Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Kicking up a stink

Week 12: The final
Broadcast Wednesday 11th June

So here we are, the final stretch of what has been an entertaining, if infuriating, fourth series of The Apprentice, and Fiona and I will be here all night to recap it for you, LIVE! with accompanying typos and missed bits (we're sure the boys will add those in later).

So let us recap where we were. Sixteen 'tycoons of tomorrow' have come to London to seek a terrible jon in NotAmstrad and work for 'Britain's most beligerent boss'. Several tasks made of fail and multiple bullshit firings later, here we are at the final. If you weren't here last week, the rottweilers ripped them to shreds(ish), Lee got found out as a CV-enhancing liar, Claire was Claire, Helene had a tragic background (wrong show) and Alex was 24. And young. And 24. And Lucinda got fired for being too zany. Booo, but also good for her, because Not Amstrad strikes me as a very grey kind of place to work anyway.

And in a SHOCK! TWIST! Sralan decided not to have a mere two people in the final but to have four, because they were all 'credible candidates' (read: he wanted them all to work at NotAmsrad for a few months so he could see whose spirit he'd managed to crush the most). And in case you've forgotten, here's a brief recap of our runners and riders:

Lee McQueen
Has an unfortunate habit of speaking about himself in the third person, knows what he's talking about, even if he's never made that explicit to the rest of us, is the only person in the country (perhaps the world) who knows what a reverse pterodactyl looks and sounds like, only spent four months at uni before dropping out, not two years, can't spell and looks somewhat older than his 30 years. However, he does have a degree of task competence, is a good motivator and team leader and Fiona likes his bottom.

Helene Speight
She has large eyes that mean she can sometimes look quite attractive and at other times like a Kit Kat clock (circa Charlie Brooker). Is tall and looks like she could be quite imposing, but somehow misread her brief and thought it said 'quiet' imposing so has thus stood around in the background most of the time. She is a ballsy woman. Depending on who is editing that week, she is either very competent or doesn't do anything, except perhaps bitch at Lucinda, but as that's not an option anymore, she'll have to actually do some work this week. Sralan doesn't like her much because she is 'tainted by working for a big corporation' and is a bladdy woman.

Claire Young
A German Shepherd/Rottweiler hybrid (in her own words), Claire has gone on the bigest journey (drrrrrrrink) of the series, from being loud mouthed and bitchy, to being a bit less loudmouthed and a bit less bitchy. But hey, this is The Apprentice, any progress at all is a miracle. She is generally competent and likeable and she wouldn't kiss a snake for a million pounds, not even if Sralan told her too, but she would suck the lips off that Paul fella who did the interviews last week.

Alex Wotherspoon
Alex is young, he's only 24 you know. Has an annoying habit of pouting and chewing the inside of his cheek. Is 24. Has hypnotised all his project managers, Sralan, the interviewers and even Nick Hewer by his good looks and magic cock. Is 24. Allegedly sold rocks for £7000 a week with his brother. Has achieved a lot for his age, which is 24. Is a passive aggressive, defensive prima donna. Who is 24.

Tonight we will be watching Claire and Lee and Alex and Helene, with an assortment of former candidates, trying to create and flog some new men's fragrances. Join us at 9 for the inevitable crushing disappointment as Alex wins. It's the final cuntdown!

In the car on the way to meet Sralan. They are at a posh restaurant - or semi-posh, as he 'doesn't have £800million from splashing out on lobster dinners' (circa Claire). Lee tells Sralan he supports Tottenham Hotspur. Nicholas deLacy Brown, that was what you should have said in week one. Helene talks about how they all need to raise their game, and there no strong, oops, I mean, weak link now. Sralan makes a feeble joke about Lee paying for their meals. My sides.

NotFrances calls them, but they seem ready this time, boring shot of Lee shaving (but at least no more shots of Michael in his pants). Today's destination is an empty art gallery. Fiona says it's the same one we've seen before, which it probably is. Some dreadful music plays in the background.

