December 12, 2016

So there we finally had it. Six gruelling weeks in, the seemingly interminable insurance-based reality web-tv show Broken Apprentice 2016 span, like a valueless foreign coin descending the vortex of a cone-shaped charity collection container, to its inevitable death-spiralling season finale.

Tension, drama, conflict, Episode Six was mercifully free of any such distractions, leaving the six candidates at liberty to assure Elvy Broker boss Mike Reign that the experience had confirmed their original high opinions of their own capabilities.

The closest the show came to anything revelatory was the edited-together section near the top of the show where each candidate was asked who they thought should win, assuming it wasn’t them.

Jonathan said Craig. Katie said Dean. Dean said Jonathan or Craig. Craig said Dean. Shamone said Jonathan. Fran copped out by nominating all five fellow contestants. The total votes, then: Craig 2, Dean 2, Jonathan 2, Shamone and the ladies 0 – unless you allow Shamone and Katie a fifth of a vote each based on Fran’s inability to make a decision.

Bankstone News’ naive assumption was that Dean was romping home. Our unworthy suspicion was that votes cast for Jonathan and Craig might even have been ‘strategic’. Shows what we know! Clearly there was more to at least one of those other two than the previous five episodes had suggested.

Following tough one-on-one interviews with Mike Rayne, the voiceover told us, “one will be crowned oval winner”. Clearly, a lot was at stake. How would the six candidates acquit themselves under such searching scrutiny?

Jonathan – described by Eros Choons as measured and dependable but lacking drive – revealed under interrogation that he was more confident than he had realised but maybe felt a tad outside his “comfort zone” at the Broker EXPO trade show, where, in the unfamiliar role of exhibitor, he found himself unable to “walk around and exploit myself”.

Fran – who Bankstone News has belated realised bears an uncanny resemblance to a close female relative of David Brent from former hit comedy The Office – thought she shined most brightly in Task 2 where being “very creative” helped her design what was ultimately adjudged the winning board game for Team Valhalla. Assistant judge Mike Uhlorrance noted that Fran was enthusiastic and good with kids, but possibly needs to focus more on making sure her ideas are “thought through to inception.”

Katie, in a presentation remarkably similar to the one she offered back in Episode One, concluded that the main thing she had learned about herself during the series was that she is very good at working in a team: “I knew I was good – I just didn’t realise how good.” AJ Mike opined that Katie had shown resilience in the face of repeated defeat in the team challenges and seemed to be a “deep thinker” who maybe needs to display a bit more of her passion. Did Katie regret “being a bit quiet” throughout the show? Yes, she probably did, but, she explained, her teammates had always been quicker and she didn’t want to talk over them.

Craig – described by AJ Mike as calm and a natural leader with a wide base of knowledge who maybe just needs to pay more attention to what his customers actually want – thought he might have given us a glimpse of his capabilities at the EXPO event, but was the first to admit that he struggles a bit establishing a rapport with kids. Making it as a broker requires a cocktail, Craig suggested. Has Craig got the right ingredients for mixing that cocktail? Be patient – we’re coming to that.

Dean – suave and self-assured as ever – insisted that the fact that some other candidates might have a broader knowledge base should not count against him. His confidence and ability to learn would more compensate, he claimed, pointing also to his ability to bend others to his will, his successes in choosing a team name and inventing a board game, and almost always being on the winning team. People buy people, Dean pronounced, without spelling out the ‘and you’ll be buying me’ bit. AJ Eros admitted that Dean had plenty of drive, but wondered if he could be a bit more ‘strategic’ in his thinking. Had Dean maybe got just a tadlet too big for his boots?

Shamone – endearingly still in evening wear, although perhaps a little too exotically so now, pairing a midnight blue bow tie with charcoal grey shirt and black jacket – was described by AJ Eros as “professional and focussed”. Why should I pick you, queried Mike Rain. Well, Shamone explained, because he’s good at planning, bright, open, uncomplaining, and also good at getting things done. Which sounds compelling enough in principle.

So there, as alluded to above, it all finally was. Six ambitious candidates. Six singularly unrevealing interviews. One life-changing decision for the judges to arrive at.

Who would clinch the coveted title of Broker Appendix 2016? Would it be Dean, or Craig, or dark horse Jonathan, as the candidates’ own preferences suggested? Would Fran’s tattoos, Katie’s nose stud or Shamone’s inappropriate attire, student beard and earring automatically disqualify them?

The moment of truth had finally arrived. It was time, as TV’s Kevin McCloud might have said, for the money shot. Who would be the lucky recipient?

Bizarrely, it was Craig.

The End.

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