Watching the hapless hopefuls try their hardest on The Apprentice is enough to drive you to drink.

Whether it is the lack of basic intelligence and increasingly juvenile bickering of the women’s team, or the Matt Lucas look-a-like on the men’s team attempting to come up with a menu and trotting out a list of his favourite food, the candidates’ latest challenge continued the spiral downwards.

It had me wanting to drown my sorrows in a glass or three.

The problem is I watched a recording of The Apprentice early this morning, rather than live the previous night. Is 7am too early to be reaching for the Jack Daniels bottle?

Sir Alan Sugar is right, this is the job interview from hell. But we’re the ones in purgatory.

And yet, I still can’t get enough of the clueless candidates. I’m bingeing on The Apprentice and no doubt I’ll fire up the iPlayer at some point this afternoon to relive some of the most cringeworthy moments all over again.

What am I saying? I’ll obviously just watch the whole thing again as the laughable mistakes, hissy fits, schoolboy and schoolgirl errors (apologies to schoolchildren everywhere) and ineptitude came thick and fast and filled the entire programme.

We had another entertaining contrast in project leadership.

The women, under the pocket psychotic Sara Dhada, were led with all the finesse and foresight of my wheelie bin.

The men under Ian “I’m a winner” Stringer lacked any sort of leadership. Ian’s strategy appeared to take the art of delegation to a whole new, appalling level by failing to lead or manage and abdicating responsibility to individual team members. Hence “Is that your decision?” and “That is your decision and your responsibility” became his stock phrases.

Ian certainly knows the meaning of the word “loser” now.

He was arguably one of the worst project leaders The Apprentice has ever seen, which is really saying something given his less than illustrious predecessors.

Ian allowed the increasingly voluable and volatile Lee McQueen to bully other team members, Kevin Shaw was clearly way out of his depth in just about everything he was asked to do from cooking to number crunching (not a good sign for a bank manager). He listened to the objectional Michael Sophocles but ignored the common sense being spoken by salt of the earth squaddie Simon “Chopper” Smith.

We even had a bit of third person absurdity from Lee when he barked into the phone: “I am concerned. Lee McQueen is concerned.”

The other members of his team were largely edited out – but Raef’s hair and eyebrows subtly went about their business in fine style. The deafening silence when Sir Alan asked: “So what was Ian like as a team leader?” said everything that needed to be said.

The women were the winners. But, as ever, the winners still looked like failures.

Their best strategy was selling £5 tickets. Their worst was hiring a midget Bollywood stripper.

True to form, even after securing a win there was plenty of bitching as they enjoyed their reward.

Ian’s round-table inquest: “We lost. Sorry about that lads…really”, was almost as pitiful as Kevin’s “I did a great job, I got nothing to worry about.”

(Alhough none of them came up with a killer line to beat Tommy Tickle’s undisputed quote of the week from another BBC programme this week, Clowns – “I’m Tommy Tickle. I bought this round off Timmy Tickle who went to Essex to become Silly Billy Bluehat”).

I hesitate to call Ian and his cohorts clowns, simply because if they’d had Tommy Tickle, Mr Pumpkin or even Potty the Pirate on their team they might just have won.

There was only one big loser this time around and he rightly got fired.

Kevin’s card is certainly marked and Simon will now need to show he has leadership skills to go with the graft.

I’m still hooked, I’m still bingeing on The Apprentice.

But I wish I’d reached for that bottle of JD.


4 responses »

  1. aj@lecraic says:

    Midget Bollywood stripper – I somehow managed to erase that from my memory 🙂

  2. Ursula says:

    Paul, if you are willing to sit through a second helping of some of those cringeworthy moments you have a stronger stomach than yours truly.

    One of the moments which had me in stitches was when your “Matt Lucas” lookalike (shame on you, Paul; what has Matt Lucas ever done to you to deserve such comparison?) started spouting off on the fact that he eats in Italian restaurants. Really? Like where? Pizza Hut? According to that bunch of dithering gourmets everything Italian is covered in tomato sauce. So apart from the brainwave of making Bolognese sauce they also put Spaghetti Carbonara on the menu. No doubt covering the resulting mess in tomato sauce. I loved the moment when a very reduced pizza was served with woeful ineptitude.

    What intrigued me was that Raef, the hair, took a quiet back seat. Either he is still licking previous wounds, or he is getting ready to pounce.


  3. Paul Groves says:

    Ursula: As regards Kevin’s culinary knowledge, I also liked: “Baked mushrooms. You get a mushroom and you bake it” – Delia Smith eat your heart out.

    I’m sure Raef’s largely anonymous showing is more down to the excellent editing of the show. He probably said or did little to set himself up as this week’s shining star or stumbling fool and so stayed on the edit room floor with a few other candidates. Andrew Collins has a few interesting things to say on the editing of the show.

    I even recorded “You’re Fired!” on BBC 2 last night and watched that this morning. What’s wrong with me?….Oh, I don’t care.

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