The season premiere date for the 2014 incarnation of Donald Trump’s The Celebrity Apprentice has not even been officially released, and yet already spoilers are being posted.
The usual suspects, such as Tamara Tattles and Survivor Sucks, have already said their piece, but they are not alone in attempting to spoil the season. Spoilers have also been posted by websites like Naughty But Nice Rob, All About The Tea, and our very own Reality TV Examiner, Stacy Carey.
Reality TV in general has always had a bad reputation, but there is something about Donald Trump and Celebrity Apprentice that invokes such a great negative reaction that people seem to be collectively invested, not just in avoiding watching the show itself, but in convincing many others not to watch as well.
And to be perfectly blunt, it is not an unfair reaction. The Celebrity Apprentice is not just a constant train wreck year after year. It is a train wreck by design.
The cast of sixteen celebrities to participate in the 2014 season has already been announced, and it once again includes a fair amount of individuals who minted themselves as celebrities through other reality TV shows, most of whom have earned a great deal of animosity over the years: Kate Gosselin, formerly of Jon & Kate + 8, Real Housewife Brandi Glanville, another Real Housewife Kenya Moore, and Deadliest Catch Captain Sig Hansen.
But this is hardly surprising. It is actually standard for Celebrity Apprentice. As our own Bad TV Examiner noted when he named Donald Trump the #1 most wanted fauxlebrity, Trump has consistently gone out of his way, not just to attract reality TV personalities and other individuals with dubious claims to fame to Celebrity Apprentice, but to find the absolute worst kinds imaginable.
Past seasons have included disgraced ex-Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich, Survivor winner and convicted tax evader Richard Hatch, Real Housewives NeNe Leaks and Teresa Giudice, Sandra Bullock’s ex Jesse James, mob daughter Victoria Gotti, and his own perpetual Apprentice villain, Omarosa Manigault.
For the most part, the remainder of The Celebrity Apprentice’s 2014 cast would be best described as a collection of individuals trying to extend their fame. Some notables include Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson, former NFL wide receiver Tyrell Owens, Keisha Knight Pulliam, formerly of The Bill Cosby Show, Ian Ziering, formerly of 90210 (and most recently of Sharknado).
Which is, again, standard for Celebrity Apprentice. In fact, compared to previous seasons, the current group looks fairly tame. In prior seasons, Trump had also seemed to deliberately single people out for inclusion if they had short tempers, no respect for others, or even serious mental problems, such as Joan Rivers, Dennis Rodman, Tom Green, Andrew Dice Clay, Meatloaf, and of course, Gary Busey.
Further tarnishing matters is how Donald Trump acts as the sole judge and jury, and how he constantly, and brazenly, prioritizes what he believes would be good for ratings as opposed to what would be appropriate for the circumstances. It is hardly any secret at this point that, whenever one of the aforementioned sources of conflict is in trouble in the board room, Trump will coddle them and try to shift the blame onto someone more qualified but far less “entertaining.”
Which ultimately ties back into what is arguably the biggest complaint of all with reality TV as a whole: That it isn’t real at all.
Detractors have been accusing all reality TV programs, from Survivor to The Voice, of being scripted. And while they may not be being scripted literally, there is no doubt that many reality TV shows are guilty of trying to manipulate the outcomes of their unscripted events to better suit their interests.
As the sole judge on Celebrity Apprentice, Donald Trump is especially guilty of this.
During the first season, Trump flat out admitted that his reason for firing Carol Alt was a desire to see a “good vs. evil” finale of Piers Morgan and Trace Adkins, regardless of the fact that Adkins was the only finalist without any wins as project manager (the other three all had two), and of the fact that his interviewers had been highly critical of Morgan. On paper, Alt was the best candidate, but a calculation was made somehow that she was not good for the ratings.
In a separate incident during the All-Stars season, Penn Jillette called attention to the fact that Trump refused to let Trace Adkins and he compete on the same team, which he speculated meant that Trump had already cast the two of them as the winner and runner-up. Jillette’s prediction was ultimately proven correct.
Originally, The Apprentice was about the art of the deal, and its contestants came with impressive resumes indicating their expertise in doing so. Now it is just about the spectacle, and while it may be admirable that the celebrities are competing for charity, it would be more appropriate if they were rewarded for being committed as opposed to being great for TV.