Now, I understand that when The Apprentice – or, as some of our more disrespectful people say, ‘The Apprentarse’ – comes onto the television screen courtesy of the BBC Broadcasting Corporation, it is customary to cast aspersions on the candidates under Lord Sugar’s auspices. I, personally, think this is an unfair practice and should not be encouraged. I have read the most awful filth in some of the blogs over the years, especially by that ne’er-do-well Hazel Humphreys (http://funnyfarmhazel.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/the-apprentice-series-8-episode-1-wheres-wally-here-they-are/), and definitely do not encourage anyone to go directly to her blog at this address and read her vile filth pouring forth from the very bowels of hell.
In these drastic economic climes it is essential to nurture the buds of new economic growth, and I think the so-called Nookie Bear of enterprise, Lord Sugar, should be applauded in his search for a new economic powerhouse in these dire financial times.
And it’s with this in mind that I present to you – my humble readers – a week by week blog into the world of The Apprentice.
First of all it’s paramount that we meet the guests we invite into our living room every night.
Adam Corbally describes himself as confident and enthusiastic and is not ashamed to show his emotion. To the churlish this would make him a big girl’s blouse who would weep at the site of a daisy getting its head kicked in, but to the more sensitive amongst us it speaks of an artistic soul striving for the common good in all mankind. He may have started his working life stacking bread in Co-Op like common scum, but he’s managed to build himself up to running his own fruit and veg retail stall – also very common and probably scum like, but at least the poor lad’s trying.
Azhar Siddique is a man who knows the qualities of keeping a cool head. In the short ‘info-nugget’ given away on the BBC Broadcasting Corporation’s website he states that ‘It’s not who shouts the loudest, it’s who has the ability to control the conversation.’ And I’m sure Ashar will not be raising his voice at any juncture during the contest, as that would be vulgar and not in keeping with how a gentleman should purport himself.
Bilyana Apostolova has a face like a sulking brick wall. Or at least, that’s what a rude person would say, unlike myself who can only compliment her on her wisdom and charm. Growing up in the communist block she’s obviously taken advantage of the freedom the western world can give her, although considering the current budget announcements given by George Osbourne, she may be very well wishing she was back in Bulgaria
Duana Bryan is a bit of a hero. He once chased and caught a hit and run driver, and contrary to rumours it was not a small child on a tricycle running over an ant. He describes himself as a winner and a fighter, although his biggest strength is his creativity, despite the fact that his snapshot on the BBC Broadcasting Corporation couldn’t come up with anything more interesting than ‘Duane enjoys going out to bars and night-clubs’.
Gabrielle Omar is the artiste amongst the gathering. She draws, she paints, she photographs and she runs, which is all very nice. Apparently she’s a bit of an animal, according to her prece. It’s probably more bunny related than lion, but you never can tell with these programs. Then raging beast may dwell within her, and probably create a really scathing watercolour about people who annoy her.
Jade Nash’s passions involve money, which would be the passion of most people, I would imagine. She would like to retire when she’s 45, although as her interests involve hosting dinner parties and going to the gym, she may find herself working until she’s well into her 90’s. She boasts that she does not have any annoying habits, although – in the (something) of honesty, I’d like to hear what the guests of her dinner parties would say. Probably only nice things.
Jane McAvoy is the mother of the group. With a brood of 12 it’s amazing she has time to do anything else in her life, and although we live in modern times she should probably get back in the kitchen and rustle up some dinner. Jane used to play camogie for her country, but since I have no idea what that is I’ll assume it’s something that involves cooking or hoovering, as she’s a mother.
Jenna Whittingham is a homebody who can’t cook or clean, which we used to call ‘being a lazy bloody student who sits around scratching their arse and do fuck all, the feckless tosspots’ back in my day. Although she runs a beauty parlour, it would be unkind to suggest she should take advantage of whatever they offer and slap it on with a trowel. She describes herself as ‘once seen and never forgotten.’ And a cruel person would say ‘I’ve seen the photo love, and I know what you mean.’ Although not myself. I’m sure she has a lovely personality.
Katie Wright calls herself ‘The Blonde Assassin’, although a quick call to the police can assure myself and you, dear reader, that she has never actually killed anyone. She states one of her wishes as to be the ‘brains behind Heinz Baked Beans’ which some could say lacks ambition as it mainly involves farting.
Laura Hogg loves to ski, and once skated with Torvill and Dean, and boasts of hoping to be one of Scotland’s biggest exports, but let’s hope it’s not sectarianism. The BBC Broadcasting Corporation is rather scant on details about Laura, however, so let’s pass quickly on to someone with a personality.
