We open on a well-deserved day off for the Upper Half of this year’s candidates. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, Hayley has been eliminated, but is still hanging around in her best “World’s Best Daughter” apron manning the BBQ after the Harrys spent half an hour trying to light it to no avail, pouring out lemonade and giggling as she squirts ketchup onto everyone’s burgers. The Harrys and Lizzie are playing a throwing game in the garden, whilst Haya sits on the sidelines and applauds. James meanwhile is stooped in the shrubbery, scanning around wondering if he can pocket some of this crap art and sell it on after his impending elimination, although he does not like it, he can ASSURE YOU OF THAT. Zara lies back in a giant chair, and looks like a normal human being for about the first time in “The Process”. Hair down, casual t-shirt with a slogan about how love is hard because boys suck, or something similar. That sort of thing.
Meanwhile in an underground car-park, two headlights flicker on, because LORDALAN IS COMING FOR THEM. Possibly with a knife. The segment has that sort of air about it. Harry H bellows “ONE HAND, SIX CONTESTANTS!” as Lizzie drops the ball at the last minute, leaving a Final Two of Harry 1 and Harry 2 (*I’m saying nothing*). Lordalan’s Rolls ROARS down the motorway, its black anonymous exterior immune to their childish fun, preparing to RAM ZARA into the garage and then drown Haya in the lake where all those sexy teens died 15 years ago today, or something. James suddenly decides he wants back in the game and throws the ball hard right at Lizzie’s face (either that or this bit was edited out of sequence…) as Harry 2 openly cackles at everyone else taking themselves out of contention as he sails on under the radar. Lordalan’s Rolls turns into Apprentice Road and he dons his Margaret Mountford mask and revs up his chainsaw. Harry 2 stands alone, the winner of the game. BUT WAIT, WHAT’S THIS SHAPE MOVING TOWARDS THEM ALL FROM THE PATIO? NO! IT’S LORDALAN! AIEEEEEEEEE! RUN SEXY TEENS, RUN!
Anyway, Lordalan is actually here to give them a task, obviously, cause that’s what this show’s like. No rest for the Harrys. Lizzie shrugs in an off-hand “oh of course” sort of way. Harry 1 just stares at him eerily. James hogs the ball close to his chest, ready to offer £5 for it to the nearest passer-by at the first opportunity. It’s the Apprentice Mansions & Tate Very Modern CLosing Down Sale. Everything Must Go! Mahamed left a packet of half-finished fruit pastilles in his bedside drawer! Half-chewed by a tv star! Who’ll start the bidding?
The task is, per Lordalan, as he paces up and down the lawn like Napoleon on the eve of battle, a “bit corny”. POPCORNY THAT IS! Because corn is a commodity (no it isn’t Lordalan, it’s food), and when you heat it, it makes popcorn! Lordalan hears that popcorn is apparently a thing now, just like cupcakes were last series before everyone got bored of them again. And he hears that people have started doing them in UNYOOSHUWAL flavours, like putting salt on them, or toffee or stuff like that. So erm…do that. Make a funny flavour of popcorn, brand it, shill it to Morrisons and two other irrelevant pitches that will be irrelevant. The team that get the most orders will win, the losing team will lose, and oh by the way, they’re all going to be fired, and a member of the winning team as well. LOL.
Probable previous results of pulling this sort of shiz in the task before the final :
Series 1 : Saira wins the whole show in a Final 2 with James
Series 2 : Michelle wins still, but in a final 2 with Ansell
Series 3 : Kristina probably wins, in a Final 2 with Lohit, depending on how mental Katie Hopkins intended to be
Series 4 : Lee wins still, up against Alex in the final 2
Series 5 : Yasmina still wins, but squares off against Debrabarr in the final
Series 6 : Chris Bates wins, in a final 2 against Jamie
Series 7 : Tom wins, because he has a nail-file
How much of that sounds more awesome? Well Series 5 at least, but…I’ve lost my point. I guess it’s that culling an entire losing team at the last hurdle for no good reason means that Lordalan loses out on a lot of people that he actually wants to hire.
Anyway Lordalan tells them this is going to teach everyone the true meaning of teamwork, because you can’t sit back and know you’ll be safe in the Boardroom if you lose. If you do, you’re gone. Personally I think it also means that they all know that even if they win they’re going to have to scapegoat someone out the game so…swings and roundabouts.
Oh, and on top of all that, it’s time for one final team-reshuffle. Harry 1, Harry 2 and Lizzie are now “Team That’s Going To Win” and James, Haya and Zara are “Team That’s Going To Lose”. You can see the light FLY out of Zara’s eyes as she mentally calculates that she’s on Team Doomed. Don’t worry Zara, it turns out that (SPOILERS) Harry 1 is in fact, a bigger force of suckage than even blatantly manipulative reality tv production staff are.
This week’s task location? THE NORF! Well no wonder everything wound up backwards.
