Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Apprentice: Melissa Cohen

It's a compelling, can't-tear-yourself-away TV horror story. You are an intelligent person. You watch documentaries and animal programmes. Your television is never left on in the background. But The Apprentice has you in thrall.

This series, with a couple of exceptions the candidates for Lord Sugar's favours are especially odious; absurd posturing, paper-thin skill sets and ghastly, coached self-praise. Because they're so unattractive, the viewer looks forward to their downfall. Generally it doesn't really matter which one is fired.

But last night we watched the exit of quite the worst-behaved contender yet. Over the last few weeks Melissa Cohen has horrified us with non-stop aggression. She could start a fight in an empty room, yet feels she's a great team player. We know this because she tells us.

Self-promotion is Melissa's 'core skill', as she'd probably put it. Throughout the series her only real contribution, apart from arguing with colleagues, has been talking herself up. Occasionally she's made ill-judged lunges toward responsibility, but has then quickly retreated to the background.

Melissa also liked to treat vocabulary as a linguistic Rubik's Cube. This gave rise to her very own words: 'comfortability', 'conversate', 'manoeuverments', and without a trace of irony, 'my professionality'. Idiotic and self-possessed, or really rather endearing and fragile? You decide.

After Melissa was fired, she wouldn't shake hands with the two other nominees. She felt she'd been ganged up on. Why could that possibly have been?

Business is all about grace under pressure. You've got a lot to learn, baby.

1 comment: said...

Quite. Melissa lacked skills, restraint and any shade of decorum, instead thinking that incessant self-promotion and aggression were enough to demonstrate her ability. In moderation, her assertiveness, perseverance and self-confidence would be attributes. Her biggest problem was that she turned herself into a caricature of a successful businesswoman - and anything done to extremes is generally bad.