While I admit to watching “The Apprentice” because I felt it reminded me of how people think they should do advertising: here’s a problem, solve it in 48 hours without the right tools or budget, in general, reality TV wasn’t my thing.
The standard formula is to take a person, or a group of people, and throw them in an unfamiliar world, and watch them go gladiator on each other. It may be entertaining, but it’s typically not pretty. Even The Apprentice had a woman dropping her skirt for $20 on Wall Street.
So, when “The Contender” came out, I detected a slight change in the landscape that may justify watching- here the participants were all pros, playing in their field, but being given BETTER tools than they had before. I like this idea. Take the best, and see if we can make them better.
Boxing is not a team sport, and this is the one spot where is gets a little iffy, after a team wins a challenge, they pick who boxes and they get to pick who they get to fight on the other team, which leaves the rest of them totally off the hook. The funny thing is, so far, three under dogs have chosen not the weakest members of the other team, but the strongest- and won each time. Big ad for heart beats skills, makes me love the show even more.
Instead of Donald Trump being the deciding factor in who leaves the show, it’s pure mano a mano, pugilistic mayhem, edited for effect of course. Now, part of me says unless it’s a KO, boxing scores can be as funky as Olympic figure skating ones, but the fall back here is there are the contestants watching, and if it was really off, they would probably pipe up.
I’m not a huge fan of boxing, but it’s like rubber neckers at the scene of a car wreck, you almost have to look. The one part of the Contender that makes things uncomfortable is that typically, boxers don’t train where their opponents can see each other, or live under the same roof. It will be interesting when “team mates” who have been working together, might have to face each other. Boxing is a metaphor for war, and it’s always been said it’s easier to kill your enemy when you don’t know him personally.
This show could have a huge impact on these young men’s lives, and on boxing that were totally unpredicted. Only time will tell.
In the mean time, it’s my choice for the best in reality TV.

What do you think?