The Apprentice 7 – Final Summary

Giant It rings the house, in the middle of the Final Four celebrations, which is just as well because Helen is using them to talk about the last task. Fun Time Helen in evidence to the very last. She’s ringing to tell everyone to get their business plans ready, because it’s TIME FOR INTERVIEWS. There then follows lots of footage of the candidates sat on their beds, balancing spreadsheets, chewing pens, furrowing their brows, and generally pouring their hearts and souls into these portfolios. Of course they needn’t have bothered because…all the business plans are crap.

Helen – Army of slaves, organising your Occado deliveries for you.
Jim – This
Susan – Just keep doing what I’m doing now but…more. Enough more for it to be £1,000,000 more tomorrow
Tom – A chair that might work

So naturally, all these rubbish plans are junked, although this takes a very long time, and it’s all very painful, and a bit boring, and I hope they either go back to the old format, or next year’s prospective finalists start on their business plans now because seriously…no. It robs time from your bog-standard Interview awesomeness, like how we discover that Susan is basically a gang-leader who dodges tax laws to hire cheap cosmetics slaves, Helen has no life or sense of humour, that Jim’s a bit of an ass who can’t stop talking in cliches and SOMEBODY thinks something called “an elevator pitch” is a worthwhile business tool. Oh wait, that’s one of the new interviewers. Never mind.

Whilst all this is going on Helen is perched on a chair outside, like, even when she’s being interviewed herself, chatting shit about everyone, casting unpleasant smirky glances everywhere, and basically making her own upcoming loss terribly satisfying to be perfectly honest. Tom mostly sits there wishing she’d stop and occasionally joining in, but not terribly heartily. Susan’s incredibly positive to the point of near-psychotic delusion, and Jim…I think Jim knows he’s beat but is quite happy to go down swinging.

When it comes down to the Final Reckoning it’s Jim who gets the first flick-off, which Nick calling him a wicked seductress and everyone getting really affronted over the fact that his idea is child-centric. This is “going for the sympathy vote” apparently, and very very bad. Cept when it’s the Baby-Glow, or the Backpack Booster Seat obviously. After Susan remains grimly oblivious to how ridiculous the sums she’s talking about are, and Lordalan vacillates seventy times over whether he wants to ACTUALLY enter the cosmetics business (again), she’s next.

Which leaves a Final Two of Tom vs Helen. Erstwhile allies they turn on one another immediately – Tom disparaging Helen for not having her own business, and Helen disparaging Tom for his existing business being in ruins (hey, remember last year when Stella attacking Chris at the last was WORST THING EVAH?). As if this wasn’t desperate enough, Helen clearly makes up another business plan right there and then off the top of her head. Involving cakes. I’ve never seen a finale more dedicated to making it look like nobody there deserves to win.

In the end, Tom does, because of some story involving how he bullied his way into Wal-Mart to sell those curved nail-files we heard about way back in Week 1. I kind of wish this had happened on camera so we could see it (I bet she had rubbish hair), because nothing from the last three months of tv time really justified it. I guess he thought EveryDog was a bad idea? And he’s likable? That’s good enough.

Dear next year’s candidates : better business plans please.

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49 thoughts on “The Apprentice 7 – Final Summary

  1. Blackcanary

    I am confused. Thrilled for lovely Tom but confused nonetheless.

    So…all the business plans were utter bobbins. Including Tom’s. Tom has now been hired because LAS wanted him but not the plan. And is now going to make him collaborate with dreadful Suzie.

    *Goes for nice lie down*

    Reply
    1. Jon78

      I’m not even sure he wants “him”. He probably has just seen the potential in the nail file and other potential sidelines, and sees any more Pellereau inventions as a bonus. And if this was divulged before the start of the series, say in Tom’s application, makes the whole of this series potentially a bit of a sham. Still, nice guy.

      Reply
      1. BuddyBontheNet

        I think there was a hell of a lot about Tom’s past entrepreneurial experience that was either missed out of the show or just hinted at occasionally. He was made to appear a bit of a buffoon, but even on the tasks he lost he always said the right thing at some point. He will be a perfect partner for AS because he already has a product range that can be developed to make them both money. AS will be a perfect partner for him because Tom will learn discipline (i.e. start and finish something) and improve his assertiveness skills in an environment where he is the boss.

        Given the business plans on offer, AS didn’t have much choice in the end and chose the best of the four imho. Personally I would have chosen Susan, but I can understand why AS didn’t.

