The Apprentice – Series 7, Episode Two

12 May

Image courtesy of domanske (click for Flickr link)

Who knew elephants sounded like dogs barking, eh?

The Beeb has well and truly treated us this week, with not one but TWO episodes of The Apprentice, ensuring that we all get nicely suckered in. It’ll make the wait until next week excruciating, but what a way to grab our attention.

In the second of this week’s episodes, teams Logic and Venture (names as reminiscent of Lynx as ever) had to create, develop and market an app that would set the world’s smartphones on fire. Or, you know, be incredibly offensive or mind-numbingly boring. I was just as surprised as you at which turned out to be more popular.

Of course, it was the global appeal of a distressed baby that swung it for the girls, although app-solutely everybody thought the girls were headed for a showdown with the Lord. Yet despite their lack of marketing (unless you count those exquisite gloves Edna sported) and passion for the idea, The Apprentice delivered one of those 180s that we still seemingly haven’t got used to.

I must admit – I’m having trouble with the ladies. There’s Melody, Edna, Susan and….erm… the blonde northern one? The young blonde? Someone called Helen…and er….some others…. Perhaps it’s just because the focus has been on the losing team thus far, but the men in the competition have left a greater impression on me so far. I’m sure this will swap around by next week – from the preview it looked like the teams were mixed up a bit next week. I’m looking forward to getting to know all the candidates better and having a favourite.

Was Alex the right man for the chop? I think so – with this series’ prize of investment from Alan, the qualities he’s looking for have shifted slightly. Whereas before it was often the quietest voices who went on to win, this year’s winner needs to show gumption and chutzpah. Alex didn’t. He also seemed devoid of a sense of humour on You’re Fired, unlike gracious – if misguided – Edward.

Oh – I’ve spotted another lookalike. Loving your suggestions – keep them coming!

Jim Eastwood

Doug

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The Sloaney Way

11 May

Ra-ra-ooh-la-la - geddit?

Come back The Only Way is Essex, all is forgiven. Yes, it’s an excuse for glorified snobbery and is  full of vapid carbon copies of real humans, but at least there’s some warmth and character to it. The villain, the princess and heck, even a real-life Buttons are all on show in this pantomime. But we love it for what it is.

Made In Chelsea  (or MiC as nobody is calling it) on the other hand is just dull. I got truly caught up in the royal wedding and have since harboured a secret crush on poshos and all things ‘Faaaaaahbulus’, but it turns out my fascination only extends as far as people actually involved in said nuptials.

There are no real storylines – save for the love triangle between oleaginous Spencer, Caggie and the marvellously-named Funda and the brewing storm between jewellery designer Amber and gossip girl Cheska – so it’s difficult to care about the characters….sorry, ‘real people’. This is surprising – the scripting and plot development that is clunkily obvious in every scene should provide for reasons to stay tuned.

Apart from Ollie – the one with “exceptional” hair – who shocks and delights in equal amounts with his loyalty to appearance-based onanism, I can see no reason to watch this group of over-moneyed teenagers stuck in arrested development – (unfortunately not the truly brilliant sitcom of the same name, although I could be tempted to watch an episode if it featured Liza with a Z).

All that being said, I will, of course, be suckered into it and soon start quoting from it on Facebook and having genuine conversations with friends about the faux-lationships on show. It’s the only way.

The Apprentice – Series 7, Episode One

11 May

Image courtesy of Howzey (click for Flickr link)

It’s baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack. Hum along with me. Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-daaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Etc.

Yup, The Apprentice has blundered back onto our screens after a short winter break and it looks set to be as full of meaningless mumbo-gumbo and shattered dreams as ever. HURRAH.

So far two lookalikes have sprung to mind:

Denholm Reynholm

Vincent Disneur

David Tennant

Tom Pellereau

But I’m ever on the look-out for more. Any suggestions?

Last night was a classic opener – the ‘boys’ are made out to be inept fools, the ‘girls’ bitch and snipe at each other’s leadership skills and the losing PM is a shoo-in to walk from the get-go. So far, so entertaining. My only gripe is that we lost Edward so soon. Obviously he was the weakest candidate in the episode, but his philosophical mantras

It’s all there

and

I don’t fit the mould

were genius! Of course, The Apprentice is never in short supply of quotables so I shan’t sleep too uneasily.

It’s going to be another great summer.

Return of the Telly Blogger

29 Jan

Yes, I’m back, although it is unlikely to be with the same frequency as before. Those who visited for Dowton-specific posts should head on over to my new blog Bonnets and Bustles for all sorts of period drama goodness.

