The Apprentice, Series 16, Episode 9: The Anti-world’s Chuckle Brothers

Separated at birth.

It’s the Live TV Selling Challenge and everyone is just desperately trying not to end up on WatchMojo’s list of The Top 10 Blunders from The Apprentice.

Last week’s phone answering saw Aaron bounding around the house at 5am like a child on Christmas morning, this week we went to the other end of the spectrum with Akshay seemingly auditioning for the role of Bent Copper on whichever Line of Duty-esque series Jed Mercurio pumps out next by answering it like he was receiving instructions on a burner phone

Akshay lost 8 tasks. H is the 8th letter of the alphabet. AKSHAY IS H.

As for where they were being summoned, they were meeting Lord Sugar at an eerily empty Greenwich Market, which did have both Aaron and Akshay very excited because the assumption was that it was a buying and selling task and both of them are still valiantly trying to plug themselves as the top sellers of the series, to… not great results so far. Their dreams of glory were quickly dashed as they were told that the selling would be done on live television – and in the absence of Nick, it was Brittany who alone had to shoulder the responsibility of being overly excited about the task

Brittany truly transcended to Main Character this episode after spending much of the season as a background entity – we call this The Brittany S. Pierce Manoeuvre. Apologies for making a Glee reference.

The task works as it usually does, the teams get to select 1 higher end “Star Product”, which they compete over, and then they cobble together a series of smaller impulse purchase items and then they get to go and embarrass themselves on live television – unfortunately nobody quite reached the levels of TrampolineGate, but Steph did swear and Aaron lost his mind.

Out Of The Pan And Into The Fryer

Akshay was of course locked into being this week’s PM after playing that particular Wicked Wango Card last week and in order to build the morale of his 2 (two) team mates, he went a little bit “We will fight them on the beaches” with his motivational speech

and I did appreciate Karren’s look of slightly impressed disgust

you can always guarantee on Karren managing to emote an unexplainable feeling.

Rather impressively Akshay still managed to divide the team into a Main Team and a Sub Team, but even more impressively, the sub team was larger than the main team and I imagine it was only called the Main Team because it was just him and calling it The Akshay Is A Very Good Salesman Party would’ve been a bit gauche.

Despite being the “sub team” Stephanie and Kathryn were doing the heavy lifting as they set about trying to secure the Star Product, and as they were going to be hawking things off on a shopping channel that specialised in jewellery, they really, really wanted the giant ugly blue tanzanite ring that apparently can sell for up to £3999.99

and everyone steadfastly refused to acknowledge that it’s basically just a replica of Princess Diana’s engagement ring, I see what you’re doing Raghu.

Unfortunately for Steph and Kathryn, their approach to dealing with Raghu and his products was to focus exclusively on how much things were and how much they could retail for with absolutely no schmoozing pr small talk – you would have thought they might have learned something from the last task where Steph did the exact same thing and came away from that meeting with a terrible deal, but alas, who has the time to learn lessons? Raghu refused their offer to sell the ring for him but did concede them the air fryer, which they would have to sell roughly 7 of if they wanted to equal the price of a single ring.

While Steph and Kathryn squeezed numbers out of poor Raghu, Akshay got to play around with a random selection of future unused Christmas presents, with only the immovable stoicism of Karren to talk to

genuinely impressed that she didn’t even crack a smile as he stood in front of her wearing what looks like a portable phoropter.

And in true Leave a Man Alone In A Room style, it inevitably resulted in Akshay doing a series of press-ups

by which point Karren’s will to live had well and truly dried up

not that I think she would have been significantly more excited to follow Kathryn and Stephanie around as they began filming an advert for their air fryer that we would never see, during which Kathryn took the reins and, as is want to happen on The Apprentice, immediately became Stanley Kubric and made Stephanie do the same take multiple times asking for bigger and bigger smiles until I’m sure she must have looked like your standard creepypasta thumbnail – hence why we never saw the advert. Some say that if you gaze upon it you’ll be visited at 23:59 that night and fired by Lord-Sugar-but-in-inverted-colours


It did strike me as weird that Akshay, very much wanting to believe in himself as a chief negotiator and salesman extraordinaire, took on roles this episode that meant he didn’t have to negotiate or sell anything at all. Instead he took on the role of director and gave Steph and Kathryn some questionable prompts

so it’s no wonder that Kathryn and Stephanie frequently stopped dead like they were a pair of technologically advanced robots calculating their next move as they tried to take in what Akshay was whispering in their ears

and the pair of them just had no chemistry when they were trying to work together with Stephanie just bulldozing her way through reading the phone number of the channel while Kathryn tried to give her a back massage.

