March 18, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 88  

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Trump makes reality TV cool

Mark Polishuk

Opinions Editor

Gazette file photo
“MY APPRENTICE FAME CERTAINLY SEEMS TO BE PAYING OFF... HAR HAR.” Donald Trump (erect centre) enjoys the admiration of a bevy of skanks.

If you think reality shows are becoming crappier by the week, well, you’re right. But there’s always a diamond in the rough, and The Apprentice (Thursdays, 9 p.m., NBC and Global) is by far the best new reality show of the season. It has given Ivey students something to watch besides CNBC and old wrestling videos of “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase.

A quick recap: 14 young executives (seven men and seven women) compete for the chance to win a year operating one of Donald Trump’s many businesses. They are split into teams, and each week must undertake a new business venture — everything from selling bottled water to increasing a restaurant’s profit margin to running a rickshaw cab service. The team that makes the least profit must send its “project manager” and two others into “The Boardroom” to face the wrath of Trump and his two underlings. Trump gets the final verdict on “firing” the least worthy player.

The brilliance of the show is that it’s totally unpredictable from week to week. A player that does well in every challenge could find him or herself totally out of his element one week and be “fired” by Trump. What’s unclear is if Donald is firing people based on their weekly performance, overall performance or because he just doesn’t like them.

The key is not only the interesting premise, but the fact that Trump himself is so oddly fascinating as the host. He is clearly an egomaniac and a bit of a nut, but his business instincts are second-to-none, and may God have mercy on your soul if you try to deceive him. The show is never funnier than when players try to smooth-talk their way out of The Boardroom and Trump calls them on their bullshit.

Another part of Trump’s strange appeal is that — let’s face it — the man is ridiculously rich. He is the closest human analogue to Scrooge McDuck. One jaw-dropping episode featured a tour of Trump’s apartment, which was wall-to-wall marble and gold. Some might consider this a sickening display of materialism, but you won’t hear that from me. Hey, Mr. Trump, if you’re reading this, give me a call if you ever want to start a Trump Times. You can buy and sell my sorry ass a dozen times over!

Anyway, only six of the 14 contestants remain, and though I only started watching a few weeks ago, my picks to win are either Amy (who is a perfect 10-0 in challenges thus far) or Nick, who seems to have gotten on Trump’s good side despite having questionable salesmanship.

The real winner, however, was Omarosa, who went down in Reality TV Villain history before being fired two weeks ago. Omarosa bitched and moaned through every challenge, treated everyone like dirt, complained of a concussion after being hit on the head with a tiny piece of plaster and managed to leave the show with everyone hating her. All in all, a job well done.

NBC is sure to make a sequel, hopefully as soon as possible. My suggestion: make all the contestants arts students and let the hilarity ensue.



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