The Junior Apprentice 2 – Final

The pig-slaughtering democracy-shaking foregone-conclusion calm after the storm.

A sleepy morning in Apprentice Mansions & Design School Reject Farm, as bereft of other hogging the space, James is reaping the benefit of turning the boys bedroom into a money counterfeiting workshop, and Zara is busy practicing her Oscar acceptance speech in the mirror, now that Gbemi isn’t there to laugh and throw chips at her. The Apprentiphone rings, and it’s James who answers it, with his collar turned up and swagger meaning BUSINESS. Cousin It tells James that Lordalan wants to meet him and Zara and County Hall, and the cars will be there in 30 minutes. James rushes to the stairs to tell Zara, but she’s already on her way down. Sadly not in the manner of Gloria Swanson at the end of Sunset Boulevard. She asks him where County Hall is. He says he doesn’t know, but they’re going there in 30 minutes. Why not try Croydon Zara? Seems the most sensible place to start.

James ruffles his hair in the mirror, which suggests that he’s aiming for that look, a la Boris Johnson. He does appear to have had a trim since the APPRENTISLAUGHTER OF 2011. He does also appear to have done it himself. He interviews that it’s going to be tough work beating Zara, because Lordalan likes her and she can speak normal, but he’s going to give it a good go. Zara meanwhile pulls her hair up into its terrifying Power-Dressing Ponytail, and says that she’s so close to the win now she can literally taste it. You might think that’s inaccurate, but she’s actually planning to blow all her winnings on Pik’n’Mix, and she’s eating a Chewy Cherry right now, so NURR. She closes by pretty much saying that she knows she’s going to beat James, but she wants to make it an ABSOLUTE SLAUGHTERING. Atta girl.

The candidates disembark, to their Apprenticars, and sit alone. I wonder who is Generic and who is Atomic Kitten/Sugababes/BixMix at this point? I’ve lost track. And yet they persist with those team-naming segments anyway.

The cars wend through the streets of London, and arrive at County Hall, which was once home to local government, but which now is a FABULOUS tacky arcade. Helpful Voiceover Man tries to shill to us that’s the UK’s ENTERTAINMENT HUB as Zara and James line up next to some dodgems and a Rocky arcade game. I hope this is their final task incidentally. Let them naff around in a tacky arcade for an hour and whoever wins the most prize tickets wins.

Lordalan arrives, and lines up between Nick and Kaen. Even with the constant glow and blaring red and blue lights, Kaen still looks like she’s about to succumb to narcolepsy at any second. He congratulates them on surviving the MEGACULL and reminding them that they’ve conquered 7 very challenging and complicated tasks. Well done them. They’ve come so far from when James ran up and down yelling “I AM A PIRATE! I AM A PIRATE!” and Zara showed 3 year olds a picture of a cute kitten, then HURLED a scoop of ice-cream into their delighted gobs and charged their parents £5.

He tells them they might be wondering why they’re here. Well, it’s because their final task is to make an online computer game. To celebrate this, the next 10 minutes will be taken up by Kaen singing “Video Games : MOGADON REMIX!” by her spiritual sister, Lana Del Rey, dressed as Princess Peach whilst Nick repeatedly head-butts the wall whilst Lordalan throws coins at him and makes “BA-DING!” noises. What a piece of art it was. I know it didn’t make the edit of the show you all watched, but as a blogger I get these privileges, and I enjoyed it.

They’re also going to make a viral Internet video to publicise the game, because those are a new thing that is, viral videos, and also it’ll be fun to watch Zara play Cecilia B. Demented again. Oh and then they’ll pitch their games to a room full of gaming industry experts. In 3 days time. Just bring along some pot and talk about how you were really inspired by Monkey Island, you’ll walk it. There won’t be any winner, obviously, because this is a Finals Task, and a proper one, not the rubbish from the first series of this or the last series of the Proper Show. No, it’s a PROPER, MUDDLED, INCONCLUSIVE, POINTLESS FINAL TASK.

I’ve missed them so much. What could possibly spoil the…oh, Lordalan’s robbing me of my favourite part – the playground team-pick, in favour of designating teams himself. So James is getting Harry 2, Lewis, Lizzie, Hannah and Hayley ; whilst Zara is being put in charge of…jesus wept, Haya, Harry 1, Gbemi, Invisiben, and MAHAMED (!). Yeah, that’s an even division of the talents right there. It’s come to something when, if I were Zara, the thing I’d be most looking forward to was HAYA grumping her way through a task.

Is that enough polls to be getting on with? Good.

Teams depart, in order to pick Project Managers. Harry 1 would like it to go to a vote between himself and Z…oh wait, no, that doesn’t happen. Instead everyone runs back to the Apprenticars and drives off to their first appointment – someone to explain to them what a video game is. You may scoff, but remember when Hannah asked which end of a baby the food went in? It’s for the best. In Zara Apprenticar A she tells Haya and Harry 1 that they’re going to need to give her some really good ideas. Meanwhile James is SHOVING HIS PEN directly into Harry 2’s face, snorting that he seems to be the sort of person who plays these stupid bloody video game things, so GET THINKING. Hannah smiles at his side. I can’t imagine she thought she’d be returning to the final with THIS iteration of command, Harry 2 and James wise. Harry 2 meanwhile gazes out the window and remembers playing Pac-Man when it first came out. Oh the memories. The happy memories of childish dreams later dashed…

James grumbles that he doesn’t know why he spent so much of his youth being a nerd and reading economic textbooks rather than playing computer games. YOU’RE ONLY 17 JAMES! YOU’RE STILL THERE! THERE’S STILL TIME! Bust open the Apprenticar door, throw off your tie, run back to the arcade and play Time Crisis for the nest 3 days. The outcome would have been the same.

