Last week! A multi-caravan pile up! Jason emerged from the carnage vaguely victorious, earning the most endearingly patronising pat on the head from the Sugarman for selling one caravan, whilst the bad smell (of sour milk) that had been hanging around for weeks was finally excised as Kurt and Natalie both got the boot after weeks of doing nothing but moping around.
Our former bitcher Joel pointed out this week that this show no longer calls the candidates ‘Britain’s brightest business brains’ or whatever it was and has resorted to ‘ambitious entrepreneurs’. Not sure how I never noticed that before, but the honesty about the casting for this ‘process’ is appreciated. Maybe next year they’ll just call them ‘twats in suits’. (Also: the iPlayer calls it ‘business competition’. Bless). Incidentally, I saw an advert for the ballet of Romeo and Juliet with the Prokofiev soundtrack and they chose ‘Dance of the Knights’ to soundtrack it. Whilst I appreciate it’s the best known piece of music from it, I can only ever think of this show when I hear it and I would genuinely find it a bit weird to watch it being used in a serious context. See also: O Fortuna. However, someone out there must surely have done a take on it with people in business suits? Otherwise that’s some missed opportunity right there. And whilst we’re on the subject, I see there’s yet another film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet on its way because that’s just what the world needs. At least if they’d set it in the world of this SRS BZNZ PROCESS and they were on opposing teams, it might be interesting. If this were Monkseal, we’d do a poll right now to establish which Apprenti would be Romeo and which Juliet, but I think we all know the real star of it would be Alex, playing death (as usual).
You might think this waffling about Romeo and Juliet is somewhat off-topic, but you’d be wrong! Yes, love is in the air this week – my love for the advertising task, Alex’s love of the macabre, our collective love of Jason, and also an ever more gratuitous parade of the men in their pants, which.. I might love more if it wasn’t this particular set of men. Oh and Sugasugasuga has summoned them to Marylebone Town Hall, where people get married, to set them this week’s task. A glorious parade of London Porn at sunrise accompanies our candidates on their journey whilst Neckbeard points out that there is only three on ‘their’ team. Hands up if you know whether ‘their team’ refers to Evolve or Endeavour. Thought as much. Leah, Myles and Alex note that they are all that remains of ‘their team’. Alex says he will put himself forward as PM whatever the task. Leah eye rolls. Careful, Leah, Kurt did that one too many times and his face stayed like that.
Call me Al welcomes them to Marylebone and tells them that online dating is BIG BZNS, with over 1.5 billion made through these sites. They have to design a website and TV advertising campaign, which they will show to ‘experts’ but he will decide arbitrarily who wins as per usual. Jordan is ported over to ‘their team’ to even up the numbers and they’re off.
In the cabs, Myles says the first time he ever saw a picture of his wife was online but it wasn’t on a dating site. Jordan pulls a face at this. Do we take this to mean Myles saw his wife on a) Facebook, b) a mail-order brides site or c) porn? Neckbeard has never been online dating. Francesca says he probably thinks it’s for losers. Neil: Why, have you done it? I love it when they don’t even need the editors to make the jokes happen. Alex says in the car that ‘some people are gay, some people are lesbian, some people are obviously, err, heterosexual, there are so many variants’ – except you’re effectively describing two variants there rather than the ‘many’ that exist. Also: anyone else thinking the subtext here might have been ‘some people are necrophiliacs’? It’d be a neat sideline for his tombstone empire at any rate. I choose to assume this is why Leah pulled a ‘eww gross’ face when he suggested getting ‘all these people in’ and argued ‘within reason, tastefully’ otherwise she looks like a bit of a homophobe and I don’t like to think that she is. Alex doesn’t want any ‘Fifty Shades of Grey nonsense. Then again, I am Christian Grey of the Valleys.’ He means that in the way that Grey was based on notorious vampire Edward Cullen.
Over at the other team and Jason volunteers to be PM because he ran a dating site when he was younger and Neckbeard patronises him to within an inch of his life saying ‘well, if YOU believe you can, then you should do it.’ That redemption arc from the other week has gone full circle this past fortnight, hasn’t it?
