The Apprentice formulaic business beauty contest is back, so raise a glass - it's the only way you'll get through it
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It's an aphorism viewers of The Apprentice (BBC1, Thurs, 9pm) should have taken notice of, as the candidates in the opening episode of this year's edition of Lord Sugar's business beauty contest seemed like a particularly wishy-washy bunch.
In fact, struggles with alcohol was a recurring theme throughout, as the 'boys' and 'girls' teams tried to stage a corporate away-day and team bonding exercise in the Scottish Highlands.
They had to lay on catering, and the boys' team – despite being told the a drink or two would be expected – decided to cut costs and offer a welcome drink of... water.
Quite the let-down really, in common with the rest of the show, which is now following a tried-and-tested formula, a formula which doesn't leave much room for the unexpected twist a long-running show needs to keep things fresh.
The one innovation of this year seems to be an extended sequence in the boardroom where bearded business baron Lord Sugar ran the rule over this year's crop of candidates. A sequence which he also took as a chance to try out material for his stand-up act.
He opened with “we've got rampant inflation, and that's just the claims in some of your CVs”, and it went downhill from there – although the candidates, obviously a little nervous and eager-to-please, were keen to show they thought it was the most hilarious stuff they'd ever heard.
Other than that, it was very much business as usual.
The candidates introduced themselves with ridiculous hyperbole - “I'm going to create a legacy that reverberates through time”, asserted one, perhaps unaware that very few Apprentice winners actually make an impact on the British consciousness.
As usual, the project manager doesn't listen to their team, and the team doesn't listen to their project manager.
As usual, there's a lot of charging about with little thought of consequences, much shouting and forced corporate-style jollity – someone bellows “let's smash this!” whenever their clients seem to be flagging – and, as usual, it's always someone else's fault when thing go wrong.
And inevitably, things go wrong.
Fishcakes are covered with crumble topping instead of breadcrumbs, schedules disastrously overrun, and – as we already know – there is a distinct lack of booze.
It's all a bit too familiar – even the companion show The Apprentice: You're Fired (BBC2, Thurs, 10pm) noticed a recycling of themes, as they ran a countdown of the show's 'Top Five Food Fails' .
And we all know how the ensuing weeks are going to unfold.
There will be an awful candidate, and a nice candidate, and a candidate who always says the right thing but never gets listened to, and is castigated in the boardroom for not speaking up.
There will be a “a sales task, and you didn't sell”. There will be a double firing. There will be one task that one team of other will absolutely ace.
And then there will be the interview round, where we finally realise the five remaining candidates are actually nice people really, with stories to tell and actual, real world nous, and we suddenly end up rooting for them.
It's a formula for success, but is looking increasingly tired, especially given the success of newer reality formats, like The Traitors.
You can't help thinking it's time for The Apprentice to receive its gold carriage clock, but in the meantime it's perhaps better to keep Hemingway in mind and treat it as an hour-long business-based drinking game.
Take a shot for every time someone uses the word 'literally' in the wrong context, and pretty soon these identikit suits will seem like the most interesting people in the world.