Sunday, 26 April 2009

Brand of Gold

Week Five
TX: 22nd April 2009


So, you guys? I hear Sralan Sugar is looking for someone to hire for a job with a six-figure salary, and he likes to talk about it without moving his lips while reading the FT in a helicopter.

Last week: Sralan gathered the teams in Kew Gardens to tell them they would be making cosmetics for Lush an unspecified Poole-based cosmetics company. Ignite attempted to catch more flies with sticky, messy honey than with vinegar, Noorul PMed by standing in the background and hoping everyone got on with it so he wouldn't look back, Kimberly had a fight with Philip while Lorraine tut-tutted at them, while Empire put too much sandalwood in their otherwise lovely product and ended up spending over £700 on fragrances in oils, bringing back a bladdy loss, and while Ben was nothing less than a cunt all episode, Paula couldn't escape responsibility for the financial fuck-up and was fired.

This week: 6am. Some people are already up: Noorul is ironing a shirt (one of Ben's, unless anyone else this year has sufficiently bad taste to wear coloured shirts with white collars), while a fully-clothed Debrabarr answers the phone to NotFrances. Sralan wants to meet them all at the Imax next to Waterloo. Phil, his paunch and his ugly tattoo think they will be making movies. Everyone else gets up and puts their clothes on and beats an eager retreat from Crackden Apts before all the hobos can throw stones at them.

At the Imax, everything is larger than life, including Sralan (who is on screen, just to clarify, he hasn't been nibbling on a fairy cake labelled "eat me"). The reason they are here is because there's a 1500 square-metre billboard outside, one of the largest in the country, which commands top dollar with advertisers. This segues rather roughly into the task, which is to create a brand identity for a new product of Sralan's: breakfast cereal. Surely you'd just called it Amsflakes? Cheeriams? Golden Alans? I would be so good at this task. Once they've branded it, they have to make a TV advert. Sralan has laid on one of the world's biggest advertising agencies - they've got two days to make the ad and pitch it to the agency, but it will fall to Sralan to decides who wins. Then it gets a bit weird because Nick and Margaret (in the theatre with the contestants, not on the screen with Sralan) pipe up who they will be following: Ignite for Nick, Empire for Margaret.

London porn. The teams drive off to the agency, while Mark Halliley fills us in with a bit more information on the voiceover: the campaign must feature a brand-new character and a well-designed box. Kimberly will be leading Ignite, and she's excited because she's been waiting for this task ever since the beginning, being a marketing consultant and everything. Obviously, because we saw how well the food task went for Rocky, and all the wonderful contributions Noorul made to the chemistry-based task. Kimberly tells Noorul and Philip, who share her car, that they are going to have to trust her. Philip immediately commences blameshifting, telling Kim that he will do what she tells him (lie), but if it doesn't work she'll be accountable for it. Kim grimaces. [They never learn do they? Noorul has the look of a man who knows he is safe for this week at least - Fiona]

Over in the Empire taxi, Kate (the artist formerly known as Dr Addison Montgomery) will be PM, and she begins by informing Ben that there will be no "sex sells" messages this time.

The team arrive at the McCann Erickson agency, where the walls are painted with all kinds of "kooky" "creative" "inspirational" bits of artwork, which would probably leave me feeling suicidal if I had to work there longer than three minutes. First job is to sample the cereal, which is made of bran flakes, rice puffs and dried fruit, and looks like the sort of thing I used to feed to my hamster. Before it died. Possibly of malnutrition. Kate's team focus on the child-friendly aspect of the promotion, and Ben says that he's trying to get into a child's head. I don't know why he doesn't inhale a small child in order to gain their powers, given how much he looks like Kirby. To his credit, Ben's actually hooked onto a good idea, likening the bits of dried fruit to rubies and gold coins, and takes the thought forwards into a treasure hunt. Deke suggests a pirate theme.