At ‘their’ team (in a room marked ‘red’), Alex offers to be PM as he’s got some graphic design experience and has used dating sites in the past. Jordan offers to be PM just to spite Alex as much as anything and says he doesn’t have as much experience but will get people working to their strengths. Leah and Myles vote for Jordan because he’s not Alex (or he has a ‘broad sense of it’, whatever that means). From their list of presumably pre-determined categories of consumer, they go for young professionals. Jordan says he’ll be able to give a view from 50,000 feet – because he’s used to looking up that far on a daily basis anyway, ba-dum-tish. Jordan sends Alex to work on the web and tech side and Leah and Myles to work on market research. Alex suggests ‘fifty shades of work’ – so much for his earlier statement.
At the other team, they’re in a room marked ‘Grey’. Nice work, editors – on two counts, both coming from the previous comment and leading into what follows. They are discussing the mature market. Luisa isn’t keen because they’re all so immature. Jason says it’s different, Francesca says she knows about young people. Luisa says none of them can relate to a mature market – well, except Jason last week, but anyway. Jason points out the over-50s aren’t from another planet and they need to bring something vibrant into that market. Luisa whines that it’s a risk.
Market research time! Leah is asking people about their online dating experience, whilst Myles harasses some poor bloke to pose with Leah for publicity and asks if he could look a bit more wooden. Man: Whut? Quite.
With their designer, Luisa asks Jason if he wants their website to be timeless, elegant, classic, or cheeky, fun and on the line. That last line makes me think of this dreadful dreadful thing which makes me feel nothing but shame for everybody involved, especially Rose Byrne (you were in Damages, woman, have some respect for yourself. As were you, John Goodman), but really its existence diminishes us all. Jason wants ‘Love Ignition’. Oh, JASON. Francesca and Neckbeard go to a pub to do their market research with a small group of over-50s. Who aren’t at work in the daytime but are sitting around drinking. Just saying. One of them mentions friendship, and Francesca suggests ‘friendship and flowers?’ which they all agree to and get excited about. Some people have speculated these people were a bit too old, but I think they look maybe 60 ish? So it depends if they were going for 50-somethings or retirees – that’s the problem with the ‘over-50s’ to start with – it’s way too diverse an area, with many of them in the prime of their working life and others much older. Over 65s (or over 70s even) is a completely different age-range and target market from 50-65/70. So… I blame the producers and their crappy predetermined categories for the (whoops, spoiler) clusterfuck this ends up as.
At their team, Jordan makes an all too heartfelt claim to be a woman who works long hours in the city who doesn’t want to go out to a bar waiting for men to talk to her. Jordan would rather go on a website because she is a strong, sexually liberated woman. Alex says that when men do it, it’s like buying a wife from Russia. Is it? I don’t know, ask Myles. Also: I have no idea what the hell that was about – unless they’re making their site exclusively lesbian then surely both men and women need to use it? Anyway, Alex suggests cufflinks as a theme, which still hints at bondage to me, and Jordan loves this idea. Their logo is a TIE with a love heart top. Not a cufflink to be seen. Subliminally drawing on the red room they were in earlier, the header of their website is bright red and the whole thing looks a bit like an A-Level graphic design project circa 2001.
On the other team, Neil and Francesca ring Jason and Luisa and said their focus group didn’t want cheeky and loved the name friendship and flowers. I was under the impression from the footage that they liked the concept of that, rather than it being a name per se but then that could be all the tricksy editing. Jason grimaces and Luisa eye rolls. She says she hates it but the focus group did suggest it. Jason is deflated because it throws a curve ball at his desire to go for energy and excitement and means they have to go for something more drab. A group on this show listening to the market research? Surely this breaks all the rules?
On their team, Leah and Myles think cufflinks sounds like mens’ fashion and not a dating website and Alex and Jordan lie that the logo looks amazing. Speaking of logos, on the other team, Luisa and Jason are with a graphic designer and Jason is dithering about colours for their own logo, arguing the toss about shades of red. Luisa is having none of this, for as we all know too well, she doesn’t give a shit about such things. Fortunately this time she just stops short of getting up in the designer’s face and shouting at him. What a journey she has come on! They’re an hour over the deadline and haven’t started the website. Luisa keeps shouting at him to make a decision and he says he doesn’t like making decisions and he suggests several changes and then it looks like they go back to the original colour scheme. Luisa whines that he’s wasted 45 minutes on some grandma thing. He says she went with it. She whines that she hates the over-50s. They’re on her list of Room 101 things along with anything corporate and all of her team mates. I’m not sure what Luisa actually likes, except the sound of her own voice. Jason says that maybe in a design task, eh shouldn’t have been PM. Except… a) it’s a design and advertising task and b) wasn’t that part of the reason he went for it?
