Thursday, 18 November 2010

You're the star! You'll wish you weren't

Week Seven
Aired 17 November 2010

Previously on The Apprentice, the Apprentots were tasked with devising and advertising a new cleaning product. In the mind of Sralan, a cleaning product that necessitates the keeping of a child slave in your cupboard is marginally worse than a cleaning product that turns women into octopodes (oh yeah, not octopi, not octopuses, octoPODES, baby) [I think you'll find that's octypodes, actually - Joanna] and then makes them give their husbands handjobs, so Synergy won again. Some more. The karaoke prize afforded Stella the opportunity, via the medium of side-eye, to reveal how much she holds this entire process and everyone in it in complete contempt. It's going to be kind of a theme.

6 am. A fully primped and preened Laura answers the phone (which incidentally, is the same model as I have in my flat and cost about a tenner from Argos. Apprentice Luxury Home!!). [Hard Economic Times, DRINK - Fiona] NotFrances tells her that Sralan will meet them at Pinewood Studios. The cars are arriving in, you guessed it, thirty minutes.

Stubags dashes up the stairs in a dressing gown, dangerously close to showing us his stubags. Laura doesn't know what Pinewood is. Sandeesh is sure it's a f....urniture warehouse. So near and yet so far. Stella stirs and asks how many challenges Chrisbates has won. Two, is the answer.

They get to Pinewood. Sandeesh says 'this must be a famous studio'. Well done! [Not famous enough, clearly. - Steve] The big bluescreen is drawn to our attention. Sralan parps on about how big and amazing and best the films made here are, and how amazing the bluescreen is. The task is to make backdrop videos and then film people in front of them, selling the resultant DVD to gullible morons at Westfield. Sandeesh and Chrisbates become Synergy, Stella and Joanna become Apollo. Sralan makes Stubags the boss of Apollo and Sandeesh (finally!) boss of Synergy. Stubags is smug about this, Sandeesh looks terrified and cowed.

Apparently this cheap DVD bullhockey is a new market to tap into. Mmm hmm. The teams have some pre-prepared backdrops to choose from – speedboat, rollercoaster &c. Synergy discuss their options, while Stubags calls it a waste of time and argues with Joanna (looking a lot less Sadako). Stubags phones up to reserve the footage before they've decided what they want. He calls a vote while on the phone and treats Laura like a petulant child. Which she kind of is. He interviews about how the only place he fits in a team is at the top.

Sandeesh interviews that when Sralan said she does blahddy nothin' 'those words resonated' and she doesn't agree. They didn't resonate then, petal. If she wins a task as PM, she'll prove him wrong. Good luck with that. (SPOILERS!)

They also have to film their own backgrounds. Jamie kind of bludgeons his team (that is to say Synergy) into a skislope background as that will appeal to kids and let them dress up. Stubags meanwhile thinks that the affluent twentysomethings of Westfield will like a motor-racing backdrop. He actually thinks this shizz will sell to adults, you guys. [I still struggle to see anyone this would appeal to - Fiona] He claims it's aspirational. Joanna says the fair is good because families will like it. Stubags is like 'Nah! Adults like cars!'. He's a total bulldozer. Nick says that Stubags leaves him 'trembling with irritation'.

The teams split – some to shoot the backdrop, some to learn the technology. Liz directs Chrisbates in some Bollywood dancing in front of a filmed background. He looks unconvinced at best and jokes he'd like to buy it. Liz asks the sensible question of how many DVDs they can create in an hour and get told 4 at most.

At Brands Hatch, Stubags talks cars a lot and says he has to rein in his own masculinity, and makes sure every day of his life is packed with fun. Stubags gets to drive a car. Laura films. Poor thing.

Elsewhere, Stella and Joanna have to work out how to market it. Stella suggests 'ride of your life' and immediately thinks better of it as she and Joanna descend into innuendo. (In YOUR end-o!) They try to call Stubags but he's rather busy zooming round a race track. Laura answers the phone, and says that Stubags is driving. Stella and Joanna share a look of pure rage, and Joanna (who I'm hating a bit less, by the by) asks 'Is he taking the piss?'

