I am still a long way from feeling the burn.
Yet I am getting exercised by The Apprentice once more, not to mention a little hot and bothered.
I know it doesn’t matter. I know it is just a reality TV show.
I know this isn’t the “job interview from hell” and is more of an exploration of society’s desire for success to be handed to them on a plate and our shallow, superficial attitudes to just about everything.
But I’m still left with a somewhat pleading question – why are they all so crap?
The latest task was to create a new item of home fitness equipment and attempt to secure orders from retailers.
All the candidates worked up a sweat (even the Invisible Man, Noorul, broke cover this week), but they all struggled shamefully on what the task required – imagination, creativity, planning, strategy and selling. Namely, the type of qualities you would expect to shine through in someone worthy of a £100,000-a-year job.
There were some flashes of inspiration. But it was mainly perspiration, lots of huffing and puffing and very little in the way of action.
The main flash came from Philip, who also went through something of a personality transplant during the course of the task.
Whereas in the first two weeks he had been Mr Negative, this time around he shone brightly in a collection of dim-wits.
The mumbling, poisonous nonsense we had started to come to expect, gave way to a very good product idea, some spirited team-working and a surprising dose of gallantry as he sprang to the defence of Lorraine’s admittedly stuttering pitching style.
Everyone else was the usual pile of rubbish we’ve come to loathe and expect.
Philip’s product idea was the Body Rocka – although I think they should have stuck with his original name suggestion of Bum Ball.
I even found myself coming up with a marketing plan for Bum Ball, which included doctoring the lyrics to the Electric Six’s song Gay Bar.
Something along the lines of:
Bum Ball! Bum Ball!
I want to show you all the Bum Ball!
Feel the burn on the Bum Ball! Bum Ball!
Work up a sweat on your Bum Ball!
Let me sell you a Bum Ball! Bum Ball!
It could have worked. But they went with Body Rocka instead – and won the task.
This was mainly thanks to Philip’s spark of creativity, a design company that made the product look contemporary and swish in an apparent iPod kind of style and the generosity of the buyers from John Lewis, who ordered thousands on an exclusivity agreement. And yet that exclusivity agreement was almost the team’s downfall.
When the buyer asked for exclusivity and what the terms would be, the blank looks he got back from each and every member of the team were almost as shocking as the pregnant pause as non-one seemed to know what to say. They clearly had not talked about what strategy they should adopt during the pitches.
Some credit goes to Yasmina for breaking the silence. Yet she was obviously just plucking numbers from the air and it was more by luck than judgement that the team secured a deal – which wasn’t on the terms Yasmina suggested.
The only other moment of note came in a display of unjustified and misguided political correctness from project manager Debra (scary lady). She detected racism where no-one else did and got on her very high horse about it – it needed to be very high as she has very long legs.
It was all over in a flash, although sadly so was her indignation about such apparent intolerance. A few minutes later she was berating Lorraine’s pitching style as being aimed at special needs types (my words, her sentiments).
The winners also owe a big debt of thanks to the losing team, who were monumentally useless in just about every respect.
Special mention goes to the gloriously deluded Ben Clarke, a man with two main loves in his life – money and himself.
On the Apprentice website Benny Boy informs us: “To me, making money is better than sex” (presumably that excludes self-love?).
He came up with the team’s product. It was a black box with elastic bands coming out of it.
Ben also came up with most of the other ideas for products, which invariably had a “sex sells” angle. He even managed to get a salacious slant on the woeful black box they had designed, slapping his own well-padded buttocks as he showed off their item of fitness equipment during a sales pitch.
I’m not sure what anyone else in the team actually did during this task, including James the project manager (we’ll forever remember him as the man who did a little wee in his pants last time around when called into the boardroom). Kate provided some totty value, but her vacant stare doesn’t lie and I’m not convinced there is an awful lot going on in there.
No, this was the Benny Boy show from start to finish and as a result the task was a miserable failure.
But he escaped to love himself another day. James also managed to avoid the bullet, mainly thanks to a kind word in Sir Alan’s shell-like from the Blessed Margaret about some apparent managerial prowess that certainly was evident to us viewers (she’s going to have to play a blinder next week to make up for that error of judgement).
So it was Majid Nagra who got the chop. It was justified, mainly because he took over from Noorul this week as the show’s Invisible Man.
Apparently Maj was good at entertaining the team, although the evidence seemed as patchy as his beard. He didn’t contribute anything and come to think of it did not exactly provide anything of note in the first two weeks either.
His insightful words of wisdom on the Apprentice website helpfully tells us: “I think that business is the backbone to this world. Without companies buying and selling there wouldn’t be any economy.”
If the winner of The Apprentice is the person capable of stating the bleeding obvious then Maj would be a worthy champion.
But it isn’t, so he isn’t.