Contains no discussion at all about that paper skeleton tosh from last year, don’t even think about it, I’m warning you.
A Social Tableau : We began this week with a small insight into the current social standings in the Apprentice Mansion. Joseph, Mergim, David, Gary, Scott and Brett aka
THE LADDZZ all sat around playing FIFA whilst Ruth made herself a vegetable smoothie, Charleine watched on adoringly and Dicky
sat off on his own glowering and reading epic fantasy fiction. Poor Dicky. The battlelines on Team Powerbottom have been drawn and he is on the wrong side of literally all of them. (Who knows where Sam is? Dishing with the rest of the women and teaching them the dance routines from Sweet Charity probably). This prime position right in the middle of the living room left Joseph wit a clear run to snatch the next point in Phone Answering Wars
and several hundred points in the quest to be the worst dressed Apprentice candidate of all time. It’s like Private Walker dressed up as one of Alphabeat isn’t it? And is that a MONOCLE? Christ. And I remember being vaguely appalled that female candidates used to wear a bit too much clown slap, I take it all back now. The Disembodied Voice told Joseph that candidates were to “assemble”, yes, like The Avengers, in the tunnels underneath Dover Castle, and to bring an overnight bag. Cue Elle (reading material of choice : gritty London gangsta frillah) asking where Dover is. Apparently she was hoping this was a hint that the candidates would be going to Ireland. Natalie had to inform her that this was unlikely. Elle and Natalie together
looked more like they were preparing for a night on the pullk than I think any two women have in this show’s history.
Sixteen Underground :
Don’t lie, all of you were hoping for Jack Bauer to come out at this point and waterboard one of them for a good 90 seconds at least right? Sadly the torture the candidates were about to be subjected to in this grisly underground chamber was even more horrific
Lordalan being “suddenly called away on business” but somehow not so busy that he couldn’t get to the studio to film this pre-recorded insert to tell them about this week’s task. It was at least considerate of them to have a map there so Elle knew what country she was in. Most candidates might feel a bit snubbed by Lordalan not showing up in person, but not Natalie, who
reacted to the whole thing like a toddler watching CBeebies and thinking Makka Pakka is actually talking to them. (We do have tvs in Coventry, I swear). The task itself? As phoned in as this clip. It’s the 9 items task…BUT WITH A TWIST. Half of each team would be in the UK, and half would be in France. So…not much of a twist then, but it is the 11th series now, what can you do? Lordalan joked that teams BETTER NOT MISS THE FERRY BACK LOL! The thought of Vana trying to swim the Channel lugging a giant sack’o’shite behind her with a champagne flute between her teeth sustains me.
Vanaphylactic Shock : Having been told by Kaen that there would be no team-swap, much to the chagrin of April and Selina both (Selina verbalised this as wanting things to be shook up because the Sugababes worked so badly together last week, but you can tell it’s because she wants away from Charleine at all costs), it was time once more to pick a PM. Elected unanimously as Chief Sugababe over a very unconvincing Elle (“I work in construction so…I need to make sure that people are where they’re supposed to be…and stuff”) was Vana, who flaunted her experience in French from having worked in a bank. Vana assured us all, at length, twice, that she was going to be issuing a zero tolerance policy on cattiness on the women’s team. Yeah…we’ll see how that works out for you. Meanwhile, PM Joseph had no such problems getting snippy over on Team Powerbottom, as he and Dicky were at it from the off.
Joseph : “GUYS, WHO’S THE BEST SELLERS ON THE…”
Richard : “Erm, it’s a negotiation task?”
Joseph : “YEAH, BUT NEGOTIATION IS LIKE SELLIN’ BUT IN REVERSE!”
Genuinely I have no idea why Dicky isn’t beloved amongst Team Powerbottom. Everyone loves a snippy pedantic correcter who’s constantly butting in right? Guys?
