Sex Offender Week got a little derailed yesterday due to sad server problems. But we're back today with two more installments on the issues of being the men and the women today!
Former Poison frontman Bret Michaels winding up in the hospital (may the bandana of love live on for eternity) is the best thing that could have happened to Donald Trump this spring.
The third season of the Donald's extra vanity project-"Celebrity Apprentice"-has been struggling. With bloated two-hour episodes, the show has been beat in the ratings by CBS' "Undercover Boss," ABC's "Brothers and Sisters" and (oof) "Desperate Housewives."
The show began with 7 women and 7 men, on gender-based teams. And then, though a woman went out first, in each of the following four weeks a man left the show. The consequences were extreme: only Michaels' health scare of the last week (he is now on the mend, after his brain hemorrhage) might actually bring viewers to the show.
Now that "Apprentice" has finally ended its lopsided battle of the sexes, it's less embarrassing to watch. This season was starting to become a backwards motivational lesson for females. That is because the men on the show have been such a mess that the women have stepped on, beaten and humiliated them in their little competitions every week. It got so bad that He Whose Hair Shall Not Be Mentioned then decided to kick off pretty model Selita Ebanks to even the scales a little, though he followed it up by removing aging lunk wrestler Bill Goldberg, and then, in the most recent episode, fired no one, because everyone did such a great job. And because Trump had to slow down the booting, because people kept leaving the show.
This is especially of note considering the fact that women succeeding in the workplace has been an issue popping up (again!) quite a bit recently. Wage gap numbers are being trotted around once again and discussions of the ratios of women to men in tech are getting a lot of people up in arms. "Celebrity Apprentice" is serving as some weird example that, though many women might have learned to lean toward excessive politeness and underminery tactics when challenged, at least they know how to follow directions and get shit done.
Stepping around the egos of the famous and quasi-famous people on "Celebrity Apprentice" often throws off the narrative in this spin-off to Trump's original business flagellation show. But if the bar for getting on a celebrity reality show has always been set low, this one seems intent on proving that there's an especially deep dip made for celebrity males, at least of those willing to prostrate themselves before the Donald, that they need barely lift a foot to step over.
Last season of the show was a female cage match between Joan Rivers and professional poker player Annie Duke. The two women went toe-to-toe (with a squawking Melissa Rivers occasionally wagging a finger into the battle) for some particularly fervent girl-on-girl violence.
So now this season, Bret Michaels and celebrity chef-I've-never-heard-of Curtis Stone are the only two men left on the show. Their current task appears to be holding purses and keeping all of the excess estrogen in check.
All this despite the fact that the men's team had more star power. (Save for Rob Blagojevich, whose huge helmet of hair, paired with his vacant stare and the possibility of perjury charges, seemed enough to get a spot in Trump's harem).
But beyond their often embarrassing attempts to participate in the show's challenges, these men couldn't even commit to however many episodes it takes to get kicked off. Olympic Track & Field gold medalist Michael Johnson – who actually seemed like a competent person – had to leave for suspiciously vague personal reasons. And for all of his ability to fuel tabloid newspaper content during his sports career, Daryl Strawberry was not cut out for reality television. He sat like an anchor on screen for a few episodes before – bless him – throwing himself under the bus and requesting an exit from the show.
But few of the men on the show even seemed capable of completing Trump's series of menial tasks. Blagojevich, for one, appears to have been raised in a place where equivocation got him out of learning such skills as typing, email and coherent speech.
At least Bret Michaels, with his ever-present bandana of hairline obfuscation, showed a sense of humor. He has also developed an impressively pleasant ability for circular reasoning in the face of confrontation that makes for good TV.
And then, Trump split up the sex war teams. And not a moment too soon, since the lack of competition in the actual tasks led the show' editors to focus on irritatingly petty arguments between the women to fill the dragging air time. Here's one reason for female cat fighting-because there are so many of them left. The editors have used Michaels and Stone as buffers that will likely be around for awhile so that Trump can whittle the show down to a final face-off that people will actually want to watch.
But the women on the show continue to prove that they are literate, capable of feeding themselves and listening to instructions. They may not be cut out for the quagmire of reality TV, but while the men famous for physical reasons seem dumb as rocks, the women seem to have some intellect beyond name recognition (when they have that). Wrestling chic Maria Kanellis, swimmer Summer Sanders, and Holly Robinson Peete ("21 Jump Street" for LIFE!) seem like fully functioning humans, though they do have thin skins and a propensity for passive aggressive apologizing that can been irritating to watch.
And as Sharon Osbourne pointed out-if they got rid of Cyndi Lauper it would be like watching paint dry.
Since Sharon's one-liners have been sidelined with some mystery ailment most of the season, Cyndi has presented the one example on the show of how outsize talent can breed a strange, circular, but ultimately effective thinking-the kind that could actually foster the career of a longtime pop icon.
But now that Trump has shuffled the intellectual – and charity raising – weight around, his show can go back to the business of watching big personalities learn new skills and impart lessons to the common folk around them. Like teaching Cyndi Lauper's mom how to do arm curls and using Bret Michaels' best skill-helping every female within a five mile radius feel attractive and loved for a small moment. May he get better in time to bring his coterie of cougars to the final episode.
Obviously Meghan Keane was probably going to keep watching anyway.