The Apprentice 2012 – Episode 10 Review

Luke Owen on last night’s episode of The Apprentice 2012…

In last week’s review, I said about Steven: “I don’t think he’ll win next week and I am looking forward to seeing him buckle under the pressure.” Sometimes it’s so hard being this right all the time.

*disengage Smug Mode*

Yes, after 10 annoying weeks, Steven finally met the finger point of doom after failing to live up to the promise he made last week. But he wasn’t alone in his failures in what was a more or less boring episode that had a climactic ending.

This week’s task saw our business minds take on the world of one day offer websites – you know those sites like Groupon and… uhhh… Groupon. What I’ve always liked about The Apprentice is how they bring in new tasks that reflect what is currently popular in the world of start-up businesses. Last year it was mobile phone apps, and this year is was high-end products at bargain prices.

The key word in that last sentence was “high-end” – which is something that has seemed to fly over the heads of so many candidates this year during different tasks (remember Adam’s gourmet meatballs?). In fact, when they were given the brief of “high-end” products, I tweeted wondering how long it would take before that brief is forgotten about and they just buy crap. Turns out it wasn’t long at all.

We knew going into the episode that Steven would be project manager for his team while on the other team Jade and her 40-a-day-habit voice offered herself up for the PM role. Her tactic was to spend time setting up meetings so that when they left the room, they knew where they were heading and what they were looking for – quality over quantity. Steven on the other hand just rushed out the door, threw a map and Ricky and said “get as many deals as you can” – quantity over quality. Told you that brief didn’t last long for some people.

For Steven, it was just about finding any type of place that sounds like it might be fancy and then getting a cheap deal from it. This included golf (you know, ‘cause only posh people play that) and those places in which your feet are cleaned by fish (you know, ‘cause only posh people would go for something so ‘out there’). But as you may have probably guessed, it was Adam who met the butt end of “what high-end is” joke. Not sure if his highlight was getting a deal with a candle shop, suggesting a take away when all the shops were closing or thinking they got a good deal with a hotel because they were throwing in free tea and coffee. But bless his heart, he does always try.

To be honest, there really isn’t a lot to say about this task. For the most part, this was a pretty boring and underwhelming episode with people going off into different sectors of business, speaking to people about discounts and then either signing a contract or leaving empty handed. Some succeeded, some didn’t. However, watching Ricky Martin eat 3 plates of scallops in 3 different restaurants was quite amusing. But there was one moment which made me shout at the top of my lungs a question that has been a burden on this show ever since it began – why can’t candidates use a bloody calculator?

I mean really. Why? Every series there always seems to be that moment where they go into a pitch and then can’t work out figures because they can’t operate a calculator. And they always make some comment to try and lighten the mood by saying something like, “wow this calculator is a bit odd” or “it never usually does this” like it’s some misbehaving R2 droid. Each and every year we sit with our heads in our hands while we try not to watch the morons mutter sums to themselves and hitting buttons on a calculator like the apes from 2001: A Space Odyssey. This time round it was Jade and Nick who made the ‘calculator blunder’ in the very swanky restaurant of Marcus Wareing who, thankfully for them, gave them a bit of time to sort themselves out while being incredibly condescending about it at the same time. It was an utter shambles and highly embarrassing when you think that Nick was probably doing his maths homework on that same calculator the night before.

Speaking of condescending, back in the board room it was announced that Steven’s team had lost by about £6,000. There was a moment where I was worried that he might win after one of the deals that Ricky struck sold out but luckily quality prevailed and Jade’s well managed team came out victorious. Having been quite a boring episode, this announcement did manage to make me stand up from my seat and throw my arms up in the air. We all knew this meant the end for Steven’s terrible run on this show.

But in the Sad Face Café, Steven seemed quite bright about the whole scenario thinking that “Gabby” was the reason they failed and that she will definitely get the boot. I sat in on my couch and shook my head. No, no, no sir you are mistaken. You made the deal with Lord Sugar and you failed, surely it will be you that gets the taxi ride home. Well imagine my surprise when Lord Sugar fired “Gabby”.

Stunned silence filled the room as I feared I would have to put up with another week of his incessant stupidity and awful shiny suits. What more would this man have to do to get fired? Well, luckily for us, sense prevailed as we got a double firing from Lord Sugar. Wahoo!

Steven has been a thorn in all of our sides for quite some time now and it was great to see him finally get his comeuppance. But before he did go he put on a git show to end all git shows, as he pulled his ‘talking under you to undermine what you are saying’ shtick, that he did last week, which even caused Super Ricky Martin to step up and tell him off for being condescending. But we don’t have to worry about that now, because he took a taxi ride back to gitville.

Once again Lord Sugar got it right – and I do mean on both firings. “Gabby” had run out of steam in this show. She looked like a strong contender for quite some time but she (and her hair) was starting to lose it and her willingness to win was fading fast. She didn’t do much for this task and her creative nature alone would not carry her to the final. Steven was a given and I’m glad he’s gone.

There was a moment where it looked like we might even get a triple firing as Ricky Martin was told that he is on his last legs. Had “Gabby” pulled her finger out and done more for this task, he could have seen himself at the wrong end of a taxi queue. His short-sightedness on how much of the product he should be dealing with was one of the biggest contributing factors to the failure of this task. Combine that with 4 appearances in the bottom three, and his inability to learn from mistakes, and it is looking less and less likely he’ll make the final. Having said that, without him, the team would have lost by a lot more than 6 grand.

As for the other team, I think Jade showed that she has what it takes and is worthy of the ‘last woman standing’ mantle. Adam was his usual ditzy self, Tom looked a bit clueless and Nick was still trying to work out what the square root of an isosceles triangle is. Not much to report. With 2 weeks to go, we’re still no closer to working out who will definitely make the final.

Now it was pointed out to me last week (thanks Sam Applegate) that I did actually make a bit of an error in my review. I said that this would be the last task before the interview stage but it turns out they’ve flipped the format so that the interview stage is the final episode (which makes a lot of sense). So next week is the last task and our teams have got to create a new brand of skin care product. I can’t wait to see what wacky nonsense Adam comes out with for that one.

Apprentice Advice of the Week: Don’t make a deal with the Devil.

Quote of the Week: “It’ll come at them like a steam train going to 100mph” – Nick has clearly never seen Back to the Future: Part III – steam trains can’t go 100mph unless you use red, yellow and green bombs that go off at certain times to create a sudden burst of acceleration – and even then you’ll be pushing to get it up to 88mph before you reach the end of the track.

Top Tweet of the Week: Time for #TheApprentice. A show, which in all respect, could be won by a woman from Wigan. @JoeBillGibbo

Luke Owen is a freelance copywriter working for Europe’s biggest golf holiday provider as their web content executive.

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