The Apprentice 2011, Week Three: Beauty And The Beasts

Lord Sugar loves a bit of beauty, pity one team couldn't tell the difference between profit margin and crushing loss...
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The incongruous subject of this week’s Apprentice was beauty.  ‘Beauty’s my cup of tea,’ growled Lord Sugarlump, like a horny be-suited chimp propped up in a kid’s high chair. ‘Massive, MASSIVE MARGINS.’ You can bet Alan loves a good margin, even more than he loves his favourite mug with ‘The Boss’ written on it.

Despite the girly theme, none of it was pretty. In fact, this episode was the most depressing snapshot of Britain ever committed to screen, and I’ve seen that thing about Fat Fucks In An Ambulance. The moral and spiritual bankruptcy of modern life was perfectly encapsulated by this bunch of numbnuts trying to sell heated massagers in a shopping centre. The whole way through I felt like I was drowning in a fish pedicure tank in Westfield, listening to the distant sound of some people having an argument outside Clinton’s Cards.

With last week’s hilarious top hat/dry cleaners debacle still at the forefront of everyone’s minds, the intrepid group of boardroom ballbags set out to beautify Birmingham. Their task was to choose 2 beauty treatments from a selection, and sell them to a bunch of unsuspecting knuckle-draggers at the Bullring. Easy, right? As the beauty industry specialises in selling stupid things to stupid people, it seemed only natural that the Apprentices would bond with it, until they all turned into a massive amorphous blob of fake tan shouting into a Swarovski-studded Blackberry.

‘It was so last minute dot com!’ said Natasha. ‘Gerrout of it ya barmpot!’ shouted Big Ellie, who could probably strike matches on her arse crack

Indeed, watching their meetings with beauty ‘professionals’ was like gazing into an infinite mirrored gallery of idiocy. A man got a spray tan, and it was a bit saucy. Leon had a makeover, which made him feel like, totally gay. ‘I don’t want my girlfriend to know I’ve had make-up on!’ he said, lamely. (Translation: Leon is gay.) These scenes were lovingly peppered with cut-aways to Karren Brady, who made a series of ‘oo-er missus’ faces and wrote ‘BUNCH OF SPONGEY BRAINED COCK-KNOCKERS’ in her notebook. In the end, Zoe’s team went for a pedicure and a spray tan, while Felicity’s team went for a hot shell massage and a winge. You know, a winge. It’s like a fake clip on fringe, yeah? Are you with me, yeah? See. I told you it was depressing.

The results were predictably disastrous, but without any of the fiendish Schadenfreude of last week’s search for a cloche. Instead it was all a bit dismal and arse-achey. Susan, self-proclaimed seller of beauty products for a living, tried to take over and sold 3 spray tans. No wonder: her banter was devastatingly shit. ‘Can I tempt you in a fake tan?’ she squeaked, running up to old ladies. ‘Tanning lotion and nail polish– is it a little bit too expensive for you, is that the problem?’ Karren rolled her eyes so much she could have used them to score a goal for Birmingham City.

Back in the boardroom, things were starting to get ugly (copyright Shit Sugar Puns Inc.). Zoe’s team made a profit, but Felicity’s made a ‘pig’ of a loss. ‘It was so last minute dot com!’ said Natasha. ‘Gerrout of it ya barmpot!’ shouted Big Ellie, who could probably strike matches on her arse crack. Felicity refused to accept responsibility, and soon it was like listening to the staff at Tan Canaria bitching during a stocktake. This is not a game,’ said Siralan. (Er… isn’t it?). Eventually, Felicity got fired, and nobody cared. Such is the way of the Apprentice.

Luckily there is one spark of intelligence in this year’s series. The highlight of the episode was Tom the inventor, who was happily doing pure maths in his notebook while everyone whinged about winges. As he working out the net profit of each product, it was like watching a speeded-up film of Spaghetti Junction by night, while the rest of them sat there like a wet Sunday in Dudley. I’m personally hoping that Tom will invent something to rid the world of this year’s useless Apprentices. Perhaps a spray tan gun that shoots bullets. Now that would be beautiful.

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