Sunday, 8 April 2012

A sauce of frustration

Previously: The women sucked. Lots. Both weeks. The men weren’t all that great, either, but they looked like BIZNESS GODS in comparison. The women invented a terrible bath toy, and Maria fell asleep, so was thus fired.

We open with a spooky shot of the Apprenti-mansions soundtracked by sinister glockenspiel-type music as we’re informed it’s the ungodly hour of 6.30am. All Gabrielle wants to do is win a task. All I want to do is figure out who she reminds me of. The men correctly predict the teams will have to be mixed up ‘or there’ll be no girls left’. I think it’s a little too soon to call our first all-male final, but you never know. Jane says a few of the men deserve to get fired. Only a few? How many jobs bizness opportunities do you think are out there? (On that front, every time I go into Sainsbury’s and see the curved nail files from TOM PELLEREAU INVENTOR I lol. It might be a good product, but the choice of retailer, the packaging, the pricing and the LOLpix on the website of Tom and Lord Sugar don’t inspire confidence in me. Also: for where is the chair wot won the last series?)

They meet Lord Sugar at St Catherine Docks, ‘once a bustling shipyard’ – so is the task to create something that will become obsolete? Lord Sugar tells them he used to play on the docks as a kid when cinnamon and spices used to arrive on a regular basis. I think he’s mistaking his youth for a Victorian novel but anyhow. The task is to invent some sort of condiment, as small companies (read: Levi Roots. Dragon’s Den, another great bizness show from the BBC!), not big players, are the ones carving a niche in the market. Yes, because niche tends to imply small, Lord Sugar. He shuffles the teams… a bit… by sending Duane and Nick to Winning Wimminz and the Blonde Assassin to Only Men Aloud.

Anyway, whatever they invent, it won’t be Henderson’s Relish, so their product is invalid. (Nor will it be: lime pickle, Heinz ketchup with balsamic vinegar, jalapeno Tobasco, mango chutney, Branston pickle, M&S Christmas Chutney, HP fruity sauce, salad cream, Ranch dressing, HP honey smoked barbecue sauce… I do love a good condiment).

The men introduce The Blonde Assassin to Phoenix with a ‘we do things differently here – like winning’. Azar reluctantly shakes her hand with an epic ‘we’re all DOOOOMED’ face on. Foreshadowing ahoy!

In the Sterling car, Jade decides that the Blonde Assassin was the reason they kept losing and now they’ll be fine because she’s moved teams. [Jade is such a sneaky bitch, I love it. All the time with a smile on her face - Helen]

PM time – Duane offers to make himself PM because he has ‘no specific knowledge of the market’. Gabrielle would quite like to be PM again, but Duane steamrollers his way into the role. Over in Phoenix, Adam whines that it’s a complicated business. Blonde Assassin pulls her best Karren Brady ‘don’t you disrespect wimminz’ and takes on the PM-ship. Speaking of Karren, she’s sitting watching with her coat over her shoulders like a twelve year old who’s cold in the classroom but doesn’t want to put their coat on all the way in case they get detention.

Sterling want to make chutney. Jane points out that the market is saturated already. Nick points out that she’s the one who works in food and they’re ignoring her – although ignoring the person with alleged expertise often seems to be a good idea on this show, so… He also makes a terrible pickle-related joke that not even Bruce Forsyth would lower himself to… oh, who am I kidding? There’s no depth too low for SirBruce.

Jane says the ‘market’ is all about health and they shouldn’t have too much salt – she starts to talk ratios and Duane shuts her down with ‘let’s agree to have a high quality product’. What an unusual idea, Duane. I can just feel the creativity, right there. [Oh Jane. You should know better than to apply real world requirements to this show. - Steve]

In the car, Gabrielle suggests names: Chunky Chutney (NO) ‘and then I thought of names: Chucky Chutney, Charlie Chutney’ – it’s not clear if she’s going for the kiddie market and trying to create the chutney version of the Munch Bunch, or if she’s going for the Gen X market and is going to label the jars with characters from popular culture texts of the 1970s and 80s. [Or whether this is the logical extension of Lorraine's cereal characters from series five. Apple Sue's probably in the chutney somewhere. - Steve]

Jade suggests ‘Spice Fusion, Mix Master (no, no, no Jade – if we’re going down the pop culture route it should be Mastermixer as in Jive Bunny and the…), Infusion, Simple Goodness, Natural Fusion’. Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but when I buy a chutney, I buy it because of the ingredients –the majority of chutneys I can think of are called things like ‘mango chutney’ or ‘tomato and red onion chutney’. A generic name (unless that generic name is ‘Christmas’ – seriously, package any old shit in red and gold and stick a holly leaf on it and I’m sold) isn’t going to endear me to the chutney – it’s all about the flavour.

