Aired May 21, 2008
Last week our hapless heroes hosted stalls at the national wedding fayre in Birmingham. Claire sold some dresses well, Lee McQueen was FACKIN TALKIN ABAHT pants, Raef dressed as a teddy bear, Michael and Sara failed to sell any cake, Michael was an utter cunt in the boardroom as usual, and Sara was fired.
Claire is the one on the phone to (Not)Frances today and doesn’t sound all that excited. I think we need men on the phone in every episode, as they always give a little bit of flirt action to poor old Frances. The women just don’t seem to care. Anyway, Sralan wants to meet them at the National Theatre. There is a lot of piano music in the background. Is Myleene back?
We see Michael in his pants, which is an image made of DO NOT WANT. Alex is topless in bed, which is better, but the spoilsport only lets us see his shoulders and head. Booo, pretty boy! [At least we didn't have to see much of his weird scrotal chest hair. - Steve] Everyone knows that’s all you’re here for!
We see a VT of Raef ding up his cufflinks saying that everyone has got to that point in the game where they have realised there are six people stopping them. We see the candidates leaving. Lucinda is working a bright blue beret and a bright red coat. Brave, but probably foolhardy.
London porn, including added South Bank bonus feature.
Sralan is changing the teams again and it takes me ages to figure out which is which. Anyway, it transpires that Alex, Lucinda and Lee are this week’s Alpha, leaving Raef, Helene, Claire and Satan as Renaissance. Sralan sayss he knows Michael begged to be project manager, but Raef and Alex are doing it. HAH!
Their task is to produce packaging and TV ads for boxes of tissues (and we are back to rather tenuous locations for giving out the task, I think). I thought they said it was print ads, too, but seeing as there is no mention of a print ad ever again, I must have misheard. [No you didn't - that's what the poster image they were working on was for, I think. - Steve] [But other than that it was never mentioned again - Fiona] Now, let’s just recap the rules of the advertising task from previous years, shall we kids? 1) Both ads will be made of fail and will be absolutely awful 2) the one that plugs the product most heavily will win. That’s it. Do we think they’ll have got that?
Anyway, the voiceover tells us that the tissue industry is big business and Sralan wants the ads to be mini-dramas. I sense an ‘oh dear’ moment or two along the way. Raef tells us that he has theatre in his background and just loves advertisements. Michael Sophocles did drama and musicals too, and apparently he and Raef were both in Guys and Dolls. Though not together. As far as I can tell. Anyway, Michael starts singing, and please no. Raef is very excited about directing his own little 30 second feature apparently.
We are briefly at an ad agency, where Nigel from EastEnders tells them the box of tissues is the only thing they can’t change.
Alpha are having a branding session. Lee McQueen tries to plug the name ‘cozinose’. Lucinda says it sounds like a pair of socks. [It actually sounds like cosytoes whch is what you put on a pram - Fiona] He suggests atishoo, which they all like. Lucinda is working a nice black top and a black and white skirt with red scarf. Anyway, it’s all rather jolly.
Renaissance are keen on a montage for their advert, involving such exciting shots as a mother wiping a baby’s nose. They brainstorm names. Claire says they should go with ‘I love…’ like ‘I love NY’: ‘I love my nose’. Helene: ‘I love my tissues’. Hmmmm, hardly the snappiest name, ever. [In fact I don't get that particular mental leap at all - Fiona]
Back with Alpha and Lucinda is having a bit of a ball. She is brainstorming about a mother dropping a child off at the orphanage, which would be so win. Except they’d lose the task, but whatevs. She says they should use shock tactics so people will remember, and suggests homosexuality. [Last time this was used in an advert on The Apprentice it was made of epic fail, so it's good they didn't go with it. That said, I would have loved to hear more of Lucinda's idea, just because it's Lucinda. - Steve]
Alex doesn’t think anyone would buy it. He says Lee would come over to his house and say ‘there’s that gay box of tissues’ and that’s the reality. Lee McQueen doesn’t stand up and say he isn’t a homophobe, so maybe he would. The voiceover tells us Alex wants a family feel and he is going to meet the designer. Lucinda says she’d like to be there as well, and Lee probably would, too. The voiceover tells us that Alex has dispatched her to look at locations. Lucinda VTs that maybe Alex thinks she’s too domineering. I kind of like domineering Lucinda – well, she’s better than wet blanket Lucinda of a few weeks ago.