Army Chris and Jamie, accompanied by the comedy music of fail, go to Milton Keynes for an indoor ski slope. Mmm, aspirational! Jamie, doing nothing to dull my loathing, uses in all seriousness the phrase 'ski-legs'. Chris says that they need to make the video more fun because 'penultimately' they're aiming it at kids. What does he think penultimately means, please? In pursuit of said kid-friendliness, Jamie skis in a big penguin suit.

Having finished driving around, Stubags decides that they need to focus on kids. Indeed! But Stella and Joanna have been trying to work on adult stuff all day and they're a bit pissed off.

The teams buy props. Ski stuff for the ski team, and Joanna and Stella go to a toy shop. They have the good idea of buying a car for their race scene. Crazy, I know. Nick's following and asks where Stubags is. Stella says at Brands Hatch, racing. Nick chews a wasp.

They need to buy raw materials – blank DVDs and so on. Liz says they've got 11 hours and then says they can do 8 an hour. Either she's gone mental or is expecting two people to burn DVDs. So they go for 88, plus a few for wastage, and get 100.

Stubags tells Stella to buy 50 DVDs. He has a think. Then cuts it down to 30. He tells Laura that Stella and Jo will be complaining about how he can't make a decision (they are), but what they mean is THEY can't make a decision, and need to be spoon fed. 'Where's the spoon?!' complete with motions. Laura looks less than impressed.

Back at the house, they preview the DVDS. Sandeesh decides Chrisbates and Liz will be in front of house, 'enticing the children', Army Chris will be burning DVDs and Jamie will be an errand boy running back and forth. HA!

Joanna absolutely rips into the DVD and says it's shit. It kind of is. [Seriously. Who would buy this? - Rad] [I know! I am still totally non-plussed by the whole idea. Now if it was star in your own music video that would be something else - Fiona] Stubags says he's got to where he has because he's successful and makes decisions based on impulse and if you can't do that you won't be successful like he is, then has the gall to ask if there's anything else, as though his little self-aggrandisement session has dealt with any questions.

At Westfield, Stubags has decided Jo is out front, Stella is making DVDs, and asks Laura where she wants to be. She says she'd rather be out front and Stubags ensures that she's happy with it and if they screw up on sales, it's her fault. She agrees.

Joanna (wearing upside-down fairy wings for some unfathomable reason) sells effectively to kids and families. She encourages the kids ('Drive faster! He's catching up!') and is generally really quite good. In the back room, Stella is efficient and makes notes. Stubags laughs and says that he remembers everything in his head, and Stella, patience running thin, says 'My bosses have been drumming into me for years to write things down'.

Karrren bitches about how Sandeesh's team is wasting sales time by training the people who weren't there to use the machines. Jamie raises that point and she says it doesn't matter, and bitches about how it's 'no flipping reason'. The ski videos are... not selling well. Or at all.

Jamie tries to sell. Sandeesh tells him to fuck off. He says he's feeling underused, and claims that he's been the best at sales in every task. Which: Liz Locke's £100,000 worth of baby-death babygros says hi.

Absolutely brilliantly, Joanna and Laura are giving medals to the kids if they 'beat the car' and as Nick points out, they ALL beat the cars, and the kids love it. Stubags says to raise the price to £15 a DVD from £10. There's an altercation with one guy who saw the previous price and they eventually sell it to him for £10. Laura gets snotty saying he would have paid and it's like, love, you can charge more for the future DVDs, but you can't up the price on the people who've come to pick up the one they already arranged.

Jamie tells Sandeesh et al they look stupid in suits selling ski stuff. Chrisbates counters that the clothes aren't the problem, it's the price, and they cut to £8, to some success. Sandeesh says anything is worth a go. Inspiring. Jamie pisses and moans about being a delivery boy and I laugh in his face.

Stubags has a stack of uncollected DVDs. At the end of one of them, it's poorly edited and there's a few seconds of some stranger's child pops up. Stubags – Master Of Quality Control. They sell it for half price. Stubags say 'Whose fault's that?' and Stella points out that it's his job to check them. [This was another Melissa/Christopher example of sucky PMship but getting away with it. It's like a series theme - Rad]

Liz gets all secret squirrel and comes and looks at the other team. And buys a toy car, to use in front of the motorbike race archive background. (Basically ensuring that no matter what happens, she's safe, as it's the best idea anyone had all day.)

Stubags phones round to get people to collect their DVDs. They tell him to stuff it. Task is ovah!

