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Old 21-02-2005, 14:03   #41
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A masterly review in yesterday's Observer:

The cameras made London look like Manhattan. The contestants made the more ominous verses of Revelations read like Miffy the Bunny Finds a Hat.

Arrogance, mendacity, hypocrisy and gall, along with petulant cruelty, galloping ignorance, glib self-deception and lashings of cant - a word which those who work for Alan Sugar must now be weary of mishearing - loomed splendid in the opening of The Apprentice. This programme offers much hope for those whose need to chew on cathartic loathing might otherwise have remained strangely unsated over the coming 12 weeks despite an election, spoilt royals and the continued existence of BT.

This was better - ie worse - than we had had a right to expect. The hit American version, which saw contestants trade and scheme weekly to win a lucrative job with a self-made multi-millionaire, featured Donald Trump, skyscrapers and go-getting New Yorkers. Would we have call centres, laddered tights and, dear God, Branson, or the self-winding vacuum-cleaner bloke?

No. Alan Sugar made a more than good stab at the steely, gravelly, be-limoed God figure, even though someone should tell him that his little beard makes him rather look more like a whelk-eyed man-rabbit than the image he obviously prefers publicly to project (that of foul-mouthed, pocket-stuffing huckster).

The production made our capital look thrilling, all green-glassed Gherkin in the sunset and busy red car-rivers below. The real joy, however, came with the 14 contestants, seven from each gender, a slender majority from identifiable planets.

It wasn't the greed which surprised: the greed we expected. Nor the machinations; nor, even, the desire to work with Sugar, inexplicable yet undeniable. The revelation was the extraordinary way in which the language used by the contestants, supposedly some of the country's sharpest entrepreneurs, was so completely belied by their actions.

Apparently, in today's business environment, it is no longer necessary actually to think, or lead, or have an idea: all that is needed is for someone to say repeatedly that they are a thinker, or a leader, or an ideas person, and then heroically fail to understand any aspect of a traditional causal link, in English, between spoken claim and actual prowess. Words mean precisely how loud you shout them.

Scant minutes had passed of course before 'I like to lead from the front' popped out. As opposed to what? From round the corner, hiding in a wheelie bin, dressed as Ptolemy?

'I like to think outside the box,' said Fat Matthew, before proving that he didn't by falling into every British lackey's trap of talking all the time about 'Sir' Alan rather than simply ignoring this spurious bought title or, even better, referring to him as old stoat-chops.

But the gulf was best exposed by the supremely tiresome Saira, self-appointed 'project leader' of the women's group.

'It's most important that we work as a team,' she shouted, constantly undermining their attempts to do so. 'Let's be positive,' she yelled, a matter of seconds after being sneakily negative. 'We are not the enemy within, so can I just stop you there?' she interrupted, when someone came up with a good idea which would have helped the team in their first task, to sell flowers on the streets of London. 'I'm getting, why are we doing this?' she berated her colleagues at one point, when asked whether their first sales idea, a table in Portobello market, was in any way working. 'It's, like, guys, I'm telling you, I'm giving you directions, let's get this done. And let's be positive!' After two hours they had sold three bunches. Surely I can't have been the only person in Britain wondering whether it wouldn't have been a brighter business idea to stop screaming about positivity and teamwork and instead listen for three seconds to her team and then go somewhere where they would sell flowers. Those who care about this stuff must have been rending their pinstripes.

But management, its transparent duplicity of language and shallowness of soul and thorough lack of wit, is not just disliked today in Britain, it's quite actively loathed; and television is reflecting this more and more powerfully. This was one of the more surprising of many aspects glimpsed in the exuberantly promising opening of the new series of Life Begins.

In less subtle hands, there wouldn't be surprises; this would just be another domestic drama. Maggie (Caroline Quentin) would have kicked off by falling properly for teacher Paul, and her father, the relentlessly watchable Frank Finlay, would have triumphed momentarily over Alzheimer's to teach his grandson a potentially glib lesson in the difference between real war and video games.

But Maggie ended up lying to Paul when estranged husband Phil (Alexander Armstrong, who could make a perfect successor to Geoffrey Palmer for hangdog lugubriousness) called round for comfort after being laid off; and her son was left, at the end, blasting pixilated gore with more lip-gnawing intensity than ever.

The portrayal of Phil's sacking was instructive. The enemies weren't his fellow workers, lazy and infuriating though they may have been, but the management talk, the pretence of some kind of fair workplace democracy, of 'team leaders' drawing up 'skills charts' and 'potentiality', when of course the only factors behind the decision were greed, prejudice and expediency. Similarly, in the parallel strand on a promotions battle in Maggie's travel agents, even the excitingly dislikeable new office bitch Genevieve (Michelle Holmes) is in danger of emerging as more human than the inept, scared management.

TV and films have always poked fun at management, but for a long while this was veneered with at least a flimsy modicum of respect. Now we truly despise them. David Brent and The Office did more than make us laugh, they made us cringe at an increasingly evident truth; and if I were this week whatever a 'business leader' is, watching the dramatisation of my profession and its own portrayal in reality, I would wonder hard at the emergence of a British populace sadly resigned to daily governance by the kind of people whose personality and morals and intellects a staggering majority of the country would, in the real world, willingly flee by crossing live rails in damp socks.

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/revie...418403,00.html

-----

I left the one in about Life Begins as he was warming to his theme....

Last edited by Radiohead; 21-02-2005 at 14:04.
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Old 23-02-2005, 21:10   #42
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Anyone know what's the name of the theme music? Its driving me nuts!
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Old 23-02-2005, 21:35   #43
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Listen to the language - oh you're so hyperactive! OMFG!!
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Old 23-02-2005, 21:41   #44
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Sorry, I was too busy laughing at the "I cannot possibly work under these conditions".