Apologies

27 Nov

So you might have noticed I’ve not posted anything for a few weeks. For anyone who actually reads this blog and doesn’t know me, the reason is I’ve been looking a lot like the lady up there (although less blonde) – not that I’ve stopped watching TV.

Yes, my MA has caught up with me and I am currently neck-deep in various article, projects and pitches. However, normal service will be resumed next week.

I hope to see you then.

The X Factor – Week Six

15 Nov

Wow, I thought last week was a shocker. I assumed, like everyone else, that Katie was sure to go this week, so hated is she by the majority of the British population.

We were wrong. And wronged. Instead of nutty Aiden (c’mon, even you diehard fans out there have to admit he looked a little unhinged when singing), we are stuck with Waily Katie. AGAIN.

Still, there were plenty of fun and frolics before all that. It was Elton John night, which meant some adherance to the theme was vaguely certain. Of course Cher had to spice it up by bringing out her rappin’ skillz, but overall it wasn’t too bad. Why wasn’t his best song part of the evening though?!

Oh that’s right, John Lewis paid handsomely to have their new ad in the break:

Good ad though, isn’t it?

There were no real surprises on Saturday: Matt and Rebecca were the good, but ultimately boring; Wagner scared the nation; One Direction ensured a million teenage girls went to bed happy and Louis called Paije the first black man he could think of.

Sunday came around and it was all about the Return of the Boy Band. Man Band. Hair Band. Something like that anyway. JLS were up first and did a convincing impression of stale wedding cake. Westlife were up next and underwhelmed me so much that I can’t even comment on their performance. Finally, it was the turn of TAKE THAT (scream). Despite Robbie’s Thunderbirds-esque jittering, I actually enjoyed it.

Not as good as Patience or Rule the World though, is it?

While all this was going on, Cheryl was sporting two dog poos on her head:

Yes dear, you look lovely.

The result came and, rather surprisingly, heartthrob Aiden was in the bottom two. At this point DEADLOCK seemed inevitable – of course Si would side with his Chezza and Louis wouldn’t be able to make the situation undramatic. The fact that Katie got more votes than Aiden was completely unexpected. Some are calling it a fix, and while I don’t entirely disagree with that theory, I believe it is possible that Aiden was seen as safe and so people didn’t feel the need to vote for him. Let me know if you disagree.

It should be fun watching the Daily Mail get itself into a tiz about it all this week. For those of a saner disposition, you could do worse than look at Stuart Heritage’s article over at the Guardian.

 

TV Totty of the Week

14 Nov

I had trouble thinking of who to crown my TV totty this week. Partly because I haven’t actually been able to watch an awful lot of telly this week due to a never-ending to do list and partly because I think I need to stop banging on about Richard Armitage (he was the obvious choice, but I did go on about him enough here).

Then it came to me. The stand out moment in this week’s Mad Men had to be the appearance of the voluminous frill that was a heavily pregnant Trudy Campbell in a sassy little sixties nightie.

LOVED IT!

So brava Alison Brie, for pulling it off. Mad props also go to  Janie Bryant (the costume designer) for managing to get hold of such a monstrosity/the best thing I’ve ever seen.

Mad Men – S4, Episode 10

11 Nov

This one was a bit hit and miss for me. Firstly, I missed Peggy. I’ve really been enjoying her storyline of late and it was a shame to not even get a hint of her. Still, with three episodes left of the season I’m sure she’ll be back next week. Secondly, I expected more of a showdown between Pete and Don – although I suppose he’s just growing up and doing what he needs to do, rather than what he wants to do.

That being said, it was still a fine episode (and much better than most things on t’telly). The foray into Lane’s personal life was a nice change and demonstrated how he has progressed through this series. Not sure about his father literally bringing him back to earth with a bump, but at least it meant we got to learn what lies underneath the stuffy Brit exterior (I actually think he’s a pretty nice man, but he was brought in that way).

Don and Faye’s relationship baffles me slightly. The obvious comparison to Betty was nicely depicted in the scene where he unravelled his lies; Faye was the anti-Betty in her reaction (rather unsurprisingly though, as she has not (yet) married and had children with the man). I just don’t ‘feel’ the two of them like I did at the start of their flirtation. Still, it appears the priapic DD has already discerned his next target. Again though, not sure about him pairing up with Megan, it’s just so done.

It sounds a bit like I’m coming down on this episode. But I did enjoy the Joan story. If ‘enjoy’ is the right word. I feel it was left open though – we don’t actually know for sure whether she underwent the procedure or not. My prediction is a Joan and Roger shaped baby on the way down the line, but I’m not entirely sure how this will be explained. One thing I can count on is that it won’t be done in a soapy fashion. This is Mad Men after all.

