So the return of The Apprentice did not disappoint in its opening moments as this years group of loatheables contestants made a return to our screens with the usual delusional declarations of egotistical self worth.
Within the first five minutes this group, supposedly the future of British commerce, had described themselves as-amongst other cringe inducing descriptions- ”ËLike an animal I will roar my way to the top’, ”ËA master puppeteer pulling the strings’, ”ËA blonde assassin’ ”ËA shark and total reflection of perfection’ all delivered straight faced without even a flicker of irony.
This is the great beauty of The Apprentice in that from the very beginning you are not rooting for anyone to win, as they are all usually such despicable characters, but instead you seek out which one you hate the most and hope they get fired first. Last night’s episode was no different from any other opening episode – other than the fact the boys team won for a change – in that it was clear from less than half way through that someone called Balaclava, due to rubbing every one on her team up the wrong way, was not going to reach week two. Actually I later discovered her name was Bilyana although a balaclava may have been more apt in drowning out her incessant bleating. Despite the fact she had me reaching for the mute button on my remote when she simply refused to shut up even after professional curmudgeon Lord Sugar had told her to several times, a sadistic part of me wanted her to stay if only to annoy the other contestants more. Alas this was not to be and she found herself carrying her suitcase into the waiting taxi with seemingly not one part of her confidence dented. Unlike my ear drums!
The task was typical in The Apprentice scheme of things in that the teams were split according to gender and then set a simple buying and selling task. The next step was to name the teams with the boys opting for Phoenix whilst the girls chose- after the weirdly adenoidal accented Jenna revealed it had come to her in a dream – Sterling. The revelation that the latter name arrived in a dream aroused- or perhaps it may have been her comedy voice- the same eye rolling and snort of derision from both Lord Sugar ( what is it with him and his titles as he was formerly Suralan?) and myself providing a rare moment of empathy between us.
The task was the usual first week disaster with both teams struggling to work and bond with complete strangers and it is often hard to spot who has any capabilities amongst the rabble aspect this flung together method engenders. Surprisingly enough the boys team- led somewhat unwillingly and hesitantly by the surprisingly pleasant and non-wanky Nick who seems amiable enough so will probably be stitched up by the others around week four – won despite creating a sub standard and unimaginative product versus the girls well thought out and cleverly crafted one. There seemed to be more solidarity in their ranks also- Bilyana was earmarked as troublesome in the girls team from the very off although this is probably down to clever editing which usually leads the audience in their way of thinking- but this may have changed if they had lost and had to endure a grilling in the boardroom.
The boardroom invariably provides some of the show’s best moments and last night was no exception. Almost as soon as the result was announced and it began to emerge that the girls had lost the task you could almost see the eyes twitching and painted talons all start to point at each other. Any evidence of previously stated female solidarity went flying right out of the Gherkin’s seventh floor windows. A bunch of baying hyenas may have had more subtlety and probably left behind more survivors. Inevitably the final decision lies with Sugar- I am officially dropping the Lord forthwith it is about as tiresome as his lame attempts at humour- and this is where Bilyana quite literally talked her way out of a job by simply refusing to shut up despite being told to at least three times.
Not many other contestants made too much of a mark last night although a special mention must go to Stephen whose selling technique resembled a man offering a woman an STD and garnered the expected response such an offer would elicit; one of mild disgust followed by a swift exit in the opposite direction.
So with the first evictee from the programme dispensed with it will be interesting to see who will become our hate object in week two. The male team didn’t make too much of an impression last night but there must be something lurking in there to raise our ire. ”ËBusiness superstar by day and professional wrestler by night’ ,Ricky Martin looks like such a contender and his name is bound to be followed by at least one reference to La Vida Loca by professional stand-up Sugar accompanied by the obsequious laughter of the mildly embarrassed contestants which will surely massage his rampant ego even further. I doubt anyone will be quite as annoying and delusional as Stuart Baggs and his field of ponies from two years ago but we can live in hope!