The Apprentice

TV review by
Elliot Panek, Common Sense Media
The Apprentice TV Poster Image
Survivor for the business class.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 10 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show underscores that it is necessary to be both competitive and cooperative to get ahead. It also teaches that money is everything.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Trump can be very harsh with the contestants. People often harshly criticize each other and are not always team players.

Violence
Sex

Some challenges involve slightly risque behavior (like posing in bed for a print ad).

Language

Occasional use of the word "bitch."

Consumerism

A near-constant stream of product placement.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this show includes many product endorsements. Female contestants sometimes use "sex appeal" to boost sales or to get attention. Though there are no explicit references to sex, this show can sometimes reinforce negative stereotypes of females in the workplace. Some seasons of the series revolve around "celebrity" contestants like Stephen Baldwin and Gene Simmons -- who presumably participate to promote themselves and their projects, as well as to compete.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12 year old Written byTsion April 9, 2008

Not TV-14 Material, but pretty close...

THE APPRENTICE is a hit TV show. Everybody loves it. But is it warranted? I'll get right to the point. The show is somewhat amusing and entertaining, b... Continue reading
Adult Written byLowe's man February 25, 2014

Think twice about this show.

I have never seen THE APPRENTICE, so I'm probably not a good person to review this show. But, at the risk of being jeered at, there is something I should... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

Business Show Hit uses Language and has Horrible Message.

The Apprentice is fun. The scenes in the boardroom with Donald Trump are enticing and it's amusing to watch all of the contestants fight for their jobs.... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old April 2, 2012

FIT FOR MOST

I am only 11, but I love this show. (I am a bit wierd) It, apart from the odd episode, has zilch sexual content and swearing is rare. If swearing does occur, it... Continue reading

What's the story?

Working from the template established by The Real World and Survivor, THE APPRENTICE pits hungry young would-be executives against each other in a corporate competition to see who can outwit, out-market, and out-manage the others. Eighteen contestants are divided into two teams, both of which are assigned a business-related task in each episode by the show's smirking overlord, Donald Trump. Each week, a member from the losing team is sent home. Unlike Survivor, the competitors can only nominate three possible candidates for dismissal. The ultimate judgment lies in Trump's hands.

Is it any good?

The show retains the catty behavior and alliance-forming of its reality predecessors but replaces drunken hookups and obstacle courses with boasts of business savvy and the frequently demeaning job of selling something no one seems to want. It's so shamelessly capitalist that its endorsement of corporate culture can seem like indoctrination. This view has resonated with many viewers, perhaps because corporations have been either demonized or ignored by other shows. Generally, the most aggressive competitors lose. The contestants who last the longest are those who know when to be cooperative and when to be cutthroat. The show's main flaw is its failure to be critical of the possible long-term negative effects of corporate culture.

Parents should put the show's money-above-all-else world view into perspective by explaining that while many people strive for business success to support themselves and their families, there's more to life than money.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the show's promotion of corporate capitalism. While that topic is too big for any one show to address fully, this series is a useful starting point. Does it offer an accurate portrayal of corporate culture? Are participants with higher educations and more financial stability given an unfair advantage? Do the products featured on the show make you want to buy them? Families can also discuss how "real" reality TV is. Is it fair to assume that the contestants' actions are an accurate portrayal of who they really are? How do you think editing plays a role in telling their story?

TV details

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