Sunday, November 22, 2009

1x02: Breakfast Cereal Branding

In which Kellogg's gets material for a defamation case.


Okay, before we do: Last time, I mentioned Survivor returning to Nein as one way they could improve the flagging ratings. And guess what's happening this summer? You're welcome, Survivor fans without GO! You haven't really missed much, beyond the chance to hate Coach as much as eveeryone else does. (Which reminds me: I need to apologise for all the people I fuck over when the meaningless snide crap I've written on the internet keeps turning into unintentional prophecies. So: Western Bulldogs, I am sorry you choked in the preliminary final just like you do every other time you get that far. Rob Dickson's family, I am sorry Rob died in a car crash. Kyle Sandilands, I... will probably never be sorry for you losing your job. Gotta draw the line somewhere.)

Previously on Gardening, Australia: Twelve contestants (mostly either "unemployed" or "unemployable") got down and dirty doing glorified yardwork, but only one of them was able to take the recapper's mind to the dirty place it's become so familiar with thanks to people like Craig and Nathan and Sandy. The gerbils were so many kinds of stupid it resulted in me not even really hesitating to decide to start recapping this show. On the upside, though, at least nobody used the age-old "I'm just being myself" excuse to justify being a complete and utter dickweed. Yet. The women chose the horrible Latin name "Eventus" for their team, while the men chose the even stupider name "Pinnacle", which was so bad it had already been rejected by an American team in favour of the incredibly twee "Apex". The men were slightly less sucky at the actual challenge than the women, though, and got to sweat in a sauna, while the women sweated it out with Hortense as she got all hot and bothered downloading Jensen Ackles lip-synching to Eye Of The Tiger in the reception. Jane's get up and go got up and went, officially making her the least successful Jane in Australian reality TV history. Eleven gerbils are left. Who will be flushed down the proverbial toilet... TONIGHT?

Did you know this was some kind of job interview? Well, did you? Because Andrew "Pirate Apprentice" Daddo's back once again to remind you of this simple fact, before we even hit the official previouslies.

Credits. Gimme an... oh, wait. The credits are over.

Previously: The stuff I mentioned three paragraphs up.

Week Two. A nighttime shot of Sydney (because, as Australia's self-confessed and self-obsessed business capital, it has earned the right to remain there after dark, apparently) takes us to the Maison D'Moron, where the sun is rising. Except it's only 4:45am, according to the graphic, and this was filmed in the middle of winter, so what gives? The phone rings, and both Heather and John make the mistake of wondering who it could be at this ungodly hour. Heather learns after picking up the phone that Bouris was seeking the early-morning equivalent of a booty call. So all of the gerbils have to get ready to go across town. As well as the usual Women Taking ForEVER To Get Ready shots, we also see Sam trying to hide a zit or something. Because he's THAT young. I'm amazed his voice has broken. Lynton thinks Eventus has no confidence because they lost. Heather would rather "cut off [her] right arm" than lose again.

Sydney's still there at sunrise, even though Kochie and Mel aren't as omnipresent at that time of day as Channel Seven would like us to think. Thank God, Allah, Buddha, L. Ron Hubbard, and the many Hindu deities The Amazing Race is no doubt planning a task around for their inevitable next visit to India. The gerbils walk into an office foyer thingy, where Bouris and the assistants are already waiting. We learn that "we are here today at Ogilvy", which apparently is some sort of leading advertising agency. If I'm recalling correctly, though, I don't think they've ever won one of those commercial-pitching challenges on The Gruen Transfer, though, so, you know. Great pedigree there.

Without any explanation beyond "this place is great", or any reasoning behind why the challenge was chosen, we learn that the challenge this week, naturally, is to create a new brand of children's breakfast cereal. They have to come up with "a name, a box design, a jingle, and a character". You will note, of course, that since much of this work will actually be done by costume designers, composers, and graphics people, the teams are basically going to be doing fuckall this week. They'll then have to pitch their work to the Ogilvy executives, who will decide which team wins. This time, Brad will join the Pinnacle sausagefest, where they will undoubtedly be trying to come up with some hazing ritual for him as the new guy to undertake, while Bobblehead goes with Eventus, who will have a pillowfight and gush about how goshdarn dreeeeeeeamy that guy from Twilight is.

As Bouris sends the teams on their way, he begins wondering when he can get a real job back. Brad and Bobblehead again stay back for whatever reason.

Sydney has slow-moving trains and fast-moving pedestrians. So, basically, it's Melbourne with pedestrians who like to pretend they have somewhere to be.

