I consider myself a connoisseur of reality television. I realize that many smart people dismiss the genre in favor of make-believe stories, and I get it. There is a lot of really terrible reality tv. Of course, there is also a lot terrible scripted tv. Sturgeon’s revelation, yo. At its best, reality tv features all the hallmarks of any good narrative: interesting character development, unexpected plot twists, a reflection of a societal value.
The Apprentice was never great television. But it was entertaining for a while. I watched most of the first twelve seasons of The Apprentice/Celebrity Apprentice. I enjoyed the premise of contestants working together on teams to complete a mission each week with one person from the losing team being eliminated. Celebrity Apprentice often exposed a different side of famous people than what is typically showcased in official publicity campaigns. You could find out who was actually smart (Joan Rivers, Arsenio Hall, Bret Michaels), and who was as dumb as you’d thought they would be (Gene Simmons, Rod Blagojevich).
The host, Donald Trump, fell into the latter class. On the show, he came across as a self-important buffoon. In the “boardroom” at the end of each episode where Trump decides who gets fired, he would ask the contestants and his advisors for their opinions on who should be “fired” and why. Revealing the attention span of a toddler, Trump would frequently cut short these discussions and make a brash decision based on something stupid that had nothing directly to do with the challenge. One week somebody would get fired for not defending themselves strongly enough in the boardroom; the next week another person would get fired for being too argumentative and abrasive. It was arbitrary. After the contestants left the boardroom, Trump inevitably would say to his advisors, “That was the right decision, don’t you agree?”
It was hilarious. His insecurity was so obvious. He’s so blatantly the “tough guy” with no real backbone. He’s Francis from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. This was all completely clear when you watched the show. And it was funny.
But it’s not funny anymore.
Because now instead of his ill-informed decisions sending Khloé Kardashian packing her bags, his decisions could determine who is sitting on the Supreme Court, and whether or not the United States will honor its treaties with NATO.
Even before he called Mexicans rapists, incited political violence, encouraged racism and religious discrimination, he proved himself unfit for the presidency by just being such a clown.