Not a frame of The Apprentice had been screened this week, and already, I figured Stuart had to go. The minute he even steps onto the boardroom carpet after losing a task, I figure the taxi may as well be called for him there and then. But that wasn’t set to happen this week.
Anyway, we were down to the last eight this week, and the call came in that it was a two-day foreign business trip on the cards. Ah, the culture clash episode, I figured. Is it that time of the series already?
Kicking off with a little bit of xenophobia, the posh cars took them to the German embassy. The plan this week? Making crisps, and then flying off to Hamburg to flog them. You could almost sense how this was going to turn out.
I took a swig of my exceedingly cheap wine at this point. I figured this could be a long hour.
Project managers this week? Once Stuart declared he was knackered, Stella got the job. He also did another of those silly talking heads, where he talked about how he couldn’t lose. Sigh. Meanwhile, Chris stepped up for the other team, looking to break his losing streak.
Stella’s team, then, starting working around a traditional Sunday roast theme. Let’s play on British strengths, they wagered. And then Joanna suggested curry. Laura started complaining. It was business as normal.
More interestingly, my red wine was actually surprisingly good, given that it was part of a three for a tenner promotion. Drink that, Baron von Sugar.
Over in Hamburg, then, Jamie led a research team that revealed spicy sausage was very much on the agenda. Spicy sausage crisps? The news was relayed back to Chris in Essex, and curried sausage crisps were suddenly on the agenda.
Meanwhile, Stella got assigned to Gloucestershire, while Stuart and Joanna got sent to Germany. They, too, stumbled on the idea of curry, interviewing someone who looked like Leonardo diCaprio in the local supermarket. Stuart concluded, surprisingly adeptly, that sausages were a good idea, and proceeded to eat a lot of them, and drink some beer. The conclusion from the research? Sausages and curry. What was Stella making? Ham, beef and other stuff that people didn’t seem to want.
Hmmm. Stella ignored the market research, the editing suddenly seemed a bit stop motion, and the potential boardroom battle was already brewing.
The teams then proceeded to make crisps with strange white powders, making Karren Brady choke in the process. Nick Hewer, meanwhile, was pulling a face akin to a bulldog licking piss off a proverbial thistle. I, meanwhile, was onto my second glass. Oddly, the episode was improving too, as I consumed more of my glorified paintstripper.
Stilton and paprika, and chilli and beef flavours were chosen by Stella. I’d drunk enough by this point for both to be quite acceptable. I quite fancied a bag, truth be told.
Stuart, meanwhile, was doing his bit for the diplomacy, seamlessly managing to convince Germans that he was a bit of a tit, as well as taking swipes at Joanna. Stuart also described himself as “endearing”. I nearly choked on my drink. That would never do.
Both teams were heading for the Marriott hotel chain to flog their crisps, with Stuart and Joanna wisely getting in first. That should give Baron von Sugar something to fondle his beard over, especially as Christopher moved the other team’s appointment. It would prove to be a crucial decision.
So then. Local businesses were lined up to sell to, and each team lined up appointments. We’ve seen this several times over the years, and once we’d got past the fact that very bad German was being spoken, the orders were starting to roll in.
The comedy gold, of course, was when Stuart starting to speak terrible German, and the production team enjoyed this, by putting on screen the English translation for everything he said. Laura was speaking in English, meanwhile, and the subtitles would have been just as useful, the speed she was going at. Bluntly, I didn’t have a clue what either of them were saying. I was, however, wondering what happened to red wine when you put it in a Soda Stream, but you probably didn’t need to know that.
Over to Christopher and Jamie, then, who were going door to door with their crisps. The goulash flavour looked like it was going to make one of their potential customers ill. The curry one? We’d wager three days on the toilet followed.
Chris went off selling next, and the problem appeared to be that the crisps looked genuinely vile. But at least he found an English speaker. Reading between the edits here, and finding someone that the teams could communicate with looked like the hardest job of all.
It was interesting, I thought, how most of the candidates way of approaching talking to German residents was by reference to back episodes of ‘Allo ‘Allo. Put on a fake German accent, speak English, what could go wrong?
Laura, meanwhile, decided that the remaining members of her team were “pieces of shit”, and got the hump when Stella nicked her appointment. Meanwhile, Chris discovered, when he got to the Marriott Hotel, that the other team had got in first. Tut, tut. My head was getting light with all the wine, but even I could foresee a congregation of shit around the proverbial fan.
I instantly did the logical thing, and recharged my glass. I’ll need it to get through the upcoming treat sequence, I figured.
To be fair, for all the toing and froing of the episode, it was unclear who was going to win. Deals were being done and lost, some were coming across better than others, Laura decided that her team shouldn’t win and kept grumbling, and the usual dash for final orders kicked in. I figured it’d be a heavy win one way or the other when the totals were calculated, but ultimately, I figured wrong. And so we were off to the boardroom to find out more, while I sketched out ideas for a Stuart-related drinking game.
Nick immediately grassed up the fact that Stuart had declared himself knackered, while Laura nodded when asked is she was happy with Stella. In spite of the editing shown her being quite the opposite but minutes before. All of that would prove to be a battle for the future.
Baron von Sugar, meanwhile, was still trying one-liners, that weren’t even funny with the help of a glass of the shit I was drinking. Can someone not make him stop? It’d be much appreciated.
Onto the results. Chris’ team picked up a couple of big orders, but Stella’s team won the task off the back of the appointments they set up. And Nick was pleased with Joanna. He said so, too. He’s getting happier as the series goes on, bless him.
Chris, however, had extended his losing run, and was the instant favourite to get the bullet. Not helped by the fact that he did the pitching to the big companies. Before we could get to the execution firing, though, we had to watch people shop in the ‘treat’. It was amazing entertainment. I reached for more drink, you’ll be surprised to hear. It didn’t help this time, though. But at least I’m steeled for the traditional comments wondering why we review this show. Ahem.
Anyway, in the boardroom, it turned out that it was the Marriott deal that was pivotal, and Jamie and Christopher’s switching to a later appointment time lost them the task. Chris, I thought, might just survive this. Although Baron von Sugar didn’t seem that keen on him.
The seemingly endless boardroom sequence then went through the usual motions, as everyone’s words seemed to merge into a prolonged jabbering of nothingness. They all could have gone, from what I can see.
Unsurprisingly, by this time, I wouldn’t suggest I was the best judge, though.
Eventually, Christopher came out from behind the rock of anonymity he’s been hiding behind all series, and promptly got the sack. Both Chris and Jamie appeared to have their cards marked. And a fairly conventional episode of the show came to an end.
It wasn’t bad telly, to be fair, but it was The Apprentice going through the motions a bit. A traditional task, traditional mistakes, and the removing of a non-ratings friendly candidate. Just business as usual, really.
Next week? It’s the buying and negotiation task. Again. The search for new ideas continues…
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