Shows over and now reality hits: Go Bill

CHICAGO – If you knew me, you’d have known, that my money was on Bill to win TV’s first real-life reality show. NBC’s has a host of other surreality shows, like “Fear Factor,” “Average Joe,” “Crime and Punishment,” and “The Restaurant,” but with “The Apprentice,” NBC can confidently be called TV’s Reality Show King.

The difference between this show and all the others is that most of us know what it’s like to apply for job. Resumes, interviews, tests, and references are just par for the course. We all know what it’s like to be pitted against someone just like us. To say to our prospective employer, “I am better, than he/she is. He/she can’t do what I can.”

The reality is sad; we all fight for our own survival. Maintaining our appearance, getting to work on time, staying late, working hard, knowing that no matter how hard we try, at any moment, this week or the next, we could hear those words, “You’re fired.”

Just like Bill we all know what it’s like applying for a job, and returning every day and each workweek we re-apply just to keep the job we have. Sometimes, we will be Bill, getting the job, while watching our friends get a pink slip.

What made “The Apprentice” so true to life is that in the real work force, just as on the show, the Kwames, Omorosas, Nicks, Heidis and ourselves are all relatively well-qualified for the same job, any one of us can and deserves to get the job. But only one of us will get the job. Just like the show, the nature of the marketplace dictates that there can be only one winner at a time.

But what made Bill the winner, and why did Kwame despite being more educated, Black, and cool under pressure – lose? Truthfully the very downfall of all of Bill’s opponents is the victory of the spirit of camaraderie. At one time or another America watched all of Bill’s opponents develop friendships and rivals. But throughout the show, Bill stayed clear of anything like personal and unique relationships. Not that he’s a bad guy (one has to wonder), as Kwame walked away with a lifetime friend in Troy, could Heidi’s family be more proud of her, even Bill’s teammates Nick and Amy at least got a date out of the experience, and Katrina, well, I can’t help but think that she and Bill should have gotten together.

Bill’s focus on the game, his avoidance of friends, enemies, love, hate may have won him the game but isn’t loneliness a sour victory? Money, power, fame, may be nice, but really isn’t loneliness worst of all? And how can he not be lonely? Donald Trump may have risen to the top but, as the last few shots of the show demonstrated, while everyone else laughed, talked, hugged, remember that Trump was standing alone.

So Bill, I hope you’re prepared, as you begin in the months ahead to build that new Trump eyesore into the Chicago skyline. Not only is it lonely at the top, but if you continue as an Trump’s apprentice you may not have friends left to soften the fall.

So go, Bill. I hope you’re careful. The heights you’re about to climb may not be steady enough to climb down.

The author can be reached at bkishner@pww.org.