The Apprentice: Wearable Technology

“No one who can read, ever looks at a book, even unopened on a shelf, like one who cannot.”

Charles Dickens

I’d forgotten that the first two episodes of The Apprentice get shown on consecutive nights, which is exciting because it means I can write another ranty blog post to dispel some of my unrelated real-life frustration. So hurrah!

In this second episode, the teams are asked to design pieces of what the Almighty Lord Sugar rather patronisingly describes as “something called wearable technology”. (This makes him sound uncannily like Miranda Hart’s mother, an effect which cannot have been deliberate.) Once again, it’s girls v. boys; says one particularly delightful specimen, “We can’t have the girls embarrass us any more.” If this proves anything it is simply that the business world is full of sexists.

We’re barely five minutes in before someone makes one of those mistakes which is sure to get them fired (which, surely, is something of an Apprentice record). ALS has specifically singled out Trendy Robert to lead the boys’ task today, despite his claim that “I don’t wish to choose the PM” (oh, come off it, ALS, we know your word is law here). But, in a stunning turn of events, Trendy Robert passes the buck, claiming that the task doesn’t fall within his field of expertise because it – gasp – involves high street fashion, not high fashion.

I’m just going to pause here to give that statement the contempt it deserves. Clearly, Trendy Robert is an idiot with no backbone.

Anyway. Eventually, Scott the Scot steps up, and promptly has a hissy fit when no-one will listen to him. (“Generally speaking, it’s someone else’s fault.”) And this rather sets up the theme for the episode as a whole.

The girls co-opt Nurun as PM, despite her protestations, on the basis that she sells scarves. Which is, of course, not quite the same thing as designing technology-laden fashion, and there are several others on the team who would obviously be better PMs for this task. This year’s specimens are, it turns out, even more spinelessly incompetent than usual.

The boys’ design meeting falls apart when it transpires that their idea is unfeasible and their PM is not present to make decisions. The girls’ design meeting falls apart when Nurun of the Scarves fails to make a firm decision. The girls’ pitch falls apart when it turns out that their prototype jacket-of-all-trades looks absolutely terrible. The boys’ pitch falls apart when Desperate Daniel, the so-called salesman of the group, admits in front of the people from John Lewis that he would not, in fact, wear their creepy-stalker camera sweater in public. Scott the Scot falls to pieces in the boardroom when everyone blames him for lack of direction. Nurun of the Scarves falls to pieces in the boardroom when everyone blames her for lack of direction.

In the average Apprentice episode, you can usually get a feel for which team is doing better on the task, and which team will inevitably lose. But in this one, each team was quite literally as bad as the other. You couldn’t make up a more perfectly paralleled storyline. And, to add to the general chaos (you can just imagine the producer rubbing his hands in glee at all the drama), ALS decides to play his Slap Bet card, firing one of the boys without warning before announcing that another will have to go, too, when Scott the Scot brings two of his pals back into the boardroom for A Reckoning. It’s all rather thrilling, actually, because for once there is a vast number of candidates who are just too unsufferable to remain.

Did I say “for once”? I’m sorry, I meant “as always”.

And although two of those most insufferable of all insufferable people on this earth did get fired, I have to say I was looking forward to watching Desperate Daniel being told to leave. I have a feeling he might have argued, and they’re always the best ones.

Clearly, for the tenth anniversary of The Apprentice, the kind people of the BBC have sifted out, for our delectation and delight, the very worst of humanity; the most incompetent, complacent, back-biting, cowardly candidates they could possibly find. And I would like to thank those kind people, because watching this, and subsequently ranting about it on the Internet, has been one of the highlights of my day. Sadly, it is now six days before a new episode comes out. I may have to seek out some old episodes of Merlin to vent some sarcasm at. Alternatively, I’m sure Saturday’s Doctor Who will do the job quite nicely.

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