Over at Ignite, Kim and co are brainstorming characters. Philip puts forward the first of many idiotic ideas which will flow in an unstoppable torrent of mental diarrhoea from his brain over the course of the task, that of a "cereal killer". Kimberly tactfully suggests that would be more suited to an adult market. [and even then no - Fiona] Lorraine wants to rip off the Munch Bunch by having a gang of fruit-themed characters including "Berry Mary, Sweet Sugar, Apricot Sue, Banana Man, Branflake Ben" and so on. The inside of Lorraine's mind is a terrifying place. Philip twitches throughout at the temerity of someone daring to have another idea after his obviously superior cereal killer motif was shot down. Kimberly tells him off for cutting Lorraine off. Philip informs everyone that the only adverts worthy of note are the ones that make him laugh, like "a monkey playing drums". I never really thought of that as being an advert that would make you laugh, but perhaps estate agent humour works differently. Philip's next shitty idea is "it's so natural, it makes you feel naked, but with pants", which is nonsensical, and not in the good way. Nick winces. Lorraine thinks mothers may not enjoy pants jokes, but Phil thinks the kids will love it. Kim asks if anyone else has any ideas. Given that the rest of the team consists of Mona, Noorul and Howard, I doubt you need me to tell you the outcome of that.

Over at Empire, Kate has split the team, and Yasmina and Debrabarr are doing "market research" (they're in the cereals aisle in Sainsbury's). They debate their precise place in the market and examine a variety pack, noticing that all of the cereals in it have cartoon animals as mascots. They call Kate, who thinks that their strongest ideas are the adventurer and the pirate. The general consensus seems to be for the pirate, with a bird on his shoulder, and then Deke, with a strange and newly-acquired gift for economy, suggests combining the two into a parrot pirate. Yasmina likes this idea. Ben doesn't think the parrot should be the treasure hunter, and it all gets a bit muddled here as Deke says the parrot is "like Robin" and Ben wonders which kids ever grew up wanting to be Robin, and Kate calms the waters by saying that both the pirate and the parrot pirate are strong ideas. That she can say this with a straight face (well, as straight a face as you can have when you are afflicted with sidegob) earns her my respect. Kate votes for parrot, and Ben acquiesces quietly. No, really.

Ignite are still brainstorming - Lorraine is still pushing for her NotMunchBunch, and imagines all the characters jumping out of a bowl. Phil terms to Kimberly and grouses "sorry, I forgot Lorraine was Steven Spielberg's cousin". I wish I could say this was the most assy thing he does all task, but it gets so much worse. They switch, and Phil pitches his pants idea (in every sense of the word), which has been extended into the idea of a morning where you're so tired and confused that you put your pants on over your clothes, and thus there is nothing left to do but dance in your pants. And then he sings his jungle, to the theme of 'The Chicken Song' from Spitting Image. No, REALLY. He gets a grudging round of applause from Noorul And The Silents at the end, and sucks his bottom lip all "yeah, I ROCKED THAT." Lorraine thinks this is "verging on being silly now". Verging? "What, as opposed to Apple Sue?" snips Philip, who is not six years old, despite all appearances to the contrary. Philip VTs that he doesn't care what they think, but if they go with one of their ideas instead of his and it proves to be unsuccessful, he'll pin them down for it in the boardroom. Interesting that he doesn't state what will happen if they go with his and it still fails epically. Oops, spoilers. Kimberly asks if Mr Pants is okay with everyone, and Philip insists it should be Pantsman. "The team decides on...Pantsman," narrates Mark Halliley, in a tone that suggests he can't quite believe it either. Lorraine passive aggressively says to no one in particular that she doesn't like either name or the idea in general. Philip pulls a bitchface.

Over at Empire, the team are sketching out their parrot pirate. Deke's parrot pirate has a wooden leg, which Kate likes. They brief their designer ("you can see I'm no threat to your job," Deke tells him, and I'm noting this because it will be important later) and Kate says they want crossed spoons in their Jolly Roger. I love how the editors aren't even trying to build tension this week, with the showing of Empire's many great ideas and Ignite's complete absence of same. The parrot is called Captain Squawk, by the way. Kate thinks he looks like a happy, friendly pirate. Deke worries first that it looks like Orville the duck, and then on the same train of thought that it does not look parroty enough. Kate assures him that the colouring will be key. Debrabarr runs in and screams that no one can stop her hypothetical black baby from playing the pirate parrot on the grounds of skin colour. Or maybe not.

