The Apprentice 9 – Week 11 Summary

INTERVIEWS! This year they’re being carried out by Claude (investigating the business plans), Ant (doing general business stuff), Margaret (reading out people’s CV, this show’s equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel), and new interviewer, Brownie Reporter Claudine (asking about people’s dead dads and trying to find out if they love their nans and are nice to puppies and stuff). I’m not sure if she’s a step up from Dec or not, but at least she’s less full of herself and doesn’t make anybody do the elevator pitch.

Francesca : Francesca puts in a classic “comes across as a nice person, not so much the business” interviews performance. Charms everyone with her plain-speaking and fairness, doesn’t so much fill them with confidence with the fact that it turns out that she’s completely made up all of the numbers for her existing businesses based on literally nothing other than which ones sounds nicest. Five million. That’s a nice number isn’t it? LOTS OF MARGINS FOR EVERYONE! The main story for Francesca though is really that she spends the entire episode gradually building up to calling Luisa out for everything she’s done throughout the process, only to muff it entirely by winding up saying “Luisa was horrible in the beginning but I guess now she’s sort of alright I guess at this stage fine”. If you’re going to knife someone Francesca, don’t use a spork. She goes out in third place.

Jordan : Anyone hoping that last week was only the set-up for a GLORIOUS VOMIT-FREE COMEBACK this week are going to be disappointed. Yes, his utter collapse continues apace, starting with a light grilling from Margaret, proceeding through a truly arse-puckering experience with Ant, wherein Jordan is forced to do a Rubik’s Cube at gunpoint, and finally a brief drive-by pissing-off (with air quotes) of Claudine before it all culminates in Claude screaming in his face that he is a DIRTY PARASITE and he’s not even going to bother interviewing him. Needless to say, he is fired out of a cannon into the sun at the first opportunity, choking and half-crying and pouting. It’s probably the least dignified exit at interviews ever, which is quite sad, because let’s face it, he deserved better than Jamie Lester got at the very least.

Dr Leah : Starts off by telling Ant in (unnecessarily blunt) detail about all the plastic surgery she’d give him, and then only gets more awesome from there. Utterly disarms Claude by reeling off a full list of her business costings (including an offer to do all her own cleaning), owns the final Boardroom preamble, gets a minimal frisking from Margaret. The worst that happens is that treehouse reporter Claudine thinks she’s a “bit cold” (who cares?) and Lordalan has ethical misgivings about the fact that he’s going to be buying into the Botox business. She’s the first to be put into the final, and at this point I would be betting on her to pull off the final victory. Hopefully at which point she will turn to Luisa and say “NO OFFENCE LOVE, BUT I’M THE APPRENTICE!”. Full circle, innit?

Luisa : Luisa is pretty much the voice of the Interviews process, by which I mean she sits there in the atrium giggling in everyone’s face when things go wrong for them “being sympathetic” in the least sympathetic way possible. Oh and talking about how her old boss was an idiot. So expect THAT interview in the Daily Star come Saturday. Her business plan turns out to be a GIANT BAKERY and it also turns out to be…quite badly written. Fortunately the power of Luisa’s ever-flapping gob comes in handy for once as she just about manages to take the edges off and put the thing forward convincingly. She makes the final, just about, making the Final Two officially a battle of LUISA VS BOTOX. Good luck selling that one to The Daily Mail.

Neil : Which just leaves us with Neil. Who is this year’s Helen, it turns out. He charms the interviewers, he’s given notice that he’s the one who’s done best in the tasks, he gets his sympathetic back story pulled out again by Bella Magazine’s Claudine Collins (much to his incredibly obvious discomfort), and finally he gets told that if this show was taking place under the old format, he definitely would have won the job. Unfortunately for Neil though, he actually has to have a business plan, and his revolves around everyone wanting to make the process of moving house THAT MUCH MORE STRESSFUL by taking on full responsibility for selling the thing themselves. All of the interviewers tell him it’s not going to work, and his only response is “yes it will”. Turns out Neil spent too much time playing football and not enough time at debate club. Actually scratch that, there’s no such thing as “not spending enough time at Debate Club”. He’s out in fourth, with regret from the entire panel.

Next week : Luisa, Jason, Zeeshaan, and Natalie are all on the same team (OH THE HUMANITY) ; Francesca does a dance, Luisa has a nervous breakdown ; UZMA DONE A BOTOX ; and quite feasibly it all ends with Lordalan saying “Do you know what? I can’t handle the potential controversy so I’m picking Luisa”.

Should be a good’un.


42 thoughts on “The Apprentice 9 – Week 11 Summary

      1. Elaine

        I think you may have had a Luisa overdose. Dr Leah suggests you go lie down in a darkened room 😉

  1. Kimothy

    Read your brilliant blog for a long time now, but have never felt the need to comment. However, I could not help but notice that Francesca’s Most Interesting Qualities according to her CV, were her shoe collection, and being able to drink anyone under the table. Did I just imagine that? Why on earth was this not mentioned? If Jordan was forced to solve a Rubik’s cube with a knife to his throat, why didn’t they take the opportunity to have a final three girls Get Completely Wankered face-off? Winner of The Apprentice 2013 is the last one to end up weeing in a gutter and singing I Will Survive.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I think the shoes were mentioned. In the context of Margaret not understanding why Francesca would find them so fascinating. Says the woman who has a degree in old bits of scribble.

