Ah, The Apprentice is back again. But where do they find these people? Are they real? It’s hard to believe that anybody can be so confident, so vain, so sure of themselves, so . . . so arsey. Of course, there’s a degree of set up – there has to be, it’s a TV show intended to entertain – but for people to refer to themselves as a ‘brand’ or to suggest that their first word was ‘money not mummy’? Oh, please. And then comes the fall. With careful editing, we see our budding Napoleons stripped down to their most basic unpleasantness of shouting and back-stabbing.
It’s priceless stuff, watching the collected motley crew running about like headless chickens trying to fulfill the latest nonsense task which Alan Sugar‘s team has dreamed up. And the sales tasks inevitably end up with a last
minute rush around the streets of London trying to sell the last dregs to anyone who will have it – door-to-door sausages anyone? And that’s why we watch it, right? We don’t want to watch genuine business stuff, do we? Naa, that would be boring as hell. It would be endless meetings and people crunching numbers and sitting at desks looking at computer screens while drinking coffee. What we want to see is young men in pinstriped suits, sporting braces and spiky hair, young women in smart business suits (except for the obligatory one who dresses like a clown), trying desperately to claw their way above the others. We want them to argue and fight and swear at each other when they think they’re losing, then congratulate each other when they win, hugging like old friends. We want them to drag out the old cliches – ‘I’m a grafter’, ‘I really want this’, ‘I can offer so much more’, ‘I won’t let you down’, ‘I’ll be a team leader next time, let me show what I can do’ – and we’d like them to invent a few more of their own – ‘I’m Stuart Baggs, The Brand’ perhaps. And if possible, we’d like them to talk in barely understandable business-speak. We want them to ‘touch-base’ , to ‘incentivise’, to aim for ‘low hanging fruit’, to ‘go forward from the get-go’ and to ‘drill down’.
But most of all, we want them to make complete arses of themselves. We can’t help it. It’s how we’re wired and it’s how the programme is presented. And the contestants know it.
I’ll be watching next week.
- The Apprentice: what makes the perfect candidate? (guardian.co.uk)
- The Apprentice touches base again (guardian.co.uk)
- The Apprentice 2010, BBC One, episode one review: a new nitwit emerges (telegraph.co.uk)