Daddo reminds us that the gerbils are on different teams, just in case you tuned in in the seven seconds or so since Bouris last said the word "team". As usual, the first job this week is to select a project manager. Heather confessionals that she works in advertising, and would have loved to have done it. In the meeting room, however, Sabrina is all, "Heather's the only one who could actually do well at this task on her own, but I would like to make it look like I'm actually going to be doing something this week, so can I have it?" Heather could not possibly have a bigger bitchface if she tried, but Amy still thinks it's a decent idea. Sabrina confessionals that since Bouris told her to show some actual signs of competence, she decided she'd get to be the Project Manager anyway. One wonders if not letting the person who knows what they're doing be in charge could be construed as yet another reason Sabrina is not the sort of person you'd want working for you. And you've really got to wonder whether whoever was in charge of casting this show was thinking anything besides "every reality show has to have a beauty queen as a contestant" when they cast her, considering she has yet to show any signs of business acumen. Of course, since Heather is a shameless yes-man, she's supportive of Sabrina being the Eventus project manager. Heather confessionals that she let Sabrina do it to give the team a chance "to shine", and win the challenge. Of course, the team would probably be more capable of winning the challenge if she was in charge, but whatever. Over on Pinnacle's patio, we learn that Lynton has a background in marketing, and therefore will be their project manager. Morello confessionals that Lynton has "got experience all over the world, in ad agencies!" Well, that'll help him deliver a lively, entertaining presentation, I'm sure. Lynton rants in a confessional of his own about how capable he thinks he is, and how he loves being the boss and loves to "make decisions" and blah blah blibbedy blah. Pride on three!

10am. The teams cross a bridge that may or may not span the harbour, but isn't the Harbour Bridge. Daddo tells us that because doing fuckall is too hard for the team to do in one group, half of them (Amy and Sabrina for Eventus, and John, Morello, and Gavin for Pinnacle) will be going to pester some schoolchildren. Both Daddo and John think John will be good at talking to kids because he's a dad. Well, I hear Michael Jackson was good at talking to kids, too. (Too soon?)

At Ogilvy, the remaining six gerbils -- Blake, Sam, and Lynton; and Carmen, Mary-Anne, and Heather -- have decided to do fuckall without even leaving the building. For some reason, Lynton wants the boys to eat cereal, as though that will help them. He does realise he's not actually trying to design a new cereal itself, right? They apparently have no idea what eating cereal make them think and feel. Aside from "less hungry than before", I assume. Sam interviews that he "really wanted to step up", and prove that he's not completely worthless as a potential employee. Of course, he's only just outside the demographic they're aiming for with this task, so... you know. Little steps, people. Sam brainstorms up a couple of suggestions for cereal names, like Mischief Mix or Monkey Business. Lynton shuts him down because Monkey Business is going to be too similar to Coco Pops. Lynton, wait until you hear the rest of the names he'll think of during this episode. Monkey Business won't seem so bad, trust me. And Sam does look semi-simian in his Real Boy Suit, doesn't he? Blake watches on, as we hear Sam continue to blather about the possibilities of using fish or insects, because grasshoppers always make good costumes. Because what little ankle biter doesn't want to think of anchovies and crickets when eating breakfast cereals? Lynton just looks at him like he's nuts. Hey! Chipmunks! That might work! Brad tells us that Sam has "idea diarrhoea" (HA!), and thanks a LOT for making me look up the spelling of that, Brad. Grrrr.

Blake continues to look bored as Sam tries to incorporate the word "Jungle" into the brand game. This next moment cements Blake's place as My Favourite Contestant. Basically, Sam suggests "Zoo Poo", and Blake actually makes like he's going to leave the room, it's such a stupid idea. The best part? He doesn't even look like he's joking.

...I wonder what the character would have been, had they called it Zoo Poo. Because I don't think "Hey, kids! Eat Zoo Poo! It has a dung beetle for a mascot!" would have gone over very well.

Amy and Sabrina arrive at the school they're using for market research, which a helpful shot tells us is The Australian Institute For Performing Arts. So, you know, all these kids we see milling around and playing up for the camera are doing this ENTIRELY NATURALLY, and are not at ALL the product of some bitter stage parents with resentment of their own unfulfilled ambitions and lack of talent. Or so I've heard. Sabrina pesters the kids about whether they like animals. We hear that one of the little mactors-in-waiting has a special affinity for lions. Possibly because both he and the lions know how to make a lot of noise you don't want to hear. Diane tells us that Amy and Sabrina have "a strong rapport" with the children. Sabrina sounds just as condescending as always, which is actually appropriate here, I suppose. Amy tells us she thinks she and Sabrina are "really focused".

Suddenly, the men's crew is arriving at the school, where a bunch of kids are spinning around one one of those... what are they called, anyway? It's basically a carousel without the horsies, the motor, or any sense of whimsy and wonderment. A bunch of stage mums watch on, looking every bit the bogan. Daddo explains that even though John was supposed to be the one talking, Gavin goes ahead and barges in before John can get a chance. Gavin himself confessionals, trying to explain why is he such an overbearing twat. It doesn't work. Gavin asks the kids what their favourite colours are, and it turns out that everyone we see getting asked loves pink, including one poor boy who will probably never live down the fact he just admitted his favourite colour was pink on national television. And... like, I'm as stereotypically gay as you could get while still fooling people into thinking you're heterosexual, but even I like green and blue better. (This has nothing to do with anything, really, besides pointing out the stupidity of the obvious "he likes pink, therefore, he'll like the cock when he grows up" way of thinking.) (No, I have no idea why I felt the need to explain that.) (Or that.) (Or that.)

Even Morello claims to "like hot pink too". Daddo gives us this week's first jibe at Morello's phrasing, pointing out that "pink is hot in their target market". Because he said he liked hot pink. Get it? Sigh. Last week's sailor hat mocking was so much more fun. Daddo credits the fact that they've "learned little else" because John is "so quiet"'. Brad tells us that the only reason John is her in the first place is because John had kids, and why didn't they send Blake as well? He's got kids too, and I'd bet he'd be better at dealing with the kids than Gavin is. Or Sam? He's practically a kid anyway. Brad thinks it's "disappointing" that John didn't do more. Gavin leads a round of applause for... his own lack of incompetence, I guess?, as the trio leave.

