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The Apprentice – Week 1 – Schadenfreude returns.

After the Bankers....the _ _ _ _ _ _ _

After the Bankers....the _ _ _ _ _ _ _

The Apprentice – week 1 – Schadenfreude Returns

Funny, sarcastic, satirical, hilariously silly, scabrous, outspoken and great great fun. No, give me a break, not the actual battle of the bullsh***ers – but Adrian Child’s great little follow up – The Apprentice –You’ve Been Fired – where the week’s firee is affectionately mocked before a post-mortem panel to tease out further humour of embarrassment to amuse the nation.

The only rational reason for watching Sralan’s grovelling buck-passer auditions is so that you know just how stupid, just how mind-numbingly unpleasant the contestants are: so that you can enjoy to the full all the nuances of Aidy’s p*ss-take immediately afterwards.

The Nation has again been scoured to find the 16 most obnoxious (1 drop out), up-themselves candidates so utterly self-deluded about their talent and competence, that we can easily dismiss our guilt at enjoying so much their embarrassment and humiliation week in week out.

Casting for the show, for it is casting not contestant selection, is as usual impeccable. It takes a special kind of auditioning talent to select so precisely 16 people so utterly psychologically and socially dysfunctional that they probably went into business because in 12 years of full-time schooling not one of them ever got picked for any collaborative or team activity whatsoever. Rightly. These are the “you-can-have-him/hers” of the playground pick-up with an odd number of kids. No one wants the odd one left to last – because you know they will be more benefit disrupting the other side than screwing up your own team.

Three series in and I am still waiting for one apprentice Apprentice, just one, having got on the show – to refuse to look like an idiot just because the telly people encourage you to. Ah me where is the first rebel on the Apprentice? Someone with the balls to call Sralan the bully he is and be good at the schadenfreude charades.

This week’s so-called ‘challenge’ was, at what appeared to be night before notice, to exploit the contents of a couple of Del-Boy Trotter white vans containing various kinds of cleaning materials from dusters and shoe polish to women-unfriendly jet car- washers i.e jet car-washers. This ‘business’ project had all the credibility of Rodders trying to flog Del’s hooky Russian video recorders the size of a suitcase on Walford market.

What followed was the genius of the Apprentice concept: set a bunch of intelligent people against one another, then give them a really dumb objective with no time to even think about it let alone do it: then stand back and watch. And it works every time. The boys ‘Empire’ team having assumed that cleaning limousines must be a doddle because people without degrees or monumental egos do it for a living, took an hour to do a crap job on one vehicle. It was like watching the latest in the latterday Carry On series like Sean of the Dead and Hot Fuzz: jet-washing a Hummer Limo with the door still open while 3 or 4 other guys in white wellies bitch about each other.

Meanwhile back at St Pancras Station 3 of the guys set up a shoe-shine stall and charging what I would have thought was a prohibitive £4 a pop, start earning about £60/hour. So what does our self-elected team leader Howard do when he discovers the Marx Brothers Acme Cleaning Co are screwing up elsewhere? You got it – he closes down the shoe shining at a profit so they can all help to mess up car cleaning at a loss elsewhere. In a contest that was won with a total revenue of about £350, if the guys had put another shoe-shine team into another London station they would have earned well over £1,000 in 10 hours with minimal costs of polish and dusters.

The girls or ‘Ignite’, brilliant name for a car-washing team I thought, were certainly being enterprising – having virtually called their top class car salesroom manager a liar and couldn’t be paying what he was paying for car cleaning – they took 3 hours to fail to clean four trial cars and lost the chance of 10 more in the showroom. Here their much vaunted, by themselves at least, entrepreneurial skills really kicked in: jumping out in front of cars at a shopping mall with enticing little sales gems like “have you seen how dirty your car is?” As darkness fell, their derring do still not done, they were soliciting family car cleaning clients by door to door canvassing – “you go and put your feet up and watch the telly.” they said patronisingly.
“Darling – put the kettle on will you? I’ve just got to call the police.”

So to the bored-room; sorry boardroom. Even Sralan didn’t seem to be able to crank up enough interest to bully anyone. After a few waffly comments about not having a ‘strategy’ or a ‘business plan’ for a day’s last minute shoe shine, he found an excuse to sack Anita. Poor Anita – doomed from the start with Sralan phobic qualities: 1st being a woman; 2nd not being a dolly bird; third, the clincher, not being an aggressive bitch.

Knowing that they had a £200 limit on what they could use from the van, team leader ‘Moaner’ Lewis having asked Anita what a feather duster was – Doh – told her ensure they didn’t go over the £200. As no one had any real idea how much equipment they needed for what purpose Anita did as instructed and just kept them under £200.

So Sralan sacked her because she didn’t understand the basic principle of business that you have to control your costs. It was a bit like blaming a traffic warden for a new motorway going over budget.

Anyway dear reader – I’m sure we have more ad hoc, zany lunacy to come: but seriously, watch Aidy not Sralan – you’ll see all the best bits and not have to keep a straight face.

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