Cats vs Dogs (vs bunnies vs balloons)
Phone Answering Wars: I don’t know that anyone in the history of The Apprentice Phone Answering Wars has come out of the gates faster than Natalie has.
Fair play to the girl, she’s not going to win the show, so why not go for the third most important prize (the second most important prize being the business investment, the most important being that you acted like such a prannet that even Celebrity Big Brother with Bobby Davro and Jenna Jameson counts as a Life Redemption Arc)? And with the cast still monstrously bloated (seriously, after this episode we are now two cast members ahead even of where last season’s ridiculously overcast bunch was at this point GET TO SOME DOUBLE FIRINGS ALREADY). Scores near the door are now :
Natalie : 2
Joseph : 1
Natalie was told by The Voice that candidates were to meet Lordalan at the house of Dr Samuel Johnson. Cue lots of “who’s that?” and “YOU SURE IT’S NOT GONNA BE SAMUEL L JACKSON?! LOL!!” (thanks Mergim) before Sam decided to pop in from a doorway like he’s on a more refined version of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In
to fulfil literally his only purpose on the show (at least until he takes his shirt off) – telling people about educated things like plays and books and eating using cutlery. Also lurching out of a doorway, albeit slightly more nightmarishly
was Ruth (it’s the showercap that really sets the whole ensemble off isn’t it?) to honk at Charleine to GET HER WHEELING DEALING SMILING FANTASTIC FACE ON, ready for the next challenge. At least she inspired someone to the win this week.
House Of Johnson’s
As the candidates pulled up to Dr Johnson’s house, Vana read his most famous quote – “when a man is tired of London, he moves to the Quantocks and writes a Guardian column about it”. Or something like that. It is very apt that the house of one of the most famous definers of words in the English language should be frequented by some of the most notorious undefiners of them. In fact this connection was probably more apropos than the connection between the location and the actual task, which was
“Dr Johnson had a cat. Sell some things at a pet show”. I mean, he also had Tourette’s and married a much older woman, couldn’t we have wrung something out of that? Kaen already looks like Stifler’s Mom in a brown wig there. Oh, and Lordalan also told us that it’s time for a team mix-up because Selina and Charleine are clearly 5 minutes away from one of them slamming the other’s head in a car door (/”coz the ladies aint dahn too wew in the last two tasks”). April,
rocking yet another new hair-do, Charleine and Vana became Powerbottoms, and Gary, Brett, and Scott became Sugababes. For those of you keeping track (and let’s face it, you’re not, why would you?) this meant that Elle and Ruth are the only original Sugababes who’ve stayed with the group throughout. What an honour. Now let’s find out which one’s the Keisha and which one’s the Mutya.
Top Dogs : After a positively dizzying flurry of stereotypes (Brett : “as a nation we are dog lovers”, Vana : “I think there’s a lot of (sad, desperate, over 45, smelling faintly of biscuits and sadness) single women out there who have cats”), David was elected as Head Powerbottom on the back of a pitch where he jittered like a Spook House skeleton about how passionate and excited and passionate and PUMPED and passionate he was about this task, without ever giving specifics, whilst gesticulating wildly.
Vana’s face is me. It does seem like someone else volunteered here and got shot down, and barring bizareness it was one of Charleine, Mergim and Sam, but we’ll never know which one, oh well. Let’s say it was Sam because whilst I know he spends most of every task wondering where the nearest fire exit is
faces like this directed at your PM cannot be ignored (in fairness, Sam did contribute to the brainstorming, wresting the team away from the Selina and Natalie mooted idea of buying a load of rabbit stuff, so that’s something). Having said that, the battle to rule The Sugababes side was even more obvious, as Ruth and Scott faced off to sieze power. Even with Scott’s argument being “I have a cute little dog, his name is Mason”…well…you just can’t see anyone granting control of a business task to a woman dressed head to toe in
offcuts from the Mary Berry Duvet Collection, can you?
Claude, I know traipsing around after these guys picking up their discarded crisp packets isn’t as exciting as throwing a Newton’s Cradle at their face and telling them to fuck off out of your sight before you order a hit on their mum, but that notepad isn’t hiding anything, get your hand out of there.
