Posts Tagged ‘Lindi’

The Apprentice 2008: Ep. 5

April 24, 2008

Boardroom Blitz

‘This is outrageous!’ screams Alan as the opening montage strikes up. You half expect ‘this is contagious!’ to follow as it sounds so similar to Jeremy from Peep Show’s electro smash. We’re reminded it’s week 5 and suddenly you realise just how much of your life has whizzed past since Nicholas ‘De Lacy’ Brown was booted out. Over a month. Frightening.

We’re at that stage where it becomes harder to hate the contestants. The ones who made ridiculous claims about how competent they are have already blown apart the illusion by acting like nitwits and we’re left with a bunch of misguided, sympathetic goons and a couple of people you vaguely like but would never want to meet. Apart from Jennifer, who had barely said a word up to this point.

Claire is first to rise in the Apprentice house, making a cup of tea whilst dressed as a furry tent, chatting with Jenny about how best to stab the others – in their sleep, while their back is turned or in the shower?

Oh shit! It’s the doorbell!

And there he is, all wrinkles, pinstripe and sneers – Alan Sugar arrives for the spaz doorstep challenge. He asks them all to get changed and some kind of bongo mania kicks in as they run around getting changed. Some arrive fully dressed, some arrive in their jim-jams and Raef arrives dressed as a 1920’s cad, with smoking jacket and vigorously parted hair. Lucinda appears to be wearing a sporran.

Though only half awake they’re told they’re going to be making ice cream, then selling it to buyers. As promised last week, Claire is designated Team Leader and she manages Kevin the gerbil, Alex the weasel, Sara the shrew, Michael the hamster and Jenny the gutter-rat.

On the other team, Lucinda is asked to lead mortal enemy Helene, Raef the enigmatic twerp, Lee the sweetest Nazi in Essex, lovely Lindi and the best Salesperson in Europe – Jennifer. And in this episode, we actually got to discover where that claim came from. Hold tight, let’s dive in.

Claire starts her first meeting with a softly, softly approach. She can overpower people, she says. She realises that, so please pull her up on it. The thought of being overpowered by Claire is too scary to contemplate. Imagine, if you will, Claire dressed only in her fluffy white dressing gown, pinning you down on a stained lino floor as the kettle whistles in the background…

*shudder*

Some ideas for flavourings are brain-stormed, which (in layman’s terms) means ‘kicked about’. Vodka and coke ice cream is Claire’s first idea, to give you an idea of how brilliantly things start. Eventually they settle for Berrymania, Chocolate orange and Cider and elderflower, which all sound alright. As Alex, Kevin and Sara get busy making the stuff, Claire, Jenny and George Michael Costanza Sophocles set about finding 50 oranges as the ingredients demand. Oh – and they manage a couple of sales calls as well – which is handy as that’s their bloody job, the idiots.

Over on Lucinda’s team, everything ticks over like well-oiled clockwork. They talk about the ice creams they might make and it’s even worse than before. Ginseng. Carrot. Gooseberry fool. How about, chips in Lee McLee McQueen, a cuppa tea flavour?! I can think of nothing more revolting. Silly boy. They settle on – and this left my jaw on the floor – toffee apple (fair enough), cosmopolitan (eh?) and avocado with chilli (retch, wince, vomit).

Lucinda, Lee and Kevin make the product. Lee seems particularly in his element, whooping with delight as he makes the product. He’s found his niche. It’ll be hard to drag him from the factory floor. He was MADE to work in a hairnet and white-coat. Go Lee!

In the meantime, Raef, Jennifer and the number two for the task, young, naive Lindi go crazy on the phones, selling like crazy and growing more and more confident. I completely missed their ultimate error, which was to offer exclusivity to every single buyer without actually considering that might mean something and was logically impossible. It was ‘best salesperson in Europe’ Jennifer who set the ball rolling on this, clearly forgetting every trick she’d ever learned in a mad moment which weirdly sustained itself throughout the day. Lindi did notice, but did nothing about it and so, sadly she received the boardroom blitz when Lucinda lost the task – which was a shock, to say the least.

Happily though, Jennifer got a good hiding too – which may hopefully have brought her down a peg or two. She is the lady cyborg to Alex’s T2000. They’d need a jump start if they ever fell into bed, those two. Spark plugs and sockets… it doesn’t bear pondering.

So somehow Claire (one of the most questionable of the lot) won the task. Cleverly edited so that twist followed twist upon twisted twist, I didn’t expect the outcome (again). When they learned they’d done it, Alex showed his ‘smile-face’ – a collection of facial movements involving combined grimaces, morbid grinning and rictus smirking which was completely inhuman.