Battle Champagne Flutes : So as usual with this task (ie, this is how I did it last year) I’ll be taking each item one by one and seeing which team came out better in the search for it in this, the yearly Apprentice Scavenger Hunt(/Not A Scavenger Hunt). Here the women got a stroke of luck, as it turns out that they were staying in the same hotel as a vendor of…champagne flutes. Who overheard them calling up vendors and approached THEM to sell to them. Thank God we’re far too early in the series for anyone to be invested in any of these people yet otherwise we would have heard cries of RIGGAGE from here to eternity. Still, Vana did a good job, somehow negotiating the vendor from a price of €200 down to only €45 with nothing other than winning US romcom charm faces
and the promise that her subteam were “four nice girls coming from the UK” (ie Colombian/Greek/American Vana, Jamaican April, Selina who lives in Dubai and…Nat from Cov). Sam meanwhile, despite deploying what is probably his signature sexy and frustrated hair ruffle
could only secure them for €100. For anyone wondering how on Earth Vana didn’t get fired for the rest of this shambles, there’s your answer, probably.
Winners : The Sugababes
This Week’s Incidental Character Boyfriend :
Hugo The Glass Vendor. The one in the middle. So French.
Battle Leavers Lace : Having been allocated this item by Vana, Leavers Lace was the hithertofor UTR Jenny’s TIME TO SHINE. And shine she did…as having clearly only just left University and still feeling a little lost in the big wide world, heaving her team right back there as quickly as she could, calling up as many higher education centres (including a specialist Japanese College!) as she could to try to find out what Leavers Lace is, and whittering to her team about how at her University they had this sooper shop where she used to be able to get amazing discounts whenever she got all her documents bound and like one time she made a fancy dress sexy witch outfit out of a binbag she got from the canteen, oh my God guys, you won’t believe the bargains you can get on campus, best time of my life yah. (Anyone want to suggest to Jenny that she got these deals because she was a student?) Oh yeah, her subteam leader for all this was Elle, who is 21, works in construction, and went to the University Of Life innit. So you can guess how well this all went down. Eventually, after much ringing round, Jenny discovered that Leavers Lace is the official Lace Mascot of Calais, so it had been a waste of time her even looking, and bumped the item over to Vana’s team, where April managed to secure the Sugababes best victory of the day, margins wise, claiming the item for €70 compared to Joseph’s €180.
Winners : The Sugababes
Battle Manure :
Quite. You’d think the show was ordering them to source it so that Lordalan could make a bunch of poop jokes but no, he was relatively restrained. This was the biggest dud item of them all as oddly enough, driving around the South East, both UK based teams were more than capable of finding free cowshit to take away with them for free. Brett did all of the heavy lifting for the UK boys (Brett, Scott, Mergim, Gary), whilst Ruth orchestrated the UK ladies rather more squealy efforts to shift the poo.
LOL, GIRLS AND POO!
Winners : A Draw
Team Cheese : For what was the cheapest, and therefore the least important, item on the list, the race to get Maroilles Cheese was amongst the most fractious for both teams. For the Sugababes, this item had been delegated to Natalie, who seemed to be doing a decent enough job negotiating until Vana decided to squall all over her trying to find loopholes that didn’t exist, flailing her arms about
(does anyone feel like there’s a little man hiding under that cloak operating her arms with poles like she’s a Muppet?) and saying that when the specifications said “whole” they must in fact meant “whole milk cheese” because really when you think about it, how can you say any piece of cheese is “whole” right guys? Like, it’s always been broken off of something larger right? That’s how cheese works! Despite April pointing out to her that this was clearly bollocks, Vana pressed ahead, made sure Natalie didn’t buy enough cheese, and earned a scadding great fine for the team. Still this was nothing compared to the mess on Team Powerbottom, as Richard brought back an old Apprentice 9 Items Task favourite. ROLEPLAY! He marched into the shop playing the role of a charming, bumbling, Hugh Grant-ish English toff abroad.
And then was surprised when the shopkeeper took him at his word, treated him like a moron and overcharged him. Oh Dicky. Happily, Joseph and David were both there to leap on his mistake like a cow on cud, make sure he corrected himself, and secure the cheese at a 30¢ discount. Heady times.
