The Apprentice USA

The only thing more baffling than the idiots who peddle business speak is Donald Trump’s hair.

It’s mystifying.

For years I’ve stared at it wondering where the hell it comes from… and last night, I finally figured it out.

Yes, it’s a comb-over of sorts, however, unlike most it doesn’t come from his head, but rather, he’s grown the hair around his ringpiece so long that he’s managed to scrape it up his back and to the top of his head. We’ve not even snorted at his surname in derision yet. Only a man with such a preposterous set-up could be needy enough around money to be so obscenely wealthy.

Of course, with huge wealth comes weirdness and ego. With Trump being worth more money than a giant toupe made of blank printer ink, saffron and Martian teeth, you’d think he’d be the most abominable human to grace a TV screen. However, somehow, TV executives in America have rustled up a bunch of people far worse than the billionaire. That’s the greedy idiots who want a slice of the Trump pie (not a literal trump pie you understand… that would be disgusting) who star in The Apprentice USA (BBC One).

We all know that Americans are more at ease with the pursuit of money. We also know that Americans seem insanely comfortable in front of the camera, especially when being ruthless and cruel to each other, so the US version of The Apprentice is a very different beast from the UK counterpart. We know all this stuff about Americans because we Brits only import television shows that make Americans look either fat or fame-hungry. The Apprentice USA takes a little of both.

Instead of setting up scenarios destined to make the contestants look like buffoons, the USA show sees them being chucked into places that require either dramatic music or the kind of dripping-in-sentimentality-piano-muzak that only ever appears on American reality shows. I wonder if there’s a bloke who specialises in it and provides the whole of American telly with the soundtrack to the tears? He’s got work on Beauty and the Geek, The Bachelor and Supernanny USA… now he’s stirring old people and bald children into smiles in the face of ruthless shills.

Effectively, these ‘moving’ moments see our dead-eyed ghouls being given the task of finding a heart. Basically, anyone with a tube up their nostril being given a high-five will do.

Of course, heart only gets you so far and isn’t the point of the show at all. The point is to set them against each other like starving rats in a cloth sack. And much like our UK version, they all set about each other in the boardroom and stab each other in the face. Trump and his henchmen preside over the whole thing and send people packing.

Weirdly, Trump doesn’t seem to thrive in the firing of a contestant as much as Alan Sugar does… but then again, Trump is considerably wealthier and taller than Sugar… and who knows, maybe he got sent on a fact-finding mission to find a heart too? I bet he listens to moving piano muzak in his limo too.

While the shows share a helluva lot (d’uh), they feel like very different creatures. I remember watching the first series of Apprentice USA and being appalled at the sheer cheek of it… now, it feels rather woolly and kind when compared to some of the other shows that have done the rounds since it started.

That said, like the UK equivalent, it’s strangely enjoyable. Despite the fact that everyone involved is an idiot, there’s something quite pleasing about watching them unravel and break.

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