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So anyway,
Because what the Net really needs is another person sharing his uninformed views
28th-Oct-2010 03:07 pm
Week 4 of The Apprentice and it’s the “buy and sell some stuff” task. Wow, they’re really not doing a good job of spacing out the similar tasks this year. Right up until a better one came along at the last minute this week’s shouty title was going to be SHUT UP MELISSA! Only this time it was me doing the shouting rather than the contestants. Anyway, first things first: Ballbaggs gets to the phone first – the boys really are pwning the girls in the telephone race this year. He’s in his jim-jams and, once again, looking like he’s still actually asleep. They’re going to the Science Museum and Jamie does a “joke” about the task involving either science or museums. I think he’s been spending too much time around LdAlan.

Alex gets moved to Apollo 13 but that’s it for changes; on Synergy, Gok Wan wants to be PM for a second week running! It, like, totally speaks to her skillset. There’s a repeat of last week’s battle for PM and, sensibly, it’s Jamie who gets the vote this time. Apollo 13’s PM will be Chris – good work there, Ms “make me Project Manager” Panda-eyes. Oh dear, the only two vaguely attractive contestants are PM this week, it could be a problem. First up the inventors show off their inventions, including a “facelift” machine, which everyone decides to test out on Paloma. Rude! I guess Ballbaggs is on the other team, so they couldn’t get him to try it, see if it made his face look less like testes. Someone has a belt that beeps at you when you have bad posture. There’s a babygro that glows if your baby is about to explode, and one of the companies they have to pitch to is an online baby supplies store so everyone gets a bit excited, especially Lizlocke. She’s in luck, because although Synergy want it as well, Ballbaggs is yelping abuse in the inventor’s face in his own subtle brand of negotiation, so she opts to go the other way. Instead Jamie & co have a water-saving shower head and a sort of double rake thing for gardeners with bad backs. As well as the babyglow Chris has a male corset, sorry, I mean totally tasteful six-pack-faking T-shirt that’s supposed to retail at 50 quid. IN THESE DIFFICULT TIMES? Whatever.

At this point the edit has already given away that Synergy are gonna lose, but don’t tell them that, instead let them go to Debenhams, who aren’t interested in shower heads or rakes. The team later get a bollocking for inappropriate product choice, but they knew one of their companies was B&Q, so focused on products for them (very successfully, as it turns out) so it’s a bit tedious to have LdAlan call them out for not selling anything to an inappropriate customer. I got the impression they would have happily skipped this meeting, but were made to do it anyway. Given that there was a baby product company among those “laid on” by LdAlan, and only one baby product available, should we have also seen them trying to flog a facelift machine to babies? Or would that have given away too much about how the contestants have to compromise? Whatever, in this particular case I think the contestants made the right decision not to worry too much about Debenhams (departments stores are always arseholes on this show anyway so why bother trying to please them?) Of course, there’s not pandering to them and then there’s Gok Wan’s pitch, which involves, having been repeatedly told Debenhams don’t stock that kind of product, coming back at them with “well you should” and not letting them speak. And here was one of many SHUT UP MELISSAs at the screen. Again, if it’s in the rules that you have to pitch to an irrelevant company, once they’ve said no, AS THEY WERE ALWAYS GOING TO, just say thanks and go away, start finding other, appropriate customers, and stop wasting your time. Or maybe that’s just me. Meanwhile, over on Apollo 13, Chris is pitching again which, given his flat, droning voice, isn’t the wisest of plans.

Back at the house, Jamie plans the next day’s pitches, and the biggie will under no circumstances involve Melissa, who predictably goes off on one about this, telling him what a great pitcher she is. “Don’t question what I do!” she says, adding that she doesn’t question Jamie’s International Property Developing. The difference, Gok, is that we have to take Jamie’s abilities on trust because so far we haven’t seen him Develop any International Properties. Whereas we’ve seen you pitching several times, and you’re astonishingly bad at it.