Ignite brief their costume designer on how Pantsman can look like a superhero. They want to stand out on the shelves, and I've watched this scene about four times and I still don't really get what they're arguing about. I think the gist is: Kimberly has picked out certain colours based on what their competitors are using - whether that means they're using the same ones, or deliberately using different ones, I'm not sure. Phil doesn't want them to just ignore some colours without proper debate. Kimberly asks him to trust her. Philip says that it's not that he doesn't trust her. Lorraine tells Phil to can it. Phil tells Lorraine to stick it up her hairy cunt and not to ignore him when he's making a valid point (because as we've seen throughout this episode, Philip is all about making sure everyone's point gets a fair and equal hearing) and then they all sit there calling each other names for six hours. Kimberly uses her "tired mommy" voice to tell Phil it's just a brainstorm, and asks Lorraine for her input on colours. Lorraine likes "that green one". "Green's horrible," snaps Philip, arbiter of the right to a fair hearing. Kimberly VTs that when Phil doesn't get his way, he throws a tantrum. Yeah, we spotted that, thanks.

Empire, 4pm. Kate has sent Yasmina and Deke off to sort out their jingle. Yasmina tells the composer it should be piratey. Guys, call off the search, I have your perfect vocalist right here. Deke hums a few bars of what will eventually become their jingle. James sings it as he's imagined hearing it, and the words are "A bowl of this a pirate makes/So have yourself some Treasure Flakes". Well, it's not going to give Max Martin any sleepless nights, but it achieves its point well enough.

Ignite go to meet their composer (interestingly, the narration only lists Kimberly, Lorraine and Philip as being in the party, but Howard is there too). Kim briefs the composer, who basically has a Tim Canterbury/Jim Halpert (depending on your preference) expression on his face the whole way through. Phil, of course, has some music and lyrics he's scribbled down, and "treats" the composer to a rendition. "I've just done your job for you," he says, because that's exactly what a total shithead would say in this situation (compare and contrast with Deke's brief for the designer earlier, 400 words minimum, handed in by Friday please). Lorraine's face is sour, and the composer notes this. "I'm not 100% sure about any of it so far," says Lorraine, under the misapprehension that this is the time or the place for that conversation. "You're changed your tune!" says Philip, which: no she hasn't, and then Lorraine informs us that she's "okay with it, but not overly okay".

Outside, Howard patiently explains to Lorraine that her comment was inappropriate, and to Philip that it was not necessary for him to jump at the bait, and that basically they should take whatever personal issues they have and either thump each other or hump each other on their own time. While this is all going on, by the way, Project Manager Kimberly is making notes in a folder. I'm just sayin'.

Empire are working on Captain Squawk with their designer, and the box is looking really good. Crucially, they decide to design all sides of the box rather than just the front, with Ben sensibly suggesting that they would have "more strength" in their pitch doing it that way. Seriously, what the hell happened? It's like he and Philip both grabbed an ornamental skull while yelling "I wish I could change places with you!"

Kimberly calls her designer with their box ideas - and basically does the whole thing over the phone. "Are you actually coming back to the agency?" he asks. That's a negative. Nick VTs that it's a branding exercise where the product is the hero (though it's no Pantsman, obviously) and that they spent far too little time with the designer, who may well just produce something rudimentary given the vague directions he was offered.

9pm, and Empire are too busy bickering to get anything done. Philip thinks Lorraine is being negative, and compainterviews that she let an idea "progress" for three or four hours before complaining about it, which kind of flies in the face of what we saw, so whatever.

