Let me take you back to 2006.
(A tracking shot of the London skyline. Prokofiev’s ‘Dance of the Knights’ plays. A close-up of Sir Alan Sugar’s face.)
CAPTION: THE APPRENTICE
(Ten well-dressed young businesspeople stand in a line in front of Sir Alan and his two assistants, Nick and Margaret.)
SIR ALAN: I’ve brought you ‘ere to the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, where they recently ‘eld the European Computer Trade Show, showcasing ‘undreds of new computer games soon to be released to the public. Video games are a massive market these days, grossing ‘undreds of billions of pounds a year. I myself used to be involved in this industry in the eighties, developin’ the Amstrad computers, and also the enormously successful GX4000 games console (Nick and Margaret glance at each other incredulously). So when I tell you I know what I’m talkin’ about when it comes to games, you better bloody believe it. This week I’m askin’ each team to develop a new video game for the most successful games console on the market at the moment, the Playstation 2. You ‘ave one week, then I’ll play the games and judge the best one. And from the losin’ team, one of you WILL be fired. Good luck.
CONTESTANTS (together): Thank you, Sir Alan.
(One week of arguing and everyone holding their phones wrong later. Sir Alan’s boardroom.)
SIR ALAN (entering through a mysterious door and sitting down): Okay then. I’ve played the games made by both teams, and they’re… different. They’re as different as chalk and bloody cheese. Team Vivacity.
TEAM VIVACITY (together): Yes, Sir Alan?
SIR ALAN: I was amazed by your game. Absolutely bloody flabbergasted, is what I was. What’s the name of it, again?
TEAM VIVACITY MEMBER: Shadow of the Colossus, Sir Alan.
SIR ALAN: That’s it. I loved it. I reckon it’ll sell millions. Unfortunately for you, when you signed the contracts to be on this show, you signed away all the rights for anythin’ you make as part of the tasks, so I’m gonna flog this to Sony now and make a mint.
TEAM VIVACITY (together): Oh.
SIR ALAN: You definitely won the task though, so ‘ere’s a voucher for a spa day or somethin’. Go nuts.
TEAM VIVACITY (together): Thanks. (They exit, angry and confused.)
SIR ALAN: And now. Team Apollo. Your game. Dr. Dolittle. Simon. You were the project manager, why don’t you tell us a little bit about it?
SIMON (from South London, has an overbearing father who owns a car dealership, is clearly terrified): Err.. well, Sir Alan, we looked at other successful games on the market, and we saw that… err.. a lot of them starred popular characters from TV shows and films, so we… we… decided to go down this route. And we managed to… err… do a deal with… with… Twentieth Century Fox…
SIR ALAN: Twentieth Century Fox, eh? Playin’ with the big boys!
SIMON (growing in confidence): Yeah, we did a deal with Twentieth Century Fox to licence the beloved children’s character Dr. Dolittle, and we based our game on him.
SIR ALAN: See that’s the first thing I don’t understand about your game. Why Dr. Dolittle? When was the last film with ‘im in made? That one with Eddie Murphy? Eight years ago, was it? Margaret, when was it?
MARGARET: In fairness, Sir Alan, Dr. Dolittle 3 did come out this year.
SIR ALAN: Well I didn’t bloody hear about it. And if I didn’t hear about it, you can bet your bottom dollar ol’ Joe Public didn’t hear about it, ‘cos I’m a man of the people. What am I Nick?
NICK: A man of the people, Sir Alan.
SIR ALAN: See? Anyway, keep goin’, Simon.
SIMON: Yes, Sir Alan. We brainstormed ideas for the game, and since in the films Doctor Dolittle is a vet who can talk to animals, we decided it would be fun if, in the game, you walked round the town, talking to some sick animals, finding out what was wrong with them, and making them better. The kids’ll love it.
SIR ALAN: Let me stop you there Simon. When I saw the box and the artwork for your game, I thought: “Bloody ‘ell, fantastic, they’ve made Theme Hospital except with little animals instead of people! This is gonna be brilliant!” Instead, you walk around this crappy town where the buildings disappear if you walk behind them, and talk to these crappy cartoon animals who look they were designed by an eight year old. Who designed the animals?
LISA (curly hair, likes shouting): I did, Sir Alan.
