Saturday, 15 November 2014

Silly games

Week 6.  Broadcast 12 November 2014

Last week!  This show tried to live the past glories of Stubaggs and Stella on buses!  They didn't quite manage it but nonetheless it was a valiant effort. Katie imbibed the ghost of Yasmina to create the worsk packing up ever, James did a smelly in the toilet and told all his passengers to leave it for ten minutes, all of Daniel's team hated him some more and Sanjay and Jemma emerged from the doldrums to remind us of why they should stay silent.  Not that many of the apprenti emerged with dignity, but Jemma's cheerful discussion of Henry VIII's photo gallery, her utter lack of historical knowledge and her happy admission she never wins anything saw her fired.

Are the credits still spoilery, or can I watch them yet?

At Apprentice Mansions, Mark Wrong gets the call for the candidates to meet LdSralan at HMS Belfast.  The boys have some homoerotic playing waking each other up and tying each other's ties whilst everyone bitches about Daniel some more.

In the Apprenticar, Sanjay gleefully announces that apprenti are dropping like flies, whilst Mark and Pamela bitch about Daniel some more.  To his face.

LdSralan, Karren and Nick (both wearing shades like actual henchmen) meet the teams on the HMS Belfast where he says vehicles like this inspired the board game Battleship.  Except, whilst I know there IS a boardgame of it, surely it was firstly a pen and paper game?  And we always called it Battleships, anyway.  The task this week is to create a board game in 48 hours and then sell to trade and the team with the highest amount of sales wins.  Now, if I was an apprenti, this would be the task where I failed at PM by not using my knowledge.  I properly love board games, in all their many varieties.

Also, we're now at the point in the series where the teams have lost any trace of what they once were and I'm officially confused as to which is which.  With team WHICHEVER, Lauren skilfully ducks the PMship yet again by saying she would do it, honest she would, but the task doesn't suit her skill set.  Mark also ducks the PM ship because he doesn't have a family whilst Karren eye rolls.  Pamela says she's never led a project from beginning to end, although she does have some experience of branding, and so she becomes PM.

With team WHATEVER, James appears to have already been elected PM and he says with teenagers being on the internet all the time, it'd be nice to have something that brings families together.  I would say 'family' games tend to be aimed more at those with primary school age kids, but hey.  James interviews that he wants to be serious now because it's half-way through the process and he demands his redemption arc kicks in.  Bianca leads some mind-mapping on a flip chart and Solomon gets excited at the thought of picking  card that says 'beach' and then getting a kid to go out of the room and come back in displaying ANGER.  This seems more like he's trying to use the task as therapy for some sandcastle-kicking-in related PTSD but OK.  James says it's a bit complex.  Roisin says two teams pick a card each and then would have to basicallyd o charades or pictionary or something to get people to guess the answer.

On 'the other team' because helpful voiceover man has also lost track, discussion centres around game themes as well.  Mark suggests the biggest thing for adults online is dating because Sarah hypnotised him into believing so.  What this has to do with board games I don't know, but hey.  Lauren wants to do some sort of shadow puppetry which is 'modern'.  LOL.  Mark thinks there aren't many relationship board games.  Pamela interviews that she likes the idea because it's new.  I swear there are at least fifty variants on that theme already.  Daniel suggests Battle of the Sexes which is an actual game that exists.  Heck, there's a great big pile of board games in the room with them and I would be very surprised if at least one didn't have that theme.

With James' team, he suggests he and Bianca go to run the focus group whilst Roisin and Solomon go to to design.  Sanjay has slipped so far back under the radar that he isn't even assigned a task.

In the apprenticar, Pamela doubterviews that the relationship theme needs to be done both 'tastefully' and 'funnily' as if such a combo were ever possible on this show.  (Also, none of those battle of the sexes style games seem especially tasteful to me)  They debate if funnily is even a word, which, funnily enough, it is.  Although maybe not so much in the way they were using it.

Bianca's focus group involves children and families, whilst the other team's focus group involved a group of pasty 'board game enthusiasts' who clearly like to play things at the more German end of the scale than tacky relationship quiz-style games.  Now, I'd like to know how these groups were chosen, and whether or not this was a producer stitch-up or if the candidates just massively picked the wrong target cohort. Because all it would take to sell to this particular group is a big box with a batch of wooden genderless people, a huge wodge of cards and a rule book the size of 4 LPs stuck together.  The rules don't even have to make sense, as you can always errata them later.  Give it some whimsical artwork and sell it for £60, with an expansion at £30 that gives you a few more cards but allows you to play with five players, and rinse and repeat until you crush the other team and their selling to budget-conscious families.


