Luke Owen on last night’s episode of The Apprentice 2012…
In the business world, there are winners and losers. Sometimes the winners don’t deserve to win and sometimes the losers don’t deserve to lose. That was the story of this week’s Apprentice.
Lord Sugar called our teams to a sports hall which is apparently a big deal in London (I’ve never heard of it but then again I’m not really up on my gym knowledge). On the way there the candidates made note that the girls were dwindling in numbers to which Northern Green Grocer Adam said (in only a way he can), “yeah, we may need to get some more” – he either doesn’t know how this show works, or he may think he’s on a business version of Take Me Out.
At the business centre of the gym world (allegedly), Lord Sugar informed them that this week’s task would involve the teams creating a new fitness regime, making a DVD promo and pitching it to gyms for licensing – a really interesting task it must be said as I don’t recall them ever doing one quite like it. Unsurprisingly, two people who seemed to take quite an interest in this task were Wrestler Ricky Martin and ‘Captain Can’t Blink’ Stephen. Even more unsurprisingly, they were voted to be Project Managers for this task. However, this did call back to a point I made back in week one – never claim to be an expert in a field because you more than likely aren’t, even if you work within that sector. Yes, Stephen works within the health club industry and Wrestler Ricky Martin spends a lot of his time in a gym being a beefcake – so one of these men was going to look rather foolish by the end of this episode.
With Project Managers chosen, it was time to pick what their fitness programmes would be about. For Wrestler Ricky Martin’s team, it was dance mixed with Mixed Martial Arts (surprise, surprise) which sounded a lot like Boxercise but apparently wasn’t. On the other team they were going for a retro gimmick with space hoppers, skipping ropes and hula hoops called Groove Train (tagline: ride the groove train). While it sounds a bit wacky and insanely gimmicky, it was a lot more creative than Beat Battle from Wrestler Ricky Martin. No matter how many times he can claim that it’s innovative, he’s wrong.
So with the choreography in place (and with Laura looking pretty good while doing it I have to say), it was time to film the DVD promos which lead to this week’s ‘Apprentice Cringe Worthy Moment’ – and there were a lot of contenders. Would it be Duane not being able to direct the video and arguing with his colleagues for having an opinion? Or would it be Adam dancing to Thriller and then looking like a pervy lost puppy/frustrated director? No, the winner had to be Azah in those awful tight orange shorts.
Beat Battle was filmed in a rather plain looking and boring wooden gym which was pretty uninspiring while Groove Train was filmed in one of those 80s clubs made for nostalgia value, only not done quite right. Regardless of the tacky decor, the video does at least look appealing – if it wasn’t for how incredibly creepy Azah looked as a presenter. He looked like a fitness mad Norman Bates – staring into the camera with this huge grin and wide eyes…. *shudders* …sends shivers down my spine.
With the DVD promos now done, it was time to pitch them and boy oh boy was this a stark contrast in Project Management ability. On the one hand you had Wrestler Ricky Martin who gave great presentations with very well researched facts and figures and prices (albeit high ones). And on the other hand you had Stephen who plucked prices out of the air when the potential buyers asked where they were going to get all of the paraphernalia, like the space hoppers the regime needs for the gimmick. He didn’t answer questions well and made a complete balls up of all three pitches, to the point where the last potential buyer told them that they’d even picked the wrong target market. He didn’t have a Scooby Doo about what he was doing and he got flustered badly.
So far, this was a show that was pretty cut and dry when it came to winners and losers. The way the show was edited showed that Ricky and his team were in complete control whereas Stephen couldn’t lead drunkards to a pint. I could already see Stephen and his incompetent cohorts in the Loser Cafe with naff tea looking utterly sad. Back in the Board Room however it was a different story. When the results came in, out of the 2 potential buyers results they’d revealed, Wrestler Ricky Martin’s team had secured 2 deals while Stephen’s team had nothing more than, “they hated it”. But the last buyer didn’t like Wrestler Ricky Martin’s product and felt Stephen’s team’s might work for kids, so they offered a deal that beat the other team’s two combined offers… meaning that the team who made a complete balls up of the entire task managed to back door and fluke themselves a win because a gym gave them a deal they weren’t originally looking for. Shocked faces spread across every single face in the Board Room, as everyone on Stephen’s team couldn’t believe they’d won and everyone on Wrestler Ricky Martin’s team couldn’t work out how they didn’t win. It was a huge miscarriage of justice that I don’t even think Lord Sugar could believe.
While the “winning” team went for a spa day, the most dejected “losers” I’ve ever seen had rubbish tea in the Loser’s Cafe where they couldn’t fathom where it was went nipples north. To give credit to them, they shouldn’t have lost as they did almost everything right. But the one thing that could have been improved upon was the DVD promo which I imagine led a lot of people watching to figure out where this episode was heading – Duane getting the blame.
Incredibly, Ricky Martin didn’t see this as he blamed losing on Laura for not getting the choreography right, in what I felt was an unwise move. She had done what she was told and it was Duane’s video that showcased that badly. Seeing that they could target a weak member, everyone else jumped on the ‘let’s blame Laura’ bandwagon. Sense finally took over as Ricky then targeted Duane’s video as the culprit of failure, which led to him bringing back in Laura and Duane as his final two – leaving the people who contributed nothing at all to the task to get off scot-free.
Now down in the final three, Ricky went back to blaming Laura to the point where even Duane, who had been at odds with her throughout the task, had to jump to her defence. Lord Sugar called up Ricky on his foolish move and told Laure that she was safe for this week, despite that this is now twice in two weeks that she’s been in the final three. He told Ricky that bringing Laura back in was a bad management move, which should have led to him being fired, but placed the blame of the task – quite correctly – on Duane’s video, which meant he was given the Finger Point of Doom and was sent to the taxi rank. Wrestler Ricky Martin lives to fight another day.
Out of all the people on the “losing” team, Duane (who it turns out is the younger brother of Simon from Blue) was most to blame. His video was bad, uninteresting and managed badly. Laura had done nothing wrong and was nothing but enthusiastic for the product, while Wrestler Ricky Martin had been a great Project Manager. But of course the person who really should have been fired was pretty much anyone from Stephen’s team, but mostly Stephen. With such a bad display of effort from everyone involved, this was the most undeserved win for a team I’ve ever witnessed on The Apprentice. A lot of them, Adam in particular, are really going to have to step up their game if they want to get through this to the end.
Apprentice Advice: Make up your facts and figures when pitching a bad product and, if it all goes wrong, just say it’s for kids.
Quote of the Week: “Witness the fitness.” – Wrestler Ricky Martin returning to his quotable glory.
Top Tweet of the Week: Sorry I wasn’t by Twitter this week so I don’t have one. I’ll make up for it next week!
Luke Owen is a freelance copywriter working for Europe’s biggest golf holiday provider as their web content executive.