I’ve been meaning to start a blog for a while and the new season of The Apprentice this week gave me the impetus to finally do it.
I had a long day at work on Wednesday. Around 4pm I knew there was something I was looking forward to but I couldn’t remember what it was. An hour later I remembered that the new season of the Apprentice was starting that evening. Yep, just like everyone else, I love yelling at the screen, telling them how they should be doing it. Every year, never having had any of my own experience with selling cars or making ice cream, I am screaming at the television, dishing out instructions on how to do these tasks properly. But, and this really is without any sarcasm, I also enjoy the occasional glimmer of someone actually doing a task proficiently.
Suddenly you realise that one of the contestants does have a brain and some form of leadership qualities. It’s great to be able to watch them gather a bunch of morons together and make a half decent looking TV commercial or sell an unembarrassing amount of seafood (I’m not saying that those particular tasks were completed proficiently in previous years but I remember they at least tried).
However, this week I got the distinct impression that I had tuned into the wrong show. I sat there confused, almost on the verge of double checking radiotimes. What exactly was I watching? No, it couldn’t be. Why are contestants on Big Brother out and about on the streets of London cleaning cars? What’s happened, why are there no adverts on Channel 4 for a whole hour?
If you didn’t see it, this years contestants really did come across as that stupid on Wednesday. Within the first five minutes I had heard so many ridiculous quotes that if someone had told me I was watching a spoof version of the show I really would have believed them.
I should have known really. The previous week the biggest story from the show was that two of contestants had had a fling. And I know that the first week is supposed to be slight overkill on the entertainment rather than the slick business-like qualities of the candidates. The producers reel off as many of the most arrogant, outrageous quotes as possible to try and hit home that, yes, this is a TV show and not a real job interview after all. But still, I expect a little more than what we were greeted with this season.
You’re not honestly telling me that Alan Sugar, a self made, no-nonsense millionaire, would allow the vast majority of those candidates to get anywhere near the doors of Amstrad for any other job interview. So far we have a raging sexist, a woman who makes Sarah Palin look grounded and un-self-delusional (if that a word? you know what I am getting at) and a man who seems to genuinely believe that he is still at school and he is the one in charge of the ‘cool gang’ for the first time in his life (he was clearly one of those try-hards who always wanted to be (but wasn’t) in the cool gang when he actually was at school).
The only thing I can presume is that, by Series 5, the quality of the applicants has gone way down. And the ironic thing is that anyone who thought it through honestly believed that this year the quality would be better than ever. With the state that this country is currently in I really did think that there would be an overwhelming number of great applicants, many of whom were from the city, who would be desperate to get back up to a six figure salary and would currently see this show as a last ditch opportunity of achieving this right now.
If the credit crunch has brought any emotion to the forefront, it is desperation. Surely there are plenty of hard working, intelligent individuals, who would never normally apply to a reality show, but who have suddenly found themselves redundant, who this year decided to give it a try? Clearly not. Maybe it will trickle through for next year though.
Anyway, let’s just hope that a Ruth or a Tre begin to emerge from the cloud of profound idiocy which kept us all entertained for week one but will not exactly keep us on the edge of our seats for twelve episodes. For now, all I can say is hang on in there. I for one will be tuning in again next week, if anything just to giggle at all of Nick and Margaret’s faces of disbelief – many of which I will unknowingly be mirroring.