Week 3 of The Apprentice. I found last week’s episode a tad dull, but this one brought back some spectacular infighting between the contestants and glorious ineptitude from the two team leaders.
The Call: Lord Sugar calls the contestants to meet in the wee small hours. I love the sadism displayed in waking up the sleeping corporate drones and making them function under mild sleep deprivation. It definitely makes them crankier!
The Task: Our hapless hopefuls are to become bakers this week. They have to win some bread orders from industry, then manufacture the product and deliver it on time. Sound impossible already? Well, when they’ve finished that, they have to take their overstock to the streets as a way to make extra sales and bring their profit up.
The Disasters: Shibby Robati becomes leader of Team Apollo, while Melissa Cohen heads up Synergy. Shibby is deliciously bad tempered and rude throughout this episode, while Melissa makes some hideous errors in an era which she claimed she was an expert in. Let’s take a look at the best bits from the bungling bureaucrats!
- In the middle of a meeting with a company, Melissa struggles to come up with a unit price for the product. The Managing Director gives her five minutes to get her figures together…she takes fifteen, which irritates him greatly. When she finally comes up with a unit price, it’s a pie-in-the-sky £1.82. We’ll take our business elsewhere, Melissa.
- Shibby discovers that success is a double-edged sword: his team’s sharp sales skills end up committing them to an order for a hotel chain that they don’t have the resources to fulfil.
- This one deserves a bullet point all to itself: Shibby rolls (pardon the pun) up late at the hotel with his delivery…and tells the chef that out of an order for 1,000 bread rolls, he has….16. Oh dear. He ends up paying the business compensation to settle the matter.
- After sales on their Soho market spot start drying up, Melissa dithers about moving to a new spot to try and offload the rest of their product. Alex is frustrated by this and confronts her, to which she classily replies “There’s no need to get arsey with me.” Alex inexplicably chooses to taunt her with his superior mathematical skills and recites his GCSE achievements. I make a mental note to try that the next time I get in an argument with someone.
- Not to be outdone, Shibby throws a strop in the middle of a meeting when he realises that they can’t possibly deliver on an order. He’s right, of course, but acting that way in front of a customer more or less sealed his fate.
- Unexpected praise for former Royal Marine Commando Christopher Farrell, who ran the factory “with military precision”.
The Winning Team: Surprisingly Synergy won (helped by the fact that Apollo had to pay compensation to the hotel). Melissa – unpopular among some of her colleagues – lives to fight another day. But Alan Sugar marks her card “I’m not sure, with respect, Melissa, that this is down to you as a team leader.”
Ugh: We get to see Stuart Baggs The Brand gyrating with a bellydancer as part of the team’s reward. Ugh.
The Boardroom: Best bit of every Apprentice episode is watching the candidates franctially scrambling to pass the blame for failure onto everyone else. Shibby drags Paloma Vivanco and Sandeesh Samra in hoping to throw them under the bus to save himself.
To be fair, Sandeesh didn’t seem to be a terribly effective team member. She has beautiful eyes, but as I noticed that, I noticed that they mostly carry a vacant expression, and I’m not sure she was aware that she was even in the boardroom for most of that scene.
Feisty Paloma wasn’t going down without a fight. There’s no other word for it. She demolished Shibby. Tore him apart. Even Karren Brady got in on the action: “Shibby, you were like a sulky child in the meeting” It was beautiful cringey TV. Paloma would accept no blame and poured scorn and derision on her team leader with a memorised dossier of his failings.
Shibby did himself no favours. At one point he told Sandeesh that she could have walked around topless to make the sales. Lord Sugar visibly winces at that one, and we know that there’s no hope for this throwback. And to be honest, anybody who trots out this line – “I have two ears and one mouth. I’m gonna use them to that ration.” – absolutely deserved to be fired.
And that’s what happened Shibby Got Fired. (I like to imagine that a bolt of lightning shoots out of Sugar’s finger and strikes the person he’s firing, like a Sith Lord in the boardroom.