The Apprentice, Series 16, Episode 2: The Limp Wizard

What? Kids like a random assortment of sinisterly floating body parts.

Apologies this is a day late, I came down with a fever yesterday and I’m almost entirely sure that it was a cursed laid upon me by Wiffy The Wizard.

At last we can get to the most exciting part of this show, The Great Phone Race and finding out what novelty, and inevitably very expensive, phone the candidates will have to answer this morning – I can’t say I would have ever thought it’d be the gaping maw of a lime green hippo

I am however delighted. And that’s also a strong start for Navid in the Great Phone Race as he’s given the news that the candidates all have 30 minutes to get ready and thus begins the monstage of furiously applied false lashes and Nick waking up with bedhead that is indistinguishable from his regular hair

as for where they were going at 4am in the morning, they had merely been told “The Eastman Dental Institute” – and it’s threatening enough to be told you’re meeting at a dental surgery before sunrise like you’re a vampire with a cavity but they were then greeted by The Lord Sugar Fairy

who will kneecap you if you don’t payback your pixie dust loan back in time.

All of this because the teams would have to each design a new electronic toothbrush marketed to kids aged between 6 and 8 years old with an accompanying app that teaches them how to brush their teeth and keeps them doing it for 2 minutes – and yes this did mean that there would be A LOT of toothbrush miming

and while I expected it from the candidates, I can’t quite believe that they convinced Karren Brady to take part in the game of dental charades

and yes, posting this on Twitter did mean my mentions were flooded with very horny men for the entire evening, truly I took a bullet for the team. And I probably owe Karren an apology.

The teams continue to be divided along the genderlines, so it’s MenAtPlay on the right and Gaslight Gatekeep Girlboss on the left.

Hey Now, You’re Brushing Star

There was an immediate showdown between Shama and Francesca as to who would be the project manager for the women, with Shama plugging the fact she runs a nursery and has 5 kids so 90% of her morning routine is telling kids to brush their goddamn teeth. Meanwhile Francesca has worked in oral care marketing and made an app as part of her maths degree, which I assume she did alongside her degree in Colour Psychology? And after an episode spent living in the shadow of the Pyjama Empire, she was determined to seize power for herself and thus Francesca was elected leader.

Francesca’s initial idea was mostly quite simple and understandable – she wanted it be space themed because the never ending void of our universe is of course genderless and she wanted the toothbrush to be a plain orange toothbrush, because her degree in Colour Psychology told her that that was both a sociable colour and the colour of confidence. Did they all then go on to unnecessary complicate this idea? Yes, of course they did, this is The Apprentice.

Francesca, much like Akshay last week, committed the cardinal sin of having a very defined idea of what she wanted only then to not put herself on the branding team and so as soon as Amy, Katherine, Sophie and newly emerging Agent of Chaos Brittany were cut from her apron strings they went wildly off script

and so Francesca’s plain, boring orange toothbrush slowly became an emoji tattooed mess that Amy was desperate to for them to love and was briefly possessed by the ghost of a The Price is Right model

At least it’s still orange and confident?

While Brittany continued to just list space related objects for their poor graphic designer to sketch onto their toothbrush, Kathryn did voice concern that both the brush and their logo looked a little junior – and like you could whip it up in PowerPoint in 15 seconds flat

to which Amy reassured her that “No, it doesn’t, I have a 5 year old and he’d love this!” – the issue there being that he’s a 5 year old and as anyone will tell you, there’s a wealth of difference between 5 and 6. But Kathryn’s concerns were confirmed when Harpreet opened up the final prototype and said “It’s a bit too junior” and Amy looked like she was having a worse time than when she was trying her damndest to be an auteur aboard a cruise ship

But I’m not surprised that Harpreet immediately saw it has being babyish because she and the rest of the women had been exposed to Francesca’s character design that looked like the skin had sloughed off of the infamous fetus from Courage The Cowardly Dog

why did the tooth have to have such aggressive teeth? And then there’s the way it moved, fluctuating between tormented whirling and just sort of hunching over and loitering like it’s waiting for whatever nutrients it can harvest from passing debris

and if you’re wondering who was responsible for this slumped horror, it was none other than Francesca herself, who did quite enjoy spinning herself into dizziness

I’m sad we never got to see what the beteethed horror would have looked like doing the trademark angry girboss strut

I demand the yassification of my dental nightmares.