The next day, and Debrabarr is signing for the teams' cereal boxes. Huge surprise: Empire's is very professional-looking and awesome, and they squeal as they examine it, giving universal approval. "I think that colouring is very unisex," says Debrabarr of the almost entirely blue box. Hmmm. It is a great box, though. And of course, Ignite's box (branded Wake Up Call) is a piece of shit. "Was it not supposed to have fruit on it somewhere?" asks Lorraine. Noorul notes the lack of any information on it. Indeed, all it says is "one of your three a day" - three whats a day, precisely? Three bowls of cereal? Because fruit and veg is five a day, as we all know. Kim is unhappy with the box, but it's entirely her fault, so whatever. At least she likes the apple-green colour. So that's nice for her.

The teams are now tasked with recording their jingles and shoot their ads. Team Kim go to Asda to buy cheap pants (as opposed to selling cheap pants, which is what they'll be doing when they make their advert) and Howard and Lorraine put on various pairs of white underpants over their clothes while laughing uproariously. "I hope you're going to buy that," says an unimpressed Asda employee. [She rocked, if she'd been team leader none of this would have happened - Fiona]

Empire have booked a professional vocalist to sing their jingle. Deke worries that she sounds too American when she sings. We get a shot of what I can only assume is the lyrics sheet, headlined "Aar Me Harty" - hee! Yasmina interprets on Deke's behalf that he was asking her to be a bit more animated, and their vocalist sings it in a more clearly enunciated way. Deke says he feels like Ringo Starr. Next stop: narrating Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends! Deke interviews that it's so nice to hear something that he started with "crappy humming" turn out so professional, and he's delighted: "I feel like a monkey learning to use tools." Oh Deke, against all my better instincts I'm starting to love you a little bit. [Me too - never saw that coming - Fiona] Yasmina and the vocalist record the finishing touch: a shout of "TREASURE FLAKES!" to go over the vocals at the end. Incidentally, the very first thing I said on my original viewing when we saw that Empire had booked a professional vocalist was "I bet Philip records the vocals for his team." You just wait and see if I'm wrong.

The rest of Empire are in the Rainforest Café to film their commercial, with Ben dressing up as Captain Squawk. Aesthetically, it's a vast improvement. Kate is directing the ad, and they've hired a hired a child actor. Kate explains that the story is of a small boy being bored with his dull, gruel-like breakfast cereal, and will daydream of being transported to a desert island where he meets Captain Squawk, and he will be transformed into a pirate when he eats it. "Am I actually going to eat it?" asks the child actor. Kate pulls a helpless face and asks him if he could try to do so, and the kid explains that he's got a nut allergy. Margaret grins. She interviews that the ad might be too ambitious.

Ignite are filming their ad in Ealing, west London, home of Sarah Jane Smith and your humble recapper for today. Kim greets someone who I assume is the cameraman, and tells him (with a flourish) that she's going to be the director. "Are you? Great," he says, sounding unconvinced. Noorul will be playing Pantsman, but interviews that when he's not needed he wants to help Kim out behind the scenes, because he does "amateur photography" as a hobby. Interpret that as you will. Kim makes Noorul-as-Panstman [also a vast improvement - Fiona] hide in the garage so the kids they've hired to do the ad don't see him when they arrive.

In a Soho recording studio, guess what? Philip is recording their jingles, and tunelessly crashing his way through what is meant to be a scale of some kind. Nick grimaces. As Phil records the song, we see Mona pulling a face which either indicates a state of closed-eyed mellow bliss, or a total inability to look at Philip because of secondhand embarrassment. I'm guessing the latter. At the end, Mona tells him it was "really good" and Phil smugs that he got it in "one take", because that's "what I do". Mona suggests that he might want to "tune it" a bit next time. "Thanks Quincy," replies the always-open-to-constructive-feedback Phil. "He's certainly got some confidence," notes the composer drily. "I think he might think he's Bono." And really, I can't sum it up any better than that. I might as well just pack up and go home now.

Over at Empire's shoot, Ben is almost dying of heat-exhaustion inside Captain Squawk. And that's it.

Back at Ignite's ad, the kids meet Pantsman for the first time and...don't bat an eyelid. So much for "all kids find pants immediately hilarious". Incidentally, Howard and Lorraine are playing the kids' parents, in the most implausible showmance since Claire and Alex on the Morocco task last year. Nick notes that the kids don't find the idea funny, but those actually making the ad think it's hilarious. Oh dear.