Team are now arriving at “Mind Candy” who make Moshi Monsters and other things played exclusively by people who could name more than 2 Justin Bieber songs, and meeting with the head executive, who makes sure to extensively plug his products in the guise of education. Nick sits in the background playing with his Moshi Monster. Kaen tells him to stop it, because they’re on camera, and the both start tooling around with soft toys instead. The most important thing to keep in mind when designing a game apparently, is fun. Then revenue streams, marketing opportunities and endless inferior spin-offs and costume packs. Hooray!

Lesson over, it’s time for Team James to start brainstorming. He doesn’t want any rubbish ideas, only solid gold from beginning to end. He wants fun ideas, because this is going to be a fun game, despite his best efforts, but also NO MESSING ABOUT. Lewis is first up, and has a game idea where you’re at the seaside and you have top seagulls eating your food and/or shitting(/”excreting”) on you. What a shame Harry 1 isn’t here, as they really could have found their first bonding point given his experiences at Rugby with the older boys… Hayley next suggests a game where little girls look after horses in a stable. Hannah grunts that she hates horses, and James says that he personally wants to do a puzzle game. Because there just aren’t enough of those choking up the Internet.

Lizzie next, suggests a game where you look at a picture, then take it away for 20 seconds, and when it comes back something is missing. Lewis reacts like she just INVENTED COLD FUSION WITH HER BRAIN RIGHT THERE ON THE TABLE. James himself likes the idea, because it’s amongst the most boring ideas that a human could possibly come up with, but worries the public might not connect to it. LET’S DO MARKET RESEARCH!

Meanwhile Zara’s brainstorming session is running along the lines of “let’s do any old bollocks with cute animals, I dunno, a platforming game or something”. Harry 1 thinks it should be a bird. Ben thinks it should be a rabbit. Mahamed thinks it should be a BRAIN-EATING ZOMBIE. Wait…what? Anyway it turns out that Mahamed has lots of thoughts about zombies and graveyards and dead parents that nobody really wants or needs to know about. Zara very politely tells Mahamed that the idea of brain-eating zombies trying to murder an orphan is a little “sombre” for her, and she’d really like to go with the cute animals thing. Can Mahamed think of a cute animal? Zara has a clue for him. QUACK QUACK! That’s right, it’s a duck! No, Mahamed, not a zombie duck.

Haya’s all “I KNOW AN ANIMAL! WHAT ABOUT A CUTE LITTLE PIGGY-WIG!” It can be trying to escape from a butcher and as a vegetarian AND a Muslim, this is double propaganda points for her! Woo! Zara says she likes the bird idea, and she likes the pig idea, but for her the pig wins, because the bird had some rubbish about a princess in a castle or something. So overdone. Also this way she can dress Harry 1 up as a pig LOL.

Ideas formulating, Lizzie, Hayley and Lewis are off doing Market Research and so airlocked, it’s time for James to unveil his own idea that’s definitely going to win the task. A puzzle game is a bit boring, he thinks. He’s got a much more exciting idea. AN OFFICE SIMULATOR WITH TIME-MANAGEMENT ELEMENTS! He unveils this idea excitedly to Harry 2 and Hannah in the back of their Apprenticar, and Hannah is all for it. Harry 2 meanwhile is silent. Probably because he’s actually had several office jobs, and doesn’t really want to go back there.

James on the other hand, never having had a cubicle job, is ECSTATIC about entering the world of office politics. He phones Lizzie up, gibbering manicly about a game where you can HAND OUT PAPERS, and MAKE THE COFFEE, and GUARD YOUR STAPLER and ATTACH ATTACHMENTS TO THE E-MAIL WITH ATTACHMENTS OH MY GOD IT’S ALL SO EXCITING I CAN’T WAIT TO BE AN OFFICE DRUDGE LIZZIE, OH MY GOD HOLD ME THROUGH MY PHONE THE EXCITEMENT. Lizzie says that she’ll put both ideas to the public in the form of market research, and Lewis grumbles discontentedly in the background. He thinks both ideas sound really fun, but the missing items idea just sounds MORE FUN, you know. Oh Lewis, I missed how wrong you were about every single thing.

Zara, Ben and Gbemi meanwhile are trolling Ripley’s Believe It Or Not for inspiration for their game design. *shrug*. Gbemi finds a particularly corpulent freak who she thinks would make a fantastic butcher. Thanks Gbemi. Zara gives another interview waffling on about what a naturally gifted and talented creative she is etc etc yadda yadda, you know how she is by now right? She claims that she’s really inspired by the MUSE that has been a freakish recreation of an already freakish original. OTHERWISE KNOWN AS “THE JUNIOR APPRENTICE”, AM I RITE?

