Perhaps it’s that I’ve been living in the shadow of the business sector for three years, or maybe it’s dealing with the current difficulty of obtaining a job, but there’s a very special place for businessmen as part of the pain in my ass. That’s probably why I so severely despise the absolute bastards on BBC One’s The Apprentice.
People continue to say that The Apprentice has become (or indeed always has been) a sitcom. I’d actually prefer to argue that it is an anime. There’s Tsundere Senpai Lord Sir – or is that Sir Lord? – Alan ‘Al’ Sugar, a bunch of narcissistic big-haired snobs in shiny suits and chic dresses. There’s a quiet monotonous pointdexter who will probably win it, and an anime Don Draper.
And all of them, every last one, a complete and utter bell end.
What are you doing, British Broadcasting Corporation? What are you fucking trying to do to me? I’m a graduate, looking onto a burgeoning grey future as an Emerging Services Worker, indebted to the government for what employers consider to be fuck all. Meanwhile, to get my mind off all that, I get to watch week after week as slobbering rich half-wits snivel at a human ballache. It brings me to a strange new reality where I simultaneously find I’m ashamed of myself for failing to reach their status, yet appalled by their sycophantic begging. I come away from the faint distraction of 50 minutes of television feeling a soreness in the pith of my heart.
The Apprentice starts every episode thusly: Balding Saruman emerges from his den of iniquity atop the shard, followed by raven Karren and wise-owl Nick, who perch at each of his shoulders. Balding Saruman yells at the hobbitses until they are ejected from Amstrad HQ with one objective: Steal money from the public.
Let’s be honest here. What they are doing isn’t ‘business’—it’s a highly evolved form of stealing. They buy shit, for shit money, and sell it to people who are either being harassed in the street to the point of exasperation, or receiving a stultifying terrible pitch from idiotic dicks in suits towing along a camera crew. They make products which don’t work or fit their brief, and then they sell them using lies. They buy products from Costcutter and deliver it to the consumer as fresh organic produce. And these are the people to aspire to be. The ones who made it: The Crux of London City.
And then, inevitably, they will cock it up. Cue Balding Saruman harrumphing into his gunmetal and brushed glass boardroom (more like BOREDROOM) like a pound-shop Steve Jobs to a hushed audience of over-moisturised children in business suits—like the baby from the Soft Soft Soft Triple Velvet ad. Despite ripping off the public, small businesses and even having a go at the big nasty ones too, they fuck up. The producers of this programme manage to successfully manipulate each situation into a near-unsalvageable disaster. Why? So the unemployed, the redundant, the graduates with nowhere to go (and nobody who wants them) can sit and watch entitled bags of shit be laden with opportunities and pampered—or conversely, ejected out of the Sugardome ‘process’ and back to their cushy lives with their big cars and executive jobs.
They always say the same fucking thing, don’t they? It isn’t ever their fault. Business is supposed to be respectable, supposedly honourable, and yet they scream and cry and point the finger, desperate to avoid Lord Sugar’s axe. Rumour has it they stopped filming on several occasions because somebody had a stinky nappy, or done did a mad tinkle of distress all down their twowser weg.
Raven Karren (with TWO Rs) mumbles profits out of her bee-sting pout. Wise-Owl Nick flutters his huge obsidian wings and hoots a number out of his cat-bum lips. I feel a pang of inadequacy at being unable to figure out the winning total because of my dyscalculia (idiocy) and then the BOY’S TEAM lets out a whoop and a cheer as if at a tribal ceremony. Or an Arsenal match. Essentially the same thing.
But nobody wins, in the end. I certainly don’t. One of the participants of The Apprentice will win the series, and earn more money for it than I would earn in a lifetime of eating out of Alan Sugar’s thick, un-calloused palms. Or, for that matter, any of Al’s places – un-calloused or otherwise.
The best I can hope for is to come away from my television feeling temporarily a little bit better than them because they dress like dickheads and don’t understand basic ideas.