It's 6pm, and Kate's team reunites in the edit room. Kate hears the jingle for the first time. Her eyes widen as she listens to the jingle, which sounds really good, although we'll only end up hearing the last five seconds of it in the ad itself. She likes it, but would prefer a male vocalist, so the poor anonymous session singer's work is removed and Ben records the vocals instead. It sounds...kind of creepy. Outside in the corridor, Yasmina thinks Kate made that decision too hastily.

It's 10pm and Ignite are at the agency practicing their pitch. Mona is delivering the pitch, badly, and Kim is facepalming throughout. Kim explains what she wants in the pitch, and Mona takes exception to what she considers to be Kim's too-narrow focus on the children, since the task dossier instructs they are supposed to appeal to the whole family. I think she's rather missing the wood because the trees are in the way. Kimberly gives up, as all good PMs do. Mona says that since Kim is so good at this, she should be doing. Kim thinks it's too late. Mona doesn't like Kim's negative body language. "I'm sorry you've misinterpreted my body language," Kim non-apologises.

The next day, and presumably everyone's had their Wake Up Call because nobody is wearing their pants over their clothes. We're reminded that the cereals must appeal to kids and their health-conscious parents, and we see the room where the pitch will be made. The "hard-nosed executives" who are leading the room are Chris McDonald and Nikki Crumpton, who probably aren't terribly happy about being called "hard-nosed", I would've thought.

Empire come in singing their jingle, with Debrabarr leading the pitch. It's a measured and professional-sounding pitch, explaining where their idea came from and indicating the assets of their character. They show their advert, and it's a bit messy: if Kate hadn't explained the storyline earlier, I wouldn't have had a clue what's going on. Oh, and the original vocalist's work is used for the actual jingle at the end, it's just Ben recording the parrot's voice about how they've put treasure back into breakfast or whatever, which seems a fair compromise. The advert finishes, and Margaret laughs. Nikki tells them that they've done an amazing strategic job, but that having targeted both audiences, they may have missed both of them. An Anonymadvertiser says that if they tried to pitch this to a supermarket they'd be laughed out of the room because of how it has every single benefit available. I'm not so sure that's true, but anyway. Kate calmly explains that perhaps they have overcrowded the box, but "as a parent" she wouldn't be complaining that the product delivered on so many levels. Outside, Yasmina and Ben congratulate her on an excellent response.

And then, Ignite. Pantsman's entrance earns a round of applause. Mona's pitch, however, does not. It's barely even in complete sentences, attempting to claim that when you eat the cereal you won't dress up like Pantsman because only Pantsman is Pantsman and you are certainly not Pantsman. Everyone in the audience is like "who in the what now?" They play their commercial, which is shitty in terms of content, but structurally sound and probably looks the most like an actual advert of any commercial ever created by a team on this show. Chris is unimpressed with the pack, and how Pantsman works with Wake Up Call. Kim says they would like to make some amendments to the box. "What, like have panels in the back?" Chris oh-snaps. Nikki correctly theorises that they had the idea for pants and then worked backwards: she likes the character, but questions the role he plays in the advert - is he telling her to wake up, or to put her pants on? Philip attempts his whole "it's not SUPPOSED to make sense!" thing again, once more putting forward that monkeys don't really play the drums to Phil Collins (there goes my whole belief system), but Chris is not standing for this bullshit at all. I think I might love Chris.

The agency "calls" Sralan, and we get a series of hilariously staged "reactions" from Sralan in his car, which are quite clearly being made to NO-ONE. Chris and Nikki offer some enigmatic opinions which sort of don't give away who they're talking about, but also sort of do because one team clearly sucked and one team was clearly quite good.