Meanwhile, Hannah, Lewis and Hayley’s market research is currently yielding the return that the public would rather be poked in the eye by the pointy stick without dog-poo on the end eg they like the boring puzzle game better than the boring office management game. Lizzie rings up James to tell him this and he says “that’s nice” and ignores her completely. HOORAY! JAMES IS GOING TO LIVE OUT HIS DREAMS OF BEING A DESK-MONKEY VIA VIRTUAL REALITY AFTER ALL! Such fun!

Kaen interviews, saying that James is in a real pickle. He has to THINK of an idea for a game, and then DEVELOP it. Ladies and gentlemen, I think Kaen just worked out what the task is. Give her another 5 minutes and she’ll remember the part about an advert, give her time.

Back with James now, and his dreams of being an office-jockey have just 1-up’d a level in delusions of grandeur. What if he’s not just an office worker? What if he’s the PRIME MINISTER! You could still do files and e-mail attachments and pick up the telephone and staple stuff together and use the photocopier and have a crafty “wank break in the disabled loos” button, BUT THERE WOULD ALSO BE NUKES. This would be really aspirational! People say that word a lot right? “aspirational”? And really it can mean anything? Job sorted. James interviews that he now thinks a game where he is Prime Minister and outlawing pie-makers (HE CAN ASSURE YOU OF THAT) is the way to go. Hooray. But will the Prime Minister have a girlfriend, that’s the question. Can he even dare to dream that highly?

Back with the developers now, and Zara is promoting her dumb game. It’s called “Piggy Panic”. Please make the pig cute. That is all. Gbemi then asks if the pig can have a bandage on one of its legs. It’ll make you want to save the pig even more. Ben giggles about how he doesn’t know if the pig will be able to run with a bandage on its leg (I’m just saying this because it’s a contribution that Ben makes, verbally. I feel they all need to be recorded, like moon landings or funny moment in “Life’s Too Short”). Zara praises Gbemi for her “edgy” idea. Yeah, nothing says edgy like Pudsey Bear.

Next up, Zara tells them that they “all need to stop for a minute and think about what the pig should be called”. Good God but she’s trying to make every little decision seem momentous. She suggests Porky Penny, and Gbemi moots “Pinky” because the pig is pink. Zara coos that this is “quite nice”. Nick then busts up the dream by pointing out that Pinky already exists as a pig, as does “Perky”. Zara sighs “OH OF COURSE! Thank you Nick.” Did Yasmina and Kate thank Nick for his insight? No they did not. Once again, the kids out-strip the grown-ups. All that is left for Team Zara is “Porky Pete” apparently.

Nick interviews that he really likes Piggy Panic, based on the name, and he thinks it could go viral. CALL IN THE VET. Personally I would have gone with a swine-flu joke there Nick, but then I’m not the new host of Countdown, so maybe I shouldn’t judge.

Next up for Team Zara, it’s casting for their advert. This entirely involves a big fat strongman chasing Mahamed around the room whilst he laughs uncontrollably. Does anyone NOT think that this should have been the game? I think this should have been the game. Haya cackles that the strongman is amazing, and he is HIRED. Woo hoo.

It’s now time for James to tell the game developers his idea for a game. It’s a game where he is Prime Minister and he sits at a desk and everyone has to do what he says. NO FRANCE, QUANTITIVE EASING WAS HIS IDEA, STOP TRYING TO SAY IT WAS YOUR IDEA, IT WAS HIS IDEA. In the game if you do well apparently you are told that you have obtained world peace, a Nobel prize, and/or a small upturn in third-quarter economic growth. (Such an economist <3). If you do badly there will be a recession and you will be assassinated. Probably by Zara. With a hair-pin.

The designer asks if they have a name, and James suggests maybe “PM Panic”. I love the parallel being drawn here in terms of the creativity being shown on both teams. Harry 2 barely pulls himself out of his slump (I think someone hit the hotel minibar HARD after his loss and is still a bit hungover. He drunk-dialled Jessica’s new house. She didn’t even recognise his voice.) to suggest “Crazy Cabinet” (like the one he pulled down on top of himself whilst twatted on mini-Smirnoffs and Toblerones). James agrees this, and Harry 2’s attendant slogan “Do A Better Job”, are the way to go. He interviews that he hopes the game appeals to lots of other people, because it certainly appeals to him, because he quite wants to be Prime Minister.

As he leaves James tells the programmers that he hopes they have fun making his game. I’m sure they will James. I’m sure there will be several bits of hidden code indicating what a fun guy you are.

Day 1 closes, Day 2 begins.

10am and Haya, Zara and Harry 1 are all arriving in a North London park to film their advert. By which I mean Zara is arriving to film it, and Harry 1 and Haya are just going to sit around watching. The theme is that a woman in a pig costume is going to be chased around the park by Mahamed’s nemesis – the butcher. That’s about it. Nick waxes enthusiastic about what a crazy and WEIRRRRRRRD advert Zara’s brain has given birth to. It…doesn’t really look like it.

Meanwhile Lizzie, Harry 2 and James (aka THE DREAM TEAM) are setting up outside Westminster, to film their advert, which is going to be a spoof Party Political Broadcast. It’s a bit of a hackneyed idea, but it’s more interesting than whatever the other team are doing. James explains that he’s going to have crazy ideas like someone saying they’re going to sell off Scotland to repay the deficit, which is sure to offend people, but only Scottish people, and really, isn’t comedy only comedy if it offends Scottish people?

