Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Apprentice, Episode 3.

Week 3. To date, we've had one of each gender fired, leaving us with 13 people now. This week, Alan Sugar chooses to mix the teams up a bit. But first, the show begins, and we see Lorraine looking quite the horror, without a bra or any make-up on, as she makes her way toward the phone. The contestants are told to go to Lee Valley in East London. No-one has any idea where this is and they faff about the location, as we ladies are treated to a rather lovely view of Philip in a red hoodie.

Turns out Lee Valley Athetics Centre is an elite Olympic training ground, and the location is itself an indication as to what the teams are to do this week. But first, a bit of rejigging. Kimberley and Kate are moved to Empire, and Noorul and Philip go over to Ignite. The task? To create a sports product, market it and make sales. The team that makes the most sales of their product is the winner. They have 2 days to design a prototype and sell it.

Ignite need to pick a leader. Lorraine puts herself forward but no-one pays her any real attention. In the end, Debra is elected project manager and she looks extremely smug, her shockingly blue eyes blinking away. Lorraine is none too happy. Over at Empire, meanwhile, James reckons this week is a "potential banana skin". The Irish fella Ben, bearer of one of the most slappable faces, is clearly a bit too sex-obsessed, and immediately launched into his "sex sells" speech. Back at Ignite, Naomi grabs hold of one of her teammates' legs, as if doing this will create a sports utility. More silly suggestions are thrown round before Philip disregards them, "I want me abs to look good," he declares. He then proceeds to girate randomly whilst his jaws gurn away.

James' team discuss a tricep dip and Ben does a bizarre demonstration that can only be likened to attempting to bung his chair. James then splits his team, putting Ben in charge of design. BINGOBUSTER, they say. Kimberley lol's. Howard suggests "Wingworker" as another name. I lol.

Sexy cello music plays as we are told that it is now 11am. Debbie's team still haven't decided. Philip is still carrying on with his over-physical demonstrations. Naomi suggests an ankle-exerciser of some kind, to which Phil says in his thick Geordie brogue, "We need to get past the foot thing." He's plugging a piece of foam cube that he's scribbled down with biro on his notepad, but on meeting with the experts, they are told that it does nothing for peoples' fitness levels. How difficult is it to find something that hasn't been done before? Ignite ask. 'Tis kind of the point...

Three of the girls go shopping for gym clothes to wear in their photo shoot. They peruse through the footwear section, holding up a nice-looking Adidas pair and another, very ugly pair. Yasmina suddenly has an epiphany: "We've got a fairly good looking guy in the group, why don't we use him?" She pitches this idea to Debbie, also saying that the photoshoot already has one ethnic minority in Mona, and asks if Philip can be in it instead of Noorul, because he's "you know, quite good-looking, and stuff." Phil suppresses a happy grin. Debbie, however, isn't having any of it. "I don't live in fucking Vietnam", she screeches, before making what can only be a speech for the politically correct masses about how anyone can be in the photoshoot, regardless of their nationality. Shifty eyes from Philip.

Empire are told that the product that makes the most sales is the chin up bar. "Not gimmicky enough", Ben says, though the team are told to keep it simple, such as a simple pull-up bar. The message is clear: don't over-complicate things.

2.45pm, and an idea still isn't formed. "The bum ball", Philip says loudly, before moving about again. On the other team, Ben has clearly ignored advice to keep it simple. He wants springs. He wants rubber. He wants everything but the kitchen sink in there. It's going to be a late night, apparently.

Back at the house, everyone on Empire does a hands-in a la Power Rangers. James is last to put his hand in, looking apprehensive. 7am the next day. The Bumball idea has been developed into something called the Body Rocka, a neat little board mounted on a round ball which can exercise most parts of the body. Mona makes lots of love sounds as she finds her way around it. Empire's product is less compact, the Home Multitone; it looks absolutely massive and very clunky, not more 19th century than 21st century. Ben Clarke doesn't see this, however, "I've come up with a bloody great product", he declares. "I've actually shocked myself." James does not seem as happy about it.

