Truly, there are no winners here.
Phone Answering Wars Another day, another
point to be earned, in this case by Joseph. Have those giant pink furry balls always been there? I feel like I would have made a joke about them if they had been. Maybe I’m slipping. This leaves our Points Tally heading into the final two episodes at :
Natalie : 2
Charleine : 2
Joseph : 2
Gary : 1
(David : 1)
(Selina : 1)
Still very much all to play for, although you have to think that, given that Gary only got his point by accident and nobody else has one, this is down to Charleine vs Joseph at this point. Speaking of Charleine, we learnt this week that she has
brought a teddy with her. Albeit a slightly less grandiose one than the one Jason tugged along after him. Early talk was, as you might expect, still mostly about how Scott had quit last week (yes, I know, they all miss Selina so much, you can tell) or as Joseph put it he “exited himself”. Well if he’d done that no wonder he quit. Also Richard and Brett wrote a song called “We’re Gonna Win! We’re Gonna Win!”. It goes…more or less as you’d expect. If neither of them wins (and let’s face it, neither of them are going to) maybe they should go in for Eurovision next year. The reasoning behind Brett’s belief that victory this week was assured? That he, Richard and Vana are all good “on a professional level” whilst Charleine, Gary and Joseph are only good on a “scrotey sort of ‘I’ll run in and sell it level’ “. If we’re talking about “men of honour” later in the episode… (Oh and speaking of scrotey, apparently if you voted that Brett would be the one doing an Attitude shoot, you were right. As it’s looking. At the moment. Not to get your hopes up)
PUSH HIM IN! PUSH HIM IN! This week’s meeting place? The Olympic Park. Specifically the swimming pool.
The cars left at 5:50am by the show’s clock by the way, so they want us to believe that it took the candidates nigh on two and a half hours to make it there from Apprentice Mansions. Which is therefore now somewhere in Norfolk. The venue was relevant because of our amazing Olympic legacy of 3 people taking up field hockey and some weird helter skelter looking building. And also HEALTH! Candidates were tasked with coming up with a healthy snack, making it, branding it, and pitching it to three different retailers. The team with the most orders will win (…), and in the losing team, one person WILL BE FIRED! Oh and this week Lordalan would like to see everyone contributing, otherwise there will be dire consequences. Seriously Al, you’re one more ragequit away from having to trim an episode off the entire series, don’t push these people. Charleine in particular is clearly on a knife-edge and handy with a weapon.
Who’s The Boss? Despite this being the dying leg of the series, and PMing not really mattering any more anyway, pretty much everyone remaining still wanted to sit in the Big Chair. I guess with the entire team going into the boardroom in the event of a loss anyway, you might as well grab hold of the reins if you think you’re good enough. Charleine’s reasoning behind being Project Manager was the best – “I can’t cook, I’m not a products person, I eat garbage, and I can’t pitch, so I might as well be Project Manager because there’s bugger else all I can do on this task”. You have to admit, it makes a certain kind of sense. An Apprentice sort of sense, but that’s better than…erm…no I’m struggling. Meanwhile Brett was PM for (*checks spreadsheet*) The Sugababes because he is well buff and drinks protein shakes and ting. Claude then gave an interview saying that Richard really should have been Project Manager (again, after winning twice as PM, including on a product design and marketing task, like there’d be any point in doing that) so blah blah Tricky Dicky etc etc. This show’s attempts to make Richard the villain truly are amongst the most inept editing jobs I’ve ever seen. Oh and by the way
it’s now nearly 10:30. Where does the time go on this show?