So really, the characters are a) a composite of all the things Harry 1 has said in the house (BUSES ARE LOSER CRUISERS! I’D HANG MYSELF IF I FOUND MYSELF BUYING FOOD IN A SUPERMARKET!) and b) an in-joke back Apprentice Mansions & Island Of Misfit Toys about lemons. This is SO a school drama project and I love it. Character B wriggles his fingers and says “Vote For Keith!” (LOL! KEITH!) and pretends to be a pigeon (which is funny because do you remember that time Lewis wondered if you could eat a pigeon OH MY GOD HOW FUNNY LEWIS OF COURSE YOU CAN EAT A PIGEON, LIKE, THE FRENCH DO IT).

Zara meanwhile is still filming her advert. The concept of “comedy” and Zara are…not a natural mix. To put it mildly. I’m not saying she has NO sense of humour. I’m just guessing it’s very…focussed. Harry 1 hangs around looking bored and wondering if this shouldn’t be more (ie “at all”) entertaining, as Zara micro-manages the show of the pig sat on a park-bench for MAXIMUM COMIC POTENTIAL. She interviews that she’s never directed comedy before, and it’s really difficult to capture comedy on film, because if it looks artificial, it doesn’t work. So in order to work on this, she micro-manages the poor girl in a pig costume in a sequence where she has to jump over the bench, right down to the facial gestures. When the girl is in a pig costume. With a giant pig’s head on. Oh Zara.

Harry 1 interrupts to say that the pig should fall over, because falling over is funny. Zara looks baffled. He then suggests that maybe they should have someone representing “the player” run in and rugby-tackle the butcher to the ground, comically, because the player will be a weedy geek. Zara starts talking about metaphysics. I don’t think Zara really understands what comedy is. I think it’s a bit like that psychological syndrome where that man thought his wife was a hat. You point it at her brain, and it just bounces straight off again. They get some by-stander to rugby-tackle the butcher. Everyone agrees that this is the end, and claps, vaguely embarrassed.

6pm now, and we’re in the editing suite with Team James. They’re having a high old time with their Harry 1 and Random In-Jokes character and constantly asking for reassurance from their tech guy that he understood all the jokes. Their tech guy does not look INCREDIBLY convinced. James interviews that he’s not worried about Zara’s directing experience, because her last advert looked like the fifteenth Shaft sequel and he’s MUCH more fun than she is.

Team Zara’s editing suite and they’re trying to make a pig purse out of her tin ear (or something like that, let me off, it’s the end of the series), as she fiddles with the speed of individual shots. Harry 1 suggests that they should just watch it all the way through to make sure that it is actually funny. Zara looks baffled. Haya nudges her, saying “it’s not shocking, so it has to be funny”. I think Haya would fit right in at the Channel 4 Commissioning Office. Zara plays the whole thing back and the whole thing is about as funny as a Stan Boardman Comeback Special. The only noteworthy thing about the whole mess is that the jingle sounds like the sound of an impending stabbing in a nightmare. It’s like the Jaws theme on helium. Haya and Harry 1 both point out that it’s not funny, and Zara huffs that they only think that because they’ve become jaded from watching it so many times. No Zara, it is because IT IS SHIT.

She interviews that her advert is “edgy with a twist” (what’s the twist? Does the pig turn out to be Kevin Spacey in the end?), “sort of uplifting” and “fun to watch”. What’s fun to watch is Zara unhitch her moorings entirely from reality in this episode. And she was always loosely tethered before.

Day 2 ends, Day 3 begins.

It’s time to LAUNCH THOSE GAMES! Does anyone even know what Hannah, Ben, Mahamed, Hayley, Gbemi, and Lewis were doing on Day 2? Were they just all stuck under the stairs at Apprentice Mansions & Splodge Haberdashery so they couldn’t mess things up? Regardless, the teams are arriving at their launch venue (I think it’s Millbank Towers, but I could be wrong) to play their game for the first time. Mahamed is naturally right on top of things for Team Zara, ramming Porky Pete repeatedly into the butcher trying to turn him into a zombie. Their game looks kind of…rubbish to be honest. The pig’s cute enough (particularly in the Game Over screen) but it looks like the sort of thing you’d play for about 20 seconds before getting bored and moving on to something else. Also the collision-detection looks AWFUL, but I guess that’s not the team’s fault.

James’ game on the other hand is a labyrinthine MESS but it looks amazing. About fifteen different men run at you demanding stuff every five seconds and two phones constantly ring and the German foreign minister swings in through your window and Margaret Thatcher tumbles down the chimney as the Ghost Of Prime Ministers past and Nick Clegg’s constantly running round in the background clutching his head going “oh dear, oh dear, oh dear” like Rain Man and lots of desk drawers fly open and…it looks absolutely impossible, but amazing basically. I’d play it. James himself is naturally taking the reins, with Hannah yelling “TAXES! TAXED! JAMES ANSWER THE PHONE! ANSWER THE PHONE!” in the background like the very best kind of backseat gamer (ask my boyfriend what those are like. Particularly the variations where I really know what he’s supposed to do but I’m not sure if I should say because it would ruin it for him).

Time now to set up for presentations. Team Zara are creating a farmyard style set from crates and fake moss and little toy pigs. The key issue arises of who should go in the pig costume. For once, Harry 1 wins a vote, and is promptly plonked into the outfit. Zara practices her speech backstage, with the help of cue cards as Nick marvels over how amazing she is and how he’s never seen such a driven 16 year old in his life! This is like Susan Ma all over again isn’t it?