Maria O’Connor is inspired by Gordon Ramsey, although let’s hope it’s not in the verbal sense. Or personality. Or anything, actually. She says that being chucked in the deep end only leads her to swim, although I’d contest that if she was tied to a fridge freezer. She’s a headstrong and cunning woman, and like Katie Wright, wishes she’s cornered the market in the most blandest, tedious thing she could think of – in this case the cotton bud. Some people aspire to be kings and queens and great artists, a churlish person might say, whilst this shower of arseholes aspire to mundanity. But not me.
Nick Holzer was born in Switzerland and was named ‘emerging entrepreneur of the year’, which is a pity really as Nick obviously doesn’t realise the Swiss award that to everyone who gets born. Micky The Mad Pig Fucker McScrotey was awarded it a few years back before that unfortunate incident in the barnyard. When he was nine Nick earned money by selling gold balls back to their owners. That’s called stealing.
Ricky Martin has a head like a coconut. At least, that’s what a cruel person would say. I think he’s pietastically challenged and not at all a fat, greedy pig. He describes himself as ‘the reflection of perfection’ and if you’re idea of perfection is a pie scoffing tubster then he’s right on the money. He boasts that he has a girlfriend, so it’s nice to know there IS compassion out there.
Stephen Brady is inspired by Muhammad Ali, so expect him to beat ten barrels of living shit out of anyone who steps in his path over the next interminable weeks. Only joking. It’s nice to know someone with the job of a National Sales Manager has the belief in himself to actually state his occupation as ‘National Sales Manager’ meaning –as it does – absolutely nothing.
Tom Gearing fucks goats for a living. I’m sorry, I’ve got my notes mixed up. Tom Gearing is confident, charismatic, and good looking, according to himself. It’s nice to see such confidence in what some would call a boy with the visage of a vermin. He’s inspired by Candy & Candy and wishes he was the brains behind ASOS, which – let’s face it – is just a load of gibberish.
Luckily our charming guests for the duration of the programme appear not to have seen the previous 7 series, or else the candour in their opening statements would lack the usual motifs about roaring and being great. Either that or they’ve been goaded with a cattle prod off screen into coming across like witless gobshytes, as some would say.
Cuddly old Alan give his usual schpiel about the whole program being about him and how great he is, and how he doesn’t like toadies, regardless of the reality, followed by the usual shots of the candidates in suits shouting a lot, breaking the odd ornament (a requisite in every series) arguing with each other and generally acting like a bunch of ill trained baboons fighting over the last banana, but not – I’ll wager – the wrinkly old one in Alan’s trousers.
It’s appears to the discerning viewer to have come to a point where the programme makers themselves are tired with the format, and have simply slipped into repeating the same shots from previous episodes. However, this would be unkind. As the Teletubbies have proven, people enjoy the repetition. After all, you know someone in the series is going to be rather nice but get kicked out early, and one of the more surly characters will have a past full of woe and hard graft which explains their character, and although some may try to claw their own face off at the mind-rending tediousness of the whole pointless exercise of watching a bunch of adenoidal fuckwits try and stamp their competitors heads into the ground, the more discerning amongst us appreciate the business ethic they put forward and the comfort of settling down with an old friend who gives us exactly the same old thing we ask for every week. Forever.
Anyway, Sugar-babes sets the collected competing parasites up for an exercise to test the will of any budding entrepreneur. They have to sell printed T-shirts and teddy bears. After all, if Alan started out flogging crap to the proles back in the heyday before the horseless carriage then his charges better learn from the ground up.
The boys (let’s face it, it would be unfair to call them men as wearing a suit and not being able to shave properly does not constitute being a man) manage to team up quite well, all showing their go-ahead spirit by democratically not volunteering to be the leader of the team they christen ‘Phoenix’, presumably because they’ll fail quite a lot and then burst into flames . After a lot of humming and haaing, obviously because as a collective they don’t wish to hog the limelight and not because they’re aware that it’s usually the first team leader who gets given the hoof in the first episode, young Nick pipes up and says he’ll do the job.
The ladies called themselves ‘Sterling’ because, as one wag put it, ‘they’re worth fuck all on the market. A minor amount of squabbling ensues before Gabrielle is chosen at top dog and before you can say “Oh Christ, not again,” the buoyant young things are out on the shop floor putting their hard earned business intellect into deciding what to waste other people’s time and money on.