Jordan and Alex are mocking up a fake profile of Jordan for their website and he’s listed himself as an International Spy (MI6). Alex tells him he can’t put that and Jordan whines that he wants to be a spy. Alex asks him what his actual job is and he huffs ‘business development manager’ in much the same manner as X Factor contestants do in week five when they whine about how they don’t wanna go back to supermarkets/teaching/soldiering. In terms of bemoaning one’s status in life, it’s no I DON’T WANNA BE JOANNA THE CLEANER (FROM LEICESTER) NO MORE, is all I’m saying. Jordan whinges that it’s a lot more fun being an international spy. I can’t work out if he’s a) trolling Alex, b) serious or c) doing it for the telly exposure. I suspect it’s d) all of the above.
Luisa and Jason have to come up with three pages for their sample website and Jason wonders if Luisa should take charge. Their ‘design’ is a huge sheet of white with a very tiny profile of an old man in the middle whose dating info is sparse but whose motto is ‘no regrets’. Oh, JASON. The designer (Lucy) laughs in their faces as well she might. Luisa interviews that she might need to take over the task.
Their team are brainstorming the advert – Myles wants it to be a disaster date with a real Herbert. Leah says, someone really ugly and Alex wonders why they’re all looking at him. Myles lies that there are three options: the old bloke (himself), with a slight look of panic at the thought the others might actually choose this; Jordan because he’s ‘a 6 foot 6 strapping guy’ and Alex because he has ‘James Bond good looks’.
Back at the other team, Neckbeard now calls ‘their team’ ‘the other team’. Stop confusing me, Neil! I’m going to have to start calling you Envolve and Edeavour or something because I am still unsure which is meant to be which. They bemoan Jason and Luisa’s getting next to nothing done on the website and Francesca open mouth gawps with a slight sense of delight as she realises she is unlikely to be the one fired this week. Luisa blames Jason. Jason interviews that he’s ‘in a nest of vipers’. Luisa says Jason needs to decide if he wants to be PM. Neckbeard says you can’t change PM, Luisa says you can. Jason says the team and the victory is what is important and Luisa has a commanding voice. Francesca and Neil appoint Luisa project management. Neil led the whole of that conversation, by the way, as is his wont.
9am on day two and the teams have to create adverts and poster campaigns. We see the front page of Jason and Luisa’s site as they instruct the designer on the posters. It doesn’t look too bad, considering, but it’s a very standard dating site design and the photo is definitely an over-65s shot. Jason hopes that after the ‘extremely bold move of mine’, ‘Lu’ will have success. The photos used for the poster seem to use a slightly younger couple than the ones on the site. Her cutting edge copy? ‘Log on now to meet new people’ and ‘one month’s fee trial’. Wooop.
Myles and Jordan take out their website to show people – which probably is a bit after the fact, given it’s already done. The feedback is that it’s too corporate – which it is – all greys and reds and blocks. Myles says it has no passion or fun. He wants the TV advert to be engaging. Leah and Alex are on location whilst Alex tells the crew of two men they’ve been sent that he plans to film, direct, edit and act, much to their bemusement. They are filming their date scenes in the vicinity of what looks like a school, which adds an even more creepy layer to proceedings. Alex relishes getting ready to “act” – he wears a lot of eye make-up and a crucifix T-shirt (essentially his standard Friday night out outfit, I assume) with cut off demin shorts, purple ankle socks and shoes. The actress playing his date looks genuinely afraid. He tells her to focus on the eyes, look into the eyes, not around the eyes, you’re under. Alex frolics around with piles of leaves and waggles is eyebrows. Leah moans that it’s ‘wrong.’ On so many levels.
