan says that his pitch very much focused around a double-ended campaign aimed at increasing brand recognition in children whilst lessening guilt in parents. It really is impossible to talk about good marketing without sounding incredibly sinister isn’t it? Lordalan asks who was ultimately responsible for not getting this sooner, and producing their off-putting brand, and Alex says he holds Myles solely responsible. Myles says he’ll agree to that. Between this and Dr Leah admitting her pitch was crap, there’s an awful lack of blame-shifting in this boardroom. BOO. Of course he goes on to say that it was the only real idea the team came up with so…
Alex responds to this with a
KUNG FU CHOP and by yelling “TRUE FACT!”. Apparently the true fact is that he only followed Myles’ opinion because he’s a parent. I’m not sure how this is Myles’ fault. It’s not as though he pushed it beyond saying “my daughter would love this” …maybe twice? Lordalan then makes a lame joke about how this boardroom is getting like a microwave meal, because it’s GETTING HEATED and GOING ROUND IN CIRCLES. It’s also IRRADIATED and FUNDAMENTALLY LESS SATISFYING THAN IF YOU’D COOKED IT PROPERLY.
Lordalan asks Alex next why he didn’t go with Popty Ping. Alex says that he was worried that Myles wouldn’t co-operate if they didn’t go with his idea (lame) and that a parent was telling him about a brand meant for kids, so he HAD to listen. Never mind all the parents at the market research (the actual market research, not the “market feedback”) who’d told him that they didn’t like the idea. Alex is doing…really quite a poor job at defending this decision, to be quite honest.
He’s asked who he’s bringing back into the final boardroom, and he says that basically he just wants to bring Myles back, so they can settle this feud once and for all.
Lordalan says that that’s not allowed. He has to pick two. Alex says that he was really pleased with the contributions of both Jordan and Dr Leah on this task, but of the two, he thinks Dr Leah was slightly less amazing.
Candidates go out, Nick sneers at Dr Leah’s “small presence” (sorry we can’t all be 42DDs Nick), candidates come back in again.
Lordalan starts by telling that he presumes that Alex blames Myles entirely for the failure of the task then. Alex says that he does blame the branding entirely on Myles, and Lordalan flutters his eyelashes in disbelief that Alex refuses to take any responsibility. Alex says he definitely does, which is why he only “chose to bring back Myles and myself”. I love that he says that like he had any choice in the matter.
Lordalan goes on to say that, regardless, he’s glad Dr Leah has been brought back, because he doesn’t really think she’s contributed a lot over the course of the 9 tasks they’ve done so far. HEY! THAT’S NOT FAIR! SHE DID LOGISTICS ONCE! Dr Leah replies that she has performed week in, week out, in whatever role she’s been given. Last week she directed the advert, which got good reviews, and this week she was the chef, and her food got great reviews. She’s not been “put in the frame of glory” but she
HAS DELIVERED. She doesn’t think Lordalan can say that she hasn’t. Lordalan replies that he’s saying it because he’s worried about potentially going into business with a do-nothing. He’s not sure Dr Leah can handle a £250,000 business. Dr Leah snaps that she
SO CAN and in fact she is the most reliable and consistent person in the process. Like that time she was told to go to the souk but instead decided to go to the mall because ZEESHAAN’S A NOB. She goes on to say that she is safe, and reliable, and she’s not going to go off spending £250,000 on penny-whistles and moon pies.
Lordalan goes on to give the speech he normally gives at this point about how we’re near the end, and one of the remaining people is going to be his business partner, so it’s time for things to GET REAL and everybody to start flinging that mud, because there’s no room left to be that 5th person in a team of 8 who closed a medium-szed beer keg sale and got a small amount of shine for it. He then goes on to say that up until Dr Leah’s little stumping speech there, he hadn’t heard from her all process which…ok. I guess she can be glad that sticking her neck on the line and calling Zeeshaan a sexist isn’t actually going to come back and bite her.
Dr Leah : “Erm, you’re asking what I’VE done? WHAT THE HELL HAS MYLES DONE? WAXED HIS PECS AND DANCED AROUND IN A TANGA? NO THANK YOI! I’VE OUTPERFORMED MYLES ON EVERY TASK! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE MYLES? SOLD A FEW CAULIFLOWERS? WELL DONE MR MONACO!”
