Last week’s predictions: The most out-for-themselves group of people in TV will be put in charge of team-building workshops (YES, AND IT’S SO SO WRONG); there will be lots of outdoor activities on football pitches at East London-based rec centres (ACTUALLY IT’S HERTFORDSHIRE AND SORT OF LOOKS LIKE WHERE “TOOL ACADEMY” WAS FILMED); Myles’ star will continue to rise as the Apprentice King (I’M GOING TO SAY YES GIVEN THAT HE DOESN’T PARTICULARLY EMBARRASS HIMSELF, WHILE EVERYONE ELSE PRETTY MUCH DOES); Jordan will break out another pair of ugly trousers (NO BUT HE REVEALS HE HAS AN UGLY TATTOO); Dr Leah will petrol bomb the branch of Phones4U that Zee will have inevitably returned to work at (WE DON’T SEE IT, BUT WE ALL KNOW SHE DID IT) Let’s say 2/5
The Apprentice: Season 9; Episode 6
Jordan comes downstairs to answer the SugarPhone. This is the scarring moment that we see his nasty little tat. No, not his penis, his tattoo. Back up in the bedroom, we see that Neil also has one of these. And Alex has a little tat too (a penis, not a tattoo).
Off to the Guildhall they all go, to the accompaniment of choral music that makes it look like a scene from “Elizabeth: The golden Age”. The topic this week is “away days”. What has this got to do with the Guildhall, I say to myself into my tumbler of Bailey’s. Every week they drag the teams to a location that has nothing to do with the actual task, and I don’t know why. Why, BBC, why??? WHY!? Lord S “mixes the teams up” literally by moving one person across to the other team. Way to mix it up, Lord S! Dr Leah and Francesca are made PMs and Lord S sends everyone off reminding them that “this task is not a jolly”.
Oh, here we go. Luisa begins telling her team that she finds away days ridiculous and she generally doesn’t like the corporate world. Wrong show, sweetheart. It occurs to me here that she sounds, behaves and looks a bit like Ja’mie from “Summer Heights High”.
Neil, predictably, wants a school theme, where the participants dress up in school uniforms. So basically he wants a “back to the old skool” away day, so he can dress women up in small white shirts and get them to wear slutty nerd glasses. Dr Leah quite sensibly vetoes this idea but rather selfishly insists on a history theme, against the opinion of her entire team. Way to build morale, Dr Leah.
Pitching their away day to a client, Jordan says that “this isn’t a jolly”. Yes, yes Jordan, you are SO much like Lord Sugar, you plagiarizing bastard.
Dr Leah and her team are bickering outside the head office of the World Bank. Or it might have been Barclay’s. Still unsure of her theme, she pitches a team building day that will be “classic, mediaeval, majestic, escapist”. What they end up with is an army theme! Nothing says “majesty” like being shouted at by a burly sergeant major and swinging on a tyre into a sodden swamp.
On the opposing team, when told that she will have to pay £800 for a chocolate making course, Luisa insults the chocolatier by asking if she can see her piping bags. AND the things she uses to apply icing. The rest of their team are doing a trolley dash in Sainsbury’s, buying stuff for school dinners. Says it all really, dunnit?
Neil rings Dr Leah and she answers the phone by saying “talk to me”. He wants to include sumo wrestling in the army away day. What army is this, Vietnam?? Dr Leah asserts that she does not want the managers of Barclay’s wrestling each other at her event. Fair point, I’d say. She reaches a compromise – they can put the suits on and just touch each other. “For God’s bloody sake,” blasphemes Alex. “Shut the fuck up,” instructs Dr Leah.
Meanwhile. Jason and Luisa are walking around a field with wooden planks on their feet. That’s all we need to say about that.
Neil tells his team that he will give the motivational speech at their away day, because he is used to stuff like that from his days as an under 9s, five-a-side football coach. This, I’m sure, will be rich.