They won despite trying to test their product on a confused yoga class, a couple of pissed men, in a pub and finally a collection of pensioners. Alex got a massive deal which was then hijacked by the other team but ultimately a deal with the Hoxton Bar & Grill got them the cash they needed.

Without any other choice, after exposing Helene as a two-faced twat in front of Alan and the others, Lucinda dragged Lindi and Jennifer back with her and Lindi, as the one responsible for sales, got sacked – which is a shame as she’s better for TV than monotone monster Jennifer.

Some lovely destruction of the language this week. My favourite was Claire saying that, pre-boardroom she could feel the ‘guillotine literally inches away from her neck’ which was interesting as there was no guillotine in the shot. Perhaps she is a hallucinating mad-woman.

If only they’d punish them every time for making these rudimentary grammar errors. Maybe if Jenny had really been made to breastfeed two other contestants and Claire had actually been forced to have her block knocked off by a hanging French blade, the others might stop abusing our finest idioms.

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4

The Apprentice 2008 – Ep. 4

April 17, 2008

Christ. Well I wasn’t expecting that? Were you?

A major twist this week, of which more later. It’s interesting how this reality show is allowed (by us) to have a clearly fabricated narrative, editing that would’ve done Goebbels proud, a plot conjured out of thin air and a twist every episode. It’s so transparent that the whole thing is completely contrived, but we allow them to get away with it. I’m not sure why… the programme really is a waste of an hour. But for some reason it’s an unmissable waste of time. Peculiar.

So the phone goes, as usual, and Claire – a key performer this week – answers it in a big white, dressing gown that makes her look like she weighs 21 stone. Raef surfaces from bed with that carefully constructed hair lattice all askew, rubbing his sleepy little reptilian eyes before treating us to a shot of his left nip as he showers. One for the ladies.

Surrounded by some lovely paintings which Piqued would probably be able to bore you to death about, the contestants wait for Alan, dressed up to the nines. Alan – for he is now just plain old ‘Alan’ to me, after Simon burst his knighthood bubble last week – emerges to a 70s bongo fury soundtrack, making him resemble a withered Bee Gee crossed with a wasp. Or literally a ‘bee’ Gee.

You’re gonna be doing some photography in Bluewater, Alan instructs. ‘YES!’ mouths Simon, aware that he’s got to be Project Manager this time round, to save face. Boys and girls are mixed up for the first time this series, and on the face of it Simon has by far the better team – Alex, Claire, Jenny and Sara (lovely Sara). Helene ends up leader of the other team after some discussion and her team looks hopeless. Kevin, Raef, Lindi – all of them protrayed as buffoons in recent weeks.

When deciding on Project Manager Simon immediately jumped to the front of the queue – he knows photography and he knows Essex, right? But, when tempted to mock the people of Essex he states he would never ‘degenerate’ his own people. Which is good. He gets the job and asks Alex to be his right hand man. Alex dithers, aware that it’s a shortcut to the boardroom should they fail. At this point, cyborg faced Alex inadvertantly disrupted the whole effort, broke all confidence in Simon and ruined their chances. An immense lack of confidence that everyone else picked up on – most notably Claire who became this week’s hate-figure. They lost, if you hadn’t guessed by now.

Luckily the other team (I refuse to call them ‘Renaissance’ or ‘Alpha’ as they’re such terrible names) had Kevin on board. He wanted to SELL. He wanted to be out there ‘nailing it’. He likes nailing things. Also lucky that this team had Helene as team leader as she’s ‘got balls’ and she gets ‘pissed off’ easily. Ooer. She’s quite a horrific character – all boggly-eyed ferocity, blunt insults and faux-exasperation.

Simon chose Glamour and Beauty as his theme. Helene went for a lookalike Davey Beckham and ploughed money into a football theme – England shirts, terrace backdrop – the works. All good, but bloody expensive, so they made a poxy return, just shy of 200 quid.

I’m not sure if we were meant to believe that they’d set up the lookalike auditions. It was incredibly fabricated, but did give us the chance to laugh at what George Clooney might look like if he only ate doughnuts and Britney if she’d stayed off the drugs and moved to Surrey. As the auditions went on, Simon went to the same prop warehouse used every series and bought a few red sheets and a sofa whilst consistently asking his team to trust him, every five minutes, whilst on the verge of tears, smile wibbling on his face like a dodgy tightrope. Particularly enjoyed the scene where Simon called Claire and when she answered, said ‘hello’ as though he had received the call rather than made it. ‘Erm… Simon – you called us’. We’ve all done it. Well – I have.

After a night’s kip it was off to Bluewater.