Meanwhile, James’ pitch-writing is a collaborative affair between himself Harry 2 and Lizzie. He covers a few key points with them, and tells Lizzie he doesn’t want to try to tell the games industry experts how to do their own jobs, as it’ll be obvious he’s trying to bullshit them. ON THIS SHOW? He and Harry 2 go over the speech one last time, as Harry 2 stares out the window. James interviews that he’s really keen to get this pitch over with. Not that he’s not confident in his own abilities, oh no, he just wants to keep things short and sweet.

6pm now, and people are arriving from the gaming industry to view the team’s products. They’re apparently from companies as diverse as Facebook and Disney, and all experts. They all crowd around the teams games and play away merrily, gamely pretending that it’s not entirely obvious that these games are both fairly cheap tat knocked up in two days by coders with nothing better to do. This playing further reveals that Piggy Panic is set in a farm on the effing moon, as Porky Pete seems to spend about 4 seconds per jump floating slowly through the air, and then randomly taking damage for no reason. This game is honestly worse than Superman for the N64. At some random point, Piggy Panic tells the gaming experts that they have won. HOORAY!

Now it’s time for Lordalan to arrive. He’s going to be so pissed that neither team’s randomly attached a glitchy “fax machine” function to their game for no reason. He walks the room, scowling everywhere at these so-called video-games. BOO TO THEM.

James is up first to pitch, with a giant fake black Number 10 door behind him. Amazing. He calls his audience “my dear people of this nation”. Also amazing. His pitch is…well, it’s James. Everything is barked at double volume and incredibly awkward, which I’ve come to find endearing, but it took me a good month before I even considered James as anything other than a minor irritant character HOW WRONG I WAS. These guys have only known him 10 seconds. He is somewhat buoyed up by the fact that his pitch is somewhat of a spoof political rally speech, which allows for fake bombast (and also amazing fake Tony Blair hand actions that I hope were on purpose). Also, for no reason, Harry 2 is a policeman. They play their viral advert, it’s quite funny, for something produced by 16 year olds in a day.

Once it’s over James outlines their plans for expansion – they’re going to create an expansion pack with more levels (given that the thing looked impossible at the level they’ve already got, it seems unlikely) and they’re also going to take the game global. What about “Mr President”? Or other jobs, like Mr Plumber, or Mrs Paramedic? (This series’ blind DEVOTION to gender stereotypes not quite dead then). Why stop there? I’d love to play Mrs Global Pricing Leader or Mr Business Development Manager? Oh and it’s going to be an app. Of course it is.

Now it’s time for “Prime Minister’s Questions”. Lordalan laughs at this wordplay and makes a note to steal it for later, pretend it’s his, and then edit this bit out. But then he got distracted by just tweeting exactly what was happening in the episode and adding LOL at the end, so it’s all for the best really. A Feminist Lady asks James why there are no girls in his cabinet, especially as most of the casual gaming market are women. At the mention of the words “casual gamer”, the representatives for the PS3 vomit and hurl themselves out the nearest window. James says you can be a lady MP or something, shrug. He’ll add the option for it. Another guy asks if James has considered using current news events as marketing opportunities and also as inspiration for downloadable content. James says sure, why not?

Once he’s done, everyone on Team James claps him and tells him he’s done well and hooray for him. Again, particularly Hannah. Either she’s trying very hard to come back and be positive and redeem herself for her invisible showing, or she’s just IN LOVE WITH JAMES OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH or something.

Zara’s pitch next and it’s very much a…Zara pitch. Very polished, very professional, with just a tinge of unpleasantness and weirdness to suggest it’s all going to go a bit Twin Peaks at any minute. She explains the concept of the game, where you’re a crippled pig who runs away from a butcher who lives in a farmhouse full of toxic waste (ON THE MOON), saving farmyard animals. And yet still the viral advert is incredibly boring and amateurish. Zara cues up this advert, by the way, by saying it’s “probably going on the Internet”. Yeah, maybe.

Her ideas for future development? Social networking! Constant adverts! In-game shops where you spend £1 on a shield or a potion or an extra life! Merchandise! She says that she’s obviously incredibly passionate about the product, and everyone laughs. I think she was being self-aware with that. Possibly.

The first question is about pricing – apps sell for 69p online typically, of which you only get 49p back. How does Zara intend to turn a profit? She says that she thinks people would be willing to pay a few quid for the game in its full version (HA!) and as it became more and more popular she could ramp the price up even more. Second question is with regards to why Porky Pete has a bandage on his leg. Is this an actual plot point now? Oh dear. Zara says that she wanted to hint that Porky Pete had a past with the butcher. A…sexy past?

Once she’s finished (and we get confirmation that she’s been Generic and James has been Atomic Kitten the whole time) she parties with her team. And by “parties” I mean “gets a hug from a man in a pig costume whilst everyone stands around awkwardly asking her how it went”. There’s not a HUGE amount of love in the room here.

Both pitches over, it’s time for the gaming experts to give blandly positive interviews about the candidates products. Moshi Monsters Man says that Zara’s cute pig character has great potential for persuading 8 year olds to steal mummy’s credit card and buy lots of sunglasses and cute hat costume packs for him. The creator of Singstar says she can really see a hook in pretending you’re Prime Minister and doing a better job. Mike from Sony Entertainment thinks that Lordalan is going to have a tough decision choosing between James and Zara. Also he didn’t know that there would be “casual gamers” here. *spit* Could you edit him out please? If it turns out he was in the same room as a copy of “Cooking Mama”… (*shudders*)

TASK ENDS!