The gamers are like, LOLNO, we're geeks, read the room.  Mark says that online dating is now 'through the roof' and it might be good to meet someone through a board game and take dating offline.  None of the focus group can find the logic in this particular argument and I'll be damned if I can.  The focus group think it's a bit sleazy to communicate that you're playing a relationship game.  Mark phones Pamela and says this isn't their target market and they also think the idea is a bit sleazy.  Pamela says she's grown to like the idea very much.  Lauren bangs on about the market research and we all know the mixed messages this show gives out when it comes to market research, so let's move along.  Lauren, Felipe and Mark wince that the PM has voted, so they'll go along with it.

Roisin is with the designer asking him to put stereotypically French imagery on their French cards.  Sanjay says they have 24 countries so they should come up with 48 cards - an easy and a hard card for each country.  I'd say 48 cards was a somewhat limited number - I mean, play the game once and you'll probably use them all up, but maybe they're thinking of expansion packs.  Or maybe they're just lazy.  Solomon stands near a whiteboard of countries they're using in the game (including Wales as a country in its own right, and a question mark next to Zambia).  I would have loved to see the process of both deciding which countries to include and which questions to ask, but ho-hum.

The other team see Daniel coming up with 'funny quirky' questions, which are sexist (kind of obviously, such is the name of the game) but also ludicrously bizarre.  It made my week, by the way, to discover that this was a real thing and you, too, can purchase the contents of Daniel's brain (ages 10+).  I want to know now which other apprenti products are real things, not least as I've been craving a bix mix all day (never chicken salad though,  Woman hate chicken salad, go forward 3 spaces).

Team James' photoshoot involves a family playing their game on a sofa surrounded by exotic props.  Bianca tries to talk to the photographer and get him to crop the shot whilst James talks all over her and interviews that the little woman is getting too big for her boots and then he tells the photographer that his photos are really shit so he has to start over.  Not smelling this redemption arc happening yet, producers.

Mark, Felipe and Lauren get Felipe posing as a relationship guru at their shoot where Mark and Lauren find a photo they love and hope the other team will be happy.  Of course not, Pamela says the game is silly and they needed a comedy shoot.  I wouldn't say a grumpy couple with guru Felipe was all that serious, but eh.  On their way back. Mark cartwerviews that 'it's hard to be an eagle when you're surrounded by turkeys' and Lauren's bitchface ponders if he is including her in that burn.

At Apprentice Mansions James starts to lay into Bianca in the kitchen telling her she has a problem with him and speaks all over her and then she shouts at him and he shouts at her and the whole thing looks uncomfortably like a domestic abuse advert.  Bianca interviews that a fool speaks when he has nothing to say and she's not saying he's a fool but he talks a lot.

Box design: the games are called GeoKnow and The Relationship Guru.  Katie, Paula and Daniel make up some more questions and the games get printed.  The board of GeoKnow looks suspiciously like it's been ripped off wholesale from Articulate!  (I am ace at Articulate!  In fact Apprentice-themed Articulate! should totally have been one of the ideas).  150 board games per team arrive at the house and they play them.  The relationship guru game has a random ice cream on the board for... reasons.  I also discover that the games were made by Drummond Park, which explains why the GeoKnow board resembles the Articulate! one, I guess.  Drummond Park also have their own battle of the sexes style game.  Such a rare theme!  So new!  Pamela's team try and fail to play the game.

Team GeoKnow also try to play theirs.  Solomon makes some sort of grunting noise and James guesses it's America.  James then says you could also go 'hey I'm from America' in an American accent and the others interview that he... doesn't really understand the game.  Living with James must be very tiring.  Sanjay, Solomon and Bianca take GeoKnow to a primary school where Bianca guesses that sushi comes from China.  The kids like it though.  More 'gamers' in a pub scratch their heads at the baffling nature of the relationship questions.  Daniel tells Lauren and Felipe it is all Pamela's fault and not his for writing weird questions.  They ring her and say the game could be seen as sexist, offensive and too objective.  Pamela says they're all pulling away from the concept and covering their backsides for when the boardroom comes, which is... how this show generally works, yes.

On their way to pitch their products, James tells Roisin they're going to get high.  Not sure that's always worked in the pitch room, James.  They go to ToysRUs and demonstrate GeoKnow.  James says they're looking for £14.50 as it's limited edition.  The men say they can only take 25 and don't really want to spend more than £10 per edition.  Eventually they negotiate on selling 30 for £10 each.  Googling the game reveals that at one point in history, ToysRUs were selling it on their site for £17.99.  I have always lived in a world where I assumed these kinds of big corporate pitches were just imaginary (I think they mostly are) but a world where actual Apprentice products can actually be sold is just mesmerising to me.  James interviews that he is quite happy.  The rest of James' team go to toy shops and sell 15 units at £17 which James says is awesome whilst saying they got screwed at the 'toy retailer'.

