Monday, September 13, 2010


I have a problem with the gimmick for this season of The Apprentice. For those of you who haven't spent the last couple of days watching fall TV previews, the gimmick is that all of the new contestants have been laid off from their jobs and have been searching for work for quite awhile. I think the tag line for the season is something like "Everyone deserves a second chance".

On the surface: great idea - you get all of the on-camera interviews where they talk about feeling like they couldn't support their families, and the emotional struggles that spending a long time out of work can bring up. It makes it easy for the audience to connect with the contestants. Plus, I'm fairly sure that they get some money just for being on the show, which is obviously a plus.

The problem? You spend all this time saying "these people have been hurt by the job losses that have affected so many of us, but fear not! For The Donald can save them." You let them tell you how being unable to find work for months has really damaged their sense of self-worth. About the things they and their families have had to give up. And then, one by one, you fire them.

I will admit, I haven't ever seen the show, so I can't really speak to what sort of benefits and opportunities are made available to the contestants over the course of the season's run - maybe there's enough  to make just going on the show worthwhile, even if you don't win. Barring that, you're just taking a bunch of stressed out people, dangling a job in front of them, and then snatching it away on national television. Which doesn't sound nearly as heartwarming as the promos make it out to be.

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