The Apprentice: Container

“Tales are never just for fools.”

Paloma Faith

Ah, yes, The Apprentice. The show that one blogger called “a corporate version of The Hunger Games“, which is so hilariously true that I’m going to quote it at everyone for the rest of time or until Lord Alan Sugar finally shuts up, whichever comes last.

Do I really need to explain the premise of The Apprentice? Essentially, sixteen self-confessed “entrepreneurs” compete for a £250,000 investment off Lord Sugar via a series of “tasks” which bear absolutely no resemblance to actual business practice anywhere in the known universe. But, hey, 6 million people watch it every week, so they must be doing something right.

Container is the first episode in this series (and this review is thus a couple of weeks late – sorry about that), and it introduces us to a range of interesting and eccentric characters, including, apparently, Darth Vader (“I’m half machine”), Lord Vetinari (“I feel my effortless superiority will take me all the way”) and Napoleon. And the task for episode one is to sell a range of imported goods to unsuspecting London retailers. There are patronising project managers (one of whom is the self-confessed Darth Vader Jaz, and the other Lord Vetinari Jason. Spoiler: neither of them did very well), references to left-over toilet roll, dodgy sales techniques (selling lucky cats in Chinatown? Even I could have told you that was a bad idea) and general humiliation and bad planning. All, of course, for the benefit of the viewer at home.

On to the boardroom battle, then, which is, as always, a flurry of backbiting, hyperbole and bad priorities. Darth Vader Jaz said “I’m going to fight like my life depends on it. Because it does.” Hilariously (spoiler) she was the one who got fired. Let that be a lesson to all the candidates: your life does not depend on winning The Apprentice. If it does, you’re in the wrong reality.

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