Also, it dabs

which might single-handedly end dabbing forever, so well done Francesca.

They had two companies to pitch to, BUPA and Superdrug – both of which immediately pointed out that the tooth mascot looked like Steve Buscemi’s skull – to which Francesca’s immediate response was “We can change it.”. But even more confusing than Steve Buscemi’s Skull in Space was the way the app worked. The basic premise of having kids gaining unlockable content by brushing their teeth is good, kids like gacha games – is it ethical? To be debated outside of the world of The Apprentice I think. However, something about the rapid fire appearance of a bowling alley, a cinema and a rollercoaster in the void of space while the demonic tooth spins into oblivion all the while “Jaunty Electronic Music” plays was truly mind bending, as Sophie having an internal fritz while gazing upon it will testify

it’s like a baby sensory video from Hell. However, Francesca continued to assure the buyers of BUPA and Superdrug that “We can fix it in post.” which I’m sure will create as much chatter about cheating as that damned flatback skeleton did.

It’s a Bit Wiffy In Here

It is always a bad sign that someone is made Project Manager for a task involving marketing to children when their only qualification is because they have kids, and thus Aaron, father of 2, steps forward to take the reins. Their immediate instinct is to make the whole thing as gender neutral as possible, deciding that magic was their best option, because kids love magic, and toothbrushes kind of look like magic wands, I suppose? And thus WizardyBrush was born. And with their magical theme chosen, they then had to cross the, seemingly precarious, discourse of wizard based properties and gender

could’ve done with that statement in 2020.

The initial plan from the team was to give kids the choice of being a female or a male wizard – there was an interesting complete ommitence of the word “Witch”, clearly none of them are fans of the incredible piece of cinema that is Sebastian Stan camping it up as a Boy Witch in the homoerotic delight that is The Covenant (2006)

but instead of 24 year old Sebastian Stan as the mascot of the terribly named Wizard E. Brush, we got Wiffy The Wizard’s bootleg Phineas and Ferb looking ass and his very specific physique

But are wizardfolk particularly fond of their children?

The chubbiness does get vetoed by Conor, who was head of the app team for apparently having experience in creating apps

his reasoning being Very Bad Fatphobia

Let’s not, mate?

The idea of gender neutrality going completely out of the window because the sacrificial graphic designer looked like he was about to bolt out of the door the moment they hinted at wanting more than one character design

I imagine “I did an episode of The Apprentice.” is the “I worked in a Charity Shop” of a graphic designer’s CV.

But as we know every wizard needs their wand and thus the men gamely walked forward into poop territory as dictated by the very well established wand market

and as we first heard that, we all waited with baited breath to see which colour they’d pair it with

now, Aaron isn’t wrong, many magic wand toys are brown – but they’re also thin and elegant AND DON’T LOOK LIKE SHREK’S TURDS

and with professional turd observer Harry being eliminated last week, the duty fell upon Nick to politely voice his concerns

but absolutely nothing was going to convince Aaron that the giant, knobbly brown lump (that was going to be in the bathroom and accompanied by a character called “Wiffy” looked like a shit.) and so the rest of the team had to desperately scramble to find ways to justify the appearance – and salvation came from one very particular little boy who really liked wizards and thought brown and green were cool colours. Did the opinions of the other kids matter? No, 1 of the two boys in the focus group was 50% of all boys aged between 6 and 8 in that tiny London office and that’s all that mattered to Nick who very quickly Tory’d up those statistics

Did the kids enjoy the app though? No. Did I enjoy the sight of gummy looking Wiffy slowly sliding across the screen while pathetically waving his wand to generic operatic vocalisations while you count your 7 year old life away?

