Week 7. In which Natasha is too lowbrow for a student rugby team.
Melody looks to be a cert for winning the phone wars as she's there again to be told they're going to Fleet Street. The Apprenti immediately decide this means the task will involve newspapers. I would
say something about how the newspapers actually left Fleet Street a couple of decades ago so they're being idiots, but this is The Apprentice
where the vague symbolism of a meeting place is more important than going somewhere remotely useful so they're probably right. And so they are - LdAlan, Nick and Karren get to stand on a balcony, sneering down at the Apprenti (they usually don't get to do that until interviews!) as we find out that the task is to launch an imaginary free magazine, and sell imaginary advertising space to real agencies. Whoever gets the most imaginary money wins. Jim gets shunted over to PM Venture, Leon moves back to Logic where Natasha has been made PM. Has The Actor Michael Sheen actually PM'd a task at all yet? Is this a record, seven weeks in, people PMing for the second and third time, and he's still not done one?
They go off to Shortlist Media, where boss Mike Souter done a speech about how magazines is difficult to make And That, so they'll have to all be big boys and girls and knuckle down. Jim has never worked with Zoe before so he attempts to letch at her. Ew. Maybe he's got an inkling that by the end of this episode she'll have a spot that needs filling. On Logic they're considering doing a lads' mag. HETEROSEXUAL Leon pipes up that he reads lads' mags BECAUSE HE IS HETEROSEXUAL. The Actor Michael Sheen doesn't read them so much but this is not necessarily a reflection on anything. Natasha says their mag will be different! because it won't just be tits'n'minge, no. It will also have some stuff about business (plus tits'n'minge) so will appeal to a man who's "got a bit of dollah!" She actually uses this phrase. It should also be assumed from now on that anything she says is followed by the word "yeah?" They go off to shoot some photos of money, stocks and shares... ah never mind, they'll just take some photos of tits'n'minge.
Venture decide on a magazine for the over-60s; Jim's unwillingness to be held accountable for any decisions causes Nick to compare pinning Jim down to "nailing jelly to the wall." Aw, you've had that line ready to go for ages, haven't you? Actually I think that line might be a rerun from a previous series - get some new material, Hewer! Their focus group is at a bowls club, where Susan opens with "What do you guys... do
?" Good start there Susie, why not just go the whole hog and scream "why are you still alive?" The focus group doesn't like any of the names they've come up with and want something a bit irreverent - the team later throw a load of options around, Zoe's "Hip Replacement" is the one that sticks. She also drones some other "interesting" thoughts, like "get your arse out at 60" (no, Zoe
) and the declaration that "everyone thinks you die at 60." Does Zoe live in a slightly different version of Logan's Run
Logic's magazine will be called "Covered," presumably to describe what all the tits'n'minge should be, but are not. Their focus group is a student rugby team, at which point a certain section of the audience at home takes a lot more interest. The focus group is very focused, apparently. Focused on telling Logic that their lads' mag is a bit too lowbrow for them. Clearly following this advice to be higbrow, the mag's main article will be entitled "How Do You Blow Your Load?" a phrase that will be repeated with disconcerting regularity over the episode. Oddly, at no point has Karren jumped in to scream at Natasha that she has BROKEN FEMINISM with her classy verdict on the cover photo: "I think we're happy with the one where she's pulling her underwear down."
Susan is attempting to direct the photos for Hip Replacement's cover; for some reason this involves her breaking into an Australian accent. Having tried to get a couple of photos done where the old people look like they're still alive, the other design team of Jim & Zoe go for a cardigantastic shot straight out of one of my nan's copies of Woman's Realm
from the 1980s; at least the font looks like it'll make it clear the title is a pun... oh no wait, Zoe's looked away for a split second and Jim's given that the WR
treatment as well. Back at the house Jim wants to know which of Glenn or Susie will be pitching to the advertisers; their response is basically "you think you're so great, you do it."
Next morning the mockups arrive and Natasha announces herself to the courier as "I'm the editor of Covered
magazine," as if a courier would give a shit even if that was a real magazine. Three agencies to pitch to, at which point we're in very familiar Apprentice
territory (except unlike what usually happens in this task, it isn't blatantly obvious from the start which is the one big company that will single-handedly decide the task.) It actually turns out to be the first one, Carrot
: Leon pitches
with "we all like looking at naked girls"YESWEGETITLEON! There's some discussion on possible discounts. Jim pitches
and they don't like the title. There is no
negotiation of prices, despite the fact that the Carrot man makes it very clear that he expects some, and basically won't be ordering anything full price. Jim's Jedi powers completely fail him and despite repeated hints to the contrary from all sides, flatly refuses to consider a discount. After the meeting Susan suggests that maybe what they should have done was slash the prices.
