Remember how Donald Trump announced last month that he was ditching the (severely ratings-challenged) The Apprentice in favor of a “major new TV venture”? Looks like that exciting project is, er, another gimmicky reality series. Now, I hesitate to give a professional windbag like Trump any more attention than he’s already getting. But Lady or a Tramp, which he’s developing with Fox as a possible mid-season replacement, sounds too offensively bad to ignore.
According to Variety, the show follows a group of “girls in love with the party life” as they “receive a stern course on debutante manners.” Trump is currently on board as an exec producer, and there’s a possibility that he’ll be one of the pillars of society who administers said stern course. How, exactly, is that supposed to make an entertaining half-hour of TV? Tramp sounds like a mean-spirited, unfunny version of VH1’s Charm School — and let me tell you, the Donald is no Mo’Nique.
The way he tells it, though, Tramp isn’t supposed to be funnyat all: It’s a serious statement about our gossip-glutted celebculture. “We are all sick and tired of the glamorization of theseout-of-controlyoung women,” Trump pontificates in Variety, “so I have takenit upon myself to do something about it.” How noble of him. And yetthat’s not quite the message suggested by the show’s casting notices,which Variety reports are seeking “ ‘rude and crude party girls’and… ‘younger women who are 18-30, love to party and full ofattitude.’” In other words, Trump’s show may not be “glamoriz[ing]out-of-control young women” per se, but it’s sure going to stereotypethe hell out of them. The concept of a wealthy middle-aged man likeTrump telling young women (or, uh, “party girls”) how to behave isstraight out of the worst part of the 19th century; maybe it appealedto some sense of Victorian nostalgia in the U.K., where the show thatinspired Tramp originated, but over here it comes across as outdated, paternalistic garbage.
It’s no surprise that Trump is into regressive cliches. The Apprentice, after all, wasentirely based on him lording his uber-boss authority over a group ofhapless employees. And we all recall the misogynist nastiness he unleashedagainst Rosie O’Donnell a few months back. But this feels like a newlow, even for him. Fox isn’t exactly known for its restraint either,but would someone over there please pull the plug on this show beforeit gets out of development?
What do you think, PopWatchers — am I being too hard on the guy? Are any of you actually interested in watching Lady or a Tramp?