Look at these weak Sydney buildings, moving on their own like that! You wouldn't get that down in Melbourne!

The members of Eventus who decideed to stay at Ogilvy are still stumped for ideas. They call Amy and Sabrina, being driven back to Ogilvy. The Ogilvy trio have been trying to think of names ending in "Munch" and "Crunch", apparently under the assumption that nobody likes eating breakfast anyway, so they might as well make it sound as lunchy as possible. When Amy tells them the kids thought "wild African animals" were popular (oh, sure, bring poor defenseless Africa into it), Heather suggests Wild Crunch. The music changes instantaneously, as though they're trying to get us to immediately think this is the second coming of Snap, Crackle, and Pop. Mary-Anne claims that "it's like it's wild, but it's crunchy". Well, yes, dear, that is the point of the name. Sabrina "very much like[s] the direction [they're] going in, because they're "keeping it very simple". It's a good thing Sabrina is in charge, because they were totally going to go with calling it Milk-Soluble Breakfast Carbohydrate Ringlets With Added Sucrose without her there to want it kept simple. Sabrina is "very proud".

Heather points out in a confessional that Sabrina was not the clear leader of the team. Interesting how she could hardly be prised away from kissing Carmen's arse last week (figuratively speaking... I hope), and is now the first to slam Sabrina's leadership qualities. Wonder what's up with that?

After the break: Cartoon animals! Brad whispering sweet nothings in Bobblehead's ear! Fingerpointing!

Commercials. Water polo: The love child of swimming, boxing, and nude modelling. (In other words? Best. Sport. EVER.)

Look at Sydney, acting like a grown-up city!

Daddo reexplains what the teams have to do, as Lynton tries to rearrange a bunch of real-life cereal boxes, as though he's playing some rejected Price is Right game. Eventus already has their brand name chosen, "but for Pinnacle, their creative process has turned to porridge". It's sort of funny, but Daddo completely butchers that line, and it loses any comedic impact it had, sadly.

Lynton tries to decide what percentage of the branding process is emotional and how much is rational, and one hundred percent of the decision to spend time doing this falls under the umbrella category of "stupid and pointless". Lynton blathers some more. Brad confessionals from what looks to be a home office that Lynton is a son of a preacher man, basically, if you assume by "son of a preacher man", you mean "preacher man himself". Lynton continues speaking gibberish. Lynton confessionals about being an obsessive compulsive problem solver, pretty much. I seriously feel like going to sleep whenever he's speaking. Which is impossible, damn it, because I have so much caffeine in my system at the moment I probably won't be sleeping until a week from Thursday. It looks as though Pinnacle agrees with my desire for sleep. Sam randomly suggests having a pink elephant as their character, and everyone likes it, because it means Lynton will shut up. Lynton petulantly tries to reassert whatever little authority he had, but the rest of the group are all, "My God, You're Boring!", and go with the pink elephant idea.

Thankfully, we don't have to sit through the rest of their creative process, instead getting a montage of everything being decided. They're calling their cereal Jungle Treats, are using the slogan "start your day the jungle way", and have named the pink elephant Elbert. "An illustrator", who is pretty cute even with the green windcheater on, draws a simple elephant for the team. Blake wanted big ears, but is still happy with the floppy ones Elbert has. Lynton feels the need to say "spoon in the trunk" twice in a row. We get our first really clear shot of Elbert, and he has giant anime eyes. Heh.

Now that they have a picture of the elephant, they'll need a "life-size" elephant costume for one of them to climb into for the presentation. Wouldn't they need three or four of them in there if it really was "life-size", Daddo? I mean, I'm no biologist or anything, but elephants aren't exactly tiny creatures. (Under my theory, it is good that they did not choose to have a mouse mascot. They could have ca... oh, there's already a company with a stupid mouse as their flaghead? And it's not the Australian Democrats? Huh.) Anyway, Morello wants the costume designer to make the elephant huggable. Morello confessionals about how huggable the mascot is going to be, and makes a high-pitched elephant impersonation in front of the rest of the men's team. Lesson: Pink animals? Always sound girly.

Heather wants "Ziggy the Zebra" (choosing the American pronunciation of zebra for some reason) to have big, "horsey teeth" and "big, pop-out eyes". Daddo tells us that even though it's Sabrina's job to order the illustrator around, Heather is doing it. You will note over coming weeks that this is not going to be a one-off occurrence (SPOILER!). Diane takes notes. Heather is also being a bitch about it, even though the others seem to like it. Sabrina asks Heather if "there's something that the illustrator is doing that you would prefer to be done differently". Lesson: Always learn the names of the people you are working with if you don't want to sound like a condescending nitwit. Heather thinks it looks more weird than whimsical. The illustrator looks like he doesn't want to be there. Frankly, I don't blame him. Illustrator Guy for the win!

