Thursday, 21 May 2009

The Apprentice - off their rockers

We knew Ben was doomed.
Not because he’s spent this entire series of The Apprentice behaving like a complete and utter plank, or because he made the fatal mistake of proclaiming, “There’s no way I’m going today – I’m making it to the final”, but because he sat in the wrong seat.

We remembered, from last week’s preview, you see, which way Sr’Alan’s fearsome finger was pointing when he said “You’re fired!” and it was definitely off to his left. So we knew whoever sat in that seat was for the chop.
Even when Sr’Alan was chuntering on about James being a “nice guy… and did he need a nice guy” and James was getting all sweaty and bulgy-eyed, we knew there was likely to be a last minute twist in the tale.
And sure enough it was Ben (Barney Rubble in braces) and his “raw business talent” who got his marching orders – very appropriate, what with his almost-Sandhurst background.

As for Sandhurst… well, Sr’Alan had the final say on that proud boast. “I was in the Jewish Lads’ Brigade. Stamford Hill Division. Trainee Buglar. It didn’t help me sell computers.”
Still, like Margaret, we did feel sorry for odious little Ben on one count. “He had to spend the whole day with Debra,” she observed.
Yes Debra, for the second week in a row, was entirely culpable for the failure of the task. Both teams had to select products to flog at the Earl’s Court baby show. Empire team leader James, showing an eerie understanding of female body parts (except for breast-feeding, which he seems to think is tap-operated), selected a birthing pool. Empire’s other product was a rocking horse (minimum price £1,500) chosen by Debra.
This, in itself, was not a mistake. Normally, without fail on The Apprentice, the team that selects the most extortionately expensive product wins. But you’ve got to actually sell one first. And that was what defeated Debra. She’d failed to negotiate any kind of discount on the pony and seemed to strike mortal fear into the heart of every potential customer.
“I’ll come and work for you… for a week… FOR FREE!” she barked at one bloke seeking a £200 discount.
If that didn’t put him off, nothing would.

The rest of the episode was memorable for the fact that Ignite leader Lorraine’s instincts actually worked.
Ever since Margaret gave Lorraine (known henceforth, after last night’s You’re Fired, as “Olive off On The Buses”) the tagline Cassandra, Lorraine’s “gut feelings” have gone hilariously skew-whiff.

But last night she chose sellable products… albeit stuff we’d never have bought in a million years. Still, the baby bicycle helmets went down a bomb as did the “easy to dismantle” pushchair, once Lorraine had spent about five hours collapsing it.
“… in one simple manoeuvre,” she said, whacking the thing on the floor. “Something’s stuck. One second… it’s completely jarred…”