So, the most obvious question is…did this year’s business plans suck as hard as last year’s? Happily, they did not. And they were as follows :
Jade : The world’s largest call-centre, the size of Taiwan, forcing all the people of the UK into a 24/7 of cold-call hell until they cut off all contact with the outside world just to avoid it. Potentially driving them into the arms of her DRUNKEN JELLIES SEX CULT
Nick : An online website where you enter whatever recipes you want to have for the week, and it purchases all of the ingredients for you.
Ricky Martin : A scientific recruitment agency
Tom : A wine-related hedge-fund
Notice that it’s quite hard to make jokes about most of those? Yeah, I’m looking forward to writing this recap. The credibility and sustainability of hedge-funds isn’t really my area of expertise. Can’t get many gay jokes out of it anyway. (Not I don’t proimise to try). Jade’s is the worst of the bunch, and this, combined with the fact that she falls apart in interview like a wet sandcastle on the beach, means that she finishes fourth – a fact which is obvious from about a third of the way through the episode, if not sooner. Her sporadic CV, her abandoned A Level in Business Studies, her personal morals, her figures…everything else is pulled to pieces. At one point it becomes clear that Ant has actually gone out in his actual real life to try to sabotage her business plan, which has to be a low, even by the standards of that shouty red-faced stubbly bollock they used to get to do this bit until he went bankrupt (HA HA HA). Or at least it would be, if it wasn’t immediately apparent that it was never going to be a reality. Jade’s response to all this? “God, I need a drink” (<3)
This leaves a Final 3, which has to be made into a Final 2 for the purposes of the format of this show. Getting the bin is, sadly, Nick, because nobody really understands how his business plan is supposed to work. This may be because some of the interviews are quite thick (Dec in particular doesn't appear to have heard of the concept of a "Weekly Shop"), but to be honest, it is hard to see a profit at the base of it, and Nick proclaiming that it's going to be the new Google doesn't help. In the end, Lordalan can't see where the money lies (at one point saying that he wouldn't have bothered with the Moon Landings, because it didn't turn a profit, OH LORDALAN) so Nick is a goner, and has only the warm loving arms and unstable mind of Gabrielle to compensate.
So, for the second series in a row, the Final 2 consists of the team that won the final task. Ricky Martin vs Tom. Both have interesting paths through the Interviews Round. Tom's path is the more conventional by some distance. His character is poked at a little (he's called a daddy's boy, it's implied repeatedly that he's never had to work for anything in his life, his risk-taking tendencies are frowned upon, he's deemed to be too young for the show, his use of the phrase "Big Noise On Campus" is derided), but the interviews call his business plan one of the best and most sophisticated they've seen, and everyone agrees that he's got his head screwed on tightly. In the end, he's the "risky prospect", a fact that prompts Lordalan to call him the devil, and Nirrck to represent choosing him to Lordalan as a mid-life crisis on par with getting a tattoo, a motorcycle, and an 18 year old Latvian girlfriend all in one day. Naturally Nirrck presents this as a good thing because…well…it's Nirrck.
Ricky Martin on the other hand…breaks the show, in a way even more glorious than Yasmina did, which makes me happy that he ultimately wins the whole shebang. Everyone sits him down and tells him that the stupid crap he wrote on his application form (which is amazing incidentally. He calls himself Thor and calls Lordalan an old dog) is nauseating and repulsive. Well aware that he only said that garbage to get on a stupid fakey game-show, Ricky Martin then one-ups them all and pretends that he really meant it but has been on a journey since then, and has grown and learnt as a businessman by blowing up a chutney factory and inventing a fitness routine. In this sense, he turns the show’s own weapons against itself, and this, combined with the fact that his business plan is clear and well-constructed, and safer than Tom’s (apparently. Like I said, “hedge funds”, I dunno) is enough to force the win out of Lordalan’s hands. It’s not enough to propel this whole series up into the higher echelons of Apprentice runs, but it’s a very satisfying ending courtesy of a man who most of us wrote off in the beginning as this year’s Stuart Baggs.
It’s a win for the Best Saleswoman in Europe. A win for the killer whale of the sea. A win for the blonde assassin who manipulated men with her hypnoboobs. A win for whoever tastes success in their spit and whose first word was money. A win for anybody who can’t say the word “loser”, is personal friends with Dalai Lama, and has their footprints on the moon. If everything you touch turns to sold, if all your apples are in fact oranges, if you prefer making money to having sex, and if you’re a rough tough cream puff from New York, congratulations. Your time has come. Your champion has arisen. It’s Ricky Martin – wrestling biochemist with elite maths skills and a talent for the bagpipes.
The joke candidates have finally won. May it never end.
(Except this one was quite good and that)
(And judging from last year, I’m sure Tom will have his hedge-fun money from Lordalan within about 9 months)