Lordalan departs, and everyone rushes to stack their suitcases full of their things, just in case they never come back from that blasted hinterland – Leeds. Harry 1 stacks a mound of rugby tops about three feet high, and Zara runs around cradling clothes like the house is on fire and the first she’d save is that skin tight white catsuit-dress (you know it would be). James shoves everything haphazardly into his sports bag, and Haya “packs” clothes whilst they’re still on their hangers, BAD HAYA. Lizzie, who is dressed as Henry VIII’s seventh wife, who moonlighted as a cowgirl, tells Zara that she was really shocked when Lordalan just appeared on their day off. I’m surprised Nick wasn’t there to pull his stupid sour-lemon faces at her throwing technique. Harry 2 grins that this is now “game on” as Harry 1 sinks to his knees mumbling about panic and not knowing and HOW CAN HE GET THROUGH, HE LOSES EVERYTHING.
Eventually, everyone is prepared, and decamps to the Apprenticars. Once there, in the Team That’s Going To Lose Apprenticar, James tells everyone that they need to be 100% focussed on winning, and Haya says that they really do have to listen to one another. Zara brightly speeches that there is nothing of more paramount importance than working as a team on this task. She is probably just talking to herself – remember legs : alternate as you walk! Remember ears, you’re BOTH blocking out everyone else’s opinion. At the same time in the Team That’s Going To Win Apprenticar, Harry 1 is talking about how he’s really got to respond to the pressure, because it’s not about individuals now, it’s about teams! Both Lizzie and Harry 2 just stare out the windows.
After 5 hours (5 HOURS stuck in a car with (*insert candidate name of choice here*)CAN YOU IMAGINE?) the teams arrive in THE NORF, and their hotel-basecamps, where the first order of business is to decide on a Project Manager. First up – The Team That Are Going To Lose. Apparently the dodging is over, as they have all decided they want to do it. James implores them to realise that this isn’t about fluffing your individual record – it’s about winning at all costs. So who better than him? Zara protests that she also thinks this applies to her. James says that he’s been the most organised Project Manager, so it should be him. Haya at this point decides that she doesn’t really care, except for how she wants to decide who’s going to do it. James then turns to Zara and asks her if they really want to leave it up to Haya to decide who’s going to be Project Manager (HA at the idea that James’ own ego being trumped by his awareness that if Haya makes a decision it’s probably the wrong one). Zara decides that Haya can have dibs, and she choses James (whose PMship beat hers into her only loss on the show thus far) over Zara. Zara looks…a bit put out.
Meanwhile over on the Team That’s Going To Win, both of the Harrys really want to be Project Manager, so it’s left up to Lizzie to decide who she wants to boss her around for the next two days. Like this is a segment that needs more than three lines of analysis. Harry 2 it is. Lizzie’s desperate paddling to remain diplomatic and stay everyone’s friend is kind of fun though. She definitely gave some consideration to having Harry 1 manage. Definitely. Harry 2 brilliantly gives a speech about how they all have to pull together, act as a team not as individuals, and not to stir shit by endlessly whining about how the team aren’t doing exactly what you want. All without looking at Harry 1 ONCE. Now that’s willpower.
Next morning now and on The Team That’s Going To Lose, James is already up and rummaging for his USP. I’m sad to report that all people are now dressed much more professionally. James is out of his purple t and into a shirt and tie. Zara has scraped her hair back up and once more resembles Nurse Ratched on Casual Fridays. Lizzie has turned into Karen Gillan from a Dr Who Alternative Future episode where Amy is a corporate bitch. The Harrys are in suit and tie and Haya…well Haya looks much the same to be honest, except with a headband on. On Haya. Anyway, James wants their USP to be “healthy”. And what’s more healthy than mediterranean flavours? Let’s do that. Zara is off in raptures, saying that if they go for mediterranean they can brand it as being an elite cut above other, more common popcorn types. You can already see her wondering if she can BAN people eating normal buttered popcorn when they see her films. You’re not coming to see “The Opposite Of Sky” unless YOU BRING IN PAELLA FLAVOUR POPCORN DAMNIT! Haya just sits in the corner and grunts she like mediterranean as well.
Meanwhile on the Team That’s Going To Win, Harry 2 has got the whiteboard out. They’ve decided on an American theme. Well that’s the generic obvious choice, now they’re even MORE bound to win. Harry 2 scribbles “Hollywood”, “All-American”, “Stateside”, “Stars And Stripes”, “Liberty”, “Route 66”, “Empire State” and…erm…”Smoochies” on the board. Harry 1 voices his support for Empire State, and then comes up with the idea for Smoochies. Again, the time editing on this episode is bizarrely inconsistant at this point. He thinks that it’s a really good idea to come up with a His & Hers sharing packet of popcorn, and call it Smoochies. I feel like we have somewhat been down this road before on this show…
Anyway Harry 2 says he’s really aiming more for the family market (*JESSICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*) than the “surreptitiously fingering your girlfriend through her tights in the back row at Charlie’s Angels 2” market, and wants something you’d pick up when you’re renting out a DVD. Why not call it “Movie Magic”? Harry 1 scoffs that when he goes to the cinema, he’s not thinking about the actual film, he’s thinking about having (loud, annoying) fun with his friends and possibly scoring. Lizzie looks vaguely appalled. Somewhere, on the Team That’s Going To Lose, Zara has a full body shudder. APPRECIATE THE ARTFORM DAMNIT! Harry 1 whines that he’s being ignored and everyone else’s ideas stuck and blah blah blah infinity loop forever.
