Wednesday, 2 May 2012

"Smelling what's selling" - The Apprentice (or The One With The Strategy)

Repeat. Often. Then lose.
This week sees the return of the perennial favourite "buy it cheap and flog it to punters" task.

Lord Sugar loves this one.  It takes him back to his roots.  You can see his entrepreneurial juices flowing as he divvies up the teams (Granville, fetch a cloth).

The teams head to a whalesale whorehouse in Essex (or something, I was dazzled by Adam's enormous pink face-matching tie, so I wasn't quite listening).  Anyway, they rock up at a hanger-ful of toot and try to work out what will sell like hot cakes.  But first, they have to elect team leaders.

Jade, on Phoenix, "I haven't been team leader, so, yeah, I might as well."

Everyone, "Yep."

Laura in particular, "Thank FUCK it's not me."

And, on Sterling:

Ricky, "I want to do what Lord Sugar did."

Nick, "I'll put myself forward."

Everyone, "Ooh, Nick, yes, please!"

Ricky, "Arse."

So, team leaders elected, they set about trying to work out where is best to flog their assortment of drivel to unsuspecting buggers in Essex.

Azhar goes for Pitsea, because he's never heard of it, or something.  He also says "strategy".  He does this a lot.  In fact, if you had a "strategy klaxon" that went off every time he said it, your ears would be running blood before the end of the programme.

The other team heads for the surely considerably more impressive "Romford".

What happens when they start to try selling?

Well, it's role-playing bad backs and mopping, crazy bugs whizzing about to the delight of Essex schoolchildren and then there's the fake tan.  Apparently, you can sell fake tan to the inhabitants of Essex.  This cannot be a surprise to anybody who's watched TOWIE.  However, given that they have to explain their purchasing decisions to Lord Sugar in the boardroom, whilst Karren Brady and Nick Hewer chew on their lemon-flavoured wasps, perhaps it's a good thing they didn't go for vajazzle.  I'll pause briefly for you to imagine explaining the concept of "vajazzle" to Lord Sugar...

<...>'re back in the room.  There, that was unpleasant, wasn't it?

Meanwhile, back at the market, Adam is whipping up a frenzy among the Essex women, with his selling tactic of "making them feel nauseous".

"Give me a number, ladies. Not your phone numbers, a price."  I think I speak for all women when I say, "Bleurgh."

Azhar says "strategy" some more, but doesn't seem to have any kind of clue what a "strategy" actually is.  Perhaps he thinks it's like an exotic pet.

Gabrielle says their beard trimmers aren't selling well and they decide that, because the clientele in the shopping centre is mainly women, they should sell them as bikini line trimmers.  Nick Hewer appeared somewhat baffled by this - thank heavens he didn't have to have vajazzle explained to him.

En route back to the warehouse, Ricky and Stephen write a fake tan strapline that I'm sure Clarins will pick up on in their next advertising campaign, "It makes your hand a little bit browner".  Because we all want brown hands, don't we?  That's why we use fake tan - heaven forbid we go out into the world with pasty hands!

Unfortunately, the fake tan has run out (this is to Essex what a water shortage is to the rest of the country), so they settle for hot water bottles.

Thomas and Laura are doing a roaring trade with the crazy bugs (a notable CV addition, fo sho), but there's a lack of strategy (as Azhar would say, as he wondered whether his "strategy" should have a diamante collar, doubtless).

Tom, Laura and Azhar are scornful of Jade's "strategy" some more, this time in the back of a cab, with a nice sunset behind them (to show us there is NOT MUCH TIME LEFT on this task - IT IS GETTING DARK!).

Jade then comes up with a strategy, "Just do deals".  Genius.

So, did they smell what sold?  Who smelt most (so to speak)?  Will it be a boardroom bunfight?

Nick, the frantic fop, was a good team leader, according to the others, even Ricky "Essex loves a tan" Martin.

Forensic analysis of what happened with fake tan, traffic, stock, vans - Sterling berated for not taking the fox back to the bag of grain, or something.

Phoenix, headed up by Jade, demonstrate a small rubber bug to Lord Sugar.  And Azhar bangs on about strategy again.  And again.

The results are in...

£422.61, £415.60, total assets £831.21 - Phoenix.

£681.30, £273.90, total assets £955.20 - Sterling.

So, Sterling get to go for cocktails in a London bar (one of the better-sounding win-treats this season, it must be said).  Alien-faced Stephen makes a funny about his cocktail tasting like Phoenix now... "Bitter".  How we laughed.

But Jade...  Jade has to decide who's coming back to the boardroom.  Can she do it?

Strategy is mentioned again. prizes for guessing...Azhar.

Distracted from the content of what Tom's saying by wondering whether he's actively trying to grow a moustache.  Also distracted by Lord Sugar's hypnotic chimple (again).  And Laura's eye make-up is so dramatic it surely will have its own spin-off miniseries on BBC Two post-Apprentice.

Jade decides to bring Azhar the strategy man and Tom for no reason whatsoever back to the boardroom.  Laura may have been a better move, given that Lord Sugar hasn't fully forgiven her for the bath riot shield she came up with.  Anyway, Tom and Azhar it is.  Will Azhar's strategy of simply saying "strategy" over and over again have worked well enough to save him?

Lord Sugar drags out the firing process and, at one point, makes it seem like Jade's going. But strategy-man's strategy failed him (or perhaps it was just the memory of the shorts in the fitness video task) - and it's bye-bye Azhar.

And I, for one, won't miss him.

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