The Apprentice blog: Episode 4 Series 7

Posted on by Nell Frizzell

According to the official Apprentice twitter profile, tonight’s episode would see “the teams attempt to sell beauty products, fake tans and treatments to punters in Birmingham.” For those of you who don’t speak fluent TV, this basically translates as “thirteen jobless fools rub warm shells and cold gravy over the unwary of Birmingham.” That’s right; it’s a health and beauty trial.

“It’s about you providing your own salary,” nasals Lord Sugar over the opening credits. Provide your own salary? Is Lord Sugarbage actually just looking for an intern? Because there are easier ways of doing that, you know.

At his usual ungodly hour, the Suganator calls the contestants to a meeting at The British Museum. I suppose that in the context of the raping and pillaging of thousands of years worth of civilisation, his approach to recruitment will seem slightly more humane.

“What’s in the British Museum? Just like dinosaurs and stuff” asks Susan. Oh come on. This is like shooting fish in a soup bowl.

Standing in front of Aphrodite, goddess of youth and beauty is that epitome of physical allure, Lord Alanother Sugargantuan Tool. He is here to inform the teams that, this week, they are to choose two beauty treatments, get professionally trained and then descend on Birmingham to try a bit of mugging-by-proxy.

Birmingham? The words ‘bull’ and ‘ring’ bring to mind several things. Absolutely none of them even remotely resemble beauty.

The teams are once again jiggled around like unwanted puppies in a wet sack. Team Venture, led by Zoe, contains Susan, Shrek, Orblando Baggins and Edna. Oh, and that mute brunette again, whoever she is.  Actually, who is she, and why is she dressed like a synchronised swimmer in a wool coat?

Team Logic, made up of Gaston Disney, Greyhound Jim, spectacled Tom and Moonwalking Melody, is led by Felicity – of top hat haggling fame.

So, how do the contestants feel about selling beauty to Brum? “I’m not what you’d call a polished girl” says matt-look construction worker Ellie. Never mind, Ells – maybe we can give you a quick going over with an industrial sander. That should bring out your natural shine. Vince, on the other hand, is like a pig in tinted shit, described by his colleagues as the show’s “most feminine man.”

With the teams selected, it’s time to trial those products. Tom is invited to lie down on a bed and put on blackface. Oh no, sorry, that’s a chocolate facial. Of course. That makes complete sense. Painting chocolate on your face. I, for one, moisturise using only mayonnaise and bread sauce.

Both teams rattle through blow dries, mud wraps, man make up, spray tans, hot shells and an unholy clip-on fringe wig called a ‘winge’. Or ‘forehead merkin’ if you prefer.  Then Glenn attacks Susan’s face with a burning hot dildo. No idea why.

On team Venture, Zoe appears to have been mainlining temazepam. That, or she is now acting as a spiritualist medium for Rocky Balboa.

Once they’re in to their shopping centres, do both teams fly in to a flurry of activity? Of course they don’t. Although Zoe is rubbing cold clay in to the cankles of Birmingham’s Pat Butcher. Lucky girl.

In her treatment room, Helen orders her customer to, “Start with your arms up, like strong man” as she fiddles around on the floor with a reverse-hoover full of Bovril. I’m sure that wouldn’t be awkward at all.

Despite her repeated, and I mean repeated, assertions that she makes her living from selling skin and beauty treatments, Susan seems about as adept at selling tanning lotion as Boris Johnson is at selling Speedos.  “If you set yourself up for something you’re not, then you’re heading for a big fall,” says Karen. This sounds impressive, until you remember that this is the very woman who sets a talking tortoise up as one of Britain’s most impressive entrepreneurs.

For team Venture, Leon has resorted to lassoing passing women with his penis. Sorry, I mean finger.

Amazingly, over at Team Logic, two men have taken up the offer of a free massage and chance to get on telly. Unfortunately for them, they are greeted by Jim, who gives them the wild-eyed stare of a greyhound in a glue factory.

All in all, winges are sold, hot shells are rubbed over water-skiing geriatrics, bows are bought and fake tan is sploshed around like gin at a royal wedding. Can you imagine the sodium glow that came off Birmingham 12 hours after this bunch of jokers fled the city? It must have looked like a Dorito with motorways.

Back in the boardroom, Lord Sugaga tells his assembled disciples that, if he hadn’t made his fortune selling coal-powered computers, he would have gone in to the beauty industry. What as? A toe separator?

It’s time for the final figures.  Venture managed to make £203 profit, while those Logical masterminds pulled off a stunning £246 loss. Bang.

So the winners go off to dance with the stars of Strictly Come Dancing. Dining with Masterchef and dancing with Strictly? If only there were something – say a national television network –  that linked all these prizes together. Ah well.

Over in Café de Despair, blame is passed around like a used wet wipe, with Melody and Ellie accusing Felicity of treating them like the mad women in Jane Eyre’s attic.

“Every single one of you should have said ‘what is going on?’” Lord Sugar tells the losing team. He’s quite right. They should have said “What’s going on? Why have I quit my job to rub hot shells over old ladies and sell face merkins to complete strangers?”

“If that were me, I’d be shaking my colleagues around the neck.” He really does sound like the dream boss, doesn’t he?

For the final three, Felicity brings back Ellie and Natasha. “I was sweating all day,” screeches Ellie in her defence. Good idea. That’s what I want in a business partner – perspiration. Although, amazingly it works, as it is pearly-eared Felicity who is given the boot by His Royal Sugarcubes. One more contestant for the dole queue.

Finally, may I just say how astonished I am that it’s taken me twelve episodes to notice that Lord Sugar’s hairline is a perfect recreation of the batman symbol? God knows what I’ve been looking at all this time, but now I’ve noticed I can’t tear my eyes away. And neither, I’ll wager, can you.


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