On the other team (which is also what helpful voiceover man calls them), Neil and Francesca are directing their hideously cringey advert. Nick pops up to say that this lot are actually Evolve. Thanks Nick! He says things have settled down since Jason ‘abdicated’ (was deposed).
Alex and Leah are fighting about their shoot and Karren interviews that they’re both trying to direct. Nick interviews that Neil and Francesca’s ad is too mumsy and it’s his age group, but he’d run a mile. We see the woman in their ad winking at camera in the creepiest, strangest way possible (unless you were Alex) but it’s unclear who is to blame for the wink. Maybe it was an ad-lib.
Myles and Jordan are putting their poster together and moan that Alex looks an idiot, has made it panto (oh boys, this whole series is panto, and much the better for it in my opinion) and they worry that he’s gone too far. It’s Alex. You knew what he would do when you goaded him into it. The photos of him emphasise his vampiric qualities nicely, and he’s holding a bunch of dead flowers for a touch of extra class.
Finishing touches are made to the edits and pitches. Myles is delighted Jordan has chosen him to pitch but points out that Jordan hasn’t led on any aspect of the task at all. The Friendship and Flowers ad has the address ‘www.friendshipandflowers.com’ in a very old-fashioned italicised AND shadowed font (Arial, maybe?) at the end and no use of their logo – and their logo said FriendshipandFlowers.co.uk on it – if they can’t even get their own address right then there really is no hope. Incidentally, I see both F&F domains have been snapped up by some company called Global Personals. Cufflinks.com and .co.uk are both websites selling cufflinks. Who’da thunk it?
Luisa thinks their ad is fun and memorable, Jason thinks it’s flawless and she wants to pitch but Neil has a massive strop that he is the best pitcher and he should do it and says she needs to sleep on it and choose him. Luisa interviews that, for once, Neil Clough won’t get his way and she’ll sleep on it and still choose herself. I’ve never liked her more.
The cufflinks advert – which contains no URL, you will notice (gah, I don’t know why I even bother wishing this series would understand the internet when it fundamentally has no idea what the internet is, let alone how it might work), has a cringey ad but a fairly clear message about ‘people who don’t have time for bad dates’. It’s essentially an Alex showcase rather than saying anything at all about their brand, and in any other year, Sralan might bemoan them for not shouting about the product non-stop which is his usual definition of a good advert – but because of the drama in Evolve, perhaps Herbert will triumph where Pantsman failed. (Spoiler alert: he will) Alex finds it hilarious, Myles worries that it might be silly. Jordan says nothing because he’s that kind of excellent PM.
London porn! 8am on day three and the teams need to pitch to experts. Advertising execs, people from eHarmony and people from ‘Global Personals web design’, of the aforementioned link redirects, who must be hoping this free advertising works for them. [All paid for by the licence fee! - Daily Mail]
Luisa is first up to pitch Friendship and Flowers (which has now lost the .co.uk). They have only two pages on their sample website – the home page and the big white void of that man’s profile. There are no posters to be seen – I don’t know why they ever make them bother with posters in the advertising task, as the posters rarely ever get shown and never make a difference to the outcome. The advert doesn’t seem to show the website, but has a very cheesy soundtrack and shows their two mature people going for a drink, and THAT wink. One of the advertisers (aged ‘49’, one suspects) shouts at them that FIFTY IS THE NEW THIRTY like that means anything and WE’LL ALL BE FIFTY SOON, DON’T SEND ME TO A FUNERAL PARLOUR JUST YET, I’M NOT EIGHTY FERCHRISSAKES. DID I SAY I? I MEAN THEY, THEY ARE NOT EIGHTY. Luisa says they did what the market research told them. Another man says if you listen to market research you will end up doing what they told you. Somewhere, Sophie’s brain explodes as this show’s crazy relationship with market research (or “market research” given it’s only ever a scrappily-pulled together focus group/vox pop) and the debate over whether it’s worth listening to or not continues. Another man picks up their lack of website. Luisa flusters that it’s obviously still being developed. Luisa worries that they listened to the focus groups too much. Francesca says it’s not a market they know about so they had to listen to someone.
