Idol Chatter

I love to hate “The Apprentice.” While the first season of the show was actually kind of good and taught legitimate lessons about business, the show has devolved into something beyond caricature. This season takes place in Los Angeles, because what better thing to do with a dying show than uproot the whole cast? This week’s task was to create and star in a 90-second TV “webisode” of a fake soap opera to sell … soap.

Team Arrow, led by the manic but kind of endearing James, won the task by creating a webisode that was light on plot but heavy on mentioning the name of the product as many times as possible. Team Kinetic, led by Kristine, lost mainly because Muna, the contestant playing the main character, spoke with a heavy Jamaican accent and was deemed “hard to understand” by the soap company executives who judged the task. The executives wanted to fire Kristine for her bad casting.

Most of the sick pleasure I get from watching this show is seeing a bunch of wannabe-reality-stars run around in expensive suits and make idiots out of themselves in front of Donald Trump. It’s hard for me to feel sorry for the contestants when they make stupid decisions. But this week’s episode angered me.

I knew things were going to end badly when the first scene after Kinetic’s loss showed Muna and Kristine sitting side by side–Kristine reading one of Donald Trump’s books and Muna reading the Bible. Kristine, who had directed the skit and been the team’s project manager for the task, knew that it would be either her or the “hard to understand” Muna who got fired that week. In an interview Kristine criticized Muna’s choice to read the Bible, saying “I’ve never seen God in the boardroom.”

In her interview Muna noted that “The Bible says you can move mountains with your faith. Today, my mountain is the boardroom.”

In the boardroom, Muna and Kristine went back and forth about why the other should be fired. The two other Kinetic teammates, Angela and Heidi, admitted under some duress that they preferred Kristine as a coworker. This convinced Trump to fire Muna, and she went on her way.

There was a lot going on in this episode that made me uncomfortable. The God/Trump comparisons were horrible and made me kind of sick, but at least the show’s editors were upfront about how they chose to portray the situation. Trump has always been the God of the Boardroom, but this episode was too heavy-handed. The religious overtones of the show almost made me forget about how awful it was that Muna was criticized for her accent (criticisms that were laden with race issues). Muna may not have been an Oscar-level performer, but isn’t this show supposed to be about business? Oh, who am I kidding?

After being fired, Muna got into a cab and did a final interview in which she said that if “one little boy or girl believes in God,” then she was glad she appeared on the show. It’s nice to see that she was capable of being better than the farce of a show she was on.

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