The Apprentice 2017:

Series 13 Episode 3 of 14

“Robots”

 

Michaela P.M Team Vitality.

Harrison Sub P.M Team Vitality.

Lord Alan Sugar gave the remaining contestants the task of designing and manufacturing robots for their chosen demographic, sending Michaela Wain over to lead the boys’ team so she could “whip them into shape”.

The candidates are summoned to London’s new Design Museum, where Lord Sugar assigns them a robot-themed task. For one half of each team it is time to get creative and programme a prototype robot, while the other half must sell toy robots.
It was rise of the robots week on The Apprentice. Contestants were tasked with flogging cutesy androids and Lord Sugar finally had an excuse to deliver the rusty zinger, He said  “I want to make it perfectly clear that I’m the Terminator”. He’s presumably waited years to utter that line – so at least someone enjoyed the episode.

The candidates, had another circuit-frying day at the office. Team Vitality shifted shedloads of kid-friendly balancing ‘bots. But their failure to unload any of the higher-priced interactive droids – a key aspect of the challenge –  handed victory to a mildly less shambolic (if much harder to pronounce) Team Graphene.

From there, it all malfunctioned badly for barrister Elliot, whose failure to meaningfully contribute to the task was compounded by screaming lack of charisma.”You’re not up my alley… not my potential business partner,” said Sugar – presumably fighting hard against the temptation to whisper “Hasta La Vista, Elly – and it was off to the figurative trash compactor for the unlucky lawyer.

Mind Blowing

The daggers were out before tea-time as assertive wedding company owner Siobhan faced off against the “two Sarahs”, as we’ve dubbed them on the basis they are both named Sarah. Tetchy back-and-forths in the car were followed by an old-school shouting match after Siobhan failed to sell any of their green flying fish toys to a nerdy robotics workshop who point blank said No!

Jade P.M Team Graphene

Sarah Sub P.M Team Graphene

Disappointingly, other potential conflicts failed to erupt into the anticipated fireworks. Anisa was mildly miffed at worst as Jade wrested the project manager job from her – and only baseline perturbed when the team shot down her proposal to name their prototype robot “FLERN” (for “fun, learning and education” – as if you needed to ask).

How appropriate an episode about robot retail should feel put together on auto-pilot. A pre-sunrise summons saw the teams dash to the traditional random fancy location – in this specific case London’s Design Museum – where they were just in time to witness Lord Sugar descend from on high (ie walk down a flight of stairs).

To this Apprentice cliché was added another as the hopefuls were required to apply the finishing touches to a prototype personal assistant robot and select another, more child friendly model, to sell on the side. Yet another pile-’em high, sell ’em for the highest profit task. Had the production team’s batteries packed in half way through a crucial planning meeting

The Apprentice may style itself a celebration of hard-nosed business acumen. But it’s also a reality show, where personality counts for everything. This week’s unfortunate candidate Elliot didn’t commit any cataclysmic mistakes. Indeed blame for Vitality’s key error of changing the name of their robot prototype from Jeffrii (with two ‘i’s) to the even clunkier SiiMON – without bothering to tell Jeffrii’s programmers – lay with team leader Michaela.

Your Fired

Didn’t Do Anything

A typo-laden, half-completed promotional billboard was her fault too. Yet she redeemed herself with a storming sales performance – whereas Elliot just flopped about in self pity. His jib was not of a likeable cut – and so Sugar’s televisual termination became inevitable. It’s okay to be ineffective on The Apprentice provided you cause a splash. Elliot managed neither and off he went.

With last week’s tragic departure of body-popper Jeff – “I have a background in break-dancing – you have to be creative to do break-dancing,” was straight into the top five greatest Apprentice quotes ever – the season is short on love to hate characters and accidental comic relief.

Siobhan would admittedly start a fight with her reflection in a smartphone but otherwise, the crew have clearly watched far too many episodes of the Apprentice and are super careful not to make idiots of themselves. Without idiots, what’s the point of the Apprentice?

No matter how predictable the tasks, fun was traditionally to be had watching Lord Sugar stomp all over the contestants in the boardroom while dispatching a groaner or three. Now even he appears to be going somewhat through the motions.

Siobhan causing more friction

This week, apart from that Terminator line, he failed to deliver a decent put-downs. Moreover, with Elliot in his sights, he obviously had no intention of firing either Michaela or third for-the-chop candidate Harrison (the ineffective deputy team lead tasked with programming Jeffrii/SiiMON).

Lord Sugar’s associates were, for their part, hardly noticeable. Karren was almost biffed on the bonce by one Graphene’s fish drones – yet was otherwise stonkingly anonymous. And was Claude even in the episode? Oh for the halcyon days of cutaways to Nick Hewer appearing nonplussed for no obvious reason.

James’s not-entirely-terrible idea of a personal assistant for the over-sixties was scuppered by the team’s assumption that the elderly are uniformly bed-bound and obliged to pop a dozen pills simply to make it down stairs.

Who to blame?

As Lord Sugar pointed out, many in that age category are more likely to want to book a villa in Spain than receive a reminder that it’s time for their heart medication. Vitality’s failure to flog any units – a disastrous presentation saw Jeffrii work through his minuscule repertoire of yoga poses – meant they were doomed anyway. But a dismissive view of older people can’t have endeared them to Sugar.

“Your Fired”

In addition to the grievous lack of over-the-top personalities, this year is worryingly short on the traditional Apprentice brag-fests. Everyone knuckled down working on Jeffrii and E.bot, the educational rival offering from Graphene, and then did the rounds begging for distribution from department stores and high street retailers.

Never mind the robot uprising– was this the terrifying moment Apprentice contestants achieved self-awareness and stop banging on about how they’re going to conquer the world?

Not even parachuting-in actually-quite-competent Michaela could turn things around for testosterone-heaving Team Vitality (Lord Sugar reckoned she’d put manners on the lads on account of having four brothers). They stumbled to a third straight loss – having failed to sell even one of their high price pensioner bots (whereas the girls squeezed some pity-sales out of Maplins).

Elliot “Your Fired”

In the boardroom you wondered if Lord Sugar wasn’t going to fire the lot then and there. It would have introduced a spark of spontaneity to an episode otherwise unwilling to deviate from its programming.

according to Harrison, all over 60’s are taking medication and require reminders… erm… NO! #TheApprentice,” another viewer wrote angrily.

A third agreed: “Their view of the over 60s is appalling #TheApprentice,” while another person echoed: “F**k sake are they for real. Their suggestions for the over 60’s are absurd. #theapprentice.”

Some fans thought the portrayal was funny however, as one person wrote: “Rolling around on the floor laughing at the ideas the candidates have about the lives older people #theapprentice.”

“Lol please remind me to take my medication. They’re old. Not stupid. #TheApprentice,” another added.

Oh No!!!

The Apprentice 2017: Viewers lash out amid ‘patronising’ depiction of the over 60s

THE APPRENTICE viewers were left furious over one team’s depiction of those aged over 60 during tonight’s episode, calling it “appalling”.

Lord Alan Sugar wasn’t really very happy!!!!!