“You’re going to be my next business partner” – This never did have the same ring to it as “You’re Hired”, and it seems as this iconic finale saying disappeared, so did the quality of this once interesting and entertaining TV show. Series 11 has been no exception to this now fairly long line of Apprentice series, which seem to be prioritising clownish entertainment over quality. However, despite the drop in the quality of the show overall, I still found myself tuning in at 9 o’clock on the dot every Wednesday.
It may appear that Alan Sugar and his tasks became even more brutal this series, but like other recent series of The Apprentice, it is clear to see that it isn’t the tasks that are to blame in epic failures. The shocking level of incompetence from the candidates this year is just another ingredient being added to create a purely entertaining TV show that contains little substance. Adding even more to the entertainment factor is that the series started with a whopping 18 candidates.
Episode one of this series saw yet another ‘catty’ set of women. This is certainly entertaining, but unfortunately, it also immediately puts all of the female candidates in a negative light, which is quite off-putting when you are trying to make your own judgements. The opening episode was different this year as the teams were mixed for the first task. This was something that was refreshing and offered a completely different dynamic to the episode in which you are initially trying to decide which candidates are idiots and which are potential winners.
In the haze of one dimensional entertainment there were some stand-out weeks that went above and beyond ridiculous. Week 6 saw the ‘Handy Man’ task which was perhaps the one most destined for failure. Only a small percentage of the candidates had experience in the world and work of basic DIY, so to design a task which required essentially amateur builders to do work for innocent members of the public, seemed like bad taste. Alan Sugar always goes bananas if his candidates fail to live up to good standard as he fears the ‘Alan Sugar name will be tarnished’ (reiterated in week 12), but here he is letting these candidates sell their non-existent ‘handy-man’ skills to the public for profit. This not only seemed hypocritical but also exposed the series for what it is: a piece of entertainment where standards are forgotten so long as you keep those viewers watching.
Week 9 perhaps saw the biggest shocker of the series. After an atrocious performance in selling properties and getting a severe slap on the wrist from Uncle Sugar, Scott decided to exit the process. *cue hand to mouth gasp*. Although this was surprising, it did seem quite staged. As mentioned previously, this series started with 18 candidates, so it was obvious Alan was either going to have to do the double-whammy firing more than once, or somebody was going to have to walk out. Entertainment in this programme seemed to reach its height last year with the triple-whammy “You’re Fired” of three candidates in one task. But now series 11 has rocked up with a walk out, an all time high in levels of entertainment, and surely knocked some people off of their sofas. If you ask me though, it just seemed too convenient. Scott was not one of the bad candidates, so to see him fail so suddenly and so badly didn’t seem quite right.
“The TV show itself seems to have become a shallow pit of entertainment that has lost its professionalism”
Week 11 saw the return of the infamous ‘Interviews’. This has always been notorious for interrogating the candidates so harshly that they will probably all call their mothers afterwards for reassurance. However, the interviews did not seem to last very long this year and were actually quite anti-climactic. This is possibly due to the fact that they seemed very heavily edited and only the most entertaining parts were kept.
As for the winner, well they weren’t one of the stupid candidates that’s for sure. Alan Sugar seems to have again gone for the ‘safe bet’ instead of taking a risk on an idea which was new and innovative, but wasn’t guaranteed to be successful. And who really blames him when the TV show itself seems to have become a shallow pit of entertainment that has lost its professionalism.
Where The Apprentice Season 11 fails in quality, it succeeds in producing pure entertainment and easy viewing. I am always going to be a sucker for this long running BBC series, so long live this trend of ridiculous and unprofessional sets of candidates.
Images sourced from The Apprentice Series 11, The BBC and The BBC’s promotional Series 11 shots.