It's boardroom time, and NotFrances sends everybody in to see Sralan. He starts with Ignite, and asks if Kimberly was a good team manager. Philip answers in the affirmative immediately, because he got what he wanted the whole time, and Lorraine tentatively interjects that she doesn't think Kimberly was a good PM because she kept giving out "mixed messages". I kind of think she was giving out no messages really, but Lorraine's fight here is clearly with Phil, so whatever. Kimberly explains how they brainstormed, and Philip's idea was pants, and Philip claims he was thinking outside the box and pushing boundaries. Sralan points out that the young'uns nowadays tend to use pants in a derogatory fashion. Lorraine said she wanted to keep it more simple, and that the team misread the brief. Sralan asks what her idea was, and she goes back to the five man band with Apple Sue and Benjamin Branflake, and Sralan curlty informs her that this would not've been in line with the brief, which asked for one character only. "Shall we see this advert?" asks Sralan. "Sure," says Kimberly, at the exact same time that Lorraine says "do we have to?" And seriously, Lorraine, there is voicing your dissent, and then there is being a dick for no good reason. Shut up. We see the technically-sound-but-otherwise-crappy advert. Sralan tells Director Kim that the agency thought the execution was very good.

Sralan turns to Empire and asks if Kate was a good team leader, and gets unanimous approval. Sralan notes that Kate must've been good if even Ben approved of her. Heh. Kate explains how their idea came about, and then we see their incomprehensible advert. Sralan thinks the parrot sounds like "a rather hoarse Ian Paisley". The agency said that the execution of the ad was weak. Sralan examines the box, and Kate explains how they all had input into the box. He particularly likes the cereal bowl and crossed spoons instead of a skull and crossbones, and Debrabarr says that this was Deke's idea. Aww, I love it when a team actually works so well together that they don't mind giving one person credit for a legitimately good idea. Deke says that he didn't want something on the front of the box looking like it was poisonous. Fair enough.

Sralan regards Ignite's box with barely concealed disgust. Lorrainesays that she thinks the team didn't think they needed to do the box, because when she brought it up, blah blah blah - Sralan tells her to shush.

Decision time: obviously Kate wins. Was there ever any doubt? Sralan likes the box and the character, and Margaret thought they worked very well as a team. Hooray! Their reward is Laughter Yoga, whatever the fuck that is. Outside the boardroom, Empire all hug each other and look genuinely thrilled by their victory. Savour this display of unity, folks: it may be the last one we get.

Ignite's work was "total garbage", as Sralan doesn't understand how they could base an ad campaign around pants.

Empire do Laughter Yoga. It looks like a crappy-ass prize.

The Crumbling Remains Of Loser Café. Kimberley VTs that the team was unhappy with Lorraine, that "it was a bit like working with Eeyore". Heh. Lorraine says that everyone is looking at her like vultures ready to pounce, Philip sneers that she always paints herself as the victim. Really, they're both right and they're both wrong, but most importantly, they're both total assholes. Outside, Lorraine and her Reflections Glasses say that the team views her as a scapegoat. Lorraine points out that Kimberley was the experienced marketeer. "You can't blame it all on her," says Philip, despite having made it clear at the beginning of the episode that his plan was to do precisely that if Kimberly didn't indulge his every whim.

Ignite return to the boardroom. Sralan singles Lorraine out for complaining, and Lorraine claims she didn't "understand" the campaign. He asks why she didn't force her way through, and she claims that she did, but it was just perceived as negativity. He asks the team where they lost the task, and Philip thinks they tried too hard. "Maybe you tried too hard," retorts Sralan, adding that Nick told him Philip bulldozed his shitty pants idea onto the rest of the team. Philip claims he was "strong in his opinions". Sralan tells Philip that there are times when Philip needs to shut his mouth. I would prefer it if those times were all of them. Sralan then turns to Kimberly, who ought to have been brilliant at this given her background. Kim cautions that she is "not a creative myself, I manage creativity". I find this idea that all creative types need intense supervision lest they lose all sense of perspective a little odd - my job is creative (of sorts, at least) and I'm still expected to know who my audience are and tailor my work appropriately. Anyway, Kim thinks that without a workable idea on the table, she could just do the best with what she had. Sralan thinks the whole thing should've been shot down at pants, and asks where Lorraine was then. Lorraine says she was against it, and Philip counters (smarmily using "quote unquote" in his answer) that Lorraine said her daughters would love it. Lorraine clarifies that she always thought the campaign was funny. "Funny maybe if it was in the middle of a Harry Enfield sketch," says Sralan, apparently unaware of any comedy to emerge after the mid-1990s.