Sabrina confessionals that she thinks Project Manager involves not doing anything about the creative aspect of the task, but rather a bunch of spaz-wrangling. As the illustrator complains that he might not be able to get Ziggy as perfect as Heather wants him, Daddo tells us that it'll have to be done by five o'clock, because they won't be able to get their box design to the printers in time, and thus won't have anything to pitch. Sabrina may or may not be used to not having anything to pitch. So to speak. Carmen confessionals, speaking for the first time in this episode, that Sabrina's leadership was purely symbolic. And... she's a pageant queen. These people can't seriously be surprised to learn that the idea of leadership occupies the same place in her brain as the bit where she stores her memory of where the best places on her body to use double-sided tape are.

Pinnacle. They've decided to have a maze, and have found one on the interwebs. We get a nice shot of the original, non-tampered-with maze, and it's quite clear even from this that you won’t be able to solve it. Just to prove it, try taking the cheese to the rat instead of the other way around:

…See? Completely impossible. Damn interwebs. The guys have decided to try and write their jingle instead of checking to see if the maze works. John heaps on Sam for not understanding that kids won't like jingles that are longer than three or four words. Soon, after an annoying Daddo voiceover explaining what's happening, John is singing the jingle:

Elbert's here now to remind you, if you want to learn and play
A bowl of Jungle Treats will let you start the jungle way
Jungle Treats! Start your day the jungle way!

My Lord, it's almost as bad as having to recap the freaking treemail on Australian Survivor last summer. John confessionals that he thinks the boys can beat the girls.

Heather, Amy, and Mary Anne are busy trying to finish off their box design. Meanwhile, Carmen and Sabrina are headed elsewhere. Sabrina vainly exposits that they've "left the graphic designer in very capable hands with those girls". Are the graphic designer's own hands not capable of doing his job? As they pull up, Daddo informs us that the teams are going to be getting help from "professional composers" to finish the jingle. Inside, Sabrina is still unaware of how condescending she is coming across, but they manage to make a start on the jingle melody anyway. She confessionals that she's so comfortable that she feels like "a fish IN water". She does know fish can drown, right?

While Sabrina sings, we learn that the box designers only have fifteen minutes to finish off the box. And considering it looks like they've still got the back and both side to do, it's probably going to be pretty tight. So Heather's being even more domineering than she has been, natch. She complains that she found herself thrust into the spotlight while Sabrina didn't do much. In Sabrina's defence, though (and I feel all icky saying those words), this seems like the sort of task where you're really not doing much anyway. Thanks to the wonders of television, we cut to them finishing, with the "remodelled zebra [Heather] wanted".

The Maison D'Moron is bright by the light of the night. The girls perform their jingle for Pinnacle to mock later. Because you know they will. Sam whines in a confessional about how laaaaame zebras are, because they make him think of zebra crossings and how much people tend to hate school. I suspect, though, that Sam is the sort of guy who probably would have liked school more if the other students around him weren't there -- he does seem to have that slight lack-of-confidence thing that suggests to me that he... wasn't exactly part of the popular crowd, if you get my drift.

Coming up: Blake inside a giant pink cottonball.

Commercials. I'm not rabidly against them or anything, but I sort of love how it seems like the only comeback the Church Of People Who Think Jumping On Oprah's Couch Is Okay can come up with for "they're a money-grabbing, health-endangering cult!" is "But a book written by our founder says taking all your money and claiming science is voodoo is okay!"

It's the next morning at the Maison D'Moron, where clouds race by and the sea is glary. (I believe "where the clouds race by and the sea is glary" was a rejected Dubai tourism slogan.) The women get ready while Sam wakes up singing. Oh, great. It's going to be one of those days. Daddo rehashes the task. Amy tells us she heard "Lynton and Morello crying themselves to sleep", so she's assuming they're freaking out about how good the Eventus pitch is. Morello, meanwhile, is trying to teach Lynton how to tie his tie. How did he ever get to be successful in the business world without knowing that? That's like going on Survivor without knowing how to solve lame 3D jigsaw puzzles. Or going on The Amazing Race without knowing how to sit in the back of a taxi. Lynton confessionals that he thinks he's been so successful because of his level of ability. Not at knot-tying, it seems.

Daddo explains that the teams who fucks up their pitch the most loses. Just in case you thought the losers were going to be the team who can get the fewest celebrity endorsements for their non-existent cereal brand. I hear Ricky Ponting wants to endorse them both. The first step for both teams is to record the jingle. Sabrina is "absolutely thrilled" about the work the others did in her absence.

Sam is singing for Pinnacle. He chin-strokes in a confessional, telling us that he "became" Elbert the Elephant from the moment he walked into the studio. Thus explaining why he felt like acting dizzy when he put the headphones on for the first time? We hear part of his voice-over, and it sounds almost like Jimmy Barnes had another secret lovechild.

Or perhaps two, because Carmen is also unnaturally gravelly this morning, in her sound studio with Sabrina. We intercut between the two studios for a little bit, before the jingles are finally finished. Carmen compliments Sabrina on her singing voice. You know, as a businesswoman, she does make a good singer.

Meanwhile, John, Sam, and Gavin are all making ape noises. Apes, elephants, it's all a rich tapestry. Sam asks Gavin, "Who said a nineteen-year-old can't be The Apprentice?" Gavin non-committally does not deny saying it himself.

5 hours until the pitch. Someone alert Sydney! They need to know!

