The Apprentice series 7 episode 2 review: Mobile Phone Application

The best task in The Apprentice in ages, and a fine episode to boot. Here's our take on the day the candidates made an app...

7.2 Mobile Phone Application

Things are back to normal for the second episode of this year’s Apprentice. No longer am I sat in a posh screening room this time around, and no longer am I without a beverage, either. Instead, I’m sat in a house in Dudley, with the bottle of white wine I never drank at Christmas. And I understand why I didn’t drink it now. It’s genuinely unpleasant, but it does the job.

Anyway, episode two, just 24 hours after Edward The Non-Accountant took the taxi ride of doom. And the task this time was one of the most interesting in the recent history of The Apprentice. Designing and selling an app? Heck, that’s different! That’s not buying some shit in one market and selling it in another! What could go wrong?

Well, plenty.

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It all started at 5 in the morning (and at least one of the candidates seems to sleep in his suit), when Baron Alan was delivered by one of his minions via a laptop. He’s hi-tech and an electronics expert, y’see, as anyone who bough the Amstrad E-m@iler can testify. He delivered the task via the screen of a portable computer that it looked like the production team had bought off eBay second hand. And the challenge was set: both teams had 24 hours to make an app, and another 24 to sell it. Well, it was to be free. But you get the idea.

Credit where credit’s due, too. The following half hour was interesting stuff, with the usual Apprentice shenanigans on top. The men’s team was, ultimately, led by Leon, and after a bit of conversation, their world class app was to be British slang. Stereotypes, bad impressions, and the kind of thing that Nick gets to look blankly at. Pretty bang on, then.

The conflict was with the women, though. Edna was the team leader, and was annoying people in seconds. Susan was the obvious beneficiary of Edna’s pastoral style, refusing to indulge her stuttering idea. But the problem for Edna was that she was never on top of her game. She insisted, for instance, on doing the big pitch to a room of 5000 people (well, it didn’t look like 5000 people, but let’s not be churlish). She managed to not tell people how to download the product, and played annoying sounds over the PA system. They were seemingly doomed.

The men weren’t without problems, not least Vincent’s stuttering pitch (saved by Jim), but they snared two websites to promote their product, and managed to enthuse a crowd of people with doughnuts.

I nearly spat my wine out though when Baron Alan read out the results. The women’s shitty app beat the men’s shitty app, with the British slang not endearing itself to the world for some reason. I’m going to go out on a limb, though, and suggest that Baron Alan will not be going into business with Edna. But still, she delivered more than double the downloads of the Slangatang. Gadzookz.

As more than one Twitter commenter noted, the whole exercise was proof that people will download any old shit.

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In the boardroom, the assorted mistakes were obviously highlighted to the nth degree. A bad product description? Too local a product? The wrong choice of app? Well, you get the drill.

Leon the project manager decided to bring back Alex and Jim. Jim, straight away, defended himself very convincingly (and correctly). Leon, then, buggered any chance of winning the show by switching Jim to Glenn. Nice and decisive, that. Sigh.

While it’s the treat that remains the redundant part of the show, and this series has managed to make it precisely 0% more interesting, I do feel that these boardroom battles go through pretty similar motions. I would like five minutes more task, five minutes less squabbling. But there’s no sign that I’m going to get it. Because, to try and ramp up tension, the show has a few minutes to cloud the decision that Baron Alan has to make.

That said, when the firing finger of doom was pointing in the direction of Alex at the end of the episode, it was still hard to be surprised. Alex who had done nothing but grumble, and blame others. The man who tried flying under the radar. That’s no bladdy use, is it?

Bottom line, though, you have to give all concerned credit here. The slightly mean editing was left out for the most part, and instead, the focus was on an interesting idea for a task. That a terrible, terrible product won arguably makes it all the more intriguing. And scary.

Expect this task to be back next year, then. But let’s hope they write some new app jokes. The new series though, thus far, has been promising. The puns, though, have been terrible. Almost as bad as my wine, as it happens…

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