SIR ALAN: Well you’re fired for a start. Go on. Off you trot love.
LISA: Thank you, Sir Alan. (Lisa exits, will eventually reappear as a Daily Mail columnist)
SIR ALAN: And who came up with the treatments for the animal’s illnesses? A cup of tea? When did a cup of tea last cure a medical condition? Come to think of it, when did you last give a cup of tea to an elephant? WELL?
SIMON: I don’t know, Sir Alan.
SIR ALAN: Speaking of the treatments, you make them yourself in the game, don’t you? Tell us about that Simon.
SIMON (sensing where this might be going): Actually, Sir Alan, Darren came up with that section of the game, so I’ll let him explain it.
SIR ALAN: Bit bloody generous calling it a section, but ok. Come on Darren, not ‘eard from you yet.
DARREN (shaved head, from Liverpool): Well Sir Alan, I thought it’d be a fun if there was a little minigame where you made the medicines for the animals yourself, collecting the ingredients from the chemist, the supermarket, and so on, and mixed them together.
SIR ALAN: The supermarket? The bloody supermarket? ‘ow many doctors do you know who a.) make their own medicines, and b.) buy the ingredients in the bloody supermarket? Can I ask you Darren, do you remember, what was the receipe for making Suncream in the game?
DARREN: Err… off the top of my head I can’t, Sir Alan, sorry.
SIR ALAN: You won’t know this Margaret, you were with Team Vivacity, it was, no word of a lie, ‘Cream’ and ‘UV Stuff’. UV ‘Stuff’! Didn’t fancy learning the proper name for it, Darren? Mix ’em together, hey presto! Suncream.
MARGARET (shakes her head in disbelief): Dearie me. I just hope you never have to administer medical aid to any real animals, Darren.
SIR ALAN: And it’s not like the minigame was any fun either, all you do is click pictures on a crappy menu, and a little machine flashes slowly, and eventually, the medicine appears in your inventory. It takes forever! And you ‘ave to do them one at a time! Get out, Darren. You’re fired n’ all.
DARREN: Thank you, Sir Alan (Darren exits, will be convicted of assault outside a nightclub in 2011)
SIR ALAN: And that is literally the whole bloody game. Wander round the town, press a button near a sick animal, select the right thing from the menu, make more when you run out. There’s no music, all you ‘ear is the traffic and the clackin’ on Doctor Dolittle’s shoes on the pavement. You walk straight through the animals on the street, and the cars if they drive through while you’re crossin’ the road, you walk straight through them as well! It beggars belief this thing. I asked you clowns to make a Playstation 2 game, and you’ve made one that would’ve been crap on the ZX Spectrum! How much were you plannin’ on chargin’ the public for this pile o’ rubbish?
SIR ALAN: Well? Come on Simon!
SIMON: … T… Twenty pounds, Sir Alan. We were planning on selling it to a budget label.
SIR ALAN: I should bloody hope so! It’d be a rip-off even at that price! Right, I’ve heard enough. Normally Simon, I’d ask you as project manager to select two of your team to bring back into the boardroom, but since there’s only three of you left, and this week’s task has been such a complete bloody travesty, I’m just gonna fire all you. Go on, get out.
SIMON: Thank you, Sir Alan. (Simon exits. He will write a book entitled ‘Wheeling and Dealing: My Time on The Apprentice’ which will annoy pound shop customers by occupying the shelf that used to contain multipacks of Doritos)
GEMIMA: Thank you, Sir Alan. (Gemima exits, eventually going back to working for her father’s company, where her responsibilities consist of ‘Drinking Coffee’ and ‘Sitting in a chair’. On Tuesday 15th September 2009 she will realise everyone at the company hates her.)
SALLY: Thank you, Sir Alan. (Sally exits, and will go on to live a happy and fulfilling life. Hey, I don’t make the rules.)
SIR ALAN (thinking out loud): Actually, since I’ve got the rights, I may as well release it. It’s not gonna cost me anything. Some poor sap’ll probably buy it.
(Ten Years Later)
CURSES! FOILED AGAIN: Curses.
Dr. Dolittle is easily the worst game I’ve ever played. One point for every ‘level’ in the ‘game’. And for ‘forcing’ me to use air quotes.