The always stunning cinematography was especially good in this brief scene:

And how could you not love Sally screaming for joy?

The cogs are definitely kicking into gear as we head towards the end of the season: SCDP is facing (possible) financial ruin and secrets seem set to fly out of the drawers they are locked away in. Next week should be another corker.

The Apprentice – Week Six

11 Nov

Sing along with me: duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh.

The Apprentice was back on form this week. Despite another predictable exit, the advertising task (always a gem) ensured it didn’t feel like a totally wasted hour.

It was clear from the outset our favourite Retail Guru would get the finger. Why else would they show him spouting nonsense about apple pies if not? Oh that’s right. BECAUSE IT’S RIDICULOUS. I did wonder for a brief spell if sappy Laura (the polo neck is back!) might get the chop as all she seems to do is moan, whinge and generally behave like a 12 year old girl who isn’t used to not getting her own way. But no, much like Paloma, Alex got carried away in the boardroom and was rapidly hoisted by his petard (that shout is brilliantly lampooned here).

Alex deserved to go. He was the PM and should have been in charge for the major decisions of the task: choosing the name, bottle and directing the tv ad. Did he do any of those things? Err….. no. He went with the awful name (with weird connotations), hideous masculine bottle (with a woman on the front) and as for the ad… As Laura rightly pointed out, it’s not a good idea to have a child holding a bottle of chemicals which is explicitly warned against on the actual product.

Oh dear.

At least Apollo’s ad was mildly amusing. The only thing that raised a laugh for the OctoKleen was the ‘actress”s appalling acting. Sexist innuendo aside (I’m not the only one who found the 8 hands instead of 2 slogan inappropriate), just what was the point in the dodgy costume? Until the ad, Synergy were winning…well, I wouldn’t say tentacles down, but it was a clear lead. The sheer retrogressive cheek of Christopher soon turned that around.

As the ad agency looked on, variously bemused and insulted (or in the case of my friend, highly amused), it wasn’t entirely clear who would walk out of the boardroom and into the ever-present black cab.

Kudos to Nick for some of the best lines last night. My favourite has to be the one about Synergy jumping on the octopus idea:

“like a tramp on chips”

Brilliant, and a fine point to end proceedings here.

 

If you haven’t seen this though, do so now. It will change your life:

Spooks – Series 9, Episode 8

8 Nov

Well, all good things come to an end. Apparently, all mediocre things do too. After last week’s amazing episode (which it really was, on reflection), this finale was well set up. A shame it failed to deliver.

I just felt it was all a bit too obvious, from the fake Lucas (anyone wearing a pulled up hoodie is clearly an imposter) to John’s demise. I saw that coming a mile off, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.Vicky Frost brings up an interesting note: we don’t actually see John die. I see that more as a loose end though that a hint at anything unlikely; I think it’s safe to sing Ding Dong The Spook Is Dead.

Another thing that riled me was Alec. He was an unnecessary addition – not only did he confuse the plot, but he  also hammed it up a treat. I hope he’s not joining up to replace John/Harry.

Oh Harry. Even though Ruth knew it was your turn, she couldn’t help but shed a tear. I know I said I don’t want their relationship to be resolved but…is it really too much to ask for just a hint of it?

The scenes between Lucas/John/Whoever and Ruth were the unexpected highlight of the episode – unexpected because I had been looking forward to the showdown with Harry after last week. The dialogue was best here too (it suffered from cliché in most of the episode) and I really enjoyed the interaction between them. For one brief spell I thought she might save him…When he was about where ‘Lucas’ is it dawned on me. He would have been ok if someone had just given him a great big cuddle. Of course, I consider myself to be the perfect candidate for such a move, but anyone would have done.

Alas, it was not to be. I didn’t like Maya from the start and just knew she would prove to be his downfall. At least she looked trendy in death (lighter ends are so in).

Other key points worth mentioning:

  • The Da Vinci Code-esque Albany swap
  • Harry in a gas mask – Are you my mummy?
  • Beth is still less use than a chocolate teapot
  • Richard Armitage is definitelyfollowing me – why else would he set up a fake bomb at a station I pass through every day?
  • Nicola Walker is the best actor in Spooks. End of.

Considering I haven’t watched the show for years, I got very involved. Will I return next series? Maybe. Depends what I’m doing. See, I enjoyed it, but not in the same way I did with Downton Abbey, for example. Put simply, when it’s good, Spooks is very good. But when it’s bad, it’s horrid.