Winners : Team Powerbottom
Battle Mirror : The hunt for the mirror, a Louis Phillippe mirror no less, was headed by Sam, who blagged his way onto the French Powerbottoms Team (Joseph, Sam, David, Richard) with a promise of A Level French. Now, I only have GCSE French, but I hope to God the A Level syllabus went further than “vous avez?”, “c’est bon” and “avez vous?” because otherwise that is one gimmee A that I missed. Sam’s affable telephone wafflings led the team to an antique store run by this lovely
if slightly…confused lady, who didn’t really know if she had a Louis Phillippe mirror in stock but she could probably get you one on order if you like. Sadly, Lordalan does not accept IOUs on the 9 Items task, so this line of enquiry had to be abandoned. David eventually however picked one up later in the day for €30. Meanwhile, despite Jenny’s wailing on Team Sugababes that she wanted to get this item because her daddy is an antiques dealer and she just knows there must be lots of super places in Canterbury you can get a Louis Phillippe, they ended up drawing a blank.
Winners : Team Powerbottom
Battle Anchor : A relatively simple battle here, as Charleine used her natural charm and chemistry with this lady
to get away with a cheeky pounce on a slip of her tongue for a £1 discount, claiming the anchor for £12.50, whilst Scott also negotiated well, but down from a much higher starting point, and could only secure his anchor for £20. Insert your own joke about their being no shortage of cheap anchors on this show here if you like.
Winners : The Sugababes
Battle Mussels Another straightforward win for one team here. Mergim turned his charms on the fishmongers of Kent, liberally deploying a “darlin”, a “sweetheart”, a “those mussels are fresh…JUST LIKE ME!” and a “you’ve had the privelege of meeting ME today!” until he managed to secure a 14% discount on 10kg of mussels for a total price of £50. And kudos to him for pulling all the LOVAH LOVAH stuff in the middle of an
acne breakout, because that would have slowed a lesser man. The Sugababes? Got no mussells. D’oops. Having had to pass the lace on to Vana, and not able to secure the mirror as her new item, this was what Jenny had found herself stuck with late on, and as they never really served up mussels in halls, she was at a bit of a loss. There was a brief stopover at that perennial Apprentice 9 Items last resort – a restaurant – but they were reluctant to let her waltz off with their entire stock because it would mean an entire dish would have to be taken off the menu. Kaen, having not said anything dumb all episode yet
pouted like a hipster and decided Jenny wasn’t trying hard enough. Yeah, she should have been banging the door to that kitchen down and held the chef’s face over a deep-fat frier so they could nick them Kaen, because I’m sure trying to buy mussels at a lower price than a restaurant charges for an actual mussels dish would have definitely worked out.
Winners : Team Powerbottom
Battle Dinghy : So here comes the crux of the task. The point, not where the task was won or lost, but where the gap became a chasm. Becuase the teams were looking for an inflatable boat of at least 150cm in length and
it wasn’t specified that it had to be for an adult, so this find of Gary’s for £10 was a positive boon for Team Powerbottom. Elle on the other hand, managed to turn the negotiation for this
monster into the most protracted 9 Items negotiation ever. It came in THREE VISITS, with Elle getting progressively more haggy and beaten down
Elle : How much for the boat?
Vendor : £259
Elle : Oh no, that’s far too much money, I’m not going to waste your time trying to get that down to fit within our budget, sorry, have a nice day.
Elle : OK, how much for the boat really?
Vendor : I can do you £255, they’re slashed to the bone on price as it is
Elle : I was really hoping for, like £200?
Vendor : No, sorry, lowest I can do
Elle : OK, never mind.
Elle : Sorry Vana, we can’t buy the boat, it’s too expensive
Vana : BUY THE BOAT!
Elle : But the…
Vana : BUY IT!