I think Kathryn was the better of the two, she still wasn’t great but she managed to cope with Akshay giving her instructions, and recovered well when Akshay told her to tell everyone that the anti-aging snail mucus mask was “vegan friendly” without any real care for the very concept of veganism. And she didn’t ever shout, unlike Stephanie who steamed clothes like she was running a fitness bootcamp at 6am – although you can’t really blame her because Akshay was mostly just shouting “ENERGY!” into her ears and it’s difficult to make steaming a white cotton shirt into anything particularly exciting.

And of course there was Stephanie’s “little swear” as she dashed from one set to another

I won’t lie, at university we frequently did exercises based around shopping channels and with the amount of times I swore whenever I had to fill in as a host, you’d have thought I was trying to sell my favourite cardigan to a crew of bandit pirates.

Lord Sugar Stole My Lord of the Rings Pun

While they were under the impression that this was just your bog standard buy’n’sell task, Aaron was very keen on being the project manager

however, once Brittany heard that they were going to be selling on live TV she was going to do anything she could to be project manager, she would buy every single air fryer in SoHo herself if she had to – it’s honestly like she was a sleeper agent and her activation code was TJC, because Brittany was suddenly wide awake.

In terms of dividing up her team, she was keeping as it was last week, which did mean that Akeem and Harpreet continue to be tethered to one another like The Antiworld’s Chuckle Brothers and were in charge of selecting the smaller products, a prospect Harpreet was obviously looking forward to a GREAT deal

at least you weren’t having to make rice this time?

Akeem does however have experience in product selection, a claim that Harpreet was sceptical about

I see she too is mildly convinced that Akeem is actually a 15 year old who is desperately trying to keep this elaborate lie going for as long as he can.
Her scepticism wasn’t unfounded though because for some unknown reason, Akeem imprinted on these supposedly handmade solar-powered owl lamps like he was Jacob Black looking at a half-vampire baby

which for some unknown reason began retailing for £116.99 – the biggest problem though was that Akeem and Harpreet hadn’t really bothered to find out much about the horrible owl lamps so Aaron and Brittany were left floundering for different ways to say handmade and Aaron is not the best thesaurus

You could have just said they were artisanal.

Continuing the ornithological and terrible trend, Brittany and Aaron were dressed like a couple who rule over a Rhode Island yacht club with an iron fist

which probably isn’t how you want to be dressed while you’re selling an inflatable flamingo

and my God did Brittany HATE this flamingo, up until meeting the poor thing she had been very excited about the task and then Akeem forced it through a far too small doorway and the light left Brittany’s eyes

and Aaron tried his best to make it submit by making unblinking eye contact with the inflatable beast

Brittany however was not going to make eye contact with the pool toy and it was promptly banished to sit beneath the table and apologise for its continued existence in Brittany’s presence

but of course they had to transport it to the set and instead of showcasing its “unique ability to let all the air out” as Akeem so eloquently put it, they just shoved it into the car and Brittany continued to refuse to look at it like it had forgotten the snacks for the road trip

It’s a flamingo Brittany, it doesn’t know what Tangfastics are!

The two of them did put their Phoenicopteridae grudge aside and tried their best to sell it while trying to maintain their dignity – the main reason Harpreet wanted the flamingo was that she thought they could have a lot of fun with it, the problem was that when they looked at the items, they had a wooden floor so Akeem could drag Harpreet around with relative ease

little did she know was that the filming would take place in a fake living room with a thick carpet so manoeuvring the giant plastic flamingo was a lot harder

I imagine Aaron’s masculine ego is still quite wounded from that particular battle, but don’t worry he was going to show off all of his manly vigor while selling bedding

my favourite thing about Aaron trying to sell this EXTREMELY HIDEOUS bedding was that he did giggle when Harpreet yelled that the price had been dropped to £69


And there was of course the Star Product, which was indeed the ring that Brittany had schmoozed her way into procurring

I think Brittany is definitely my new pick to win, we just have to hope and pray that her business plan at the end isn’t Super Mario Polar Bears.