Blake wants to try the costume on as soon as they pick it up. Lynton compares their teamwork to "a fine Swiss watch". Apparently, fine Swiss watches stutter when saying "a fine Swiss watch". Lynton confessionals that he's loved the task so far, because he's been able to get his own way on pretty much everything. As they arrive at the costume designers, Daddo informs us that the suit needs to fit. One would hope they gave the measurements beforehand, because if Blake wound up feeling like he was being held in a tight cage, it... there's an image that's gonna be burned on my retinas for a little while. Where was I? Oh, right. The recap.

They see the costume before we do, and Morello calls it "fantastic" and "wonderful". We see it for the first time, and the music changes to an almost mocking glockenspiel tune. The elephant is freaky. And very, very pink. It's even pinker than Morello's pink tie. Blake forces his way into the beheaded elephant costume. He confessionals about his love of "performing" and loving the task. And I know I made a joke like this in the previous recap, but... he works for Centrelink. Of course he'd love acting. Acting competent, acting like he cares, Blake can do it all. Morello reaches in to hug Blake The World's Hottest Elephant-Man, and someone (possibly in the editing lab) makes a hilarious high-pitched squeal. Hee.

Amy and Mary-Anne arrive to see their zebra costume. I take back everything I said about the freaky elephant costume, because this one just looks ridiculous. Amy decides that walking in front of a chromakey greenscreen in a skin-tight white bodysuit is "not [her] proudest moment, definitely not [her] proudest moment". Mary-Anne mugs for the camera, pretending to be Amy's security. Amy points out that she's "a professional businesswoman". Really? You can't tell. And that was before she ended up neck-deep in a zebra costume. Before she even finishes getting the head attached, though, she's already complaining about the smell, and about the lack of vision, and about how she's "getting high from the glue". Okay, she's not whining so much about the last one, but still. Soon after figuring out how to walk in the costume, she decides to do the Running Man. In a scary zebra costume. Way to make like a professional businesswoman. Mary-Anne is excited.

T-minus two hours. Sydney does not appear to give a rat's arse. For some reason, Eventus's cereal boxes arrive at the recording studio. Daddo tells us Heather is happy with it, but that Sabrina "is not so sure". Sabrina holds the box up to the camera, and... it does seem a bit sparse. But of course, rather than complain about how the entire upper half of the box appears to be empty, Sabrina has decided to bitch about stray exclamation marks on the top of the box. Perhaps she could have sent Amy or Mary-Anne to the recording studio the previous day, then. I can't see any reason why she needed to leave, given she was just telling them that an upbeat poppy tune was needed for their jingle. And at least none of the exclamation marks were 1's. Heather points out in her confessional that Sabrina could have been there to help decide, but instead was "off... singing", saying the word 'singing' as though she was catching the plague.

Sam and Gavin unroll a poster for their cereal, complete with Elbert the Elephant, who is much closer to Morello's pink tie in colour on the poster than the costume was. Their box also looks dull, but slightly less so. Suddenly, as all kids want to do, Sam decides to try and work out the maze. He slowly works out that the maze isn't "finishable". John points out that it's the idea that matters, not whether it works. Ah, yes. The Snuggie principle. Nice to see you again. (It occurs to me that the Snuggie has replaced the Ab Roller as the Infomercial Laughingstock Product Of Choice.) Daddo tells us that there's no time to change it, and Sam confessionals a whole bunch of business speak. Approximate gist of business speak: "Our work sucks. Bite me."

6pm. Sydney has an early sunset to match all those early sunrises. With only an hour to go, the teams are finishing up on their pitch presentations. Lynton seems to think that elephants have some sort of connection to health, which... okay? Daddo informs us that the Ogilvy executives will report directly to Bouris, so it's kind of important to not suck so much the executives would rather switch back to eating fresh fruit for breakfast. Because they need sugar!

For Eventus, Heather will speak first, and Sabrina answers questions. To prepare, Amy is going to impersonate the executives and grill Sabrina. Amy wants to know why much of the side of the box is totally, completely blank. Sabrina blathers on about how they wanted a recipe on the side of the box, but didn't have enough time to Google for one. Amy snarks about how that could be interpreted as not managing time effectively. Sabrina claims they managed to get "everything that [they] needed onto the box". Amy correctly points out that she obviously couldn't have, if there's a big empty space. Any smackdown of Sabrina is definitely welcome, but... Amy was part of the group responsible for the box design. Wouldn't this be a mark against her, more than it is against the person who was across town doing a separate part of the task? Sabrina condescendingly calls her "so harsh", and Carmen laughingly claims she wants to leave the room because she's "scared". Sabrina confessionals that Eventus has "done a phenomenal job", and that she "could not have done it without them". Well, obviously. Besides the singing, I can't name a single thing Sabrina actually did during this challenge. She hopes the rest of the team "could not have done it without [her]". Don't quote me on this, but I think they could have. Hell, I have no business skills at all (I haven't even gotten around to putting ads on this blog yet), and I could have filled in there.

Blake is inside Elbert's body, and... like, the last time I saw someone inside an elephant was when Scully had to do an elephant autopsy on an old X-Files episode. It's one of those things that manages to be both disturbing and fascinating at the same time. But anyway. Lynton wants everyone else to shut up during the presentation, unless they are directed to talk. Blake confessionals about this, making sure to state clearly -- twice -- that it was Lynton's idea. Just in case you thought the guy in the elephant costume was threatening everyone else with blowdarts or something. Lynton goes over the details of the pitch, as Blake struggles to keep his head up inside the elephant costume, and asks if everyone is fine with it. The now-headless pink elephant gives the thumbs-up. (My God, this IS an acid hallucination!)

