The Apprentice: season 12, episode 5 recap: "Wheelie Disappointing"
Somehow resisting the urge to tell the candidates to "get on their bikes", Lord Sugar gives his remaining 13 the thankless task of creating crowdfunding campaigns for cycling-themed products. Which begs the question, why bother jumping through all these hoops every week for an investment from Alan, when you can just ask the good people of the internet?
Samuel is given the reins of Team Titanic, whilst JD is PM of Team The Other Team, but who will be backpedalling when they get to the boardroom?
The first part of the task is to pick a product to which lots of people, or a "crowd", won't mind contributing money, or "fund", to put into production. Sam's team opts to "crowdfund" for a light-up gilet, whilst JD Sports goes for headphones that you listen to through the bones of your head. For reasons unknown, they're not called Headbones: Lord Sugar, give me a call.
A key component of this crowdfunding is giving investors rewards for their money, rather than stocks. Like if on Dragon's Den, Deborah Meaden was given a truck full of fluffy gonks and shiny stickers rather than a 50% share in a pipe lagging company. This key component is completely lost on Paul, Jessica and Sofiane (Sub-team Titan) who forget to secure any rewards, despite the guy with the headphones that inject music straight into your skull trying to give Paul (head of Sub-team Titan) a utility belt. Karren practically vomits, and not because she's had some of that salt and vinegar fudge from the other week.
Over at Not-the-Sub-Team Titan, JD Wetherspoon has chosen a gospel choir to sing the virtues of the headphones. For some reasons, choirs always make me cry so I can't watch this without getting a bit teary, especially when Frances thinks she's this generation's Bernie Taupin because she changes the lyrics of Joyful, Joyful to "Riding, riding, ride" and won't shut up about it.
Samuel on the other hand wants mime artists to act out a road traffic accident to promote the light-up gilets – this is after the inventor told them she created the product after her husband was hit by a car. What's the mime for "This is an absolute shambles"? Claude appears to have hired a new writer for his bon mots and says he will "eat his shorts if this goes viral, hashtag concerned". I'm hashtag scared Claude will beat his ghostwriter to death with his notebook when that catchphrase fails to take off.
Sadly, I also have to break out my "hashtag it's [insert year]" hashtag; Alana pitches a good idea for a video for Team Titanic's gilet video, which Karthik and Dillon helpfully mansplain back to her. It doesn't go much better for Jessica on the other team trying to film Sofiane on a bike, who won't listen to anything she says but maybe that's because he's used to having his wife pull him around like a trap pony.
Despite Karthik's best attempts to sabotage the filming of Alana's idea by continually playing with the studio lights, the end result actually looks quite sophisticated, which I believe is an Apprentice first. It's almost a shame it will be undone by Samuel's firework salute-to-bike-accidents stunt at Waterloo, complete with Truckasaurus.
The ever-helpful Trishna points out they've spelled "gilet" wrong at the end of the video, insisting it's spelt with two "l"s. A quick google confirms Trishna is wrong, although obviously I already knew that. She ends up getting hers, though – Samuel pulls the gilet off her back at the 11th hour to insist he's going to finish the presentation the next day, after previously promising it to her. This is not going to end wel. Karthik claims he can't remember Alana's name when suggesting who else is going to do the pitch, which is why he only puts himself and Dillon forward. Alana is going to have to say something soon, or else this sexist cycle will never end. Maybe she should wear one of those gilets so they'll finally be able to see her?
Jess, Paul and Sofiane are given the task of building the campaign page for the headphones, but realise they haven't secured the rewards they were supposed to. Jessica suggests they all play who can stay quiet the longest as they stare blankly at the screen, before Paul rings the inventor to apologise for being a bit shit earlier and tries to pull it back so he doesn't end up in the boardroom.
Their dithering means JD can't bust out the gospel choir at King's Cross. When they eventually start, their beautiful harmonious voices are completely drowned out by Frances and JD screeching over the top of them, waving their hands in the air like they just don't care. Rebecca is left to film the stunt on an iPad like an Italian tourist, but hasn't actually captured any of it. "You can't zoom in on these cameras," she mopes, as she zooms in onto the pavement.
Samuel's interpretive dance of a hit and run isn't going down so well at Waterloo. "It's just people pretending they're getting knocked down by an old man in an invisible car," says Grainne. Where's Truckasaurus when you need him?
Claude finally gets to be a bit evil this series and gleefully points out to Trishna that they've used the incorrect spelling of gilet on the website and on social media. Oh well, maybe the pitches will go better?
They do not. A visibly chuffed Samuel tries to explain the bike accident mime to a horrified audience; what makes it worse is that Karthik appears to go down quite well. Don't encourage him, people.
It's now the other team's turn. JD starts with by stealing Sugar's opening gambit about the 2012 Olympics, and informs the assembled group of cycling retailers that cycling's quite popular, actually. This is almost as good/awful as Nargis's revelation that there are six million cat owners in the UK in a pitch to Virgin Megastore in season two. Frances moves from lyricist to freestyler by making up some pricing on the spot, until it's pointed out she's basically offered the same discount to smaller retailers as the larger ones. I wonder if Lord Sugar is wondering if he can use those headphones to boom "You're fired" directly into their skulls?
Sugar loves a slip-up, and talks to Samuel's team about the gillet/gilet mistake, "gillet" being slang for a loose woman. Has he got the QI Elves writing his ad libs for him now? He's less than impressed with the footage from Waterloo, which now looks less like a man in an invisible car knocking a woman off a bike and more like an old man beating up a defenceless woman in the middle of a train station, whilst some gilet-wearing dancers twirl in the background.
Grainne makes it clear she did not get on with Samuel as PM, and unites with Trishna as they both claim he ignored them for much of the task, a point that Claude supports. Good on you, Claude. Sam tries to explain that he did it for their own good, so they could just hear him and his great ideas more.
Rebecca shifts in her seat as they watch the pavement footage of the choir, but at least it's not as bad as the domestic incident from Waterloo. It wasn't quite enough for the general public to open their wallets, and Sam's team (I've genuinely forgotten who was on which team) win it by a hundred quid or so. Their prize is to drink champagne and cook in a Michelin-starred restaurant, where Samuel continues to give Grainne some constructive criticism, and she looks around for an invisible car to mow him down with.
Who got fired?
JD gives up the ghost almost immediately, taking the blame for absolutely everything up to this point, including WW2. He decides to bring back Paul and Rebecca, even though it's clear to everyone that Sofiane should be in the firing line, if only because he's a massive prick.
Much is made of Rebecca's filming skills and that she "only" brought in £200 of the £680 total via social media; that's almost a third, right? Surely the fact that Paul forgot to include any decent incentives is more to blame?
Ultimately the finger of doom is pointed at JD for failing to take control of well, absolutely anything.
Does he thank him?
Yes. And Karren and Claude too. Suck-up.
Next week: the candidates must explain why Honey G is still inexplicably on The X Factor.