Margaret doesn't understand the lack of logic: Pantsman, who wears his pants outside his clothes, telling people not to wear their pants outside their clothes. Kimberly says that she raised that, but people (read: Philip) told her that superheroes wear their pants outside their clothes as a matter of course. Sralan reminds her that she was PM, and therefore the boss, and yet she seems to have run on the assumption that whoever shouts loudest gets their own way. Kim says it wasn't like that, even though it was. Sralan asks Noorul if he had an idea, and Noorul says that he did, but before Noorul can elaborate, Sralan suggests that Noorul's idea was to hide in the Pantsman suit to avoid doing any work. Wow, Sralan totally hates Noorul.

Sralan asks why Mona did the pitch and not Kimberly; Kim explains that she's not completely comfortable in front of an audience, like she isn't already talking herself out of this job fast enough. "You do that for a living," says Nick incredulously. Sralan tells Mona off for lecturing the client on what's in his product. "I felt like I was in nursery school, being patronised and lectured," sighs Margaret. Sralan asks who was responsible for the box. Howard says he suggested the colour so it would stand out; Sralan thinks it would stand out on the catfood shelf. Kim attempts to explain (but ultimately ends up digging a bigger pit for herself) by saying that they ran out of time on the first day because there were so many arguments. Translation: I'm such an ineffectual PM that we were late for everything. Kim blames Lorraine for causing the arguments, and Lorraine sniffs that she's been on three winning teams where arguments were not needed, and she was just trying to stand up against The Evil Forces Of Pantsman - something which Howard deems to be untrue.

Time for Kimberly to decide who to bring back: Lorraine, and "just because it's his idea" Philip. Really? "Just because it's his idea?" Not because he was completely fucking unprofessional, utterly deaf to anyone else's opinion, persisted in engaging in school playground style tantrums and a general A-grade cumstain all over their entire task? I don't get why everyone is willing to make excuses for Philip's total inability to behave like an adult when they're all so quick to call Lorraine on hers.

Anyway, Noorul, Mona and Howard are excused, while the remaining three are sent outsidse while Sralan and his advisors deliberate. "They took logic and tortured it until it screamed," Nick thinks. Sralan thinks that Kim's CV implies she should've had no problem with this task. Well, Lee McQueen's CV implied he completed his course at TVU, and it still wasn't true - and you hired him. Margaret thinks that Philip still believes this was a good campaign. Nick thinks Lorraine might be an awkward one.

The three are summoned in. Sralan thinks Lorraine may be a troublemaker. Lorraine says that she has great instincts and was unsure about this task from day one, and she feels she's being used as a scapegoat. Kim retorts that Lorraine sucked the energy out of the whole team. They argue amongst themselves, and Philip sits to the side scoffing. Lorraine says she won't be positive about something she doesn't believe in. Philip interjects that Lorraine was extremely negative two hours before the task finished, but they never heard a peep out of her before that, which goes against EVERYTHING WE'VE SEEN. "Oh, that's interesting. I thought I caused eight arguments?" enquires Lorraine. "Yeah, you did, but some of them were on a personal level and not about the task," smugs Philip. Lorraine then claims she put more into the task then anyone else, which Philip deems ludicrous, and quite why they're arguing over who put the most effort into a product which was crap from start to finish, I have no idea.

Then things get weird, again: Kim would like Sralan to know that while people have had trouble with Lorraine on this task, Kim herself has ALWAYS championed her. "That's very romantic of you," sneers Philip. "Can you get to your point?" If I were Sralan, I would've fired him right there for that alone, because someone who behaves like that has absolutely no place in anyone's office. Lorraine and Kim argue amongst themselves until Sralan shuts them up.

