The Apprentice Season 7 - Part 2
Week 7: Glenn Ward
The teams are tasked with creating a "freemium" magazine, one which is given away for free on public transport and such, but makes money through advertising. One team make such a mess-up in choosing a "lad's mag" that the other team win, despite titling their magazine for the older market "Hip Replacement". Actually it's not such a bad name and fairly clever, but Jim managed to drag all the fun and knowing irony out of it by putting it in such an arch font it looked like the magazine was about actual hip replacements.
Oddly we never see Natasha's team questioned as to where exactly they'd give away a magazine full of smut without getting arrested, but the weirdest moment of the show is when one of the advertising buyers gets slightly confused as to where he is, telling the teams that usually the advertising in the first issue would be given away for free to try and get more big names on board for future issues. A fair point in the real world, but he seemed to be missing the fact that The Apprentice is a glorified gameshow, and not only will there not be future issues, there won't even be a real first issue, as the magazines only exist in Alan Sugar's Apprentice alternate-universe. Said executive then states that he's going to go and discuss the proposal with his clients to see if they're interested. I'm really hoping he didn't, as that would have been an awkward conversation: "how interested are you in buying some advertising space in this fictitious magazine?"
We go further in to the twilight zone when poor Glenn is fired, not for what he did or didn't do on the task, but for being an engineer. "I have never yet come across an engineer who can turn his hands to business" said Sugar, which is a fair enough statement on its own, but one has to wonder that if thousands of people apply for The Apprentice every year, and Sugar would never pick an engineer to win, why on earth would he pick an engineer to go on the show in the first place? I can only imagine how annoyed Glenn must have been that he'd put all this time in to a competition he had no chance of winning from the outset. Utterly bizarre.
Week 8: Leon Doyle
In contrast, one of the most fair firings we've seen so far, as Leon gets sent to France, realises he can't speak French, and so does nothing for the entire task. Still, a case could have been made for Melody, who when asked to research how popular a transportable baby car seat would be, does said research at Metro station. It turns out that people who use the underground to travel aren't that interested in something for a car that they either don't own or don't use.
To top it all off, we finally discover on the You're Fired aftershow that Leon used to work for La Redoute, the major retailer that the teams had to pitch to. Why it took the sterling business mind of Dara O'Briain to find this out rather than Sir Alan picking up on it in the boardroom after looking at Leon's "resumay" I don't know.
Week 9: Zoe Beresford
Biscuits. Each team designs a different new type of biscuit, and both come up with a fairly decent idea, but then Tom ruins his team's chances by making the most unappealing looking biscuit in the world. It's two biscuits, one inside the other, and then half of it covered in chocolate. All he had to do was flip the chocolate covering on the inside biscuit so it covered the other half, and not only would it look interesting, but it'd also solve the problem of having a shareable biscuit where one person gets all the chocolate.
Meanwhile on the other team, Jim momentarily becomes my personal hero, as the supermarket executives ask his team how he plans to market the biscuit. Now, creating a marketing plan wasn't in the scope of the task the teams were given, and said executive was just trying to be clever and trip them them up in the hopes of getting some screen time. Jim realises this fairly swiftly, and is also quite aware of that fact that he can say whatever he wants, as he'll never actually have to produce anything. And so he spins a wonderful tale of prime-time TV advertising and sponsorship from Harry Potter. It's so deliciously ridiculous, and he's later called on it in the boardroom by an annoyed Sugar, who doesn't seem to realise that pointing out that Jim was "bullshitting" also highlights exactly how full of crap the entire show is when it comes to this sort of thing.
But alas, it's Zoe that goes home, and I'll miss her, if only because she's basically Chloe from 24 if Chloe was from Stoke-on-Trent and worked for a drinks manufacturer instead of CTU.
Week 10: Melody Hossaini
Ahh Melody. A few people have, over the course of the series, attempted to place Melody's accent. Like Melody I too spent seven years going to school in Walsall, and I can exclusively reveal the accent is called "desperately-hiding-Black-Country".
In another bizarre task, over two days teams had to buy stock from wholesalers, sell it, re-invest the profits and sell some more. Except the teams only really re-invested their money once each, probably because the wholesalers were a three-hour round trip away, and doing anything else made no sense. Then one team was given a completely random fine in the boardroom for not re-investing, while the other team were let off even though they only re-invested £20, and demonstrated exactly how pointless that was by then running out of time before they could sell any of it.
Even with the fine, Natasha's team won, but they weren't allowed to go and race vintage cars for the treat as planned because they'd been so naughty. Since the prize must have already been booked, and there would likely have been too little time to cancel it, I'd speculate that someone had to have gone on that treat. And for some reason I just really like the image of Alan Sugar, Nick and Karen racing vintage cars around a track. Nick wins, of course.
Week 11: Natasha Scribbins
The teams go head-to-head to create new, original, innovative fast-food restaurants. Jim's team have the brilliant idea of doing Mexican food, and Jim goes off and finds a Mexican fast-food restaurant and quizzes them on exactly how to do it right. I'm slightly confused as to how he didn't figure out there was a problem with the whole 'originality' thing as soon as he saw another Mexican fast food restaurant but he pushes on regardless. The other team opt for pies, and it soon becomes apparent that they made the right choice as there was no real way to pre-prepare the Mexican food and keep it warm, so they were faced with the dilemma of slow service or cold food.
It's interesting that, as a show, The Apprentice will often try and misdirect you, make it look like one team is doing better but then have them hit a snag and show the other team then doing really well to try and keep you guessing. Well either the editors gave up on this episode, or Jim's team did so badly and Helen's team so well that there literally wasn't any footage they could use to imply the opposite.
Eventually Natasha gets fired for not knowing how to cook. Or indeed anything else about the catering industry even though she did a degree in hospitality. I can only imagine she didn't want to tell Lord Sugar that she never went to any lectures.
Click here for our look at the final.