The Apprentice 2008 episode 8 review

It was wedding dresses last night, in a quite muted episode of The Apprentice. Even Mr Sugar seemed to be in quite a decent mood...

Sralan Sugar and his two trust aides...

So with seven candidates left in The Apprentice, have you got any idea who’s going to win? It’s virtually impossible to tell, and off the back of a surprisingly drab and straightforward episode of the show, there weren’t that many new clues. Instead, all you can come up is reasons – and there are many of them – why people shouldn’t be winning the show.

Take Helene. Her brusque manner seemed tempered this week, but her justification for becoming project manager, if we heard right, was that she used to model wedding dresses in the past. Now knowledge of the product is always good, particularly as selling wedding dresses was the key objective, but isn’t that like offering to run a window selling company because you happen to clean them from time to time?

Michael, too. All but reduced to crawling on his hands and knees at the end to try and keep the job that he’s not going to get anyway, he’s surely another where it’s not a matter of if, but when.

But we’re getting slightly ahead of ourselves. Last night’s task saw Lucinda lead Alpha and Helene head up Renaissance, and the idea was to flog wedding dresses and an accessory product of sorts at a posh wedding show in Birmingham. I live in Birmingham, so you can cut the gags out right now.

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Usually when two teams have to pitch to different suppliers to represent their wares, you get a good old-fashioned Apprentice bust-up of sorts, but no such luck here. Claire, a self-confessed girly-girl, decided that she wanted to flog BHS dresses (presumably because Primark was shut?), until Raef decided that they should roll the dice on the top end stuff with lots of zeroes in the price tag. Helene’s lot, meanwhile, split up, so nobody saw all of the dresses, and they got themselves lumbered with colourful and short wedding outfits that you could see a vicar frowning at from ten paces.

This, of course, impacted on the accessory product. Both teams wanted to sell pants, but we learned this week that people selling £15 pairs of grundies want their product associated with very expensive dresses. Hmmm. Hence, Alpha got the underwear, and Renaissance were left with a £500 cake. This proved to be not a good thing for the latter.

The task, when it got to the meat of it though, was surprisingly without too much incident. It had its moments, though. Raef dressing up in a bear suit to flog £2000 wedding dresses was bizarre, while Michael attempting to sell people a cake by pretty much nailing their faces down to the floor and bludgeoning out their ears (figuratively speaking) unsurprisingly hasn’t resulted in Druckers making him a job offer. Then there was Sara, who turned up, tried, and pretty much failed. And Lee, who proved to be an expert at selling underwear to women (inspiring Margaret to give him one of those looks, that was surely the highlight of the episode).

Elsewhere, the Alpha gamble on the expensive dresses proved not to be straight running, even more so because the editing this week didn’t stick a big arrow about the team that was going to lose. Lots of browsers, not many buyers seemed to be the way the exercise was going. And so there was actually some doubt when it came to the final showdown as to who would emerge victorious, even though it ended up that Alpha won by several thousand pounds.

At that point, AlexWhoIsn’tGoingToWin got out because everyone thinks he works hard, even if Sralan thinks he keeps losing. Which left Helene (“I’m talking”), Michael and Sara in the boardroom. Any one of them could have gone, to be fair, and the survivors look like cannon fodder on the run in to finding the final four.

When it came to the firing itself, it wasn’t, when it came down to the crunch, any particularly different fault in this task that cost Sara her time on the show. Moreover, a continued process of weeding people out seemed to be the key motivator, even though you’d be hard-pushed to disagree with Sralan’s call. Granted, her sales patter would have scared the life out of most people interested in a cake, but the truth is that – as with one or two others in the show – it’s been clear for a while that there was no way in hell that Sralan Sugar was going to hire her.

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And guess what? Just as the soppy old sod was about to fire Michael, and do a double sacking for the second week running, Michael’s begging to be kept in – signified by him telling Sralan that he didn’t want to beg, and then practically salivating over the old growler’s shoes in an attempt to stay in – worked! It’s the old Apprentice trick: beg to be made project manager, and thou shalt keep thy mush on the telly for another week. Not much longer than that, we’d wager.

Lee, Raef and – amazingly – Claire are shaping up to make three of the final four. The latter in particular, while still as annoying as a cold sore, had undergone quite a turnaround, and even NickTheNeverImpressed seems to be impressed by her. Lucinda would be out guess for the fourth, even if the trailer for next week’s task has her swearing like a trooper.

Time will, of course, tell…