16 December 2010

100 per cent at best. Sometimes. That's all. You hear me?

I'm sure I'm not the first person to say that The Apprentice has crossed the line into self-parody, but I can precisely identify the moment when it collapsed under the weight of its own post-ironic knowingness.

Last night Margaret Mountford was brought back for the interviews. Maybe because she's no longer in business she now doesn't have time for meaningless biz-speak. So, when one of the candidates claimed to be a major cog, she pointed out that it doesn't mean anything. The programme would be so much shorter if there were someone around all the time, pinging like a microwave every time someone says something meaningless.
"I'll never give less than 110% (ping!)"

"I'm passionate (ping!) about driving this business (ping!) forward (ping! ping!)."

"Perhaps she looks a little ... corporate (ping!)" (It's odd how "corporate" has become a Bad Thing this year. When you consider that the candidates still all dress like the most unimaginative office drones you've ever seen throwing up at Liverpool St on a Friday night...)
"I've got a field full of ponies (PING PING PING!)"
 Perhaps it would have taken Sirlordalan less than 10 weeks to discover that Stuart Baggs was indeed "full of shit".

Anyway, good for Margaret but here's where it all went wrong. In the interview with Jamie, he mentoined his exam grades and she predictably raised that left eyebrow. Fair enough, but even archer than the brow was the music that accompanied it, a syncopated staccato string passage that climaxed with a fast plink of percussion at that point. (You can see this around 20'30" on iplayer). It's the musical equivalent of an elbow in the ribs, some tedious git going "look, look, there goes the eyebrow", the money shot that invites us all to agree Margaret's left eyebrow is the funniest, most watercooler-moment worthy feature of our Wednesday night. Finally, the editing and the music have closed out the prospect that we can form our own opinions. We will think what they want us to.

Ugh. Fortunately watercoolers have no part in my life (hence this blog) but this, my first post on The Apprentice, may well be the last.

1 comment :

Hungry Ted said...

Top post. The editing of this show is very clever (actually, 'clever' isn't the right word), but it still never ceases to amaze me just how many people clearly believe the varied reactions (particularly facial) to comments/incidents are a true representation of the actual events as they happen.

At the start of this series I became very unpopular at a social gathering by claiming The Apprentice had become a parody of itself. Actually, if you take it solely as entertainment, rather than a serious attempt to convince us we're looking at genuine 'business talent of note', then its OK TV.

For that reason, it's quite literally the only thing I make an effort to watch...and trust me...that's saying something!