What does The Apprentice do for business exactly?

I don’t really watch The Apprentice. I’m not sure why, other than because I was scarred from watching Donald Trump’s version for more than 30 seconds. Or maybe it’s the vestigial Spectrum owner inside me, engaging in 80s tribal war against Alan Sugar and his Amstrad computer (Alan M Sugar Trading: see?). I did, however, see the closing moments of the last series, as well as the follow-on show in which everyone gassed on about how great it was to see a show about business on the Beeb.

So I watched this week’s episode (my wife loves it) to see exactly what it was that British business could expect to get from the general public as a result of The Apprentice.

I’ll tell you what. Visceral hatred, that’s what. Now obviously a reality show is going to pick people who are more interesting than you might normally find in an effort to get some sparks on screen. But did they really have to pick such a group of jargon-talking, self-fellating arrogant business types who don’t apparently have any real clue between them? It’s really amazing. It’s like a bunch of kids play-acting: they’ve seen TV shows about what business people should be like and they can put on a little tea party based on the shows, but they don’t actually understand what they’re doing. Or if you’re feeling biblical, like the parable of the house built on stone and the house built on sand: it doesn’t matter how good you go through the motions of business if your foundations are rubbish.

Classic moments from this week’s show:

  • that bloke who did the presentation and asked “to be forgiven if he gets emotional” because Great Ormond Street kids are close to his heart (Wow. BS detector on full. “Can I now believe a single word this guy says to me?” wonders potential buyer);
  • the constantly crying Jo (looks professional, doesn’t it? A few tears occasionally: fair enough. Every single hour? Don’t think so);
  • the mad conspiracy theories from apprentice two over why she got fired, despite being told why and having lost the task (“I just don’t understand. It’s that back-stabber Karen.” No. It’s because you were rubbish and thought that a calendar for Great Ormond Street should feature kittens instead of kids)

Still, it’s definitely better than the over-blown US version, although I do feel the US apprentices at least had a vague clue about how to do business. I just don’t see why any kid, watching the show, would end up thinking, “Yes! That’s what I want to do with my life!”