Friday, 20 May 2011

Top hat and fails

Episode 3

Transmission date: 18 May 2011

So you guys, I hear Sralan’s on the lookout for a new business partner, but apparently The Partner would give off the wrong kind of connotations, and different prize aside, it’s been business (ho ho) as usual.

Previously on The Apprentice, hand-squeezed orange juice, fleecing Londoners, terrible mobile apps and Edna’s gloves.

6am at the new Apprentice mansion and a fully PJ-ed Melody answers the phone to hear that they have half an hour before meeting Sralan. There are a few gratuitous shots of Natasha in a towel and Glenn with his top off. His body isn’t half bad, but every time I look at his face and ears I think of this:

Too cruel?
[No - Fiona]

In the car, the girls think their winning streak can’t carry on and Natasha thinks there are some weak girls who will be going. Given I can’t name at least three of them yet, she might be on to something. [I agree. I would, however, count Natasha amongst those weak girls. - Steve]

They meet Sralan, Nick and Karren at the Savoy hotel. We discover it’s been closed for three years for refurbishments, and having blown £200 million, they’re now in need of the apprenti to finish the job by buying them a few bits and bobs for not too much money. Essentially, it’s the Big Society in action.

Savoy porn! We’re told it’s been empty for three years, but opening again soon. It has a pretty fountain that appears to be working despite said lack of custom. So much for efficiency savings, eh? This not-quite product placement is almost as shameless as the US Apprentice in the years it became one long commercial rather than a reality show. [The Savoy was also shamelessly plugged on The Hotel Inspector a few weeks ago; it's doing rather well on that front right now. - Steve]

It’s the annual shopping for obscurities task, and time for our first shuffle around of the teams. Melody, Ellie, Natasha and Zoe move to Logic whilst Glenn, Leon and Jim move to Venture. The buyer from the Savoy points out that they need the best quality at the best prices and we’re told they have nine hours to do the task. Susan is PM for Venture and she tells us she started a business at 18 and paid off her mum’s mortgage whilst doing her A-levels and a degree. Not sure doing A-levels and a degree at the same time is that possible, but hey, Melody walked on the moon with the Dalai Lama or something so Susan could have done GCSEs, A-Levels, a degree, a PhD, her bronze lifesaving swimming badge and invented the iPad3 for homework and her efforts would still have paled in comparison.

Gavin volunteers for Logic, although Vincent offers as well. Looking at the list of items, Gavin thinks getting ice will be easy (can we smell schadenfreude in the air?) but a “clock, closhay” (cloche) will be hard.

The Yellow Pages and the phones come out – but these phones look like smart phones, which presumably have the internet, and thus make a mockery of the whole ‘no internets ALOUD’ nonsense. They have to get a chandelier. I’d love to see both Apprentice-sourced chandeliers in the Savoy.

Venture ring around suppliers and work out their day’s strategy. Nick, shadowing Venture, seems impressed that Susan is controlling the big personalities in her team (including Edna, reduced to a silent part today, sadly). Venture get a whole bunch of leads and head out, whilst Logic get the loser music for their slowness in getting the same. Natasha phones a rival hotel looking for their suppliers list, and speaks as if she was giving a presentation. Karren says that it’s a daft idea to think another hotel will give her their suppliers and Gavin, embarrassed, asks her to end the call. [I was already shaking my head sadly by this point - Fiona]

In car Venture, Susan says whatever price they (the suppliers) say for the top hat, they should shoot really low and say, like, a fiver. In the shop, a ‘hatmakers to the aristocracy’, the top hat is £365 and Felicity says it’s too much and asks if there is any chance they could go lower. Instead of making an offer, she asks for ‘as cheap as cheap as cheap’ as they can give it. Susan is there, note, and does not ask for it at £5. Nick PTCs that the last time he came in to this shop, the King of Tonga was there and he does not negotiate. [He obviously didn't notice that the King of Tonga was, at the time, teaching Melody some valuable business skills. - Steve] Susan asks if he can give them “just a few pounds” off and he says no. Marvel at her amazing negotiation SKILLZ, bitches. Yasmina, Saira and Ruth Badger wouldn’t stand for this nonsense. Hell, even ELLIE wouldn’t stand for this nonsense. Felicity whines in the car that he wouldn’t take a penny off ‘I mean how greedy does one have to be?’ [Oh sweepy hello - and goodbye fairly soon I'd wager - Fiona]

Susan asks the other sub-team to go halves on their produce with suppliers. Like you did? At a butcher’s, after some haggling, Edna and Jim get fillet steak down to £180 from £210. Is that what meat costs? Colour my northern, vegetarian heart shocked. [Not in Morrisons duck - Fiona] Jim then schmoozes the finance guy down to £170, which is rather cheeky but fairly well done.