Day 4 now (Jesus, this “week” has almost actually taken a week. What’s happening with this show?) and Zara is busy applying make-up. She says that, now it’s down to just her and James, she’s confident she’s given every ounce of her attention to winning. Wait, was she not before? Could have fooled me. James meanwhile is now fluffing his jacket up to look as creased and dishevelled as possible (James to star in a 21st century remake of Columbo yes? His “JUST ONE MORE THENG!” would be my tv highlight of the week every week. Or at least a special guest murderer – “I did NOT murder my wife I can ASSURE YOU OF THAT) and saying that he wouldn’t have applied to “the process” if he didn’t think he could win. Zara may be a worthy finalist (debatable), but he knows he’s a worthy winner (debatable, but bizarrely, to my mind, less so).

The candidates leave Apprentice Mansions & Ugly Garish Tacky Overdone Theatrical Gewgaws Homestead for the last time, as a storm breaks over their heads. How cinematic, eh Zara. She interviews that she now has her eyes on the prize, and James says that he’s now beaten 10 other people in “the process”, and there’s only one to go. Yeah, but it’s a girl-one and one of them is due to win this series so…good luck with that.

Speaking of those ten people…here they are now! They’re accompanying the finalists in to the final Boardroom. No ushering in, poor nu-cousin It. I bet she was looking forward to doing a final one of those. She was going to do an accent and everything. Anyway, they all sit down, and Lordalan joins them, smirking mildly.

After our standard round of “good afternoooooon Lordalan, good afternoooooon everybody” like a school assembly, Lordalan congratulates everyone on putting on quite the show the evening before. Especially the bit at the end where Lewis and Harry 1 had a cat-fight in a fountain at the end like Dynasty. That really impressed the big names. He reminds the kids that he used to be in the computer industry, back in the day when apples and blackberries were things you’d put in pies, not things you’d use as the punchline in awful jokes.

We start with James’ game – “Crazy Cabinet”. Lordalan chortles that James obviously made this game because one day he wants to be Prime Minister. James replies that he did used to want that, but after making a game and realising how hard it was (in this game, that he made up) that it’s no longer a dream of his. This is of course why the Oliver Twins gave up on their dream of being adventurous eggs having fantastical adventures.

We cover the brainstorming process first – James admits that he took too long to get going, and spent too much time waffling rather than coming up with ideas and making decisions. He’s glad now thought that he took time to consider and mull over the ideas properly, because otherwise they would have gone with that stupid “room game” idea, and that would have been a disaster. Hannah perkily cheerleads for James, saying more or less the same thing. Lordalan tells them that the gaming executives agreed that the idea was a very very good one, and could easily be translated out into other professions (like, say the 752 fast foot restaurant flash games the base code was clearly taken from?). James brags that there are SO MANY ways the game could be diversified that he quite lidderally could not think of them all before the presentation.

Time now to cover the viral advert. Lordalan jokes that the MPs in the advert were actually higher quality than some of those CLOWNS IN WESTMINSTER AMIRITE LOL, but he wonders whether it would actually lead people to the game. James explains that the advert was supposed to be funny (I’m presuming that this is for the benefit of Zara…) and hopefully the feeling of warmth would lead to them passing it on. Lordalan offers his judgment though – he didn’t think it related to the product. Lizzie gamely (and doomedly) explains to Lordalan that viral adverts are different from tv adverts and don’t actually have to relate to the product as much. Lordalan says that he gets that, but WHERE WERE THE PRODUCT SHOTS? Why were they not just doing a literal recreation of the game? Why was their backing not just someone yelling “CRAZYCABINET CRAZYCABINET CRAZYCABINET!” over and over again. HE DON’T GET IT! The other team’s was better because, whilst it was offensively poorly shot, unfunny, unmemorable and annoying, it did feature a pig running round in it. That’d make Lordalan want to play a game with a pig running round in it. DO YOU SEE?

We then follow over to Zara, who talks about the process of being the auteur behind “Piggy Panic”. She says that she created a Mind Map (ugh, great, as if I wasn’t rooting for James enough. Fie on anyone who does “mind maps”. The only time I ever got detention at school was because I couldn’t stop laughing at a video at school about the benefits of mind-mapping. It was presented by some obnoxious American teenage girl whose head flew off randomly and flew around going “YAY! MOYND MAHPPING!”. I nearly died). Anyway they had a few ideas, one involving Mahamed “being a zombie”. I think that might have been an idea you had Zara. Mahamed explains his zombie idea and everyone laughs at how creepy and off-putting he is.

Lordalan then explains to Zara that, whilst James’ idea had greater potential for diversifying (because who hasn’t sat at home and wondered if they couldn’t be a better plumber than the people who already do it?), her idea has greater potential for cheap tacky merchandising, because the lead character is cute. We also cover Zara’s viral advert and how it was better, which I’m skipping over because NO IT WASN’T.