As Pinnacle walks into the pitching room, Lynton interviews regarding his happiness at getting his own way with pretty much everything. Daddo informs us that Knowing People's Names Is Important In Business, and then decides to tell us the names of the two Ogilvy executives who got rope into being bored out of their wits for this (SPOILER!). And, of course, the first thing Lynton does is fuck up their names. Apparently, he thought he could get his own way with regards to that, too. Brad explains in an interview (complete with name graphic, in case we forgot his name) that not remembering people's names is "just about the worst mistake you can make". I think it might be a bad thing. Maybe. Lynton goes into a big, boring spiel about the Jungle Treats brand and the subtextual meaning of "start your day the jungle way". As it turns out, malaria shots are not the answer (you heard me, Amazon), but pink ties to go with Elbert the Elephant are. Elbert waddles in, holding a bunch of pink balloons. As you do. Poor Blake dances around like an idiot as the jingle plays, while all the other guys just stand still. The executives clap out of sympathy. One of the executives tells Lynton to work on his presentation technique a little bit. Ouch. That's gotta hurt, for someone who works in the industry.

Back in their office space, they cheer. Everyone loves Elbert, and why wouldn't you? Inside every pink elephant is a cute guy and a lot of circus peanuts.

The executives like the name Jungle Treats, but don't give away much else.

Coming up: Heather is shocked that someone would defend themselves.

Commercials. If I've learned anything from reality TV, it's that Jeff Probst hates quitters. Do you really want Jeff Probst to hate you, Oprah? Do you? DO YOU? HUH?

Sydney! Aaaand... Sydney! From a different angle!

Sabrina gives Heather one final lesson in Deportment In A Zebra-Ear Headband, as they walk into the pitching room. Daddo calls it "crunch time". Heh. You know, the script they give Daddo for this is hilarious when it's not being repetitive, but the combination of that repetitiveness and the fact that he's a Daddo brother really detracts from the good parts. Sabrina and Heather make the sane decision to introduce themselves properly, forgoing the need to remember (and or forget) the executives' surnames, before Heather begins the presentation. According to her, all kids and their parents want is Wild Crunch. Somehow, I doubt it. Carmen and Mary-Anne walk in with Ziggy The Amy-Sized Zebra, who still looks disturbing. I think it's the rainbow mohawk. It's like they're aiming for "popular with kids", and got lost somewhere around "Hey, look! Mardi Gras is coming! We better make a float!"

They sing the jingle, giving out some headbands. You may notice, if you're watching closely enough, that Bobblehead actually does put on the pair Mary-Anne gives her, briefly. One point for Bobblehead. (Although that may just be the low quality video I'm using to recap this.) One of the executives clap when they're done singing and dancing, but whether that's because the song was good or because it was over remains to be seen. Heather explains that they decided it might be good to steal ideas from cereal boxes from decades gone by. Thus the Ziggy mask. There's more spiritual mumbo-jumbo crap about how cereal mascots are role models for "individuality". Yes. Really. God, I wish I was joking.

Shut up, Heather. It's Sabrina's turn to bore us all to sleep! As the de-eared Bobblehead makes notes, the executives ask exactly what I was thinking: Why do you need all the crap about individuality? Just do the most important thing -- in this case, make an entertaining character -- and let everything else speak for itself. Sabrina decides to talk back, having forgotten that this is not the Bouris Boardroom. One of the executives reminds her of the basic rule of television, writing, and the universe -- what you leave out is more important than what you put in. Bobblehead glares at Sabrina as she continues her ranting, and Brad whispers in her ear. It turns out he apparently sounds a bit like a Heather confessional in which she asks for an old stage hook to get Sabrina to shut the hell up. Hee. I like Heather. They wind it up.

Bobblehead confessionals that the Experts Know Best, and you should never argue back when they're trying to give you advice. Boy, I've had this discussion with teachers before. It never ends well.

Sydney! If this was the sort of show that used parody lyrics for no reason, as opposed to, like, the same four musical cues it repeats over and over and over, I predict the ones that would go here would be something like "My, my! At Woolloomooloo, the Pinnacles did surrender! Whoa, yeah! E-vent-us met their destiny in quite a similar way!" Unfortunately, the only way the next line would work would be if it was a crossover with Masterchef and we got "The Mystery Box on the shelf! Is always reheating itse-e-e-elf!", but still. Woolloomooloo couldn't escape if it wanted to. Woolloomooloo knows that it's fate is to be with you, Sydney. Poor, poor, poor, poor Woolloomooloo.

The teams walk into the Bouris Boardroom foyer, where Hortense is watching Rocky Horror and imagining her own boyfriend in that gold Speedo. (Or, alternately, in the Frank-N-Furter corset.) Sabrina tells us that the rest of her team told her she was the most awesome invention since, well, sugar-loaded cereal, and she agrees with them. Unless they're lying, in which case may best pageant queen survive. Lynton wants to work for Bouris for a whole line of arse-kissing reasons.