Back in the room he says that there’s three options – “Smoochies”, “Hollywood Popcorn” and “Empire State”. Harry 2 points out they in fact they have two options, because “Smoochies” is awful. Harry 1 whinies “are you sure?” and Harry 2 gives him a sassy head-pop to indicate that he is.
Time for the teams to split up now – with one person on each team manning the kitchen, and the others doing branding and package design for their popcorn. Guess who ends up in the kitchen for each team, based on hos gender-typing these kids have been so far. Hint : IT AIN’T THE BOYS. Lizzie shakes hands with her kitchen krew, surveys a wide array of synthetic flavourings and powders. I can see curry, and paprika, but sadly no sausage. How are they supposed to win with that sorry line-up. Lizzie begins experimenting and being generally adorable whilst doing so.
Meanwhile, in the Team That’s Going To Win Apprenticar, Harry 1 is still whining on about how the Movie Magic theme sucks. Apparently, in a task where there were less high stakes, he would have been willing to run with that, but really as it’s all on the line he’s refusing because it’s a “load of mumbo-jumbo”. Let’s remember Harry 1’s stirling creative record here – Ice-cream Flavours : LOST, Harris The Hippo : LOST, Racist/Not-Racist Emily pepper-sprays men into loving her : LOST, (Empire State : LOST). Anyway, Harry 1 baffles they need something EXCITING, INNOVATIVE AND TARGETED, like the idea of sharing a bag of popcorn. ZOMG HOW FRESH, THIS WILL REVOLUTIONISE EVERYTHING. Harry 2 points out that there is nothing exciting or innovative about Harry 1’s idea, so can he please drop it, because he’s going with Empire State.
At the same time, over on The Team That’s Going to lose, Haya is photographing salami. This is all for research for her team’s mediterranean flavours. As James chokes on an olive, she asks what the most common Italian dish is. The middle-aged woman who runs the Mediterranean deli they’re in tells her it’s got to be TOMATO AND MOAR BASIL. I always wondered what Yasmina’s mum (you know, the one what was tortured at gunpoint to mortgaging her cottage for Yasmina’s dreams or whatever) looked like. Haya grumpily asks if they could do blue cheese and olive as well, and Yasmina’s sister grins from behind the counter that she thinks there’s too much going on there. Why not blue cheese and MOAR BASIL? James asks if there are any other mediterranean cheese (yeah James, one or two…) and Yasmina’s sister says, yeah, sure, why not try Feta. INFUSED WITH BASIL.
Zara rings them up from her kitchen berth and, whilst doodling a pony, asks if there are any insights they gleaned from their market research. James says that they’ve got feta, sundried tomato, MOAR BASIL, chorizo, and olive. Zara promises that if they’ve got the relevant powders in her kitchen, she’ll give them a go.
Back on The Team That’s Going To Win now, and the Harrys are following in the footsteps of that other Junior Apprentice great Tim Ankers, and are blowing the task off entirely to have lunch. It’s in an American diner! That totally makes it relevant. Harry 1 scarfs down an entire plate of onion rings and another of pancakes, whilst Harry 2 tucks into burger and fries followed by a Knickerbocker Glory. Jessica loved Knickerbocker Glories. When he wins, Harry 2 is going to buy her THREE, and then she’ll love him again. Just to make it look a bit like they’re doing actual work, Harry 1 makes sure to whine about their concept through a giant mouthful of batter and syrup. In the end they decide on a maple syrup flavour and a BBQ flavour. As Harry 1 starts on a giant foot-long hot-dog, Harry 2 rings up Lizzie to let her know this.
Midday now, and the Team That Are Going To Lose are brainstorming names. Well, James and Haya are. They come up with such genius concepts as “Popcorn Popcorn”, “Mediculturecorn”, and “Mediterranean Popcorn”. Oddly enough, none of these stay in discussion for more than about 5 seconds, not even James’ and that’s a James idea mooted by James. Zara rings up and has some even…better ideas for slogans. “A classic treat infused with a mediterranean edge” for example. James tells her they’ve not come up with a product name yet, and she suggests “Mediterranean Fusion”. James almost swivels his head around Exorcist style at mention of the word “fusion”, as do I.
Back with Lizzie and the kitchen, and she finalises her flavour combinations, doing a good job of managing the experimentation process without micro-managing it. Erm…that’s it. Hooray for kitchen segments! At the same time, in The Team That’s Going To Win Apprenticar, Harry 1 is STILL whining, this time about Empire State, which is a name, lest we forget, that he came up with himself. He doesn’t think it’s a strong enough brand now. You know what is a strong enough brand? SMOOCHIES! Harry 2 at this point has developed Stockholm Syndrome, and rings Lizzie up to tell her that he thinks maybe Harry 1 is right. I think he’s right in that “Empire State” is a bit of a weak brand. He’s wrong in that SMOOCHIES is not any better. Lizzie tells him that no, Smoochies is still stupid and awful and infantile. Harry 1 starts yelling “REMEMBER MY SKETCH LIZZIE!” and Lizzie replies that her overall thoughts still veer towards “oh grow up”. Harry 2 thanks Lizzie for setting him straight and getting him outside of the terrifying head-space that is being stuck alone with Harry 1.
