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Lessons Learned - January 31

Television shows are generally not the first place I turn for my life lessons. Sometimes, though, you do manage to learn something from a television show that isn't one of those After-School Specials of old. I found a couple of bits of learning (that's the international standard measurement of learning, for those of you who were about to write), The Apprentice and Beauty and the Geek.

On last week's episode of The Apprentice, a contestant quit for only the second time in six series of the show. It doesn't take a team of advisors to tell you that quitting is a poor career move. Quitting is normally frowned upon, but when given the chance of a lifetime to work for Donald Trump, quitting is...well, you get the idea.

Lesson one: Life is Hard. Deal With It.

The Apprentice is nothing like an actual job interview. It is a television program masquerading as a job interview. While the winner does get a salaried position in the organization, the point is that the whole event is taking place around a game show. Seeing the losing group suffering tents while the other winning team enjoys the high life in a palatial estate serves two purposes. One, it's really really funny. Two, it provides a visual metaphor for the importance of winning. If Michelle couldn't stand camping out for a bit, maybe she should have tried harder to win at the challenges, or just not show up in the first place. Her plea to work for the Trump Organization after leaving the game drew nothing but laughter from me. I hope she gets no sympathy.

I have been a vocal fan of Beauty and the Geek for the past three years now. I enjoy the show immensely, and wholeheartedly approve of the premise. I dislike the fact that some of the women who are participating in what could be a life-changing experience are spending time lounging on an air mattress in the backyard pool instead of studying. In the past few episodes, a pair of catty women with blonde tresses decided that they didn't like the brunettes in the house, so the young ladies with brown hair were toast. That leads us to...

Lesson two: People Will Not Change. Deal With That Too.

No matter what happens in that mansion, the men are still going to have geek leanings, and the women will still be smokin' hot babes, and nothing will change that. Maybe the guys will have a bit more self-confidence around the opposite sex, but they'll still be geeks. And the women are no different: they'll still form cliques around their friends and ostracize those who are different. The "social experiment" failed in this third season. It's really nothing more than mixed doubles Survivor combined with a questioning format that is done as a "Battle of the Sexes" contest on Easy Listening radio stations in cities all over the country.

If the contestants of these shows have also happened to learn something along the way, good for them.

Travis Eberle won't change either. He'll still be cranking out opinion-laced rants roughly every week. Drop him a line at


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