The Alpha boys are with the designer, looking at [vomit inducing-Fiona] pics of kitties and kiddies and probably hoping this will keep the ladies interested in them. Margaret tells us all the pictures they look at involve blankets and don’t go together well or help get the message across.
The voiceover reminds us that Raef and Michael have backgrounds in musicals and theatre and they start waxing lyrical about the roles they have played and Raef looks like he might cry/cum over one story but won’t tell it all to Michael in the car/in front of the cameras because it’s ZOMG too emotional.
Michael tells us he was in OLIVER - Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber, are you watching? He starts singing. Badly. But I’d still rather he was Nancy than Pirate Jessie Sidegob.
Claire pieces to camera about enjoying the brand task, and has been hanging round with Raef and Lucinda for too long, because she pronounces it ‘tarsk’. She says Girls Aloud will buy their tissues. Er…?
Raef has booked Sian Lloyd for their advert because she has a wholesome mumsy look. Which she really doesn’t, so big WTFs all round, I think. They discuss Lembit Opik and Raef says he had a thing for a cheeky girl. Michael says don’t we all though? No.
The boys' ad is set in a school. And for some reason, my brain hears this as a boys’ school and remains under that confusion for most of the episode, as you will soon discover. Anyway, they meet the contact lady there. Raef asks ‘are you Sarah?’ She replies ‘Louise’. It’s not clear if they got her name wrong or if this is just a different person from the one they spoke to on the phone. They are shown the kindergarten (which means this is a private school, as all normal schools would use the terms ‘nursery’ and ‘reception’). Michael says they could see Sian coming in here. Raef is unconvinced. He wants it to say school. Michael is bewildered and says it does say school. We see them outside on the crappiest playing pitch ever. It’s seriously the size of a slightly-larger-than-normal back garden. Raef says he can see Sian as a spectator, in this great space. He then pieces to camera about wanting to wear his cravat as director tomorrow and this is the moment where I fear that this could be the end of Raef, and Michael could well live to smite another day.
Alpha are holding casting sessions – Alex and Lee want the family in their commercial to include a sick child, which is all very X Factor. A cocky boy unconvincingly says ‘How can I go to school if I’m ill, that’s the thing?’ and sounds not ill at all, and would probably receive a clip round the ear and a ‘get dressed’ from his family instead. [Ah, so you've met my mother then? - Steve] [Well she's met mine...-Fiona] Desperate Jordan and Scary Sam are not Oliver and are now in need of work, get them in. Lucinda is not convinced. She says as a woman there are things she wouldn’t want in the advert and suggests they might be being a bit sexist by ignoring her opinion. Alex gets annoyed and he and Lee bitch about Lucinda not having any input, which shatters my dreams of Lee/Lucinda love a bit. Lee then says he’s never seen this side of her, and sounds a bit sad, so maybe all is not lost. Some more people pretending to be a family come in. Alex says he is ‘gonna let you freestyle, be off the cuff’, which makes him sound a bit Street . The parents go very OTT about the kid (a little girl who looks not unlike a baby version of the central character from Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit) [See they are sneaking in a subliminal gay message - Fiona]. Lucinda says it’s not interesting to see a bog-standard family, and you’d be better off watching Neighbours. Of course you would, because Neighbours is the bomb. Ahem. [I was a bit gutted to hear her dis the mighty Ramsey Street Residents- Fiona]
Back with Renaissance, and Claire says Raef is too much into the berets and big hair and cravats and she and Helene need to keep him in check. Seeing as they haven’t been shown together all episode, I’m not sure how this keeping in check is working. Raef and Michael are upstairs listening to music, miming being Sian Lloyd in a car. Michael is eating yoghurt, Raef says ‘look what you’ve done Georgie, all over your face’. I get the feeling we are watching Raef and Michael foreplay and it’s not a pleasant feeling.
Their brand name is Mytissues. The girls show them the box. It’s nice, all blues and whites, but perhaps a bit like every other tissue box out there. Raef tells the girls they’ve done a good job.
