Who watches The Apprentice?

This is his city, you're just living in it.
This is his city, you’re just living in it.

According to general reports on the popularity of reality/talent shows, no one. If we’re to believe the complicated conclusions from long lists of numbers from someone named BARB, none of us give half a damn. Gone are the days of X Factor glory. Ant and Dec will be performing sordid acts under the red lights of Soho any day now. Cowell is kaput. Sugar’s lost the sweet spot.

We’re all too busy, far too busy, working 12 hour days, raising our families and organic herb gardens, performing the perfect auto-Brazilian and learning Chinese. Lord Sugar should give up, turn his back on the silver screen, slope home to one of his gingerbread houses and perfect his own waxing work. Numbers are on the decline, nobody watches TV anymore, we’ve all fallen prey to The Internet, life as we know it is over, murder affects us less than blood when we floss, pasta will make you fat, everything will give you cancer and it’s too late to save any of us. Sorry.

Alan's mad about it too, but what can we do?
Alan’s mad about it too, but what can we do?

So why, then, on every Wednesday night, does my Twitter feed LIGHT UP, ablaze with Lord Sucrose’s probing digit, the facial hair of the contestants, the shoes, the snark and, occasionally, something baring some relation to whatever is going on onscreen?

Because it’s brilliant.

If you’ve exposed yourself to even ten minutes of this year’s crop of wannabe fashion designers, cupcakes salespersons and market mavens then you’ll know that whomsoever selects the contestants for this particular piece of televisual feasting knows exactly what we look at on the internet. They know the ex-classmates we like to sneer at, the Daily Mail pictures we peer at, and they know exactly what we’re typing into the search bar on Incognito mode late at night. That’s right, they know.

These Apprentice-apprentices are risible, quotable and… do-able. They’re a lot of things, and what they’re palpably NOT are the types of people into whose hands you would place your investments or your trust. It’s okay though, I’ve got no money.

It’s the people that save the show. If you think about the format of The Apprentice, it sounds like something you’d sit through ONLY if the promise of heaven, doughnuts and eternal backrubs administered by Helena Bonham-Carter existed on the other side.

Episode One: Contestants attempt to sell toilet paper.
Episode Two: Contestants attempt to sell beer.
Episode Three: Contestants attempt to sell furniture.
Episode Four: Contestants attempt to sell milk.
Episode Five: Contestants attempt to BUY falcon-hoods.
Episode Six: Contestants attempt to kill business people (with boredom).
Episode Seven: Contestants attempt to sell caravans.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m riveted.

The sad part? It’s true. I watch every week. If myself or Manfriend are busy, we watch it on iPlayer. I CARE. I want to know if Leah’s perma-gloss pout is a result of her entire face slowly melting off. I want to watch Karen roll her eyes. I want to see if Jordan risks another boardroom fist pump. And if you’ve watched even one episode and you’re not in love with Jason yet then, frankly, there’s something wrong with you.

That's right, you.
That’s right, you.

Here’s the formula for television excellence, and it’s a simple one: the more boring a TV show’s Wikipedia page makes it look, the more wonderful it’s likely to be. I’m hooked on The Apprentice, with Luisa’s big eyes and Alex’s everything. You should be too.

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