The Apprentice series 12 episode 9 recap: Virtual inanity
When I heard that this week on The Apprentice would have a VR theme I was excited. The thought of Lord Sugar mixed with Erotic Tron was almost too much to take. After a year that has played out like a drunk elderly relative falling down the stairs very slowly, you’ll leap at any kind of distraction you can get.
YES! It’s week nine of “Lord Sugar’s Find Me a Business Idiot Who Will One Day Possibly Take Me To Court.”
This week things began in a very different way. There was no phone call at 5am, no, this time Claude and Karren turned up at the house with all the belligerent swagger of a fresh faced Colin Baker Doctor Who. Courtney offered them a choice of tea or coffee and Karren barked that she just wanted them all to come downstairs so they can get on with it (viewers expecting Karren and Claude to break into “Good Morning” from Singin’ in the Rain would have been very disappointed).
Once the great brains assembled they were given V.R. goggles and a Lawnmower Man Lord Sugar appeared before them to give them their instructions. This week they would need to build a VR game in 24 hours and present it at Comic Con London, sounds easy? Well, no, not really. It would be difficult for an actual games maker to pull that off, never mind these cartoon business people.
Trishna puts herself forward as project leader and her team go with her. On the other team Dillon does the same based on the fact that he is “creative” and an “illustrator”, though his team have reservations. Sofiane puts himself forward because he once sold a VR headset, which is like me volunteering to pilot a jet because I’ve seen one. Sofiane’s team, sensing the potential to throw him under a bloody huge bus, accept. Dillon is put out because he is “creative” and an “illustrator” (get used to hearing this).
The teams set about designing their game. Trishna and her crack team decide on a “space race” and begin to discuss martians, whereupon Trishna utters the immortal line “what do martians look like?” which really makes you think.
Trishna and Frances design the game, meanwhile Courtney and Jessica set about the branding. Like a 1997 Eddie Izzard, within moments they have become obsessed with badgers and decide that this is the way forward. They call Trishna to declare their “Astro Badger” concept and she is rightly disgusted and worried about Courtney’s focus. The name of the game is soon decided –- “Gordon’s Lost His Badger” – which I can kind of see in a “Monty on the Run” or “Jet Set Willy” kind of World, but in 2016, it just sounds too far on the wrong side of shite.
Meanwhile Sofiane and his team decide to use puzzles – Dillon came up with the idea during a pique of creativity (a word that I am sure he doesn’t understand) and before too long an underwater theme is agreed upon. Sofiane comes up with the awesome character of “The Coral Kid” and a concept drawing that looks like an E-fit by a werewolf attack victim. During the design phase Sofiane and Grainne came up with the incredible title of “Magic Shells”, which is about as inspiring as that teacher from Ferris Bueller opening a sex line.
The real victims during this whole process are the poor games designers who had to give up precious time to sit with these business chip-pan fires and help them design a game that would pass muster in 24 hours. These people deserve some sort of medal, or at the very least a night with Claude and his various devices of pleasure.
The games are in the can, it’s time to hit Comic Con and show the world the utter car crashes of creativity that our assembled teams of corporate boneheads have managed to push out. Their stands looks terrible and it is immediately clear that the branding is very off – so off that it may as well be in Comic Sans.
“Magic Shells” looks like something a 5 year old would do if he got access to your Microsoft Paint. The Coral Kid looks like an Emoji Robin Hood that has been lobotomised and banished to an underwater kingdom. Gordon’s badger on the other hand resembles a buck-toothed Elvis impersonator lost at Gay Pride. Both are hideous designs and even more dreadful concepts, this year really is arguably the worst in Apprentice history in terms of creativity. It has to be said a trick was missed when Bodger and Badger (who are seemingly both unemployed) were not hired to help market the badger game – they’d probably do it for mashed potatoes, because everybody knows, Badger loves MASHED POTATOES.
Sofiane and Dillon go walking around the Comic Con in their “Coral Kid” costumes, which are effectively a pool table with an Emoji fan mask. They visit the “Gordon” stall and pour scorn on it – hope this doesn’t come back to bite them.
The general public get their chance to try out both games and the feedback is very consistent, they either hate them or feel that they are for tiny children – which obviously is not the kind of game that would appeal to Comic Con attendees (side glance to camera).
It’s time for the pitches to the games experts. Jessica presents Gordon’s Lost His Badger and after a small stumble after 10-15 key words and syllables, she collects herself and manages to pull the iron out of the fire. On Sofiane’s team, the pitch doesn’t go very well as he decides to show the game first and explain afterwards, which makes it look even more rubbish. Dillon attempts to save blushes by talking over it, but it doesn’t really help (did you know he’s creative?).
It’s the end of the day and it’s time for the boardroom. 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 Judd Nelson’s spotty arse.
In the boardroom we are treated to a physical rendition of Lord Sugar and he gets to witness first hand the teams attempting to justify the existence of these games and a member from each team attempting to play them – which is a very odd sight.
Lord Sugar then reveals that Gordon’s Lost His Badger had 5 out of 7 game experts say that it had potential, whereas Magic Shells had 0 out of 7 game experts interested (because it is shite).
The “treat” this week is to visit “The Chambers of Flavour” which looked horrendous – audience participation and adult ball pools, I’d rather get beaten up. The treats this year have been universally appalling. I remember when it was all helicopter rides, dogging in the Algarve and F1 racing. How the mighty BBC have fallen.
Post-sad-cafe and back in the boardroom, Sofiane takes an age to pick Dillon and Grainne to come back into the boardroom with him. It’s soon apparent that Dillon is not on Lord Sugar’s wishlist and he is fired. Sofiane is next revealed to be a deadman walking and Lord Sugar fires him too. There is a moment where Lord Sugar wistfully hovers his hand over the ejector seat on Grainne, but instead sends her back to the house to live another day.
Back at the house Jessica refuses to believe that Dillon isn’t coming back – for a moment it seemed like she was going to start checking Grainne’s bag to make sure she hadn’t smuggled him in (she hadn’t). He was gone for good.
Only six remain. Thank God.
Next week: They have to make their own gin: WHO DARES GINS!!