The Apprentice blog: Episode 7

Posted on by Nell Frizzell

Watching the opening sequence of the Apprentice it’s hard not to bring to mind the Honey Monster, what with all these mentions of cereal entrepreneurs and Lords of Sugar. So, who are the Sugar Puffs and who are simply puffed up? Let the battle commence.

It’s 6am and the sun is rising over the exhaust fumes and extraction units of London. Oh the glamour. Lordy Lordy Sugarmordy is calling to order all his apprentices to Pinewood Studios. Hopefully this means he’s going to drown the whole guileless group in one of the James Bond shark tanks, or possibly lock them in one of the New York Warehouses.

“I have no idea what Pinewood is” admits Laura. “I’m pretty sure it’s a furniture store” counsels Sandeesh. This show really is a case of the bog-eyed leading the offensively thick.

An aerial camera zooms in on the ‘enormous bluescreen’ used in ‘blockbuster movies’. Which, it turns out, just looks like a big blue wall, however you try to jazz up the angles. If this is all Lord Sugarrush wanted he could have just nipped over to Hackney to stand around in front of the Olympic fence.

And so, like Oddjob himself, Lord Sugar drives up to his quivering young entrepreneurs in a shining black Bentley and vaguely ill-fitting suit. According to his following speech, this blue screen could ‘transport’ the apprentices to ‘anywhere in the world’. Oooh, you mean like a real job? Or an actual job interview? Run my children, run!

Their task, should they choose to accept it (and Christ knows why they still are) is to “sell the big screen experience to the general public.” In “London’s biggest shopping centre.” So, they’ll be looking after a telly in Westfield, basically. You can almost hear the chuckles rolling over from Currys and PC World. It appears that the apprentices will be showing hapless shoppers just what it would look like if, instead of popping out to buy some stomach-control pants and some in-soles, they were in fact flying to the moon or sailing a boat. So, reminding them just how comparatively pitiful a shopping trip to Westfield really is.

After the customary shake up of the teams (figurative, rather than physical, sadly) Stella and Joanna move over to Apollo to be lead by Stuart ‘A Face Even A Mother Can’t Love’ Baggs, while Sandeesh takes the reins of Synergy. And so they start thinking about how best to “sell the general public the chance to star in their own movie.” You know, if they’re too technically inefficient to make an honest-to-goodness sex tape like the rest of us.

“Yeah I’ll work in the ranks if I have to but only to get to the top. I don’t sit anywhere but the top.” honks Stuart ‘The Brand’ Boggs. What about when you’re on the toilet Stuart? Surely you don’t stand to deliver?

On the other team, recruitment consultant Sandeesh is trying to book the aquarium. Or is it motorbike? Oh well, it doesn’t really matter, as long as they take their cue from trigger-fingered snipers across the world and “Get ready and shoot one of their own.”

Apparently naan-faced Stuart wants to attract the ‘affluent’ people of Westfield with motor racing. Has this man never been to Westfield? We’re talking about the home of discount support tights and meal deals, for Chrissakes. “Stuart’s leadership style leaves me trembling with irritation,” admits Nick! That’s not irritation Nick. It’s lust. Believe me.

“I have to reign in my extreme masculinity in this task,” blurts out Stuart. “I absolutely live adrenaline and for me, if my heart’s not racing, why be alive? I mean, why be boring? That’s for everyone else to do.” This man has been inorganically constructed from Ricky Gervais’ belly button fluff and the mould in Richard Branson’s fridge. I am quite sure of it.

On the other team, Marine Christopher and Hollyoaks Jamie are indoor skiing in Milton Keynes. Indoor. Skiing. Milton Keynes. Think ‘doing the lambada in the fourth circle of hell’ and you’re nearly there. They even put Jamie in a Pingu penguin outfit just in case he wasn’t feeling depressed enough.

Apollo’s Stuart decides to market to children. “I feel so much more comfortable now we’re all going for kids.” Someone give this guy a CRB check, and fast.

Sandeesh, meanwhile, wants Jamie to do the leg work running between front and back of the production. What does he think to that? “I think I’ll be wasted.” Well, at least he’s honest about his drink problem. To be fair, a tipple sounds rather appealing to me right now.

“No arse covering. I hate that as a practice. Clearly defined roles. Happy days,” farts Stuart out of his big, fleshy face. Oh dear. Stuart ate Jamie Oliver.

Down on the shop floor (well, under a staircase in a starkly-lit shopping centre) Joanna and her sales team are shovelling driving DVDs like candy to a baby. Those minors must really love Grand Theft Auto.

Sadly, things aren’t going so well for Sandeesh’s team. So, like all good sales people, they cut their prices. Still, the idea of spending £8 on a craply shot DVD of my joy riding toddler somewhat boggles the mind.

By 8pm, the show is over. Which can mean only one thing – it’s time to look tense in a boardroom antechamber. Which they all do most professionally.

Lord of the Borings wants to talk figures. Apollo made £347.50, spent £85 and so walk away with a profit of £262.50. Synergy made £372.97, spent £150, which leaves a profit of just £222.97. Somehow, in the midst of his gorilla-like arse scratching stupidity, facile and offensive blustering and obscenely inadequate leadership, Stuart ‘the Jo Brand’ Baggs has managed not to lose. So, him and his team head off to a champagne tasting masterclass, which is rather wasted on the chumped-up little squit who barks “It’s like drinking anti-freeze!” after every sip.

Meanwhile, in the losing team, Liz is feeling gutted next to a squeezy brown sauce. Is there anything sadder than a glum condiment?

However, even in the boardroom the team barely manage to muster up a good ding dong. Instead, they simply admit guilt and show remorse. Come on guys! You’re here to rip each others’ throats out and beg for mercy! This is a gladiator fight, not a self help group.

The firing line is between Chris, Liz and Sandeesh. So, between Blue, Bambi and Bulbous.

It’s the fourth time that Sandeesh has been in the final three and the third time that Christopher has been on the losing team. Let me hear you spell f-a-i-l!

“Regretfully someone is going today.” I’m so glad to see that Lord Sugarmort has finally picked up the rules of this whole business pantomime. The team give him almost no backchat. Which, of course, drives Alan up the wall. So, he fires Sandeesh. Well, you know what they say, ‘there’s no googly eye in team’.

Conclusion: When ‘reality television’ starts selling ‘virtual reality’, it’s time to give yourself a reality check.

Missed an episode? Catch up with all the posts in our Apprentice Blog series.

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