Elle : Fuck this noise, I know I look like a nob now, just give me the boat
Vendor : I’ll let you have it for £250
Elle : Super smashing great
Winners : Team Powerbottom
Battle Snails : And we close with what should be the easiest battle of all, with the item most easily identified with the country you should be buying it in, because what could be more French than snails? Well, you’ll be glad and no doubt unsurprised to hear that Team Powerbottom team failed to buy a single one of their 100 snail target, and The Sugababes made a dog’s dinner of finding them as well, despite Vana dragging the Sugababes Of France team to, you guessed it, a restaurant. You could never say that these people learn could you? It was also somewhere around here that Vana’s cattiness embargo tragically collapsed at the hands of…well Vana, as Selina pushed her over the edge with one “shouldn’t we get the mirror instead?” too many resulting in
Bitchface Central and a lot of pointed comments from Vana about how hard Natalie had been working all day, like, Natalie had obviously tried the hardest, far more than some people, so thanks a lot NATALIE. I think Vana thought she had maybe saved up enough Nice Girl points defending Dan in Episode 1 and Natalie’s pitch in Episode 2 to be able to cash in by bitching Selina out like this but…you’re all just different pitches of squeaking to the viewers at this point Vana, they’re not going to be keeping track like that. To make Vana look ever worse Selina eventually managed to secure the required snails for €50 by using negotiation tactics right out of The X Factor
What a legend.
Winners : The Sugababes
I Claude I don’t know if you’re all gagging for a Claude update but he mostly
mills around in the back of shot looking like a member of the public wondering who these nobs are. At one point he actually had to tell Team Powerbottom that he was leaving and none of them really noticed or cared. So yeah, the mystique of Claude is officially completely depleted at this point.
Three in a row for the boys of Powerbottom, by a margin of £726 to £409 spent/fined off’em. If you want it by item it works out roughly like this via my wonky maths :
Boat : £250 vs £10 (+£240 to the men)
Mirror : £174 vs £22 (+£392 to the men)
Mussels : £108 vs £50 (+450 to the men)
Cheese : £63 vs £10 (+£503 to the men)
Manure : £0 vs £0 (+£503 to the men)
Anchor : £13 vs £20 (+£496 to the men)
Glasses : £32 vs £72 (+£456 to the men)
Snails : £36 vs £95 (+£397 to the men)
Lace : £50 vs £130 (+£317 to the men)
Give or take a few pounds either way for the conversion rates, I’m not a miracle worker. The highlight of the Results Boardroom was clearly the ongoing struggle to be top powerbottom, with Joseph hurling Richard under the bus for his crummy negotiation (big talk from a man who did the worst negotiation on his entire team) and Richard then declaring he wished that Brett had been PM instead because he would have made a much better job of it. Where I ask my self if this team’s Vana, to cease this infighting and bitching for half an episode before kickstarting it again themselves?
Cheese And Whine : The prize for the men was to go and sample some fine wines and also
the face pulling that comes with them. It was also accompanied by yet another round of Richard vs Joseph, with the former interviewing that he’s now three tasks in and undefeated (yeah, you and five other men Dicky, calm down) and the latter interviewing that Richard is self-obsessed and “me me me” and needs to learn how to work in a team if he wants to make it to the end. I mean…Mark never did, unless “smashing them all into bits one by one, task by task” is how you work in a team, maybe it is on this show.
In The Loser Cafe : The story of Loser Cafe this week was Vana struggling with her inner voices. On the one hand she felt like Jenny had done nothing and Elle was a poor organiser, continuing the rich thread she started to weave in Week 1 and continued last week wherein Aisha, Jenny and Elle were the useless girls who did nothing and sucked, a judgement that is rapidly beginning to look like a highly effective curse. On the other hand, more pressingly, was that she hates Selina, who is admittedly turning more and more into a Dynasty villain with every passing episode.
What FURS. What GLAMOUR. What RAW NAKED EVIL. Charleine made sure that Vana was aware of one further advantage of hurling Selina under the battleship – her undying loyalty, as she honked that Selina that she was a MORALE VACUUM, an accusation Selina greeted with a disinterested smirk and an instruction to stop shouting. And the feud runs and runs.
