Posts Tagged ‘Tony Schwartz’

The Ultimate “Reality” TV Show Star

March 31, 2020

I have finally figured out why, the more outrageously he speaks and acts, Agent Orange’s (aka Donald Trump) popularity goes up with his audience. He is the ultimate reality TV show star. After all, if not for starring in a reality show, those who know claim he would never have become president.

Let’s face it, Americans are divided into two audiences: those who love “reality” TV shows, and those who prefer to live reality for themselves. What are some of the common elements of these shows?

First, and foremost, they are mindless. Check your intelligence at the Boob Tube if you care to partake.

Second, the more outrageous the scenario, the more fascinating they become. When “Survivor” became too boring, we got “Naked and Afraid.” Ever heard of “Love is Blind,” number one in the mindless scenario ratings? Strangers talk through a wall (Pyramus and Thisbe would have loved this show) and have 10 days to get engaged or get off the show. Not surprisingly, many of these shows feature dating and sex. A lot of spinoffs from “Jersey Shores”. Speaking of spinoffs, how many did we get from “The Bachelor”? Right, almost as many sequels as the original movie “Godzilla”, and most of them just as good.

Third, being filthy rich is REALLY big with the poor schmucks who obsess about rich schmucks. Think “My Super Sweet 16” or, a little racier, “Girls Next Door”, about three of Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends who lived together. Ahem. And if you’re actually a celebrity, well! Remember “The Osbournes”? Yeah, neither do I. But who can ever forget “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”?

Fourth, conflicts, arguments and nasty insults are always popular scenarios. “Bad Girls” may be gone, but not forgotten—especially by producers working desperately to blank out their brains and come up with the next hit show.

Okay, so there are some shows that actually feature talent, such as singing or cooking. But none of them will ever make the top 10. So how does a politician fit into all of this?

Agent Orange has never been, and never will be, an actual politician. You know, like trying to build consensus and instituting policies that are good for the majority of the people? He has always been a reality TV star, and absolutely loves that role in life. Other than his own series, AO has appeared in nearly two dozen TV shows and movies.

AO made his first on-screen appearance in 1985 in an episode of “The Jeffersons” called “You’ll Never Get Rich.” A few more high-profile movies he appeared in were “Eddie” (1996), “Zoolander” (2001), and Two Week’s Notice” (2002).

One of the most amusing TV shows he was in was “The Nanny” (1996). When he was told that his character was a millionaire, he naturally demanded that the line to be changed to call him “a billionaire”. In the end, the director had the line changed to refer to him as a ‘zillionaire’. Another amusing tidbit is that he made a cameo in an episode of “Sex and The City” (1999) entitled “The Man, the Myth, the Viagra”. Just perfect.

But Agent Orange is no actor. It is no coincidence that the role he played was always himself. So, as to checking the first element off the list—well, for him, that’s literally a no-brainer. More on that in a moment.

So how about the second element, being outrageous?

The Miss Universe Organization was owned by Donald Trump from 1996 to 2015, which includes Miss USA and Miss Teen USA, as well as Miss Universe. Why beauty pageants? In a 2005 interview on Howard Stern’s show, Agent Orange bragged about his motivation. “I’ll go backstage before a show, and everyone’s getting dressed and ready and everything else,” he said. “You know, no men are anywhere. And I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant. And therefore I’m inspecting it… ‘Is everyone OK?’ You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. And you see these incredible-looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.”

It was later disclosed that he entered the Miss Teen USA changing room, where girls as young as 15 were in various stages of undress. When questioned, many of the girls and women admitted he had not only entered but often fondled them. Perhaps that’s what he was referring to when he boasted to former ‘Access Hollywood’ host Billy Bush about sexually assaulting women, including the infamous ‘pussy grabber’ discussion. When one young woman mentioned the incidents to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, she shrugged it off, saying, “Yeah, he does that.” To her as well?

In the above-mentioned interview, AO also told Stern that, when he bought Miss Universe, the pageant was “a sick puppy.” The ‘hotness’ of contestants had seriously deteriorated in the preceding years because the judges had begun placing an emphasis on brains over beauty. “They had a person that was extremely proud that a number of the women had become doctors,” Trump said. “And I wasn’t interested.” No sizzle in that beef steak, right?

But sexual assault was not why AO was forced to sell the Miss Universe Organization. In 2015, after his incendiary comments about Mexicans drove away broadcasters NBC and Univision, sponsors ‘dumped’ his shows. In show biz, racism seems to—ahem—trump sexism.

Okay, we got ‘mindless, outrageous, and sex’ out of the way. How about rich and famous? Well, that one’s also a no-brainer, even if he isn’t nearly as rich as he claims. (When WILL we get to see those tax returns?)

Agent Orange had been a celebrity since 1987, when Tony Schwartz created a brilliant, fantastic business persona through his best-selling book “The Art of the Deal,” which falsely presented Trump as its principal author But by 2003 AO had become a cartoon figure when his business once again went south after a series of bankruptcies and bail outs. Although Schwartz later admitted that he felt some responsibility for facilitating Trump’s imposture, describing him as “the monster I helped to create,” he also said, “Mark Burnett’s influence was vastly greater.”

In 1996, Mark Burnett got his start in TV by producing “Eco Challenge”, which soon led to “Survivor”. Wanting more of the limelight, but not being an actor, Agent Orange did the only thing possible: He agreed to star in Burnett’s latest reality show, “The Apprentice”. But, boastful and blustery as he may be, even that took a lot of work.

In an interview with “The New Yorker”, Katherine Walker, the producer who actually oversaw the first five seasons of “The Apprentice”, said “(we) struggled to make Trump seem coherent. He wouldn’t read a script — he stumbled over the words and got the enunciation all wrong. We cleaned it up so that he was his best self.” Walker insisted that “The Apprentice” reinvigorated AO’s image as a successful businessman.

“I don’t think any of us could have known what this would become,” she said. “But Donald would not be president had it not been for that show.” Walker said that Executive Producer Burnett acknowledged that “The Apprentice” helped pave AO’s path to the presidency by ending a downward slope in his professional life and giving him back the appearance of a tycoon. Perhaps ironically, another of Burnett’s TV productions was “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” Clearly, many voters are not.

In the past 40 years, since the BBC launched “Yes, Minister” (1980-82), there has been an incredible uptick in TV shows about the top politicians, many of them so-called ‘political mockumentaries’. Whether humorous or dramatic, these shows allow many people to fantasize about being the POTUS. If you can’t be, why not just elect someone who represents every mindless, cheap value that you hold dear and revel in his daily portrayal of a real-life president?

As to conflicts, arguments and nasty insults, there is no need to inform anyone in the world about his calls for violence during his rallies, his tweet storms raging at every perceived slight, and his insults and mocking parodies of nearly every person who gives him less than absolute adulation, including most politicians in the world. And the fanatics of “reality TV” absolutely love every moment of it.

I had previously thought that Agent Orange would like to be king. But he evidently realizes that, in our modern world, kings have no real power. That is why he would prefer to be known as the King of Reality TV, the man who could play the ultimate role of power in the world. But, even in the growing disaster that is the COVID-19 pandemic, playing the role of president is still all about his TV ratings.

This says everything you need to know about Agent Orange: While giving out his usual false information about the disease, Donald Trump bragged about his high TV viewership generated by his coronavirus briefings. For the ultimate reality TV show star, the show must . . . well, you know how that saying goes on. And on.