Alpha’s ‘Atishu’ box is yellow and colourful with pictures of families and kids blowing their noses on it. Lucinda says it’s ugly, who wants to see people blowing noses? Alex and Lee say they thought it was OK. Lucinda bitches to camera about Alex being useless, which may be true, but so were you for the first half of the series, so be careful. There is then a bit where she says Alex is naughty naughty naughty, but I missed what it was about as I was texting Fiona about our collective fears for Raef. Lee pieces something I don’t understand to camera about if you are short staffed you need people to come together, and this didn’t work for Lucinda. In the car, Lee asks why Lucinda volunteered to go to the house if she wanted to work on the creative side. Lucinda says ‘I didn’t fucking volunteer!’ (and her purple beret is back). Lee asks her why she didn’t say she was creative and wanted to work on that side of things. Lucinda points out that she did. We are seeing Lee’s ugly side, a la the week he yelled at Sara, and I don’t like it. Are the women in the house refusing to sleep with him or something? Cos he’s being a bit of a misogynist prick. [There is a misogynist theme this week, the voice over keeps calling Helen and Claire Raef's girls which pisses me off in several ways grrrrr - Fiona]
Back with Renaissance and dreamy music plays whilst the voiceover tells us they are waiting for their star. Well, Michael and Raef are. Claire and Helene are off somewhere being busy at not getting fired this week. Sian Lloyd appears, looking very blonde and extensiony. Michael almost bows to her. They show her the tissues. She says they are nice, did they design them? Raef says it was their colleagues. Had Michael got a word in, he’d have said he did it, blindfolded, with his feet, in thirty seconds flat, no doubt. Nick shows up after being absent all episode (this episode seriously lacks Nick and Margaret) and says you use a celebrity for what they are known for – Sian Lloyd is a weather girl, and they are getting her with a kid being a mum, wiping his nose. [They should've got Kerry Katona, wiping the kid's nose with an Iceland carrier bag and offering him a boozy brownie as consolation. - Steve]
Sian asks them why they don’t want her to do something relating to weather. Raef says she is wholesome and lovely, and I can only presume he wants to bone her, despite that mental image being wholly made of DO NOT WANT. Sian pieces to camera and says if they’d googled her, they’d know she has nothing to do with kids, she’s not a mum and she’s not really that wholesome (which makes me like her) although she’s flattered they think of her like that.
We cut to the shoot. Raef and Michael have their boy wank club behind the camera and Raef tells Michael he should be the next Fellini. There are no words.
Back with Alpha, and Alex is directing. A blonde mum asks the Oranges… kid how she feels and gives her a tissue. The parents improvise really fucking badly and the dad says the tissues are anti-bacterial, she’ll be fine. He rubs her nose, which is a bit eww, considering she is al germy as she hasn’t used a tissue yet. The kid doesn’t look very ill. Alex can’t work his black and white stripy shirt, but it appears he is friends with Lucinda again.
Back at the school (which I still think is a boys’ school at this stage). Raef and Michael are with some naughty boys on a bench. They say this is the final scene, where the tissue is handed from one kid to other – he says to the right hand boy that when you wipe away the tears you can smile and OH SO MUCH HOMOEROTICISM. They stole Lucinda’s idea about tissues for the gays. Raef says something incomprehensible about wanting something like Woody Allen, or DiCaprio, and they think they’ve got that with the bench scene.
In the edit suite, Raef asks about a close-up of the product. Michael says that it looks bad. We see Sian telling the boy he’s forgotten something. Raef says ‘The close up is tackiness par excellence’ (which Michael ends with personified. I don’t think tissues personify tackiness, but then I believe giving 110% is mathematically impossible, so clearly I’m not smart enough for this show).
Alpha are looking at their pack shot. It’s surrounded by greenery and pink flowers. Lucinda is distraught that there are some dead flowers there. Bless. [In fairness to Lucinda, that's exactly the sort of thing I'd expect Sralan to pick up on. - Steve] Alex says that Lucinda wants to be in control and if sitting in the middle in the edit suite makes her feel good, it’s fine by him.
