The Apprentice is on TV3 again tonight. I’ve been half watching it this year having never watched it or anything of its ilk before. It is hilarious television in a jaw-droppingly frustrating way. They’ve obviously copied and pasted the reality TV formula in which teams of desperately thick people with delusions of intellectual grandeur fail miserably at simple tasks while we – the viewers – sit there, stunned at their ability to bicker over the tiniest and most insignificant details in an attempt at some sort of corporate posturing. It’s been delightfully funny to watch every contestant brag about how they’re “very creative” when the evidence – their team name choices in the first episode, or the charity product ideas in a recent task, for example – seem to hint at the fact that, between them, they have all the creativity of a ham sandwich. And then, oh yes, then the judges. Bill and your one with the botched face-lift go for the “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” approach. If they chose A, they should have chosen B. If they went left, they should have gone right. If they made a fortune, they should have lost it all. Brilliant. It’s all about keeping up the negativity while the other fella contributes periodical “Pfffft!”-s.
Is there some sort of modern fetish for television where people (who used to go to college with my friend’s sister’s flatmate’s ex-boyfriend’s cousin’s optician!) are berated for their dull attempts at scheming, cooking, singing or whatever it is the show purports to be based on. I fear that it’s a matter of time before our education system gets an overhaul and reduces the Leaving Cert to a 10 minute audition in front of three faux-celebrity judges behind a desk. This seems to be what everyone, and I mean everyone, wants to see these days. The X Factor juggernaut (though I’m proud to say I haven’t watched it either) seems to peddle the same concept but with occassional teary-eyed support for whichever act is put forward as the greatest performer ever to grace God’s green earth for long enough that they claim the Christmas number 1. They also seem to scale up the Winning Streak-style banner-waving lunacy by about a billion times.
What’s my point? I don’t have a point. I don’t have to. We live in a country where David McWilliams is rewarded for the monstrosity of awful television that was Addicted to Money with the job of being the new permanent host of The Panel. Do RTÉ have an obligation to people like him to keep trying new things until they find something, anything at all that he’s good at? Or are they just so god-damn lazy, that they can’t look beyond the personality-vaccuum in their own staff canteen for new talent?
I’m emigrating to a place where they don’t know the meaning of the word Jedward.