September 19, 2004

Is Stacie J. the new Omarosa?

After finally getting around to watching this week's "The Apprentice," Prof. Yin asks:
[W]hat is it with Mark Burnett's casting of African-American women, anyway? I realize that two data points are hardly conclusive, but doesn't it seem suspicious that each season of "The Apprentice" has had exactly one African-American woman, and each time, she's been completely nuts? (You haven't really [forgotten] Omarosa, have you?) Compare that to the one African-American male cast in each season (Kwame in season 1, Kevin in season 2), who seem like normal, likeable guys.
Here's my theory. Remember the show is edited after all the footage has been produced. Like Burnett's MTV show "The Real World," the editors look through all the raw footage and find story lines they can shape into narratives. The editing we're seeing on the show in any given week is part of a longer story arc that extends into other episodes. In the first two episodes, the black woman, Stacie J., has been presented in a way intended to lure us into thinking she's the new Omarosa. Fans of the show got a big kick out of Omarosa, and the editors know they can get us thinking about Omarosa if they show anyone acting strange, and maybe isolated clips of almost any of the contestants could look strange enough to jog us into thinking: Ooh, this looks good ... this might be weirdness of Omarosan proportions. So they do it with Stacie J. and it's especially easy because, like Omarosa, she's the only black woman.

But I will just bet some other contestant else turns out the real New Omarosa. They are just toying with us at this point in the story arc for this set of characters. Everyone ganged up on Stacie J. this week, and that was actually more Omarosan than anything Stacie J. actually did. (And the extended version of the show reveals that she wasn't as weird as she originally seemed. She didn't decide to call for temp help on her own. She asked the team leader and was told to go ahead!)

Like Prof. Yin, I think it would be rotten for the producers to pick "another Omarosa" to be the only black woman in the cast, and that's why I think they didn't do it. They are just generating interest and story line by making you think that they did. I bet Stacie J. ends up doing just fine.

UPDATE: Chris has this observation in support of the theory that Stacie J. is being edited to seem Omarosa-like:
Another thing to note is how in the premier episode they had this whole thing of showing Stacie "freaking out" and accusing people of ignoring her and being against her, without showing any background leading up to it. We were supposed to conclude that she started acting like this for no reason, completely unprovoked, but it looked very suspicious in that the scene began with the point at which she starts acting strange.

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