Team Relationship Guru go to Waterstone's and are asked if they're worried about the questions being offensive.  Daniel says he thinks it's quirky.  Waterstone's lady thinks their female customers wouldn't like to be told they prefer pop music to rock and classical.  They report back to the other sub-team on no sales.  Pamela and Mark whine about this and Pamela says she thought Daniel was supposed to be a perfect salesman.  Katie says Pamela really needs to get rid of that perception.  They go to pitch to ToysRUs and Mark is still going for his 'let's take dating offline' angle despite that being the worst angle that there has been upon which to sell any game ever.  He says the 'men' at ToysRUs can appreciate humour.  One buyer asks who he thinks ToysRUs's target market is.  Mark says they sell to all ages (which is true, as I've definitely seen adult-oriented games in there) and a mum might take it home to her husband (taking dating offline!).  The other man says it's stupid but simple and it might be worth taking a punt.  Mark says it's hot right now.  They order 60 units at £8.  Karren says they pitched well.  At some point Mark said you don't need to be a 'rocket surgeon' to play the game.  KWALITY PITCHIN.

James pitches more GeoKnows and offers an exclusivity deal to NW3 to a retailer - checking with the subteam if this is OK.  It is, so they sell 15 units and exclusivity to Hampstead.  Bianca pitches in Central London to another small retailer - selling six games at £16 to some hipsters for exclusivity in the whole of Westminster.  Nick interviews that this is a bad thing.  Bianca says they got exclusivity to West'minister'.  Technically it's not Westminster, James, so stop spitting about how crazy she is like you're mad Trevor from EastEnders.  God, he is loathsome.

Mark sells more games to gift shops and bragterviews that Katie and Pamela are like his apprentices.  Daniel pitches to Forbidden Planet and a pink punky girl doesn't buy any.

Sanjay, Bianca and Solomon are on their way to Waterstone's.  Sanjay says all they have to do is get them not to sell it in Westminster.  Bianca sighs that that's where their flagship store is.  The buyers like it but give a sharp intake of breath at them not being able to sell in the flagship price.  Solomon asks if he can get the price down to make it more attractive and they settle on a somewhat arbitrary sounding deal of 29 units for £11 each.

Last minute sales montage!  James and team tell a shop owner he can only sell online to the owner's consternation.  Felipe haggles with a Jane Beale-alike.  SELLING DONE.

Pamela's team have sold stock worth £265 and her 'gut' tells her it's Lauren's fault.  For... reasons that occurred off-screen, I guess.

Boardroom time!  NotFrances sends them through and we learn that James was PM for team Sommat.  James lies that he took 'everything on board' and LdSralan goes through how the game works.  James talks some more and I don't care. Bianca says she slipped up and offered exclusivity to the borough of Westminster instead of to a postcode.  LdSralan says it was like selling Mayfair and Park Lane for a fiver.  Bianca says James ran the team like a dictatorship.

Over at Tenacious D, LdSralan points out Mark was all for Pamela being PM so he could see her leadership skills in action but he's been a hiding behind the PM stealth candidate for some time now and don't think LdSralan hasn't noticed, he wasn't born bladdy yesterday. You too, Lauren. He then accuses Lauren of being a 'typical safe lawyer'.  Since when was being a lawyer safe on this show?  The team bitch about the crap game and Pamela says there wasn't much else on the table.  Daniel says he wrote questions based on the advice of Pamela.  Pamela tells him to take ownership and points out that at least LdSralan is laughing.  They discuss the pitches and Mark gets bigged up a bit whilst he tries to land Daniel and Lauren in it for not liking the product.  Lauren says she was always positive when selling it.  Daniel says Mark is just trying to play boardroom tactics.

Numbers time!  Tenacious D sold 128 units for £1101.25.  (Where did the 25 come from?)  Sommat sold out for £2080 and crush their opponents.  Their prize?  Playing with Seaman.  Fnar.  LdSralan reminds James to learn lessons like a proto-StuBaggs.  But at least StuBaggs had a field of ponies.  What is James offering me, exactly?

The reward of attempting penalties against David Seaman is kind of poor, but David avoids saving most of them, except James', which he saves every time which is at least funny.

In loser cafe, Pamela says her team sat on the fence and didn't go with her idea.  Daniel says she was pretty single minded.  Pamela says he's being aggressive.  He says she lost her way.  She says they all did.  Daniel says he thinks the cards were the problem but he wrote them.  Pamela tells him to take ownership.  He says she should have carried on writing them.  Not that he is in the pub quiz business or anything, as Dara pointed out on YerFiyud.

