Celebrity Apprentice: Arnold the Governator Edition

I have a huge confession:  I am a giant Arnold Schwarzenegger fan, especially of his late 80’s and early 90’s movies. (Yeah, that includes even Last Action Hero.) I’m one of those, “not ashamed of it” kind of fans. So when I found out that he was going to be hosting the new Celebrity Apprentice a few months ago, I set my DVR to record1 and waited with anticipation.2

So once we got all the kids washed up and in bed3, I sat down in the living room with my wife to soak in all of the glory that would be from this new “Trump-less” season of Celebrity Apprentice. The show started with an intro to all of the celebrities that would be competing. Unsurprisingly, Tracy knew nearly none of them except for Carson Kressley (former host of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy). I, however, was familiar with most. (Yes, even Snookie, who is phenomenally shorter than everyone else.) I’m not sure which one of us should be more ashamed of that little fact. (I want to defend myself by claiming that I just have an excellent memory for faces and names.) Then the show moved on to the first challenge, which was to promote Tyra Bank’s make-up line.

The show was two hours. I expected lots of Arnold in the boardroom, telling amazing stories and asking all sorts of funny questions. I was pleasantly surprised when his line for firing people was “You’ve been terminated.” It was predictable, but I loved it. Even better, he then told the contestant to get to da choppa. And there was an actual helicopter waiting to escort the “terminated” back home. But in the end, I was fairly disappointed. There wasn’t enough Arnold for me, or at least, not enough space for him to do anything fun. And his nephew, Patrick; I think he might be a robot.

Some thoughts from watching this little slice of pop culture:

1) We’re a culture obsessed with celebrity. It shouldn’t surprise us that Arnold Schwarzenegger was once the governor of California and that Donald Trump will be our president in a few days. This trend will continue, no doubt, as the line between celebrity and politician continue to collide. The pressure to entertain will only increase, not decrease in our culture. Just look at the boy that tried to “dab” at Paul Ryan’s inauguration for Speaker of the House. The news about the event wasn’t about Paul Ryan’s re-appointment for Speaker, but of the boy that tried to dab. This kind of “news” is what dominates the airwaves. Samuel D. James on Twitter had some relevant tweets about this:





2) OK, I did some quick research: Patrick Knapp Schwarzenegger graduated UCLA and then went to USC School of Law. Only a non-human being could do that. So I think that’s more evidence he’s a robot.

3) Not having watched a Reality TV show in a long time, I’ve come to the conclusion that these shows are hard to watch because they are so incredibly predictable. The formula hasn’t changed, and it’s tiresome. Watching people bicker and fight just isn’t fun, even if the stakes are extremely small. I will most definitely not be watching anymore episodes. Coming off a winter filled with shows like “The Crown” on Netflix, (which I highly recommend), this stuff just makes my brain feel like mush afterward.

4) It’s very easy to latch onto great ideas, but difficult to focus. The women’s team lost both of the challenges from this first episode because they had good ideas, but didn’t address the actual task. They made assumptions about the products they were supposed to sell and ultimately didn’t have the effectiveness that they had hoped. I wonder if I do the same with the gospel and my students. Do I assume too much about truths like God’s holiness? God’s love? God’s mercy? Do I do enough to explain and give them a good foundation? It’s a good reminder for me as I’m preparing for my next sermon series.

5) Thinking outside of the box is good, but for its own sake, it can be an enemy to the goal. I often put the pressure on myself to think outside the box when it comes to ministry ideas, but I should work harder to consider whether or not it’s new for newness sake.

6) I wonder if there is a Biblical category for the gift of “MC” or “Hosting.” Some of the celebrities on the show are magnificent in front of a crowd; personable and relatable, they have a way of being magnetic and drawing you into everything they’re saying. I’m sure it’s something they trained in, but they make it look so easy. I envy that because it’s so hard to do.

7) When Arnold is done with this show, I think he should go to England and join the cast of a new British period drama. Imagine Downton Abbey where Arnold is a retired general from World War 2. It could be called “GET DOWNton Abbey!!” … OK Sorry.

8) I’m glad that at the end of my life, when it’s time for me to sit at the judgment seat of the throne of God, I will be represented by the greatest project manager that ever lived. He will take the hit for me. His work becomes gifted to me as mine, and my errors will become his responsibility. And instead of being “terminated,” I will be welcomed into the kingdom with “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” That’s awesome and humbling.

1By “set my DVR to record,” I mean I didn’t do it then. Instead, I missed the first 5 minutes because I set it to record at 8:05 pm as the show was airing live.

2By “anticipation,” I mean I totally forgot about it until I opened the Time Warner app on my iPhone to DVR the new game show “The Wall.”

3Our bedtime routine is as follows (give or take a few steps on any given night):

1) Tell the kids to come to the bathroom, so we can brush their teeth and wash their faces, then apply lotion.
2) Tell the kids to come to the bathroom, so we can brush their teeth and wash their faces, then apply lotion.
3) Yell at the kids to come to the bathroom… or else!
4) Have them fight over who has to wash up first.
5) Someone loses and gets their teeth brushed and face washed. Isabella often spits toothpaste water behind the sink. Ugh. Gotta clean that up and give her a dirty look, and she gives me a huge grin in return. Adorable, all is forgiven.
6) Forget to put lotion on one of the kids.
7) Then they go to their room to put on their PJs. Caden can now fully change by himself. It only took us about five years to train him to do that. Huge win for us. Isabella can take off her clothes… and now she’s running around half-naked.
8) Tracy asks me if I put lotion on the kids’ faces. Sometimes I lie and say yes. Caden always rats me out and either says that he didn’t, or Isabella didn’t. Love his honesty.
9) Catch Isabella and get her in her PJs.
10) Ask the kids to pick a few books to read before going to sleep. They fight over how many books and which books. We recently got a boatload of books for Christmas, so this process is taking awhile now.
11) Tracy and I take turns reading books. Tracy is far more creative with sound effects and little flourishes and stuff. Depending on how tired I am, I will try my best to imitate her or stumble through the books as quickly as I can. I love that my kids are forgiving enough to let me get away with it. But sometimes I’ll miss a little detail, and they make sure I go back and correct my errors. It’s built in accountability.
12) Tracy will then go over Caden’s memory verses from AWANA and his TK classes.
13) Then I’ll go over Catechism with the kids. Caden is more enthusiastic about his “Questions” than Isabella, but we’re trying to get them both interested.
14) Then we’ll sit together and pray. Lately, the kids have wanted to pray as well with us. It’s sweet and puts a huge smile on our faces.
15) Then it’s hugs and kisses, and we tuck them in. (Or in our house, the kids will ask us: “Daddy, can you burrito me?)
16) After a few minutes in the dark, one of them will come out to pee. Or get a drink of water. Or lately, Isabella has been pretending to be afraid of the dark. She’ll whine in a really scared voice “Oh no! I’m so afraid of the dark…” And then when I get into the room, she’ll be laughing. (I’m terrified for the man that will one day marry her. Or I’m not because he should love her for all of her silliness.)
17) Once there hasn’t been any sound or movement from their room for about 20 minutes… victory is ours.


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