    2. monkseal Post author

      The idea of Tom and Susan going into business together was…special. Obviously well done Lordalan for building up an evidence base throughout the show that this would work (*baffled face*)

      Reply
      1. Blackcanary

        I thought of you as soon as LAS said that because, as you’d pointed out to me in a comment just the day previously, they almost appeared to have been kept apart during the process. Can they work well together? Who bloody well knows – they’ve only been on the same team once and they were in different sub-teams.

      2. monkseal Post author

        I’d also love to know what he thinks Susan’s going to offer Tom. Is he going to jet off to Wal-Mart again and have Susan huff “that’s SO unfair” at them when he gets turned down?

  2. Tim

    Well, that was entirely predictable as The Apprentice completes its conversion into a downmarket version of Dragons’ Den.

    I take no pride in having picked out Tom as the winner from week one … hell, who am I kidding? *Smug mode*

    And, seriously, on which planet did Helen think it was a good idea to change tracks at the last minute? “Hey, I know I just got eviscerated in my interviews, but actually I didn’t want this job – I wanted THAT one. Can I have it, please?” Like that’s going to work.

    I think it’s clear enough that Tom was hired for the nail file and other potential product ideas, and that the chair thingy will die a quiet death.

    All in all, four poor ideas. And a highly derivative season full of characters we have seen before, doing tasks we have seen before and making the same mistakes we have seen before. It’s been blahhdy awful. Having said that, the next season can’t come soon enough. Bring on season two of Junior Apprentice.

    http://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2011/07/18/the-apprentice-and-the-winner-is/

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      You do have to wonder if Tom even would have “won” Dragon’s Den, and that has at least one investment per episode, never mind per series.

      Reply
  3. Neio

    Helen’s last-minute “I had a second plan, for a chain of cake shops called, er, Griggs?” ploy was so transparent it was embarrassing. I think I would have felt more bad for her not winning with her record if she hadn’t been such a smirky bitch in the final.

    Jim’s interview was hilarious, especially when Margaret asked him to sum himself up but not to talk in clichés.

    Reply
  4. BuddyBontheNet

    I wrote on a bit of paper dated 21st May 2011 that Tom would win. BBC editing during the show should win an award for successfully pigeon holing each contestant. Tom had done it all once already, but needed someone like AS to help him become a successful businessman, instead of a struggling one. Smug me or what?! 😀

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      I noticed Tom was getting a winner’s edit towards the end (the “out of your comfort zone” stuff on Task 10 for instance) but I just refused to believe they’d grant the win to someone with such a poor record. More fool me.

      Reply
      1. BuddyBontheNet

        His record was really poor, but he said the right thing at some point during every task and was ignored – he definitely lacked assertiveness skills in the tasks, but I’m not sure he does in ‘normal’ life! 😀

  5. BuddyBontheNet

    Meant to say Zoe’s behaviour in the audience made me like her even less – didn’t think that was possible. Oh and someone should tell her to get rid of her hairdresser – that up do is just awful! Meow! 😀

    Reply
      1. BuddyBontheNet

        Definitely time for a style rethink! Lots of the losers on YBF have had a make over – Zoe needs to think about doing just that or she will continue looking older than her age. Lovely long hair like that needs a great style!

    1. monkseal Post author

      People have said this about Zoe a lot, and even with my finely tuned Zoedar I didn’t notice anything untoward. What did she do?

      Reply
      1. Kerry McCormack

        Well she was there lol. TBF maybe more the fault of the cameraman who zoomed in on her a lot. All the other ex candidates just sat there & watched the interviews but she kept nudging Glenn & whispering in his ears all the time & nodding along to the panels comments on the other contestants. It’s hard to explain really. I could (/probably am) be biased though because of my dislike of her.

      2. BuddyBontheNet

        I agree with Kerry. Except when Helen came on and she gave her a standing ovation!Zoe was politely slowly clapping and speaking to Glenn – that takes control as usually you’d get carried away with the rest of the audience. Zoe was my female winner at the start, but how wrong I was! She could create conflict for a living and tell lies at the Olympics for Team GB! Go Team Susie! 😀

  6. melisande

    Very underwhelming final. Traditionally the interviews tend to provide the most satisfying moments but not this time – we only ever got 10-15 second snippets from each. Maybe I’m misremembering but in previous years I thought we got a good few unedited/uninterrupted minutes from each interview?

    As for the business plans, bloody hell. Helen’s ‘getting the nation back on it’s feet’ being by far the worst, only for her to present an even more terrible one by offering to be Greggs 2. I did enjoy her twitching realisation that she was toast as Tom told his Walmart anecdote though.

    Reply
    1. BuddyBontheNet

      The two new interviewers didn’t seem as tough and it seemed to me too that we saw less of the actual interviews. Next year maybe.

