Ten things about... Week 5, Children's books.
- Five alive - Its week five and we’re all letting our hair down a bit and I start to get to know most of the names, with a few exceptions. For some reason, I just can’t get my head around Brett being an individual in the process. He has an air of instant forgettabilty. What he needs to remember though, is that the camera sees all, and I see you sniffing your pits to see if you need to give them a wash, Brett, then spraying directly on top. He does have A Chest though, so I’m inclined to forgive him. He’s not the only one letting his guard down. Elle ponders the point of even getting out of bed and Selina says she’s not being diplomatic any more. They even let Charleine do something. I KNOW. Natalie even proves she's human by getting a comedy cold. More on that later.
- Doing it for the kids - The task this week was to create a children's book and audiobook, then sell it. This task seemed confused. On one hand it seemed to be one of those wishy washy tasks that is judged against some arbitrary scale that nobody really seems to know about, but in the end it was a selling task. Lrdsir made it very clear that the hitherto very uninteresting Sam was to be heading up Connexis when he sent him over, as he’s all about language. he loves it. He even claims that it’s the key to existence, which seems a bit odd. Maybe it’s the reason why we’re all here, but surely there is something more physiological about our existence? ANYWAY. Sam’s into literature so he’s the team leader. Sam’s strategy is to fart about, Mary Sue - ing himself into his children's book about an Elephant Dragon WHO JUST WON’T EVER BE GOOD AT SPORTS, OK, DAD?? Eventually he decides on a theme that’s about a creature finding his niche. The other team are headed up by Charleine, whose qualification for writing a children’s book is BEING A MOTHER. By this logic, I am now a mechanic because I own a car. ANYWAY. She wants a book about chucking away blankets before school but Joseph suggests a story about a bee on a quest for honey from flowers. Nobody discusses the fact that bees don’t have to look for honey. They can MAKE it with their BUMS .April is all on board with this idea. Charleine less so, wonders what April’s qualifications are. A degree in creative writing. MOVING ON.
- It’s only words - Writing children’s fiction is one of those things that seems simple but I learn from this episode that it is a minefield. Connexis call their main character Snottydink which was the best thing that they could come up with after rejecting Snufflegruffle, Snufflebum, Snifflebottom and Snottledink. If that wasn’t complicated enough, Sam puts some very complicated words in there. One they keep going back to is “moisture rife” which sounds like a very fun Saturday night but I’ve no idea in the context of a kids book. Upon receiving this feedback, Sam spins it into a teaching tool. There’s only one tool around here, etc etc. Versatile are more concerned with the sound of the words. Charleine even going so far as to coach David on how to say words, even though her pitches ultimately show us that this is an issue that she has problems with. Another thing they seem to have a problem with is an understanding of how honey is made. I’m sure it’s not important.
- Charl-mean - By gumbo, Charleine is an evil genius. Her plan to keep Richard from interfering was inspired. She made him PM of the sub team but then refused to talk to him as he clearly couldn’t be trusted to deliver simple messages. This meant that he spent most of his time getting frustrated at being the middle man and making decisions that he had to feedback to others. The expression on his face when Charleine said at the end that their relationship was fine is one that I will take with me to my grave. He let no opportunity to say that he was upset at this arrangement pass, but his under -utilisation in sales was noted by LORDSIRALAN at the board room, so there may be something in that.
- Pour some Sugar on me - Today the good lord was a goldmine. From his pronunciation of RUDDY’ARD Kipling to his joke about Snottydink being a monster that nobody can live with being a parable about Piers Morgan, he was on FIRE. He even managed a chuckle when asking Charleine if she just made Richard PM just to shut him up and give him a title and she said yes without hesitation. He got mildly annoyed at Sam’s inability to make a decision about anything, but that was very definitely the mood of the nation throughout the episode. It was confusing though, Sam was definitely getting the “brains over common sense” edit but remained in the process. Maybe the Snuffydonk moral got through his armour.
- Identity crisis - As I said above, this task had some serious identity problems. At the beginning, it seemed to be a creative one - Sam was even told to exercise his creative chops - but it ended up to be about purely sales. It was close run too, Versatile selling £690.10 worth of the factually inaccurate bee and Connexis selling a mere £587.25 worth of Slinkydump. The firing seemed to completely ignore any part of the creative process, and all arguments seemed to hinge on who sold what rather than the product not being up to scratch in the first place. Luck seemed to have more to do with it than anything else. Connexis’ win was entirely dependent on Charleine getting lucky at the Rainforest Cafe rather than any kind of business skill. She absolutely fluffed both pitches to the major retailers despite insisting on pitching, but her subteam were scrappy. Mergim even managing to sell three copies to the cafe hosting the market research. Connexis were rubbish on both sides, what with Natalie fake coughing and fluffing pitches and Selina, who we’ll come to in a minute, fluffing the maths. In the boardroom, Sam became obsessed with the fact that the subteam didn’t sell enough despite by his own admission, selling off his babies far too cheaply in a last ditch attempt to get rid of them. An extra £1 on the already bargain basement price of £1.75 would have made all the difference.
- Have you Selina? - With Ruth and her amazing suits gone, I have a position open for favourite and I think that Selena may be the one. She basically walks about all day looking like she’s smelled something bad, criticising everyone else and claiming everything that she gets wrong just isn’t in her skill set. At one point she offers one of the major retailers 150 units at 4.20 each and her next bargaining point is 50 for £3.20 a unit. Joseph Valente is beyond upset about this, but she just counters it with “I’m not amazing at mental arithmetic” then swishes her hair about. YES. Her insistence that most parents don’t know complicated words was a joy to behold.
- Charing Cross-ed wires - By far my favourite moment this week was Sam attempting to sell his book to the rare book dealers of Charing Cross Road by saying it was limited edition. I shouted “BLESS” at my television so loudly the neighbours were concerned. This week I learned that if you give a rare book dealer a book about a dragon elephant with a CD attached to it they will give you a look of disgust that will burn you to your very soul, and you just have to take it.
- Quotes of the week - “I have a degree in creative writing”
“My preference is what do you think”
“Once there was a bee who set out to find some honey” “That doesn’t rhyme though”
“busy got lost after being tossed”
“why those three songs?” “because we listened to them”
“Make it sound like the wind is saying it”
“Is he not going to get greener? He's a bit minty at the moment”
“I wouldn’t say English is my strongest point”
“The younger children can have an oral appreciation”
“we haven’t got anything that’s currently popular, we’ve got a Snottydink”
“it’s like giving birth to a child then someone offering you £2 for it”
“the sniffles doesn’t wash with me”
“I shit you not, Karren was there and she absolutely got her ass in her hands and she faltered”
10. Nata-leave - It was the final quote that was the nail in Natalie’s coffin. She claimed the sniffles was a reason she couldn’t pitch this, complete with tactical cough. When she did pitch, she fluffed it completely by ignoring the pricing strategy and huffing out of the shop when questioned on it. She got fired in the end for being in the background and not really stepping up. She taxiterviewed that Brett and Scott ganged up on her and it was all the smelly boys fault and they’ll all see!
NEXT WEEK it’s all about running a Handyman business. Someone is definitely going to lose a finger.