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Zettel Film Reviews » The Apprentice – Ep 2 “SLANGALANG SUCKS” – Lord Yoda

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The Apprentice – Ep 2 “SLANGALANG SUCKS” – Lord Yoda

LORD YODA - "Apprentice Jedi....satisfy me they must"

The Apprentice – Episode 2 – SLANGALANG SUCKS

The most extraordinary comment made on day 2 of The Apprentice was not by an Apprentice or even in the show itself. In the often funnier, You’ve Been Fired, talking about the failure of Alex’s wait-and-see tactics Karen Brady said:

“This is a show with integrity; there are no tactics; what you see is what you do.”

There are only three ways to read this: either Ms Brady is dumb or hopelessly naïve – and I don’t think she is either; or she is kidding herself. I’m not getting into the ‘integrity’ issue – it depends how you define integrity in relation to what is already misnamed a ‘reality’ TV show. But we have all seen ample evidence week in, week out, that certain patterns of behaviour recur again and again that either get you fired or help you survive.

The editing for example is blatantly tendentious, dedicated to squeezing every last drop of entertaining schadenfreude out of carefully selected self-aggrandisement, back-stabbing accusations, or delusional over-confidence. The dramatic difference between the demeanour of every contestant on the follow-up programme after they have been fired compared with their behaviour within the programme re-inforces our conviction that the ludicrous hubris, conceit and egotism are encouraged by the manipulative efforts of the TV people: the hard-nosed pros who know only too well how to protect the success and enormous commercial value of the product which is the franchised Apprentice format.

So come off it Karen – we don’t mind being manipulated, in fact we quite like it, it’s part of the fun; but we don’t like being treated like complete idiots. Take the money; but don’t take the piss.

I’ve waited a long time for someone to do what Jim did this week – he bucked the rules. The convention in the boardroom has always been that when the Project Manager picks you for the chop crop, you defend yourself, often, like the form bully, by queasily heaping the blame on someone else, usually someone weaker. Jim demonstrated why if we take this tosh seriously, Leon not Alex should have been fired. In a dramatic ‘side-bar’ coup, Jim told Leon not only that he was wrong to pick him, but that he knew he was wrong to do so and with a withering force of will that would not be denied, simply ordered Leon to change his mind because he knew Jim was right. And with a gobsmacked ‘Board’ looking on, Leon did just that. Leon blew any small chance he might have had in those few seconds when his resolve just withered under Jim’s steely gaze.

Given this fascinating little psychodrama, if this were real business, rather than pretend business, knowing Sugar’s admiration for willpower over intellect, he could save us all a lot of time and pick Jim now.
There were some delicious ironies in this week’s show not least the Lord Sugar’s self-description as an electronics expert. This from a man who pig-headedly refused to abandon one of the great ‘dogs’ of the electronics market – the e-mailer phone. According to the technical press Sugar’s colleague of 20 years and CEO of Amstrad in 2001 Bob Watkins resigned rather than waste more millions on a device only Sugar appeared to believe in and which never took off.

In the face of two phone Apps of almost stupefying banality this week at least a bemused Nick confessed that maybe he was too old to assess the quality of these products specifically designed to waste time. The boys’ team were as easily thrilled and laddishly full of themselves with their effort as a bunch of 12 year-olds passing round a copy of Playboy behind the bike sheds. SLANGATANG involved them using or affecting cod local accents to make inane remarks that mysteriously made them all laugh like drains. Now I’m the first to acknowledge that humour is a very personal thing and notoriously unpredictable, but evidence of the excruciatingly unfunny concept and its inept realisation was given by the look of bewildered incomprehension on the face of the professionals drafted in to help them. Not a glimmer of a smile on any face at any time.

The girls meanwhile where being bludgeoned into a rival App by the terrifying, “I don’t suffer fools gladly” Edna. We were treated to a deliciously surreal moment as the baby of the group little Susan Ma, did an Eric Morecome with the English language – ‘I’m using all the right words but not necessarily in the right order’ full of the syntactical tourettes of copious ‘rights’, ‘okays’ ‘so I says’ and ‘so she says’ of the texting generation. As any coherent sense spiralled out of control up poor Susan’s fundament, Dame Edna looked as if she would just bite off her head to shut her up.

The girls’ wheeze of an App was of annoying noises like a fingernail scratching a blackboard, screeching, a bunch of women shouting each other down and most unfathomable of all, an elephant barking like a dog. That this masochistic bummer of an idea, oddly named AMPI-AP, eventually won with over 10,000 downloads is a mystery besides which quantum theory looks easy peasy.

Dismissing out of hand the rather likely explanation that the sudden surge in downloads was due to a mention in the biggest on-line Apps listing in the business, which the boys failed to get, the Omniscient One knew infallibly that the reason the girls’ won was that their irritating sounds had more global appeal than the funny dialects on SLANGALANG. Now I’m no expert here but as I understand it, the primary requirement in internet based marketing is getting noticed, being found and this can’t be content driven in the first instance. It arises from links, connections of precisely the kind they had accessed with their Apps-listing deal.

The oddity of the numbers here needed some proper analysis not just an airy wave of a Papal hand. The boys were beating the girls 3-1 after 6 hours then lost 3-1 after 24. As I’ve said above, this by definition cannot be content based. Their sudden surge in downloads sounded as if it was probably directly driven by a mention in one of the most widely seen Apps sites on the net.

Personally I think the girls missed a trick. If instead of random animal noises they had been bolder they could have picked the sound of animal farts – from a squeaky mouse to a thundering elephant – they would have gone viral. Little boys of all ages would have lapped it up.

To end on a positive note I am pleased to report that I was right about Helen: now she’s got rid of the poker she is much more relaxed and comes over so far anyway, as rather nice with a charming regional accent. No hope for a winner there then.

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