One of the critical things to making a reality show successful is providing the audience with contestants to root for and against. Think about it, if you're watching a reality show you constantly wish to see some people win and, if you're like me, some people go home. You may call it very negative of me, but I often find the latter more interesting than the former. Consequently, when I'm faced with a choice of two people I want to see leave – as I was on last night's The Celebrity Apprentice – I find myself torn.
Early in the season I was wholly anti-Melissa Rivers. I love her mom, but something about Melissa has always rubbed me the wrong way – probably it's been the sense I get from her of riding her mother's coattails, but maybe not. In any case, Melissa was at the top of the list of people I wanted to get fired from the start.
That may have been because I had no idea who Annie Duke was. If I'd had any idea that Annie Duke existed and what her personality was, she'd probably have rated higher on my "get fired" list. She certainly found her way to the top of it after the first few episodes this year, and last night I found myself watching the boardroom and debating (by myself) whether I'd rather see Annie or Melissa go home.
No, it wasn't mean and vindictive and awful of me, I employed true reality show strategy in my thinking. You see, I knew that if Melissa got fired, Joan would make some huge dramatic proclamation about quitting the show and storm out. Plus, there was no way that Melissa herself was going to go quietly into that goodnight. I have been waiting weeks on end to see both of those things go down, and I simply didn't want to wait any longer.
On other hand, there was no one on the show I'd like to see win less than I wanted to see Annie Duke win, and as much as I dislike her, she's been an incredibly strong contestant. Last night was, perhaps, the last, best, opportunity to get rid of the two-faced poker player forever.
So, I had to think like a reality-show contestant – I had to weight the joy of seeing the blow-up that would occur if Melissa got fired (nothing would be better than that), against my not wanting to see Annie Duke win.
I – wisely, I think – went with wanting Annie to get fired. Brande Roderick, who was the person who could have swung Trump from Annie to Melissa or vice versa, didn't think that far away. Brande claimed to want to win the show, but couldn't work out that she ought to have Annie get eliminated last night, clearly she lacks the necessary killer instinct, or, using one of her words, she "forgoo" using her killer instinct. Brande chose to keep her chum, Annie, on the show, despite the fact that having Annie there greatly lessens her own chances of winning.
It was a move that may have been the right real world choice, but was certainly not the right reality show choice. It had me yelling at my television screen and instantly contemplating whom I should rest my "fire Annie" hopes on next.
Jesse James. I'm going with Jesse James for that. He's quiet, but he's smart and I think he may be the last hope.