Gavin’s team haven’t set off yet and are still getting the loser music. Here is where I became convinced team Susan would go, in a rerun of the ice-cream task from series 4 (Princess Lindi, neva4get).

Vincent moans that they’re not doing anything and Gavin tells him to chill out. Vincent asks Zoe to keep a record for him, act as his PA, and her face actually gets screen-time for the first time all series. Melody has found a light bulb 20-40 minutes away. A light bulb??? The men faff about with a map. What happened to “the knowledge”, cabbie? [The supplier in question was in Teddington, which is well outside the boundaries of The Knowledge. - Steve]

In Vincent’s car he says the aim is to get the best price. No shit. He has a touch of the Peter Owen Jones about his delivery to camera, which might mean very little to those of you who haven’t spent the last five years of your life having to watch documentaries and suchlike about religion. SIGH.

Natasha fails to get a discount on a sign. She offers £ 40 or £50 and Vincent cuts her out and gets the price to £80 including VAT.

Susan’s team fail yet again to get a top hat discount, but after an intense round of negotiations, Susan’s hardline approach, basically consisting of this:

gets a whole penny off. Nick does some smell the fart acting.

Tom from Logic is trying to find out what a cloche is, and he thinks it might be a bell. Glenn’s Venture sub-team source one – it’s a cooking hood. Tom’s team then think it’s a mini greenhouse. Glenn’s team got 44p off her cloche. Susan rings her other sub-team and tells them of her bargain top hat.

Vincent’s team get 25% off steak but it’s still £240, i.e. £70 more than the other team’s.

Gavin’s team go to a dry cleaner’s called ‘Top Hat Cleaners’ and Gavin asks if they know where to get a top hat from. The guy laughs that they won’t find one ‘round here’. London bitchers, I’m sure there’s a funny point to make about the area they were in but… I’m from oop North. [I think they were in the Shepherd's Bush/Acton sort of area, so their best bet if they wanted a top hat would've been to head towards White City and hope to steal one from a hipster working at the BBC. - Steve] Gavin then asks ‘I’m guessing you dry clean these kind of items?’ The nation collectively facepalms.

Karren reminds us it’s not only Sralan they have to face but the hotel, which sadly gets my hopes up that they might give the apprenti feedback (whoops, spoiler).
Melody and Gavin bicker about what Melody has or hasn’t said to him about the mythical garden cloche. Gavin calls Vincent and stutters like he’s about to break down.

Susan goes into a fabric shop for organza and the woman says it costs £119.50 She says ‘please, please, pretty please give me money off it’s for an important client’. Fabric lady asks what difference that makes to her. [Favourite one liner in this series, can't see it getting beaten anytime soon - Fiona] Fabric lady for interviews! Susan says PLEEEEEEEEASE, we’ll give you cash and ‘be really really quick’ and yet again fails to negotiate, but the fabric lady rolls her eyes and gives her it for £100.

Gavin gets £76 as his price for the fabric in another shop, and Zoe gets some eye-rolling face time but no lines as yet.

Ellie is looking for 3 ply loo roll, which is pretty standard, isn’t it? You’d think the Savoy would want stuff made from gold leaf, moisturised with the tears of Unicorns, not Triple Velvet. Ellie is trying to find out how much the suppliers have and Vincent keeps interrupting her on the phone. He then snatches the phone off her to complete the call himself, which is incredibly rude. Ellie tells the camera that in her ‘industry’ he’d be called a ‘wide boy’. Really? I thought a wide boy was a more a Del Boy type, but hey-ho. [Where I work he'd just be called a wanker - Fiona]

Susan’s team got the sign for £40, whilst Melody calmly negotiates a top hat down from £365 to £360.

Gavin gets a discount on light bulbs, Melody seems not to find physalis anywhere – is it that uncommon? Surely you can just get it from Morrison’s or somewhere? They can’t find ice either, allegedly. What, is there no Makro in the vicinity?