Myles pitches for Endeavour, and actually does a reasonably good job at explaining that Herbert is the character for their brand in terms of epitomising the bad date. Their poster is shown but has no URL on it. The advert also uses terrible music and Dr Leah’s bored voiceover from the land of not giving any shits at all. Again, no URL is provided – how the hell would people find this site? Audience members pick up that Cufflinks implies men and clothing and Alex says it implies BZNS people. Jordan says NOTHING but looks faintly terrified. Another man points out the adverts are daft but the website is corporate and the two don’t connect. Jordan pushes his glasses onto his nose.
Boardroom time! LordSugasugasuga gets some feedback – one team understands the psychology of online dating. One missed the mark with the advertising. One had no link between the website and advertising. Sralan says the marketers are ‘torn’ so he has a task to sort it out himself. NotFrances sends the candidates through and Sralan reminds them he will decide who wins on the toss of a coin or whatever mood he’s in today or whichever group will give the best boardroom drama, or some sort of mechanism of deciding who is ‘best’anyway.
Over with Endeavour and Jordan says he was very keen to put himself forward as PM, and that Alex also volunteered, but, it’s Alex, y’know? Karren says Alex’s pitch was good but no-one wanted him. Alex doesn’t know why. Jordan says the site was for young professionals and cufflinks had the word LINKS in it. We see their ad again and Evolve giggle at it, as all teams must. Sralan says there is a lot going for humorous adverts even though he clearly hates them and, as we know from previous iterations of this task, any advertising that isn’t just BUY THE PRODUCT BUY THE PRODUCT. Leah goes on about their bad date thing and he holds up print-outs of their website (which doesn’t look to have any URL here either) and says they don’t go together. Leah says all it needs is to put Herbert on there. When asked if Jordan was a good PM, the team say yes. Karren says he was a good delegator, as the other three did everything. Jordan whines that a good PM has to get the best out of his team and that’s what he did. LudSugaSugaSuga says when he is chosen to win he has to manage a team. Sralan says he has to see that he doesn’t just stand back and let someone else work. I think Jordan was pretty good at delegation and that is part of the PM role but he does also shirk responsibility and doesn’t seem to be that competent at most things, so everyone is a little bit right and a little bit wrong here.
We move over to Evolve and Al be your baby tonight mentions that Jason was ‘Mr Cupid’ for his dating website at Oxford. And they made the Social Network into a film? This is much more the story I want to see. He was therefore the obvious PM but he says confidence was so low he decided Luisa needed to take over. Francesca says he buckled under pressure. Nick declares that HE will say what happened, and that’s that Luisa nipped at his heels all day. Neckbeard, seeing which way the wind is blowing, affirms what Nick is saying. He is such a master villain, isn’t he? I really wish I could admire the way he totally has them all in his grasp… but he’s still a complete twat. Nick goes for her some more because, well, mouthy women do that to him. Neckbeard then tries to blame Luisa for the website. Sralan snipes about the Friendship and Flowers thing and they mention the market research. Sralan sniffs at their ad like he’s smelled Kurt’s rancid milkshake still lingering around. The editors cut to Leah yawning.
The Sugaman says the advisors are torn about them because Cufflinks was a funny advert but there was no co-ordination with the website and Frienship and Flowers picked the right market but it was boring, cringeworthy and patronising, although at least their campaign was cohesive. He gives Evolve ‘the benefit of the doubt’ because someone has to win and sends them off to Mayfair to eat caviar. BLEE. 35 grand’s worth of the stuff is presented to them. Jordan: ‘mmm, fishy pate.’ He snipes that Sralan is picking on him because he wasn’t responsible for any particular thing, but he was responsible for the total thing.
Loser café and we’re back with the Bridge café this week. Huzzah! Neil and Luisa are having a shout-off and Neil whines that he’s embarrassed to be a part of it. Luisa says he was a part of it and needs to stop pretending he’s above it all like usual. She apologises to Jason if he feels he was bullied. Jason doomterviews that he had guts to stand down.
