Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Apprentice, Week 4.

It’s all about inventions this week, as both Apollo and Synergy are told to select two from a bunch of up-and-coming inventions and pitch them to various department stores and shops across the UK.
We’re launched straight into conflict when Jamie and Mel fight for the position of Project Manager. Mel, who was the winning PM last week (although it could be strongly argued that her team won in spite of, rather than because of, her), puts herself forward again, though through a democratic vote it is Jamie who win the position of PM. Jamie looks chuffed, Mel looks extremely irked. On the other team, picking PM is considerably more straightforward; Chris puts himself forward and meets no opposition, winning the position by default.

The teams this week are two select some inventions and try to sell them. We see some of these inventions, which range from the curious to the sublime. There’s bizarre Pilate helpers, a men’s T-shirt that claims to sculpt in the body (for £50? I think not). There’s also a “water and energy-saving showerhead”, which can save a family of four up to £240 a year, which retails at just over twenty quid. Jamie’s team like it it, deciding that it’s “free money”. If they buy over a thousand units, they can get them for £9.95 rather than RRP of "12.95. Lastly, there’s a BabyGlo for off-colour babies, which helps to prevent cot death; when a baby gets too warm, the item of clothing changes colour. Chris is very impressed with it and it’s obviously going to be snapped up by worried parents. Finally, both teams decide to vy for the baby clothing, but only one can get it. It’s Chris’ team who win it, leaving Jamie’s team disappointed. They have to decide on second best, wherein they debate over the shower head and the spade. In the end, they go for both. (Chris’ teams’ second product is the expensive underwear).
The day’s big appointment is to make pitches. The two teams work on their pitches on their cab rides toward their destinations. Jamie, Melissa and Christopher aim to pitch their showerheads first. The department store disregard it straight away, saying they “don’t sell showers”, which leaves Jamie stumped. Melissa jumps in, arguing in favour for it, saying it “does fit in somewhere” and that it “does bring in different buyers”, though she’s talking to a brick wall, which does the team no favours with the Department store. Next, they pitch their spade, and the pitch is somewhat underwhelming, only for them to say they “don’t sell gardening tools.” All in all, a massive fail.

Chris’ team’ pitch for the underwear doesn’t particularly impress the Department store people, but the BabyGlo item noticeably turns their head. They have their questions, but the pitch is quite strong (after all, it is by far the best item), and they leave relatively pleased for their work on the latter. Joanna in Synergy manages to gather interest for the showerhead, but it’s from Leamington Spa, so Jamie sends his sub-team of Stella, Stuart and Melissa up there. Chris’ team then move to test their BabyGlo product on boutiques. The first shopkeeper’s main concern with it is over the packaging. She complains that it is not packaged for a high-end store, despite the product itself being quite innovative. The other half of Chris’ team – Sandeep, Paloma and Laura, go to other baby stores. Sandeep wins “Most Pointless Comment of the Year” by saying “obviously the baby can’t talk to you.” They make a small amount of orders, but Laura complains that her pitch was stolen from her.

Jamie’s team has meanwhile gone all the way down to Portsmouth. They make ten thousand pounds worth of sales, which they’re highly satisfied with. Jamie meanwhile calls Melissa to say that Joanne will be taking 50% of her sales, as it was her that won them the pitch. Melissa certainly isn’t happy about it, but aims to make the greatest batch sale she can. However, the buyer would only take it if the product was around the six pound region, which is half what they’re trying to flog it for. Despite Melissa’s best efforts (read: rambling), it’s a no-go for them. Meanwhile, Chris is trying to sell his BabyGlo outfit by playing the “as mothers…” card with a group of women, and it doesn’t go down particularly well.
It’s success for Sandeesh as she makes £780 worth of sales. They then go to a shop nearby and make a big sale of 200 units, but he’ll only agree to it if they go exclusive within the Soho area, meaning that Sandeesh demands credit for £780 of that sale to make up for the sale she has lost. This triggers off a debate between Paloma and Laura over who gets the credit for the rest of the sale.
In the closing minutes of the day, Jamie’s and Chris’ team run around all over the UK, making closing sales. Both see fairly confident, though Jamie is far from impressed from the other half of his team – Stuart sold nothing, Stella sold 60 showers and Mel, 6 spades. Christopher voices his derision at their “work”, “BOLLOCKS.”