Both teams were rubbish. Helene charged more and that probably won her the task. She was assisted in gaining victory by Alex and Claire spending the entire time complaining in the back room – making Simon’s job impossible, his face quivering and his forehead sweating all over the shop floor. Also out at the front selling rubbish photos were Sara, Jenny, Kevin, Lindi and LEE MCQUEEN. The latter was made to look vaguely human. He interacted with a child without using his stormtrooper fists to tear it limb from limb. Kevin nailed nothing, Jenny moaned and Lindi stood there looking pretty.

Out the back where the photos were developed was where everything went wrong for both teams. Helene battled with the skinless Lucinda over IT issues neither of them had the ability to resolve, whilst Raef managed to print a mug upside down with a comical ‘oh deeeeear’. And all of this with a disgruntled Dave Beckham looking on.

As I type, I realise that Jennifer – the Irish bob girl – didn’t feature at all last night. Was she even on camera? How is this allowed to happen?

In Simon’s squadron, Alex spent his time taking the piss out of the proles in the photos, telling Claire why he couldn’t do as Simon asked. Claire was meant to relay why errors were being made, which she patently did not do.

But she wasn’t fired at the end. Simon was. Fair enough, they made a loss – but there was a reason for that, and the reason was Claire. So another nasty, foul-tempered twat gets the nod ahead of someone who’s willing but just a bit feckless. It’s so unfair. It doesn’t seem right.

It’s the way the world works. Get used to it. This is business, alright?

 

Addendum 1: Sugar singing ‘coulda, woulda, shoulda…’ – is he a secret fan of Beverley Knight?

Addendum 2: Simon, in his exit interview, mentioned that he honestly ‘gave it 100%’. And that was his major failing. EVERYONE knows you have to give it at least 110% percent, otherwise the maths make sense and you’ve no hope of winning…

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3

The Apprentice 2008 – Ep. 2

April 3, 2008

Apprentice Launderette

Ever been to a launderette?

I have. So I have a pretty clear idea of how much it costs to wash clothes.

None of the girls last night can ever have frequented a washroom or a dry cleaners, as when tasked with pitching business to a hotel chain they saw fit to charge £4.99 per item. So 1,000 items of bedding could be washed and ironed for the bargain-rate price of £5,000. This really was shake-head-in-disbelief stuff. How could that figure have been agreed? Was it that these girls have never had to wash their dirty linen in public? Or was it a case of one voice shouting louder than the others and the rest of the troupe following blindly and obediently?

The latter, you have to say, when you consider that the girl’s Project Manager for this totally shambolic episode was Jenny. Good God – what an abomination this redheaded, tube-faced monster is. We should have seen it coming when she squeaked ‘I just love sales!’ with a giggle of perversion (like she was sitting on a washing machine, aptly enough) in her week one vox pop. She’s this year’s Saira Khan but with none of the charm or bewildering attractive qualities. She’s this year’s Jo – (remember that insane Tigger contestant last year?) but with none of the slightly lunatic joie de vivre. In short – she’s terrifying.

The boys were ‘led’ by Raef. His leadership strategy involved splitting the chaps into the two camps he complained had developed last week and making the jocks do the hard work whilst the nerds strolled around town fixing their cufflinks and checking their reflections in shop windows. I’m no fan of Alex, Ian, Lee and Simon, but at least they get their hands dirty (for evidence, see Simon spiritedly battering that fishhead last week). They were destined to win – so Raef stays in for at least another week despite clearly being eventual Yer Fired-fodder.

Jennifer, oh Jenny. Where to begin? The girl’s made so many ludicrous errors last night that it’s tempting to think they were doing it for a laugh – or getting a fiver from the cameraman per mistake. So error number one was, as with last week, not considering that if you’re going to sell something, you have to work out the right mark-up. Blindly trying to sell something without considering its value is just beyond belief. After the £5,000 laundry shocker, they went to their next client and offered to wash, dry and iron his massive pile of shop-soiled smocks for a tenner. One twisted extreme to another.

As they wobbled along the valley of disasters, they left the actual nitty-gritty of actually doing the laundry to the very last minute. With huge piles of clothes sorted by Shazia, they set to work and realised they needed more irons and equipment, so went back to the house to pick up spares – only to find the boys had nicked everything they needed earlier in the day. From that point, they were doomed. The boys seemed to go from strength-to-strength while the girls added insult to their own festering injuries.

Trying to enforce tips? What the fuck? Beyond bolshy bellboys hanging around a bit too long, I’ve never heard of anything like it. Imagine a waitress talking in depth about the tip they expect to receive after serving you a mediocre salad. It’s not on, is it? Now imagine that salad’s got certain elements missing, like dressing, croutons and vegetables. For that is what happened – the girls lost clothes.

