Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Apprentice: Episode 4.

"They're here to compete for a job with a six figure salary," we're reminded as footage of the the 12 remaining contestants and the three sacked contestants going on escalators and walking across London with serious looks on their faces fill our screen. They meet up with Sir Alan in Kew Gardens to be briefed on this week's challenge, which is to design, market and sell a beauty/skincare product with a natural ingredient. The teams are shuffled about a bit - Debra, Jasmina and Paula bung over to Empire and Kim and Howard bung over to Ignite. The team leaders are appointed - Paula for Empire, and Noorul, who Sir Alan notes hasn't done much up 'til now - for Ignite.

Empire are extremely pleased with their team, noting that "there are a few weaklings on the other team", and stating that they have the best possible team. You kind of just know from there that hubris is going to bite them in the backside. They go down to Poole, Dorset, where there's a massive Lush complex for them do so some fancy fragrance work. Over at Ignite, meanwhile, Howard tells Philip (yum) that "You wear more make-up than most of the girls", to which the tall Geordie can only grin sheepishly.

The thinking process is a lot more speedy for the two teams this week than it was last, and methinks that's down to the challenge being quite a bit more exciting. Ignite decide to make bubble bath and soap, with their vital ingredient as honey, whereas Empire decide on the same products, but using seaweed instead. Both teams have to extract their natural ingredient, and various clumsy antics from the hapless bunch ensue.

Next comes to mixing of fragrances to make their product, and herein lies Empire's massive fault. Jasmina and Paula sniff at a range of smells and decide they like the smell of cedarwood, but put down sandalwood. The difference? Oh, about 5 times the cost. This mistake is exacerbated when the girls bung in far more than needed of sandalwood into their mixture, racking up fragrance costs of about 700 quid. "How much was spent?" is asked to Paula, and she says airily, "oh, about a fiver." When a watching Nick can't contain his disgust at the horrific expenditure any longer, he drops the bombshell to Empire. To which Jasmina says, "shit". Which is not far removed from what their mixture looks like too.

Anyway, the mistake was made and Empire know that the only thing they can do now is damage limitation, which they do fairly well - having had the soap poured out into moulds, packaged etc, they hit Portobello Market in Notting Hill where all the rah-Chelsea residents would be more than happy to pay £3 for a green block. Ben, meanwhile, is at Bond Street Station trying to make sales, to no avail - people just dodge him as they get off the escalator. Hee.

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Ignite's products aren't selling quite as well - the honey bit in the centre of the glue bar looks horribly drippy and puts lots of people off buying it. The end of the day is approaching and sitting on a table in Camden Lock, Ignite still have over 120 products to haul, so they ask Noorul if they can flog them for a quid. Noorul is hesitant and tells them to wait for a bit, to which Philip gets angry and shouts at Noorul down the phone in an undecipherable Tyneside brogue. "What part of that didn't he understand?" he mutters darkly. I wonder, Philip.

Anyway, Noorul's delaying tactics go to nothing as, in the last hour Ignite are forced to sell their products at three for a pound, leading to them eventually getting sold out. I must say, Noorul made an absolutely clueless Project Manager; he looked utterly confused from start to finish, had terrible selling skills and couldn't get his team together at any point. His choice of location was also a bit dodge; Paula's team picked the better spot by far, so much so that her team were able to up the price toward the end because their product was selling so well. Furthermore, though I was initially wary of their murky green-looking thing, I must say I'd far much rather have that on my body that Noorul's team's product, which looks like bar of earwax mixed with piss.

Boardroom time, and Sir Alan asks Ignite whether or not Noorul was a good PM. "I enjoyed working with Noorul," they say evasively. Margaret, who had been watching their team, smirks cattily, knowing otherwise. Next, the same question to Empire regarding Paula. The girls give a positive (albeit tentatively so) response, but Ben wastes no time in complaining, and doing a lot of it. "I didn't want you to read off half the Magna Carta," Sir Alan says, waving him off.

Anyway, number crunching time. Ignite made a profit of £493.97, and Empire, though taking in over £1000 worth of revenue, end up making a loss due to their horrendous oversight on the costing of raw materials front. The devil is in the details! Nick, who had clearly noted their mistake from the start but decided to leave it up to them to fix it, takes a grim amount of glee in telling them that they would have won the task had they used cedarwood as was the plan.

Despite Noorul being a pretty duff team leader (Howard, for all his smugness, is right when he says this was the Team's win, not Noorul's), Ignite win the challenge and they are treated to a session of learning how to make sushi + sake. "Who's he gonna sack-e?" Philip asks goofily, to a resounding groan. He's fit though.

Meanwhile, Paula has decided to bring Jasmina and Ben into the boardroom with her, as she assigned them in charge of costings. Ben is not having any of it, "I did outstandingly on sales," he declares, before blaming Paula for sandalwoodgate. Jasmina, too, turns on Paula, which is wily move as it is really her error that cost them the win. But it pays off, because after some pondering, Sir Alan tells Jasmina she's staying, but that she'll have to be PM again. It's Paula who goes, and she seems genuinely upset about it.'Tis a shame actually, for I'd never seen much from Paula up until today and she seemed like an asset in many ways: creative, could motivate the team, positive thinker, etc. But, she couldn't do basic sums, and in the end, that cost her.

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Back at the house, Mona is in tears to see that Paula has gone, and Jasmina retells how she turned on Paula with what seems like pride mixed with ponderence. But, that's The Apprentice for you; no time to make friends when you wanna win.

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2 comments:

anahita said...

Ben was getting incredibly on my nerves, I wish he'd gone. and I can't believe how they messed up prices, wasn't it because they thought the percentage was actually the grams or something STUPID like that. how could they not ask: excuse me, if we do this combination, how much will it be, BEFORE buying the lot. seriously, what a bunch of idiots.

yeah phillip is so cute, and it was hilarious to see him getting in a strop. except I think I would have been frustrated too. noorul was rather useless xxx

Nigel S said...

Do you see John Terry every time you look at Philip? I do. Then that deep Geordie accent comes out instead of JT's softly spoken London one, and it confuses me a lot.

I lol'd so much when Nick told them about their little "overspend" then says "Anyway, I'll leave it with you." so nonchalant. Happens at like 1:18 on this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8jwqXoQtJA