Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Apprentice Final ... Live Blog

Okay, so the final is pre-recorded. But if I've picked up anything from this series of The Apprentice it's that the only way to succeed in this life is to make a really bad advert for tissues demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit - so live blogging is far from uneccessary - it is innovative and will make me fabulously rich! And I can sell, Sir Alan. And I'm only 24 42. I predict, 20 minutes before the show's start, that diamond in the rough Lee will be declared the winner. Join me from 9pm...

9pm: Opening credits. Exactly the same as all previous weeks. Sir Alan is belligerent, he has assets worth somewhat more than the current market value of an Amstrad personal computer, bla, bla, bla. We have just turned over from BBC2, where Turkey and Iraq were involved in a game of underwater football.

9.02pm: Shots of London looking pretty at night. On the eve of the final, the finalists - fat Claire, diamond in the rough Lee, walking haircut Alex and Helene have been treated to truffles by Sir Alan. Lee gets his nose ahead by telling Sir Alan that he supports Tottenham Hotspur.

9.04pm: The sun rises over the house. Their time, it is 6.21am. Francis calls from Sir Alan's office. Today, their destination, an empty art gallery. Surely, that means it's just an empty space, as it can only be an art gallery when art is contained within it?

9:06pm: Sir Alan splits the four into two teams of two - Lee and Claire and Alex and Helene. Hardly surprisingly, the other, sacked, contestants return and the finalists select their teams from this bunch of losers. The final challenge? To create and brand a male fragrance with a retail price of £29.99. Let's hope they don't create a new type of sweat, which, given the track record of some of these people, is a distinct possibility.

9.10pm: Lee, brainstorming, is deciding what modern man is. According to Lee, modern man definitely shaves his balls and worries about ingrowing hairs. Meanwhile, Claire asks a focus group of modern men, "what types of smells do you like?"

9.11pm: Lee wants to call their fragrance whatever the onomatoepoeiaic word is for the noise emitted when you squirt a fragrance. He spells it "pssst". Sensibly, they opt for something else. Unfortunately, that something else is Roulette.

9.14pm: In the other team, Alex goes to brief a team of designers without having a product name or concept. Kevin, on Alex's team, suggests they add a stress ball to the product packaging. Helene: "I feel that we're in no man's land." The packaging evolves - it is now a bottle with a split in the middle and, Alex explains, has a bit that will break off. "Let's call our fragrance Connect. Or Dual." On this bombshell, Helene opts to consult a focus group.

9.18pm: First instance of Lee saying, "That's what I'm talking about!"

9.19pm: It is day two. Alex gets his way and the fragrance is called Dual. Meanwhile, Helene is at a fragrance house on the edge of London. "Alex is not as good as me," announces Helene, adding that she will stand out tomorrow night. Well, she's not stood out at any other point during the series, so maybe she's been saving herself for that moment. Helene declines a fragrance that smells "like chicken tikka". I know for a fact that chicken tikka is one of modern man's favourite smells.

9.23pm: Alex, Helene and their team argue for several minutes about what time they should get up tomorrow.

9.24pm: Claire and Lee decide to dress the space in which they will pitch Roulette as a casino. Lee has christened modern man Ryan.

9.26pm: Dual smells quite chocolatey, apparently.

9.27pm: Lee is outside, rehearsing his pitch and saying Ryan repeatedly. Ryan is a 27-year-old sales professional. Quite unlike Lee, then.

9.28pm: The other team's modern man is called Adam. He is 27 and lives in Leeds. Kevin suggests saying something along the lines of "Adam is fucking great. He's sexy, cool but has a really playful, firery side."

9.29pm: The pitch evening. Among Sir Alan's guests are top brass (ie, tossers) from Estee Lauder and Givenchy.

9.30pm: Roulette. Claire talks about gambling being important. Gambling is fun and exciting, so are male fragrances. Apparently. Lee tells us about Ryan, who wants to smell like a man. A 1970s-ish advert plays, with, predictably, James Brown's It's A Man's World on the soundtrack. And the smell? A spicy, amber aroma. The audience don't like the negative connotations of a fragrance being associated with gambling. Actually, the fragrance most associated with gambling is alcohol, isn't it?

9.35pm: Dual. Their pitch starts with some martial arts dance routine. All very Hai Karate. "Our brand," says Alex, "is the versatility of mankind." A bald man from Estee Lauder tells them that, given the three days they've had, what they've created is extraordinary. Then, later, suggests that the price of the innovative bottle with the bit that falls out would cut margins drastically.

9.39pm: Puntastic - the scent of victory and the smell of defeat (the feet?) are in the air. Or at least written in the script of the narrator.

9.40pm: The boardroom. We can already sense that Alex and Helene have won. Alan reminds all that women buy perfumes for men. Nick points out that roulette=gambling=debt=misery, putting a damper on Lee and Claire's misplaced optimism. Sir Alan did not like the smell of Dual, which, he aledges, is a copy of Helene's favourite perfumes. It becomes clear that the bottle with a bit that falls out was actually the idea of a designer. Suddenly, Alex and Helene's victory is not so assured, as Sir Alan starts sucking his cheeks in and blowing them out.

9.47pm: Decision time. Alex and Helene are fired.

9.50pm: Lee and Claire sit in reception while Sir Alan, Nick and Margaret discuss their fate. Lee's support of Spurs could well be a factor.

9.55pm: "Well, it's getting close to that time when I have to make my decision about who to hire," says old stubble chops. "I feel I've got more drive," says Claire. "...I'm your next apprentice," counters Lee, prefixing it with a load of bollocks about delivering projects and a difficult 12 week process. "I wonder whether you're a one trick pony," Sir Alan wonders in Lee's direction. "You have some great attributes," he tells Claire's breasts.

9.58pm: Dramatic pause. And a little bit more. "Lee, you're hired." That's what I'm talking about! 16 candidates, one job, Sir Alan's search for his apprentice is over. Lee gets his suit over to the dry cleaner so he can be ready for his appearance with Adrian Chiles on You're Hired.

10pm: Why did I watch this? I hate capitalism. I hate business people. But as a sales person...I rate myself as probably the best in Europe...

No comments: