I could be smug and say I called it weeks ago, but I think everyone
called it weeks ago, didn't they? Once it became apparent that the new prize on The Apprentice
called for a very different kind of winner than previous years and that there was one person who seemed to fit the bill.
I mean, he literally doesn't fit any other bill whatsoever, but he fits this
one - someone who can throw ideas at LdAlan to develop any that might have legs. It does of course mean that the preceding 11 weeks are utterly irrelevant but that's telly for you. First though the Gits round, which has been promoted to series finale. And it's 50% new Gits this year (isn't the high Git turnaround because their businesses keep going bust? D'oh!) but the main thing is that Dame Margaret of Mountford remains one of them.
No rest for the weird, as we DRAMATICALLY! pick up where we left off last week with "Jim's been fired LOL not rly!" but before Helen and The Actor Michael Sheen can pretend they're pleased to see him the phone rings. The Actor Michael Sheen gets a Phone Wars bonus point as the recorded voice of NotFrances tells him they have 48 hours to
try and figure out what the fuck a business plan is
work on their business plans before meeting LdAlan in the City. Jim says they're now four people standing on their two feet, which is really not enough feet to support four people but is roughly what we've come to expect from Jim's maths. After Voiceover Man reminds us who the candidates are, it's 6:30am and they're off to the final. So, not 48 later then, unless they held the previous boardroom at about 4am. Which isn't entirely unlikely. They're going to the Institute of Directors for interviews - what, not Viglen? Did LdAlan have to sell it off In These Difficult Times?
Susan: "My heart's pounding, is yours?" Helen: "I have no weaknesses like your puny human heart." Well that's what her face says anyway. The Actor Michael Sheen is first up against Chief Git Claude Littner, who leaves him floundering. Gits 1, The Actor Michael Sheen nil. Actually I'm not going to bother doing the scores this year, as all 4 results end up Gits 4, Apprenti nil. Helenbot is first to meet La Mountford, who's all sweetness and light and so traps Helen into saying her success rate is down to luck before POUNCING like a bloody great papyrus-loving pouncy thing. Jim gets one of the new gits, Mike Soutar, the free magazine mogul we briefly met in the tits'n'minge task, and Susan gets telecoms bod Matthew Riley, who makes all the candidates do "the elevator pitch," i.e. stand up and pitch their idea in the time it would take them to travel up in an elevator together. He himself sits down for this, so I can only assume before he travels in a lift he has a chair and desk specially installed as otherwise this role-play is FATALLY FLAWED!
The main event this year is of course that the interview task finally reveals what the hell kind of business these nutters are planning to start. I kinda think LdAlan should have checked this long ago because having got rid of everyone else he now has to pick between: A skincare product which is niche but for the mass market i.e. a complete contradition in terms (Susan,) a magic chair that can predict if you're going to have a bad back (The Actor Michael Sheen,) something something something schools (Jim) and white slavery (Helen.) See, I said Cats! Cats! Just cats! Lots of cats! would be a better option than anything they'd come up with. Helen's slaves would send birthday cards to your friends, so it's basically a PA service for people who are too cunty to spend a few minutes picking out a card and writing in it to people they are allegedly fond of. This whole Helen thing of "work is my life, I have no friends" is proving accurate, isn't it? Because that's what MDs do with Christmas cards to their clients, not what humans do to other humans. For future reference, I'm not that fussed about receiving birthday cards but if you wish to send me one or a birthday text that's nice; if you hire a service to do so I'm not sure you know what a friend is. Can you tell this whole birthday card thing wound me up? I know it's the running joke that Helen isn't quite human but if ever there was proof of it, this was it. Anyway we later find out such services already exist, which proves the human race is rubbish and you should hang your heads in shame.
Anyway The Actor Michael Sheen's pitch entire revolves around a chair, so obviously he hasn't actually used the word "chair" anywhere. When it's Jim's turn vs Margaret, we find out he's not a show pony or a one trick pony or a FIELD FULL OF PONIES but he's a bit pony, let's face it, and speaks entirely in clichés. Margaret: "Describe yourself without using a cliché." Jim: "I do exactly what it says on the tin." Margaret: *actually facepalms* Oh Margaret, welcome back. Right, some stuff we learn in interviews:
- As well as humanity, Helen also lacks the contacts that would actually make her concierge service work.
- Susan started selling at Greenwich Market - I really have to avoid that place, that's two Apprenti who've dragged themselves out of its murky depths so far.
- Jim's proposed busines might as well be called PLEASE MAY I DO A BUSINESS UNCLE ALAN.
- Helen's proposal will allegedly "get the nation back on its feet," which confuses me as surely it's making the nation stay on its arse and get others to do the work. Soutar notices that she's not human and asks for a joke: Helen aks if she can come back to him and goes on to process this as a background task; eventually a box pops up saying "joke download 100% complete, open file y/n?" and when Soutar opens the file it successfully makes him laugh. (Helen then sends it straight to Recycling Bin as jokes are an unnecessary waste of RAM.)
- The Actor Michael Sheen had 22 potential ideas before settling on a chair, but his references don't think he's good at finishing what he starts.
LdAlan is then joined in the boardroom by the Gits and Nick'n'Karren for some final thoughts; actually it's still mainly Karren chipping in about how The Actor Michael Sheen would most benefit from working with LdAlan, while Helen whose experience is with Greggs the Bakers and did best on baking tasks has proposed something entirely unrelated to her skillset. Which means we've slipped through the looking glass into a reality where LdAlan is about to actually listen to Karren's advice. The final four Apprenti are brought back in, and as has become customary The Actor Michael Sheen is the first fire-tease, LdAlan not liking the nannying element of the busines plan. But it's straight onto Jim whose plan is basically "suck up to LdAlan Sugar." Jim doesn't entirely dispel this notion by accidentally calling him "Sugar." It's almost as if he can hear the ticking music dubbed on as he tries a last gasp that he believes the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way but too late, he's bladdy fired. Helen is fire-teased next which means it must actually be Susan for the chop. It is! Even though "she understands that she didn't understand." Indeed.
Helen and The Actor Michael Sheen are the final two! LdAlan asks them to step outside, then step back in, in, out, in, out, shake it all about, and then Helenbot suffers a critical malfunction! Realising that she actually works for Greggs the Bakers she jumps in and tries to pitch a second business plan. It'll be a chain of shops right? And it'll sell bread and cakes right? I mean there is LITERALLY no other chain like that in the country, certainly not one that comes to mind! And they can call it
Geoffs the Bakers! The Actor Michael Sheen bitches at her for not starting this business earlier, she bitches back about how his products have been successful but he didn't make anything of it. Then we get this bizarre story of how The Actor Michael Sheen got Walmart to stock his nail file by hand-delivering an original-looking parcel to one of their top buyers. He leaves out the part where he got arrested and cavity-searched for trying to get a mysterious package into a large corporate building.
Time for LdAlan to choose who he'll go into business with IN THESE DIFFICULT TIMES and basically The Actor Michael Sheen's idea needs work but Helen's idea seems to be "I want to be P.A. to the Chief Executive of Greggs," which she already is, so she can go back to doing that and The Actor Michael Sheen is bladdy hired. Helen not happy! Helen smash! But it won't do any good: The Actor Michael Sheen wasn't actually any good at any of the stuff from the last 11 weeks but, er. Well no, I'm sure it'll be fine.