Perhaps I’m overthinking it, but it seems like a sad statement of our times that there are multiple shows with people going through protracted televised ordeals and the final prize is a job. Wow, having a job is so special!

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

6 thoughts on “Apprenticeship”

  1. america is so mindless…. dangerously nearing absolute and total mindlessness. always needing to be entertained by such utter bullshit. guess that’s why entertainers and actors are elected leaders and are given control over such things as governing this country and having last word on whether to proceed with legalised murder…
    americans bury their heads in such mindless bullshit as scripted ‘reality’ shows and avoid dealing with real social issues… like the accessibility, availibility and affordability of such things as education, healthcare, housing, heating, food… like finding ways to promote recycling and alternative sources of sustainable earth-friendly energy and the development of efficient public transportation systems… to question things like the true function and purpose of governmental agencies like ‘Homeland Security’, the legitimacy of mercenary armies such as Blackwater USA and their strong ties to the current USA administration… to question and give deep thought about the very real and true purpose of the a so-called ‘War on Terror’…. to think about what it means to go to Wal-Mart (because in many many small towns there are no longer any other choices for shopping) and buying yellow metallic decals imprinted with “God Bless Our Troops” to stick that on the gas-guzzling SUV.
    my god, what would happen if americans actually turned off the TV and really thought about things after a long day on the job?
    oh, btw, imo, the ‘War on Terror’ is the most successfully scripted reality show to ever be broadcasted on american TV…. it has even made a successful cross-over to other national & international media!

  2. To offer a somewhat different perspective, I think what people respond to in the various reality tv shows (and now also webshows etc) is not that someone “has” a job or gets one – but the specific, usually unusual and relatively rare job which the winners get. i.e. six figures (plus lots of recognition) “running” a line of business for a billionaire; running a music studio, being on air talent for a major (cable) network etc.

    There is also a great related branch of “reality” tv shows which illustrate at least to a degree an interesting side of many jobs – from extremes like “dirty jobs” to more practical examples on HGTV and others about real estate, design, or building. Even shows like “monster garage” etc while clearly entertainment, are also showing creativity as well as working in teams.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I was raised without a TV for much of my life and go without one frequently (the past month and half for example) but I’m also not as pessimistic as the previous commentator – tv shows, including some (but clearly not all) of the “reality” shows have in many respects been getting LESS mindless not more. They compete against entertainments in many mediums – but the long story arcs of the best shows and the problem solving / creativity of the best of the short shows is markedly different than earlier eras of TV.

    Stephen Johnson discusses this to some degree in his book “everything bad is good for you” the phenomenon of the growing complexity of thought required by the best of modern media.

    (news noteably usually not being in this category – there the thought required has mostly gone down not up – though it was never very high to start)

  3. You basically can’t loose on these shows. If the arrogant SOB doesn’t give you a job, somebody watching the show will. Think how much the airtime you’re getting is worth! Of course, it’s questionable whether one would want to work for someone who’s a fan of reality TV shows, but that is a different discussion.

  4. The Apprentice isn’t a bad show, it’s probably one of the only “reality shows” I’d sit and watch regularly (if it weren’t on my shift at work). The Apprentice Martha Stewart, on the other hand, sucks ass. I’m not looking forward to actually having to sit and watch that one next week (It’s on my shift AND it’s a live show meaning I can’t just tell the computer to auto roll the breaks, I actually have to push “Start” to roll them)


  5. Based on the few shows I’ve watched I enjoy it. Probably because I’m in business and I enjoy seeing Donald make decisions on the fly. Business is cold and cruel at times and I respect this part of th portrayal and concede that it’s accurate.

    Please accord me some slack since I’m limited on the range of US TV shows here in Taiwan. My favorite reality TV shows are American Casino, about the Resort in Vegas, but most favorite is “Rides” on theLearning Channel. I mentioned to dave previously that one of the most “uplifting” pieces of tv was an episode with noted “custom car designer” Chip Foose.I’m provding a link to a more detailed posting I did for anyone that’s interested.

    Donna,always enjoy your input and agree with you thoroughly on the totally sucky reality tv show sponsored by Bechtel, Enron, and USInc.

  6. thanks, Bluesman. good to know that there are some TV viewers out there who are quite aware of the many ‘realities’ being portrayed and by whom they are sponsored.
    next time i subscribe to cable tv service (whenever that may be), perhaps, i will check out some of the more optimistic options you suggest.


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