Pick Of The Litter : The first real meaty part of this task was picking products to sell. Half of each team went looking for low-value (ie irrelevant) items, whilst the other half went to view high-value (ie important) items. It struck me immediately as a mistake on both PMs parts that they both parked themselves in the low-value team, leaving their subteams the task of selecting the prize plums. I mean really, do you need your Project Manager to be there to reject dog perfume called “La Pooch” and
rubbish like this? (“Chickens crossing the road is no yolk” is what it says just in case you can’t read it there). (The chicken is called “Henrietta”) (The chicken shat on the table). Both Scott and David took to their task of lovebombing potential vendors like ducks to £50 heated duck paddling pools complete with miniature diving board and Hawaii themed accessories, but unfortunately Scott had the millstone of Brett at his most army-honedtied around his neck, barking out “how much does it cost mate can we get a discount for the kiddies no mucking about what’s the spec what deal can you do me?” at machine-gun rates and at machine-gun timbre, whilst David was free to
be as ridiculously pie-eyed and awestruck as he liked unhindered. Look at that face. That is over balloons. He is pulling a face like one of the Muppet Babies over a balloon shaped like a giraffe and a t-shirt with a guinea pig’s face on it. Kaen made ample fun of David’s ridiculously phony excitement (at one point saying “David was gushing all over the t-shirts” which…the show’s started writing its own slash fiction as well as filming its own unfunny parody videos apparently) but to be honest she sat there looking like this
the whole time so who’s the real joke here? David’s untramelled gushery meant that he secured the low-cost items of his dreams (balloons and t-shirts) whilst Scott got shut out of the balloons due to Brett’s generally no-nonsense-but-also-all-the-warmth-of-Katie-Hopkins-running-a-food-bank demeanour, and was left with heat-pads and
whatever the hell this is, some sort of cat-based Screwball Scramble.
Meanwhile, over with the important items, despite their obvious raw seething mutual loathing, David had put Richard in charge of a subteam of April, Charleine, and Sam.
Which went about as well as you’d expect. Richard used the backing of David, and his own…Dickyness to push through his own personal preference of dog beds to sell over Charleine’s preference for customisable cat towers. Said cat towers ended up in the hands of the Sugababes, after Scott sensibly overruled the choice of Selina (heading up the subteam) – giant rabbit hutches made with NASA approved materials that had never been sold at a pet show before. Most interestingly we learnt that April used to have a dachshund called Anastasia Edwina. I bet it was a majestic beast.
Juice By Ruth There were quite a few examples this week of Scott being far too lenient with his team (taking far too much counsel from Brett and Natalie over which products to choose before deciding, not pulling Brett off interacting with the vendors when he was being incredibly off-putting, interrupting his own sale to go and help Selina with basic maths because she couldn’t be arsed to do it) but I think his most tragic moment of sentimentality was when he allowed Ruth to give his team a pre-sales pep talk.
Apparently Ruth works primarily in telesales which I guess is why she thinks this
is an enticing face to use to catch a customer’s eye. After Ruth yelled “BOOM!”, high fived her way round the room, played “Roar” by Katy Perry three times on a loop, climbed to the top of one the cat towers and whipped her bra off whilst yelling “COME ON THEN KITTIES, ‘AVE AT EM!” and set herself a personal sales target of £7500 (approximately £400 more than both teams made combined all day), Scott was so energised by her presence that he made her and Selina his own personal sales force for the high ticket items. I guess he thought they’d balance one another out maybe? And that Ruth’s boggle-eyed babbling terrifying overenthusiasm would be brought down a peg or two by Selina’s utter sneering contempt for every other human being she’s ever met?
March Of The Balloons :
The narrative on Team Powerbottom meanwhile was very much dictated by David’s much loved balloons. Both Mergim and especially Vana seemed to find their level in pushing inflatable plastic offcuts in the shape of flamingos and pandas to 6 year olds at £5 a pop. Everyone has their talent level I guess.
Look at her ickle face. The result of this was that from the second the stall opened it was swamped by kiddies and their parents trying to buy blow-up penguins faster than any Powerbottom could blow them up, meaning that queues formed and the teams t-shirts were forgotten entirely. As Kaen explained to us all very slowly though, the balloons cost £5 each but the t-shirts cost £25, so if the team sold more t-shirts than balloons then they’d make more money. THANKS KAEN. Your continued grasp of basic mathemtical principles is an inspiration to us all.
“I do believe that we all of you are here for a reason, and that’s because we’re all a fondler of animals, we’re all fondlers of our pets. This is Santos (*strokes cat that looks like it wants to claw Natalie’s eyes out at any moment*) he’s been having a bit of a play with this today. This product is based on potentially simple formulas that already exist. The light reacts to the sensory aspect of all cats! If you want to come down and find out where we are, we’re currently at C07…”
Elle : “C409!”
