Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Shaw’

The Apprentice 2008: Ep. 6

May 1, 2008

Kevin and Jenny

This week, the tycoons of tomorrow (and the satellite installation men and bank managers) had to troop over to my manor – the glorious town of Hackney – where they all stood about looking smarter than they actually are. The main lobby looks a lot swisher than it did when I was there to pick up some important forms, I ought to add.

Old Alan made a very clunky speech regarding births, marriages and deaths. ‘I was registered as being born here, in 1852’. ‘My marriage was registered here and, most probably, my death’ll be registered here after I’ve ‘ad you lot in the boardroom one too many times!’ Ho ho! The Apprentices smiled the smiles of a classroom of scared children.

The task was as follows: come up with a theme for a greetings card, make five examples on that very theme and then pitch it to buyers. Tesco, Celebrations and Clintons being the big fish expected to take the contestants’ dangling maggots.

Old Man Alan put Michael ‘It’s Gore-tex’ Sophocles in charge of one team, guaranteeing hilarity. This was compounded by his making Kevin ‘Nails’ Shaw the leader of the other. If laughs didn’t follow, the show’s raison d’etre would fall apart. Obviously it didn’t and we were subject to ineptitude and incompetence on a grand scale.

Sophocles was a sulky, confused kitten throughout and basically delegated everything to Raef, who rose to the challenge, despite a couple of hiccups. We were reminded of Sophocle’s vox pop – that he would manipulate anyone to get to where he’s going. In this case, manipulation appeared to be asking people ‘can you do this?’ so that he didn’t have to. His first idea, which he really tried to push, was a plastic surgery themed greetings card. Along the lines of ‘Congratulations on your penis extension!’, one assumes. It didn’t go down too well, despite the fact that Raef championed it, stating that the women he’s met what’s ‘ad ’em done are always only to happy to pop them out on request, so would love a card. I think that says rather more about the feminine company Raef keeps than the fairer sex.

Instead, Raef piped up later on with a brainwave. Let’s do a National Singles Day! Or a National Singles’ Day… With an apostrophe, somewhere. Or not. Does it have an apostrophe? They took four hours to work it out. They called the Editor of a national newspaper. They ummed and aaahed. They didn’t come up with a definitive answer, despite Raef declaring earlier that words are his tool…’ He’s got skills in that field ‘to… er… ah….you know… full capacity.’

The actual answer, fact fans, is that you can either have the apostrophe or not. It’s up to you. It can be the national day of many singles, which requires no apostrophe, or it can be the national day belonging to singles, which does require one. Bearing in mind, from a marketing perspective, the public is a bit thick, best to go without punctuation. It only confuses people. If in doubt…etc…

Before all this was going on, a proof-reading frenzy no less, the photographs were being shot by the stony-silent Jennifer, mute and still smarting from last week’s humiliation. Doing all the work on her behalf were the loggerheaded Lucinda and Helene – two women who can’t be in the same room without arguing. And we all know what that means, right lads? Sapphic sexual tensions! Next week they’ll be lezzing up with the best of them, mark my words… ‘Nobody’s telling me what to do’ said the alien life-form, Helene. Lucinda diplomatically responded by calling her ‘sweetheart’ in that patronising posho voice she does so well.

Kevin fell into a similar trap as Michael – allowing a stronger contestant to take the reins whilst floundering. ‘820%’ Kevin said he was going to give, which I thought was pathetic. Why not 830%, Kev? Up the ante! It turned out that Sophocles was lucky his rein-man was Raef. Jenny, the red-headed goon was the architect of Kevin’s downfall. The scary part is that neither of them realised they were working on a really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, SHIT idea.

Greetings cards to remind people to be ecologically sound. A ‘Save The Planet’ day. I think that’s what it was going to be called. They wavered between that and ‘Save the Earth’, without actually settling on one. Later, Kevin even said – after a pitch went spectacularly badly – ‘with that kind of attitude they aren’t gonna be saving any planets’. So I’m not even sure it was Earth he was babbling on about.

With two hours to go before the pitch and with scrawled handwriting on the walls, Kevin started flapping his feathers and bottling the pitch. Jenny and Claire refused to do it, with there only being two hours prep time left, leaving Kevin to pitch himself and dig his own grave. All credit to him, the boy is sure handy with a shovel.

There were echoes of the time, a couple of series ago, when Nargis pitched a kitten calender. Remember that? Well this was ten times worse, given that Kevin has an amusing accent, a small boy’s face and gets very aggressive when queried. At one point he instructed the buyers that not buying the goods would be equivalent to America ‘not caring about pollution’. Quite a claim.

