The Apprentice

Common Sense Media says

Survivor for the business class.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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

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

Violence
Not applicable
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
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Cast:Donald Trump, Jennifer Massey, Kelly Perdew
Network:NBC
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of The Apprentice was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

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. But language is heavy, more than the occasional 'bitch' that CommomSense warned about. They use the s***, a**, and d**n. The message is also horrible, teaching that money is everything, you need to compete for everything, and that backstabbing and being unkind get you ahead. Fun for adults and teens. Not for kids.
Adult Written byLowe's man February 25, 2014
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

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 say about this show, and I'm going to say it. It's about Donald Trump. Many of us know about and remember the insulting remarks he made about President Obama. Moreover, the year Randal Pinkett won, Trump asked him a question he never asked any other winner. Pinkett and others perceived the question as racist, which it indeed likely was. So, before turning this show on for your children, we need to raise an issue about Trump's racial views, or at least find out more about them.
Kid, 11 years old April 2, 2012
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

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 is censored. A good programme. I don't want to be in the business industry, but I still find it very entertaining. However, be mindful of some of the conflicts between contestants.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism

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