From the torturous complications to the boss’s combative reaction – it could all come from any series in the last 17 years. Pre-written statements by Bar Sugar, in which there were some symbolic references to Covid – “I have a natural immunity against bulls – t”; “You don’t get leave, you get fired” – nothing has changed.
The show didn’t move that way over time, as the railroad side rusted with pigeons nesting in it and “Tottenham Hotspur Rules OK” graffiti sprinkled on the page. This exhausted format looks more fragmented than its 74-year-old carrier. Forget about “you’re fired,” Sugar should point his finger in the mirror and bark “you’re tired”.
The pandemic meant there was no series last year. Really, The apprentice spent 25 months in front of our screens and no one missed him much, except perhaps the suitcase manufacturers. The BBC should take this as a sign. Either save it from misery or require a major overhaul to pull it into the 21st century. He did neither, and he could regret his disturbing inaction.
Replacing sugar with someone who is not of retirement age could be the start. Tasks need to be radically reshaped, innovation needs to be encouraged, candidates need less identity. Why not extend the age range to teenagers to middle-aged, as Bake Off succeeds so successfully? If the competition is serious about discovering entrepreneurial talent, it needs to expand the network.
It could also be tackled much faster. Early last week, the candidates handed over their business plans to Sugar’s fake receptionist. They will now dedicate three months to hair nets, sell trinkets and do the little things until the interview round, when, however, everything will return to these suggestions.
Unless it is forcibly restarted, the Apprentice may abandon the increasingly bad pretense that it is a serious business competition. Instead, a reality show is constructed that is manipulatively produced and skillfully edited to achieve narrative pulses and offer villains. This is Towie with a profile on LinkedIn or Selling Sunset: Foxtons Edition.
Grades may stick, but creatively the Apprentice is circling the drain. The unfortunate brown fixation of the boys risks becoming a metaphor for the show itself.
Were you happy with the Apprentice’s return? Let us know in the comments section