Raef pitched quite well but came across a couple of brick walls as Sophocles had put his singles day date at February 13th – the day before National VD. What a plank. Fortunately, by the third pitch, that was changed and they fared better. At one point, the most unlikely scenario possible happened when Lee McQUEEN saved Raef in a boardroom as he stumbled over the plums in his mouth.

And so, to the boardroom.

Wally Bazoom, a regular on WWM, mentioned to me the other day that I should imagine the sound of a toilet flushing as Old Alan emerges from behind the frosted glass to judge the contestants. Now I can’t shift it from my head, and it detracts from the gravitas, to an extent.

Sophocles was grilled and he responded with petulant looks around the room, like a kid who COULDN’T BELIEVE he was being told off. ‘Don’t get impatient with me, young man’ said Alan. Then the bearded one turned on Kev. ‘I just wanted to learn how to pitch’ said Kevin, squeaking rodent-like.

When the scores were read out, Kevin lost by some margin. Sophocles, in one of the funniest boardroom moments I’ve ever seen, shouted COME ON!

Not once, but twice, whacking his fist into his palm. In a crafty edit, Margaret responded with amazed revulsion. Sophocles was reprimanded then sent off to listen to Myleene Klass banging away on an old Joanna. Raef smiled at him, lovingly.

Like the fool he is, Kevin resisted making Jenny part of the instant death trio and took Sara and Claire. Claire, it should be pointed out, worked harder than when she was Team Leader. Sara, it ought to be pointed out, was only there because Jenny bullied her and Kevin made a huge tactical error in thinking he could swing Old Alan round to believing she was at fault. He didn’t, for one moment, stating that he was old enough to know when someone’s being ‘ganged up on’. A rare victory for wisdom in The Apprentice and an even bigger victory for those of us who think Sara is a smashing looking lass.

The end sequence was, I think, a first for the format. We were treated to extended highlights of the two saved contestants returning to the house where LEE MCQUEEN discarded any public goodwill he’d gathered by shouting at Sara like he was on the fucking footie terraces, in the 80s, pumped full of Skol. As Alex joined in with a whiney beep, Raef, to his credit, stuck up for Sara, who looked on the verge of tears. Thankfully, before it all went Big Brother on us, it ended – leaving us hungry for more poison. A brilliant episode.

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5

The Apprentice 2008 – Ep. 3

April 10, 2008

Straight into week three and we kicked off with a reminder of Shazia’s unfair exit. We sat through the trauma once again as Shazia whimpered the word ‘please’, just before getting booted. And then it’s on to Tate Modern for the briefing. They’re going to run out of London landmarks soon. By series six Sugar will be asking them to rendezvous outside the Holborn Wetherspoons, six a.m. sharp.

The task is to transform a London boozer – Upper Street in Islington and Hampstead are the locations, so hardly spit and sawdust locals – into a credible gastropub. Or at least into a pub that serves food.

By my reckoning, that’s actually a pretty simple thing to do. Usually I balk at the Sugar-suggestion at this stage, wondering how the hell I’d cope, certain I’d make as many elementary mistakes as the preening pricks lining up for the bum-job. This time, however, I actually thought ‘easy’. They had a kitchen ready to go, a chef waiting to be utilised and a restaurant ready to be filled. All they had to do was sit down for a couple of hours, decide what food would suit the area (food they could actually cook), work out how much everything would cost and how much, as a result, they could sell it for. Pretty basic stuff.

Instead and as usual, both teams ran straight out of the door, barking rubbish into blackberries and making shit up as they went along. The insufferable goons.

Led by Ian Stringy Stringer, the boys’ period of research and planning seemed only to involve a lot of guarantees and pledges that they would work hard (Raef winning the ‘first to say 110% percent’ competition this week) and deciding they’d do Italian food. The girls, led by the sweary-mouthed Sara argued about what theme to follow. Someone idioticly bellowed ‘Let’s have a murder-mystery night!’ (in a pub?!) whilst Sara wanted a Bollywood theme whilst Claire wanted English fare. Sara won as she was Team Leader. Sara won because she has the dead-eyed gaze of the living dead and the ability to repeat herself until all around her wilt and perish. Sara, for some reason, is very attractive – against all the odds.

