It is becoming more apparent that the way in which each episode of The Apprentice is put together is having a significant impact on the attitude of viewers to remaining wannabes.

That is why I’ve been taking more of a dislike to Lee McQueen.

Each time his craggy face makes an appearance, or he snarls out something loud, boorish and obnoxious, I feel myself tense. Even when he was being a fluffy photographer a couple of weeks back I was quietly seething inside.

He appears to be trying to emulate his namesake, Steve McQueen, by setting himself up as the resident hard man of the show.

I can well imagine he’d rather be speeding around in Bullitt’s car – making the tyres screech, the womenfolk swoon and his own manhood excited – rather than the mummsy people carrier that ferries the no-hopers around.

But there is a fatal flaw in his strategy. He’s no Steve McQueen and never will be.

He might have the rugged manliness, but he lacks the charisma and personality to match his more illustrious namesake.

In fact, he probably is more at home in the people carrier than Bullitt’s muscle car – more weekend warrior than rugged rebel, a roadrage incident waiting to happen.

Whereas Steve McQueen brought a healthy dose of charm, sophistication and believability to the hard man role, Lee just shouts very loud and displays his general ignorance every time he opens his mouth. He also displays the trademark of the over-inflated ego, talking in the third person.

Or, maybe I’ve got him completely wrong and the real Lee McQueen is languishing on the cutting room floor?

He could be nestled alongside the genuinely caring and sharing Jenny the Chin, a Jennifer who isn’t a one-dimensional cold fish, the believable Kevin who isn’t actually a sketch show refugee and the astute Alex who really does knows his percentages and has substance to go with his Lynx model looks.

What are the chances?

Pretty slim I’m guessing. Yes, the editing is the key to making The Apprentice such a watchable show but the material the candidates themselves are serving up to the backroom boys and girls is pure gold.

This week it was The Apprentice does Mr Whippy. No, this has nothing to do with F1 big-wigs.

The candidates showed us 99 more flaky character flaws and hundreds and thousands of reasons why they don’t deserve a £100,000-a-year job by attempting to set up an ice cream business.

Half-way through last night I was convinced Claire’s team would lose and the arrogant hag herself would get fired. Clever editing meant it was Lucinda’s team that came up short, despite the fact that the kooky blonde had apparently led her team imaginatively.

It came down to Lucinda and her super saleswomen Jennifer and Lindi in the boardroom. Margaret stood up for Lucinda and the finger pointed at Jennifer, the self-styled best sales person in Europe.

Sure enough, Jennifer had looked an accomplished seller and yet she made some glaring and basic mistakes – offering exclusivity effectively made two of the deals null and void. Like most out-and-out sellers, she was not exactly a team player.

Focused on the bottom-line at all times – herself – Jennifer was given a barely deserved second chance and Lindi left head held high and talking herself up to the cabbie taking her home.

The truth is, Lindi Mngaza was on borrowed time. The outstanding quality she had shown this far was a staggering immaturity.

Let it not be forgotten that it was Lindi who offered the 24-hour laundry hotline. As Lucinda’s second-in-command (a shrewd decision by the kooky blonde) she was in charge of sales and marketing and coming up with three appointments with people who already made their own ice cream was not the wisest of moves.

It goes without saying no-one excelled – editing again? We had yet more arrogant boasting (Jennifer: “I am overwhelmed at how good we are”), but further juvenile mistakes.

All the candidates appear to have travelled to Uttoxeter at some point to take the “A Bit of Fry and Laurie Management Course” and added their own foul-mouthed twist.

There’s lots of shouting, lots of angst, a fair bit of false bonhomie, more shouting about how dynamic and forward thrusting everyone and everything is, some standing around looking perplexed, lots more shouting, then some shouting takes place.

And yet very little actually happens.

Not so much: “Damn you to hell Marjorie!”, but more like: “F*** you, I’m brilliant me,” followed by some more random shouting.

Is this what business is about?

If it is, then damn them. Damn Sir Alan. Damn ice cream. Damn Nick and Margaret. Damn the project manager. Damn the fake Frances. Damn The Apprentice.

Damn it all to Uttoxeter and back!

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5 responses »

  1. Ursula says:

    Paul, first of all – may I congratuate you on remembering all those names. If ever I were to hold another mega party – which I won’t – I’d invite you not only because of your charms but also to introduce everyone to everyone else.

    As usual the whole thing went pear shaped and holds no more interest to me than focussing on the women’s eyebrows. It’s awful. They either have too much time on their hands or are visiting over zealous beauticians. Also – are they all stuck in their mothers’ time warp ca. the 70s?

    To be even handed – false eyelashes and eye shadow more suited to a disco than a boardroom. Not to mention some of those tights: No wonder men usually don’t hit glass ceilings but go straight through them.

    U

  2. […] Groves puts my effort to shame every week with his witty reviews and I recommend you check out his take on the […]

  3. Paul Groves says:

    Ursula: The ladies, with the possible exception of Lucinda the kooky blonde, could probably learn a few style tips from a certain Mr Brand…
    http://blogmaiden.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/brothers-in-arms/

  4. Swineshead says:

    Excellent work, yet again Groves – particularly the ‘hundred and thousands’ quote. Very droll.

  5. […] Sara received on returning to the house after surviving the boardroom – with Jenny the Chin and Lee “Bullitt-head” McQueen leading the fight. It was vicious in the extreme and so many of the candidates showed their […]

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