Before we get going, two points of order.
Firstly, to the BBC continuity announcer: how long have you been waiting for a task about rubbish? I counted three gags in under a minute. Fine work.
Secondly, one leftover point from last week. What was the point of them making the pet food? When no pet appeared to ever eat it? Apologies for starting with that, but it’s been bugging me for a week.
This week, then. Boots of steel. Bright jackets. A man in his pants. Melody moaning about a team name (and she’d moan a lot this week). And a whole host of rubbish. Plus, a kick off to a task that, for the second week running, took place in a relevant context. I can’t cope. It almost distracted me from the fact that Baron Alan sounded like he was talking through a megaphone.
The plan, then, was a simple one: to make money out of rubbish. My local Spar is getting quite adept of this, if my recent tipples are anything to go by. I walked past the scary-looking own brand popcorn this week, and the assortment of blue pop too. Then, I spent £4.99, a full 99% of my budget on a bottle of Merlot. Whisper it, but it’s actually quite palatable. Even through a straw.
This week’s project managers, then. Zoe, for the second time, after all of her team gave reasons not to do it, and then pretended otherwise later on (but Nick sees everything: they should know that). Meanwhile, Helen moved across to Team Logic, and took control. “I’ve won the last five”, she told us. “I’m not losing one”. Which told us. To be fair, the strategy seemed sound: look for expensive metal. Once they’ve got past pitching to someone in the same business, they seemed to be doing okay.
Cut, then, to Tom and Jim, patrolling the streets, screaming out for rubbish. And the editing did its best to make lots of people seem incompetent. On they toddled, then, and got down to work.
Here, then, came The Apprentice twist. Two commercial customers, both looking for a competitive quote. So, there’s the refit of a city bar for starters, which the builders would look to pay £100 maximum to shift the rubbish from. Helen’s team, cunningly, offered a no charge quote, figuring they could make around £500 for the wood and steel they’re looking to flog. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a risk. I took a gulp of Spar’s finest in their honour. While I was doing that, Melody and Natasha started arguing. I took another swig.
Zoe, then, took her team into the same venue. This time, Zoe and Susie were arguing. These two haven’t got on before, and they weren’t going on here. I began to wish I’d bought the popcorn after all. Zoe then quoted a £150 flat rate for the job. I made a bet with myself that they wouldn’t get the job. Spoiler: I won.
Susie, helpfully, after the event, chipped in that she’d have done it for free. Oddly, the bar went with Helen’s team. Melody was still bothered. I was feeling a bit tipsy. I was beginning to remember why I didn’t buy nice wine usually.
Here’s something that I’ve been thinking about, anyway. You know people who work for Nick? When he does their staff appraisals, do you think they’re over with in under a minute? That in walks the staff member, and they judge how well they’ve done by the sternness of his glare. If his eyebrows move more than 2cm, then you’re doomed.
Anyway, the second commercial contract. This one was for an office, with surplus furniture. Helen quoted no charge again, and once more, Melody shook her head. Two no-charge contracts, mind you. That might just be asking for trouble. Zoe went in, and Susie suggested paying the company to take them. Nick screwed his face up. The quote went in at £80. Uh-oh. Susie decided she wasn’t an idiot. The contract went to Helen’s team. It was action-packed.
It hit me at this point that this task was really quite interesting. Granted, it was the same mechanics as usual, but the context of it was very different. The rubbish was the gold, as it happened, and making the effort to change the commodity that the candidates were dealing with really paid dividends.
Day two of the task was a case in sorting out appointments, doing deals, and, ultimately, clearing up lots of crap. Helen’s team seemed to be overburdened, though, unable to serve its contracts comfortably enough. To be fair to them, in the end, they pulled through. In fact, both teams did, as the end result would prove.
Before we got to the scores on the doors, Edna just wanted to tell us that she has been the brains and the brawn. We know that, because she told us. We also learned that Susie doesn’t want to ever work with Zoe again, most candidates have PhDs in clichés, and Baron Alan made his money selling shit 45 years ago. It’s been ages since he told us this. It’s been ages since he’s told a funny joke, too.
The task, ultimately, was decided over the small matter of £6, and Team Logic broke its losing duck. Only it’s not Team Logic, really, as the teams have been jiggled around to the point where team names are redundant.
Talking of redundant: the treat! It was the usual crap, but you already knew that. A thermal spa, and a pamper? Who thinks this is entertainment (apart from people who like looking at Apprentice candidates in swimsuits)? I drank all the way through it.
The cafe wasn’t much better, although Susie declaring she was the brains of an operation that lost didn’t seem like a terrific plan to me. Zoe seemed to earn Baron Alan’s respect to a point, by being honest and actually putting herself on the line. She said ‘bloody’, too, and the Baron is fond of that word as well.
It all descended into a game of who did what, and Zoe decided to bring Edna and Susie back. A lot of noise ensued, where Susie blamed Zoe, Edna took credit for as much as she could, and Zoe defended herself quite well from what I could see.
But it had to be Edna, who managed to talk herself into a hole, without actually doing that much. The Baron wished her well, before waving his finger of doom. And I don’t think too many people could argue with that.
A fine episode, I thought. It was routine in many places, but there was enough in there to give it a different twist. And I liked that. Next time? Everyone seems to hate each other, and there’s the small matter of them all making a magazine. And! Nick smiles! It’s in the trailer and everything. What’s not to look forward to there?
See you then. Hic.
Read our review of episode 5, Create, Brand And Launch A Pet Food, here.