Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Sir Alan and the spirit of capitalism
Watching The Apprentice is similar to scoffing a Krispy Krème doughnut. You know rationally you shouldn’t eat one but secretly desire it . You feel the saturated fat envelope your heart, and the cholesterol pumping through your veins. You know you will feel sick and ill after the experience but you just can’t help it. I should seek therapy, a form of tough love and maybe that will stop me being a masochist but I really really can’t help watching this programme. I must kick the habit.
This form of low-rent reality tv has kicked off its third series with 5million viewers. Is it cos we are all addicted to hearing Sir Al saying the immortal lines, “You’re fired”… and the accompanying feeling of Schadenfreude watching the sacked contestant doing the walk of shame to the taxi whisking them back to their old life? Who knows.. Around 10,000 people applied to be part of The Apprentice. What does that say?
I watched some of the 2nd series and was surprised how this programme caught on even the contestants had their own nicknames such as the rather shallow and irritating Ruth “The Badger” Badger, who now runs her own consultancy firm and laughably, answers “work problems” as kinda corporate agony aunt in a glossy women’s magazine. The 16 current wannabes include a couple of lone parents, managers and my own personal favourite, a bankrupt entrepreneur. Reading their CVs online is littered with words like, “feisty”, “brash”, “driven”, “ambitious” and so on. I couldn’t see “wants to be a capitalist scumbag who would really like to shaft people”. Shame really, it was kinda conspicuous by its absence!
When you unpick the ideology of The Apprentice you are left with a bunch of desperate wannabe capitalists trying to please their hero. And trying to be the best. The ultimate desire of being picked by Sir Alan and to be part of his Amstrad empire.
The poor unfortunate from last week, Andy, kept desperately saying to Al: “Look Sir Alan, I will give you 110%”…. It was utterly souless to watch and smacked of desperation. I mean, c'mon mate, you only had to sell cups of skinny decaf lattes to Islingtonites not split the atom.
What would people have made of this programme 15 or 20 years ago? The dog eat dog side of capitalism is celebrated not condemned. Capitalism turns even its own rotten ideology into a saleable commodity.
Though the programme that makes me want to clean my AK47 is the buy-to-let worshippers wet-dream, Relocation, Relocation. I think I need anger management classes....