Semaphore? What is she on? What a naff idea!
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Old 23-02-2005, 21:47   #45
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If this product doesn't win then I'll EAT MY HAT!

Will you require any ketchup or mayonnaise with that m'dear?

I went through the process of undertaking the task in the most logical way... WTF?

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Old 23-02-2005, 21:55   #46
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2 weeks running that the girls have got their butts kicked. Nice to see now that after all his attempts, Alan has finally got the 3 girls having a go at one another.
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Old 23-02-2005, 21:58   #47
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Hehe - quality show. That lindsey was really stupid!

mr L
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Old 23-02-2005, 22:04   #48
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Why would someone in their right mind think that bits of paper appeals to children more than a robot that comes apart and breaks things and attacks things?

CRUSTATION NATION ALL THE WAY!

(In joke there)
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Old 23-02-2005, 22:04   #49
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What was that woman's excuse?

"If someone makes a mistake, you don't fire them for making a mistake, you keep them, because then they've learned! and they are better than someone new!"

ERM!? Not if the mistake was a big one, and not of it indicates the person has poor judgment, and not if you think that it is probable that employing someone new will be better for you!!!

P.S. Actually I liked Lindsay as a person, I thought she was a nice person if utterley useless at being a hot-shot at this task. I think she let her personal pride get in the way of making the right decision.

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Old 23-02-2005, 22:07   #50
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Every time the word semaphore was mentioned I felt like slapping that stupid woman. What an absolute crap idea it was and how she deserved the boot!
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Old 23-02-2005, 22:12   #51
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I've just realised the stupidity of the BBC talking about this as a 14 week job interview, and then each episode ending with "You're fired!"

I mean, how do you get fired from a job interview?

Of course, I suppose it wouldn't sound as cool to say "I'm sorry but on this occasion your application for the post of highly paid business know-it-all has not been successful. We will keep your details on file should any other appropriate positions become available over the coming months."

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Old 23-02-2005, 22:16   #52
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I did chuckle at the look on the lads' faces when Sir Alan pulled out that toy from Argos But he hit the nail on the head at the end. He asked for ONE toy idea, so what on earth was Lyndsey doing running with 2? She had her head in the sand the whole way - you would have thought she would have finally accepted she was wrong after the focus group but oh no!
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Old 23-02-2005, 22:19   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floop
I've just realised the stupidity of the BBC talking about this as a 14 week job interview, and then each episode ending with "You're fired!"

I mean, how do you get fired from a job interview?

Of course, I suppose it wouldn't sound as cool to say "I'm sorry but on this occasion your application for the post of highly paid business know-it-all has not been successful. We will keep your details on file should any other appropriate positions become available over the coming months."
This is copied from the American hit show the Apprentice which uses the same catchphrase, nothing to do with the BBC as they only bought the rights to the show of NBC / Donald Trump / Mark Barnett.
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Old 23-02-2005, 23:35   #54
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I'm really liking this show - it was cringe making tonight. Every time Linsey had the chance to drop 'Semaphore' she missed it because it was 'her' idea. BUT IT WAS RUBBISH!

Doesn't say a lot for the other girls though because no-one stopped her to tell her it was a bad idea. Adele was pretty cool in this one - I reckon she could get a bit catty though when the tables are turned.

As for the lads - well it was all too easy for them. Glad they're shaking the teams up next week because there will be no girls left at the rate their going.

I've just started watching season 3 of the US show too - it's brilliant viewing. I find the two shows VERY different. The US one is more dramatic, the tasks are bigger and the personalities match it. But the UK version is FUNNY! I haven't cringed as much as I did tonight since the last time I saw David Brent in full flow.

(gutted that this, Jamies School Dinners, Man Utd AND Chelsea were all on at the same time tonight though - there's nothing on teh box all week, and then all that good telly comes along at once. Annoying, and I had to miss 'School Dinners' because of it)
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Old 24-02-2005, 07:46   #55
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The easiest sacking Sir Alan will probably ever have to make.

I loved Lindsey's tunnel vision. Despite the misgivings of the focus group, the designers, all her colleagues and a secret vote, she pig-headedly stuck with the semaphore idea that was quite obviously a pile of crap and got exactly what she deserved. Not sure I like Adele ("Some people call me a workaholic but I just enjoy work with a passion" - huh?) much either, with her 'didn't like it so lost interest' attitude. You'd really want someone like that on your team, right?

On the other hand, I'm slightly in love with Miriam, the one with the big doe eyes who looked absolutely trapped in Sir alan's headlights once he started having a pop at her. She's got no chance of winning, bless her, but hey she works for me!
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Old 24-02-2005, 15:46   #56
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Is this repeated?

after a good search online found it

23:15 Sat 26th BBC2

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Old 24-02-2005, 15:51   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herbal
Is this repeated?

after a good search online found it

23:15 Sat 26th BBC2
Episode 1 at 11.15pm (on Saturday)

Episode 2 at 12.15am (early Sunday morning).

Both BBC2
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Old 24-02-2005, 16:43   #58
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I reckon Matthew's days are numbered - he is the mature student tory boy.

His behaviour last night - reading Alan Sugar's book was downright rude imho.
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Old 24-02-2005, 16:46   #59
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Quote:
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I reckon Matthew's days are numbered - he is the mature student tory boy.

His behaviour last night - reading Alan Sugar's book was downright rude imho.
Yes I wonder how he got selected in the first place. He hasn't a hope in hell of winning.
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Old 24-02-2005, 17:31   #60
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how stupid do you have to be to go for some rubbish cards over a cool robot ?! What planet was she living on ?! And how come the other girls went along with her ?! sheer madness ? or part of the game, i.e. they let her hang herself ?!
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