Ellie finally gets some loo roll from a man in a portakabin (High end!) called Harry, who really does strike me as a ‘wide boy’.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, drumroll, please…


She’s meant to be negotiating for ice in SE London but they’re in NW. Won’t it MELT if they have to travel a way to get it? Vincent rings Gavin and says the game plan should be to kick arse (helping much?) to find ice or tea, one or t’other. Susan’s team also need two items including the flowering chamomile tea. Gavin gets 30% off the tea, which originally cost £2.50 for 75 grams (I think? The whole tea pricing thing confused me a bit). Susan reckons it’ll be £10 per kilo and she’ll get it for £30, because as has been established, Susan knows the cost of nothing whatsoever in this world.

Nick says Susan’s team aren’t thinking and they keep going to the most expensive places in town. Worked for some people in the past, though, right?

Susan has a panic attack as they try and negotiate for tea with some posh woman who loves letting them stew with an evil grin in her eye, and calmly explains that her tea is the best ever in the world EVER and costs £990 for the ten kilos they require. Felicity almost drops dead from shock. We see Logic spending just over £200 on their tea. Evil tea lady offers to give them the tea for £700. In the end, they spend £187 more than the other team. Ouch, you’d just take the penalty, surely?
Gavin’s team don’t have physalis, lightbulbs, a cloche or dum, dum dum… ice. OUCH.
Susan ponders ‘what if we could have had it for like £30’ (the tea). You could, probably, if you’d bough a job lot of Tesco Value tea bags, which I presume is what Ellie would have got for you. Leon, bless his befuddled heart, says ‘we can’t have made a mistake’.

Boardroom time. Sralan says the reason he set this task today was because you’ll need to negotiate in business. Not because you set it every year then, Sralan?
Venture – Sralan asks if Susan was a good PM, and they say yes, and Jim was a good sub PM. Oooh, BURN. Sralan calls them out on going to the highest end shops. Just because a client wants quality ‘it don’t mean I have to go to these top class poser shops’. He points out that they went to the posy tea shop and his grammar has not yet improved, as he asks ‘where is your brains’? Susan points out that it was the best quality tea in all of London. Sralan says, yeah, if they sold it to you for £410 from £990 then there’s something wrong there.

Sralan asks if Gavin was a good PM, and he gets lukewarm support. They acknowledge they didn’t research well and left at 11. Sralan – I left at 8, so you were hanging around for three hours? Gavin looks stressed throughout. Sralan points out that they went to Top Hat cleaners. G admits he took it literally. They said they couldn’t get a cloche, the others leave Tom to flounder around saying steel was maybe catering. Karren asks if that was the case, why go to a garden centre?
Venture got 9 items, didn’t get an item worth £202.75 – what was it? Spent £1381.69. Logic’s total £1389.20. Susan won – by £8. I so thought she was being fired. Still, her prize for being a sucky PM (a victory’s a victory, right?) is going to a circus cabaret in one of Covent Garden’s trendiest bars, which sounds to me like it’d be all seven circles of hell at once, so it’s probably just punishment. [The only part of that which sounds pleasant to me is "Covent Garden", and that's really only because there are shops there that sell nice cheese. - Steve]

Sralan says it’s a disgrace that Logic only got 6/10 so deserve to lose on that basis.

The circus thing looks APPALLING and Glenn pulls a face. Susan toasts to team Venture who are 3 for 3 on the wins at the moment, although which team is which will presumably become less and less meaningful until the whole thing collapses somewhere between weeks five and six as usually happens.

Loser café. The plinky plonky piano of sad French films plays. Vincent tells the camera that Gavin knows he’s very strong, and I don’t really want my brain to be going there [too late - Steve] so… oh, and he can’t wait to have a one to one with Lord Sugar.

Gavin whines that people are willing to let you sink and drown rather than help you out as a team. So butthurt…. Whoops, sorry, my mind went there AGAIN.

In the boardroom, and Sralan says they had over three hours of pontificating. Gavin says it was because their leads weren’t good enough. People wanted to go out and he was all ‘please, just carry on with what you’re doing’. This is his DEFENCE, folks. Sralan says he got feedback from Karren that everyone ignored Gavin and Gavin whines that they did. Zoe gets another line and says no one took him seriously.

Sralan asks why they ran out of time – Ellie says logistics. Vincent says 60% of their time was spent in the hotel. Gavin says he was told the sub team had got leads and they didn’t all work out. Vincent says that Gavin’s sub team only had one item until the last minute. Gavin stutters about, asking if he can respond. Oh, the tension. Sralan asks if Vincent put himself forward and Vincent replies that he regrets not taking it, even though we saw the team vote for Gavin. Sralan says Vincent did end up taking over anyway and points out him taking Ellie’s phone off her. Vincent cries ‘I just wanted to win, I’ve been in here twice’, but Sralan hates a posh bloke more than a bladdy woman, so I’m not sure the phone snatching nonsense will have done him any favours.