It was pretty obvious that they weren’t going to be able to flog the ring off the top price of £3999.99, I imagine they might have stood a better chance if someone had at least acknowledged that it was literally just Diana’s engagement ring. It also didn’t help them that while Aaron and Brittany were definitely better at presenting than Kathdroid and Stephbot 3000, Harpreet was giving them very bad instructions, such as weirdly telling Brittany to go stand in front of the desk?

the sudden panic in Brittany’s eyes as she realises she’s face-to-barrel with an HD camera <3

Of course they did also have the advert to help them and who could resist the charm of Brittany running super weirdly in slow motion

it’s the tepid hair flip halfway through that really does it for me – as dos the fact she’s barefoot in a snappy pantsuit. Also for whatever reason, and I imagine it was the feeling that Brittany was trying out outrun the slowly creeping fear of death, it was this that really made me realise that she reminds me of Kat from Final Destination 2 and I appreciate that energy

although Kat would have executed a better hair flip

I CANNOT believe they did not play us this film student production of Romeo & Juliet mess in full, I need to the know why Brittany was so wistful on the swinging bench

but alas, I shall never know what the power dressing bossbabe in the garden of earthly delights was hankering for and quite how this related to Princess Diana’s Imitation Engagement Ring.

Boardroom Blitz

It was another close run challenge, with both teams performing relatively poorly – Akshay’s team only managing to shift 83 products while Brittany’s languished behind at only 56, however one of them was an £800 ring so they managed to win with a grand total of £2500.44, just over £400 more than Team Akshay who netted £2089.17.

For winning, Brittany is rewarded with a private performance by Veronica Green while her teammates are subjected to a private performance by Veronica Green in a completely empty pub – there were not even any bar staff

God bless Veronica Green for not even showing the vaguest signs of hating every second of being made to perform for 4 people, three of which very clearly have no idea who you are or why this happening to them and then of course having the one person who does know who you are just screaming this at you while you try to perform Get This Party Started

I might have to elevate Brittany to Cinnamon Bun status, which I never thought I would have to do with someone on The Apprentice. My favourite part though was Harpreet slowly realising they hadn’t even come to watch the winner of Drag Race UK performing

but at least Veronica looked great

because with Veronica it’s always a bit of a gamble.

Over on the losing team, the axe was pretty obviously hanging over Akshay’s head after he said he would prove himself this episode, and in his desperation to prove that he was a good project manager, he took hosting duties into his own hands

Kathryn’s confused face when Tim starts laughing is kind of adorable

Bless her, she really thought she had said something wrong.

Akshay didn’t really get the feedback I think he was hoping for, especially from Kathryn who he’s obviously quite good friends with based on their interactions – her issue being that he talked far too much as a director and gave both her and Steph a lot of unnecessary information.

Akshay’s main line of defense fell on trying to paint Steph as the downfall of the task, specifically during Kathryn’s segment with the massage gun, not really realising that he was walking into a trap of his own creation because it was his directing that confused Steph and really the deed was done the moment that Karren stepped up to defend Steph by saying that Akshay was panicking as a director

I wouldn’t have described it as “panicking” so much as it was just someone trying to a do a job that’s actually incredibly specialist and requires a decent amount of training – I myself have done TV gallery directing before and it was insanely stressful and difficult even just for small scale projects.

For a while it did look like Steph might have been getting fired but I think ultimately it would have looked incredibly optically suss if Sugar had saved Akshay after his 8th team loss and 2nd loss as a project manager in favour of firing Steph who has performed relatively well, so it was Akshay, the man with 9 lives, who got the axe this week

I think Akshay would have fared better in a series of The Apprentice a couple of years ago when there were a lot more sales-based tasks and less events and product design one but because of Covid they obviously couldn’t do the Expo challenge, a lot of the market challenges or the product sourcing challenge – which is a pity because I would hazard a guess that on paper, Akshay was Lord Sugar’s pick for the win, he was clearly very fond of him right from the beginning.

And so, only 5 candidates and a work experience student caught in a lie, remain…

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2 thoughts on “The Apprentice, Series 16, Episode 9: The Anti-world’s Chuckle Brothers

  1. jillsleight

    Akshay is 100 percent going to get to work with Lord Sugar in the future, judging from his comments at the end – bless him, he seemed like a decent sort and he was clearly skilled.

    The flamingo destroyed me, every single scene it was in was automatically elevated to art, especially when Aaron and Brittany were sat in the car with it.

  2. Captain Guff

    I’m not getting the sympathy for Akshay. To his credit he chose products well this week but other than that he didn’t seem to be any less the self-aggrandising, egomaniacal gobshite than he was at the start of the series. And given his performance would you want him as a marketing consultant for your company??

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