Skirting the Issue - Hiring and firing! How I love The Apprentice

The latest series of The Apprentice started on Tuesday night and dear reader, I’ll admit I’m already hooked.

As I sat down to watch my seven year-old (who yes, should have been in bed) walked into the room and asked what I was watching. “It looks like some kind of cartoon, mammy,” he said. With the imposing music and the dark and brooding boardroom, I could see where he was coming from. It all looked a bit ‘Batman’.

But no, I assured him, it was no cartoon. This was a real show about real people competing to get a job with Lord Alan Sugar. He lost interest at that stage and scarpered off to bed, but I sat down and watched on because it is my opinion that The Apprentice makes for some of the best television on our screens at the moment.

From the moment the programme opens to that iconic ‘You’re fired’ moment - you can be guaranteed some top class entertainment as a group of obnoxious walking egos stab each in other in the back and come out with cliched statements ad nauseam in a bid to win the job of their dreams.

This week’s opener was no disappointment. The cliches were flowing thick and fast right from the start and the cringe factor too high.

It seems, you see, to get a shout at being Alan Sugar’s next pet project you have to be so full of yourself you are close to combusting and lacking in the ability to realise when you are making a complete and utter eejit of yourself.

I don’t know why but for some reason the spoofing and the bitchiness of the female competitors always riles me more than anything. When Melody Houssaini (this week’s project manager for team Venture) declared: “Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon” - I swear a part of me died.

She followed this with the assertion that she had been trained by the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Al Gore and went on to pout and pose her way through the week’s challenge railroading anybody else who wanted a look in or whose opinion differed from her own.

She was joined in team venture by Ellie Read - who seemed lovely but struggled to spell the word Vegetable - branding their tub of home made pasta and sauce as ‘Vegatable’ pasta instead. I know it’s hardly a hanging offence - but really? She’s in the running for a high profile job and she can’t spell a relatively easy word.

Both of these lovely ladies paled in comparison when it came to Edward Hunter - the first unfortunate hopeful to get the axe. With a bravado which clearly did not match his experience he declared: “It’s not how you fall – it’s how you land. I feel good. I’m happy and very positive. I think goodwill come of it all.”

As someone who is only known for his 15 minutes of fame in the first episode of a reality TV show, I predict that his success will match exactly that of all other reality TV contestants who are booted out first.

I would name a few for you, but for some strange reason I can’t remember any of their names any more.

All that aside, the greatest point of any episode of The Apprentice is when they inevitably turn on each in the boardroom. All sense of loyalty and thrown together friendship is cast aside like a wet rag when it comes to Lord Sugar deliberating over who will take the taxi ride of doom back home and away from the fancy house in which they will all be holed up for the next however many weeks.

These supposed mature and responsible adults - who would put themselves forward as the future kings and queens of industry - suddenly degenerate into a huffy seven year-olds (and I know what a huffy seven year-old looks like) passing the buck to each other. All that’s missing is full on finger pointing and stomping of feet. And of course, it is always, always someone else’s fault when things go wrong.

Surely one of the biggest markers of being a success is not only being able to take credit for when you get it right but also to put your hands up and admit the fact when you get it wrong.

Constantly and consistently passing the buck doesn’t teach you anything nor just it show you up to be a great potential business investment. It shows you up to be cowardly eejit.

While all this makes for compelling television, I have to say there is an element of it which is just all so very depressing.

When I think of how many genuinely talented and hard working people there are out there willing to put in a bit of graft and they will never find themselves in the running for such a high profile job simply because they are too busy making a go of things to spare the time to make an unholy eejit of themselves on national television.

Still, for the next 12 weeks I shall be glued to my TV every Wednesday to see how things progress and when all is said and done I’ll enjoy finding out who exactly has been hired.

But better still, seeing who gets fired.