Idiot TV

Ok, so this is a bit of a stretch.  But sitting at home last night (in an infant-induced sleep-deprived malleable state, admittedly), watching the show "Rebel Billionaire" on Fox for the second time, there appeared some reasonably distinct correlations between "Rebel Billionaire" and our beloved Sox, and NBC’s "Apprentice" and the hated Yankees.  RB, with Virgin’s Richard Branson (get it, "RB"?), puts several candidates through business-related tasks, a la TA.  The candidates are also put through physically demanding daredevil stunts — should they fail the business task they are asked to perform something like, say, standing on top of a bi-plane and passing batons back and forth (?).  Should they fail this stunt, they go home.  Success brings them another week, and a trip to exotic locales such as Victoria Falls, where their reward is to get sealed in a can and go over the edge (that Branson is some Santa Claus), along with the chance to continue in the pursuit of becoming a high-level executive at Virgin.

This is quite unlike the Donald’s vanity piece, though, where a victory in the weekly challenge cynically brings the winner an all-expenses tour up the C-line elevator in Trump Tower to Donald’s palace of imitation Poussins (and possibly the worst-designed, most tasteless interior in all of New York).  They also win an opportunity at a long-shot chance to work as a menial-task-oriented lackey in an organization that has single-handedly ruined a great portion of the waterfront of the island of Manhattan.  Where Branson actually seems to enjoy his own show, and takes the contestants on world-wide trips on a private jet if they stick around, the Donald meanders intermittently through the show with a energyless manner devoid of any semblance of humor.  Where Branson shows up bearded and loose, ready to hop on top of a bi-plane just to watch his contestants battle it out in the skies, the Donald checks in on the progress of tasks via cell phone or his vampiric surrogates George and Carolyn, sporting nothing but a corporate suit and his trademark combover.  RB is a show for idiots, a compendium of silly and serious challenges, a quest for pleasure and accomplishment.  TA is a show for heartless and humorless corporate ladder-climbers, those who look desperately for a moment in the spotlight, but also for people who should be careful what they wish for.  Sox/Yanks, anyone?

4 comments… add one
  • Poor SF—Someone stole his funny bone!

    YF November 13, 2004, 11:25 am
  • Now there’s a substantive response, YF. Nice going!

    SF November 13, 2004, 12:52 pm
  • You’re on your own with this one.

    YF November 13, 2004, 4:41 pm
  • Um, how does Mark Cuban’s show play into the analogy?

    Spidey November 19, 2004, 5:23 pm

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