He follows up by telling Harry 1 that Smoochies doesn’t even sound American anyway, and Harry 1 protests that you can put an American flag on it, and Harry 2 snaps that he KNOWS HE CAN PUT A BLOODY AMERICAN FLAG ON IT. Harry 1 protests that he can change the colours and Harry 2 huffs that he knows that he can change the colouring. LET IT GO. Lizzie clarifies, still on the phone, which I would not be in her position, that they’re still going with Empire State. Harry 2 says they are, and Lizzie sighs “Thank God”. Harry 1 rolls his eyes, mutters under his breath, chews his pen, sticks his tongue in his cheek and wobbles his head at the car-window. Harry 2 tells him to stop being such a sulky child, Harry 1 re-iterates that he ISN’T being a sulky child, and if this were any other task he’d get behind his PM but as his neck’s on the line he’s going to TELL IT TO HARRY 2 straight. Harry 2 gets Harry 1 to clarify that he’s just admitted that he’s happy to tank a task so long as he knows he can weasel his way out of a firing at the end, and Harry 1 clarifies that this is true, and Harry 2 just smiles defeatedly to himself and says that Harry 1 has a very odd way of talking to people, and existing in general.
This all proved that Harry 2 is a better man than me, as my management style probably would have been just shouting “FUCK OFF! FUCK OFF! FUCK OFF!” over and over again, probably from halfway through the diner scene, a bit like an angry When Harry Met Sally.
Anyway Harry 1 finishes his very persuasive argument by snotting “YOU JUST GOT US ALL FIRED!”.
Meanwhile, James and Haya are having a similarly fabulous time over on The Team That’s Going To Lose. They’ve decided on the name… La Popcorn. I mean…bits of France are ON the Med, so…I guess…it’s sort of vaguely relevant, as a name? I’d argue it’s still better than El Popcorn (or whatever the equivalent would be in Spanish. I did three months of Spanish at school, which mostly consisted of being asked the same question about Don Quixote every single lesson because our teacher was a bit senile. I could tell you I was 16 years old, and that’s about it, and that’s not much use. (Outside the Internet anyway…). Nick anyway whines on about how it’s not Mediterranean enough, because “la” is French, and Haya whinges on generally about how James isn’t listening to her and is just over-riding her every decision out of hand. Well, you voted for him dear. (This is over how many olives are on the packaging by the way. So, you know, SERIOUS BUSINESS). We close on Haya doing a really great impression of an angry silverback, as James very meekly says that as Project Manager, his decisions on how many olives go on the packaging are FINAL. The final packaging looks dead-arse dull, and is in an ugly shade of green, or an ugly shade of purple, depending on which flavour is contained.
Design-time for the Harrys now, and Harry 2 is taking the reins, putting together a very busy package covered in Americana and bold stripes. Harry 1 is still whinging about literally everything possible, and Harry 2 is just actively ignoring him at this point. At one point the words “have your tantrum somewhere else please” are uttered. On a side-note, the skin breakouts on literally every single contestant this episode except maybe Lizzie are absolutely terrifying. It’s nice that the greasy skin of teenagers has acted as a reliable barometer of just how stressed out everyone is on this spin-off. You never got that on the adult version outside of Adam Hosker.
Next morning now, and the products are arriving at the candidates hotel suites. The Team That’s Going To Win gush about how pretty their packaging is. Well, Harry 2 and Lizzie do. Harry 1 sits in the corner and grunts at it. The Team That Are Going To Lose also receive their packages, and are similarly pleased. Until they taste the product, and James all but spits it out. The Feta & Olive one just tastes of cheese-powder, and the Chorizo & Tomato one is little better. Zara smiles at him that, regardless of what he thinks of the taste, he’s going to have to sell them anyway. So there.
And with these words, it’s pitching time, with the usual three pitches lined up for the teams, per Helpful Voiceover Man to “some of Britain’s Biggest Purveyors of Popcorn”. Well…apart from the ones that don’t actually currently sell any. On the way, Zara decides to give James and Haya a pep-talk, telling them to really believe in everything they’re saying, like she’s going let that be anything. First up for them Jet2, a budget airline who carry 3 million people a year. Surprise surprise, Zara’s in charge of the first pitch, and she enters the Jet2 boardroom which is set up to look like the inside of a plane. Ah, THE NORF.
Her pitch is very good, if a little bit pat and precocious, and the healthy USP is pushed a decent amount of times. Sadly though, Jet2 then taste the popcorn. Jet2 Lady, who looks like an Apprentice candidate in the making herself, says she was dead excited to try their popcorn, as she personally loves mediterranean flavours, but they tasted awful. Particularly the feta & olive variety, which tasted like a violated Wotsit. James promises that if they order big, The Team That Are Going To Lose will reconceive their entire product line to fit in with the tastes of a budget airline. Yeah, that sounds likely. Outside, James interviews that he does think that Jet2 liked their concept, but maybe not so much the taste. He’s got this idea from the fact that Haya is currently holding back Jet2s woman’s hair as she sprays cheesy vomit all over the Jet2 lavs. At least she’s being of some use on this task I guess.