  2. Ross Nolan

    “The worst that happens is that treehouse reporter Claudine thinks she’s a “bit cold” (who cares?)”

    I care! She *is* cold even while angry and (without evidence I have to admit) there seems to be something a little morally detatched to her. I know I’d rather have Luisa’s brashness. Obnoxious as she is there is something reliable there. Luisa seems like a person (an irritating, irritating person). Dr. Leah seems like a robot.

    I think what really cemented my intense dislike of Leah was her machine like response to Lord Sugar’s question about Luisa – a clipped, souless affirmative. Franchesca actually gave the question some consideration and even if she did fluff it it seemed like there was an ethical conundrum there.

    That said I fully expect Dr. Leah to win.

  3. constantmotion

    Crikey. While Jordan’s performance was… entertaining, to pick a relatively diplomatic word, surely they might as well have let Myles have a go? I mean, it wouldn’t have changed the result any, but blimey.

    Didn’t mind Neil, but from a TV perspective, I’m kind of glad he didn’t win. His story is genuinely upsetting, and I wish the fellow all the best, but how saccharine was his bit with Clauderella? The shift in mood, the sad faces, Tragic Backstory in D Minor swelling up on the soundtrack… a relief, then, that the editors aren’t quite that obvious. Or not today, anyway.

    Speaking of not obvious – a bit surprised by how much I like Francesca! I’d found her irredeemably boring for ten weeks, but between Final Five, Interviews, and You’re Fired, I’ve done an about turn. Great stuff.

    Want Leah to win, think she’s great and Luisa’s a harpy, but… they have a Luisa type almost every series, and they’ve never won in nine years. Surely we’re overdue – and I don’t think Lord Sugar’s going to feel comfortable going into cosmetics. I’m hiring Leah, though. And she was amazing in the interviews. Not just in a telly sense, either – genuinely so impressed by her rattling off all the stats! Confident, assured. But I’m not letting myself hope. Business plans on the table, it’s regrettably Luisa’s game to lose.

    1. monkseal Post author

      On the other hand Dr Leah is from one of those PROFESSIONS, like doctors or lawyers or human resources, and they never win either. So innovative, this series.

  4. Shrinking Man

    So, Luisa for the win, then. I feel vindicated for picking her as my favourite several weeks ago. Although I still can’t call to mind what porn star she looks like.

    Funniest thing of the episode? Jordan didn’t even get an in-taxi interview. He just left the boardroom set and was never referred to again.

  5. Ferny

    Kind of ironic that Jordan was president of the Entrepreneurs club….yet wasn’t an entrepreneur. He seemed to find entrepreneurs with good ideas and help them a bit so he could claim credit, the cheek of it!

    Anyway, most people pegged Leah as the winner from the beginning, yet Nick seemed to be trying to paint her as the underdog ‘streaking up on the inside’ (???) – I still hope she wins though even though I imagine Luisa’s idea has potential.

  6. FuTeffla

    I found myself actually taking to Luisa a bit and had to blame it on the heat. The same heat that was making me actually quite like Neil? I don’t even understand any more. Someone tell me who I want to win. Everyone I actually liked as a person is now gone.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Neil starting to fray at the edges towards the end was the first time I liked him. At least he became a little softer as he unravelled, unlike the Helen Entity, who became TERRIFYING.

  7. TheBockingfordKid

    I changed my mind, he’s going to pick Dr Leah. Do you know why? Because it’s a STUPID DECISION and Lord Sugar has somehow got where he is by making a LOT OF STUPID DECISIONS, especially when it comes to the winners of this daft show. Or Luisa will win, one or the other. Or neither. Or both.

  8. PadsterMo

    Dr Leah’s interview with Claude was the highlight of the episode for me. Especially the ‘£8000 for a cleaner, but I’ll probably do that myself’ bit.

    Jordan and Francesca were so hopelessly out of their depth at this stage that I felt incredibly uncomfortable (Jordan) and incredibly sympathetic (Francesca) watching them get eviscerated. I’m assuming the producers had some idea of their business plans and were hoping on one of them getting through for good TV.

    Neil – I have no idea how his plan works, largely because I assume it wouldn’t. If he’d stopped at the ‘sell your own house’ stage I think he would have had a better chance of getting through.

    Luisa basically wants to launch a baking-only version of Jamie Oliver’s pots/pans/ingredients range I think?

    And finally I’m not sure why Karren and Francesca both felt the need to make a point about the 2 finalists being women; it felt unnecessary and actually a bit sexist when I think about it? As a male viewer I recognise Luisa and Leah have the best formed proposals of the final 5 and deserve to go through based on that. Their gender is irrelevant in this respect. So why does gender have to come into it?

    (Not trolling BTW, just commenting on a trend in TV where a statement that if the gender were reversed would lead to Daily Mail covers and complaints to Ofcom).