NotFrances sends them all back to the boardroom.  LdSralan says there's no point in going to a focus group if you ignore them.  Pamela says they were only negative if it went down a 'certain route'.  LdSralan says the questions weren't funny, they were bad taste.  Pamela says she didn't read ALL 48 questions because that would have taken a whole five minutes.  LdSralan asks what she did as manager.  She says she tried to stop people sitting on the fence, mainly Daniel and Lauren.  LdSralan and Daniel say Daniel is unlikely to sit on the fence.  Pamela says he's hard to work with and Daniel says if he sits on the fence it would make him easy to work with.  LdSralan tells Mark and Lauren off for hiding from PMing.  Pamela bitches about Lauren and everyone bickers some more.  Mark sighs that he should have taken the task and he'll try harder in the future honestly, LdSralan, but he's been sub-team leader before.  LdSralan says there's no subteams when you're in business with him.  Daniel snarks that a good number two isn't always a good number one.  He tells LdSralan to check his sales figures and see that he's good.  LdSralan says he sold nothing on this task or the last one and he thinks Daniel is a fantastist who has a wrong perception of himself.  Daniel says he won as PM, LdSralan thinks he only won because of team-mates.  Pamela says she's bringing back Daniel and Lauren.  Mark and Katie go back, Mark with a warning, and Katie with a 'thanks Lord Sugar.'

LdSralan says Pamela asserted her authority but should have made changes, Daniel has spirit but seems more like a market trader than a real entrepreneur.  Nick says Lauren is professional but wonders if she has a spark.

Pamela says she brought Daniel back because he hasn't pulled his weight, he's been destructive, obstructive and aggressive, whilst Lauren has sat on the fence and didn't contribute to the task.  Lauren tries to explain herself and Pamela talks all over her and this goes on ad nauseum.  Daniel says 'LdSugar, I'm not really interested in listening to them arguing'.  LdSralan: 'I am'.  Daniel: 'I apologise'.  Heh.  Lauren says the task failed on two reasons - the deficient product and something else we'll never know. Daniel's CV (seems the one-week resurrection of REZ-HOO-MAY didn't last) says he's complete in business and Daniel confirms this is indeed the case  and numbers don't lie because he won as PM.  LdSralan laughs and says OK, he happened to be PM on a winning team and if he learns from every mistake he's ever made, he'd be a genius.  He says Daniel disagrees with everything he's ever said but he can't be that thick after sending hundreds of people through the boardroom and he can't be doing with Daniel being deluded and he is not complete in the world of business.  Daniel says he will show a 'complete' difference.  Daniel, that word doesn't mean what you think it means.

Sralan takes Pamela to task for only being in work for a year (as she's very young, but not in a way that the show makes this an arc, it's probably because she only graduated a year earlier, but as we all know, who needs a BLADDY EDUCATION anyway).  She says she's always had part-time jobs before that but LdSralan snarks that part-time jobs aren't REAL JOBS.  Pamela says she needed to get an education to get on in life and she works hard.  LdSralan says she talks well and she says she talks sense and only speaks when she has something to say.  She thinks Daniel should be fired.  Lauren says Pamela should be fired and she doesn't know why she's in there.  Pamela says she didn't do anything.  Daniel tries to say he doesn't think he should be there but everyone ignores him.  Hee.

LdSralan says Lauren is an intelligent 'lady' because of the profession she's in but thinks she might have been playing a game.  He says it's OK that Pamela has only been in work for a year but he has to invest in a company with someone with business acumen.  He says Daniel makes him lost for words because he comes out with things he can't substantiate but has more fire than Lauren.  Lauren is fire-teased for LdSralan being bitterly disappointed that she's not showing entrepreneurial spirit unlike Daniel who is a 'go-getter'.  She stutters open-mouthed.  But LdSralan's biggest problem is that Pamela was PM and didn't have control over the task, so she's fired.

LdSralan reminds the others it's a 'special' year and he can fire who he wants when he wants.  He doesn't think Lauren is dead wood but does think she's been playing a game.  Daniel is on his last chance.  They're both sent back and hug Pamela.

Coatwatch: Coral with a natty cream scarf.  Pamela cabterviews that she's gutted but proud to have made it this far and thinks Lauren and Daniel are playing.

Back at Apprentice Mansions, everyone hopes Daniel is back, especially Mark and James in the battle for the alphas.  No-one is especially happy to see Daniel back.  Lauren's return gets no response.

Next week!  FORRIN FUN in NOO YOIK!  Coupled with the advertising task!  Join Helen for that classic combination.

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