Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The secret's in the sauce

I was never much use at football. It's not that I had two left feet or anything. In fact, on the few occasions when I applied myself, I managed to surprise everyone by being halfway decent. Problem was, as my P.E. teacher repeatedly pointed out, I was a 'shitliner'. So rather than apply myself, and push forward to get in the game, I was content to hang around the goal in the hope that a fortuitous cross might come my way. That way I could spend 89 minutes in the background, then knock one in and save the day. You can see where I'm going with this. Three weeks in, and it's time for Lord Sugar to start clearing the timewasters out of his penalty area. 

Tonight's show opens with a spooky soundtrack and a shot of the moonlit house. All that's missing is a tall priest with an attache case clambering out of a cab and lingering in the lamplight. It might only be 6am but Gabrielle's already up and dressed to kill. So this week we're spared the shot of our candidates thrashing around wrapped in a damp bath towel. 

After two consecutive failures, the girls are licking their wounds. Jane McEvoy, who is slowly morphing her way through several Catherine Tate characters, has already identified the runts of the male litter and has marked their cards for termination. At St Katherine's Dock, Lord Sugar waxes lyrical about cinnamon and saffron. Since this show is getting more and more like Dragon's Den, he wants a piece of the Reggae Reggae action, and has challenged the Apprentii to create a new condiment. Thankfully, he explains the rules once again ("One of you will get fired") which, based on facial expressions, seem to come as a surprise to Duane. 

With the teams mixed up a little, the girls are delighted that Katie will no longer be the blond albatross around their collective neck. Duane explains that he has no specific knowledge of the food market, but feels he could be a successful project manager if they all focus on winning. I'm sure it made more sense in his head. Meanwhile, Katie's put herself up as project manager for Team Phoenix. As Adam checks that she's OK with the responsibility, since "this might get quite complicated," Ricky Martin (gets a laugh every time) nominates himself to head up the sub-team. He's quite aggressive about it, suggesting that he may be rinsing chunks of Katie's spine off his pocket-knife later. 

Team Sterling has decided on a spicy pineapple chutney, which doesn't sit well with gimlet-eyed Jane who's a food industry expert. She launches into a mini-lecture about sugar percentages, but Duane shuts that down by saying  "I totally agree, so let's focus on making this a quality product." Non-sequiturs a specialty. 

Stephen is getting excited about calling the ketchup 'Bellissimo' which he thinks might be spelled with a B or a V. He seems to be something of an expert when it comes to talking vollocks. The label design is a bit of a farce, as Stephen suggests "A sunset, so to speak." The underwhelmed designer cobbles together something that looks like a Saga holiday ad, so they replace it with a red pepper. That's it, just a pepper. Katie comments "We've stumbled across magic." Actually, I think they may have stepped in it. 

Things aren't so positive in the chutney factory, as Team Sterling have knocked up a condiment spicy enough to make Duane cough up his duodenum. Unfortunately, this means that the sales team have to head out to a meeting with a premium retailer, without a sample. Business development manager Jade tells a fascinating story about how much people enjoy chutney, but it's let down when Nicolas points out that there's nothing for them to taste. They should have gone for broke and offered up some beautiful robes fashioned from invisible thread. 

With their ketchup sample safely dispatched for the sales pitch, Adam is looking after the rest of the batch. He's concerned that it's "boiling like an omelette." I don't think I'll be popping round to his for a frittata any time soon. The ketchup pitch doesn't go too badly, until the buyer points out that they've mis-spelled Bellissimo. Thank God they didn't try it with a 'v'.

Things aren't going too well back in the factory. The ketchup's too thick, and it gets worse as the sauce cools down and coagulates. The boys are slopping it all over the place. Forget about toothpaste back in the tube - this grim scene is more like squeezing shit back into an arsehole. And because they've smeared it all over the factory floor, they're missing twenty percent of their stock. 

Team Sterling is now back on track, leaving the voice-over to explain that "Duane has split his chutney 50/50." That's a new one for the Profanisaurus. As the rest of his team attempts to sell their product in a supermarket, Jenna displays an amazing part-time smile that drops like a whore's knickers the moment a customer turns their back. 

Michael and Tom, who've managed to avoid the cameras for the first couple of episodes, make a halfhearted attempt to score some sales. Michael plays hard to get, and leaves the retailer empty handed, while Tom simply rolls his eyes. Moments later, he pipes in to comment that it's an aesthetically pleasing sauce. Well, that was worth switching the radio mic on for.  

In the boardroom, Adam takes the opportunity to point out how amazing he is - a perspective he seems to be alone in holding. Everyone else is distracted by Karren's decision to pair a black bra with a cream sweater. That harsh lighting is great for blue eyes, not so much for sheer tops. 

With almost twice the profit, Team Sterling head out for a race around Silverstone. Poor old Phoenix shuffle off to the Bridge Cafe, to sit in the shadow of a well-placed bottle of generic table sauce. Lord Sugar struggles to understand what their sauce is for, figuring that a truck driver wouldn't ask for the 'Bellissimo' to throw on his pork pie. But that's because everyone knows you have HP with a pork pie. 

Sitting in-between Ricky and Michael, Katie unwittingly reveals a reasonably confident and competent demeanour, suggesting that the casting directors are getting a little lax when it comes to screening contestants. When Michael cranks his cockney schtick up to 11, Lord Sugar shoots him down, saying "I don't care where you come from, or whether you got a two-point-one from Oxford." Poor old Nick must spend so long biting his tongue, his mouth is constantly filled with blood. Still, if anyone asks, he can tell them it's Bellissimo. 

After an interminable bout of Lord Sugar's Russian roulette routine, he finally points the hairy finger of doom at the jug-eared shitliner Michael. Aside from his anonymous showing for the last few weeks, there's only space in the boardroom for one East End geezer-made-good. And it's the one with a face like a fist full of bristles.  

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