The voiceover tells us that the ads are to be thirty seconds long and that Michael and Raef are viewing their directors' cut. Heh. ‘When you say nothing at all’ is playing and Raef clicks his fingers and pulls a ‘hey’ face when the chorus kicks in. The commentator tells us their epic movie is twice as long as should be. Michael asks if they need the first scene with Sian Lloyd. Raef says, of course, where is he going to get the tissue from? (OF COURSE) Michael, for the one and only time in his life says something sensible: ‘but does it mater, can’t he just produce the tissue?’. Raef says ‘but she’s a celebrity’. Michael would rather keep the homoerotic scene. VT of Raef saying he and Michael have a symbiotic relationship but he’ll still put his foot down if Michael doesn’t agree with him.
Claire and Helene reappear from nowhere, where they have been hiding all episode. Helene looks good in jeans and a vest. She should give up on the power suits. She’s scrubbed up much better in the dress last week and the casuals this week. Helene’s portrayal is the most inconsistent of all the candidates this series. She’s either bolshy and bitchy or competent and COMPLETELY SILENT. It’s weird. Claire says they can’t see the product in the ad at all. Raef says the close-up looked tacky. Which it did, because you didn’t take any time to film it properly, Mr Cinematographer. Claire tells the camera that the branding is bad and she says she can see Sralan saying ‘I can’t see any bladdy tissues in the ad’. She says it’s embarrassing, she wouldn’t show it to her family, let alone the biggest ad agency in the UK and would leave it out of the pitch.
Raef says that if one thing will fail it it’s if people don’t believe in the product itself. What, if they don't believe in tissues?
We are shown that the audience for the pitch includes several people from the ad agencies (who no doubt all begged to be there for the lulz) and Sralan.
Claire is going to pitch for Renaissance, she tells us that she and Helene created the brand whilst the boys were busy playing director. She blahs in the presentation about this being a unique thing for the tissue market – to fill a gap in the market for something fun, as opposed to other tissues that are like politicians. Que?
Cut to Lee blahing in Alpha’s rehearsal about when people think of tissues they thought Kleenex... now they think Atishu. They all start arguing. Margaret says the last thing you need 20 minutes before a pitch is two other people telling you what to do.
Back with Renaissance, and Helene says their ad is the first in a series. That appears to be her only line this week, folks. Still, I have her in a sweepstake, and not speaking usually = not getting fired, so that’s fine by me.
We see the advert. Michael voiceovers that in any kind of relationship we all need a little bit of comfort. Sian Lloyd is only shown giving the tissue to the boy, no face or voice. Here comes the homoerotic scene – oh no, it’s a girl!!!!!! Ooops! A tissue box is shown underneath the image at the end. Helene says (oh, a second line) their ad shows the relationship between boy and mum, boy and girl, tissue and consumer. It’s bollocks, but confidently presented bollocks.
Lee pitches for Alpha. He says he’s here to introduce a new product, the name is derived from us all needing tissue and it also says what it is. It’s aimed at the female genre, and I think he means demographic. He says the ad depicts family life, happy family life and the reason why is that Annie has a cold and their tissue has allowed the family to come together and spend quality time with each other. He doesn’t sound like normal RUARGH confident Lee Mcqueen at all. He doesn’t seem to know WHAT HE’S FACKING TALKIN’ ABAHT.
They play the terrible family ad. There is a deafening silence.
Alpha come off and feedback to the camera. Lucinda says the audience were fidgety and bored. Alex says yeah, but it was the first time with a real audience (and it’s a pitch, not a play, you don’t have EIGHT SHOWS A WEEK to get it right, like the Nancies do), they thought there’d be three people, then they found twenty, and Sralan, and Nick, and Margaret.
Nigel from EastEnders and two other people sit with Sralan deconstructing the adverts. The comments generally go along the lines of ‘awful’, ‘crap’, ‘made of fail’. Or words to that effect. One man says something positive, which perplexes me.
Claire and Lucinda give pre-boardroom comments. Claire says the task has shown that behind every successful man is a woman and that she and Helene were managing the boys. From another room, apparently. Lucinda says she is ready and prepared to fight her corner, (NuFierceLucinda rocks) and she does think they may be going in.