NotFrances sends them through to the boardroom. The question of how Stubags was as leader is greeted with deafening silence. Jo says more direction was needed, and Stubags asks for more feedback, to Sralan's chagrin. Stubags talks about how they upped the prices and a few people were annoyed but it was mostly fine. Stubags calls selling for the proper price 'goodwill' and Sralan calls it getting caught out. Stella, on being asked, says that it's a good thing she was in the back room making notes because Stubags says he just remembers shit and it would have been a disaster. Stubags says she's 31, to which she says 'I'm 30 actually, not that that's got anything to do with it'. Stubags goes on about how taking notes is somehow an awful sign of her failure as a human being (as opposed to being useful on a task where getting things right is hugely important – it's not like 'oh, one bacon sandwich is the same as another'. It's DVDs. Of their children), and Sralan basically says that all the shit that Stubags has in his head isn't much good if he gets hit by a bus, leaving Sralan's Notamstrad empire in the lurch.

Sandeesh gets a moderately positive response as PM. Jamie says he championed skiing because it was exotic. (Milton Keynes! Forget Whistler and Chamonix.) Sralan tells Sandeesh off for having to explain to Army Chris how to work the machine, and Karrren jumps in to say they lasted an hour. Jamie says he wasn't happy at being the 'courier' but attempts to claim that he was the saviour of the task because he saw everything and gave feedback. What. A. Douche.

Apollo's profit was £262.50; Synergy's was £222.97. Stubags swells up like a pufferfish having an orgasm and simultaneously vomiting. It's massively disturbing. They get a champagne testing, and Stubags says 'I'll keep some on ice', his obnoxious twunthood in full swing.

At the tasting, the champagne lady directs them. Stubags he no like champagne. I think he's more a Red Stripe guy. Possibly a Stella Artois if he's feeling classy. He pulls faces and Stella asks if he's had champagne before, and, in a scary insight, he says that it's what you get free when you go into a nightclub. Stella laughs in his face, and bonds with the champagne lady about how it's an acquired taste. The champagne lady is clearly utterly appalled by Stubags. Stubags likes the younger champagne more, and Stella says 'You don't like mature, complex characters, do you?' and when he blithely agrees, just goes 'Hmm' and totally raises her eyebrows at the camera. Stella LOVE. Stubags makes a 'sparkling victory' joke and Stella's face is loathing personified. The rewards are normally the worst bit of the show, but that was golden.

Loser cafe, and Jamie, of course says he's amazing and it's not his fault guv. Tragically, Sandeesh still thinks she made 'good strategic decisions' about things – including assigning the DVD burning to the people who didn't know how to do it, presumably.

They go back into the boardroom. Sandeesh says again some more that she put people in good roles. Sralan tells the total lie that recruitment, in which Sandeesh works, is about getting people in the right roles. As opposed to just shoving people in any old where to get paid. Sandeesh claims that it wasn't a mistake to teach Army Chris the machines, despite the fact that they lost by less than £40 and with an hour's more sales they almost certainly would have won. They also spent too much money on DVDs and promotional stuff like posters. Chrisbates says that costs were Liz's job.

Sralan tells them off for their huge overbuy on DVD (110 bought, 55 used) and says that their price drop was a bad idea, especially as the car that boosted sales came AFTER the price drop.

Jamie tries to claim he didn't say he was amazing but that his role was important. Sralan ain't buying. He says Jamie was disregarding the team leader; Jamie says nuh-uh. Karrren says yes you were, and she felt sorry for Sandeesh. Chrisbates jumps in saying Jamie was irritating and got in the way, and 'it comes across as negative and sulky'. Jamie says 'was I a hindrance?' and Chrisbates says 'Well, I wouldn't say it was helpful.' Jamie goes on some more about his wonderful feedback and Chrisbates elucidates how buying the car and dropping the price, which boosted sales, had nothing to do with the feedback from Jamie. Chrisbates is very very good in the boardroom. Also his posh monotone buzzsaw voice is totally hot. [What is it with my fellow bitchers and Chrisbates? - Rad] [He has lovely lips! - Fiona] [You're both mental. Steve, back me up on this, please - Rad][Sorry Rad, you're on your own on this one. - Steve]

Sandeesh, because she is utterly totally batshit mental, after prevaricating, brings in Chrisbates and Liz, because the problems came with costings. [I ALMOST understood her here. If this were real life, she probably had chosen the right people, but because it's television and Chrisbates and Liz are clearly going nowhere, this was something of a suicide bid. - Steve]

Out they go. Nick says they messed up. Sralan says 'Stuart Baggs the brand' (Ha!) sold fewer for more. Sandeesh sucks and fails but works hard. Back in they go.