Anyway Nick2 likes Infusion and the others agree. Jade declares the sub-team of her, Nick2 and Gabrielle the ‘best sub-team ever’.

In the Phoenix cab, Stephen says they should go for ‘Bellissimo’ because it’s Italian for ‘fantastic’ or ‘superb’ or ‘awesomesauce’ or something (actually, they should totally have gone for awesomesauce) [that would be too brilliant for The Apprentice - Helen]. Blonde Assassin, remembering how trying to do something ‘foreign’ usually goes down on this show panics that they’d better check that one out in case it means ‘crap’ or something. Stephen then says ‘let me check the spelling on that (Spoiler: he doesn’t). It’s either with a 'b' or a 'v' (Oh. Dear). That word is going to get us the victory’. Can you smell the foreboding, people?

At the factory. Ricky Martin is heading up the cooking of the ‘spicy ketchup’ for Phoenix, whilst Tom works on costings. The teams have one hour to send samples to the pitches, which doesn’t seem very long, especially given condiments usually need time to ‘age’. Sterling are going for a chili and pineapple chutney and Jane is doing the costings. How much sandalwood oil do we need, ladies?
Duane bitches that she isn’t sorting things out fast enough. Jane whineterviews that she’s not an accountant.

The branding team are with the designer looking at entirely inappropriate fonts – and we see that it’s been spelled with only one ‘l’. Stephen bragterviews that he’s the creative one and Bellissimo means ‘beautiful or fantastic, one of those two, I’m not quite sure, but I know it doesn’t mean horrible’. I guess he’s been slaving over that Italian/English dictionary then.

The ‘designer’ mocks up the ugliest label you have ever seen, with an entirely inappropriate font over a clip art beach – honestly, you’d expect a five year old to do better. They then swap the beach out for a pepper on a plain white background and it’s slightly better, but still pretty much the most amateur thing you’ve ever seen.

Over at the factory, Sterling have put way too much chili in their chutney and can’t get a sample together in town. Phoenix have a sample that they’re happy with. The labels arrive and Ricky Martin’s all ‘lolwhut, a pepper? Where’s the chili?’ Nobody points out the dreadful font or terrible spelling. Yet. The men then find a spoon in their mix. Oops. The consistency of one of the sauces is wrong. Adam keeps saying it’s ‘boiling like an omelette’. Note to self: never, ever ask Adam to make an omelette. They’ve missed an ingredient out but can’t figure out what. They have to dump a load of sauce, which leads to an awful ketchup/catch-up pun. This episode has been entirely written by the Seaside Postcard Bumper Book of Puns 1956, hasn’t it? Sterling’s kitchen team ring the best-ever sub-team and tell them they have to do the tastings without a product.

Phoenix take theirs to a tasting and say they want to go mass market. The people at the shop point out that it’s spelled wrong. The educationalist in me would LOVE it if a team failed on spelling. Sterling are trying to describe their product as ‘rustic but revolutionary’. Jade pitches that chutney lovers like to eat it with cheese and crackers. The team say they haven’t brought a product and the men at the shop are all ‘lol no we aren’t buying an invisible product’. Although I imagine thin air would taste better than your average Apprentice foodstuff.

Team Sterling finally get theirs produced. We don’t see the labels closely but it seems to be called ‘Pineapple’ something and the design looks a little better than the clip-art crap over at Phoenix.
Ricky Martin interviews that he managed the sub-team well, even though they’ve had to get rid of a lot more mixture and have only ended up with 300 bottles. The Blonde Assassin says they’ve lost a fifth of their product and it’s now ‘getting worrying’. They decide to go to Stratford and sell, and she puts Michael in charge of the other sub-team. As an aside, the voiceover keeps calling Sterling ‘boys’ even though Katie’s on the team and it really grates.

The other team’s branding seems better: Infusion as the brand name, but pineapple emphasised on the label with ginger and chili – and a Union flag – which is a good selling point but possibly a little cheeky as I doubt they sourced the ingredients over here. The team love the flavour.