In the boardroom of blue, Sralan asks Raef how he broke the team up. Raef says he thought the best two people for packaging were Claire and Helene. Sralan asks who was responsible for cinematography. Raef says he and Michael have had experience on the stage and Michael has directed. Sralan says ‘have you?’ Michael says he had his own theatre production company at uni. I predict this was a one-man operation. Still, it’s not quite as audacious a claim as Tre’s five international business offices or whatever it was last year. Sralan jokes to Alpha that they are in trouble as we have Spielberg and Fellini in the room.
They show the ad again and the girl is smirking, not crying (so much for acting ability) and Sian Lloyd is really not in it much at all.
We move to Alpha. Sralan says Lee’s presentation was fumbly and poor and he lost him out of boredrom. That’s not what I’m fucking talking about, indeed. Nick continues his love for the lady candidates this year by saying Claire didn’t have one note. Sralan says, quite proudly, she did it straight out of her head, a bit jabbery, but that’s Claire. Sralan loves Claire long-time.
Sralan asks Alex about his team. Alex says Lee was fine, it was his first time with Lucinda and she was abrasive. Lucinda says she wanted to do the creative part as she used tissues. Lee tries to drop her in it as he did in the car by making out she didn’t ask, and he really is being a bit of a bastard again today. Lucinda reiterates that she did. Sralan says their garish box might stand out, and he likes the name.
He shows the video and Renaissance wet themselves at the crappy family ad with the ‘You are the Sunshine of My Life’ soundtrack, as well they might, had they not produced an equally terrible advert, with Ronan fucking Keating on. Sralan asks their opinion.
Raef uhms and says the telly ad lacks any subtlety. I understand you need to make it clear what selling, but… Sralan interjects: do you? And Raef completely fails to read Sralan, who is sending out clear THIS IS THE ADVERTISING TASK. THE TEAM WITH CLEAR BRANDING ALWAYS WINS messages. Rafe burbles about artistic quality. Michael has read Sralan and says yeah, ours was better quality but theirs showed the product more. Indeed.
Sralan jumps in with you can’t tell what your bladdy product is (an almost exact copy of what Claire predicted) and YOU LOST not just for me, but for the people wanting to sell tissues. Your ad was better quality but you couldn’t tell what the product was. Which I believe is the exact same boardroom scenario we have had for this task four years running. Sigh. He points out that the other team with their crappy ad and crappy box kept saying tissues, antibacterial, kept throwing it in people’s faces.
Their prize is shopping at Harvey Nicks, which beats archery any day.
Sralan is working quite a nice white tie with blue circles and spots on today. I feel I should compliment his vast image improvement this series. [That eye bag plastic surgery gubbins didn't make much difference though did it? - Fiona]
Michael says he feels terrible, he’s never felt this bad in life before, he put his heart and soul in etc. In the café of crap, Helene says she feels she did an impeccable job, which she may have done, but we didn’t get to see it. Raef says the boardroom can be a place of fireworks but they will present a unified front. No-one echoes this sentiment, least of all Michael. Raef says he and Michael were in the editing suite, period. He says the other team’s ad was vulgar, and if that’s what ads about these days, god help us. Oh, Raef, you’re so not cut out to work for Sralan. [And have obviously never seen a real advert - Fiona]
Havey Nicks porn, all lights and snazzy oufits. Lee tries on a boring suit, Alex looks funky in a hat, scarf, jeans and jumper combo, Lucinda wears a sparkly ‘Cant Get You Ouf Of My Head’ type dress. They all say it is the best treat EVARZ.
Salan tells Raef, ‘I didn’t send you out to remake Ben Hur’. Raef says yes, but he wanted it to be artistic, quality direction. Sralan points out that artists’ bread comes from clients like him who want to show the product. Raef says there was a close up and he will take responsibiltity but YOU (MS) said it was vulgar. Michael says we both were, we both removed it. Sralan asks where does I love my tissues come from? Do you love your towel, your bar of soap? Claire owns up (unlike a certain toady someone beginning with M) and says it was her idea, it was late in the day when they came up with the brand.
