I’m enthralled. I despise so-called ‘Reality TV’ but The Donald has created a winner. We’re in the final week. After a series of interviews with some of Trump’s top advisors, The Donald dropped Nick and Amy. Dropping Nick was a good move – Nick is a fine salesman and a strong player, but he really did not stand up against the other three in the room.

Dropping Amy was unwise overall, I think, but she interviewed badly (by her own admission, she lacked substance; I missed her actual interview, as I was changing a diaper). But I’m surprised that she was so easily dismissed. The interviewers called Amy “irritating” and a “Stepford wife” – all of which made me wish I saw her interview (and made me wonder yet again about the gender dynamics of the entire show – something that begs further investigation). Even more surprising was Trump’s one-two punch, where he first asked Amy who the weakest person in the room was after Bill and Kwame both pointed towards Nick, and then called her “cold … a cold-hearted person” when she too sided against Nick, even though there’s been much made about their “relationship.” Amy was honest (and right! [see edit below]), but not harsh, in her assessment of Nick’s abilities and I’m willing to bet that she would have been praised for such frankness in other circumstances. I also wondered if The Donald would’ve made so much of the loyalty issue if she were a man instead of a woman, or if he would have just called her soft and a Stepford wife if she had protected Nick (in fact, Trump almost said as much in episode 11, when Amy brought Katrina into the board room instead of Nick). A lose-lose situation for Amy.

Anyway, that leaves Bill (smart enough, and ambitious, but a jerk) and Kwame. Smart and charismatic, Kwame is good, but hasn’t been shining as a leader – the “low energy” discussed during the interview phase. Kwame steps back and expects people to do their job, which is fine, but he has failed to step up and correct the issue when people haven’t done their job, which isn’t so fine. I think Bill will take the final spot, if for no other reason than Kwame made a DUMB decision by picking Omarosa to be on his team (the six most recently fired contestants were brought back as “employees” for the two finalists). Doing so let Bill pick Nick, leaving only Heidi. Kwame’s laid back personality will simply be overwhelmed by the trinity of egos on his team (the third being Troy, of course). With Omarosa already totally screwing up her job (and showing herself to be a liar to boot), Kwame’s best shot is if Bill’s arrogance gets him into trouble.

Sure, the show can be just as contrived as any of the other ‘reality’ series, but it successfully blends the aspects of competition and elimination from those other (crappy) shows with the makeover appeal of shows like “Trading Spaces” and “Monster House,” where style is coupled with budgeting, and creativity with strict deadlines. The Donald also leaves us with some pretty significant life lessons: Troy’s dismissal said nothing if not “go to college,” and Carolyn’s sugary “It’s nice that he made it this far” drove the point home.

Edit: Regarding Amy’s catch-22, instead of pointing to Nick, she might have instead singled out Kwame who, despite his education and charisma, really has not stepped up to the plate, whereas Nick has lead a team to wins. Selecting someone else might have highlighting some of her own leadership skills (in the boardroom, she sort of looked like she was just following the others’ lead). Although, in such an approach, she probably would’ve been called out for just protecting her boyfriend. A tough call.


3 Responses to The Apprentice

  1. Matt K. says:

    Yeah, we watch too. (But we can stop any time we want to.)

    I guess one thing I like about the show is that it doesn’t indulge in rote education/academic bashing. Kwame’s Harvard MBA counts for something with Trump; as you point out, the contestants’ different educational backgrounds have been a topic of discussion.

  2. fritz says:

    J– I can’t believe you two are as into this as we are. Your observation that the show combines both competition and makeover is, i think, very smart. The “authority” of the penis and the other ivory tower are definitely among the most interesting problems the show (unwittingly?) presents. My other joy in watching has come from exploring the wide range of advertisers that the show draws. Trump and the network have hit on a show that really appeals to a huge cross-section of Americans, which is great for ratings, but a puzzler for advertisers who prefer the sure thing in terms of demographics. Of course, Trump will be the biggest winner here with all the franchising opportunities this show will provide… the timely drop of his latest book is just the beginning.

  3. Sue says:

    I was very disappointed in last night’s finale of The Apprentice. That was very “evil” of Mr. Trump to let the audience make his decision. And why did he ask all MEN their opinions??? What about asking some women CEO’s of company??? I felt badly for Jennifer sitting there listening to it. IT was like a tar and feathering. I don’t think I will be watching the 3rd Apprentice. I am very disappointed in Donald Trump for ending it like he did.

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