“What do men dislike the most – waxing, vegetables or cricket?”
Just one of many dazzlingly dire quandaries proposed by The Relationship Guru, a board game painstakingly conceived by team Tenacity during week five of this year’s UK Apprentice (waxing is the correct answer for anyone who’s interested.)
A record 20 candidates were included in the process this year, evidently for the sole purpose of allowing Lord Alan Sugar to give more than one person the sight of his podgy index finger during each of the initial episodes.
The sizeable roster has been chastised by sections of the show’s hardcore following, with the inevitably escalated nitwit to prodigy ratio making embryonic instalments less palatable than usual, and the most engaging participants abdicating their share of the spotlight to fame seeking comic relief.
The stereotype quota has been faithfully adhered to;
Vexatious, irksome gob shite with American accent:
Loud mouth northern pipsqueak who Sir Al sees something in: TICK
Egotistical market trader who thinks he’s Bill Gates:
Narcissistic female beautician cast as panto villain:
Asian business lady who’s ‘too nice’:
Fortunately, among the bevy of equal opportunity fall guys and girls there has been a dusting of discerning, manipulative contenders who have entered centre stage as cast numbers have dwindled.
The final two, Mark Wright and Bianca Miller, both have impressive CV’s and, aged 24 and 25 respectively, possess the requisite energy and acumen to utilise the £250,000 start-up fund the winner apparently receives straight from the savings pot of a 67-year old, office dwelling tycoon whose personal wealth stands at more than £700m.
On Wednesday those two remaining players were, along with three other prospective dog’s bodies, subjected to a day of interviews patently devised to create discomfort, as high flyers with well attuned bullshit detectors posed the penultimate obstacle to investment.
Claude Littner, an acerbic mainstay of this stage of the process since 2005, was swift to pounce upon some of the flakier propositions among the quintet, labelling 23 year-old Solomon Akhtar’s diagram heavy blueprint ‘a bloody disgrace’ before unceremoniously concluding the tongue lashing by ordering him to scram (a visibly shaken Akhtar then walking towards the window of the 50th floor office, before Littner intervened and directed him to the exit.)
Despite getting longer in the tooth, and with certain concepts wearing a mite thin, The Apprentice retains a place among the most popular reality TV programming in the country by virtue of being able to combine absurd scenarios and fractious characters with a serious business setting.
The US translation of the programme has a glossier inflection, with Donald Trump the suave palate cleansing sorbet to Sugar’s gritty north London pie and mash, albeit the former Tottenham Hotspur director retains an eccentric charm amid the recurring pointy, shouty boardroom showdown.
Who should win? Flip a coin and you’ll have your answer – the ultimate victor here is of course Seigneur Sucre, the sexagenarian’s profile once again given a leg up pre-Christmas period by solid viewing figures and self-edited portrayal of warm, cuddly diamond geezer replete with chic catchphrase.
As has been revealed during the aftermath of past series’, the person hired on the programme isn’t always the winner when the cameras stop rolling; Sugar often taking two or more candidates under his wing for six months before determining if any of them are indispensable removed from the context of sourcing Halal chickens or negotiating 47 pence discounts on a pair of disused oven mitts.
Perhaps the most poignant query though is posed by The Relationship Guru board game once more;
Men think women should:
b). Smile more
c). Always be happy.
Like Albert Einstein’s question about the meaning of life, perhaps it’s better that we never find out.