The Apprentice: Board Games

“What you hold may wish to go
What you believe may not be so
All that brings you peace of mind
May not stay for a long time.”

Paul Shapera

While I am enjoying The Apprentice‘s weekly dose of arrogant idiocy, the whole thing is beginning to feel like a bit of a farce.

This week, Teams Tenacity and Summit were asked to design a new board game and sell it to the trade. Like many Apprentice tasks, this is actually deceptively difficult, since most new board games are either drunken-teenager easy or Sheldon Cooper complicated. Still, the level of incompetence some of the candidates deliver this week is staggering.

Admittedly, Summit’s idea, essentially a cross between Articulate and Pictionary, was fairly good for something dreamed up in day. Tenacity, however, came up with a deeply offensive and sexist dating board game, complete with multiple-choice questions written by Desperate Daniel. Why anyone thought this would be a good idea is unclear. Tenacity lost, by the way, although not before Mark uttered the unforgettable sentiment that “It’s hard to fly like an eagle when you’re surrounded by turkeys.”

I’m sure we’re all grateful for that gem of wisdom.

I’m getting off the point. Tenacity may have been shockingly, wince-inducingly bad, but Summit made its own rather drastic mistakes, too, not least that The One Named Bianca offered exclusivity for sale of their game in Westminster to a tiny independent shop, which made selling to Waterstones rather difficult. If both the teams are as bad as each other (and, believe me, they are: Mouthy James, Summit’s PM, was every bit as insufferable as the aforementioned Desperate Daniel this week), one is inclined to think, what’s the point? Where’s the competition? At this stage in the series, you’d hope that the teams would be tighter, more organised, less inclined to make amateur mistakes like Bianca’s. But I can’t imagine ALS wanting to hire any of these candidates. Ever.

Oh, and talking of ALS, the fact that he keeps waving his Slap Bet privileges about is not helping, either. It’s supposed to raise the tension; in fact, it lowers it, because there’s a sense that the boardroom scenes are no longer a case of  choosing the worst from the bad, but of just throwing out whoever is annoying to ALS’ superiority. And some of his choices are weirdly arbitrary, clearly the result of producers’ intervention, as the decidedly bad eggs like Desperate Daniel are kept in while quietly efficient (read: boring) candidates like Pamela or Jemma are fired. The thing feels like a farce, not a competition.

I mean, it’s funny, and the candidates are uniformly awful, so it’s difficult to feel too sorry for them. But…

…there are rules. And even ALS should not break them.

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