The Apprentice episode 2 (with out of date wine)

Review Simon Brew 8 May 2013 - 22:00
Sir Alan Sugar in front of his car

We're still going. Another revew of The Apprentice. More bad booze. All because a small number of you asked us for it.

"Will you be quiet, you silly shit?"

If you were in a position to potentially cause irritation to Donald Trump, would you? I've concluded that I would. I arrived at this decision having observed the American Lord Sugar knock-off's Twitter feed over a period of weeks. At first, I thought it was funny. Then, I realised he was serious. Not even in a clever, ironic way. This man actually believed the words that he was tapping into his gold-plated computer.

I've subsequently learned that few things annoy Donald Trump more than people saluting Anthony Baxter's excellent documentary, You've Been Trumped. This is a film that charts Trump's battle to build a golf course on an area of natural beauty in Scotland. It's not a pleasant watch, mainly because of Donald Trump. Trump hates the film, and has lambasted Anthony Baxter for being talentless. Watch the film and make your own mind up, I'd suggest. Then do let Donald Trump know you have. I'm sure he'll appreciate it.

Right. The Apprentice episode two. Clearly the BBC is trying to build momentum here, fully aware that we don't know anybody's names yet, and thus exposing us to the cobbled collection of walking cliches two nights in succession.

I'm generally wary of drinking on school nights, so I have to say that the Beeb has done me no favours here. I can't possibly review The Apprentice without having a drink, and so the bottle must be hit. The budget, sadly, wouldn't stretch either, so I'm guzzling down a bottle of mulled wine left over from last Christmas. The combination of alcohol, sugar and dated ingredients is sure to work a treat. I like to think that Lord Sugar would appreciate my ingenuity.

Let me have two glasses, and I'll be back with you.

[With all good intentions, I only managed one before my nose started to run].

The task this time? A flavoured beer. I figured when they announced this, courtesy of some alarming close-up shots of Baron Alan's mush (and they really are pleased with his surprisingly limited facial hair, so keen they were to zoom in on it), that my out of date mulled wine might come out of this well. I wasn't far wide of the mark, either.

For no obvious reason short of to get some useful shots of the candidates either half naked (men) or in their nightwear (women), the task was announced at 6 in the morning. The Apprentice is clearly holding its gratuitous bra shot back though, that it does every year, until later in the series.

Anyway, crap beer. I've never been in a pub and complained that my beer was too rhubarb-y.  After an hour in the company of this episode, it felt like that was a distinct possibility. Meanwhile, 8695 people on Twitter had done the 'piss up in brewery' joke within 20 minutes. I lost count at that point. Truthfully, I was jealous they'd got to the gag before me.

In truth, this was an episode of The Apprentice where people made The Apprentice mistakes, though. Appreciating that drinking the bin ends from my local Spar seemed more attractive than consuming any of the muck both teams produced, lots of things were done presumably as a by-product of being asked to do something alien in a matter of hours. It's what happens when you let adults loose in the Soda Stream factory.

Making beer is, after all, a tricky business. Anyone who has ever tried it will have spent at least the first half of the episode with their jaw and the floor as bedfellows. It's a near miracle that both teams got anything vaguely drinkable together.

The products the teams ended up with? Rhubarb and Caramel Beer, and Chocolate Orange Beer. Yum. Both of these inventions took second place to lots of yabbering on about sub-teams, with people with varying levels of facial hair taking credit or slamming down others. Numbers were miscalculated, non-beer drinkers were put in charge of the beer, and pricing was muddled. But that's all to be expected. At this stage in the show, there are too many people trying to get themselves heard, and any vestige of substance to the tasks doesn't really come through until Lord Sugar has waggled his finger a few more times.

The editing continues to position the one I think is called Alex - I really should learn their names, but I'm trying to hold down bad wine here - as the celebrity in waiting. He walked into a trade sale without a sample of what he was flogging, too. Were he not a celebrity in waiting, that'd be Apprentice suicide, that. There was never any chance he'd be sacked, though. There are ratings to consider here.

23 minutes in, in need of a lift, the episode cut to some lovely Morris Dancing. Less conducive to the ratings, perhaps, but my ears appreciated a break from the willy waving.

It all panned out from that point pretty much how you probably expected it would. The boys won. They got sent, by way of reward, to Belgium. They enjoyed this, as we had to sit through a good minute or so watching them enjoy it. It is still, without doubt, television's most unwelcome minute of footage each and every week.

Then, we watched Lord Sugar getting disproportionately angry about what must be coins down the back of the sofa to him. He told the woman and one man they were dummies. They all argued. I decided to try that second drink after all. I regretted it. Accusations flew. The cliche-avoiding Lord then did the piss up in brewery gag himself, as if the whole task was designed just so he could do it. Expect a leakage in a dairy, and lots of pointless sobbing, in due course. Chortle.

The problem with this series so far, as I see it, is there's simply noone to root for coming through. Where's Tom the Inventor when you need him? Or just someone who isn't being portrayed as a compilation album of Apprentice candidates past? I can't sit here and say it's terrible. I just think, as I said yesterday (paraphrasing Boyd Hilton), that reality TV shows are an exercise in casting. And the casting feels off.

Anyway, the finger waggler fired the one I think is called Tim. And off he went to the Daybreak sofa. Next time? Flatpack furniture. Crikey. Bet you a pretend pound that the Sugary one either says something akin to 'hitting the nail on the head' or 'piecing it all together'.

Fortunately, I've got six days to find some decent booze before then...

Our review of the last episode is here.

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