Srlan tells them there'll be two teams: Claire/Lee, Alex/Helene. They will be joint team leaders (how does that work?) A motley parade wanders in to help them: Jenny Celery, Raef, Sophocles, The Best Salesperson in Europe, Matt Lucas and Simon. The Best Salesperson is the last to be picked, so so much for her mad salez skillz. Wot no Lucinda or NDLB? Gip. He tells them the task: design and pitch a fragrance. Both losers will 'leave this process' (not get fired) and one of the people in the winning team will win. Sralan desn't say what criteria he will judge that on.

In the cab Helene lies to Alex that she would have chosen him over the others t work with and in their cab, Lee and Claire discuss being sick together. Yum.

The fragrance has to retail for £29.99 and they show lots of good adverts of men's frgrances to show us what they won't do tonight.

Lee and Helene have Kevin, Raef and BSIE on their team. Alex reminds us he is 24 years of age, he is young, he has the full package. Fiona doesn't want to think about Alex's package and then dissolves in girly giggles so I think she protests too much.

Lee's team has Jenny Celery, Simon and Sophocles. Claire, Sophocles and Simon do a focus group with sme very manly men who may or may not be lorry drivers or similar, as they are wearing some kind of polo shirt uniform. Their plan is to buck the 'metrosexual trend' and go for a 'macho brand' and I smell the scent of FAIL already.

Lee says he doesn't know many men who don't want to smell like James Bond. Fiona says she's married to one.

Alex's team don't know what to do. Kevin and Alex laugh about him smell like 'stimulate'. They discuss brand titles: enigma, trust, connect. Helene, BSIE and Raef hate them all. Kevin bitches that Helene isn't good at making decisions (says him). Fiona suggests they call the fragrance domineering.

Back with the other team, and Celery is wearing some kinky boots.

Kevin pieces to camera that he left the programme too early (srsly?) and wants to prove things today. He and Alex meet with the designers but have no roduct name to base the design on. The designers look exasperated as designers on this show always do. Kevin tells the designer he wants it to feel like the exterior of a stress ball. The designer tells him that his idea is ludicrous.

They have some kind of funky bottle design now, but no name. He tries to describe it to Helene but she is panicking about the name. He says 'you're not panicking are you?' She clearly is. He tries to describe the bottle and she says she has to go. Clearly there is more going on than we are allowed to see but clearly Helene is getting the LOSE edit, at least for now. The Best Salesperson in Europe bitches about Helene.

Lee is in the car making beatbox noises and talking about glow sticks and lights going on a roulette wheel. Clealry he has a nu-rave mets casino theme for his party. And that's what he's talking about. We are told he has won the most tasks of those left but he is nervous about pitching. Yes, because he sucks at it.

Today they have to sort out their presentation and design their advert. Raef is doing his auteur director bit for the campaign for 'Dual', which arrives in a very '80s style silver and black canister. Nick is all like Helene sucks, I LOVE ALEX. Nick is 'buoyed' apparently.

Helene is at a fragrance house and they play twee music that Fiona tinks may have been used in the House of Elliot. She points out that Alex and Helene aren't working together. They discuss fragrances, the perfumier suggests chocolate, curry, candy floss. Helene worries that you don't want to smell like a chicken balti.

Lee's idea is to revive 'the old fashioned gambling gentleman' and the location for their ad is a nightclub. Sophocles is behind the camera again, proving that neither he nor Raef have learned from the task fail before. Lee pulls a sex face and the whole nation feels dirty. He porn directs the models with phrases like 'you've wanted him for months'.

Helene and Alex bitch at each other about what time to get out of bed. They are like an old married couple; Claire will be jealous. Jenny M intervenes and bitches for no reason. They waffle on some more about what time to get up and it's a bit tedious.

Alex accuses Helene of being defensive which is the biggest case of pot and kettle the world has ever seen.

Claire and Lee hang their adverts and they are shockingly, awfully, terrible, like a low-budget 70s film with a leading man that looks like Lee without the scars. FAIL. But then all adverts produced in this show are FAIL so it means nothing. They practice their pitch and Lee stumbles. Here we would ask why Claire isn't doing it but we imagine they both have to do something. Claire tries to encourage him but he is very downbeat.