Phoenix go for pinafores and teddy bears, showing the sweet side to their nature. It’s always good to remember that behind every grasping moneyed tycoon wannabe there’s a small child in a locked room who’s afraid of the dark. Although, it can be unfortunate that sometimes they let these people out to indulge in shows like The Apprentice, but let’s crack on regardless.
The ladies go straight for churning out some personalised something-or-others for mums and dads whilst giving the appearance of running around in circles squawking like they’re indulging in some sort of ancient lesbian mating ritual. The mother of the crowd, McEvoy, instantly attacks Gabrielle for being a bit nice and claims she’s losing control, and the unkind would wager that trying to control this bunch of hyper-active alpha-females would be akin to trying to control a bunch of starving fatties in a burger making factory, but not me. I think Gabrielle tries very well under difficult circumstances, and the hitherto unbearable Jade shows her artistic talent by scribbling a few child-like drawings from which the team will make their initial prints. It’s probably her best work yet and she should get a gold star.
Anyway, we’ll go straight into the selling side of things, and as expected we get the usual tromping around the streets trying to rob the gullible of their money. There’s an awful lot of shots of the usual bargaining, harassing, and downright beasting which would find any other person outside of a reality TV show slammed up in jail and prodded in the bottom by Mr Big in the showers before they know it.
The selling process is the usual schmorgasbord of people running about trying to rob the general public of their hard earned cash. Nothing of any real interest happens until four of the women descend on the nearest zoo and instead of splitting up and tackling different sections of the crowd they descend like a pack of hyenas on their dying prey and basically try and browbeat terrified holidaymakers into coughing up for their tat. That’s followed by a blitzkrieg on a shop where they violently harass the poor woman behind the counter before getting a dressing down from the shop owner who gives them a quick course in etiquette. The ladies look suitably chastised, probably planning to go back and pour petrol through his letterbox.
The problem with the whole editing process is we, the audience, are well aware how the whole thing is put together. First of all we’ll get a varied amount of shots of the winning team looking like their losing. This is then followed by shots of what inevitably will be the losing team seeing to get along and actually selling. Then, during the last few minutes of the selling process, things even up so it appears that both teams are equalling incompetent at getting along or selling their grandmothers.
By this rote it’s obvious that the boys have won, as emphasised by the smug looks on the women’s faces once they all shuffle into the Room Of Death. Everyone loves everyone for the initial judgement of doom, and Jade blurts out something about ‘we are women and we are strong’ and then burns her bra.
However, when it comes to the crunch these are the not-very-surprising results
Harpies – Profit: 214.80p
Homonculi – Profit – 616.20p
Gabrielle lets out a primal shriek and suddenly goes ape, tearing out a submachine gun and mowing down the rest of her team with a blood thirsty cackle.
The boys back out subserviently, bowing as they would to their lord and master, The Great ImhoAlan.
The ladies go ballistic. Bilyana suddenly turns into the masked avenger and tears into Gabrielle, ripping chunks out of her credibility with the harshness of someone who’s probably not very nice. The blame games does the rounds, with everyone suddenly putting on the ‘what, me’ look, shrugging their shoulders, and then squaring up the competition in their sights in an effort to bag themselves a fragile ego. It’s carnage.
In the end Katie and Bilyana come back to the boardroom, and in this humble commentators view I was not even aware there was someone on the team called Katie – not even when I commented on her bio above. She played the part of Predator throughout the whole escapade, subsuming herself into the background and becoming one with the foliage, emerging only to look a bit lost and do a bit of moaning, before sinking back into the ether.
Bilyana, on the other hand, is just a tedious gobshite.
One of the cardinal rules of The Apprentice is you don’t talk over the chimpanzee in the suit between Mrs Brady, Old Lady and The Lemon Sucking Avenger, and Bilyana does. Relentlessly. Endlessly. Even Mrs. Pants was close to putting her foot through the television set and then sending the BBC Broadcasting Corporation the bill. But in the end she settled for respectfully flicking the V’s at Bilyana’s flapping gums and then stomping off to punch a kitten.
Katie squeaks out a few lines about ‘give me chance and I’ll show you I’ve got a knob’ style bleatings which we’ve come to expect from the candidates, but all this is filler as Bilyana gets the boot, still yapping over Alan like an over-eager puppy.
Anyway, if I was a less charitable man I’d say this first episode was exactly like every other first episode they’ve ever done in the entire history of the series, but as I am a charitable man I’d say it was a program with some people in it who did some things and then stopped.