"I Don't Like Ass-Lickers"

I've been watching the first season of the U.K. version of The Apprentice, and the answer is, no, I don't have anything better to do with my time. The series is set up just like its American counterpart (still one of my favorite shows despite a lame, dragged out 90-minute season premiere), but instead of Donald Trump the candidates have to deal with Sir Alan Sugar—who, in the opening credits, barks, "I don't like ass-lickers!" In fact, the U.K. series doesn't bleep anything out, so it's a delight, really, to hear soothing English accents wrap their way around "fuck" and "bullshitters." (That's another thing Sir Alan doesn't like. "I don't like bullshitters.") Man, and you thought Trump was tough. Do you know how scary it is to hear the words "You're fired!" coming out of the mouth of a crotchety Englishman?

Aside from the swearing, there are other differences that make watching the U.K. series, at first, a bizarre and disarming experience. The show is edited less frenetically than the U.S. version; moves at a slightly more leisurely pace (no commercials means it's a full hour of Apprentice delight); uses whimsical music rather than a pulse-pounding, confrontational soundtrack; and is narrated by a very proper-sounding Englishman who describes the on-screen happenings with detached curiosity. The upshot is, watching the U.K. Apprentice is like watching an educational documentary about how business functions. Yes, that's right, the English manage to strip away the trashy reality TV stigma of the show and make you feel okay for watching The Apprentice. After all, you're learning about the complex and important business sector in London.

I happen to know that the English, with those damn deceptive accents, also lend an air of respectability to porn movies.

English people, you're my heroes! The Apprentice and porn—and I can still respect myself in the morning. Whether anyone else respects me is another matter. A matter completely unsuited for this blog.

—Reporting From Glendale, California

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