Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Apprentice: from anchor to wanker

Tonight's was another fascinating episode in which Sir Alan made a decision to fire someone annoying and crap, but for the wrong reasons and in preference to the real culprits.

Plot synopsis first: the teams were tasked with producing a billboard and 30-second TV ad for a new product relating to Sugar's Amsair venture: a platinum card for reducing the hassle in hiring exec jets, complete with a $250,000 credit line. Paul and Ruth were asked to be project managers and pick their teams. Ruth got to go first and made sure she got in her now legendary death-stare. Both teams got to send 2 representatives to talk to Sugar Jr. about what the product was and his needs as their customer.

Ruth's team focussed heavily on the concierge aspects, shooting a film with an actual bell-boy meeting the flier at her hotel in camp-porno mode (Sir Alan asked Nick if it was one of his dodgy films) and accompanying her to the plane, whilst the billboard essentially consisted of someone trying to flag down a plane like it was a taxi.

Paul's team went for a magic theme with the phrase "let us show you a card trick" - the billboard showed planes flying out of a hat, whilst the ad was of a flustered businessman being given what appeared to be a blowie from a member of the cabin staff.

Sugar and the ad execs were rather underwhelmed at both efforts, but Paul's team won due to Ruth's bunch having missed the point of what they were advertising. This came down to Ansell and Mani's feedback right at the start, when Ansell really over-emphasised the concierge aspects. Mani whinged occasionally through the day that everyone had missed the point, but nobody listened, and when it came to Ruth selecting 2 people to take with, she chose Mani, rather than Ansell, as the scapegoat for the misinformation, and Jo for being a psycho nutter who crossed her path when managing the buying exercise (the original death-stare).

Mani has patently gone from anchor to wanker (Sugar's words, not mine), with his nonsense about divergence and convergence, and all that "world-class presenter" crap when he was cringeworthy in the role during the calendar exercise. But in this case, Sir Alan fell for Ruth's argument that Mani's early error and failure to correct it had cost the task. This reasoning never saved Alexa when Syed was the culprit, but then Syed is a wide-boy and Mani is a bit posh.

Sugar should have asked Ruth more on why she had not brought Ansell in as he was clearly responsible for overplaying the concierge aspects, and didn't do a whole lot during the task either. Whilst I think Jo is ghastly, she wasn't too terrible in this task and was there due to previous bad blood with Ruth - again, Sugar didn't really pick up on this. I suspect it was Mani's pompousness and generally misplaced sense of self-worth, exemplified by his rudeness to Ruth for not knowing what autocratic meant, that ultimately cost him.

Watching "You're Fired!" and listening to Mani being interviewed on Radio Five Live, I felt a bit more sorry for him. He was a little more humble and contrite, and did concede that he wasn't really in the Sugar mould. It does beg the question why Sugar bothers letting the producers put in middle-class, well-spoken professionals like Alexa, Karen, Ben and Mani, only to axe them at the earliest opportunity because they are not like him.

I am still enjoying the programme, but the abject weakness of the candidates and the failure of the producers to stock the house with high-calibre businesspeople and/or genuine contenders for the kind of role Sugar is looking to fill and/or the personality types that he clearly prefers, is beginning to detract from the show's credibility.


Claire said...

absolutely agree.
just disgusting how this show has gone downhill and is still too exciting to ignore...

Anonymous said...

Absolute balls. Mani deserved to go. Throughout the show I saw him bringing up the concierge aspect and I certainly thought it was his fault. Goodbye Mani.