There are spoilers ahead.
The Apprentice is back after a two-year hiatus. Some things have remained the same. We’ve got 16 new contenders in the boardroom, all with the same desire for power.
A £250,000 investment and a business relationship with your man, Lord Sugar, are still available.
However, an empty chair indicates that change is on the way in the most literal sense. A dark figure emerges from behind the semi-transparent screen to reveal Tim Campbell, the substitute aide who won the show’s inaugural series in 2005. Sugar addresses Claude Littner’s keenly felt absence, who is recovering from a bike accident.
Before Lord Sugar announces the intimidating first task, he throws lighthearted jabs at everyone (even the audience).
‘Only two of us knew what The Apprentice was!’ says Tim Campbell.
The Cruise Liner
The candidates’ assignment begins in Portsmouth to create an advertising campaign for a fictional cruise line, including a video ad, a social media teaser, and a logo. Both assistants remain in the background, as though conducting secondary school teacher evaluations, with Tim monitoring the females and Karren observing the boys.
It’s evident that both Kathryn and Akshay, the project managers, are big fans of their ideas. There is little collaboration, with other members attempting to speak up and influence project outcomes. So, what do you think they’ll come up with?
Bouji Cruises’ girls’ squad
Even though one of the group’s oldest members (Shama), who is very much in the company’s target market of women aged 25-45, has no idea what bouji means, Kathryn insists on Bouji Cruises as a brand name because she likes the word bouji. If you’re curious, bouji is derived from the term bourgeoisie, which refers to activities and lifestyles associated with the middle and upper classes.
When challenged by industry experts, it comes up multiple times during the episode, with varied views of what bouji means. In the pitch, Amy, the owner of a beauty brand, claims that bouji is a mood instead of Kathryn’s definition of bouji as “a boozy brunch.” I’m getting a new tongue twister from ‘boozy bouji’ — try saying it a few times quickly.
A corporate-looking logo in a drab navy blue dragged down the ad, which didn’t scream ‘fun.’ All of the hilarity was crammed into one gaffe involving Sophie’s thighs disappearing in the social media preview. A green dress against a green screen does not result in the leglessness you’d expect to see on a buddies’ trip.
Never Ending Nauticals is a boys’ squad.
The guys’ attempts, albeit unwittingly, are a barrel of laughter.
We must begin by discussing that logo (below, right).
The boys seek a cruise for senior citizens who want to practice mindfulness. They accomplish this by creating a logo that depicts a man in an upward dog yoga stance with his head morphing into a wave. In theory, it makes sense. The attention to detail makes this logo famous for all the wrong reasons. The color scheme is ‘green and brown, reflecting nature’… or sewage, depending on your point of view. The lack of a name on the emblem exacerbates the already difficult brand awareness.
Massive egos obstruct good conversations at first, but the brand name chosen is Never Ending Nauticals, which depicts the never-ending spiritual journey. For bystander Karren Brady, the torture is never-ending, and his expression eloquently conveys that experience.
The video promo, which is depicted as being more like a retirement home than a luxury cruise, doesn’t help matters.
Despite several interruptions from regional operations manager Harry, the team appears to be improving as the campaign progresses. A smooth sailing’ remark from the boys is met with a hearty chuckle from all except Karren, who appears to be becoming sea ill due to the remark.
>Ask Karren Brady about 6 attributes of a successful entrepreneur in her Q&A.
The final meeting room
After less-than-stellar performances, all of the contenders appear anxious in the boardroom. The girls win the challenge since their campaign has the synergy that the boys’ do not. The winning team’s video in the house perfectly depicts the bouji lifestyle they were looking for — plush furniture, vivid artwork, and a champagne celebration.
The imposed accountability of being the project manager on the losing team is practically Akshay’s only responsibility. As the last three in the boardroom, he chose Akeem (who led the way on the sewage logo) and Harry (the disruptor). You know how it goes now: there’s a lot of squabbling. After a few minutes of desperate self-preservation, Lord Sugar orders silence from the contestants, saying, “This is like the band playing on the Titanic.” After a few moments of thought, the tycoon points his scene-stealing finger at Harry, who will never see the mansion.
Is The Apprentice’s new season worth watching?
This was a promising start to the current episode of The Apprentice, especially given how long it had been since the last one. A fascinating challenge with a lot of drama and some interesting personalities to meet. Stress-inducing music and candid cut-offs of contestants slamming each other added to the mix. Is it possible for me to pick a winner at this point? I couldn’t possibly do that.
On BBC iPlayer, you may watch the entire episode.