A key failing on Ian The Stringboy Stringer’s part was the appointment of Kevin as Head Chef. It came to light that this was a tactic by which he could transfer all blame to the Somerset George Dawes should things conspire to go wrong – which they did, thank God. If they hadn’t – where’d be the fun in that?

Kevin was asked to lead a chat on what food they were going to make as he’d declared his expertise on Italian cuisine earlier – apparently he eats in ‘a lot of Italian restaurants in Guildford’. His speech on what menu he fancied working on was a kind of confused stream, listing vaguely intelligible food processes. Watching him stumble over terms he’d seen on the cooking channel was the highlight of the show for me. ‘We take a mushroom. Then we bake it’ he said, not unreasonably. ‘Then we put some salt and pepper on it’ he continued before completely losing his train of thought, ‘and then we puree it’… This carried on for some time, until the baked, pureed mushroom had been flambeed, whipped and crumbled over fruits of the forest. Kevin, by this point, had proved himself to be either a very convincing actor or the greatest example of incompetence since Eddie The fucking Eagle. What’re we making for dessert Kevin? A latte with chocolate sprinkles. Mmmmm! Fetch me a spoon!

These scenes were interspersed with Lee having the most working class nervous breakdown ever seen onscreen. ‘I am concerned!’ he yelled into his mobile at one point. ‘LEE MCQUEEN IS CONCERNED!’. Within the gap between two sentences we watched him disassociate himself and plant his ego a few yards from his id, lapsing into third person in the process. ‘Dunno how to spell ‘accent” he said at one point, the big Nazi-faced thicko.

Sara wandered around in a sort of stoned, glazed wilderness of her own making as the other girls pulled together to make her curry night happen. She bought spices for the curry in minute quantities – I have more in my kitchen than she’d bought to feed at least a hundred people. Luckily her charges did the work for her and though her night was a bit of a shambolic mess – the Bollywood dancer being a particularly David Lynch-like lowlight – they made loads of money. This rested on the fact that Jennifer (the Irish one, not the redhead) had charged a fiver for entry. Profit before the doors had opened. Success. Jennifer is one to watch.

Meanwhile, the boys ended up being led by nobody. Ian turned into an empty shed, devoid of ideas or emotion, Raef hid in the shadows, Alex did what he could, Simon searched for answers from his boss and found himself in Ian’s pretty-boy dead end, facing disaster. Sophocles made his customary George Costanzaesque mistakes and got away with it. LEE MCQUEEN was concerned and continued to shout, his words forming a white noise it was quite easy to ignore. And Kevin, poor little Kevvy boy with his Westcountry accent and unrequested Head Chef role, had to do something. He made revolting food, gave a David Brentesque pep talk out of nowhere and, bless his heart, he tried. The fact that Ian Stringy Stringboy didn’t grab him by his neck and tell him to SHUT THE FUCK UP is the Stringy man’s problem.

Kevin tried, he failed, but at least he gave it a go. And that’s what resulted in Ian getting fired. He did absolutelty dick all apart from worry about his hair straighteners. Maybe he’s thick. Maybe he was just overwhelmed by the situation. Either way, Sugar sent him on his way and was justified in doing so.

The boardoom was fun. Simon was pretty much exonerated, Kevin was entirely unconvincing when talking up his progress and Ian sat there denying everything he’d done wrong.

Simon was dragged into the final three, which was baffling. So shocked was he that he made the amusing error of calling ‘Sir Alan’ the more familiar ‘Alan’, before realising his mistake and lifting his hand to his mouth, as if to say ‘Sorry Sir’ like a little boy. Quite endearing, really.

Instead of forming an argument and sticking to it, Ian simply denied everything. He denied that Kevin had given a pep talk (surely he knew Sugar had seen the footage?) and he might as well have denied the fact he existed. He was appalling under scrutiny, and it’s the boardroom where you have to be convincing. Forget the actual task, if you can’t cradle your balls against a counter attack in front of the bearded fat-cat, it’s the highway for you. And off he popped, without fanfare, back into anonymity.

Upon their return to the house, young Kevin shouted ‘Booyaka!’, delightfully using a very 90s term to express his happiness. ‘I totally nailed Ian in there’ he declared, as all around him looked on in stunned disbelief.

Noted for their absence, for a lack of footage around week three equals likely progress later on, were Raef and Alex. Neither said anything of any real consequence, Raef sat about looking other-worldly and Alex wore a stupid hip-hop hat at the end. They’re going to be key players later on and I can’t wait to see them fail, fail and fail again. That’s what it’s all about, after all.