Thread: The Apprentice
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Old 19th Oct 2014, 18:04   #944
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Default Re: The Apprentice

Series 10, Episode 2

The BBC have repeated last year’s low-down dirty trick of playing episodes 1 & 2 on sequential evenings, seriously taxing my note-taking (and coincidentally, drinking) arm. But again I am poised, pen (and alternately, glass) in hand.

Ah, the rumpty-tumpty strains of Prokofiev. I now have a kind of Pavolvian response to it whereby I simultaneously rub my hands together and duck behind the sofa cushions. Here come the grizzled tones of the Sugarlord, ‘It’s not abaht chancing yer arm...’ About ten of the candidates should go home now on that basis, I reckon.

Previously on the Apprentice: The girls beat the boys as a result of the clever tactic of selling hotdogs at lunchtime rather than in the late afternoon.

This time they are off to Imperial College. The tragic chorus of candidates intones ‘Good morning, Lord Sugar’ with all the enthusiasm of a row of mice about to be introduced to their new boss, Mr Fluffles Miaowington.

‘For this task you have to come up with a brilliant innovative idea for a piece of wearable technology.’ He doesn’t actually mention it needing to be eminently stealable for his new brand AMSWEAR (TM) but we know he’s thinking it.

‘Robert, you have previously claimed credentials as a fashion minded Shoreditch-loving person. I don’t wish to choose the project manager for your team but you might want to consider it.’ (Note to Robert: This means YOU MUST VOLUNTEER TO BE PROJECT MANAGER.)

The project-manager-choosing bunfight begins. In an unexpected twist, Robert declines the post. He doesn’t feel the products will be high end enough for his particular talents. His expertise lies in coats costing upwards of five grand, apparently. And presumably, in spotting gullible idiots with more money than sense.

Solomon (I love their names! How long till someone refers to ‘the wisdom of Solomon’?) has technology experience, but only in social networks, it seems, which I guess means he has both a Facebook AND a Twitter account. Scott (who was accused of hiding in the last episode) once attended a conference on the topic of wearable technology. Scott wins by virtue of being the only person showing a vague interest in doing it.

Over at Team Decadent, the possibility of being PM is being passed around as though the music might stop at any moment. It stops while Nurun has the parcel and she unwraps it to find a poisoned chalice. Are my metaphors becoming a little too mixed?

The boys are brainstorming. Lycra leggings with go-faster stripes! A jumper with a screen which displays a photo you have just taken! An advertising space which uses your personal preferences to target adverts right at you! Oops sorry, that last one is from Minority Report, advertising companies would never get so cynical.

The girls decide to include every single idea from their brainstorm in their product. Fortunately there were only three. It’ll be a jacket with solar panels to charge your mobile, heat pads in the lining, and LED lights in the lapels.

They do a bit of market research. A lady dressed head to toe in buttercup yellow loves the LED lapels. At least, she says so, but she sounds SO enthusiastic that I suspect she is just fooling.

Robert is in a high-end tailors, fingering some fine woollen cloth for their photo-projection garment. ‘Is it Italian?’ The lady nods whilst trying not to laugh overtly at him. Robert is ‘resonating’ with the fabric, apparently. I have literally no idea what he is talking about.

The girls are with their product designer, who warns them they might be trying to integrate too many features into one garment. Again in fine Apprentice style, they ignore professional advice.

Meanwhile with their designer, the boys have discovered that their fabric-based digital screen is sadly still the stuff of crap science fiction. They turn the idea around and decide to have a webcam integrated into a sweater. To make it less creepy they will have LEDs in the form of the words ‘ON AIR’ light up when the camera is filming. That’s right, I said LESS creepy.

Turns out the girls’ prototype can’t be manufactured by their required deadline. They may have to pitch with no product. Wow, that hasn’t happened on the Apprentice since... let’s see, last series when the boys tried to sell fancy flavoured beer to a pub without taking any of the beer with them.

They have to pitch their products to 3 major retailers. Unusually, two of these are eschewing the opportunity for free publicity, presumably because they have cottoned onto the fact that association with this show is not necessarily a good thing.

Dan, apparently, is a selling machine. (Oh, sorry, a vending machine. You put money in and things which are superficially appealing but ultimately without purpose or worth are spewed out.) He (presumably inadvertently) blurts out that he wouldn’t wear their product in a public place. The pitchees openly laugh at him. In the car later we see tears in Dan’s eyes as the others justifiably lay into him for his enormous balls-up.

Nurun is pitching Team Decadent’s prototype which has arrived in the nick of time. They might have been as well if it hadn’t; since it resembles nothing so much as an 80s throwback garment with plastic epaulettes attached with insulation tape.

In the boys’ final pitch, they actually come out with the sentence ‘Our argument is: Privacy is History.’ My, but that’s an appealing concept, isn’t it?

Back to the Bored Room!

Most unexpectedly, the issue of Robert not taking the PM role comes up. He waves an airy hand in the air and explains his five-grand-price-point rationale. This is going very well for Robert.

So if Solomon is so technology-minded, why didn’t he step up? ‘Social networks, Lord Sugar. I focus exclusively on things without any practical application whatsoever other than to allow people to indulge their own narcissism.’

The Sugarlord mutters darkly that there has been ‘a lot of ducking’. That also works if you replace the ‘d’ with an ‘s’.

Over on Team Decadent (which has disappointingly now become Team Tenacity, although if you put a hyphen before the ‘c’, it becomes an incontinence product for an entire metropolis) it is revealed that Bianca’s ultimate business plan is fashion-related, and that poor railroaded Nurun’s related experience consists entirely of running a market stall selling scarves.

So how many orders were placed?

Summit’s Stalker Sweater: Sports retailer: No orders Major department store: No orders Online retailer: No orders

Tenacity’s LED-Lapelled Blazer: Sports retailer: No orders Major department store: No orders Online retailer: 250 pieces ordered

The girls have it, and get to go fly with jetpacks (can that be right?!)

Oh, Team Summit. Where did it all go wrong?

Robert is fired up front, for daring to defy the Sugarlord. I cannot conceal my delight and have two sips of wine to celebrate. As he leaves he says something impenetrable about how some people can ride a canoe but can they ride a 250,000-pound yacht at Cannes? I think he might actual be some kind of alien from a distant planet populated exclusively by affluent dandies.

Karren Brady damns Dan with an insultingly mild criticism, ‘The more sophisticated pitch may not be his bag.’

Scott, apparently ‘passes the buck as if it’s a grenade’. There is no mention as to whether the grenade still has the pin in it. Note to BBC: If you are ever to revive The Apprentice, how about ending it by passing a live grenade amongst the candidates, the loser being the one holding it when it goes off? Just a thought.

Disturbingly, when Scott gets back in the room with Solomon and Daniel (a remarkably biblical pairing there), he keeps talking about having put his ‘balls on the line’. Dan says the team received ‘no directness’. I think he means ‘no direction’ (though aren’t they a boy band of some description?)

Anyway, Scott is deservedly fired for being genuinely useless.

Next week they have to make scented candles. I look forward to a miscalculation which leads to poisonous levels of air pollution.
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