Next up is Mediacom
where Leon's pitching to a woman, so his "we all like tits'n'minge" approach is perhaps not ideal. Nor is Natasha constantly interrupting him and putting him off but there we are. Woman is unimpressed, saying the decline in the lads' mag market is 'cause people don't understand young men. She might offer them a rate of £1500; that's £500 less than she'll be offering Jim, despite the fact that she liked it right up until the title, and finds the features patronising. (Patronising? "Hey, old lady! Here's how to use a phone!" sounds perfectly respectful, surely.) Finally Maxus
where Natasha pitches with her new favourite phrase "he's got a bit of dollah!" They still think it looks like something from the '90s though. Glenn takes over the Hip Replacement pitch, taking a potential 50% discount - they like the content but the cover looks like a Viz
spoof. The agency people end the meeting by saying "we'll take that back and talk to clients." No you won't! It's an imaginary magazine, you can only talk to imaginary clients!
Boardroom! LdAlan tells the Apprenti what the task they just done was. On Team Tits'n'minge, Helen and The Actor Michael Sheen want it made clear they objected to the "Blow Your Load" headline; Leon gets credit for using last week's task as an article on making £1000 in a day by collecting rubbish. Presumably the article mentioned that in order to make a grand it helps if the rubbish has had some extra valuable metal and brand new furniture slung in by the BBC to make their TV show more interesting. On Team Colostomy, the title is again the main problem. Time to find out how much imaginary money they made: Susan's face suggests she's never watched the show as she seems excited to see Colostomy go into an early lead; of course the big money is being saved until last to show Tits'n'minge getting 60 imaginary grand to Colostomy's 28 imaginary grand, the imaginary business mostly coming from Carrot. So the Helen Lucky Charm has beat the combined curses of Logic and the Karren of Doom for two weeks running! Their treat is fencing, where Natasha does a bad pun about the "booby prize." Because their magazine was all tits'n'minge! Do! You! See!
Back at loser cafe, Jim wastes no time putting all the blame on Zoe for coming up with the name. In the boardroom he seems to lose sight of this though - he eventually doesn't bring her into the firing line, and before that focuses on slagging off Susan after one of her occasional ludicrous claims to have offered to do the pitch. He says he doesn't want to look like he's shooting Bambi, at which point LdAlan shows how much he's paying attention to the real issues here by telling them it was actually Bambi's mother who got shot. Whatevs, Jim's bringing back Susan and Glenn. Nick Hewer gives his verdict on Jim's leadership, at which point Jim basically calls him a liar - smooth. Jim gets called a control freak in return, and Karren calls him "passive aggressive" - I think you mean "aggressive aggressive" Karren. Susan thinks she's being picked on because she's the littlest one and it's SO UNFAIR! Jim's unravelling pretty spectacularly at this point, trying to distract from the fact that his inability to negotiate to Carrot was likely what cost them the task. Being the charmer that he is, he says he's not picking on Susie, he just wants her fired because she's marginally worse than Glenn, that's all.
LdAlan calls Jim manipulative, says he doesn't know what Glenn's USP is, fire-teases Susie because there's basically no point to her, and then fires... Glenn? For reasons that come down to "he's an engineer." It's a bit of a nonsensical, bullshit firing to be honest, and comes down to who the other two people in the room are: Jim has to stay until interviews so that Dame Margaret Mountford can eviscerate him. And Susie is living in a house full of people and TV cameras so she's currently safe - as soon as she's out in the wild there's no way of making sure Nick Hewer won't jump out of the bushes and try to hump her leg. So that kinda leaves Glenn really. He thanks LdAlan for the opportunity, although given he was fired because he was an engineer and LdAlan doesn't bladdy like engineers, it sounds as if he was actually given about as much genuine opportunity as Edna was. Back at the house, Zoe tries to look pleased for Jim and Susan's return, while secretly thinking "dammit, I won't be getting my pipes cleaned tonight then."