      Reply
    2. monkseal Post author

      I can’t quite rememebr, but last year was very choppy. The longest uninterrupted section I can remember was all that guff about Stubaggs ISP licence, although that probably actually lasted about 5 seconds, it just FELT like half an hour.

      Reply
  7. Ferny

    I’ve liked Jim since the beginnning but I think he was most likeable in this episode – people’s personalities seemed come out a bit more with stress and even though people think he’s the most arrogant, he was actually the most genuine and realistic about how he’d done. Helen came out pretty badly from it, Tom was his usual self, and Susan was even more smiley and upbeat than normal (i.e. more annoying).

    But by God, what the heck were those business plans?! So disappointing. I think I actually found Jim’s plan the most inspiring, and I liked the fact he helped at schools on leave from work (I know, I know, the Simpsons clip lol)

    And of all the wacky inventions Tom has come up with I had such high hopes and it was…a chair. And Susan’s projections (thankfully) sunk her. A million in the first year? I know everyone says this, but I’m sure I could think of something better than this lot!

    Reply
    1. BuddyBontheNet

      I think Jim was in a difficult situation with his business idea because it was a particularly sensitive commercial idea. eLearning is a highly competitive market and his idea could have been so easily copied if it had been tested too early. As Jim was already doing something in his own time along the same lines, he should have spoken in confidence to some of the professionals he already knows to sound them out and then included that feedback in his business plan, plus plans for the testing stage. I hope his idea gets some backing and becomes successful.

      Reply
    2. monkseal Post author

      Jim’s amusement at just how much he got chewed up was probably my favourite bit of the episode.

      It’s odd – Stella did “I’m acing this and gloating at you all screwing up all over the place” much better than Helen last year, although that may have been because she actually was. Although, God, can you imagine Stella’s business-plan? I don’t know if I want to.

      Reply
  8. BuddyBontheNet

    Tom’s idea was a sign he’s never worked in an office environment where chairs get swapped around and break! The arms won’t adjust, the hydraulics are broken, the seat back is stuck in one position, etc.! Most companies show someone how to sit ‘properly’ at a PC, but old habits die hard!

    I bought one of Tom’s nail files this morning. You can buy it on his website for £4.50 plus £1.50 P&P, but it is available on other websites for less – Amazon sells it for £0.88 plus £1.50 P&P (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0047VYKLI/ref=s9_simh_gw_p121_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=13M7M6TMS7CGAYRE8K7Q&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=467128533&pf_rd_i=468294). Poor Tom!

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      I think the nail-file stuff should be fine for Tom. People (especially women it seems, not to stereotype) like him, and want him to do well, and it’s a fairly cheap product that enough of them may well try it, and then enough of them like it for it to be a going concern if it’s good enough. I would imagine a lot of arguments in the future about how whether his probable future Levi Roots style success justifies his win or not.

      Reply
  9. kate h

    I hate interviews week. Even the occasional juicy skewering of whatever total nob has made it this far this year is somehow less satisfying than seeing them hoist by their own petard. Everything else is just horrible, talky and static. So making it the final was a big mistake in my book. Didn’t anyone at least have the wit to suggest that the finalists pilot their own business plans in some way, so we have a kind of “set your own task” final, with Lord S judging on scale, ambition, aptitude, success, etc.

    Also, is Tom the least deserving winner ever? Don’t get me wrong – charming, polite, personable, intelligent, just not actually terribly good at anything he’s tried his hand at except, somehow, tugging Lord S’s heartstrings. He’s like a Simon Ambrose you don’t want to punch. (Seriously, if Helen had been Perky Inventive Geek Girl With Magic Chairs, and Tom had been Mr. Organisation No Entrepreneurship, he still would have won.)

    I don’t mind Helen’s last ditch switch at all, as she knew which way Lord S was going and it was worth one last roll of the dice… but in the final analysis it was Jim and Susan who had the most workable business plans, and – no matter how much I like Tom and Helen – they should have been the final two.

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      I could insert other words in there for “punch” but that would be revealing myself horribly…

      Reply
    2. Ruth Newman

      What a good idea; would have been a much more satisfying final.

      I personally really missed the bit where they bring back the fired candidates and the finalists have to take it in turns to pick them – always excruciating and entertaining…

      Reply
  10. FuTeffla

    Yay for lovely Tom! Yay! I like to think he won purely due to the power of me whispering ‘Oh, please don’t be horrible to Tom’ all the way through the interview stage. Anyone who wants to stop back pain is my new best friend, especially since I watched the episode lying flat on my bed because my back hurt.

    What was going on with Melody’s hair in YH? Yikes.

