The Apprentice blog: Episode 2 Series 7

Posted on by Nell Frizzell

It’s episode two and the booming strings of Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights is back in business. Which can only mean one thing; it’s time for The Apprentice contestants to joust to the death, using a ‘smart phone’, riding a noble black cab, wearing a suit of M&S polyester armour.

“If you go sitting in the office for three hours I aint going to be a very happy bunny”. I do wish he’d stop doing that. The vision of Lord Sugartits jumping around the Playboy mansion dressed as a bunny is making my mind turn inside out.

And so, with the initial episode still warm in its grave, we’re on to Episode two. It’s 5am and Lord Sugar has a message. I’m starting to wonder what exactly it is that the Baron of Clapton does between 2am and 9am. Shouldn’t he be hibernating? Or, I don’t know, starring in the opening credits of One Foot in the Grave? Anyway, Lord Sugar wants to pass on some vital business information and what better way than having a house full of half-naked strangers gather around a laptop for a quick blast of Chat Roulette. First up, it’s it’s Lord Sugar.

This week’s task is to make a mobile phone application. “Better known as an app,” for those of you watching this in 1987. The teams have just two days to design and launch this new app. A run-up time so guaranteed to result in a shit product that Apple refused to host them.

The teams are, once again, boys versus girls. If by ‘boys and girls’ we mean ‘thirty-something suburban sociopaths.’ In the back of their taxi – one sadly not driven by a homicidal, gun-toting Robert DeNiro – the boys are spitting lyrics and swapping rhymes on this whole ‘app’ idea.”What an app-ortunity”. “We’re fast app-roaching where we need to be”. “This is app-solutely tremendous.” “Did you have an App-le…?” Oh Vincent . Poor, sweet, copper-coloured Vincent.

With Lord Sugar’s unparalleled reputation for electrical innovation and groundbreaking technology, I assume that the Appstrad1000 will be easily downloadable on to your portable minidisc player using Netscape and a dongle made of cheese.

The first step on this highway to iHell is for each of the boys to pull up a small white pouffe, gather around a doll table and brainstorm: Traffic light? Popping bubble wrap? What the weather was a year ago? Steve Jobs better be taking notes – this shit is dynamite. In the end they go for an app that allows you to insult people in regional slang. And the name for this piece of mobile misanthropy? “Slangatang. That is brilliant.”

Over at the girls’ brainstorm Susan Ma takes what is known as the ‘Ryanair approach’ to making her point – taking several good passes over it, before eventually grinding to a halt 10 miles from anywhere.  Fittingly, the girls come up with the idea of marketing the most annoying noises they can. This meeting would make a good start. As would Susan Ma lowing like a cow mid-insemination.

Over in their recording studio the boys have finished scraping the barrel of their impressions and have now set about tunnelling down in to the earth’s mantle. We’ve got a licencious Scouser and a Welsh sheep farmer (who appears to have spent a lot of time in Bangalore).

“It’s sort of bland and meaningless to me.” Yet again, Nick smacks it out of the ballpark.

After those poor designers and programmers have spent the night polishing these turds, the Apps go live, accompanied by plenty of footage of the BT phonetower. Because, you know, what says ‘mobile phone technology’ like a monument to the landline.

Unfortunately, during his sales presentation Vincent goes blanker than Paris Hilton’s CV. Someone must have spiked his foundation.

After a series of stilted, awkward meetings, both teams then head off to a gaming fair. Now, if this were a proper fair Leon would be getting mugged up against a Helter Skelter by an onion-smelling, B&H-smoking 14 year old, while Glenn Ward snogged a fat girl for a bag of candyfloss. In fact, this ‘fair’ appears to be a rally for dexterous virgins.

Edna delivers her speech to the fair attendees in what can best be described as a ‘Valium drone’, wearing a very worrying pair of elbow-length leather gloves, while the boys dress up like a stag party at V Festival.

After those interesting conference gloves I was expecting Edna to at least glide in to the boardroom wearing a gimp mask and fetish hooves. Instead, she settles for silver lipstick and a face like she’s squeezing a cat’s anal gland.

The results are in and the girls’ 24 hour downloads outstrip the boys’ slangeotypes by 6,000. The female of the species, it appears, understands the international language of mewling.

To celebrate the girls head off to dinner with Michel Roux, while Lord Sugaga delivers one of his zingers about how “the next application you’ll be making will be a job application.” Closely followed by the admission that “I’m bored.” Someone needs a biscuit and bit of quiet time on the mat, I think.

After a painful bit of indecision, Leon’s top heavy-face announces that it will be taking Glenn and Alex back in to the boardroom for the final selection. So, it’s between Dobby the House Elf, Orlando Baggins and Marlon Blando.

“If you and I were to go in to my business there would be no bush to hide in,” Alex tells Lord Sugar. I literally have no idea what he’s talking about. I’m just hoping it has nothing to do with bushels or bunnies. Is his bushwhacking enough to save him from the chop? Will his ability with the breadknife save his neck? Of course not – he’s all eyebrow and no bollocks.

Alex: you’re fired.

“You take a situation, learn from it and move on.” Unless, of course, you’re Stuart Baggs.

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