The teams have two sub-teams – a trade one and a members of the public one. We see Sterling’s trade team pitching to a deli who say they like British seasonal goods and aren’t into a tropical product so they say no. Well, one of them does. The other man stands mute until his partner refuses and then offers ‘the chutney men have spoken’. The other sub-team get a stall in a supermarket (Waitrose?) [yes - Steve, Who Shops At Waitrose] to pitch their wares and Duane starts schmoozing the elderly as they have a bit more time at lunchtime.

Phoenix are pitching in a supermarket - £3.99 a bottle or 3 for £10 which seems a lot given the size of the bottle (small). Karen says they ‘have a nice way about them’ in their pitching. The Blonde Assassin tells the trade team that £1.99 is the lowest they can sell for. Michael tells the people in a café they can have it with anything – burgers, crackers, cheese. He says he’ll sell it to the café for £2.99. She likes it but won’t go higher than £1.95. He offers £2.50 but she sticks to her guns. Michael doesn’t drop the price and they don’t get a sale. Azhar bitchterviews that Michael sucks.

The other sub-team are selling well despite their pitch amounting to ‘it’s Mediterranean’.
Sterling’s trade team (Jane, Gabrielle and Nick2) are back pitching and the people from the ‘well-known grocer’ like the taste. They say it’s £1.95 to the shop but they could come down to £1.75. They eventually sell 300 jars at £1.70. Nick (1) says it’s good that they sold it, but they did so at a low price.
The Phoenix trade team get the comedy music as they bicker about who’s selling what, and in this week’s ‘Maria falls asleep’ moment of foreboding, we get a nice shot of Michael staring blankly into the distance with a dumb smile on his face. In another meeting, they have a very British sounding man telling them he’s Italian and they can’t spell. Azhar’s all ‘yeah we know’. Tom’s says ‘yeah but it’s still aesthetically pleasing’. Outside, Michael whines that the others are taking over but as long as they sell he supposes that’s all that matters, but mummy it’s still not fair, I wanna play with the big boys. They still sell some for just over £2, despite the spelling mistake. Team Sterling give up on the public and sell some to a deli for £2.15 a jar.

The Blonde Assassin’s Phoenix sub-team seem to have suddenly turned trade and they sell their last 48 bottles to a newsagent for £40 in a moment of desperation. The other sub-team still have 23 bottles left . Michael asks the others how they managed that. They’re all ‘ by selling, duh’. Sterling have even more left over – 72 bottles – but they did sell them overall at a higher price and they had more stock to start with…

At the boardroom and Lord Sugar lies that this was an interesting task, rather than a variation on a task they do every year. He reads out the Blonde Assassin’s application form which says ‘men can be manipulated’. Oh, Blonde Assassin. She says they quickly decided on table sauce. Ricky tells Lord Sugar who the production sub-team were and Adam points out that he was the best one because he knows how to boil an omelette. 

Team Phoenix say that Duane was a good PM. Lord Sugar tries to shit stir by telling Jane she looks unimpressed, and Jane’s all, ‘No, he was fine’. Nick 1 beefs up their disaster by saying their first batch was ‘dangerously poisonous’.  [As opposed to all those famously safe poisons? - Steve] I wonder if Nick’s the kind of person who thinks a korma is too spicy? Lord Sugar points out that he sourced a ‘high-class delicatessen’ for them and whines that they didn’t even take a label.

Figures: Phoenix sold 305 bottles for a profit of £585.56. Sterling sold 607 for £1028.68. Katie really did assassinate the men then. Their prize is another pun-based joy, a place where Stirling Moss used to hang around – Silverstone. Er, whoop? Top Gear porn of people driving whilst Duane whineterviews that Jane’s figures weren’t good enough and he didn’t think she praised him enough in the boardroom. Jane bitchterviews that she won’t send him any Christmas cards. Showmance by episode six, anyone?
Loser café and Blonde Assassin can’t understand why they produced so little. Stephen asks them to look in the mirror and be honest with themselves – did they give 100%? And if so, what happened to the other 10%? Call yourselves contenders?

