If you thought that, now twelve seasons in, The Apprentice would start to get tired and boring - that the show has run its course, and needs to make way for something fresher and current - well, you’d be wrong.
Last night’s series premiere was as good as ever, largely because there’s just something so eminently watchable about seeing such arrogant, hateful human beings fuck up simple tasks in front of three extremely successful business people and an audience of millions (before, yes, a few of them turn out to be Actually Pretty Good).
The boys’ team in particular seems to possess the perfect balance of morons and pricks to make this series a hit. In a truly outstanding effort, they managed to make a loss of more than £100 in a task that required them to sell burgers to Londoners. Do you know how easy it is to sell burgers to Londoners? We basically don’t eat anything else. It’s like taking bread to a duck pond or spam to your granddad’s house.
In a stunning move the boys made a deliberate decision not to target the lunchtime trade, and instead start selling their burgers at 3pm on the empty streets of Brixton. They also crossed out the word ‘organic’ on hundreds of packets in blue biro, after realising that their claim was, in fact, totally false.
However, while we’ve come to expect arseholes and idiots galore on this show, series 12 has somehow managed to recruit - and I say this with 100% confidence, and no sense of hyperbole - the worst person in the entire world.
While fired project manager Danny Grant was clearly an imbecile and Charles Burns - who manages to share a name with The Simpsons’ chief villain and look like Harry Potter at the same time - was oh my god so annoying, they were nothing - nothing - in comparison to Elliot van Emden.
The first thing we learned about Elliot is that he has the nickname ‘Tory Boy’ amongst his friendship group, as he used to work as a speech writer for David Cameron.
Now, it is fair to assume that Elliot, as a privately educated man who works in a legal firm and has gone on The Apprentice, has a lot of Tory friends. Just how Tory do you have to be to be nicknamed ‘Tory Boy’ among a group of Tories? Just how Tory do you have to be to share that nickname proudly on national television to an audience of millions? I’ll take a guess: extremely fucking Tory.
It gets worse, though. Somehow it gets worse. On The Apprentice website, Elliot is described as the owner of a legal firm, however, the episode shed a little more light on what he actually does for a job. See, what Elliot does, is he works on behalf of landlords to evict so-called ‘problem tenants’ from their homes. Yes, you are correct, that is the most evil job that exists.
“I’m Elliot, I’m a qualified barrister, and I’ve gold my own law firm,” he tells his new ‘colleagues’, with a twattish little head wobble and a chip on his shoulder. “I’m assisting landlords with problem tenants, and evicting them.” He speaks these last three words with almost unfathomable pride. It’s almost like he’s begging us to hate him, except we know he’s a Tory, and therefore totally lacking in the self-awareness that would make him realise evicting tenants is something that would give the common person cause to dislike you.
Elliot does very little on the task itself, not noticeably selling anything. His most prominent moment comes when he tries to dupe the public by putting the word ‘organic’ on the packaging of the group’s turkey burgers, only to find out this is in fact not the case, forcing half an hour of the day to be wasted scrubbing it out in pen - as is the professional way.
Not like a Tory to try and trick the public into believing something untrue, is it?
Elliot ends up being brought back into the boardroom, although that is more on account of Danny being clueless, initially picking Harrison, and then being talked out of it by Harrison, than by any real virtue - they were all pretty much as shit as each other. This left me with a dilemma - do I hope Elliot goes out, purely for the joy of watching this slimy little buttwipe get fired in the very first week of a show chock-full of pond life, or do I pray for him to stay in, so that I get to hate him longer?
In reality, no one but Danny was ever going to leave - the other two are just too good TV - but Elliot didn’t return to the house without stoking the flames of my hatred further, looking every bit the Cameron speech writer as he slithered his way around the boardroom, sticking the boot into his fellow failed team members whenever he saw the opportunity, and doing that incredibly irritating thing politicians do where they press together the tip of their index finger and thumb, and use it to punctuate every point they make, as he begged Lord Sugar to save his skin.
This show is ridiculous. I despise this man. I want bad things to happen to him, and I want him to fail spectacularly. I can’t wait to make myself livid by watching him every week.