The Apprentice blog: Episode 5 Series 7 | Offices.org.uk

The Apprentice blog: Episode 5 Series 7

Posted on by Nell Frizzell

We’re five episodes in and it is starting to dawn on me that all Apprentice contestants are grown in a cesspit, far below the surface of the earth. Just watch the credits; there’s Gavin, taking the escalator up from some sort of stainless steel hell, here is Susan popping out on the pavement like Mole at the beginning of Wind in the Willows. Until finally they reach the swooping city skylines and kaleidoscope of grey.

Seriously, this is the greyest programme the 21st Century has ever known. It’s like watching television through a slate.

“I’m not looking for bloody sales people. I’m looking for someone who’s got a brain,” yaps the pugman, instantly offending 80% of his audience. Good one Sugarbabe.

On the table, alongside the genitalia of all those contestants who unwisely mixed the old balls on the line/ cards on the table adage, is a “50/50 partnership with the nation’s toughest investor”. No, not George Osborne. Or even Bernie Madoff. They’re talking about the inventor of the self-inflating fax machine, Sr’Alanstrad Sugarpuff.

“This is one life-changing opportunity,” urges the voiceover person. Like hepatitis, then. Or death.

It’s 6am in the house and both Shrek and Ms “I can’t find my knickers” Natasha are sneaking about the corridors in just their towels. The plot, like Karen’s bouffant, thickens.

The apprentices are off to Fitzrovia to meet a creative agency called, rather surprisingly, NWA. Oh, no, sorry, TBWA. Which presumably stands for Trigger Biggers With Attitude.

If I were the lynchpin of an entire BBC series, do you know how I’d conduct my interviews? By projecting a giant 2D cartoon of my head on to a ill-lit blank wall. Like Holly from Red Dwarf, but with more fulsome jowls. In your face 3-dimensions. So, the floating Sugavatar tells his assembled interns that they are going to spend the next few days elbows-deep in meaty chunks and gravy.

They’re making pet food. Which means, according to my rules, that the first person to make a ‘dog’s breakfast’ joke gets spayed.

Vincent is chosen to “head up” Logic. Which is a bit like asking Fabio to head up Rationale. Glenn, meanwhile, is to be in charge of Venture. A task he’ll be more than qualified for after that whole venture he went on with Donkey and Puss in Boots.

“My confidence and charisma can overwhelm some people,” smarms Vincent. At least, I think that’s what he says. It’s hard to hear him over the pneumatic pounding of my heaving bosom every time he comes on screen.

Both teams are sent off, in to their groups, to have the inevitable brainstorm. Vincent suggests Pal, which would be brilliant if it wasn’t already the second bestselling pet food in Britain. Never mind. With Pal already taken they could always go for, oh I don’t know, Chum?

Glenn, meanwhile, describes himself as “a catalyst” as he proposes some sort of Valley of the Dolls-style cat spa. Cat-alyst? Excuse me while I push my ribs back in to place. “No guts, no glory,” he continues, revealing probably more about his list of ingredients than the manufacturer had hoped.

Back in their brainstorm, Vincent announces that, “Small dogs, big dogs, we’re trying to hit everything.” Well, that’s encouraging. Especially as they’re off to have a focus group with a vet. Maybe they’ll appreciate the extra business.

The Airedale sitting in on the meeting obviously heard about Vincent’s demolition dog derby as it makes a noise at him like the antichrist. The rest of the room looks like a forgotten passage from the Bible: “The kitten also shall dwell with the dog, and the cat shall lie down with the puppy; and a little child shall lead them.” Well, he’s got the business acumen of a four year old, anyway.

With team names like Venture and Logic, choosing a pet food name was always going to be a painful process. Lucky Fish is seriously suggested as a name for chicken you feed to cats, before the teams settle on Catsize and Everydog. Ah yes, Ev’rydog: the unlikely hero of Elizabethan drama. As for Catsize; if you want to sell slimming food for felines just call it Special K-at and stick up a picture of a kitten in a skimpy red swimming costume.

Catsize is then followed up with the intriguing tag line, “See their light.” See their light? I had a cat who used to lick his light all the time. It looked like he was playing the cello.

Equipped with a stinkload of bad names, some meaty chunks and the kind of gravy that always made me doubt that dogs really do have a sense of smell four times stronger than a human, it’s time for the teams to concentrate on marketing.

Adverts are made (with one rather awkward audition by a malicious rat posing as a cat), pitches are prepared and rallying cries are given by members of the team. Well, except by Leon. Which is understandable. I mean, it must be hard to pitch a feline diet food to a room full of advertising executives and business people while feverishly avoiding the term ‘fat cats’.

Once everyone is called back to the boardroom, Lord Sugaga weighs up their efforts. Who came up with the name, he asks Vincent? “We threw a lot of ideas in to the bowl.”And then flushed, presumably. Glenn’s efforts for Venture are deemed well thought through, but not very well executed. Which is about as perfect a business oxymoron as you’ll ever find. Logic’s branding, on the other hand, is deemed “insulting to pet owners”. Imagine insulting your market? Like, oh I don’t know, calling sales people brainless.

To celebrate their victory, Glenn and his adventurous buddies are off to play tennis with Pat Cash. Which seems odd, until you realise that Lord Sugar probably believes Pat Cash is named after his ability to shit money.

Which means that Tom, Natasha, Ellie and Vincent are back in front of the Finger of Doom once more. “Never mind Logic. You should be branded Tragic”. This man is a bloody poet.

Amazingly, Jedi Jim manages to wriggle out of the final three once more. Probably because Vincent believes him to be “strong in certain areas”. Which is giving me images of an Irish Greyhound doing unspeakable things to a King Charles Spaniel, behind a set of Biffa bins.

Talking of which, Lord Sugar announces, rather out of nowhere, that “I like people who focus on the task, not on their arse.” Glad we got this sorted out. Although it makes me wonder why he picked a bunch of arseholes for his recruitment drive.

Vincent takes Ellie and Natasha back in for the final three. It’s dog eat dog. So, who’s the, ummm, hungrier dog? “I do not for the life of me understand why Natasha is in this room,” says Lord Sugarpuff. I’m starting to see why he gave Eagle-nosed Nick such a tricky time PR-wise. The man’s memory is even worse than his puns.

Ellie is, unsurprisingly, fired for being boring telly. But what’s this? The Finger of Doom is not sated? It seeks new blood? Surely not. It’s coming to rest on… Please God no! Not Vincent! Think of the other Musketeers!

I am, brave readers, rendered speechless by grief.

 

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