Bitchin In The Kitchin : For the first day, the teams were split into two – one half of each team on branding and packaging (Richard for The Sugababes, Gary and Joseph for Team Powerbottom) and the other half creating the product itself in the test kitchens somewhere. Where they arrived at 2pm. How many reshoots were necessary on this bloody task? Anywho Brett and Charleine
(and why does Brett need a facemask and Vana not? Is he contagious? Did Selina hex him on the way out?) got about creating their choice of product – dehydrated vegetable crisps in three flavours :
Olive Oil, Groundnut Oil, and Petroleum. Or at least this is what they tasted like in the end – they were aiming for “courgette, oregano and tomato”, “red onion and cheese” and “cabbage and beetroot”, but Vana decided to put in three times as much olive oil as specified in the recipe so the end product ended up having to be packaged within about three layers of tin foil to avoid the container going see-through (Richard’s design process for said bags being pretty much saying “OLD FASHIONED! BRITISH!” over and over again to the poor girl working the laptop, although the end result was
nice enough). Although at least Brett and Vana were pretending to acknowledge the existence of a recipe – Charleine for Team Powerbottom
was just throwing in ingredients straight from the jar, randomly, without measuring them out, for her brand of Rejuvenate Superfood Energy Bars. Yes, if you were wondering who in 2015 still has faith in “Superfoods”, your answer is “Charleine”. After even Dr Gillian McKeith has stopped believing. In this case the superfoods were Ack-Eye, Boobob, and Makka Pakka. Something like that. According to Charleine. (As well as “Rejuvenate”, the team also considered the brand name “Life” at the suggestion of Joseph, which Charleine then asked him to spell. Which the show played off like Charleine was being incredibly dumb, like there aren’t actual products out there on the shelves right now that would have it spelled “LYf5!” or what have you). Of course the end result for Charleine of this random tossing was
crumbly gravel-shite. The fact that there was only one of her in the kitchen to get the stuff created, combined with the fact that she was trying to make something edible entirely at random in the space of 4 hours, AND that her method of delivery of her “recipes” over the phone to Joseph & Gary & Their Marketeer was yelling “ONE DROP VANILLA SOME CHERRIES A HANDFUL OF BOOBABS CRUMBLY BITS KINWA PUFFS RED SHIT” at her usual rat-a-tat speed, all combined to mean that what ended up being the packaging at the end of day 1
had to be scribbled over at the start of day 2, because it made health claims about the bars that simply weren’t true (Charleine of course would repeat all these claims in the pitches anyway because…Charleine gotta Charleine I guess. SHE CANNOT BE STOPPED!).
Oh and if you were wondering what Gary and Joseph were doing on the branding this week with no direction for Charleine to go on, it was
“how do we make this picture of a woman look like it’s not of a woman”. They settled on giving her a Photoshop haircut, leaving her still transparently with a pair of boobs. Maybe if they wanted androgyny they should have drawn a little moustache on her? It’s very in, she could be the new Ruby Rose!
Some People Are On The Pitch : So product created and packaging put together, and then hacked at with black marker pen, all that was left to do was pitch to the major retailers that Lordalan had sat on – Holland & Barrett (for Team Powerbottom only), Virgin Active (for The Sugababes only) (nobody explained why this was), ASDA, and Tesco. As Project Manager, Brett elected himself to pitch the soppy slug crisps for The Sugababes along with Richard, whilst Mr Tesco himself Gary was selected to accompany Charleine for Team Powerbottom. This meant that really, unarguably, both Vana and Joseph did the least for their respective teams on this task. Bear this in mind, especially in light of Lordalan’s little “EVERYONE MUST CONTRIBUTE!” speech at the start of the episode. I mean, they were neither of them at a loose end – they were both sent off on that pointless “do some market research even though everything’s already finished” thing they love doing as part of this task – but really at this point everything was on Brett, Richard, Charleine and Gary. With that in mind, let’s live through some of their pitching highlights :
“We’re living in a generation where people are a lot more health cautious than what they ever used to be”
“My aim was to replace all high sugary bars with a healthy tasting alternative”
“The main ingredients are superfoods, they have extra large doses of antioxidents thought to ward off cancer” (LIES!)
“IT IS THE FUTURE!”
“The main ingredient I wanted to use is the superfood. Any of you ladies ever heard about the superfood?”
“Superfoods are a major trend right now. They are thought to ward off all diseases and also prolong life” (?!)