More pitches next day, and Panda’s contribution to this episode is that babies can’t speak to you. Thanks for that, Panda. Every contestant has a separate order book, for no other reason than to cause arguments, which it does. Joanne/a has set up a meeting for Gok to sell shower heads, and Jamie says she should get 50% of any resulting sales. So Gok tries to negotiate this down, which is pointless because of course she’s not actually going to make any sales. Especially since when Ballbaggs (“Hi guys!”) sets up the demo unit, it doesn’t work, and he ends up sucking on it which is curiously disturbing. This being another lost cause, Gok obviously continues ranting and I yell another SHUT UP MELISSA! at the telly. Lizlocke meanwhile is going great guns pitching babygrows that change colour when the baby reaches 36.5 “C,” despite the fact that I’m not sure she actually knows that the “C” stands for “Celsius.” (I would also have accepted “Centigrade.”) The overpriced T-shirts in the meantime are being hawked around shops for The Gays, causing a big Panda/Paloma palaver over exclusivity within Soho, and it’s all meaningless ‘cause eventually these sales get stricken from the overall total for going against the inventor’s instructions (the other team have a similar docking of points thanks to someone not having listened properly to the initial pitch – surprise surprise, it’s Melissa.) Even when Panda manages to make some sales Nick Hewer makes his lemon-sucking face, but he might just be upset he’s not following the team with Christopher in it, so he can’t swoon over him being all MILITARY!

Boardroom! Synergy “have 5 children in their team” and then realise this slip of the tongue has been unintentionally accurate. Chris doing pitches was wrong because, Nick says, his voice is like “a low-flying bomber” and honestly Nick, we get it, you like playing soldiers. Anyway Synergy have in many ways been unlucky because sales of 76 grand plus would have won this task easily (again, their product choice was correct given B&Q were in that list) but Lizlocke’s wacky sales skills have brought most of Apollo 13’s 122 grand plus. And having had the worst result in the show’s history (£0.00p) a couple of weeks ago, this series now provides the best as well. Gok’s sub-team only made about 800 quid, which is apparently because they had “no room for manoevrement.” Indeed. Karren tells Gok she’s annoying, and Gok pretends to take this feedback, because even she realises that barking “JUST ACCEPT THAT I’M THE BEST SALESWOMAN EVER” in front of LdAlan might backfire.

Obviously Jamie brings Gok and Ballbaggs back with him, and gets told off for his posture – heh, maybe they should have gone with the anti-slouching belt after all. LdAlan does a convoluted joke involving knock-off DVDs . Every time LdAlan makes a joke a fairy dies! *sadface* He then makes another one involving Stuart/hot air/global warming, which sort of works a bit better, and Ballbaggs counters with the classic argument “I’M 21 YEARS OLD!” Ah, but you’re not 24 though, are you Stuart? 24, that’s young. Realising he isn’t Alex Wotherspoon (WHO WAS 24!) Ballbaggs goes for the “let me be PM” chestnut instead.

Now, technically, it was the fact that Apollo 13 got the babyglow that won them the task, so considering how well Synergy actually did with the second-choice products, technically Ballbaggs should go at this point. The “we’ve all got kids” approach might well have worked on the lady who pitched it, had he not yapped at her like a terrier and put her off. But it’s hard to disagree with Melissa being fired instead, because she’s Just. So. Shit. After three weeks of fired contestants not saying a word, Gok goes one step further and refuses to actually get up from her seat, and LdAlan has to say “OK?” to her, where “OK?” means “fuck off.” Finally she goes, with a “Well done ganging up on me, horrible people!” to Jamie and Stuart. Which, yes, is a common boardroom tactic on this show, but in this particular case isn’t what happened (unless she’s counting Karren as part of the gang) and she pretty much talked herself into this. In the waiting room she refuses to do the usual goodbyes, says “I have nothing to say to either of you” and then, being Melissa, she has some more stuff to say to them. The others go back to the flat, where for once everyone has correctly predicted who’s a goner this week. Back in the cab, Melissa proves there’s more crazy where that came from, and continues her rant about the boys: “Karmically, they will be retributed!” I have a feeling she doesn’t know how Karma works, but I wouldn’t say that to her because she’s just repeat at me that she actually is a Buddhist and how dare I question her, because repeating something enough times makes it true. “The Universe speaks louder than I do!” True, Melissa, but it also has lots of really quiet bits, which is something you might want to look into.

Next week: She’s in fashion!
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