Thursday , February 29 2024
I hate it when TV holds back, don't you?

NBC, The Apprentice, And Earl Are Holding Back On Me

Do you know what bothers me? I mean, what really, really bothers me? Ridiculously over-the-top promos for decidedly dull moments bother me. No show on television is better at putting together a ridiculously over-the-top moment than The Apprentice.

All week long The Apprentice teased us with the upcoming fight between Ivanka Trump and Gene Simmons. "What did the dirty old rock star say to the boss's daughter? Tune in and find out." Well, I tuned in, and what did I find out? I found out that Simmons gave the daughter a little bit of a hard time, that Simmons was more interested in winning the competition than taking time out of his schedule to explain to Ivanka what his team was doing. Then, he teased her about whether or not she would inform the women's team about what the men were doing.

Ivanka was pissed at being treated that way; after all, don't you know who she is? She apparently ran crying to daddy for support, and did daddy care? No, no he didn't. He thought it was funny and joked around with Simmons in the boardroom about it. I think it all made Ivanka even more angry. Seems as though Ivanka is used to getting her way (shocking, right?).

The real problem with the over-the-top promo is that the episode itself felt as though it was edited in order to support the promo, not the other way round. The vast majority of the episode focused on the men's team and their discord, leaving a scant few minutes to focus on the women and the way they approached the task.

The women did everything right, it seemed, from meeting with the client to find out what they wanted to actually delivering exactly what was asked of them. However, the women lost the task. What went wrong? Where was the process flawed? Goodness knows, the viewer never saw the process unfold. The entire show was cut around making it appear as though Gene Simmons was a loose cannon and that the men were going to be brought into the boardroom because of it.

That's not actually what happened though and it was terrible storytelling. It's fine to throw the audience a red herring about what's going to happen, but when the red herring takes up the vast majority of the episode and doesn't allow the true issues to unfold there's a problem.

Think about it. If I spent this entire piece telling you what a disaster The Apprentice was last night, about how the editing was terrible, about how Ivanka needs thicker skin, about how Gene Simmons was probably a little out of line but not hugely, and then closed with "and that's why Nadia Comaneci had to be fired" you'd be perturbed. You know you would. It's bad writing, it's bad storytelling, it's grossly unsatisfying.

Maybe I was a little pre-conditioned to be upset with The Apprentice because NBC had already distressed me last night. They aired a brand new My Name is Earl, possibly the last one they had in the can before the strike started. Oh how excited was I? A fresh Earl to start my Thursday night viewing in these strike-ridden times. Now, the episode was funny, I'll give it that, but the fact that it was the Christmas episode really got to me. You and I both know that NBC didn't air new Earls through the entire month of December, which means that they purposely held the Christmas episode until January.

Just as a refresher, Christmas tends to be in December. Usually, anyway. I know that the Christmas season is starting earlier and earlier — I actually saw Christmas stuff in stores before Halloween this year — but it does seem to me that to start the Christmas season in January is beyond the pale. No? Am I wrong? I know that the networks keep touting the fact that the TV season is now year-round, but I didn't think that meant that they would make the holidays last all year, too.

About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

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