The Apprentice: Ten Years of Selling

“Advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

Guys. Guys. The Apprentice is BACK. The BBC’s repository of posers, wannabes and corporate scumbags is ten years old this year, and what does the Almighty Lord Sugar have to say about this?

“I’m going to start things off a little differently…”

Of course you are, Sir Alan.

ALS’s grand innovation turns out to be no more groundbreaking than the addition of four extra candidates to the usual group of sixteen, so we’re left with twenty candidates – “ten boys and ten girls,” as ALS announces triumphantly. (Oh, well done, Sir Alan. You’ve clearly learned some maths since we last met you.) Except that “the process” (evidently corporate-speak for “the reality TV show which bears about as much resemblance to a real-life interview situation as Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy does to Tolkien’s fairytale”) will still take twelve weeks, so that ALS will retain the power to fire multiple candidates at any point during the show’s run. It’s a strategy unfortunately reminiscent of Barney and Marshall’s Slap Bet in How I Met Your Mother. Unfortunate, that is, for the participants. It promises to be highly amusing for us gleeful viewers, however.

See, the best thing about The Apprentice as a reality TV show is that the contestants are, collectively, so vile that there is absolutely no guilt in laughing at them, or revelling in their downfall. And this year, presumably as a kind of celebration of all that is wonderful about The Apprentice, the candidates are particularly obnoxious. “I can make women do what I want in the world of business,” declaims one male contestant, instantly losing the support of every woman in the world, anywhere. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” says another, a delightfully incongruous sentiment among the rather more prosaic posturings and boastings of her teammates.

It gets even better when they embark upon this week’s task, a fairly generic wholesale selling project. The boys’ team name themselves “Summit”, which is harmless enough, if uninspired. The girls’ team, bizarrely, plumps for “Decadence”, a team name so oddly unprofessional that ALS even asks them to change it. And the posturing continues: Decadence PM Sarah declares that the girls are at an advantage because “most people will buy from females because they’re more attractive”. Excellent. Clearly, we have a closet feminist on the team. Har har. And one of the boys announces, ingeniously: “there’s no “i” in team, but there are five in “individual brilliance”.” This tells you everything you need to know about the average Apprentice candidate.

And a Special Mention goes to Felipe, who is simply a caricature of himself. He even refers to himself in the third person, several times: “Felipe is awesome.” Oh, really? Who’s he, then?

Utter drivel it may be. Contrived, melodramatic, unnecessary and unrealistic it surely is. But, my God, I’m having fun. So here’s to ten years of The Apprentice: guilt-free reality TV. Let’s hope for another hilarious ten years.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.