Next is pitching their product, to which Lorraine puts herself forward to do it for Ignite. She's quite duff in the trial run, using generic words like "Reassign" and "Innovative" (btw, I'm pretty sure she pronounced innovative wrong, at least, it's completely different from how I pronounce the word), and Debbie looking none too impressed. Lorraine claims you can carry the Body Rocka in your handbag; no you bunging can't! And she also uses the phrase "stable stability." Hmm. Debbie pretty much admits she doesn't think much of Lorraine's pitching skills, admitting that if the product wasn't as strong as it was, she probably wouldn't put Lorraine in charge of the pitch.

Next to give a soundbite is the increasingly self-assured Ben, who reckons he's the best looking geezer on his team. "I have at least graced a gym," he says proudly. Kate tells us that she's "low maintenance on the nail front", before giving a bit of bizarre advice: wearing fake tan means you don't need to bung on foundation. As someone who wears neither, I really wouldn't know.

In the photoshoot, Ben is told to be "a little less QVC." If you ask me, the facial expression he's sporting in the shoot is not dissimilar with that of someone taking a dump. Ben's shot: not that great at all. Over at Ignite's photoshoot, Debbie is driving everyone mad. Yasmina is the one with the camera, but Debbie just has to make her voice heard on everything. "Deborah is not much fun to work with", Yasmina sighs. We can see that! Nick watches silently as Deborah barks away at everyone. Next, Philip sports a navy suit, light blue shirt and red tie. HOT. Lorraine works on her pitch: Dumballs, Dumbells. And Deborah gathers everyone. "C'mon troups," she says sharply, expecting everyone to follow her.

The pitch. Maj chews away on a silver pen. Lorraine speaks as if she's entertaining a particularly dim child. James' team pitch, making the bold and downright incorrect claim that one can "easily" assemble their product. They certainly prove this point when the thing needs assembling twice 'cos it's so clunky. Class. Back to the Body Rocka, Lorraine is so boring that she's inducing Mona to spread her legs for some reason. Paula (a woman who's been somewhat of a non-entity in this episode) and Yasmina bite their lips. Philip, however, is extremely excited. "This is the iPod of fitness products", he says proudly, before the group sing some N*Sync. I say sing, it's more like a cacophony of cats screeching.

James & co head to John Lewis. The two men there look like they're trying extremely hard not to laugh in the faces of Empire. Third pitch round, Lorraine is still as boring as ever. John Lewis asks Ignite what it'll take to get exclusivity of the Body Rocka. No-one's thought about this and they stare at each other confusedly. Finally, Yasmina throws a number in: 20,000 of them. But the soft-spoken bloke is not impressed with such a poor deal. On the other pitch, Ben is lapping it up and shows off his press-up skills and colourful socks in equal measure. "Wee bit 1970s".

The moment of truth, boardroom time. Standing in the waiting room, a lot of the women have their arms crossed. Deborah rolls her mascaraed eyes. In the boardroom, Sir Alan walks in and takes his seat. "Good team leader?", he asks Empire regarding James. Ben doesn't answer, instead, he moves his head non-distinctly. "What does that mean?" Sir Alan asks, mimicking him. Hee. James pipes up unsurprisingly, saying he wasn't happy with the end product. The same question from Sir Alan is asked to Ignite. "Yeah, she was OK", Mona says. Debbie looks unimpressed, like she feels she deserves more.

Ignite are asked what they thought of their pitch. Debbie makes a veiled dig at Lorraine, saying that she gave 110% effort. There's no such thing as 110% effort, Sir Alan snipes, before Phil steps in and defends Lorraine. I thought this was a lovely gesture, especially as her pitch wasn't up to much at all, but by Philip defending her, he prevented everyone else from quickly jumping on the anti-Lorraine bandwagon.

Numbers time. From Powerhouse, Empire received no orders, Ignite, 80. From Totally Fitness, Empire received no orders, Ignite, 100. Not looking too good for James' team. Finally, John Lewis. They made 500 orders for the Home Multione (heaven knows why), and of Ignite's product, they order... 10,000. That was a heart in mouth time for Ignite, as Nick had sadistically taken his time in revealing the figures. As a prize to Ignite for winning, they are rewarded a personal concert from Katharine Jenkins in Kenwood House. Ignite are very, very happy.