Sralan asks why Sian Lloyd was there: why cast and pay for a celeb if you don’t use them? He says he can understand if it’s about the weather or being upset cos her boyfriend blew her out for a cheeky girl, but she’s not even a mother, what’s the point? Raef says they wanted a celebrity, we live in a culture of celebrity. Sralan says but I didn’t notice her, I blinked and I missed her.
To no-one’s surprise, Raef will bring back Claire and Michael. With regards to Claire, he says, she has worked in marketing and he and Michael haven’t.
Sralan, Nick and Margaret chat. Sralan says 'poor weatherwoman what’s she doing there'? Margaret says the box was awful, the ad was awful, the name was awful. Sralan says they have two despondent gentleman (Raef is a gentleman, Michael notsomuch) and Claire will come in with 50 rounds of bullshit and deafen us all. They’ll have to see which one really wants to stay in.
He calls them in and says Raef has experience in acting, so needs to give a rendition of why he should not be fired. Raef says there are times I fall flat on my face and I will learn and get up again. I’ve only been in this threesome once (unwanted mental image. Very, very unwanted) and that was in week one and I will pull my socks up.
And here, kids, is where it gets just bizarre. Michael says ‘everything you liked in this advert, everything good about it was DOWN TO ME’. Of course. And I invented the wheel and sliced bread yesterday Sralan, pick me Sralan, I could play Oliver Sralan. Raef is, rightly, all ‘what the fuck?’ Michael continues: ‘the emotional pull, the only decency in this task came from ME’. The scary thing is that I think he actually believes it.
Raef says that’s gibberish and they both did it together in the edit and if he’s taking credit for it, he has to stop being the person who tries to escape sinking ship. Word, Raef. I hate Sophocles so much. I know in a few weeks it’ll all be over and I’ll be hating on Big Brother contestants or something, but right now, so… much… rage. [But then, Raef wanted Michael Sophocles to take full responsibility for the removal of the pack shot about two minutes ago, so he's not coming out of this with a particularly bright halo either. - Steve]
Claire says they both said they got lost being artistic, and they needed tissues in there. Sralan says Claire is always self-preserving in the boardroom why didn’t she act like that on the day? This is a pretty good echo of what he said to her the week he fired Simon, so let’s hope she pays attention.
Claire says the situation was emotional, they’d been in there all day and there was too much testosterone and spunk flying around. Except she only implied that last it. Sralan asks why she wasn’t forceful in there and putting up a fight. He says not wanting to salvage a win for the team shows selfishness. [What bollocks. She told them, if they didn't listen it's no one's fault but their own. I'm sick of Sralan blaming the women for not stopping the men from fucking up. - Steve] [You and me both Steve - Fiona]
He turns to Michael and says ‘you think you’re proud [of the ad], but I’m not looking for art directors’. He turns to Raef: ‘You put yourself across as Mr elegance, perfect. You have all the words, enthusiastic, ‘will do this for you’… but I’ve never said this before, I think you’re lucky that you’ve only been in this boardroom once. The one of you that is going is the one I think is full of hot air (which could be all three, surely)… Raef, you’re fired’. And as despondent as we all may feel by this, I think we knew it was coming. Michael Sophocles is a cockroach. [And a cunt. I was surprised by quite how angry I felt about his survival - Fiona]
He has nothing more to say to the others and sends them back to the house. Margaret says that was a close call, Sralan agrees. Nick says he’s sorry to see Raef go because he’s a decent bloke but behind all the elegance and all that flowery language, there ain’t much there.
Coat watch – black, formal, high collared, boring. Raef, you disappoint me so much.
The house look a bit shocked but also a bit resigned at who comes back, seeing as I can’t remember the last time the boardroom didn’t have Claire or Michael in it, they probably partly expected it. They asked what happened. Michael says nothing much happened except Raef’s gone and it was a difficult ordeal cos he was a good friend to me. Yeah, but not so good that you didn’t stitch him up. Raef in cab says he is sad because of Michael and him and their friendship. And this is all played out like an epic love story, except they haven’t been on teams together for ages, so it seems a bit out of the blue.
Anyway, join us next week when the teams have to rent sports cars to special clientele, and Lee and Lucinda wear matching clothes. Yay!