This week I mentioned to my partner that I was doing a blog passing judgement on The Apprentice. He couldn’t wait to share his view too!
It’s been a while since I sat (or to be more accurate, was placed) in front of an episode of Sir Alan Sugar and The Apprentice. Why? Well, in all honesty I’ve always quite enjoyed the show, but have found in the past that if I follow it too closely, my emotional response to some of the candidates quickly veers off from detached amusement to full-on venomous rage. Fortunately, this year I’ve kept a distance that in theory would allow me to take a slightly more level-headed view at them all to discuss this week’s episode. That was until Adam opened his mouth. I’m sorry, but within literally seconds, I was left stunned and perplexed at how he’s managed to get anywhere near the show, let alone survive this far into the series.
In essence, this week’s episode sees two teams heading off to Edinburgh to compete in devising a form of gourmet street food to sell and make as much money as possible from mobile units – the emphasis being placed very much on the need for quality. All of which seems to sail high above the head of Adam, given the task of being Phoenix’s team leader. After declaring himself ‘perfect’ for the task due to his market trader background, he immediately gives us a glimpse at his unique genius by declaring “Scottish people generally eat deep fried mars bars” and shooting down the idea of Japanese food with “when I see Japanese I’m gonna think sushi, think raw fish – who eats sushi?” to a slightly perplexed and exasperated looking team. They eventually settle on the idea of pasta, figuring there’s plenty they can do to make it more gourmet.
After some research, whilst on the train journey north Adam declares that he likes the idea because pasta is cheap, and that you can “slop it out on trays like school dinners”. He moots the idea of corned beef to go with it, before announcing he’s hungry and hopes the “trolley dolly” will be round soon.
Team Sterling’s leader Jenna meanwhile, seems to be aware that Scottish people do actually exist outside cartoons and is committed to the quality element of the task – as such her team settle on the idea of a traditional stew. From here on in, the episode by and large becomes a contrast between Team Sterling’s fairly sensible attempt at selling mass produced quality food to tourists in Parliament Square, and Team Phoenix’s comedy of errors. Having settled on (cheap) meatballs to go with the pasta, as well as a decision to sell outside the following day’s Hearts FC game, Adam has placed Katie, Stephen and Jade in charge of branding. They in turn repay this honour by coming up with a rubbish name (‘Utterly Delicious Meatballs’) The following day, Adam tries to charge passing football punters £5.99 a portion, amidst the many cheaper burger and chip vans nearby. Panic ensues, prices fluctuate (idiot-in-crime Stephen going so far as to suggest increasing the price to £7.99) and Adam ends up dropping the price lower and lower before heading off to sales venue #2 – Grassmarket.
Stephen, Katie and Azhar have struck a deal with a bus tour operator by which they are allowed to board buses, take the mic from the tour guides to plug their product and then deliver passengers straight to Grassmarket where they can sample the ‘delicious’ food before boarding another bus tour. In theory this sounds great until you consider three considerable flaws. Firstly, they have all decided to dress in ridiculous ‘Italian’ costumes – Azham as a rubbish centurion, Stephen in an Italian flag and surreally, Katie is dressed as a pizza (to sell, y’know, meatballs – OBVIOUSLY). The second problem is that they are too smug and self-important to pull the gimmick off – Katie being the most patronising woman ever to be handed a tour-bus microphone. And thirdly, they manage to miss their buses due to the 10 minute walk back to the stop. Ultimately they end up back at the van, with increasingly desperate measures taken to sell product (Azhar going so far as to describe the meatballs, obtained in tins marked ‘value meatballs’ as “locally produced”) before they all end up back in the boardroom.
No prizes for guessing who won.
Naturally, after some mutual backslapping amongst the team in front of Lord Sugar, the team turn positively cannibalistic in the face of defeat. Everyone blames everyone but themselves, Adam refuses to take any responsibility and Stephen bleats on and on with increasing venom about how rubbish Adam and Azhar were. In the end, Adam chooses Katie and Azhar to return to the board room. When back in front of Lord Sugar, Adam launches into a sales pitch for himself, insists he’s the best candidate and ultimately gets a severe grilling. Yet, amazingly he survives as Katie gets the firing – with no effort to hide gasps of surprise from the other candidates when Adam walks through the door to re-join them.
So that’s this week’s episode – and to be honest, I’m hooked already. As long as Adam stays in there, I’ll find it hard to stay away from the show. Give him his own show, I say.