Hortense lets them into the boardroom, where Bouris is running late. Brad and Bobblehead are already feeling seasick from the wavy walls, which look to me to have changed from bluish to teal-tinged since the last episode, probably making the feeling even worse. Huh. Bouris eventually toddles in, to apparently read his ledger of notes for the first time. He wants everyone to argue their pants off in order to survive. He reminds the gerbils that their challenge was to create a breakfast cereal brand targeted at "Aussie kids". Because the children are our future, people. And we want to give them as many high-in-sugar cereals as we can so they're all used to being hyperactive and can make decisions quickly. Or something along those lines.

Let's look at Pinnacle. Bouris looks at the box, and the still photo of Elbert the Elephant. Trying to think of good things to say, because this show is nothing if not Nein's attempt at Televisual Positivity, Bouris unenthusiastically points out that he likes Elbert's hat. ("I like the hat on it" is going on my List Of Things To Say When I Don't Have Anything Nice To Say, otherwise known as the Recap Joke Stockpile.) Bouris asks if anyone slacked off, and Lynton calls Pinnacle "a dream team to work with". Bouris decides to remind the men that criticism can be constructive when he asks what the team though of Lynton's leadership, but it's pointless, because nobody has any.

Eventus! "I like the orange" will also be going on the Recap Joke Stockpile. Bouris asks what the zebra's name is, as opposed to more logical questions like "what were you thinking?!", "why does this suck so much?", and "no, really, what were you thinking?!". Sabrina is happy with the job she did as project manager. It's very easy to be happy at not doing much, though. Heather sucks up to Sabrina, saying she did a good job (despite her confessionals to the contrary), and Carmen points out that Eventus would have done perfectly well without her there. Assuming Mary-Anne could sing, that is.

Brad is "extremely impressed" with Pinnacle's presentation. Bobblehead thinks Eventus's pitch was "absolutely brilliant". She takes care to repeat the Ogilvy executives' full names, just in case it may wind up being important later. She tells Bouris that Sabrina "overstepped the mark" by trying to argue back to the executives. Before Bouris can ask her what her major malfunction is this week, she's already trying to debate what Bobblehead is trying to say, talking to nobody in particular. Carmen makes faces while Sabrina tries to apologise for not informing the executives the role of Miss World Australia 2006 came with the added privilege of being able to talk down to people whenever she feels like. Observe:

Bouris implies that Sabrina's condescension may have cost them the task, because the Ogilvy executives were in charge of deciding who wins the task. And the winner is...

Commercials! No, commercials didn't win the challenge. But it would have made more sense.

The winner really is Eventus and their freaky zebra. Blake pointedly takes the effort to congratulate Sabrina on her "good work". Oh. My. God. Love. Him. As Eventus celebrate, Bouris explains that Pinnacle's pitch had about as much energy as conjoined Bangladeshi twins on the operating table.

Reward time! Eventus gets to go to a hotel to get drunk and have "an intimate discussion" with a "world champion public speaker". One wonders why they're getting the public speaking help when they already were better than Pinnacle, but whatever. Out in the lobby (where Hortense is signing an online petition to ban Thierry Henry from ever playing soccer again), they share a group hug.

Back inside the boardroom, Bouris reminds the men that they got beaten by a bunch of girls, and one of them is going to be fired. He not-very-subtly asks Lynton what the names of the Ogilvy executives are. Lynton comes up with "Bruce Mathis and Jeff Daniels", which in itself is different from the names he used during the presentation. Brad provides the correct names, Bruce Matchett and Mike Daniels, and Bouris tells Lynton never to forget a client's name, because that's still as much of a faux-pas as it was the last time we were told that it was, about ten minutes of episode ago.

Bouris wants to know why John didn't do much talking when he went to the school. John informs us that he spoke to a couple of the kids nearest to him while he was scribing, but otherwise let Gavin ask the questions, like they'd agreed to on the way over. Bouris does not appear impressed, but doesn't elaborate. He does, however, ask who came up with the name Jungle Treats. Nobody wants to take ownership of it, but eventually Morello tries to claim it was a group effort. Bouris points out there's no way the entire group spent the day trying to come up with the name, and Sam finally tells him the name and jingle were his ideas. Bouris is impressed, because without it, they would have been even farther up the creek without the paddle, to quote Morello.

Pinnacle's box is the next item on the agenda. Sam compliments Morello on the design, and he and Morello agree that they were discussing the idea of having a puzzle on the back of the box. Bouris looks at the box some more, and the camera angle reveals what's in his ledger -- a piece of paper with the gerbils' details and photos, apparently in case he forgot who some of them were. (I am sure there's a joke about Trump and Carolyn not remembering Pepi in there somewhere, but I'm going to need more Red Bull to get at it.) Lynton bootscoots under the desk as he claims the maze was his idea. Which contradicts pretty much everything we've seen so far this episode. Bouris asks if the maze works, and Morello lies and says it does. Sam bursts into silent laughter, and he and John wind up explaining that it doesn't as a result. Bouris congratulates John for having the balls to tell him, and then yells at Morello for "bullshitting". Bouris doesn't care about the maze not working, believe it or not, but also doesn't like when people lie to his face. Sounds fair.

