Blogging about the media, commenting on the cult of celebrity, and critiquing the U.S. feminist movement.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Donald Trump Fails Business Challenge!

On the January 17 episode of Celebrity Apprentice Gene Simmons played a master hand and forced Donald Trump to act on his own business instincts -- and the Donald failed spectacularly! The only real business challenge facing the Donald right now is how to make the ailing Apprentice vehicle come back. Gene Simmons was addressing the real business challenge at hand (face it, he and none of the other celebrity candidates this season want to be Donald Trump's apprentice. Donald Trump was Gene Simmons's client and the business challenge Trump hired Simmons and all the other celebrities to tackle was making the Apprentice once again watchable). The question Gene Simmons was forcing the Donald to act on was this: Does Donald Trump fire the man he's picked out as the clear business leader he personally favors not just within the context of the show's silly challenges but as the ratings getter who might breathe life back into the Apprentice vehicle? Does he or does he not trust Gene Simmons to tell him what composition of celebrities is going to make for the strongest entertainment value and the best ratings? Is Donald Trump able to trust his good friend as an astute business leader trying to actually help him and the future of that silly show, or not?

The Donald clearly wanted Gene Simmons to take two women into the final board room meeting with him who could be faulted and thus fired for the failure of that night's particular challenge. What Gene Simmons did instead was take to the final board room the two women he deemd to be most detrimental to the ratings of the show. The Donald either was taking the big-picture business game seriously or he wasn't. He either was playing on the scale where the real stakes are or he was going to insist on the small-scale focus and the arbitrary rules of the game's internal challenges. Gene Simmons left no room here, it wasn't coincidental. He literally forced the Donald to take his own show and his business instincts regarding what was happening seriously or to fire no less than Gene Simmons himself. It was a test, and the Donald blew it.

What's even more telling is that of course at any time if the Donald didn't want to fire Gene Simmons or either of the women Gene Simmons did take to the final board room, he didn't have to -- he's the boss, it's his show, it's his future, it's his Apprentice vehicle that's on the line. At any time Donald Trump had the option of changing the silly little rules set up for the show, as he did in that very episode when he asked Gene Simmons to go over to lead the weak women! Donald Trump could have overroad Gene Simmons's advice and fired someone else entirely. That was the second option the Donald had on the table in rising to the real business challenge currently facing him. Ideally, however, he would have taken Gene Simmons's advice and simply fired Omarosa, period.

Donald Trump did not trust Gene Simmons and did not trust his own business instincts, either! You could see it! At that moment he couldn't understand what Gene Simmons was doing or why he was doing it -- and he didn't trust that Simmons was operating in the best interest of himself and of the Apprentice. In not-so-subtle language Gene Simmons warned Donald Trump that sometimes the client doesn't see the big picture and makes the wrong decision. This absolutely was a test of Trump's business acumen. The Donald proceeded to make the worst-ever possible business decision, for himself and for the future viability of the Apprentice vehicle. This is jaw-dropping classic stuff here, in line with some of the best multilayered pop cultural forces of this era. Not only that, the business aspects of what went down ought to be studied for years in business schools!


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