The Apprentice 2008 episode 4 review

A week of business lessons, Apprentice-style. Sralan Sugar doesn't like vicitimising people, y'know...

Moving right back to its business educational roots, we learned a lot of key lessons from last night’s episode of The Apprentice.

We discovered, for instance, that Sralan Sugar doesn’t like people feeling picked on or victimised. Nope, he made it perfectly clear that he doesn’t like that sort of thing at all. Never mind the fact that he was bellowing away at people like a deranged loon within a minute or two of saying it, of course. It’d be churlish to let principles get in the way of a good, old-fashioned rant, after all.

We also learned that Alpha project manager Helene has testicles. She was the star of the chest-beating, traditional opening five minute segment that’s now compulsory in The Apprentice, where she kept telling us about the balls that she had. All very well, but we suspect she’d slipped up by not applying for a Channel Five reality series, where she’d be in line to make a lot more money from her revelations. Thus far, there seems not much chance that she’ll be winning this show.

But then there’s a whole host of others whose faces aren’t fitting as a result of last night’s task, where the idea was that each team set up a photography booth in the middle of a busy shopping centre. Then the plan was to pick a theme, and flog photo gifts to the assorted masses.

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Sadly, Apprentice convention dictates that if you get nearly half the screen time to yourself, then you’re out on your ear. So it proved for Simon, who inherited the need to remind people he was the Project Manager on a regular basis.

To be fair, his team were hardly supportive (although you can see why they’d be rubbed up a bit the wrong way). Alex couldn’t peg it to the back of the room fast enough when asked if he’d be the No 2 on the task (leading to the moment when MargaretTheTrustedAdviser admonished him in the boardroom in a way that made half of Britain shiver, and wonder why she hadn’t had the call from the Doctor Who team). And then there was Claire, already next week’s prediction to get fired.

You get the feeling at times that Sralan Sugar would rather employ a ferret than a woman as his Apprentice (it’d certainly explain the result last year), but that aside, there’s more chance of him reading this review and deciding that I’m worthy of a job than him letting Claire win. In the final boardroom, where team Renaissance had walked back in with a loss, he seemed to spend a minute or two trying to find any way he could justify firing her over Simon, and very nearly did. The fact that she backtracked so quickly when he growled in her direction has done her few favours, either.

Back to the task, though, which was really quite good, and was certainly given more screen time than usual. While the highlight was probably NickTheTrustedAdvisor eyeing up a Britney Spears lookalike, there was a lot else in there. Lucinda, for instance, blatantly isn’t going to win the show either, but Helene With Balls was clearly on a stitch-up job giving her a technical task. The fact that Lucinda had said that she wasn’t a technical person didn’t matter, because Helene had spent ten hours in a kitchen the week before (Apprentice logic at its finest). This all resulted in a pissing contest that was, bizarrely, being watched by a David Beckham lookalike in the corner of the room.

Over on the other side, it was the communication between the front and backroom teams that was suffering, not helped by the aforementioned Claire showing that she was happily graduating from the Apprentice School Of Talking To You Like You’re An Idiot. It also put me off buying a photograph in a shopping centre for life, off the back of the fact that they were busy laughing at some of the mugshots behind the scenes. All credit too to the sensitivity of the programme makers for responding to Simon’s request for a moment alone in such a dignified way. They couldn’t have found the zoom lens on the camera quick enough.

Still, this was, in all, a very good episode, and it’s hard to ultimately disagree with who was fired, even if Simon was one of the few of these people who seemed, well, human (and there’s a suspicion, again, that keeping Claire in won’t hurt the ratings). Just looking, for instance, at the fixed grin on Jenny’s face in the boardroom made me wonder if the wind had changed or something. That’s quite possibly the scariest smile on television right now.

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Next week? It’s time to make ice cream, and we already know that Claire is one team leader. Will Lucinda be the other, so Sralan can move one step closer to appointing another bloke when he fires one of them? We’ll find out next time…

Read last week’s review here