Alex and Helene are in the car, sitting as far apart from each other as possible and not speaking. Helene has her hair up and it doesn't look great. They and their team arrive at the location. The fragrance smells very chocolatey and they all look worried. Fiona thinks they have formulated the new chocolate Lynx.

Lee is stuttering outside and Claire is being all encouraging.

Time to practise the Dual pitch. Alex is pitching to a fake customer called Adam, who is 26 (not 24 and therefore not young), who works in a bank (doesn't sell grit) and it's all very reminiscent of Mavis, the home shopper.

Kevin says he wants to inject something into Helene (erk) and tries to show them how to pitch. Right.

We see the guests arriving, among them are 'top people' from perfume houses.

Roulette are up first, and here I think they should have just called the bottles Alpha and Rennaissance. Claire cries a bit and Lee says he's worked his tits off (with Helene and her balls, this Apprentice series is very gender challenged). At the event we have a casino layout, with a Christopher Lloyd lookalike juggleing glowsticks and some Moulin Rouge style dancers. We are confused and wish we had drugs and alcohol to help us make sense of this.

Claire pitches that gambling is important and this and fragrance are two booming industries. She gives cliches about placing a bet and really she is way too cheesy. Lee is up and says their guy is Wyan who is sick of metrosexuality and wants to look like a man and smell like a man. The guests look unimpressed and snigger at the smell like a man bit. The advert is rubish but at least shows the perfume, along with cheesy shots of the roulette and the couple. It's about forty years out of date though. The strapline is 'make the roules' which doesn't fit with the name Roulette. Claire says men are sick of smelling like their girlfriends and their fragrance smells of amber, Oriental spices and animals. Lots of gay botoxed men stick white strips up their noses.

They have some questions. One woman says she doesn't want to be endorsing gambling through her own brand. Claire BSes about the man who uses the perfume making his own rules. Claire says she hopes the other team balls it up because she wants to win. So you want to be the least worst then? Lofty ambition.

Alex and Helene have some martial-arty-shadow-boxers to launch theirs. Alex tells us we are going on a journey tonight (drrink). He tells us about Adam who lives in a cosmopolitan 24-hour society, and wants to release his inner self. He is the opposite of Wyan then.

They unveil Dual. Helene says there is nothing else like it: yuo can take out a 25mil bit from it but it isn't clear what the big bit does. She says it is something new that will stand out and their pitch is all a bit basic but probably better than the other team's in fairness. Their advert shows a young man being a twat, with some shape shifting action going on and a Raef vo about 'Dual: release your inner self' but the product doesn't appear til the end which Sralan won't like. One of the people in the audience loves the ad, says the message is coherent and Sralan is smiling. FUCKING ALEX IS GOING TO WIN, NO?

Someone asks them if they've done their pricing research. Alex says it would cost a few 'percentage points' more to make. What about pounds and pence, pretty boy? Sralan is sitting near Tim.

Some people there like the product but not the packaging. Some say Roulette owuld work immediately but wouldn't sell for long.

The voiceover growls that Sralans boardroom beckons, in the air the scent of victory andthe smell of defeat. The music playing sounds like Eminem's Lose Yourself and as they go into the boardroom, may I just point out the photos on the waiting room wall were taken by Dave Gorman.

Sralan asks Michael how Claire and Lee were. He says they were great. Jenny Celery and Simon don't say much, having been muted out of the whole programme so far. Claire says consumers want to smell like a man not unisex. Sralan tries to find out whether any of the apprentices are metrosexual. All but Simon, apparently. And Sralan and Nick, I imagine. Sralan questions them on the gambling. Claire says they were careful not to use gambling or chance in their ad or presentation. Nick says roulette=gambling, debt, misry. Some of the experts said the fragrance was 70s, which is exactly what we said some paragraphs up. We know our stuff.