Lord Sugar asks why they didn’t win. Ricky Martin (the early favourite who's likely to get a SHOCK!BOOT mid-way through?) says they didn’t make enough or sell enough and the profit margins weren’t right. So – pretty much everything, then? Adam says there were ‘too many cooks spoiling the broth’ and Karren points out they don’t even know what went wrong. Lord Sugar says that clearly the production line wasn’t as perfect as they claimed. Ricky Martin points out he managed to recover 21 bottles that looked like they were going to be wasted. Lord Sugar points out that 21 bottles isn’t enough. Everyone says the production wasn’t the only issue – except Stephen who thinks it was. Karren points out that the trade team only sold 53 bottles whilst the public team sold 252. That’s got to be one of the biggest gaps ever? Tom whines that people didn’t know what the product was. Stephen snarks ‘that’s called selling’. Tom snarks back that the label was crap and didn’t illustrate what the product was. Another couple who need to get a room? Lord Sugar asks about the spelling mistake. Stephen’s all ‘the public can’t spell anyway’. Lord Sugar points out it lost them the retail gig, and Michael says they sold some to an Italian guy who knew it was wrong and bought some anyway. Lord Sugar sighs about standards getting easier and anyone can get a GCSE these days and kids today don’t know they’re born. He told them their margins sucked and their trade sub-team were useless. He points out that they haven’t got a clear market – it’s too expensive for the mass market and they didn’t make enough for it to be mass.

The Blonde Assassin says it’s Michael’s fault (Lord Sugar: so it’s a sales issue) but she’s not entirely sure who cocked up the production. Lord Sugar’s all 'join the club'. She decides to bring Ricky back because she doesn’t know who else to bring and she can’t read the huge ‘Fire me’ sign Adam has all over his head. Ricky snaps that they didn’t need to make any more because they couldn’t sell it anyway.

Karren points out that she had to make the price too high because of the production issue. Karren and Lord Sugar decide Michael’s a waste of space. Nick half-defends him by saying he does the occasional good thing – but what, Nick? Helping old ladies across the road? Putting 2p in the Guide Dogs for the Blind collection tin every Saturday? We must know.

Ricky whines that they didn’t know the product was for mass market and he says if any of the other losers were in charge of production they’d have made even less. The Blonde Assassin points out that they didn’t make enough product. Ricky Martin says she didn’t give him any quantities and she says she didn’t, but that should have been obvious. Karren says there were too many people cooking and not enough filling and Ricky Martin says ‘yes but I’m not a food factory manager’ – because so many Apprentice candidates are? Lord Sugar points out that Michael sucked. Michael whines that the product was too expensive (a whole 4p a bottle too expensive!) and Ricky Martin asks why he didn’t ring the Blonde Assassin to discuss it. Michael whines that he feared she might assassinate him by telephone. Ricky Martin tells him he sucks. Michael whines that selling to the public is easier than trade. He says it’s not his best skill and whines that ‘everything I’ve done in life I’ve done off my own back, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my marf, I’m not educated, I’m just like you Baron Lord Sralan Sugar, honest guv, lawksapenny, apples’n’pears’. Lord Sugar’s all ‘I don’t give a damn about whether you got educated or not, at least not this week’. Michael tries to claim he’s his own brand. Bindun, Michael, and by someone a lot more interesting than you. Where’s your field of ponies, eh, eh?

Ricky Martin points out that he’s rubbish. Michael whines that he isn’t. Lord Sugar asks if he's out of his depth. Michael says he isn’t, he’s just not a motormouth. Lord Sugar tells The Blonde Assassin she’s sitting back as if it’s ‘not her, it’s them’ and she accepts the strategy wasn’t that good. He wonders if they’re slightly dumb men who needed her to tell her what to do and she blabs a lot of hot air that makes little sense, like putting Michael in charge of trade because she knew it would be difficult.
Lord Sugar tells Ricky Martin the kitchen was a mess, Michael is a complete waste of space but he does have his own business, the Blonde Assassin keeps ending up in the bottom three, but at least she tried to compensate for the kitchen problem. He lays the blame squarely at the kitchen, but he thinks Michael is crap anyway, so he’s fired.

Coatwatch: long, black, big boring but with a high collar that looks like it might keep the cold out. Practical. Michael cabterviews that he has his own business so he doesn’t care anyway

Back at the house and the others all think Michael is going. Ricky tells them ‘Lord Sugar told me it was all about production… but then I realised Michael was there, LOL’.

Next time: they sell a load of old rubbish (so just like every week then? Badumtish) Join us then!


ros said...

Gabrielle = Angelina Jolie?

Mr B said...

I think she looks more like Rosario Dawson than Jolie.

Rad said...

She does look a bit like Rosario Dawson... but that's not who I was thinking of. So frustrating!

Anonymous said...

Michelle Rodriguez ?

Rad said...

Yes! Quite possibly!