All entries for Monday 25 September 2006

September 25, 2006

Alan Sugar– "I'm a plonker

“This is not a game, this is a 16 week job interview” so says Sugar’s voice at the start of every episode of The Apprentice. Most job interviews are an hour at most, and that’s generally enough to judge if someone is the right person for the job. So you’d think with 16 weeks (well, 30 days or however long it actually is) you’d be bound to get the right person right? Wrong.

The Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry is to part company with Sir Alan Sugar.

Following a series of secret meetings, the former checkout girl will receive a “substantial pay-off” after agreeing to leave Sugar’s Xenon Green computer disposal firm. She set up her own company, Michelle Dewberry Limited, thirteen days ago.

Six million viewers tuned into BBC Two in May this year to watch Sir Alan hire Michelle in favour of 28-year-old Ruth Badger. However things took a turn for the worse just weeks later when news of Michelle’s pregnancy and relationship with show rival Syed Ahmed hit the tabloids.

A source told the Sunday Mirror: “It just wasn’t working out. Sir Alan and Michelle had huge hopes for the partnership when she won the hit BBC2 series. They really felt it would be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

“But it just hasn’t worked out the way either side had hoped. It feels like the whole thing has been cursed. There’s been one problem after another, and in the end both decided it was best to call it quits.”

For crying out loud.

That just about makes a mockery of the entire show and shows Alan Sugar up for the useless twat he his. After firing all the best candidates he’s left with a bunch of numpties, and finally awards the job to the most numpty-ish of the two left, and then realises that she’s a bit shit. All through the show you see Sugar firing extremely competent people, disagreeing strongly with his choices but justifying it by saying “They might be good, but they might not suit his company”. Well turns out Sugar doesn’t know who suits his company either.

I watched the US version of The Apprentice when it first started and it was wonderful, Trump made good calls getting rid of the worst performers and ending up with a brilliant final two that it was a visibly tough decision. Season 2 continued in this ilk albeit with the two strongest candidates going out early on due to Trump’s ego (Bradford got fired after giving up his immunity as he was so confident in his position, which Trump thought was stupid, and Pamela got fired because… okay to this day I’m still not sure why Pamela got fired). But then things went downhill – the producers and Trump saw how shocking and dramatic it was when he fired Bradford unexpectedly, so went on to engineer double-firings, quintuple-firings and whatever other shocking things that they could come up with.
It reached it’s nadir with the season 5 final four. With two teams of two the losing team go into the boardroom. It goes something like this:

Trump: “So who should I fire”
The two girls: “We’re not going to point fingers at each other or blame each other”
“Well who should I fire?”
“Don’t fire either of us”
“Well I’m not going to do that”
“You choose then, we’re not going to act all bitchy and disloyal to each other, we’re friends”
“Well you’re going to have to”
“You’ve seen us the past 14 weeks, just choose who’s best”
“No, tell me why I should fire the other person”
sigh “Okay” girls start attributing blame to each other
“Shut up, that’s enough. You’re just being bitchy and can’t even be loyal to each other. You’re both fired”
“Are you fucking retarded?”

There was some small relief to be garnered from seeing Trump’s viceroy Caroline agree half-heartedly with all his decisions at the end while wearing a look on her face that said “you fired him? you crazy fool”, but apparently she’s now left the Trump organisation and won’t be back next year. Boo.

The point of all this? It took Trump a couple of years to start messing up and making bad calls, it’s taken Sugar just the one. I really love the concept of The Apprentice (and yes, I realise that’s two entries on Mark Burnett created TV shows in a row) but it seems there’s no-one left out there capable of executing the concept in a decent fashion. Shame.

September 2006

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