Brett : “That’s exactly right Elle!”
In retrospect, he may have been aiming for “fond lovers” but…those aren’t really the syllables that came out of his mouth, bless im. Kudos to whoever it was on this subteam who secured the pitch though, as it seemed to boost sales for a short period at least. Team Powerbottom also got a sales slot in the main arena, but by the looks of it, too late to influence anything.
Incidental Character Boyfriend Of The Week
Being an actual Boyfriend, who we will call Alex The Pet Show Boyfriend. He was one of Ruth’s many victims, as she practically pinned him and his girlfriend to the wall of a light up chicken-coop, babbling on about how it’s great to see young love blossom before her eyes she and her husband have been married for 24 years you know and they still love one another just as much as the first day they met which was on a Tuesday JUST LIKE TODAY IS, isn’t that a coincidence guys wouldn’t be great if we marked this occasion by you buying a customisable cat tower complete with genuine mousefur insides and strawberry scented oh are you leaving never mind have a great day and make sure you call your kids Ruth, my name’s Ruth by the way, see you later maybe?
This…negotiation seemed to be the tipping point which pushed Scott to decide to draft Gary into the high-end team. Given that the Sugababes were already at a numerical disadvantage, I’m not sure why he wasn’t there from the start to be honest.
Dicky Moments : Despite a slow start for Richard on Team Powerbottom’s high-end sales force, he ended up being the clear star player, as Charlene and April futzed around with minor sales and Sam mostly focused on trying to awtfully drape himself in dog-bed throws like the Venus De Milo, pushing more product than the rest of them combined. So it was nice to see David praise him for his efforts in the most passive-aggressive manner possible, by telling him he’d now “redeemed himself”. Richard’s
FACE OF FURY and humourless reply of “redeemed myself for what?” was my highlight of the week to be honest. Redeemed himself for being the top salesman on the show in Week 1? Redeemed himself for helming the most succesful Apprentice branding task performance of all time? The list is pretty long (oh yeah, he failed to chip £3 off the price of a bit of cheese that one time, my bad). You have to ask yourself how many times someone can single-handedly win a task before he can get some DAMNED RESPECT around here.
Results Time! The first words out of David’s mouth in this Results Boardroom? “One of the great ideas which I had, which I think was fantastic, was to show a lot of enthusiasm”
I can see why he’d want to lead with this, because his charm offensive winning the balloons is a proper feather in his cap, but on the other hand JESUS CHRIST, SHUT UP. Ruth was enthusiastic, you’ve not invented the pocket calculator.
Lordalan then gave David a frankly unwarranted amount of hassle for choosing the balloons because they were cheap and tacky (as opposed to the other options available to him which included poo bags and PERFUME FOR DOGS and A NEON YELLOW NOVELTY WAISTCOAT FOR CHICKENS) and which David defended himself on fairly well. Charleine then decided to stick the boot into Richard over his selection of the dog beds, which is always smart to do when the other team selected the item you personally championed and are about to get smooshed, well done Charleine. Anyway, in what is an increasingly depressing pattern for this series, everyone, including Lordalan, cackled away at Richard for a good minute as he sensibly defended himself (in this case Charleine is fixated on the figure of “19 cat beds sold” when she was told that was a record and that the average was closer to 1. The dog bed guy on the other hand cited an average of 15 sales per day, and his product seems to cost more anyway) before chivalrously Richard gave David a “goodteamleader?” endorsement that David did actually warrant, but I can’t stand him so P’NEURR! Meanwhile, most of the Sugababes discussion focused on the non-decision to opt to focus on cats over rabbits, like anyone would do otherwise, which is how you can tell they’re about to lose.
The Sugababes sold £1221 of low-end items and £1807 of high-end items for a total of £3028
Team Powerbottom sold £1590 of low-end items and £2462 of high-end items for a total of £4052
POWERBOTTOMS WIN! AGAIN!
5 men went to Mo (also 3 women) The reward for winning this week was getting to meet Mo Farah and run round a track with him for a bit. This was David’s face upon hearing the news :
I mean I’d love to meet a multiple Olympic Gold Medal winning athlete as well but wind it in a bit. Everyone met Mo, had awkward banter and
the rivalry between David and Richard started to get a little bit homoerotic. Let’s face it, it’s past time. Meanwhile Sam lurked back and stayed in the changing room reading plays to himself in a variety of different funny voices, but quietly, so nobody noticed. Then some
geese got on the track. How we laughed. If they’d been wearing hi-vis jackets of course, none of this would have happened.