Francesca’s team actually HAVE gone with the old skool theme and are busy decorating their event with typical things you would find at a school – you know, like a giant flamingo, something feathery that looks like it has been stolen from Amy Childs’ vagazzle salon and a fake fire. Jordan stands over the fake fire and asks if it looks like he is being burnt at the stake. Sadly, it doesn’t. And he should be, as I find him to be a corporate heretic.
Oh sweet Christ, Alex is playing the role of a colonel on the other team. I physically can feel myself cringing so inwardly that my esophagus is retreating into my small intestine. You can literally see the people at the event’s hearts sinking. Still, this atmosphere is a little more jovial than the atmosphere over at Francesca’s event, which currently has all the glitz of a W.I. bring ‘n’ buy. There’s a lot of watery, milky cups of tea being passed around with a few stiff custard creams. Francesca starts to talk to the group and, I suspect, immediately wishes she hadn’t.
At military camp, the financial controllers of Europe have had their faces slathered with mud and are outside marching. Dr Leah is dressed as if she is a reject from Eurotrash. Everyone is then whisked back inside for the infamous sumo wresting portion of the day. The mortified Barclay’s cashiers look on in horror as the team act out how NOT to resolve a workplace confrontation. So basically, don’t put on a couple of protective suits and try to sit on top of one another.
Francesca has got her group strapped to the wooden planks. They are racing across the lawn, between a pair of tacky, bare, undecorated Christmas trees. “What has this got to do with business?” asks one participant, with reason. These poor people are then swiftly split up. Half of them go off to squeeze Luisa’s new set of piping bags and the rest are sent to a wine tasting with Jason and Rebecca. Francesca continues to justify the tasks by talking about having new experiences, but I suspect the participants would rather just not have ANY experiences at all. The sentence “let’s go crazy” is uttered from the cupcake decorating area and Jason fucks up the wine tasting by forgetting which wine is which. A bitter man with glasses squares off with Francesca by eyeing her with malice.
At the boardroom, we have been in there about 4 seconds and Lord S is already talking about having an enema. Dr Leah is awesome. Lord S questions her methods and she just literally talks over him, which is what he needs sometimes! This is how one should really conduct themselves in life – when someone scrutinizes you, don’t let them speak.
The task is revealed to be a raging success when it is announced that both organisations that took part in the away days want refunds. Go team! The lesser of the two evils is that Dr Leah’s team wins. They are sent to a spa where we learn that Alex gets his eyebrows waxed on a regular basis (I don’t know why he bothers really), Neil perks up at the prospect of a Thai massage and Myles gets his abs out.
Back in the boardroom, the claws are well and truly out between Luisa and Francesca. Luisa calls Francesca a bad PM and Francesca snaps at her like a cobra being poked with a Turkish whistle. Luisa begins to ramble on about how she doesn’t “do” corporate. Karren cuts her down to size with a swift raise of her eyebrow and Luisa doesn’t know where to look. Lord S tells Jason that he seems awfully nice, to which he replies “very kind, thank you”. It’s very cute and I just want to squeeze both of their cheeky little cheeks.
Lord S asks Francesca not to bring anyone back into the boardroom for the firing based on personal grudges. She takes this advice seriously and brings back…Luisa! Go figure. Lord S says that he sees Luisa as a bombshell but wonders if that’s just enthusiasm or indeed business acumen. Luisa shrugs, flaccidly. Clearly not enthusiasm then! She then declares that she is “boxed” because of the way she looks, at which point Francesca excerpts her eyeballs and rolls them across the conference table.
Thanks be to God, the two women that hate each other are saved and Rebecca is sacked. She gives Francesca a warm cuddle and then hugs Luisa lifelessly. That’s because Luisa is boxed, you see?
Next week’s predictions: The task will involve someone being beheaded at the Tower of London; Luisa and Francesca will somehow get covered in lime jelly and fight in a paddling pool; caravans will somehow feature, which suggests a theme of either camping or working on the reformation of gypsies.