Bouris asks Brad what he thought of the pitch, and Brad confirms that it was "wooden". Wooden like a pegleg! Bouris tells Pinnacle to "cop it sweet". Bouris demands to know whose idea it was to make the presentation as wooden as Daniel McPherson's hosting style, and doesn't want another "it was a group decision" answer. Lynton takes the blame. We are informed, as though we didn't know already, that the crappy presentation was the reason Pinnacle lost. Lynton needs to "carefully" choose two people "out of all your mates [sic]" to face the final boardroom. He chooses John because he should have spoken up more at the school, and Sam for something related to the low-energy pitch. I know I should be surprised he picked the two people Bouris actually seemed to like, but this is a reality TV show. Being surprised by stupid decisions is like being surprised by Kyle Sandilands being a dickhead. Blake, Morello, and Gavin are sent back to the house, while the others will help Hortnese update her Lavalife profile in the reception.

After they leave, Bouris claims that "as usual" (because one whole episode is a barometer for how every week will be, apparently), the decision isn't going to be easy. Brad thinks Lynton is good at delegating tasks, but has trouble taking feedback. Lynton is officially my exact opposite. Sam is very creative, and both Bouris and Bobblehead think there's "something endearing about him". Bobblehead thinks John is being steamrolled by the rest of the team.

Hortense's phone rings, distracting her right in the middle of her self-hypnosis video.

Commercials. That's mighty presumptuous, to assume Gilligan would've had the whole island named after him.

Sydney! I like the hat on it.

Eventus arrives at the Reward Hotel, quickly making idiots of themselves. Daddo tells us that they're meeting a "world-renowned corporate communicator", and that "people pay thousands of dollars to hear him speak". So did Channel Nein. Unfortunately, they wasted their money, because (in my opinion) he provided nothing you could not have gotten by watching a Big Brother audition tape. So let's skip forward past this whole scene, shall we? Good.

Hortense's phone is STILL ringing. She finally picks it up, and sends the gerbils into the boardroom. Once again, they choose the seats all the way up the far end of the table. What's up with that? Bouris doesn't care about that stupid decision, but does want to know why Lynton brought one of the only people on the team who provided any decent work on this task back with him. As soon as Sam realises that Lynton is trying to blame him for not being creative enough, his eyebrows skyrocket halfway up his forehead. Lynton says that John is back in the boardroom because he didn't speak up in the focus group at the school. Apparently, Lynton has not realised that (1) they got the mascot worked out perfectly fine, which was really the only reason the school visit was necessary, (2) Sam's creativity saved this from being one of the most appalling efforts in Apprentice history, and (3) the dreary presentation is what lost them the task. Lynton would fire John, if it was his decision.

Sam, why do you think Lynton wants to see you lose? Sam doesn't now. He'd fire Lynton. John implies that Lynton is trying to use him as a scapegoat (undoubtedly to make him feel like even more of an alpha male), and agrees with Sam about firing Lynton. John correctly identifies the pitch as the place they lost this task, and chalks it up to Lynton's self-indulgence.

Bouris sees "a lot of passion" in Lynton, and knows he works hard. But it was his fault the presentation sucked ass, and he couldn't remember the executives' names. Sam is very creative, but doesn't have enough experience to know when his ideas are good (Jungle Treats) and when they're not (Zoo Poo). He claims that "90% of them aren't worth baking". I think the same rule applies to those little bake-at-home dinner rolls. John is a "battler", but is also a "shrinking violet". But! Bouris doesn't like sacrificial lambs, and because Lynton "came in with a Machiavellian mask". He does sort of look like he's preparing for a masquerade party, a little bit. Bouris thinks Lynton's decision "rates somewhere between dishonesty and game-playing". Game playing on a reality TV show? Stop the presses! I am shocked! And outraged! And appalled! And offended!

So Lynton is fired. He leaves, as Bouris wants the others to stay back after class. Bouris wants John to "speak up, get off the fence, otherwise [he's] gonna get splinters in [his] arse, mate". There's an image I didn't need to think of at 2AM. Bouris tells Sam he should not have been in the room in the first place, before sending both of them back to the house.

Taxicab Confessional. Lynton explains that the loss was his fault, and that it was a "fantastic journey". Yawn. (I feel like I win when you lo-o-o-ose! Woolloomooloo!)

One job. Ten gerbils. One boss. Two awesome assistants. One annoying narrator. One blogger, mocking it all.

Next week: I continue to like the hat on it. Bouris has "got a good mate". Bouris shuffles the teams around. The teams run a pie cart. Hey, maybe we will get that Masterchef crossover after all! Morello wears the sailor hat, but probably not a cravat. All are bored. (No, wait, that's a bad train pun. Never mind.) Bouris doesn't like talking about "a grey area". Does he mean his hair? Because that is pretty grey.

To watch Lynton's exit interview in full, zzzzzzzzzzzz.

1 comment:

  1. Just came here to read the episode 3 recap and realised I never commented on this one! Nice job as usual.

    I really wish there was a cereal called Milk-Soluble Breakfast Carbohydrate Ringlets With Added Sucrose. That would be awesome. The jingle for it would be especially cool.

    Good call on the 'life-size' elephant costume, which I did not pick up on myself. Though, I bet Pinnacle would have won if they did go with a life-size elephant.

    Meanwhile, picking on snuggie's will never not be right. Those things are ridiculous.

    Good to see all the Blake love, he and Heather were my favourites.