Loser Cafe Loser Cafe this week found Natalie holding court, presumably because Scott is still far too nice for that sort of thing. She very subtly decided that all the blame should go to whoever didn’t sell anything (RUTH!) and whoever messed up the pitch for the balloons (BRETT!). (Or as Brett himself said it “Me, I done pitch for balloons”. Dr Johnson would be proud). This then prompted Brett to call Ruth out for “dancing round the houses” with her sales style to try and pull himself clear and Ruth herself
at this point looking like Magenta and Riff Raff had a baby and it was raised in Cheam, had a meltdown talking about how her stress levels were AS HIGH AS THE MOON (could you check if there’s any footprints whilst you’re up there Ruth, thanks, just asking for a friend). It was at this point that I determined that Ruth probably wasn’t going to get through the boardroom alive. If you can’t handle Brett calling you a bit of a waffler then Lord knows what’ll happen when you get locked in a cage with Lordalan and (*spoilers*) Selina.
Boardroom Follies: Speaking of Selina
that EVEL isn’t getting any more subtle is it? The whole first half of the boardroom actually was a prime example of the show subtly trying to get a PM to move the target off one person (Brett) and onto another (Selina) as Lordalan first pinned the failure of the task onto the failure of the high ticket item subteam, and Claude then led the charge against Selina, telling her that even her one sale didn’t really count, because Scott did the adding up for her at the end, and accusing her of not putting any effort in. Although to be fair, Selina’s disbelieving response of “REALLY?!” to the latter accusation didn’t really help her cause.
Despite Elle and Natalie’s spirited attempts to defend the sisterhood by pointing out that Brett lost the balloons for them, Scott saw which way the bread was being buttered (/hacked at with a knife until it resembled a wet piece of tissue paper) and elected to make the Final Three the entirity of the high-ticket sales team. From there, Claude’s barrage at Selina continued, as she tried to deflect by barracking that she is a STRONG WOMAN who has set up TWO BUSINESSES on TWO CONTINENTS without any help, claiming that Scott should have bought Gary back for failing in his last minute sales attempts, and then bizarrely just honking out that Scott had clearly put her on the high-ticket items as a strategy. The strategy being “I suck at selling things, THIS WAS A SET UP!” presumably. Fortunately for Selina, Ruth’s boardroom stratgey was even more haphazard, and mostly involved saying that Selina IS MEAN and
twitching randomly, so it was no surprise that she ended up being
the one who was sent packing. This makes me sad for two reasons, firstly because Ruth was fun and likeable and bizarre and dressed like a lunatic, but secondly and mostly because it meant that Kaen’s churlish sneering at her sales technique in week 1 actually had foundation, damnit. Seriously, at one point in the boardroom Ruth actually asked if people not having any money meant she actually shouldn’t try selling useless overpriced tat to them. Yes Ruth, yes it does. You’re not a bank. Despite featuring the defining of who is likely to be the series’ arch-villain and the departure of it’s most beloved candidate til now, the best part of this boardroom was actually probably Scott (who was never going to get fired) telling Lordalan that he should be kept because of his amazing business plan, and Lordalan barking “I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE BUSINESS PLANS NOW, NOBODY IS TO MENTION THEM UNTIL INTERVIEWS, THEY HAVE NO RELEVANCE AT THIS POINT, MY DECISIONS ARE BASED ENTIRELY ON THE TASKS!”. Sure Al. Whatever you say.
FUN ELLE FACT! : As Lordalan pointed out in the Boardroom, she has now lost four tasks in a row. She’s coming for your record Tom Pellereau/Katie Hopkins! (You’re still safe Harry 1, I would imagine).
Meanwhile Back At The Ranch: I’m not sure which is a stronger fashion statement here
Richard or Joseph. The mood back at the house seemed generally to be that Selina was done for, with Elle, Gary, and Natalie seeming to be the most happy that she wasn’t. Just in cast you were wondering who might be auditioning for the role of “minion”. Charleine…not so much. Selina in fact capped off this episode that, after being told off in the Boardroom by the panel for being two-faced and having a bad attitude that there was going to be
“NO MORE MRS NICE GIRL!”. I think Selina maybe missed the point of that Boardroom. Slightly. Or at least I hope so.
Next week :
She’s yelling “PEDESTRIANS! OUT OF THE WAY!”, very much in the style of Cruella De Vil/Madame Medusa. Can you remember a villain edit on the show ever being quite this subtle, because I can’t.