The thing with The Apprentice is that they’re all annoying gits, so it’s very hard to care who gets fired … but this week I think the nation breathed a collective sight of relief when Lord Sir sub-deity Sugar made the right decision by giving Paloma Vivanco the boot.
Describing herself as ‘a no nonsense candidate’, Paloma has been rubbing her fellow contestants – and the viewers – up the wrong way for some weeks now, so it was with great pleasure that I watched her being handed enough Amstrad grade electrical wire with which to her hang herself in the boardroom last evening.
One can only imagine what Alan Sugar said to his two aides whilst he made his final decision, but I assume it went something along these line:
‘The fing a-bout Paloma is she can sell. The gurl’s got somefing, but I just dan’t know if it’s what I’ym lookin’ for. The problem guys is … sheez got more bleedin’ front than Brighton.’
And the die was cast, Sugar was backed into a corner … he had nowhere else to go … so he gave Paloma his now famous finger.
The producers had made it painfully obvious from a few minutes into the show that the contest tonight would be between the aforementioned Paloma, the team leader, and the inept but quite likeable Alex Epstein.
And so we sat back to watch the Manchester based caper unfold … and Paloma’s true colours come to the fore.
I think to say she was a bad project manager would be fair.
She alienated the client with the best clothes by standing stony faced with her colleagues before them as they introduced their sparkly dresses. She then cleverly devolved anything difficult to one of her team-mates in an attempt to blur the lines of accountability … oh and finally, she didn’t listen to what anyone else had to say.
I know it is a prerequisite of participation on The Apprentice to believe that market-trader / double glazing sales techniques are the mark of a (wo)man, but Paloma took this well-trodden – but not very well paved – path to its logical conclusion … which included shouting at Alex to ‘sell’ whenever he came up with a ‘ridiculous’ theory like no one could see the products that their pop-up shop was selling.
At this point, the viewer and Alan Sugar could still have made a case for Alex’s dismissal.
He did pick a crap promotional area, and he does use 40 words to say something that could be expressed with a hand gesture … if Paloma had stopped there in her critique of Mr Epstein, she may still be in the show … but she couldn’t leave it at that.
Paloma, as team leader, had to pick two candidates to go to the boardroom – and as a ‘no prisoners’ type of girl, she went for the weakest of the bunch, Alex and Sandeesh. But one thing she didn’t take into account is that although both candidates are weak, their vulnerability attracts sympathy and offers a certain charm.
There was no charm on Paloma’s side as she began crushing the two frightened rabbits by her side into the pavement. They are weak, they can’t sell, they shouldn’t even be this far in the show. Alex is an idiot, he’s a joke, he’s a nobody … he’s got no track record … oh dear.
Alan Sugar remained unusually quiet whilst this emotional massacre went on, interjecting just occasionally to allow either Alex or Sandeesh to stutter out a nonsensical sob in their defence before the Paloma-nator went back in to continue her character assassination.
And so it was Sugar’s turn to deliver his verdict, what was he going to say? Had he bought the Alex Epstein business based gang-rape that Paloma had inflicted upon the unemployed Head of Communications … ?
We’ll never know, because Paloma jumped in again … ‘can I just say one more thing Lord Sugar?’
Instead of grunting, ‘you’ve had your say, now it’s my turn’ as you would expect … Sugar let her speak …
If she had only partially signed her own death warrant in the last ten minutes, her final edict dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s as she unleashed yet another can of corporate whoop-ass on her now almost tearful colleagues.
Now one thing that has to be said, is that the final 15 minutes or so made for electrifying television. Very rarely have I felt such a strong dislike towards my Philips 32 inch flatscreen … if it had gone on for another minute I think I would have smashed it.
Thankfully, with the nation’s pulses racing … Alan made the right choice … and Paloma was gone.
‘It’s his loss’ she said as she was driven into the London night in a black cab …
… and in a strange way, now she’s gone, maybe it’s all of our loss, she did make great TV.