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My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss, Episode 1: How Low Can You Go?by David Bloomberg -- 11/08/2004
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“Welcome to Chicago, an unwavering stronghold of the American corporate juggernaut.” So begins My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss in scenes and a monologue that obviously make fun of Donald Trump and The Apprentice, going all the way to saying rich people deserved to be worshipped like gods. Cut to N. Paul Todd on his corporate jet, talking about how he buys and sells companies and has made an untold fortune doing it. In fact, he says, he’s got “craploads of money.” Now there’s a term we don’t often hear on The Apprentice! But more importantly, he has the wisdom that can only come from having craploads of money.
So he’s going to take on a protégé, a squire, a disciple – yes, somebody hit the thesaurus under “apprentice.” As he’s telling us this, his stewardess serves him a drink and he gives her a spank. He continues that he is going to give a group of highly qualified contestants the chance to join his corporation. But there’s one detail they don’t know… Camera pull-back to show that the jet interior is only a small piece of scenery on a soundstage. “I’m a total fraud!”
His name is actually William August, an actor, and his corporation is a sham. He will be playing the “most ruthless, demeaning, and obnoxious boss that anyone’s ever seen.”
To begin, they tell their 12 contestants that they are worth their weight in gold, and thus they are put into armored cars and driven aimlessly around Chicago all afternoon. They have been told they will meet a brilliant but reclusive billionaire. But little do they know it will be “the most horrible experience of their professional lives.”
They are the best and the brightest, from Ivy League schools and well-known businesses. And “some of them are pretty easy on the eyes.”
August tells us that we are about to witness the most ambitious con in TV history. But even though he and the corporation are fake, the game and prize money are 100% real. Each week, one of the contestants will be eliminated, but not by August. There is a secret “real” boss behind the scenes who is secretly watching them to decide who stays and who goes. His identity won’t be revealed until later, but August promises it will be the most astonishing revelation in reality TV. People are already trying to figure it out. Personally, I think it isn’t a person at all, but a monkey or something of that nature.
As night falls, the trucks arrive at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. They are ushered into the building – a wide open area while a balcony overlooking them – by guards from the armored trucks. Hey, I think I recognize one of the guards. It looks like Harlemm Lee, the winner of Fame. Good to know he’s got some work these days. Anyway, one of them drops a bag of cash at the contestants’ feet and walks away. August – sorry, N. Paul Todd – appears atop the balcony and says, “Good evening, everyone. Welcome to my world.”
Several contestants tell us how he looks sophisticated and powerful. He introduces himself as founder and chairman of a 3.8 billion dollar investment company, IOCOR, Inc. One of them will be invited into his inner circle to earn a massive salary and learn the secrets of a billionaire. Damian says Todd has the air of money about him; Christy says there are a lot of millionaires, but Todd is a billionaire.
Todd tells them that whatever their background, it got them to this point. But “there is no future in the past.” How deep. He points to one woman who has her own marketing firm. She smiles. He follows up with, “Who cares?” Her smile fades – mine grows. Dan is a top car salesman. He smiles dutifully. “Doesn’t mean crap.” Heh. Todd says he’s not looking for suits, but somebody with a thirst for more power, money, and knowledge.
Todd asks who has heard of IOCOR. Silence as the producers provide crickets chirping in the background. It actually would have been funny if somebody did claim to have heard of it, but none take the bait. In fact, the name of the company is Latin for “to joke” or “to jest.” Good thing nobody speaks Latin anymore!
Todd launches into a nice presentation about IOCOR. It is a venture capitalist corporation that buys and sells companies. They even include what appear to be newspaper and magazine articles about the company and Todd himself, all of which fly by too quickly to really read. The contestants seem properly impressed.
Todd says he does his best to avoid the losers because if there is anything he hates, it’s investing time and money in a loser. He asks the players if there are any losers among them. None raise their hands (duh), but he points out that they are wrong – 11 of them are losers, because there will only be one winner.
Todd explains the way the game works. Anybody familiar with The Apprentice doesn’t really need the explanation. Two teams, series of challenges, start with men vs. women, one male and one female executive to help him. Jamie Denbo is the actress playing Jamie Samuels, executive vice president at IOCOR. Todd tells the players to not let her good looks fool them – she has a “set of brass ones.” The other is David Jahn playing David Hickman, Chief Operating Officer – but he admits to us that he doesn’t really know what that means.
Todd opens up expensive champagne and fine appetizers. Well, that’s what he tells them. In fact, they just picked the champagne up at the local food mart and made the appetizers out of baloney, spam, and cheese whiz. The contestants assure us that the champagne is excellent and obviously expensive, while one says the appetizers were more sophisticated than she was.1 2 3 Next-->
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