The Apprentice blog: Episode 4

Posted on by Nell Frizzell

“In this climate you need to stand out from the crowd,” snarls Britain’s favourite entrepreneur, Michael Caine sound-a-like and greying Travolta chin twin. As the thumping cellos and booming violins screech to a halt, episode four of the business buffoonery we call The Apprentice gets under way.

This time it’s Stuart who answers the early morning phone call, sheltering under a vase of flowers so enormous that it even manages to partly obscure Baggsitandbinit’s enormous rubbery face. Apparently they’ve got a hot date at the Science Museum, so it’s back in to that ubiquitous fleet of black cabs (I’m starting to suspect that S’rAlan’s sons may be called Addison and Lee).

“Science museum, so it’s probably going to be something to do with science… or museums,” muses the frighteningly astute Hollyoaks Jamie. This is a man who knows how not to shit out of his elbow, and no mistake.

“All these great inventions started off as someone’s crazy idea,” Alan tells the team. A crazy idea like a hulking great DOS computer that eats cassette tapes and craps out glowing green letters, eh Sugar? Boy were you backing the right crazy horse on that occasion.

Inspired by their sci-fi surroundings the teams are told to sell the product of the future to major retailers. Or ‘traders’ as SugarDaddy insists on calling them. Great scot! The Apprentice is finally knocked up with Dragons Den’s illegitimate lovechild and we’re all here to witness the birth. Rubber gloves at the ready; this one’s going to be messy.

According to Alanstrad, this week’s task is all a case of matching the right product to the right retailer. So, no Tampax at the Toyota garage or mirror balls at the morgue.

Surprisingly, Su Pollard stand-in Mel wants to prove herself as Synergy team leader, yet again. And so does Hollyoaks Jamie, yet again. Déjà vu? Bah oui! This time, however, the estate agent beats the hairdresser hands down. Is that a shit-storm I see brewing on the horizon?

Plum-voiced, slack jawed, vertically-haired Chris heads up Apollo. So, it’s time to pick a product or two. First off, we have the no-knife face lift, which turns out to be an infrared American football helmet designed by NASA and drawn up by Darth Vadar. Or how about an irritating alarm that goes off every time you slouch (in my childhood I called this device ‘a grandmother)? Or a £50 t-shirt that chokes your chesticles? A garden fork that moves earth like shit off a shovel? An energy-saving shower head? How about a global hypercolour babygrow? Apparently it prevents cot death.

“Would you like some free money? Urrh, yes please!” interjects Stuart with possibly the least ironic David Brent impression ever to grace the face of the earth. “At 30 degrees, am I right in thinking a baby would be dead?” he adds, just for good measure. Nice work potato face – you are now officially a twat and twonk. Everybody’s favourite mother substitute Stella tells him off, warning, “That might just lose us the Baby Glow.” Well guess what? She’s right! Apollo bag the chameleon child while Synergy are left holding the shower head.

In a quite staggering example of the stupid leading the inane, Synergy then pitch said showerhead to a shop that doesn’t sell showers and a spade to a shop that doesn’t sell garden ware. Nice work guys! Go team!

Over in the Apollo corner Chris is talking muffin tops and despite Liz’s arresting sales technique, Baby Glow is continually let down by its packaging. The scream team of Paloma, Laura and Sandeesh are getting so few offers that each one is fought over like the last cup of tea in the Sahara. The decision to give each contestant their own order book is a stroke of TV genius. It’s like clash of the morons out there.

To test the ‘sex sells’ theory to its absolute limit, the scream team hawk their pec-puckering t-shirt around Soho, resulting in a cat fight in the gutter and a demand for DV8 exclusivity. Meanwhile, Syngery’s Jamie proves that he’s also willing to talk dirty, promising that “this product will give you a new shower sensation.” He’s not selling shower accessories; he’s giving head.

Back in the boardroom there’s a nervous wait for S’rAlan to come back through those magic doors. Surely I’m not the only one to expect dry ice and Matthew Kelly to be holding a microphone every time he does this? It’s pure Stars in Your Amstrad.

Synergy (Jamie, Melissa, Stella, Joanna, Military Christopher and Stuart) put in a strong performance racking up £76,000 of sales, which would ordinarily be a winning score. However, Apollo’s Liz alone manages to sell £99,000 worth of Baby Glows.  In the words of Sir Alan, “It’s a bladdy record!” and springboards the rest of the team (Chris, Liz, Paloma, Laura, Sandeesh, Maverick Alex) on to the winning spot.

So, who will take the fall for the shower-spouting Synergy? Jamie calls in Melissa Cohen and Stuart Baggs. Mel and Stu? Unless Jamie drops his trousers and shits on the conference table, The Apprentice is about to lose a comedy gold contender.

Melissa is told that “You are very annoying,” by SuperNanny Karen, while Alanstrad tells Stuart that “A lot of what comes out of your mouth is hot air. So in the name of glaciers, watch your mouth.” Good one Alan.

In the end, the SugarDaddy decides to finger Melissa. The nation recoils in horror. “Save your skin and get out of my face,” Mel growls from her outer-boardroom lair, once the humiliation is complete. “Karmically they will be retributed.” I think Sir Alan just crossed the peroxide Pollard mafia. You’d better start running Alan, you’d better run fast.

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