First pitch for The Team That’s Going To Win is to Odeon cinemas, which in any other week would probably be the designated Only Important Pitch, but ah well, not today. Harry 2 is leading the pitch, and is rather stumbling and hesitant. He’s not helped by the fact that Harry 1 is staring and glowering and breathing heavily down his nostrils, clearly willing the Odeon guys to say that they think the concept is really generic, and they’d much rather something called Smackers or Snoglings or…something intangibly like that that they can’t put their fingers on. The Odeon guys ask if Harry 2 doesn’t think the branding might be a bit too American for the UK audience, and Harry 2 replies that the English love Americans and especially their burgers and things gabble gabble. From the sidelines Harry 1 briefly hauls himself out of his self-imposed fug to give an actual decent answer about how the cinema is dominated by American films, so it’d be a really great tie-in opportunity. He also says that the brand will “reincentivize ticket purchases”, but he’s actually behaving, ish, so I’ll let him off.
Outside Harry 2 mourns for the fact that that was not the best pitch he’s ever done. And given that that was their best potential market in terms of product concept, probably, he’s feeling a bit screwed.
It’s Zara’s turn to pitch to Odeon Cinemas next. She believes that “La Popcorn” is a name that speaks for itself. Then again, Zara never met a concept she didn’t think other people were a bit too dim to get, so let’s hear speak on its behalf.
“The prefix that we chose tells the consumer that what they’re buying is sort of a little bit from abroad”.
THANKS ZARA. It also means it’s it’s a little bit exotic, a little bit special, and a little bit more elite and upmarket than your usual cinema snacks. Why watch the latest Iranian art-house with horrid greasy buttery, toffee infused snacks, when you can shotgun your tastebuds to death with soffisticated Wotsit & dust flavour? With La Popcorn, the sky’s the limit! I think Melody Hossaini has a little something to say about that… (And even if she doesn’t, let’s shove the two of them together in the same room anyway, and film the discussion).
Odeon Man asks Zara how she thinks her product will stand out on the shelves, and Zara replies that it will because of it’s FORRIN taste. It’s got no competitors! All the other types of popcorn are boring and English and wear trilbys and enjoy darts and probably suffer from premature ejaculation. SO THERE!
Pitch over, and outside James says that the pitch was really fantastic and amazing, but if he could just say one thing it’d be not to repeat points, because it could waste time when the execs want to speak. But her pitch was definitely fantastic and amazing. Oh James…
Lizzie now is pitching to Jet2 on behalf of the Team That Very Definitely Are Going To Win. It’s still chatty and informal, much as her advertising pitch was, but there’s a bit more heft to it this time, and she comes across like less of a try-hard. She promotes the healthy aspect of the product, as well as it being an evolution away from standard flavours, and also as filling a gap that the airline themselves aren’t currently filling. Somewhere in there the dread ALARM WORD “exclusivity” is mentioned, but for once it has absolutely no baring on the result. IMAGINE THAT!
In questions, she gets asked how she thinks their massive packaging is going to fit on an airline trolley moving down an aisle whilst leaving space for them to sell other things as well. Lizzie says that they’re “stackable”. Well that’s that problem solved. Outside everyone celebrates that things are looking up! Hooray! Maybe they can win!
Final pitch? Morrisons. Haya, James and Zara all ascend up a giant elevator to Morrisons heaven, where they pitch to an office of gleaming smiling, vaguely terrifying young things. Taking the lead, once again, is Zara, with her totally new, fresh-out-of-the bag concept. It’s low-calorie, and they’ve sourced some of the finest flavouring powders in Europe to bring it to them. It’s the ULTIMATE taste (in that it tastes of death) and SO different to every other rehashed popcorn idea out there. Notice she has not stalked into Morrisons talking about how it is the popcorn of the Ubermench like she has everywhere else. The executives ask James how many they’re willing to ship to them, and James says “however many you need”. Zara gives an estimate of “200-300 unites per week” being the sort of figure they were looking at, and the Morrisons executives collectively groan that that’s a lot of popcorn. Is it? Across all branches of Morrisons? Really?
Outside Haya grumbles that that was certainly tougher than the last pitch and Zara snips that that’s only to be expected given the size of the company. James continues to grumble about the flavour of the popcorn. I would love it if he were setting Zara up for a fall in the event of a win, knowing full well that Haya has about as much chance of winning this as I do. She’s got A-LEVELS and everything. Not that La Popcorn ever had a hope in hell of winning anyway.
Finally, Harry 2 has allowed Harry 1 to do their team#s final pitch. Oh Harry 2. Your generosity to the undeserving is so noble, and will probably lead to your downfall, but obviously definitely not in this task. Harry 1 talks a load of waffle about bundle deals and incentivisation and Dad’s BBQ sauce whilst flapping his hands and being vaguely off-putting. I cant tell if Lizzie’s impressed or scared. The executives ask Harry 2 which aisle he thinks the popcorn could go in, and Harry 1 gets mildly panicky and says it could go in many aisles. The confectionary aisle, erm…the end of an aisle? Near the tills for an impulse buy maybe? The Morrisons people look vaguely unimpressed. Outside Harry 1 says that was definitely a good pitch, and that if he can see anyone ordering in large quantities it’d be a supermarket. Well FINGERS CROSSED!
