WARNING: This blog is for people watching The Apprentice. Contains spoilers!
Read up on episode 9 here.
The candidates are carted off first thing in the morning to the Olympic pool in Stratford with little explanation. On the way there, Brett says “we’re all quite good on a professional level” to no one in particular. And another episode of The Apprentice is born.
Alan Sugar has heard that there’s this new craze called exercise. And part of exercise is going swimming (or standing in a suit, poolside, which is more his modus operandi). And another part of exercise is being healthy. So he wants his candidates – who have already proved their comedy value, kitchen-wise – to make and market healthy snacks.
Each team sits sorrowfully around a table covered in Ryvita boxes. It has the air of a dinner party where unsuspecting guests are served an entirely vegan meal. “I eat snack bars,” says Charleine, eventually. So she gets to be project manager, obviously. Over at Connexus, Brett wins the top job with an equally persuasive case: “I’ve always done protein shakes, this, that and the other.”
“Crackers or crisps? That’s my opinion,” states Vana. Well, everyone has the right to an opinion. I disagree with what she says, but I defend to the death her right to say it.
“We’ve got to have that variation of difference,” Brett agrees, recalling his thesaurus of synonyms.
They decide on vegetable crisps. Richard the marketing guru comes up with an edgy logo: “V”. As in, the gesture you would make to someone if they offered you a cabbage with beetroot and agave flavoured gluten-free, vegan and raw dehydrated crisp.
The other team makes something even less appetising. “I was thinking ‘life’,” brainstorms Joseph, ever fizzing with creativity.
“Spell it out for me, Joseph,” interjects the ever level-headed Charleine.
“L, i, f, e,” says Joseph.
They end up with something called “Rejuvenate”, which is basically a crumbly cardboard flapjack filled with bland “superfoods”, which Charleine attempts to get her head around. There’s “Babu, buba” (translation: baobab) and “Britain’s viagra” (translation: nature’s viagra), which is “great for contraception” (translation: no, the other one).
Gary’s excited about this melange of weird hormonal grain. “It’ll target ladies and women,” he enthuses. But shouldn’t Britain’s viagra be going to gentlemen and men?
While a nutritionist forces them to blank out “high in antioxidants” on the packaging with a black marker pen, Joseph does some market research on the sinisterly-redacted bars. “Do you think it’s going to stand out on the shelf?”
“It’s like it’s gone off.”
“Our product is in a passionate position in what it needs to be,” Brett informs Virgin Active in his pitch.
“We are living in a generation where we are a lot more health-cautious than we used to be,” is the opening of Charleine’s pitch to Holland & Barrett. I know whenever I start feeling a bit healthy I am always careful to cut down on healthy snack bars.
Their pitch to Asda is a little less disastrous. “Comparing that with the one we did earlier is like chalk and cheese,” beams Gary, presumably because he’s come up with two other ingredients to bung into the snack bars.
“We’d pioneer this product right into the future and run with that gravy train, to be fair,” Brett tells another major retailer. But unsure if he’s made himself clear, he adds, “the picture of the vegetable iconifies the fact that it is not cooked.”
Rejuvenate disintegrates when touched, and is nutritionally worthless. V is covered in oil and looks like rotting banana skin. Unsurprisingly, neither team manages to sell a single speck of babu, nay, even buba, to any of the retailers. So they both lose.
Bad news for the candidates, but good business for The Bridge cafe, which does an excellent line in the energy-boosting superfood known in the industry as “cheap coffee”.
“You leave here as an honourable man,” says Lord Sugar as he inevitably fires Brett. A man of such honour that he stated his refusal in the boardroom to “tear people a new arsehole”.
Candidates to watch:
Bad at everything apart from flogging real estate. A dubious accolade.
Is he becoming less awful, or do I have Apprentice goggles?
By being labelled a “Steady Eddie” and “Mr Corporate”, he has been given the Sugary kiss of death.
I’ll be blogging The Apprentice each week. Click here for the previous episode blog. The Apprentice airs weekly at 9pm, Wednesday night on BBC One.