Boardroom Follies : Into the Boardroom in fact, where Charleine decided to weigh in for no real reason to call Selina an “irritating wasp at a picnic” (a picnic that was already over-run by fire ants and was in the first place mostly warm potato salad with pineapple chunks in it anyway) and Selina hooted “I’M NOT TALKING TO YOU CHARLEINE!”, like we’re all 5 seconds away from our very first Apprentice Boardroom “TALK TO THE HAND COZ THE WRIST IS PISSED!”
In fact Selina vs Charleine got so juvenile and petty that Vana couldn’t stop herself laughing, which caused Kaen to break in with her very best stern face snitting “IT’S ISN’T FUNNY VANA, THE WHOLE TASK WAS A LITANY OF WOE ETC ETC”. Yes it very much *is* funny Kaen, that’s why this show is still on the air after over a decade, it’s not because of the serious business lessons imparted from doing a task we’ve done night on 11 bloody times now and in which you still can’t decide whether it should be a Scavenger Hunt or not. I guarantee you if I ever found myself on this show, via some horrible administrative error on the behalf of the Universe, I would have at least one giggle fit per Boardroom.
Still, Selina vs Charleine was as usual a sideshow and Vana gave in to her belief in the inherent uselessness of children and brought back this series two youngest remaining candidates, Elle and
Jenny. At this point there began a competitive blametaking face-off between Vana and Jenny, with both of them saying that they were HAPPY TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for any number of things in an attempt to look reasonable and measured and like The Nice Ones, whilst Elle focused more on giving a reasoned and cogent argument as to why her failings as subteam leader (i kno rite? The first time I watched the episode I didn’t even know she was supposed to be leading anything until this point) (I’ll admit, I wasn’t watching terribly closely, 9 Items is never my favourite unless it involves Jason, Jordan and Luisa’s Mall Adventures) were mostly due to Vana’s incoherent oversight. At one point Jenny even said it was “noble” of her to have allowed everyone else to source and negotiate for their items first before she had a go, which is one of the bigger laughs I’ve had in the Boardroom for a while, and then Vana’s “I TAKE RESPONSIBILIY FOR THAT BUT…”s get so bad that Lordalan actually has to tell her to stop it because it’s so transparent. In the end though, Jenny wasn’t able to put together a strong enough argument for keeping her and she got the boot. At which point she gave a speech about how she’s amazing and Lordalan has made a mistake and loads of people told her they would be scared to face her in the final and so on, which Vana is
unable to leave alone without getting one last face in. It does feel odd to watch Vana skate away from this scott-free when so much of the task’s blood was directly on her hands (forcing the sale of the boat and failing to get the mirror in particular) but Jenny felt out of her depth, flaily and unfocused from the second the task started. Still, if she’d mentioned she was responsible for the only part of the womens’ campaign from last week that got any praise, she might have pushed herself over the finish line and leveraged Vana out instead. I guess we’ll never know, as she tromps off to the Apprenticar to waffle that in two or three years time Lordalan will be BEGGING AT HER DOOR to invest in her.
(Conversely I think if she’d waited another 2 or 3 years before applying she might have got the life experience to get a bit further than Episode 3, but we’ll never know, unless they’re so desperate for ratings at that point that we get THE APPRENTICE : SECOND CHANCES and she competes against Harry Maxwell, Duane Bryan, Sara Dhada, and a jaded-as-fuck middle-aged Miriam Staley.)
Nice Colour-Blocking Thought Ladies :
Meanwhile Back At The Ranch : With everyone in their jim-jams the consensus is that Jenny has enough potential and Vana has enough of a gob on her that Elle is definitely the one getting fired so she’s obviously the first one back through the door. She of course tells everyone that once you’re in the Boardroom you need to definitely own up to your mistakes and stand by them as much as possible, as though that’s not just what Lordalan specifically told Vana to stop doing, the sneaky boot (<3). Vana meanwhile complains that not enough people swooped to her defence in the Boardroom. Selina
definitely looks like she’ll consider it next time. Definitely.
Next Week :