Oh, Alex and Helene's team are Renaissance apparently. Alex tells them about the problems of deciding on a name. Kevin says Alex made all the decisions. Helene says she isn't surprised by the response ad that she helped guide the team discussions and chose how to spell 'dual', a job Lee McQueen clearly wouldn't have been able to do. Sralan says their fragrance was distinctive but he didn't like it. He asked Helene what she wears. She says Angel. Sralan said people had said it smelled like Angel/Amen. Sralan asks who designed the bottle and Alex pussyfoots around the fact that it was the designer's idea.

Sralan thanks the mostly quiet former apprentices and they leave. He tells 'Alpha' they made a mistake with the name roulette, that Lee's presentation has improved and Claire's Q and A was brilliant, but Q and A doesn't sell. Sralan tells Renaissance that the business side had slipped their mind because the packaging would cost 3-4 times more than the standard fragrance bottle. Sralan talks a bit of maths and says they have nothing left for marketing. He accuses them of not doing their sums and Helene says they didnt before Alex can pretend they did in some kind of roundabout way.

Sralan said the task was made up of several elements to bring his concerns to a crescendo and see whether they've signed on (what, like the 12 losers do each week at their local jobcentre plus?). Alex and Helene are fired and though I am sad that Helene is gone because I have her in a sweepy we are both very happy Alex is gone and Fiona is excited because Claire is her sweepy. And Alex is a cunt. We are so glad Alex has gone.

He cries in the car. He's only a baby, only 24, you know. Helene says they failed because of the bottle and blames Alex basically. Neither of them gets to wear a funky eviction coat. Alex goes on about being passionate and not eating. Fiona points out that Claire's been eating. And Sophocles proably. Alex is heartbroken.

We, and the nation, are probably going to be happy whatever. Margaret says they worked well together and managed the team well. I call Lee to win because the ballsy woman always, always comes second.

For some reason all their team are back in the boardroom, oh, it's to give opinions. Michael says Claire has shown tenacity and strength because of being in the boardroom. Simon says if you'd told his eight weeks ago he'd come back and champion Claire he have been surprised, but he loves both of them. Jenny Celery says Lee is an amazing guy and a real gentleman (which is not always true, as Sara and Lucinda could both attest to).

Claire pieces to camera that Lee would have cracked under pressure were it not for her. Lee says he WANTS it, because it's all about that andnot about competence.

Fiona thinks Claire will win, which is the opposite to me. Essex council have apparently offered an unspecified job to the runner up, so wit-woo, they both have the chance of some underwhelming work ahead.

Sralan asks why he should hire them. Claire says she has improved and she wants to keep improving. She says she is tougher than Lee and won't crumble, that she has more drive and she wants it more. Lee says he wants it more than anyone else in the process, that he has shown his leadership and sales abilities and his skills make him the next apprentice. Claire says she's proved it because most people would have cracked under the pressure. Randomly, Lee's gramar is better than Claire's today. Sralan questions Lee's self-confidence and whether he can keep going. Lee says he does and pulls himself together. Sralan says Claire has a point about resilience and Lee is good, doesn't she think? She says she's not interrupting.

Sralan worries whether Lee is a one-trick pony in terms of skills and he's not sure whether he can put up with someone like Claire. He likes Claire and Lee is very convincing. Lee - you're hired.

No alarms and no surprises and Claire joins Saira, Ruth and Kristina in the ballsy woman comes second camp, which I have been saying for weeks. Lee and Claire hug and she cries. Fiona says it's good because she's not sure what else Lee can do.

Lee is in the car saying it's unbelievable. Fiona says it looks like he really did want it.

Lee won a job selling advertising video screens. Umm, good for him.

That's all from us, but there'll be more bitching in August with The Bitch Factor, and join us for more Apprentice action next year! Probably!

1 comment:

Tellygirl said...

Enjoyed your reviews this year!

The result is very much a case of "could have been worse". Claire is apparently going to work for Karen Brady which will probably be more interesting anyway.

Does anyone know when the final perfume task happened, ie was it last year right after the rest, or did the 4 work for him for some months then do this recently? If the latter, that would mean they, and the returners, would have already seen most of this year's coverage and how they came across ... (and also probably why DeLacy wasn't there, as a wall fell on him last week).