    1. monkseal Post author

      It’s just the flipside of Kaen’s tired Wimmin In Bizznizz schtick. She spends the whole series telling the women off every time they fart for making women look bad, then as soon as we get to the end she always jumps on the bandwagon of a fairly mediocre candidate like Jade last year (no offence Jade) and starts going on about how her progress to 4th out of 16 is the PINNACLE OF THE FEMINIST DREAM AND SHE SHOULD WIN. I don’t mind Kaen, but it’s so tiring.

      It’s partly why I found her presence in the Interviews in Series 5 so interesting, because that was all-vag, all the time, so she was free to do a hatchet job on the women she actually didn’t like, like Lorraine. Any other series and Lorraine would have been SO INSPIRATIONAL.

    2. Socksy

      It’s worth commenting on and not sexist because:
      -In the UK, 32.1% of managers and senior officials are women
      -The median weekly pay for full-time women workers was £445.1, while the mean weekly pay for full-time men workers was £538.5
      -Women hold 15.0% of all director positions in FTSE 100 companies. However, this number is lower for the FTSE 250 companies, of which only 9.4% of FTSE board director positions are women.
      -Only 20 (6.6%) FTSE 100 companies have women as executive directors of their boards.
      -In 2012, just one woman held the title of Chairman of a FTSE 100 company

      So yes, you could reverse the gender and rightly get complaints, but it doesn’t make this sentence sexist because men haven’t been excluded throughout history from positions of authority & power. You could only claim that Karren’s words word sexist if women had an equal or greater footing in the labour market as men, which they patently don’t.

      1. Robbie

        ^^ This!!

        My two favourites are in the final, which I am loving. I thought both of them were genuinely impressive – articulate and responsive. And I’m afraid all I felt for Neil was a huge chunk of Schadenfreude… He obviously thought (and that’s ‘thought’ with a ‘th’, not ‘fought’, fella) that his Cloughie earnestness and ‘passion’ would be enough to get him through; I found it grimly pleasing to see all that blow up in his face. And while the recollection of his dad’s death was obviously moving, he even ruined that for me in the taxi when he said ‘for the first time I’ve got a tear in my eye’. Such exasperating macho bullshit – what, not even when your dad died?!

        I guess what I’m trying to say is: I didn’t like Neil haha….

      2. monkseal Post author

        He also blatantly cried when Jason hurt his manpride, DON’T LIE TO US NEIL CLOUGH.

      3. PadsterMo

        Maybe I worded it wrong…….Karren’s delivery made it seem as though she was praising Alan for choosing 2 women as the finalists, and for being so forward-thinking/non-sexist/etc.

        Whereas to me, as a viewer, he simply chose the best 2 candidates from the choice that was available to him. The commenting on the gender seemed unnecessary; and the juxtapositioning with Francesca’s comment (an editorial decision admittedly, rather than a deliberate choice of Francesca and Karren) made it really stand out and, to me, drew focus away from the achievement of the best finalists in order to make a point.

        And in this day and age (especially with the readily-available employment tribunal) does the barrier to progression based on gender actually exist? Are the days of the ‘old boys network’ not over?

      4. GrooveAmanda

        Right on socksy!! until women are better represented in business it is always a topic that needs to be discussed. As with race, sexual orientation, disability… to make a change, first you have to acknowledge the problem… and I am sorry but the men amongst you do NOT know what it is like to be a woman in business. Even if you are the most open minded non discriminating person walking the planet – you can’t account for the opinions and attitudes of your male colleagues, and you won’t know how it feels because you don’t get negative discrimination for being male. Look up Jane Elliot on the youtube – her angle is about race discrimination, but can be applied to any minority group and their treatment by the majority. Powerful stuff.

      5. TheBockingfordKid

        So, GrooveArmada, if Nick or Karren were black – and hey, they are not, surprise surprise, and there were two black people in the final, would it be ok for one of them to say ‘Congratulations Lord Sugar, you’re new business partner is black!’ No, it would be inappropriate for many reasons. Karren has also recently stated that women should not promote the best people in their companies, but more women. Again, if an Asian said ‘don’t promote the best candidate, promote the Asian candidate, we need more Asians at the top’ – well, can’t you see what’s wrong with that?

      6. monkseal Post author

        If we’re talking about that Guardian article, I read it very differently, for what it’s worth. She attributes her own obtaining of a 50-50 balance on the board of her company to making sure women were able to get a proper work-life balance where they couldn’t before, not just hiring any mouth-dribbler with a set of boobs. The fact that the article only addresses women I think makes it appear more suss than it is.

      7. monkseal Post author

        It’s a fair and right comment in terms of broader society, but Kaen contributes so readily to the elements of the show that hurt women, acting like the old “women have to be twice as good to be taken half as seriously” mantra is something to be aimed for, that adding a glib little “oh good, the winner’s a woman” and pushing for women at the end in the last one/two episodes rings a little hollow.

  9. Min

    Francesca – Dancercise is the way forward.
    LudAlan’s memory – Azar in shorts.
    Francesca – fired.


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