Five days after the finale of The Apprentice 4, the events of the last few minutes are still being discussed and debated. On Yahoo’s Apprentice site, a poll asks what choice Trump should have made. Right now, the results overwhelmingly say Trump should have hired both (49 percent). While only 3 percent say to just hire Rebecca, 26 percent say to hire Randal alone, showing that he has significantly more support–although another 29 percent say Randal should be fired for not hiring Rebecca.
Rebecca tells TV Guide she “definitely would have hired Randal, because as a businesswoman and someone who has been a leader and manager of people, when you see talent you have to snatch it up before the competition does.” Of course, she’s had time to think about this; Randal did not.
Online, some argue that Randal never should have had to make that choice. Black Enterprise’s Alfred Edmond writes, “It’s all about meritocracy–unless and until the black person is proven to be the most qualified. Randal proved that he is the most qualified. Rebecca did not. Rebecca does not deserve to be The Apprentice (or an apprentice) because she did not earn the job.”
Last night, Randal showed his sense of humor by mocking his decision on the Radio Music Awards. He also defended his decision on Regis and Kelly yesterday, saying, “I tend to draw the analogy of sports. If you were to be awarded the gold medal or win the NBA Championship . . . and you were offered the opportunity to give the gold medal to the silver medalist, you probably wouldn’t be willing to do it.”
For what it’s worth, that analogy doesn’t make much sense to me, since The Apprentice is not necessarily a zero-sum game, nor even a game, really. But in the days following the finale, I reconsidered my initial reaction, in which I called Randal’s decision “selfish.” The 600 or so e.mail messages I received–many accusing me of racism, one of which asked if I was ironing my white sheet while writing–helped make me aware, to say the least, of something that legitimately never crossed my mind while writing. They argued that it was more than coincidental that the first black apprentice was asked to share his title.
After reading all of those e.mail messages, plus essays by others about the finale, I wrote this follow-up essay, examining my reaction and the responses of others. I don’t think the disagreements will ever be resolved, but since when has anyone ever agreed about anything having to do with the outcome of a reality TV show?