*violent sucking up for the entirity of the TESCO pitch, like, dangerously so, to the levels of an actual airlock*
“For us, it was quite important that if we were going to represent our product in your establishment, what we wanted to make sure that all the key elements were at the frontfore so that we didn’t look like we were gonna do any misrepresentation on our side as a company and as you as a big industry”
“We as passionate people who go for the health industry, we’re passionate about our product and our product is passionate to be in a position where its like needs to be”
“We wanted to show people exactly what’s in the packet and that’s why we’ve got sort of the iconic vegetables”
“The only olive oil content in there is literally just to baste the construction of the chip”
“The recipes include very very natural nutrients which give us the calibration of the ratios to the amounts of what we could actually incorporate into our product”
“We formulated this product on the basis that it’s vegan free”
“We could pioneer this product right through into the future and run that gravy train within to be fair”
“There is in our opinion 50% too much olive oil in our product and it has a slightly greasy feel to it”
Actually Joseph should get bonus points for turning up halfway through the pitches to deliver the feedback from the team’s market research. Said research being “we like the name, but everything else sucks”. Said market research sounded a lot more like “we love the name and WOULD DEFINITELY BUY THE WHOLE BAR YES WE WOULD, MORNING, NIGHT, OR ON THE GO AS A DINNER SUBSTITUTE! ON A TRAIN, ON A PLANE, EVEN ON A SUBMARINE, WE LOVE REJUVENATE!” when it came out of his mouth. I guess the detail of these things is all in how you spin them really.
Results Time : The pre-results boardroom was mostly marked by a Tory peer who owes her position mostly to inherited wealth making fun of Charleine’s pronounciation of the superfoods she used in her energy bar and also how she said “contraception” when she clearly meant “fertility” to one of her helpers in the kitchen, not even anyone important to the running of the task.
So you know, that was about as endearing as you might expect. Lordalan also wisecracked that Team Powerbottom’s product was “the only snack that would look the same going out as going in”.
You might want to see a nutritionist about that Lordalan, I don’t think it’s healthy if they look like that. I’ve seen the Bristol Stool Chart. Although even that…thought, pales into insignificence compared to what his hands looked like after even the briefest of encounters with Vana’s dehydrated red onions
And you all thought that Vinny Disney was going to be the oiliest thing ever featured on this show. I mean…it’s almost as though they didn’t give the teams enough time or direction to produce a decent product, especially as half of these clowns could barely knock together a tuna nicoise from out of a Delia in Week 1. It’s almost as though this was yet another task where the teams were set up to completely fail from the off, possibly to allow the show to pull yet another dumb gimmick twist maybe? I don’t know, let’s find out what those numbers were then…
Team Powerbottom took 0 orders from Holland & Barrett, 0 orders from ASDA, and 0 orders from TESCO for a total of 0 orders
The Sugababes took 0 orders from Virgin Direct, 0 orders from ASDA, and 0 orders from TESCO for a total of 0 orders
I think this would have been more fun if it had come across as any way organic in the slightest, and if The Sugababes hadn’t transparently comprehensively outperformed Team Powerbottom yet again. Instead it just comes across as the show desperately rummaging around in the back of its bag for things that they haven’t done yet and hurling them out there willy nilly. So for Series 12 expect a quadruple firing, someone from the winning team getting fired, and one week both teams being declared the winners, with a double firing deferred until net week, and the last 20 minutes of the episode being one long dance party to the hits of LCD Soundsystem.