Sralan asks if Chrisbates and Liz are surprised to be there. Chrisbates says yes, because they did all the work. Sandeesh says that Army Chris and Jamie didn't mess up specifically, so she had to bring Chrisbates and Liz because they were there when everything was done. Thereby giving Chrisbates the chance to say that she should have been spreading the work more evenly that having him and Liz do 'marketing, buying props, seeing the demonstration, doing the costings and then also sell it'. Sandeesh tries to interrupt but Chrisbates just continues that he and Liz are being penalised for doing 80% of the work, just because a couple of mistakes were made. He's totally calm and unflappable throughout. He really is very very good in the boardroom. Sandeesh tries to say again that she assigned roles well (she didn't), and Liz says that it's not fair to blame her for the overbuy on the DVDs because they were all there when it happened.

Sralan says that Stubags sold at a much higher price. Chrisbates says maybe, but they clearly sold a lot less. Sralan goes off in a really meandering tangent to just say they dropped the prices too easily. Liz says that it wasn't her fault, and Sandeesh says it was Chrisbates's fault. Liz said it happened too soon; Chris says Sandeesh should have thought of it more.

Sralan says that Chrisbates has lost lots, and Chrisbates has an awesome 'Unh? And?' kind of reaction, then going on to say that he's still awesome regardless. Sralan says that these kinds of task show how people can operate in all areas. I'm about to say that yes, but the job at the end won't require the winner to stand in a shopping mall selling shit to randomers and then I think hmm, I'm not too sure I want to commit to that prediction [that's sort of what Lee McQueen did, isn't it? Ish? - Rad].

Sralan tells Sandeesh that she's shit and always in the boardroom. She says 'yes, but I'm honest'. Sralan's like 'Huh?'

Liz tells Sralan that she's amazing and great and awesome.

Sralan tells Liz that she should have picked up the error on the costs of DVDs; he tells Chrisbates that sometimes people think they can cruise through but they can't; he tells Sandeesh that it's clear there was no planning.

Liz gets the fire-tease, but then in a surprise to nobody, Sandeesh is finally fired. She says 'thank you anyway'. Somewhere and for no reason she understands, Paloma punches the air and cries out with joy. Sralan says he thinks she lacks killer instinct and I think 'Paloma had that and you didn't like it' but then I figure that was less killer instinct and more, you know, being quite willing and able to actually murder people without breaking a nail.

The cabterview is kind of sad, and Sandeesh is clearly really upset, but says she'll succeed anyway.

Back at the house, Liz says that Sralan asked if she and Chrisbates were surprised to be there. Jamie, because he's a dick, is like 'Was he after my blood?'. Liz and Chrisbates are like 'No. Shut up'. Stella then says 'it's lucky for us that you made so many screw ups, because you could have won. You should have won' and then gives an utterly wicked, mischievous glance at Stubags. Stella LOVE. Again. She hates Stubags even more than Phil hated Lorraine, but her hatred is a stiletto under your ribcage when you least expect it, while Phil's was a foghorn blasting directly into your face for ever.

Next week, the teams are off to wunderbar Deutschland [me too! - Rad] to sell British foods. Stubags appears to be having a ball.

1 comment:

Gigi said...

When Joanna is part of a split team, she has started to pre-empt answers that she dislikes over the phone with her look of disbelief. It is one of six facial expressions she possesses.

Baggs, golden. Got to dick around at Brands Hatch, failed at PMing but managed to win even while carrying the rubber chicken that is Laura, and his face when he realised they had won. Better than Michael’s COME ONNNN in many ways.

Stella drops in the odds because her new found obsession with destroying Baggs is going to distract her

Liz 6/4 fav
Stella 3/1
Slurry Chris 9/2
Joanna 10/1
Jamie 12/1
Military Chris 66/1
Laura 500/1
Baggs 1000/1