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The Apprentice Episode 9 – The Melody Lingers On.


Zoe Goes

The Apprentice Episode 9 – The Melody Lingers On.

Solipsism is the philosophical theory that only the self exists; or can be proved to exist. More generally the dictionary defines it thus: extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one’s feelings, desires and thoughts; egoistic self-absorption.

Question: how do you stop Melody talking other than by shoving your foot in her mouth? Hitherto I had thought the prize for the most immature Apprentice was a no-brainer (appropriately) – Susan by a mile of verbal diarrhoea. But no – step up Maddening Melody.

At what age do children begin to learn that perhaps the first thing that comes into their head may not be the best thing to say; still less the best thing to do? Mature 6-year-olds pick it up quickly; even with the most obtuse, usually spoilt little brats, the penny drops by about 9. Seventeen years on and the ironically named Melody, still doesn’t get it. Only her ideas are real; so it follows her ideas must be best; because they are the best as a matter of definition, they are the only ones worth considering – and therefore the only ones worth implementing. I’m sure you dear reader, unlike this infuriatingly smug, aggressively self-absorbed young woman, begin to see the fatal flaws in solipsism emerging simply by describing its consequences in the real world.

Having a bad idea is de rigueur for Apprentices; most weeks someone OD’s on bad ideas: but to use the only marketing concept anyone on this show appears to know – Manqué Melody found a gap in the bad idea market and shovelled into it the teeth grindingly embarrassing concept of patronising professional buyers, grown-ups every one, by pitching to them with a ‘role-play’. Not since he had to massage the business end of Jedi Jim’s naked body has Tommy Teapot (light) looked more ill at ease. Crap idea, crassly written, clumsily executed: another winner from Little Mel. This “we would be fools (sic) not to do it” little wonder wheeze was described by the charming Perween Warsi on You’re Fired as the stupidest pitch she’d ever seen. But then what would she know? She only turned £2.50, her kitchen and a passion for quality Indian food into a £60million business.

Mardy Mel was on a role, sorry roll this week: roll up, roll up folks lets hear it for the next globally viral idea – the ‘popcorn of biscuits’ which turned out to be a lump of dough with marshmallows stuck in it. Well I suppose markets are bit like mud huts, when you find a gap – you can fill it with any kind of sh*t ready to hand.

Denied her beloved heart-shaped biscuit, Melody set about marshalling all her considerable skill at sulking, berating everyone around her for lacking her infallible business acumen, becoming determinedly unmanageable and a right ROPITA – Royal Pain In The A*se. We all watched with fascination the approaching train wreck of Zoe’s short fuse with fools and Melody’s unwavering commitment to being one. I rather liked Zoe’s forthright Northern feistiness and her fine way with invective e.g. “I don’t give a shiny sh*t what Melody thinks” – what that lacked in managerial wisdom was for me, more than compensated by its justifiable appositeness. The Apprentice has so little imagination in it that we can ill afford to lose the wordsmith who described Natasha’s tendency to poke her nose in everywhere thus “she’s everywhere – she gets where dirt can’t.”

Aside from the strategy indelicately described above, I don’t know what Zoe or anyone else was supposed to do this week with Malevolent Melly. Zoe, not for the first time on the show made the understandable mistake of assuming that if someone is talking crap, you can assume everyone else will see it and that therefore you don’t have to do anything about it. Bad call Zoe: thing about crap is you have clear it up and get rid of it quickly before it stinks the place out.

I’d like to believe that some half-witted reject from the Strictly Come Dancing Costume/hairdressing department was responsible for how Zoe looked on You’re Fired: they managed to make a beautiful woman look daft. Bemusingly Karen Brady apparently loved this OTT over-grooming. But the audience on balance decided she should not have been fired; And I rather agree with them.

Halo Helen struck again: nine times to bat and nine times not out – well not in, the boardroom. 600,000 orders from ASDA for Venture’s Special Stars had Sugar Lump salivating along with all the other greedy kids. Despite the ambiguity of the strap line of ‘Anytime is treat time’ and a few mealy-mouthed reservations about stuffing even more excess sugar down more than willing childish gullets; greed got the better of good sense, and ASDA went for broke. Mind you, having criticised Jedi Jim for promising a multi-million £ advertising budget everyone conveniently ignored the rather relevant question as to whether this bullsh*t influenced the buyers to place their order. On the other hand, not since Peter Sellers imitated a Politician answering a question in Parliament and stretched saying absolutely nothing into a 5 minute speech, have I heard such a vacuous response as Jim’s string of jargon-filled business-speak drivel ‘explaining’ the Special Stars marketing strategy.

It is almost refreshing to find this week that when you cut through all the marketing crap if you’re selling something to eat – it should taste nice. This isn’t such an a priori truth as we might imagine: I mean MacDonalds and Cinema hotdogs for example give the lie to it. However if Tommy Teapot and Mi’lady Melody had spent less time at the biscuit factory chasing the farcical concept of an emergency biscuit and sulking; and more on trying to actually make a biscuit that tasted good, then BixMix might have got somewhere.

It’s quite good fun watching out of her depth Natasha wonder how the hell she is going to knock Helen off her pedestal. Jim had a now characteristically snidey crack at it with “ well she is a good PM but she’s very passive – so what’s not to like?” Hmmn Jimmyboy, maybe look up the difference between aggressiveness and assertiveness and the penny might drop. Disappointment of the week was that we didn’t get to hear Su talking about her ‘nib nob’ idea trailed after last week’s show. Go on: take your imagination for walk.

Next week’s task looks like one of Sugar Lump’s favourites: a Trotter Trading kind of flog ‘em quick, flog ‘em hard. Maybe that will give him his chance to have a go at Helen so she doesn’t forget who’s in charge. This one should also Unchain Melody – just point her at them and they’ll buy anything just to shut her up.

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