The Apprentice series 12 episode 4 recap: Shop dummies
With the world quickly descending into a horror-dystopia of hyper-poverty, bloody nuclear war and brimstone showers, what we need more than anything else is distraction, and I don’t know about you, but there is nothing I enjoy more than watching a group of bumbling suited and booted bell ends stagger around like that one soldier in Saving Private Ryan, matter-of-a-factly picking up his severed arm while explosions go on all around him. Nothing quite warms my cold heart than a group of walking Filofaxes tangling themselves up in corporate snot.
This week they were invited to do an impression of an amateur production of Are You Being Served? (aka “Are You Being an Arsehole?”) being staged by the Young Conservatives.
First floor: Telephones, gents ready-made suits, shirts, suits, ties, hats. Going down, in every possible way.
Yes, here we are, it’s week four of “Lord Sugar’s Find Me a Business Idiot Who Will One Day Possibly Take Me To Court.”
The phone once again rings at 5.30am, to once again tell them they have a mere twenty minutes to get ready – which is starting to annoy more than anything else. No one can get as varnished, creosoted and painted as much as this lot do in twenty minutes, something is off there. They are to meet Lord Sugar at Draper’s Hall.
In the car on the way over, Sofiane reveals he wants to be Project Manager (and gets his wish), “All day long” he says, which is sort of how it works, mate. This all makes me think of a turkey volunteering to organise the Christmas party.
Once they arrive, Lord Sugar emerges from his business pit and reveals the teams will be taking over Liberty for the day – Don’t worry Brexiters, he doesn’t mean our sovereignty, that’s safe in the bank, until they leave. They will need to be personal shoppers (gulp) and deliver outstanding customer service (GULP).
The teams split to begin their top level planning. Gráinne puts herself forward for Project Leader as she used to work in Liberty, so that will end well, I am sure, hubris is just something that happens to other people with this lot, eh? At that moment Aleksandra announces she is leaving the process and walks out of the room (not before Mukai, the moral Brexit, declares that it is bad timing), the team are shocked to their core.
To be fair, I think we’ve all been in meetings where we’ve wanted to leave the process and go home to watch the snooker. Gráinne declares that they shouldn’t let the departure of the one that most of them had forgotten was actually there distract them from winning.
Next up the teams have to decide what they will be flogging to the poor bastards that come in on that day. Sofiane’s team pick the cat scarves because they will sell. Paul on Gráinne’s team wanted the scarves too, but Mukai announced that he was a handbag expert and so they plumped for them instead. Could this come back to bite them all? You still there?
The teams now need to dress their windows and were advised that it was good to have “real people in the window”, you know, like they do in Amsterdam. Dillon from Sofiane’s team begins brainstorming with the others a theme related to cats, like the scarves. They settle on “Cool for Cats”, but when Samuel points out that “cool for cats doesn’t make sense”, Dillon counters that argument by singing the Squeeze song twice at him, which in terms of explanations is up there with “Brexit means Brexit”.
On the other team, Mukai and his gang build a window display out of handbags that is so abstract and strange that it angers Claude, which means someone, somewhere will die tonight. The bags are supposed to represent a New York skyline, but in actual fact resemble some weird looking handbags in a window. Claude is still seething.
It’s at this point I decide that JD has been too quiet this week, and therefore has probably fallen in love with a mannequin that has come to life and is giving her backies on his BMX while Starship blasts out on his iPod. It’s the little things in life.
It’s personal shopper time. Frances gets on the phone and does a very good job sussing out what her client needs when he comes in, she gets sizes, brands – the whole nine yards. On the other team, Alana calls her client and essentially checks he is alive and that he wears trousers. There is a bomb in the mail, there.
Karthik is Gráinne’s personal shopper runner, this is not a drill. Sofiane advises Dillon that he would like him to be his team’s personal shopper guru as “You’re like a stylist” which comes across as “Because you’re gay”. Karthik and Frances are doing OK with their client, in fact Karthik suddenly turns into a more annoying Gok Wan and charms the lady shopper. Claude is impressed, his blood no longer boiled, another life can sleep safe tonight.
Meanwhile Jessica keeps popping into the scarf window (which sounds like something from Play School) and drumming up business, she sold over £500 worth (again, much like Amsterdam).
Meanwhile on the other team, Mukai’s bag expertise is called into question as he is having no joy selling anything, while the others are having lots. Is this the week that the bow tie unfolds? He is also becoming obsessed with the fact that they haven’t put anyone in their window, something that Gráinne seems to be ignoring on purpose to piss off Mukai, and she should be applauded.
Sofaine is not having a good day, he isn’t selling any scarves and although he swapped himself into the sales floor to maximise sales, he doesn’t seem to be very good at it – as his team are all too happy to point out (while he lingers comedically in the back of their shot). It doesn’t help that part of his scarf sales pitch is to say that they are designed by “some French lady” – which is like saying the Mona Lisa was painted by “some Italian bloke”.
We find out around here that JD has been making tea all day for shoppers, a likely story, he’s been shagging a mannequin round by the bins with his iPod on repeat.
It’s the end of the task and we are treated to some further shots of Canary Wharf, despite the fact that Lord Sugar doesn’t work on Canary Wharf, so it may as well be the The Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
The contestants are called back into the pretend boardroom by Lord Sugar’s pretend secretary. Lord Sugar then cracks a gag about how he has saved some cab fare by one of them leaving, which seems a bit mercenary, in fact so mercenary he may as well be in The Expendables.
It’s here that Karren brings up Alana’s lack of preparation as the client she called was willing to spend five thousand pounds on shirts – who was it? Nelson Mandela? (I know he’s dead).
The numbers come out and in staggering news, Sofiane’s team have won. Their “treat” is essentially a bus trip to a National Trust house to play croquet. Great. Nice one.
Back in the boardroom, Lord Sugar asks Gráinne who she will bring back, and in a moment that resembled The Bridge of Death scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Gráinne changed her mind three times about who she would bring back (red….no blue), eventually settling on Karthik and Mukai.
Lord Sugar didn’t take long, and I am sure the bowtie didn’t help, he sent Mukai to the business Wicker Man and told Karthik his “eyes were on him”.
Next time: The teams need to do some crowdfunding, hopefully for a plane ticket to Dignitas – See you then, if I haven’t got there first.