Monday, May 22, 2006

New York Times? "The Apprentice"? You Both Disappoint Me.

Consider this a double post.

In the past two days, two of, I'll go ahead and call them "entertainment mainstays" in my life -- Donald Trump and the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times -- have let me down.

1. How the Times has disappointed me:

I'll admit that I was excited when I opened the usually tolerable Styles section on Sunday morning and saw a giant above-the-fold article on fitness. I'm reluctant to admit it, but I'm something of a gym rat, so if the Times wants to talk dirty to me about hot sports bras or to-die-for free weights, I am all ears, baby. Tell me more.

But then I read the headline: "24-Hour Sweaty People" According to the lead, this story is supposed to be about spending an entire day in a gym. Fine. it just me or does it seem like this head accidentally made it into the paper out of sheer laziness? Does it not seem like some guy on the sports desk saw this story on the budget and, to mock it, was like, "Huh-huh. Sweaty people. Like, 24-hour sweaty people." The news editor then said, "It's midnight, and I have to catch the train to Nyack. Print!"

I then made the mistake of actually reading the article. I don't know who's in charge of reining Styles writer Guy Trebay in, but s/he must have been on vacation this week. What follows is a multi-thousand word essay on Trebay's personal musings about his personal gym downtown. Um...what? Conceptually, it might have been cool to spend a day in the gym and profile the feel of it. But I guess the Times thinks that letting one of its top writers talk to one personal trainer buddy of his, lifting an interview from Star magazine, and smooshing it all together with crap like this: "The value of spending a full day inside a gym is that it gives one the opportunity to survey a rich gallery of human types: ...the solitary ponytailed hippie who passes hours leisurely pedaling a recumbent bike while meandering through "Within a Budding Grove,"... New York University students, at a guess — in the first flush of adulthood, their flesh firm, their carriages still limber because the ravages of serial hangover, student loan terror and mortgage payments for closet size co-ops have not yet made inroads on their faces and physiques" qualifies as reporting. <Shaking head.>

2. How "The Apprentice" has disappointed me:

"The Apprentice" is one of the few reality shows on TV today that I still defend as quality programming. Crazy corporate tasks? A perennial combover? Idiot Ivy-Leaguers? I call that dramedy. But tonight, the Donald defied reason and...


fired the two smartest people on the show (both women, I might add) for defending themselves in the boardroom rather than preserving their friendship.

May I ask, "WHAT?"

When Allie and Roxanne entered the board room, they spent a good few minutes saying things like, "It was no one's fault we lost," and "Allie/Roxanne is so great," and "Blah, blah, blah, neutral. Blah, blah." "Don't do that!," I screamed from my couch. "Stand up for yourselves or he'll fire you!" So, after the Donald egged them on to sell each other out, they did just that -- which is what any sane person in a reality show competition would do. And then? He fired them both. Because they didn't have "loyalty."

Um, loyalty to what? Shipping themselves back home to their crappy day jobs? To the social norm we call "being a good, quiet, subservient female," which keeps us from achieving more for ourselves thanks to society's expectations of us? To these weird "frenemy"-like female relationships we hang onto even thought they tend to tear each us down rather than support our ambitions?

I'm livid. And now, the new "apprentice" -- whatever that even means -- is going to be Yet. Another. White. Guy. *sigh*

You blew it, Donald. You lost me at "You're fired."


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