Finally we get to the meat of the matter: the stupid pants idea was the problem, and that idea was Philip's. Sralan brings out a particularly torturous hunter/eagle simile, where Philip is about to get shot. Philip then brings out "I'm just a bloke from Durham who sells houses with a big head," which would appear to be this year's "I'm a nice Jewish boy like yourself, Sralan", and claims that neither Lorraine nor Kim have a chance of winning this, whereas he can win it. Oh, just fire all three of them and be done with it, Sralan. Philip then grouses that the other three, who were "flying under the radar", have gone back, and he's still there. Sralan asks Philip who should go home, and Philip says that although he's had his problems with Lorraine, he's "frankly disgusted" with Kimberly for bringing him back and letting the others go that she should be fired. Oh yes, how ill-thought-out of her to bring the person who had the moronic idea that sandbagged the entire task back to the boardroom. "That's so typical of how you think," smiles Kimberly eerily. "It's just a temper tantrum."

Kim then changes tack and claims she brought Philip back for the temper tantrums, despite the wide open goal with "it was his crappy-ass idea that ruined this for everyone and he still thinks it was a good one, just in case you were unaware of how utterly deluded this chump is" written all over it sitting right in front of her. Nick notes that Philip can indeed throw a strop now and then, but is it reason enough to have him fired? Kim claims it's disruptive to the team as a whole. Then Lorraine throws her oar in and claims that she wouldn't have brought Philip back in even though she hates him and AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH. HOW ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE WHO THINK PHILIP DOES NOT DESERVE TO BE BACK IN THE BOARDROOM NOT ALL FIRED RIGHT NOW FOR THEIR UTTER FUCKING STUPIDITY?

Sralan asks Kimberly why he shouldn't fire her. Kim claims that she did the actual good parts of the task, like the commercial editing. Phil thinks that he and Noorul did most of the editing. Kim thinks she did "like, 95%" of the editing. Phil argues that she wanted to ditch the scene at the beginning and again, it's very interesting to compare this culture of blame-shifting on this team to the way the other team were so happy to single others out for praise. Srlan asks Lorraine why she shouldn't be fired. Lorraine thinks she could've PMed this better than "the expert herself".

Time to summarise: Sralan is trying to weigh up whether Lorraine is responsible because she was disruptive and upset the timeline on this task. Kimberly has a marketing background and should've walked this, but ruined it for herself by accepting that rotten idea, WHICH WAS PHILIP'S AND WHICH IS WHY HE IS HERE, GOD. Philip is cocksure and bulldozes ideas through, which is not what Sralan wants.

So who gets a reprieve? Lorraine, who hasn't had a chance to be PM yet. Kimberly is like the final scene from The Wizard Of Oz - she looks impressive, but there's nothing behind the curtains, and she is fired.

Sralan tells Lorraine and Philip to stop fucking bickering, and tells Lorraine that if she does get to be PM next week, which he hasn't decided yet, some of the people remaining kind of hate her guts. He dismisses them.

Outside, there are no hugs, just kisses on the cheek as Kim turns her face away. No coatwatch this week as we don't ever see it in full, but it looks black and dull, just like everyone else's.

In the cab: Kim thinks Sralan fired the wrong person, and he will see that eventually. However, if Sralan doesn't want to hire her, she's hurt and upset but there's nothing she can do, so she's going to find something else to do and make the best of that. That's actually fairly reasonable.

Back at Crackden Apts, Ben says he would sack both Lorraine and Kim, because Philip's so fucking wonderful, apparently. "Maybe all three of them will go?" wonders Kate with a laugh. Oh, if only. Philip and Lorraine smug their way back in. "Would you guys agree that your idea was pants?" asks Ben. Lulz ensue.

Next week: selling task! The teams have to sell ten items each for a profit, and Philip and Lorraine fight again. Oh joy.

1 comment:

sacred-sarcasm said...

Hmm, why is Phillip allowed to be a massive cock and Lorraine isn't?

I can't imagine why that would be. I do have a hint though - it begins with bl- and ends with -addy woman.

Honestly, Lorraine needs to go because she's miserable and rubbish, but still...