The Apprentice blog: The Final Series 7

Posted on by Nell Frizzell

And so we come to the final episode. Episode twelve. That means twelve times we’ve watched these opening credits. Twelve times Lord Sugarcube has stood on top of that London tower block. And twelve times he hasn’t looked across at the collection of sociopaths, liars, chancers and morons waiting in his fleet of Addison Lee taxis and just hurled himself off. Baron of Clapton, you are a stronger man than me.

Just 48 hours after Susan and Jim rode in on the wings of glory (if you can call ‘not getting fired from a job you never had’ glory) they are back in front of the firing line. But this time, Lord Sugarnuts has brought in his bunch of heavies to get their hands dirty. Here’s Margaret ‘crusher’ Mountford, Claude ‘pitbull’ Littner and two mods who I can only assume have a bit of chain and a flickknife in their pockets.

“We’re just four people standing on our own two feet,” says Jim soberly. Which according to Jim’s mental arithmetic makes 86,798 toes and 4,286 knees.

The four apprenti (this is the biological term for a group of unemployed narcsissists) turn up to be grilled by for ‘top business experts’ in some poorly-lit, strangely inhuman, nondescript offices. They, in short, are at the job centre.

Upon entry, Helen, Tom, Jim and Susan and are forced to hand over their business plans, which look suspiciously like my year 7 geography product – all brown A4 folders and I <3 Margaret M doodles. Sadly, no-one has had my idea, to pad the manila envelope with a good half a roll of toilet paper, to psyche out the other competitors.

“If you don’t know your own life, you’re in trouble” says Helen who, judging by her years spent as a ‘good time girl’ in Ibiza probably has her entire autobiography sketched in to her knickers, for constant referral.

Claude Littner tells Tom that his career is floundering. I should probably put some kind of comma in that sentence, to avoid confusion. But, on reflection, I think I’ll leave it as it is. Claude tells Tom that his career is floundering.

Jim’s business plan is, surprisingly, “Packed with buzz words and blarney.” How the hell he managed to fit an entire chunk of 13th Century castle stonemasonry between those stapled sheets is something of a mystery. But what exactly is Jim proposing? AMsmart, which according to the talking greyhound is an initiative to get school kids across the UK on the internet. I think he means the Amsternet.

Tom, meanwhile, has invented a chair. Except, he doesn’t call it a chair. Anywhere on his business plan. God knows what he does call it – a mobile buttock recliner? An ergonomic gluteus maximiser? An arsestrad? Sadly, his documentation makes up for lack of chair with a plethora of financial errors. “You don’t know anything,” captain eyebags tells him. “An apology is no good.” That’s good management isn’t it? I’ll make sure not to apologise next time I get something wrong. Instead I’ll just jump up on to my desk, grab a stapler and pull my bosses periorbital sacks right up over their head and staple them to their sitting device.

Helen, on the other hand, has come up with the rather leftfield proposal of reintroducing slavery. That’s forward thinking, isn’t it? Apparently, Helen’s ‘personal PA’s’ will be able to sort out your work/life balance by cooking your meals, looking after your children, making your dentist appointments and, if you’re really lucky, having sex with your partner and going on holiday with your friends. It is the sort of work/life proposal that could only come from an ex-raver who views her social life like the rest of us view a wet turd stuck to the sole of a leper’s shoe.

Susan Ma’s business proposal is an ‘innovative skincare innovation.’ Hold on, I think I’ve heard of that. Does it include arsenic? “We have a cosmetic chemist to check that there’s no arsenic or anything in it.” Ah, no, not the one I was thinking of then. Susan then reveals that she pays all her staff exclusively in cash. What’s that? The HMRC are at the door holding a pot of cow dung apricot body scrub, some handcuffs and a wadge of marked notes? Better flee to France Susan. I heard they have no police there, or cars. Or familial affection.

To lighten the mood, Helen is forced to tell a joke. And by lighten the mood I obviously mean ‘scrape through the eye-blisteringly depths of social awkwardness’. Thankfully Helen has a real screamer up her sleeve about a fish. I would have just shown them a picture of Lord Sugarnuts in his cycling lycras, myself. Guaranteed LOLs every time.

Jim tells Margaret Mountford that he is scratching the surface of what he can do. Hopefully Susan Ma has a handy walnut oil and anthrax body lotion to sort that out. He also body swerves the world of clichés to tell the cloud-haired goddess that he does exactly what it says on the tin. I’ve never seen a tin of psychiatrically unbalanced talking greyhound meat before.

The tin must be pretty saucy though, as Claude ‘preparation H’ Vittner describes it as ‘one long seduction letter’ to Lord Sugargoyle. I do hope he had done some little erotic pencil sketches of him and S’rAlanstrad in the margins. Mind you, I think we’ve all been seduced by a really long, thick business plan in our time, haven’t we? Anyone?

To celebrate the final, Karren Brady appears to have come to the boardroom dressed as Little Lord Fauntleroy.

“I have always wanted to get in to the cosmetics industry,” Lord Sugaga tells Susan, his monster munch hair glistening in the neon light. I read somewhere that Lord Sugar actually uses hessian sacks full of gravel, meat pies and jellied eels as a bodyscrub, so it would be a natural meeting of minds.

“I would give up and emigrate if someone told me we had to test desks,” Lord Sugar tells Tom. Now that, my friends, is a verbal contract. Let us pray the Health and Safety executive are watching and have a couple of desk testers available this Monday.

“You won’t have to babysit me,” Helen tells Lord Sugar, from her cushion on the Playaways mat, drinking an um bongo and covered in fuzzy felt.

“I understand that I didn’t understand,” says Susan, smuggling rolls of £50 notes in to the other contestants’ socks.

“Helen has shone. She has flown through,” admires Lord Sugar, until the radioactive old bird comes back in to the boardroom pitching a back-up business plan for a bakery selling ‘breads and cakes’. Wow. I certainly didn’t see that coming, from the woman who works for Greggs. “Lord Sugar, I also had a third business plan. To set up a range of retailers, selling steak bakes and chicken pasties. And a fourth business plan, to set up a range of highstreet bakeries, selling cheese and onion lattices and tuna crunch baguettes. And a fifth business plan to set up a range of national food takeaways selling iced buns and jumbo sausage rolls.”

So, Jim and Susan have been sent down the Amschute2.G to be stripped of parts for his giant bionic Amstranator before being boiled up for Addison Lee fuel, leaving it down to a two man race. And by two man I obviously mean a hairy baby and a synchronised swimmer.

Will Lord Sugarmidillo be wooed by talked of double-baked cheese and intern PA rolls? Or will he ‘inject’ £250,000 in to a four-wheeled lumbar loading swivel device, invented by a Beano character wielding a curly nail file?

It seems, in the end, that Lord Sugar has given up on smelling what’s selling. He’s hitting what’s sitting instead.

Tom, you’re hired.

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