As for Empire, it's squeaky bum time for all involved. "The Empire doesn't strike back," Sir Alan notes wryly. The team go to the dingy Bridge Cafe, wherein they mourn the "upside down telly with a couple of springs hanging down from it", also known as the Home Multitone. At the same time, Katharine Jenkins is serenading Ignite. Yasmina seems to be holding hands with another female teammate. Licky licky subplot in The Apprentice, maybe? Who cares, 'cos Philip is wearing a V-neck and looking damn bungable in doing so, whilst Lorraine looks a bit like Tina Fey.

In the waiting room, Empire sit about as the tense xylophone tune plays the same pattern of 8 note repeatedly. Back in the boardroom, and Alan Sugar says he "doesn't know what to call it really." Grimace. James looks like he's sharting (Philip Seymour Hoffman in Along Came Polly: when you're trying to fart, but end up... ahem). James wastes no time in getting the blame game started, blaming Ben. Kim looks like the sight of the box makes her physically ill. Sir Alan Sugar takes his time, going round the table and laying into each of the team. To Howard (looks like a cross between Tom Hollander with Jonathan Rhys-Myers' eyes), who has been noticeably absent this week, he says "sitting on the fence can get you a sore arse." This is why I love The Apprentice! Turns out that the best thing Powerhouse thought of Empire's pitch was that they took their product away at the end. Ha!

Maj turns on James. James turns on Maj, "he was just here for the ride." It's all very entertaining, semi-car crash TV. James talks and talks some more. Finally, the decision is made, and, joining James in the boardroom will be Ben and Maj. The latter is described by Margaret as "hanging around like a spare part." Sir Alan notes than Ben hasn't had a nice thing to say about anybody else (a fact epitomized on The Apprentice: You're Fired when the charming Irishman chats away about how "obese" he thinks the rest of his team are.) Maj and Ben both think James should go, but the garrulous man isn't going without a fight, accusing Ben of making a bad product due to not developing it and accusing Maj of "hanging around in the periphery." Maj's rebuttal to this is that he wasn't delegated any large enough roles and Ben does a more than forceful and articulate job of sticking up for himself. Lots of shouting ensues, resulting in Ben telling James to "shut up for a second" and the 32-year-old James on the verge of tears.

In the end, Maj is fired for not contributing enough. "You were so far out the door you don't know", James is told. Apparently it was Margaret that got him to stay. I think this was a bit of a mistake, for, whilst Maj wasn't portrayed to be one of the hardest workers, he did get all his jobs done, and efficiently too. Maj looks gutted to leave, but Sir Alan has always made it clear that The Apprentice is "not here to carry passengers."

Back at the house, the consensus is that Ben should have gone. Howard finally makes some worthwhile input, which is that Ben was far too preoccupied with the whole sex sells thing. Debbie tells Empire brashly "your failure is my success." The door opens and James and Ben come in. Cue lots of excited screaming from most of the party, though Philip, sat on the couch, looks gutted that his dear friend Maj has been bunged off.


anahit said...

I know. Phillip was absolutely of the few who will, in fact, be nice to other people.

I can't believe Yasmina's half Iranian. She looks like such a chav...and Debbie may have been efficient, but she was a bit of a cow.

And have you noticed how none of the guys really like james, but all the girls run screaming up to him and hug him? He's apparantly a bit of a hit lol. xx

Emma said...

Phil is bung. ♥

Luke said...

Entertaining write-up!

A couple of things:

1. Who's Naomi? I think you mean Mona...

2. They were singing Backstreet Boys, not N*Sync. Pfft, I thought you were cultured!

3. Yasmina was holding Debra's hand, even though she kept complaining (and rightly so) about her during the task!

So far I haven't got any favourites, apart from maybe Philip. Debra, Ben and James are all pretty detestable.

Emma said...

Haha, bung, that was a blunder!

Debra, Ben and James are my bottonm three as well!