NotFrances sends them back into the boardroom and Sralan asks who the PM is. Jason says it’s probably both him and Luisa. They go over the over-50s being cool and vibrant idea and Francesca says ‘but the market research hated it’. Sralan then asks, incredulously, ‘so you followed the market research?’ as if this was the craziest thing anyone has ever done. To be fair, as no-one on this show ever does that, it is somewhat maverick, but you’ve fired many a candidate for ignoring it up until now. He whines that they’re entrepreneurs so they should just ignore it and do their own thing. He says OVER 50s like me is a buzzing market and it was as if they were targeting over 70s. Perhaps they should have just done that then? He snarks that the TV ad was boring. Francesca says it was on brand. He snaps BORING at them.
We cover the Jason/Luisa spat and Jason is upset that Luisa was hurrying him. Sralan says if he were on the Titanic he wouldn’t just give up. Jason says if he were on there his concern would be ‘women and children first’ which makes little to no sense and which presumably enrages Neil because the correct answer should always be to save NEIL CLOUGH first. There is no OMG JASON YOU SEXIST panic this week though, because, well, awww, Jason.
Sralan bemoans the bad team management and there being two PMs. Between them they have to decide who comes back. Jason wants Francesca to come back in because she was in charge of the video. Luisa wants Neckbeard back. Suga Honey Honey is miffed that they can’t even agree on this. Francesca snaps about the website not being finished, but says she edited, scripted, filmed and completed the video and tells him to bring her back in. Neckbeard is sent back to the house to smug another day.
SugaBabe moans about there being two PMs again. Karren says Jason likes to pretend he’s a deep thinker, but he’s a ditherer. Nick says Francesca was calm and collected all day but they’re frightened of Neil. Karren wonders if Francesca asked the right questions in the market research.
They come back in and Al be your baby tonight says he has ‘one and a half PMs’. I’m not sure who the half is given that Jordan is on the other team, eyethangyew. Jason says Francesca was with the focus group and perhaps should have interpreted it… What Jason? In a completely different manner? She snaps that she produced him a video. He points out that the video was rubbish. She says it was professional – it wasn’t creative or cutting edge but it was the theme he wanted. He says it was her idea. She says she’s been brought in because she’s less intimidating than Neil. Luisa says they went on the wrong foot but Frienship and Flowers came from both her and Neil and Francesca performed well on the task and she’d have brought Neil back. Luisa thinks Jason should be fired for being on a sinking ship and not leading them. He asks Jason if he’s a ditherer. Jason says he’s a thinker. Sralan asks if impatient people like Luisa bother him. Luisa says in life you have to make decision. Jason whines about ‘bad decisions, quickly?’ She says he struggles to make the simplest decisions and they’d have got nothing done if he was still PM. Sralan suggests she was bullying and intimidating him. As is so often on this show, all of these things can be true. Luisa asks if she should have just let the whole thing ride – especially when he’s berated others this series for exactly doing that. Suga Puffs tells the bladdy wimmin to shat ap. Jason says team work is the important thing. Francesca tries to interject and he says she’s out for blood and she says she’s annoyed. Yet again, a little of column a, a little of column b. Jason reiterates that ‘courage comes in many forms’ and his ‘stepping down’ was courageous so that Luisa could unify them. Francesca said they were unified. Jason says in the wrong direction. She says in the direction set by him.
Al’s Diner lies that Francesca has been good in the process so far. So quickly he forgets the shambles of away day week. Her video was still crap, but she’s not being fired this week. Last week Jason sold a caravan but… although he’s concerned Luisa will cause him more problems and she browbeat Jason and wore him down… Jason is an academic who chanced his arm and is a nice fellow who he wishes very very well, and with what I think is this series’ first ‘with regret’, Jason is fired. Poor Jason, he was too good for this world. Next week, Karren wants to follow Luisa to see if she’s a strong BZNS WOMAN or just a BLADDY WOMAN who is too much for Sralan.
Coatwatch – long and black with a spiffy cravat. Jason taxiterviews that the others were essentially a bit too tough for him.
Back at the house and Neil basically says that he and Luisa ripped Jason to shreds and no-one is surprised at who has gone.
Next week! Ready meals! Take that, dreadful Simon Cowell ITV reality shows! Alex’s reign of death looks like it will continue with horror-themed foods! Neil and Luisa descend on Francesca to rip her to shreds! Steve will deal with the carnage then!