It’s time now, to get feedback with regards to the comeback candidates. Zara says that Gbemi was a real help when it came to constructing the game, and Gbemi replies that she was very proud to be part of this team and she’s so glad that this team produced something so good in such a short space of time. Lizzie pipes up that of course she’s gutted that she wuzzrobbed of her rightful place in the final but it was a pleasure to work for James. Hannah pips up in the background all “YEAH! WOO! JAMES TO WIN! HE WAS REALLY GREAT!”. James for his part says that he was very glad to haze Lizzie and Harry 2 by his side the whole task. (Poor Hannah.)

Nick next offers his opinion, as a completely dispassionate observer, that Zara is the greatest human being ever to have lived and she should win because she is the best and so pretty too. She handled it firmly and fairly. Yeah, in your dreams Nick. Over in the corner, Kaen wakes up, and begrudgingly says that James is alright too she supposes, then goes back to sleep. The returning candidates are dispatched, back to wherever they came from. Harry 2 clasps James firmly on the shoulder and tells him that he knows what Harry 2 thinks already. Lizzie also gives him a warm goodbye. Over on the other team…someone shakes Zara’s hand. Then Hannah runs over and goes “HI ZARA!”. Bless her. One of the few reality tv contestants who actually appears to have come here to make friends.

Candidates go out, Nick jokes that James could be Prime Minister…OF IRELAND LOL, candidates come back in again.

Lordalan says that, whilst he doesn’t intend to undermine the importance of the task they’ve just done, he’s going to forget it entirely now if they don’t mind, because it was, in fact, irrelevant.

We start with James, and how he was Project Manager twice, but not early on, because nobody liked him. James admits that he did come into “this process” the wrong way, but he’s a fast learner, takes criticism on board and tries to change as a result. I love that he’s watched this show before and is hammering the “LEARNCHANGEGROW” button as hard as he can. When he was Project Manager, he got the full backing of his team, and he won. He’s learnt to manage and delegate, which he couldn’t do at the start of the process, and now he’s the best at it! Who knew? Lordalan asks if there was any point in this task that James over-rode the research and opinions of his team to force his own ideas through, and James deftly avoids the question in favour of promoting himself as a risk-taker. I guess those dreams of being PM haven’t QUITE died then.

Zara’s next and she’s asked if she’s a risk-taker, especially as she seems to have assiduously avoided being PM throughout. Zara says that was never her intention, and she’s always worked hard and put forward ideas. Kaen points out that, whilst Zara hasn’t been Project Manager that often, she has always led every sub-team she’s on, regardless of whether she was delegated to that position or not (remember when Hayley was delegated to be in charge of Harry 1 on the old people task? No relevance, I just still find it hilarious). That’s very true Kaen, in the sense that Zara was always PM of a sub-team of one, on whatever task she did. Zara admits she got the balance between risk-taking and following wrong throughout the process, but Kaen’s just pointed out to her that she’s incredibly overbearing whether she realises it or not, so why not realise it ALL THE TIME?

Lordalan next asks James if it’s intimidating to be in the middle of a boardroom battle with someone as articulate as Zara? James replies that Zara may be articulate, but she flowers up her speech with waffle and niceties, whereas he’s straight to the point. Zara replies that she feels that she should point out, for the sake of her English teacher as much as anyth(BZZT, THE POINT GOES TO JAMES). Lordalan says to her that he prefers to have just the facts, rather than all the decoration around them. Bullet points : BANG BANG BANG. James returns to the fray and says that that’s him Lordalan, he does that, the BANG BANG BANG thing.

Lordalan then awkwardly segues to James’ habit of promoting things despite not really believing in them. Wasn’t it refusal to do that that got Dr Sophie Hitler fired in Series 3? Oh this show and its shifting morality. James says that he’ll do whatever it takes to win, and Nick hops in to say “like selling flower arrangements that were a load of old tat to win the task?”. Yes, because ZARA OF THE UPSELLING TO 4 YEAR OLDS IS ON SUCH FIRM GROUND HERE. Seriously, Zara wouldn’t even have given them a discount when they pointed out that the flowers were just two begonias held together with sellotape. She would have said they’d made a deal and that was it. GUARANTEE. Anyway James gives the worst possible defence of “oh that was early in the competition, I’ve changed since then”. James, it was Week 3 of 8, let’s not get silly.

Lordalan then starts waffling about how in the long-term, honesty and integrity are the way, and WHAT? WHEN HAS THAT EVER BEEN THE LESSON FROM THIS SHOW, I AM SO LOST.

Candidates go out AGAIN, then come back in AGAIN. God only knows why.

Once they’re back, Lordalan reminds them that they’re not actually competing for a job (you could have told Stella that…), but for a great big wodge of his cash, that he will oversee the spending of. So he wants to hear what they’re going to do with it. Zara starts, saying that she’s going to use the money to buy more advanced equipment for her film-making studio, so she can sell her products to bigger clients, and then get more money, and the cycle can continue from there. James on the other hand…is going to use the money as a student loan.

It was here that Zara won CONCLUSIVELY isn’t it?

Lordalan asks if James has ever had a job (read his RAY-ZOO-MAY Lordalan, it should be in there) and James says that he hasn’t. But surely the fact that he’s done so well in “this process” with no experience shows what a well of potential he is? He really wants to get out there and make something, market it, and sell it. Lordalan beams at Zara and asks her to really rub it in to James that she’s had a job and he hasn’t. She does so, talking about how she’s made films for two years now and is really enjoying being a productive member of society, who works with charities and passes all her GCSEs. One day she’s going to run a whole media company, because she’s kind of a renaissance person like that.