Yes I did – I usually rewatch the episode and make notes in a café the next morning and I had to excuse myself on this occasion because I LOST IT every single time they played the app because I was on the verge of having an almond milk latte coming out of my nose.

The BUPA team were not quite as taken with the comedic genius of Wiffy The Wizard: A Royalties Free Opera

killjoy – to be fair the boys had bigged up their app as “Wiffy the Wizard harvesting plaque to use for his spells to fight the dragons that are apparently hellbent on harvesting the teeth of children.” Do these dragons actually do anything during gameplay? No, the app is literally just 2 minutes of looping opera and the limp wizard drifting lazily to the right like Han Solo outmanoeuvring a pair of Star Destroyers. Honestly, hang it in The Louvre, I don’t care what Mr. BUPA said, I found it endlessly entertaining.

Boardroom Blitz

I think it’s fair to say that both teams kind of dropped the ball in this challenge – the women creating a very disparate product that went from Baby’s First Toothbrush to Cronenbergian Horror in 3 seconds flat and the men opting for a theme with limitless imagination and coming up with an app that’d put you to sleep faster than anything on the Calm app. Despite this there were orders made, not for the boys who got a resounding Nul Points from both Superdrug and BUPA. As for Team Brushing Star, purely off the back of Francesca telling them they could change anything they wanted as long as they bought the damned brush, they managed to secure orders of 1000 units from BUPA and Superdrug, fully knowing they were playing with Monopoly Money, placed a nonsense order of 10000 units, which of course meant they win and Aaron IMMEDIATELY started sweating buckets

and for their win Team Francesca gets to go for an afternoon tea in Chelsea where Francesca praises her team for staying on board with her original idea, which isn’t quite what she said when they first entered the boardroom and she immediately started laying down the groundwork of saving herself and firmly driving a bus over either Amy or Kathryn

I eagerly look forward to the day Francesca and Kathryn end up in the boardroom together.

Between Team Wizard E. Brush, there’s a lot of disagreement as to where the blame lies, with Aaron firmly blaming everyone else for pulling an Emperor’s New Clothes on him by not telling him that his lumpy brown piece of plastic looked like a turd

but also putting Conor under fire for being utterly stumped by the concept of gender neutrality

although there really wasn’t anything explicitly gendered about the app other than the fact Wiffy The Badly Named Wizard was a boy. But they could have just made Wiffy into an anthropomorphised cat wizard, although I dread to think about what that would looked like rendered in this same gummy style.

As for who Aaron brings back to the boardroom to battle it out against, he chooses Conor because even with his alleged app expertise he produced a truly exhaustingly terrible app. And his second choice is Nick, mostly because he comes across as a very easy target what with him looking like a kitten that’s been stroked backwards. Aaron’s reasoning for bringing Nick back wasn’t particularly strong so it was pretty obvious that Nick wasn’t going to be fired. I honestly thought it’d be a cut and dry case of firing Aaron over the shitbrick of a wand he brought kicking and screaming into existence but then Conor had to choose the worst possible way of defending himself by insisting that his app was better than the one Francesca’s Team had made

Karren cutting in to defend the honour of The Ominous Space Tooth after spending the entire app design process pulling this face

God bless her.

So with Conor choosing to die on the hill that his app was good, actually, he was inevitably fired because Aaron at least had the decency to be morbidly embarrassed by the continued presence of his toothbrush which I imagine has since been tied to a brick and thrown in The Thames

I have to say I’m a little surprised, Conor seems like exactly the kind of person Sugar tends to gravitate towards and take a real liking to.

But Nick didn’t get off scot-free as next week he will be forced to be the project manager, a prospect he celebrates by doing this

That’s £20 on him being fired then.

And so 14 allegedly highly qualified people remain…

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