Natasha is called out for being rubbish and he asks why Zoe’s the only one who didn’t negotiate (er, because she doesn’t have lines, she’s just a bit part?). She then babbles about the NE/SW directions. Tom says that towards the end there was a sense of giving up. Sralan jumps on this like a rottweiller. GIVING UP? Tom says Gavin was like a beaten man at the end. He’s bringing back Vincent and Zoe, Zoe shakes her head.

Nick says Gavin lacked an authority that young 21 year old Susan had – so much for Ed being the youngest, then. I’d like a line-up to verify whether he was ACTUALLY the shortest as well. Karren says his team was stroppier to handle, despite at the start us being told Susan’s team with Edna and co was the stroppiest team so whatevs, show. They say that they don’t know what Zoe’s capable of. No shit.

Sralan – asks why Zoe’s in the boardroom. Gavin says she didn’t get leads/negotiate deals and Vincent’s feedback was she acted as his PA (which he specifically asked her to do, lest we forget) and she said she did get some leads. Karren says part of the tasks is to think on your own feet, she thinks Zoe has a voice (really?) but finds it hard to get across. Zoe says she did what she was told and didn’t have a time to shine. Sralan says that could be her own fault and she can’t go into business with him and pass him little messages (DEAR STELLA. HOW’S THE BROOM CUPBOARD AT NOTAMSTRAD? SUCKS TO BE YOU. LOLZ. ZOE XX). Zoe stutters and fails.

Apparently Gavin says on his CV that he’s a good manager of people and Vincent then blabbers about his team’s leads. Sralan gets out his pre-prepared joke of the day: ‘I know you’re Belgian and that’s where the waffles come from’. Vincent says he did EVERYTHING, even get the ice - which they didn’t get, so whatever, Vincent. Vincent says he would be remembered and could go back and negotiate again in the same shops. Sralan you like to make a good impression, let’s see if I remember you. Like you remember Nicholas de Lacy Brown?

His summing up - Zoe: your fault you haven’t made an impression; Gavin: You haven’t kept people under control; Vincent: I don’t like people who undermine others, but because the task was out of hand, Gavin is fired.

Zoe gets the first ‘show me something’ of the series. She simply nods ‘agreed’, which seems a bit reasonable for an Apprentice candidate. She won’t last. At least she didn’t ask to be made PM.

Nick says it was a foolish loss. Karren they know now there is no hiding place.
Coatwatch, long, dark brown with a black scarf. Not sure the colour combination works. Gavin cabterviews unconvincingly that firing him was a mistake as Sralan is looking for a business partner not an employee and if he’s looking for someone like Vincent good luck to him. I don’t think he’s looking for someone like Vincent any more than he’s looking for someone like Edna, Gavin. I guess you don’t know how this show works.

Ellie at the house talks about Vincent being a wanker [that's my line - Fiona] and seems unhappy when he comes back. Zoe says Gavin didn’t have an argument against them, but doesn’t mention that Sralan wasn’t that impressed with any of them.

Next week: the apprenti massage some poor unsuspecting folk – by the looks of things, at the British Museum. Such fun!


Chris said...

Venture's missing item has to have been the loo rolls.

We saw them on camera getting everything bar them and the syphalis. Logic didn't get the ice, the cloche, the syphalis, or the chandelier bulbs, so their fines were £200 plus the list price of those four items combined(£113). As the list price item of the one item Venture missed was higher than £113 (their fine being £203, so it was a £153 list item plus £50 static fine) it can't have been any of the four that Logic missed.

Ergo it can't have been the syphalis.

Ergo it must have been the loo rolls.


*throws up gang signs*

Anonymous said...

I loved the evil tea lady. I say we make her a regular feature. She and blunt fabric lady can do commentary.

Rad said...

Chris - your attention to numbers is impressive. Maths isn't my strong point. It isn't even one of my points.

Anonymous said...

The only real hope for anyone else is if Jim gets injured...

Jim 4/11 fav
Melody 5/1
Natasha 8/1
Felicity 16/1
Helen 25/1
Leon 33/1
Susan 40/1
Glenn 50/1
Floella Benjamin 100/1
Orange Vincent 100/1
Zoe 250/1
Tom 250/1
Ellie 1000/1

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