Myles : “The last two tasks have been creative tasks Dr Leah and I came up with ideas like Herbert The Pervert and Deadly Dinners. What ideas did you come up with? An exciting new way to style your hair to look like Tangela?”
Lordalan then breaks in to call Myles “Mr Monaco” and making fun of him for spending his days “bumping into Prince Albert”. Hey, if that’s where the money is…He asks Myles if he thinks he’s performed over the last 9 weeks, and Myles says that, given that he normally only associates with luxury brands and people of high net worth, he thinks he’s done quite well working for Lordalan on these tasks. Dr Leah rolls her eyes so beatifically and languidly at this that she
starts to resemble a Smiths album cover.
Alex is grilled next, as Lordalan tells us that he is a “young man who claims he’s started up some business somewhere”. Gosh, these RAYZOOMAYs are just getting more and more detailed aren’t they? Alex says that he set up his current tombstone business in his garage when he was 19, yes. Lordalan asks him why then his business plan is a “legal umbrella” company. I think we all know that illegal umbrellas are a menace. Alex goes on to say that he sold his tombstone business (although by the looks of the papers he didn’t have much choice) and started up a CCTV business, and now it’s time to move on to something else. Alex is 22.
Lordalan asks Alex if he has any legal qualifications. Alex says no, he does not. Presumably as a response to what has happened to all the candidates who did… Lordalan stares in blank bemusement, and says that really he always tells candidates to stick to what they know. Says Lordalan, the statistician and technology, aviation, cosmetics, property, sport, education entrepreneur. Dr Leah breaks in to say that Alex is like this on the tasks as well, constantly coming up with ludicrous pie in the sky ideas that have no relevance to the task, whereas she considers herself to be entirely realistic and grounded at all times.
She doesn’t think it’s realistic to start a law firm with no legal experience, and Alex huffs that he’ll just go and tell Richard Branson that he can’t start a spaceship business then. Lordalan snorts that he wouldn’t even put himself in Branson’s league. To be fair though Lordalan, his version of The Apprentice was bloody awful. Lordalan closes this little section by saying that he thinks Alex has a grasshopper brain. How rude.
Lordalan : “Alex, I think it’s pretty clear that Dr Leah holds you responsible for the failure of the…”
Dr Leah : “ERM, NO I DON’T, I HOLD MYLES RESPONSIBLE! HE’S SUPPOSED TO HAVE BEEN IN BUSINESS FOR 23 YEARS! I’VE BARELY BEEN ALIVE THAT LONG AND I COULD HAVE DONE BETTER BRANDING THAN THAT!”
Amazing. Lordalan tells Dr Leah to stop talking, because she’s rapidly entering Paloma Vivanco territory (the best kind!). Dr Leah refuses to stop, so Myles smugs in “take the advice Dr Leah and be quiet”. To which Dr Leah snorts “OH MYLES PLEASE!” and rolls her eyes again. I’m so sad that they’re being split up next week.
Myles gets fire teased for being responsible for the failure of the task, but leaving us is
Alex. For being too young and not knowing how to stick to any one business. He gets a “with regret” and thanks Nick and Kaen for all they’ve done. Margaret never got thanked. Just saying. He leaves, and Lordalan tells Myles that everyone watching probably thinks that Myles just got lucky, but it’s Lordalan’s 45 years in business that makes him think that Myles deserves a second chance.
As they go out to join Alex, Dr Leah puts her hand on her heart and says sorry to Alex for destroying him.
She would have done Myles over worse, if only Lordalan had let her finish, she SWERS. Myles just gives a blokey hug to his nemesis.
In his Cab Of Shame
wrapped up well, Alex says that his real failing was listening to other people. If he’d just done what he wanted, they would have won. That is, sadly, probably true, despite the fact that Popty Ping had the brand strength of a wet piece of tissue paper.
Back at the Apprentice Mansion
Luisa’s made everyone cupcakes! I’m sure she spent half an hour “joking” about how much better they tasted than WOT FRANCESCA DUN. Neil asks Jordan who was to blame for losing the task, and Jordan replies that he blames Alex and Myles. Luisa says she’ll be really sad if Dr Leah doesn’t come back. She does come back. Luisa isn’t sad. Everyone sits around saying that it’s so sad that Alex left because he was the biggest character of the series (again, so meta. Also
The series finally becomes too meta to function.