The Apprentice 2013 - Week 3: Flat Pack Twats

Only morons like flat pack furniture, but at least they'd be competent with it. This lot couldn't sell MDF to the Swedish...
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Only morons like flat pack furniture, but at least they'd be competent with it. This lot couldn't sell MDF to the Swedish...

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Flat pack furniture; the very bane of Bank Holidays and men who just want to sit in a nice chair and watch a Bond film instead of fannying around Ikea wanting the ground to crack open and pull you into the underworld with as many Bekvam step stools as the Devil seems fit. It’s like Emma Kennedy; you either love her or hate it, there isn’t a mediocre middle ground of lazily shrugging your shoulders and going back to reading the Metro you stole from public transport. Some people are brilliant at knocking up wardrobes and beds and like nothing more than spending an afternoon frantically searching for an integral screw of their new Malm cabinet, whereas others want to set fire to every single Ikea megastore and hope that the combined pollutants from cheap MDF and plastics strikes the need to have everyone’s first flat look the same.

But have you ever wondered how these creations are created and how they are rushed into stores for you to yearn over? Of course not, we all have lives, but that’s what this week’s Apprentice hoped to answer by throwing the ten twat in hats at the manufacturing industry to see who would burn brightly like a Glimma unscented tea light, or hang around like a bad horse meatball.

As we join the Apprentices they’re being summoned by Lord Sugar, Karen Brady in a lovely Gok Wan at Tu at Sainsburys-esque number and the housewife’s favourite, Nick Hewer to appear before him like a gaggle of naughty schoolchildren at The Angel Building in Islington, which apparently has nothing to do with the manky pub that I thought The Angel Islington in Monopoly was. It seems to be one of those fancy buildings that looks like it would be a nightmare to keep clean; lots of chrome surfaces and glass nonsense. The type of place that you just wouldn’t want to live because no one has enough money to pay for that much Flash.

The two teams are tasked with designing, creating a prototype and pitching a brand new product to massive companies that Lord Sugar has arranged for them to visit, as well as whatever branches of Poundland and B&M Home Bargains they come across.

Seems like an easy enough idea right? We all have an idea that we think will be canny enough to make us millions but never do anything about. Obviously I’m not going to tell you what mine is, I haven’t got a copyright or anything and don’t want to get Winklevossed. Well it seems that too many cooks can sometimes spoil the broth as the girls go hammer and tong into redesigning the box while the boy’s team throw themselves head first into creating a table/chair hybrid. Why no one decided to create a device that loudly plays Blondie whenever anyone gives out an opinion about Taylor Swift that isn’t about who she’s sleeping with is beyond me but it’s still early on in the series.

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Natalie, a woman who’s main contribution to society seems to be having a monopoly on women’s chins takes the lead of the Girl’s Team and hastily starts to add all of the things that you would find in a living room: chair, check, tray, of course, storage cabinet, naturallement, lets stick it on wheels and call it a multipurpose living device. Eventually, adding all the parts together results in something which is less of a highly sought about item and instead looks like something that, as Lord Sugar so sweetly puts it, you would find in 1970s East Germany. It’s remarkably shit. Even the fact that it takes no screws or glue to fix together isn’t that much of a saving grace. I would certainly want to stick a screw or two in there instead of pushing an oddly coloured box on wheels around like I was showing off where I keep my catheter bags.

In traditional Apprentice style, both teams split up and do some lovely market research. Market research is one of the most valuable tool that businesses can use because it allows people to connect with a certain demographic and see whether they are just barking up the wrong tree, or whether there really is a market for a desk that is covered with prints of dogs dressed like Where’s Wally. And if there’s no market, then you can find out why not and do something about it. It should never, ever, ever be ignored. Ever. So, naturally, it makes complete sense that the Girl’s Team would completely ignore what real people who would hopefully go on to buy your product would think about it.

I could go on about how terribly the Boy’s Team did, but compared to the squawking and bleating done by the Girl’s Team, nothing of much interest happened to them. With Uzma working her way through the team like an Eastern Bloc Roxy Mitchell, and Rebecca trying to be the moral compass of the massive ship of crazy, it was obviously going to be the Girls who massively lost the task, and with a huge gap of almost three thousand orders, the Boys are sent to climb the O2 and the Girls are sent to the local cafe to drink the weakest tea and eat the stalest pain au chocolat to try and pass the blame onto someone else.

As the Girls are dragged back into the Board Room and set against each other like a dog fight at the Appleby Fair proceedings become a cacophonous din again. Everyone tries to blame someone else, which insisting that what they did during the task was the most important thing. Unfortunately for Uzma and Sophie (a girl so meek that I didn’t even know what her name was until tonight) and brought back in to face off against each other one more time, with the loser being chauffeur driven home. Even though Uzma designed the box on wheels, she somehow manages to convince Lord Sugar to send Sophie packing and relegated to the annals of forgotten Apprentice history. Which is a massive shame. I was dying to see what wonderful things she was going to blend into the background of next week.

So see you later Sophie, it was nice learning your name and for you to remind us of that woman from last year who had the feistiness of a bulldog, but with the looks of Go Go Yubari from Kill Bill. It’d be lovely to say that you will be missed but it really won’t be. You had as much impact as colouring a blackboard in with a black marker.

Unfortunately tonight’s episode didn’t really stand out from the ordinary or would compel someone to watch it. It worked on generic problems and situations to try and exact a response that really doesn’t make women who like to do business look good.

If you want to be partially bored for an hour, then this is a great episode to start with. Or why not try and spice it up by having a shot of vodka every time that you can see a link of make up on BBC HD. It’s one of the reasons that I’m slowly finding out that writing about something which s a bit boring while drunk is a really difficult thing to do.