Incidental Character Boyfriend Of The Week
This is Victor The Golf Instructor. He was going to help the winning team work on their handicaps and then later make an ill-advised pass at either Vana or Brett I haven’t decided yet. (Not really, he’s one of Team Powerbottom’s graphic design people but it’s my blog I’ll say what I want)
Loser Cafe In the absence of anyone to scream at (three of the candidates there weren’t on her team, Joseph is her best ally, nobody could yell at Gary, you just couldn’t, and, well…no Selina), Charleine just kind of
stared off into space, contemplating her own mortality. At least in the sphere of this show’s reality – the woman’s been on active duty in the Navy, I’m sure this is nothing. Mostly it was a very placid affair in the cafe for everyone, with everyone saving their bitching for the to-camera interviews outsie. I guess you don’t want to hand your competitors ammo to get their entire team off scott free. Richard blaming Vana, Vana blaming Richard (sigh, a showmance dies…), Gary blaming Charleine, nobody doing what I would do, which would be to blame production for transparently rigging the entire task to make us all look as dumb as possible (even more so than usual), barricading everybody into Loser Cafe with tables and yelling “Do You Hear The People Sing?” and squirting ketchup at everyone who tried to get us out. IF SCOTT RAGEQUIT, SO CAN WE ALL, BROTHERS AND SISTERS!
Boardroom Follies : Lordalan’s opening words in this boardroom? “You shouldn’t consider this a nil-nil draw, cause you both lost”
Charming. He told us though, that he had come up with a solution. And not one that that sentence would suggest – a firing from each team (God, please tell me that Scott flipping the show the bird ruined that as a planned twist) – but a compromise wherein each Project Manager chose only one person to bring back, meaning a Final Boardroom of four people – two Powerbottoms and two Sugababes. Sounds like the start of a fun evening in doesn’t it? Fortunately, Charleine was able to liven up her half of the draw, which you might think would be boring given that literally everything that went wrong on her team was more or less entirely down to her, meaning it was obvious she was going to select Joseph (her mate) over Gary (not so much her mate) to keep safe, by
having a petit mal weeping seizure in the boardroom until Lordalan had to send her out to the atrium to calm down woman, it’s only a gameshow. 9 weeks of full on Macchiavellian Selina assault and not a hair out of place – one week of confronting her own inability to say “baobab” and she’s having a meltdown.
Meanwhile over on The Sugababes, Brett was left with a problem as to who to blame. On the one hand Vana was doing her usual Vana boardroom business (despite the fact that Lordalan told her explicitly not to last time she was there) of going “I TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY” for the great Apprentice Exxon Valdes Incident 2015, but on the other Richard was doing his level best to pretend that he didn’t quite hear Vana when she told him over the phone to put “raw” on the packaging, and not being terribly good at being convincing about it. Oh yeah, somewhere along the line Claude and Lordalan decided that the whole reason that The Sugababes got no orders was because the word “raw” wasn’t on the crisp packet. You may have noticed, but this week was dumb. I mean, I got to the end of this episode the closest I’ve ever come to just giving up on the show entirely and I sat through that bloody Groupon task with barely a twinge. Anyway Brett, being Brett, thought that his team did a good job (which they did, for the most part, Vana’s random moment of madness with the oil aside) and then Lordalan started yelling at him to BE MEANER ABOUT RICHARD, HE’S TRICKY DICKY, EVERYONE HATES HIM, GET WITH THE EDIT!
Once Joseph and Vana had safely been sent back to the house, Lordalan rather conveniently decided that he didn’t want to talk about crisps no more, he wanted to return to banging on about the four character archetypes he had before him. Steady and corporate Gary (and God, the more the show talks about how shiny and polished and corporate Gary is, with his Horace & Jasper laugh and permenantly slouching face it tickles me a little more), Charleine the hard-grafting young mother sales bludger with a heart of gold (that she got in Afghanistan), Richard the slimy slippery marketing huckster (who happens to be by far the best candidate in the process on every conceivable metric but who obviously isn’t winning, so let’s just make a bunch of stuff up), and Brett the
one who’s getting fired because Charleine’s already got the whole hard-talking army brat thing covered. Having previously told him off for not ratting out Richard…Lordalan then congratulated him for not ratting out Richard, saying it made him an honourable man. Yeah, I’m sure that warmed Brett to his very core.
Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch
DATE NIGHT! I can’t see this one ending in our first Apprentice wedding myself, but you never know.
NEXT WEEK :