RESULTS AND MASS-EXTERMINATION TIME!
The candidates enter the atrium, Zara’s dress is the same and is, if anything, shrinking. James and Harry 2 do their best sombre “oh woe the entire fate of my team is upon my shoulders, oh the pressure” faces, Harry 1 picks at his teeth, Haya grumps some more, and the candidates are ushered in, for the last time.
Everyone sits, and Lordalan enters. He opens by telling them that all of the losing team will be fired, and so will one of the winning team. And you Kaen, byeeee!
We start with The Team That Are Going To Win, and Harry 2 is identified as Team Leader. Harry 1 explains that they all wanted to be Project Manager, but it came down to a Battle Of The Harrys in which Lizzie adjudicated in favour of Harry 2. Lizzie grins benignly that she was the Kingmaker. Given that the original “Kingmaker” was stabbed to death on the battlefield Lizzie, I wouldn’t be so pleased about giving yourself the role.
We next cover their packaging and general branding, and particularly why it’s so American. Harry 2 replies that they thought the most obvious connection with popcorn was films, and from there the most obvious connection is Hollywood. Where…the Empire State isn’t, but that’s by the by. Lordalan asks if this was the only concept on the table, and Harry 2 replies, admirably straight-faced that Harry 1 had a concept called “Smoochies” that was for a sharing popcorn. Kaen says that the Harrys “had a heated debate” over which concept was better. If by “heated debate” you been “protracted three day blow-out, most of which Harry 1 spent eating his own face like it was made out of chocolate” then I would agree.
Lizzie pipes up to say that she thought the Smoochies idea was rubbish, and nixed it, and Lordalan says that he actually thinks it’s a good idea. Well that’s how you KNOW it sucks. When he goes to the cinema with Mrs Lordalan they often share their popcorn. I mean…if we’re going to brand a popcorn after what ends up done with it, why not come up with “throwing popcorn” because that seems to be a very popular use for it any time I’ve been to the cinema. Or special “shoe-sticking, floor-ruining” popcorn? Maybe do a double-deal with “sticky-seat Cola”.
Pitching is covered next, with Harry 2 revealing that he shared pitching duties out evenly. Lordalan asks Kaen how Lizzie did on her pitch, and Kaen bigs her up, saying she was very chatty and humorous, and got the basic facts of the product across well. We cover briefly her telling the airline that the packages were flat-pack and stackable, and she thinks this piqued their interest. Harry 2’s pitching on the other hand is mildly criticised, with Kaen saying it was a bit rushed and not very thought through. Harry 2 admits that it wasn’t exactly his best pitch, and he was disappointed in himself, but he thinks the Q & A session afterwards went well. Well yes, but that was mostly due to Harry 1’s obligatory 5 Minutes Of Professionalism of the week.
“goodteamleader?” gets an affirmative from Lizzie, who says he was was fair. Lordalan then goes angling and asks Harry 2 if he thinks he got good co-operation from his team, and Harry 2 lies that generally they were good, apart from when Harry 1 was a massive pain in the arse the entire time. He found it difficult to work with him given that he could not let his brand idea go. Harry 1 breaks in to bluster that he did let it go, eventually, and he got behind the product, Harry 2 can’t say that he didn’t, he was 150% behind it, as soon as it was cleared, he was annoyed but he got on with it, even though it wasn’t smoochies, he did support Harry 2’s lame idea, don’t try and make out I didn’t, Kaen please back me on the fact that I definitely got behind the team direction in the end? (Harry 2 incidentally is quite happy to endorse this viewpoint from about…oooh, 3 seconds in, but then I guess Harry 1 wouldn’t be Harry 1 if he knew when to shut up).
Kaen’s response? “…eventually, when forced, at gun-point. To be fair, I was asleep for most of the day”.
The Team That Are Going To Lose next, and James is identified as Team Leader. He says they were all very keen to be Project Manager (although Haya wasn’t so keen that she didn’t back down about 2 minutes after saying it) and in the end Haya was Queenmaker on the team. And she didn’t want Zara bossing her about. Lordalan asks Zara if she was responding to his criticism of her that she was avoiding being PM and she says that she was, in a way, because she wasn’t avoiding the role, but obviously she was giving off the impression that she was. So in order to let “you three” know that, she was enthusiastic and engaged and really inspired by the task, and she went down in a diplomatic vote. LOL at the idea of anything involving James, Haya and Zara being a “diplomatic” anything. If we got wikileaks on them this whole show would be shut down.
Not to be outdone by this mis-speaking, Lordalan’s next question is :
“So how did you split your team up in order to who does what?”