Jenny somehow pinned the blame on Shazia – saying she upped and left having only labelled some of the clothes. From where I was sitting (and admittedly I was pretty pissed up) I thought Jenny had ordered her to go with her. I could be wrong.

At one point in the catalogue of rubbishness, Jenny actually made Lucinda cry. Actual tears…  I’ve had managers who’ve made me angry, managers who’ve made me punch inanimate objects out of sheer frustration and managers who’ve left me so washed out and overworked that I’ve stared into space for hours. But making your employees cry? That takes a special kind of graceless idiocy.

So how did Jenny survive the boardroom? Why did Shazia go? I was particularly pissed off about this as I picked Shazia in an office sweepstake. I was robbed!

The reason is, once again, ‘good telly’. Jenny will continue to writhe in her own two-dimensional villain status for the next couple of weeks and we’ll lap it up, criticising the silly cow to make ourselves feel a little bit better about our own offices, colleagues and careers. It becomes more apparent, show upon show, that this is only TV, pure entertainment and not the job interview it professes to be. But who cares?

I don’t.

Episode one

The Apprentice 2008 – Ep. 1

March 27, 2008

Yer Fired 

Last night’s Apprentice was a winner. It’s good to see it back. Old Pa Sugar was on form as he listened to the explanations describing how one team went chaotic and the other split into two sub-teams of ‘cockneys and toffs’. A crowded and hard-to-follow episode, probably because there are 16 of the bastards to get through.

Last night he separated the girls and boys and set them to the task of selling fishies down a market of their choice in dirty ol’ London Tairn.

Young Alex, a budget Ethan Hawke who the ladies already seem to love, stepped up to accept the role of Project Manager whilst all the other lads bickered like little shitbags about it. Raef in particular decided to immediately stick his neck out in order to display to his fellow players that he was the peacock alpha-twat of the group.

Look at me!’ he seemed to yell – ‘I’ll be your Tre, your Saed for this series! Every opportunity I get I’ll make myself look like a panto villain for larks and chuckles!‘…

The project management delegation was interspersed by vox pops from the contestants. Sara excelled in this to-camera self-celebration, trotting out an aggressive spiel, but really nervously – with the effect of her looking like a completely adorable psychopath. The sort of girl who’ll win your heart whilst stabbing you repeatedly in the leg with a scalpel. Bless ‘er. She continued in her tender, fixated beration as all the ladies squawked at a hapless fishmonger they’d decided to quiz – barking queries at the poor sod like he was in Guantanamo.

Both teams decided to sell fish down at Chapel Market – a market attended by unemployed misfits missing teeth. The perfect demographic for blowfish and lobster.

The girls started selling immediately. Without actually looking at what they were selling. Sugababe Lindi initiated this as the others squabbled, selling stuff for figures that popped into her head at random. The others, headless chickens at this stage, all decided this was a ruddy good idea and joined in like a shower of fools. They eventually got their game together though and at least guessed better than the boys, as they ended up winning the task. They got served fish cooked by Johnny Christopher Novelli – that slick French character of Hell’s Kitchen, series 2. These reality types get about, eh?

The boys, on the other hand, gave the gig of pricing up to young Nick De-Lacy Whatsisface (don’t matter no more – he’s been booted) and he royally fucked it up – leading to his expulsion via the Sugar-finger process.

In the dizzy scenes of fish-selling, all a bit confusingly edited, we saw:

  • Teardrop headed Simon attempt to cleaver the head of a big fish, balls it up and decide to saw it off instead. This was one of the most brutal things I’ve ever seen on normal telly. My missus is a delicate old soul and actually had to look away at that point.
  • Sophocles getting mugged by a solicitor who bought all his pricey fish for next to nothing. Sophocles thought he’d got a good deal, but anyone who’s ever had to deal with anyone who works in the legal profession and didn’t feel ripped off by the experience is clearly an imbecile.
  • A fight rage between the boys about an apparent ‘class-divide’. How that happened in the space of two or three hours is pretty much down to Raef, the engineer of the rift. Basically he got all those with slightly posher accents onside and broke down any chance of winning.

In the boardroom, Alex quite easily beat Raef into a corner using that crazy little thing called ‘logic’. Apart from the fact he kept referencing his CV, he came across as alright, I felt, and made Nick De-Lacy Whadjermacallit look like a complete tit. Apparently the fact that the buffoon is into his art and his culture meant he couldn’t sell fish, or so his explanation went.

An amused Sir Sugar watched the fireworks with a distant grin on his face before firing Nick very quickly.

Raef was lucky not to have gone, but they’ll have to keep him in as he gives good telly – and that’s what this is all about. Right kids?