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      Having worked in neck/back pain research for a couple of years, products like Tom’s invariably give me the twitch. So much cheap (yet still too expensive) tat out there making people’s pain worse. Not that I think Tom intended a cheap cash-in pseudo medical piece of old tut but…well he IS working with the King Of Amstrad.

      Reply
      1. Blackcanary

        Tom said on BBC breakfast that he actually came up with the idea because he himself has suffered from back issues for a few years. So i’m assuming that his actual design is pretty good…although as you say: Mmmmm…feel the Amstrad quality.

      2. monkseal Post author

        The more I see the more I’m a bit depressed that he’s going back to nail-files, because I don’t think he wants to…Maybe Lordalan will let him play with another invention in a year or so?

      3. Verns

        Delighted that Tom won, but I would have liked Tom’s business plan if he’d defended it better. With one in six days of sick leave in this country being as a result of back pain, it’s clear we’re not doing enough. And employers have legal obligations re Health & Safety at work – he could have cited these as justification for a market. Having said that, there ARE a lot of cheap, tatty office chairs already which claim to ease back pain. Maybe he could invent a nice sofa for people with back pain – the lack of a single comfy chair means I frequently lie on the carpet to watch The Apprentice…

      4. monkseal Post author

        The thing with Tom’s business plan is that I’m not sure how much the focus of the actual written document was the service part and how much was the chair part, so I don’t know what the core of an idea he thought he had to defend was. There’s also (with the benefit of a pause button) sections about branchnig out the service to deal with RSI and other work related illnesses. I think (and obviously this is a massive suprise given it’s Tom) he probably shoved too many ideas in there and was stuck trying to defend himself on too many fronts.

        Obviously the best defence would have been to cite Lee McQueen’s infamous day one “sick day”, in the sense that it would have been funny.

      5. BuddyBontheNet

        I guess Tom had little choice in what AS wants to do with him, but at least Tom will learn how to see a project through. I think the details of his plan were very skimpy because I think it was Claude who talked about ‘devices’, not ‘device’. My own experience of ‘devices’ that are supposed to teach muscles, etc. are expensive, awkward and flippin’ uncomfortable to use and too easily cast aside. I think Tom’s idea(s) was probably very good, but would work out far too expensive for general use. If he’d worked in a large office environment, he might have known this.

        BTW My Stylfile arrived and is rather good – weirdish, but good!

  11. Left Feet

    Don’t mind the result as I like Tom just think the whole process was a waste of time getting there and the final was not a level playing field. Either change the standard tasks or get in 14/16 people you have all run their own business. Both Jim and Helan were all at sea in that final task and it was obvious who Lord S would pick. Still as entertainment in the weeks before the interviews it was 10/10.

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      I wonder if this series was just to make it REALLY heavily obvious what he was looking for and not looking for, and future series will be a bit more appropriately cast. Then again, you could say that a lot for this show…

      Reply
  12. David

    Wanted Susan to win and still think she should have done. Just because her figures were over ambitious doesn’t mean there was anything wrong with the idea. And then on YH, lordalan says maybe we’ll do a deal with Susan. In which case she should at least have finished second.

    Personally think Zoe was looking very good in the audience. Much better than she ever did in the show itself.

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      I think he felt that Helen’s record meant that she had to be in the Final Two. It also probably made for more dramatic tv havnig two friends vs one another rather than two people who never really meant a lot to one another. Or maybe he just didn’t want to spend the 6 month interim having Susan going “aw, PLEASE tell me if I’ve won Lordalan, it’d be SO unfair if you didn’t!” at him.

      Reply
  13. blade

    I can’t help but feel deprived of Natasha’s business plan – I imagine it’d have been akin to the “Cocklolleez” episode of Pulling

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      Am now imagining a scenario where Natasha randomly wins, but is too trashed to turn up for the Final Boardroom, so Tom still wins and we jump-cut to Natasha lying face-down in her own sick in the girls bedroom.

      Reply
  14. FreyaTheQuirkyMunch

    Haha, I’d have loved to have seen Melody’s buisness plan. And her being in the final two and not winning. My word think of the censors that wouldn’t appear! Thrilled for Tom, and dissapointed at and for Helen. Did she really think she was going to win “Sugar– Lord Sugar” over with a concierge service? Silly lass.

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      I think a concierge service was the downfall of Ruth on one of the seventy billion tasks she lost in her series, but details are hazy…It’s bizarre how many of the business plans revolved at least partly around services given who was being marketed to. It was pretty much all of them apart from Helen

      Reply
      1. Steven

        That was the Amsair task, wasn’t it? Ansell and…somebody (Mani?) told Ruth that the concierge was the focal point of the product they were selling, so they built their ad campaign around it, except it turned out to be…not so much.

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