It’s boardroom time, and Alan Sugar asks Synergy what they made of their teamleader Jamie. Generally, they were fairly impressed, though they discuss why it is that they didn’t win the pitch for the BabyGlo product. This was mainly down to Stuart’s rudeness in the face of the pitcher. Alan Sugar then questions why 60 showers were sold for £10, which count as disallowed sales, as this price can only be applied for sales of over 1000. Alan Sugar then talks to Apollo. They, too, have some of their sales discounted, because they offered exclusivity on their BabyGlo product and they weren’t allowed it from the creator.

Number crunching time. For what has to be a first in The Apprentice history, the sales figures are very very high. Synergy make £3790 from one sent of pitches, 0 from the department store ones, and a whopping £63750 in another, amounting to a huge £76518.80, which Jamie looks hugely pleased about. However, his happiness is short-lived in the face of Apollo’s figures a huge total of £122000, chiefly thanks to Liz’s amazing sale skills. I’m a huge fan of Liz, it must be said. She’s the only un-diva of the women in the show, and just goes about her work quietly. Woman will go very, very far. It’s mainly thanks to her that Chris’ team wins, and they are treated to a spa treatment.

It’s but a trick for Synergy, however, and Jamie tries to look gracious, but he can’t hide his disappointment. Joanne and Melissa shout at reach other across the café table. Melissa claims to be a great pitcher, but all we’ve seen is evidence to the contrary. Jamie says he wishes he could take the mini-group Stella, Stuart and Melissa in, as he’s none too impressed with either. The Sub team contributed £897, which is rubbish as a proportion of their overall sales. Stuart won’t accept it though, and still claims to be a great salesman. Karen Brady tells Melissa bluntly that the feedback was that they were “very annoying”, something I echo 100%. Recriminations aplenty follow, and Jamie goes all wordy when questioned on who he wants to bring into the boardroom with him. He goes for Melissa and Stuart, which I think is a bit of a no-brainer, although Melissa stills acts wounded to hear the decision, which makes me laugh.

Once the three of them are in the boardroom, the three turn on each other. When Sir Alan disses Melissa, all she can say is “I appreciate the feedback”, which just makes her appear even more sycophantic than ever. She tries to defend herself by saying “I received a victory as project manager”, but Alan Sugar fairly points out that that win had nothing to do with her. Ha ha ha. Alan Sugar curtly tells Stuart he needs to think before he can talk, but Stuart argues that he’s young (21, only a year older than me! Freaking hell), saying that he’s yet to be PM to exhibit his full skills.

Alan Sugar really scares me (and, no doubt, Jamie), when he winds him up, making it seem like it is Jamie who is getting to get fired, but finally, he sacks Melissa, much to the glee of everyone over the UK, no doubt. She shows herself to be the ungracious goon she is muttering “Well done for ganging up on me” darkly under her breath, and refusing to shake Jamie’s hand when he offers it. When in the cab, she says something stupid like “Karmically they will be reattributed”, which is not even proper English. As for as unlikeable characters in The Apprentice go, Melissa is right up there, and I am so happy she’s finally off our screens. No-one in the house seems to miss her, and, frankly, neither will any of us.


Squish said...

Hey Zummer,

On the week of November 29th to December 5th, 2010, I will be hosting an good old fashioned Blog-A-Thon to re-inaugurate the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die Blog Club.

I am writing you today to invite you to contribute a post on the first film on the epic 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die List [], George Méliès' A Trip To The Moon (1902) aka Le voyage dans la lune. Whether you are a new or old Club member, or simply want to join in on this Blog-O-Thon, with a new or archived post on the subject of A Trip To The Moon (1902), you're invited!

One of the many great things about A Trip To The Moon is that this full 14-minute short is available everywhere for viewing. I've put a couple links for you of the complete film at the bottom of the page.

If you're interested, drop me a link or a line through my site (, and feel free to spread the word!

Un Voyage dans la lune:
Alternate Link:

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