Thanks Lordalan! James replies that he put Haya on market research (which we didn’t see on either team, so I’m guessing it went smoothly), and himself and Haya together on package design, so Zara was left on her own in the kitchen. Zara says that she wasn’t happy about this, because she has more experience in the creative arts. She personally found the decision quite bizarre, but there we go. Haya says that Zara clearly didn’t trust herself and James together to come up with something creative and attractive (looking at their final packaging, I can’t say as I blame her), despite the fact that Haya totes has a GCSE in Art so CRAM IT WITH WALNUTS, ZARA!
The brand-name is covered next, with Lordalan wrinkling his nose up all over the place. James says it was the best they could come up with after a great deal of struggle. Haya bridles and says that she had loads of better ideas like “Culture Popcorn” and…erm…so many others, so many that she can’t remember them now, but they were definitely really good. And James just ignored them. Lordalan and Nick grumble amongst themselves about how awful the brand-name is and how uninspired and uninventive it is, but given that this is a man who just endorsed “Smoochies” I’m not sure I’m listening.
The flavour is covered next, with James admitting that he absolutely hated the flavour, but had to be confident in the product anyway. Lordalan deadpans back “how can you be confident in a product you don’t like?”. Well what is he supposed to do, send it back? James says he was confident in most aspects of the product – its low-fat status, its erm…well that’s it. BUT STILL. Lordalan remains horrified that anyone would try to sell a product they personally did not think was the best quality (*laughs up sleeve*) and Haya says that and Zara were, too, “like woah” on this matter. James just giggles.
Pitching is covered next, and he says that wanted Zara to do every pitch for reasons of consistency. He, unlike Harry 2 doesn’t give a damn about being “fair” – he just wanted to win the task, so it made sense for one person to do all the pitches and learn and gain in confidence from each one. Like Zara needs to gain in confidence.
The Team That’s Going To Win got 10,000 orders from Odeon, 50,000 orders from Jet2, and 30,000 from Morrisons, for a total of 90,000 units
The Team That’s Going To Lose got 15,000 orders from Odeon, 0 orders from Jet2, and 100,000 from Morrisons, for a total order of 115,000 units.
THE TEAM THAT’S GOING TO LOSE, WIN!
Wait…what? La Popcorn wins? A team consisting of a bunch of rag-tag End-Of-Game-Loser edits wins? HARRY 2 AND LIZZIE LOSE? JESSICA STILL WON’T LOVE HER DADDY? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? My favourite parts of the whole carnage :
a) Nick making it perfectly obvious that La Popcorn tasted like floor-sweepings before proudly announcing that they’d be stocked in huge quantities by Morrisons
b) James MAXI-SULKING throughout. When the order for 0 units from Jet2 came through he’s slumped in his chair, arms folded, brow furrowed, chin halfway into his neck, tongue flicking around like an angry Sarlaac
c) Kaen doing a little circle in the air with her pen at “grand total” like some sort of maths-witch
d) Nick justifying his presence for the series by closing off the orders for the Team That’s Going To Lose by saying “they want to order 50,000 units…OF EACH FLAVOUR!” like he’s Oprah revealing that everyone’s got they keys to a brand new Ford Mustang under their chair
Anyway, James, Haya and Zara are told to wait outside for a minute, because Lordalan’s going to fawn over The Team That Should Have Won in a way that they’d probably find a bit embarrassing to watch. They go outside and fist-pump fulsomely. James looks a bit like he’s going to sick up.
Back in the room, Lordalan gets very philosophical, telling the three losers that, oh well, this is life, someone has to win, someone has to lose when they otherwise would have won thanks to a stupid twist, oh well. Harry 1 is told that in all the years Lordalan has been “working” in this “boardroom” that he’s never met anyone as unlucky as Harry 1, who deserves to have at least one win under his belt. Eh. Lizzie is praised for being “straight-talking” and “telling it like it is” which she is never to change, especially if she wants to be on another reality show. Harry 2 is told that he was an all-round great performer who did some great negotiations. It’s been a pleasure, yadda yadda, here’s my business card, keep in touch, have a lovely summer, but erm…YOU’RE LEAVING THE PROCESS!
LOL at the old softie not being able to tell them all that they’re fired. They all go outside and give everyone waiting out there a big hug. Lordalan and Kaen talk about what a lovely bunch of young people they were, much better than the three we’re stuck with now, oh well, let’s fire one of them for revenge.
Candidates come back in, although let’s face it, Haya might as well have not bothered, even with this episode being as bizarre as it is. Lordalan reminds them that, despite winning, one of them will still be getting fired, and in this will be joining one of my favourite Project Runway contestants of all time Bitchell. Yes I have favourite Project Runway contestants of all time. Don’t judge me.
Anyway, let’s start with this task. Why do they think Zara, who supposedly was their elite amazing pitcher, tank so badly with Jet2? Nobody has any answers, and Zara gets Nick to back her up that her pitch was just as good to Jet2 as it was to anybody else. Nick concurs, and says the problem was really that the popcorn tasted of toenails and…not clean ones at that. Zara protests that, as Morrisons ordered loads, as did Odeon, if Jet2 passed on the popcorn based on flavour, it was probably a personal preference thing, rather than a quality thing. Maybe they just didn’t like the taste of “sort of a little bit from abroad”.
