For several years, we have been without a non-celebrity edition of The Apprentice. By some, that has been lamented. Of course, with the numbers being what they were for the regular edition, The Celebrity Apprentice helped extended the life of the franchise and probably allowed for the new edition of The Apprentice we’re getting this season to exist. The ratings for the regular Apprentice the last time it appeared were just not good enough to keep the whole thing afloat.
As for this new season, was it nice to see the show back last night? I think so. It was fun, but I do believe that the recession theme was a little overplayed. I think by now we all know that the last few years haven’t been terribly easy economically speaking, but to attempt to focus on how all the candidates have been hurt terribly by the recession was… well… done in typically overly bombastic Trump-style. Certainly in two of the stories we heard from the women’s team, the recession seemed to have a minimal effect on their lives. One candidate said that she had several job offers when she started looking, but they weren’t perfect. She did take one, but thought she deserved more. Another candidate was fresh out of grad school. Grad school, while certainly beneficial, doesn’t – even in the best of economies – mean that you’re going to find a job immediately, so I’m not sure why she felt so hurt by it all.
Beyond that, it seemed to me that when you have some silly people on the show – and there are silly people on the show this season – you’re undercutting your recession edition message. It makes for good television to have some less than great candidates because they add drama, but it takes about 30 seconds to look at some of these “recession” candidates and realize that they ought not even be hired in good times. I don’t think the show wanted to send that message, but they unquestionably did with their selections.
Oh, there was definitely good too. Most notably, it was nice to see that the contestants had to do a real tasks with lots of moving parts. The celebrity version of the show has never been very good at creating difficult tasks – the celebs have had to work, never of the quantity or difficulty that regular contestants have faced.
Maybe these new candidates had watched too much of the celebrity stuff though (we’re getting into SPOILERS), because both teams failed last night. Yes, the men won the task, but Trump didn’t like either of the office spaces that the teams had created. Neither place really looked so horrible, but they also did not appear to actually be conducive to getting any sort of work done.
Perhaps that is because the teams never really appeared to have a vision for where they were going, it just seemed like they had a series of checkboxes about what an office space required and set about ticking off those boxes without a thought as to actually having people work in the spaces. That could be the fault of the editing of the show, on the men’s side we did at least get some talk about a “green” office space before they went off and did there thing with no more discussion of what was green or why. I would have loved to have seen whether there were green elements or if it was just ignored, we got an indication of the latter, but nothing concrete and with it being a two hour episode we should have gotten a concrete answer.
As much as it ever has, this season of The Apprentice appears to have the potential to be a good one, but that is going to rest on the shoulders of the candidates. It is my biggest wish at this point that Trump opts to do the right thing and fire the bad candidates because they deserve it, rather than letting them stick around to add drama. I don’t hold out much hope of that, but it would make for a better season.