The night before last was 'Shoot An Advert Night!' on Apprentice. 'Shoot An Advert Night!' is always a highlight of the series. You're guaranteed to have at least one candidate unspool into an art attack mess, battling in the face of their artistically bankrupt fellow contestants to fulfil their 'vision'. As paranoid as Coppola at Paramount, and glutinous and footage precious as Michael Cimino, it's the 1970s director-as-God Hollywood on micro-budget anti-art fast forward.
So did everyone dissolve into an auteur stupor? Or did they keep their heads and deliver on the simple brief?
Ha! What do you think? Ha! Stupid assholes!
To the thundering mob sleaze of Angelo Badalamenti's Lost Highway score, King Alan dropped in to fuck with team structure. AGAIN! Keeping his sacred lamb Michael clear of the firing line, King Alan reigned on last weeks plea to let the odious little shite lead a team. Raef and Claire were off to Renaissance, with Raef captaining up. Alex was dumped on Lee and Lucinda in Alpha, and arm-locked into the lead position. Bet his every instinct squirmed at the proposition. Teflon twat.
So! What was the brief? Create a brand of tissues with both TV and print adverts. Sounds simple enough. Cue barmy brainstorming bollocks! Lucinda pushes the idea of an ad featuring a homosexual couple, although I'm not 100% sure I don't think she pushes the couple as specifically male (I'm probably very wrong). Alex balks. Were he to have them in his house / flat / converted dockside industrial place: "(my hypothetical friend would) call me gay!" Lucinda's yaoi fetish down in smoke, dithering Lee stepped up to chew and mumble his own tongue into vomiting suggestions. Some spitty sloshing later and we have: Atishu! It works on so many levels (2)! The final box design (after a near miss with a Kitten) is a floaty head photoshop yuck box, topped off with a heaving yellow background. You'd step over it in the street. Slightly absent Lucinda careens off sanity road into hyper stress argue mode. The boys roll their eyes and get on with being mediocre.
After rejecting a slightly obnoxious stage-school child (grow out of it please), director Alex settles on a curly haired Mum (who resembles previous Apprentice mad-head Jo Cameron), a disinterested work-bot Dad, and a sniffing child so cute, she must have been adopted. Alex has them workshop. The result? A fraught bewilderingly intense 60s kitchen sink piece about absentee Dads and the lot of the stay home Mum. It's terrifying.
Meanwhile! Raef and Michael agree to co-direct their mini tissue opus, promptly disappearing up each others waste pipes. They bond over show tunes and role play bizarre domestic eating-yoghurt-whilst-driving scenarios. Helene and Calire are no-where to be seen. Why? They're doing their fucking job! Raef Vidor hits upon the winning idea of hiring weather-woman Sian Lloyd to act as a tissue spewing domestic goddess. Nick Hewer's eyes roll out of his head. Can Star Power win the day (no matter how dim)?
Brand name? Why it's I (HEART) My Tissues. Don't we all? The mock-up box is a twee pastelly teenage girl cute sop. Equally revolting as Atishu! but at least there's a hint of a whiff of class. Raef gushes all over it.
The day of the shoots arrives. Over at Team renaissance Raef and Michael seem to believe they're shooting an Italian neo-realist piece. Whimsy and needling wide shots are stressed over simple product coverage. Claire's head spins. Raef and Michael form up into a two headed self-copulation bot and shoot a saccharine 80s Yellow Pages anti-effort, occasionally pausing to witter on about craft and gesture. So far, there's not one single close-up of Sian Lloyd. The star is utterly sidelined. It's like a Terrence Malick film, but a billionth as everything. The design brief asks for a thirty second ad. Directorsaurus' deliver a fifty second cut set to Ronan Keating. To get it down to fifty they ditch Lloyd and any hint of their product entirely. Brand close-ups are vulgar says Raef head! Claire creeps out the back door.
Alex Studios shoots long and hard. The nastodrama of earlier morphs into a peppy stream of callous, as Mum and Dad ignore death's door child because the tissues are 'anti-bacterial'. This is stressed several times before Dad escapes of to 'work' (he's probably having an affair). Thanks a lot Dad, you dick! Go right ahead and slip into a coma kid, it'd serve them right. This harsh indictment of the modern family unit is capped with a shot of the Yuck Box in a field of whittling flowers. Lucinda nearly vomits. Alex doesn't care.
For Renaissance, Claire pitches, harassing all and sundry with snoozer platitudes: "Vivacious tissues!", "Gap in market!" and "Everything else is boring!". It's a well rehearsed, measured, pitch assault. Claire turns them over in her hands like a practised grappler wrestler. They screen a butchered cut of the ad - Lloyd doesn't even register. Ad as screened is one of this creepy little affairs were adults superimpose sleaze grown-up notions and emotions on kids. A little boy sucks up to a fake crying girl with offer of a tissue. Not once does he pull her hair or pick his nose. It's revolting.
Thirsty Dog-Man Lee launches into his pitch for Alpha. He barks slogans at them and trails off into mindwipe arse covering. It's very boring. They screen their artistic wonder, little has changed, it's still as wince worthy as before. Lee escapes the room into Alex's well rehearsed well done mate! bullshit storm. Lucinda undercuts this feigned male bond bravado with stunningly negative nay saying. You go girl!
Off to The Boardroom.
King Alan wastes no time in sneering at Raef and Michael's pretensions. Did some acting did you? Theatrical experience was it? Titter. Although Nick does praise Claire's no notes 'facts' barrage. Attention turns to Alpha, Lee and Alex turn of Lucinda. She's 'upsetting' apparently. Alex also finds time to take a co-creator credit on Lee's brand name idea. Adverts are screened. despite Raef and Michael's pre-emptive backslap looks, Raef is worried. It lacks artistic content! It's just a shameless shrill product push! "God help us."
Atishu takes it. Atishu even draws praise for its sledgehammer approach to raising the anti-bacterial issue! It's stressed! Repeatedly!
The nouvelle merde ad fails utterly to even describe the product. Michael retreats into dead-eyed Corleone head-space. Alan bungs Alpha a roll and tells them: "buy some gear!" They're off to do some after hours shopping at Harvey Nics. Hooray!
Raef attempts to stress unity and fair play at Cafe Interim, but then in a shocking gent about-face proceeds to blame the non-sell on Michael! Caddy!Michael preaches vitriol and hate, claiming sole credit for anything or any worth ever. Claire cops a telling off for not wrestling the train back onto the tracks. Lips quiver. Helene vanishes in a puff of escape. Raef drags Claire and Michael back for dismissal. In the end it's Raef who departs. He's all hot air apparently. Underneath his dashing 20s homosexual spy good looks lurks... nothing at all. Michael survives, although God only knows how. King Alan seems to have a "it's me, all them years ago!" crush on him. Should Michael win, we can only hope the series will end on a sequence of the young pretender annexing Nick and Margaret for his own nefarious ends, as a door quietly closes on King Alan's gawping mug.