Lordalan next asks the three of them to identify who they think was the weakest link on the team, and James replies first, saying that to be honest, they could have done this task and still won without Haya’s involvement at all. Based on the edit, they…kind of did anyway? Haya protests that the only reason James thinks that is that he wouldn’t let her contribute. All her ideas were shut down and she wasn’t allowed to pitch. She’s contributed fully to every task she’s been part of. She thinks James should be fired, because he was too decisive and controlling – she and Zara could have won this task on their own. James protests – the initial theme was his idea. Everyone has a good giggle about how James thinks everything was his idea, right down to the electric lightbulb and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
James repeats that the healthy angle was his idea, the flavours were his idea, the mediterranean theme was his idea, the slogan was his idea, and the name was his idea. And they won. SO P’NEURR. Lordalan snarks that James can’t be seriously claiming that “La Popcorn” was a stroke of creative genius that won them the task. James says that no, it wasn’t, but it was better than “MediCultureCorn” or anything anybody else said. Zara announces that if SHE had been on the creative team then they definitely would have done much better. Haya did the least, she should go.
Begging time now, more specifically “tell me what you’ve done on this series that’s so great then?” flavour. Haya says that she’s learnt to work in a team well, when normally at school she likes to take projects on alone and be an individual. Well, her and her nan. She comes in for lunchtime and they play cribbage in the corner of the cafeteria. She’s learnt how to approach people, and in every task she’s given her all. She’s stopped being so stubborn, and really started to listen to other people. Sort of. Sometimes.
Zara next, and she says that she’s learnt so much from working as part of a team. I don’t remember that ever happening on the show, unless she means the United Team Of Zara (Occasionally including telling Lewis to shut up because mummy’s talking). She feels she’s gained 6 years worth of work experience in 7 weeks. Given that she was happily gouging and “upselling” to three year olds in Week 1, that’s a scary thought. She feels like a huge sponge, soaking up expertise. What an image.
Lordalan breaks in at this point to say that if he has any negatives about Zara, it’s that he finds her somewhat aloof of dirtying her hands on tasks. She’s quite happy to do the pitch, make the sale, and act the superstar, but she does avoid the hard graft work of creating the product itself a bit doesn’t she? Zara points out, not unfairly, that she just spent an entire day making popcorn thank you very much, without sulking. At this point someone either says “that’s true” or they fart. It’s kind of hard to tell.
James goes next, and admits that he was a disaster on the first task, but he’d never be like that again. He took Lordalan’s criticism on board and become an entirely different candidate. He’s bought, he’s sold, he’s been an excellent Project Manager, and he hasn’t been afraid to offer his opinion. Lordalan says that in this last task he came across as somewhat dictatorial, and James says that he only did what he did in order to get the win. The MEANS JUSTIFY THE ENDS! HE REGRETS NOTHING! WHAT HE DID TO HAYA, HE DID OUT OF LOVE!
Zara is asked for a bit of top-up begging, and she says that she thinks that she’s the most sure-fire investment there. She’s got real-world proof that she’s got the nous to set up a business and get things done. Nobody here is more passionate than she is. James would like to object to this – he’s really passionate as well! He loves the process, he’s passionate about his future! They’re all determined to be here and fight their way into the final. Haya swigs another gulp of water and remains mute.
James top-up begging is along the lines of having shown his excellent business skills throughout the process, in launching a product, negotiating and selling. He’s learnt so much and really wants to be in the final more than anything else. He’s learnt, he’s grown, he’s run up and down Southend Pier dressed as a pirate and yelling his head off. Put him through Lordalan, you know it makes sense! Haya closes out the begging by pointing out that she’s won more tasks than anybody else, she’s pitched, she’s designed…she’s not perfect, but she’s here to win, and make Lordalan proud.
Lordalan reassures them all that they’ve all made him proud, and Britain proud, because they’re a super bunch of youngsters, as were the three that left before them, blah blah blah.
LEAVING THE PROCESS TIME!
James gets the leaving the process-teasing, as Zara is put into the final first and he’s called dictatorial and bossy, but in the end, it’s Haya leaving us at the final hurdle, for being uncreative. She gives a muttered “thank you for the opportunity”, and leaves. Leaving us with a Zara vs James Final 2. Who would have thought it? Lordalan tells James not to let him down, as he was seriously considering putting Haya in the final ahead of him (lol, no he wasn’t) and sends them off to commiserate Haya. Which Zara does by jogging towards her going “oh, sweetheart, are you ok!” like Haya is 4 and has just grazed her knee in the playground. Haya tells her that she’s fine, and then gives James a congratulatory high 5.
In her Limo-Ride Of Shame, Haya says that she’s really proud of herself for reaching the semi-finals, and she thinks she’s achieved more in these 7 weeks than she has in the rest of her 17 years of life. Oh Haya. Meanwhile in their Cab Of Victory Zara and James talk about what a stressful boardroom that was, how much fun the semi-final was, and what a tiring day it’s been. Zara then flips her eyes up into her head and says that, as happy as she is for James, he is now her competition, and she will destroy him. James looks out of the window and…worries.
NEXT WEEK: James does NOT enjoy playing video games he can ASSURE YOU of that!