James breaks in to say that it’s fantastic that Zara is making money from doing something she loves, but that shouldn’t do him down, because what he’s learnt from “the process” is so invaluable blah blah blah. Lordalan shuts him down and says he likes enterprising people like Zara who don’t think the world owes them a living. James blusters that he may not have done enterprising things in the past, but he’s definitely an enterprising person. Also, he’s got soul, but he’s not a soldier.

Next up the candidates are asked why they should win. Zara says she should win because she is driven, and has never once lost her focus during the competition. Also, she’s not just a dreamer who sits around thinking of doing great things, she actually gets out there and does them. SO THERE JAMES. Lordalan asks her what James’ weaknesses are, and she replies that he’s never got there and tried to do anything – he’s just been an economics geek. She doesn’t believe that what he does with the £25,000 will be even as good as what she’s already done without it. OOF. That was low.

James asks what Zara’s basing that on, and Zara smiles back “what have you done outside of this?” and James blusters that he’s studied economics, and is in fact the best economist of his generation in Northern Ireland SO THERE. She can’t say that she’s achieved more than him outside this process, and she says that she can because she has. James then desperately starts ramming the “CORPORATE” button that worked so well in Series 6, and says that he’s got actual business instincts in buying and selling, which Zara does not. Oh, also, he takes risks, which pay off.

Zara flies in with one last point – that there’s only one task (old people) where we know that James out-sold her. On the floristry and the ice-cream? Who knows.

HIRING TIME!

We cover how James has grown over the process and is unafraid to follow his instincts, and how Zara is calm and articulate and in charge of her emotions. Lordalan is finding it so hard to decide, because they’re so close in quality, but so different in terms of personality. But he’s going for…

Zara. Ba’duh. She smiles and cradles her face in her hands, and James congratulates her with a handshake, whilst still having a FACE LIKE THUNDER obviously.

Straight to her LIMO OF VICTORY goes Zara, where she interviews that it’s incredible to be leaving this process as the winner. The whole experience has been amazing and she’s taken more from it than she ever thought she would.

Well that’s nice then.

15 thoughts on “The Junior Apprentice 2 – Final

  1. Tim

    Never mind Kaen, how about Zara being related to Lana Del Rey? In the same way she took her stage name from a model of Ford car, I bet we’d find Zara’s middle name was ‘Focus’ or maybe ‘Ka’ (for Kiddie Apprentice).

    When James said he was more fun than Zara, the sad thing he was right, even though he was too often about as much fun as The Exorcist. Still, at least Mahamed returned to steal the show not once but twice with his Zombie game idea and then his Benny Hill chase.

    As ever, your recaps have often been more entertaining than the actual episodes. Back for more next year …

    http://slouchingtowardsthatcham.com/2011/12/13/young-apprentice-final-fantasy-as-crazy-cabinet-takes-on-piggy-panic/

    Reply
  2. Shrinking Man

    I think, to be honest, that Zara deserved to win the programme, for her delivery of the line “we wanted to suggest that maybe this pig had…a past…?”

    Reply
  3. David

    Sadly James committed Apprentisuicide didn’t he by not having a business idea on which he wanted to spend the money. Such a pity Mahamed was fired in Week 1 …. his comedy potential was there for all to see.

    Great recaps throughout this series as always, I CAN ASSURE YOU OF THAT.

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      Asking Lordalan of the Car-Boot Sale to invest in education for education’s sake was always going to be a forlorn hope…

      Reply
  4. kassieq

    Disappointed that Lordalan, always saying he got where he is today by taking risks, then selected the safe candidate in Zara. James coming to the table with no business plan and no way to blag himself out of it, deserved to lose. Zara and her white/dress & red coat was always going to win.

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      Doesn’t he always go for the safe pair of hands? Although I question whether “I run a film company from my laptop” is ever a safe option.

      Reply
  5. Jo Sarsam (@azure_karura)

    Mahamed’s zombie game description went into a terrifying level of detail, but maybe he just wants the world to know about the day he was standing at his parents’ graves and the dead rose up around him.

    Neither of the games did it for me, there just weren’t enough flightless birds being launched from slingshots. The Piggy Panic ad was particularly awful, and what farmhouse is filled with vats of toxic waster?

    Reply
  6. Ferny

    Mahamed is a steange idiot but he did make laugh in the final.

    My whole family was rooting for James and his cynicism so I was disappointed he lost, especially as the money will go on Zara making films. I bet they are rather pretentious. Ah well.

    Reply
  7. Ferny

    OK that first sentence is appalling…what I meant to say was:
    Mahamed is a strange idiot but he did make me laugh in the final.

    Reply
  8. fused

    I think one thing Zara got right is that she managed to make the pitch for the game and for how she was going to spend the money at least sound interesting and like she was invested in it. She comes across like she believes in what she’s saying, whether she actually does or not. James’ schtick of being sardonic about everything probably put as many people off as it appealed to. I’d say that Zara either had a better tactic or had a personality more suited to the particular task, which both in the game pitches and in the boardroom, was essentially selling an idea.

    Reply
    1. monkseal Post author

      I guess James suffered from the fact that he makes an awful first impression generally. God knows I didn’t really warm up to him until half way through.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s