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Saturday, 25 April 2009

The Apprentice, BBC1


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1. (6) Katie. Very impressive in her first effort as project manager, seeming to be able to reject half-decent ideas of her minions without mortally wounding their faith in her judgement. She inexplicably dispensed with Yasmina and James’ pirate shanty theme for the advert on the basis that the cereal hero Captain Squawk was ‘male’, and so sent Ben to record the catchy jingle.

She calmly dealt with the very suspicious anomaly that Kane the child actor in the advert had “a nut allergy” and so couldn’t eat any of the cereal. What did his agent think when they received a booking for ‘breakfast cereal’ – that Kane would be asked to gobble up some nut-free moondust? Nuts in cereals was always on the cards, and so this resembled an Apprentice conceit to stir up more drama.

2. (3) James. Embodies the innocent spirit of a gentleman who frequents brothels to re-enact the thrill of waking up on Christmas morning and opening all the presents. His enthusiasm is unstable, and he will likely be fired when next in the boardroom, but his discordant traits are born of emotional clumsiness rather than the malice common elsewhere in the show.

3. (11) Noorul. We remember when we drove away from our Gradma’s house and we’d wave and wave and wave at her, as she gradually became a speck in the distance. And this exemplifies Noorul’s role in the Apprentice, each week his role is incrementally diminished to the point that this week he was a sullen superhero dressed in a suit that made him look like a static-faced supra-bloated Piers Morgan after swallowing his own ego.

4. (5) Yasmina. Another candidate, who through brute force and who spits out words akin to the Mongol Horde skewering half-dead peasants after the sacking of Baghdad, has made herself a frontrunner to win the contest.

5. (7) Lorraine. Her tactics and attitude towards Kimberley in this task resembled a hunter who traps, skins and cooks a deer before plonking it on the dinner table, and then turning vegetarian and expecting the deer to forgive her.

6. (8) Mona. Was vilified by Margaret for “patronising” the employees of McCann Erickson, who were really just drab business shells fired out of the big artillery guns of clich├ęs. If McCann Erickson is populated by “agency whizz-kids” and “hard-nosed advertising executives” then they deserve to be patronised for possessing all the individuality of free offers smuggled into the middle of TV supplement magazines.

7. (4) Debra. Is already looking like a finalist as she follows the well-trodden path of Saira, Ruth and Claire in being the ostensibly awful human being who is perfectly suited to the inhuman bearpit of modern business.

Her presentation to McCann Erickson ad executives was decent, while her exclamation of “Dat is awesome!” indicated she uses the vernacular of a habitual 14-year-old truant – ideal for the typical Amstrad worker.

8. (1) Howard. Was probably fired a few weeks ago, but continues to appear not in the role of a candidate but more as a referee to adjudicate amid the bickering of all his team mates. He has vanished to the point where he even tries to take the blame for the awfulness of his team – “I thought the green box would stand out Sir Alan” – but still cannot make any other impression other than to grind his teeth and make his cheeks quiver as though in the throes of a minor earthquake.

9. (12) Ben. Like the slyer candidates from times of yore, Ben has realised that he is painting his backside with a big target and so has adapted his strategy to become supportive and helpful until he needs to break out the nuclear-tipped bile rockets. Jovial to the point of fascist dictator-charisma, his pirate impression resembled a hurricane trying to fight its way out of the throat of Justin Lee Collins.

10. (9) Kimberley. In Se7en, Gwnyth Paltrow’s character is doomed from the moment she reveals her pregnancy to husband Brad Pitt, in order to make his grief all the more vivid later on. An inversion of this stratagem was employed for Kimberley as she crowed about how “this is the task I’ve been waiting for” in order to make the moment her ambitions plummeted and hit the ground and her dreams trickled away in crimson streams from her stagnant career corpse all the more gratifying for viewers.

She was deservedly fired because of her tactic of performing with staggering incompetence and then glumly reflect, “Well, there’s nothing we can do about it now!” as if it was an act of God that’s responsible rather than her ineptitude,

11. (10) Philip. His conflicts with Lorraine and Kimberley resembled those bestial jousts for dominance in the shallows of the Nile between warring male hippos as they try in vain to make their mouths bigger than their rivals almost in an effort to swallow them. He gnaws and scratches like a piglet persecuting the runt of the litter to make sure he and he alone is all right.

Yet his most pernicious crime was his blithe endorsement of the Cadbury’s advert with the ape playing drums. For whatever favour is bestowed on this commercial has the effect of validating the corrupting influence of Phil Collins on popular culture, an anathema that must be repelled with all the cauterising horror of an outbreak of small pox.

But even this paled with the inadvertent, though not excusable, offence his singing caused with his voice so sapped of all humanity it could be used to call Britain’s Got Talent viewers to the phone to vote. If the atoms at the dawn of creation had realised that one day some of them would be abased to carry Philip’s heinous tones through the atmosphere to pollute the ears of other organic beings, they would have scurried into the first black hole that was caused by a supernova, happy to remain in a state of limbo for all eternity.

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