Britain is well and truly on the bones of its arse but, as we’re continually told, the best way for us to haul our way out of the mire is with the help of enterprise and big business. Appropriately, The Apprentice has returned, allowing us to gauge the quality of the nation’s up and coming, forward-thinking brainiacs. As ever, it’s not looking good for UK PLC.
With Lord Sir Alan Sugar still looking like a lion trying to escape from inside a giant testicle, the race is on to become his next business pet. The ‘process’ (game show) is essentially Big Brother for more enlightened viewers – there’s a similar line-up of dysfunctional nut-jobs, but the difference is that on The Apprentice, we don’t see any of them getting pissed up or scratching their arse in the middle of the kitchen at 3.48am.
At first glance, this year’s hopefuls seem more likely than ever before to unthinkingly throw each other into a bath of acid in order to get to the top – a positive trait in the world of big business, surely. In fact, the house that they’re all living in comes equipped with some kind of small pool that would be perfect for an acid-based candidate murder.
Sometimes it’s hard to take the piss out of the wannabes when they do such a good job of it themselves. The opening show introduced us to ‘quirky’ architect Gabrielle, who announced that: “I will literally roar my way to the top”. Then there was ‘blonde assassin’ Katie – she’s genuinely terrifying and is odds-on to hurl someone into the aforementioned pool by week three.
Top of the prick pile has to be recruitment manager and part-time wrestler Ricky Martin. Yes, really, Ricky Martin. “I truly am the reflection of perfection,” he boasted. His claim that: “I will be somebody who you will know for the rest of your life. I will be somebody who your grandchildren will know for your rest of your life” made me want to kill myself.
Once the team names had been chosen(Phoenix and Sterling – still no votes for my personal favourite, Businessgasm), the first task was on. The two teams were ordered to go out, buy some blankgoods, tart them up and flog them in the street. What could possibly go wrong?
Top of the prick pile has to be recruitment manager and part-time wrestler Ricky Martin. Yes, really, Ricky Martin.
The man team, Phoenix, didn’t beat about the bush. They’re in London, so they figured the best way to make some quick cash would be to punt some overpriced novelty shite to tourists. They duly knocked together some little teddy bears in union jack T-shirts and crappy bags with a blurred picture of a red bus on the front. Fifteen quid a teddy? Sounds reasonable – if you’re a bewildered continental. They should have gone for a picture of Blue’s Antony Costa pissing on a cash machine – now THAT’S Britain in 2012.
Their rivals, Sterling, chanced their arms with some baby gear daubed with some cack-handed cartoons that were possibly originally done on the back of a fag packet. Tall, deranged Bulgarian Bilyana tried to alternately take control and feign confusion when her team mates got upset. “I is foreign innit? I don’t know how you lot do stuff and that,” she might have said.
Sterling’s low point came when they tried to bully a shop assistant into buying up what was left of their stock before the close of play. She had to be rescued by a kindly gentleman, who calmly scolded and escorted the ladies from the premises before the whole thing went totally Full Metal Jacket.
It was hard to tell which team had performed best, but it was the blokes that edged it, being sent for a ‘treat’ which seemed to involve some canapés, a cocktail glass filled with watery mud and an early night. A mug of tea and a Kit Kat at the Bridge Café seemed far more appealing.
The final three in the boardroom were team leader Gabrielle, willowy steel-eyed maniac Bilyana and terrifying blonde assassin Katie. Gabrielle soon proved that she was content to roar her way to the top by bellowing in the dissenting face of the Bulgarian. Hmm, well ‘quirky’ – Noel Fielding meets Ian Paisley.
With the axe looming, Bilyana trotted out her sob story – I think it was something along the lines of: “I was born in a shoe in Chernobyl and I travelled to UK inside a wardrobe filled with drugs. I have climbed many walls and killed many dogs to be here.”
But Sugar wasn’t having it, and promptly gave Bilyana her marching orders. Her response of: “That’s a shame” seemed like a clear death threat to me and I’m certain that the millionaire Lord will have upped his security arrangements afterwards.
So then, a tantalising start to this year’s ‘process’ (game show) and we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the madness that is Ricky Martin. Next week’s task seems to involve a robot for storing cabbage leaves in. See you there!
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