Generally speaking, I’m not a big fan of sit-coms. However, I have watched them on occasion. Sometimes I’ll watch a Roseanne rerun if Crystal is in that episode.

I went to high school with Natalie West, the actress who played Crystal. We ran in different circles, but sometimes we bumped into each other at parties, and we knew each other well enough to say hello and talk. In real life, Natalie West was nothing like the pathetic, neurotic character Crystal she played on TV.

I sometimes watched reruns of Cheers. I kind of had a thing for Diane — the tall, intelligent, virtuous barmaid portrayed by Shelley Long.

Diane was sometimes romantically involved with former jock turned bar owner/bartender Sam Malone, portrayed by actor Ted Danson. (I didn’t like the character, Sam. He didn’t deserve the sweet and virtuous Diane.) In real life, Ted Danson was nothing like the character Sam he played on TV.

In Misleading Men, “Ted Danson Was Never Sam Malone. That’s Why He Was Such a Great Sam Malone,” Tim Gierson writes: “Ted Danson takes every opportunity he can to tell people that he’s nothing like Sam Malone. The cocksure, alcoholic former Red Sox relief pitcher who owned a Boston bar called Cheers was one of the 1980s’ most popular television characters — a dim-bulb lothario who tried very hard to prove he was utterly shallow, when actually he was a fairly soulful dude, even if he never understood why some poems didn’t have to rhyme. For the first year or so of Cheers, Danson (who was in his mid-30s when he got the role) thought he was awful as Sam. Danson wasn’t a drinker, wasn’t really a jock, never considered himself god’s gift to women. He didn’t have Sam’s strut, and he certainly didn’t know how to mix a cocktail. He didn’t think it would work, so of course he was perfect in the role.”

Colton Underwood, who starred as a handsome hunk in Season 23 of The Bachelor, recently announced that he is gay.

The character Donald Trump played on the TV show The Apprentice, that of an omnipotent billionaire businessman, was much more fictional than factual.

In The Guardian (9/29/2020), “How Trump’s Apprentice earnings helped rescue his failing empire,” Tom McCarthy and Daniel Strauss write: “When Donald Trump signed a deal to star in The Apprentice in 2004, The New York Times‘ latest bombshell report on his tax returns shows he was among the worst businessmen in the United States.

“Tax documents obtained by the paper show how Trump squandered a $413 million inheritance in a series of losing plays in real estate and casinos. On his tax return in 2004, he declared $89.9 million in net losses from core businesses the previous year.

“The story of how The Apprentice made Trump a household name, burnishing his personal myth as a successful businessman and ultimately paving his way to the White House, is well documented. But on Tuesday, the Times exposed just how false that myth was, and how far into the red Trump had sunk when he was approached by Mark Burnett, a British-born reality TV producer known for the genre’s first mega-hit, Survivor.

The New York Times report also exploded the image of Trump as a businessman with a reality TV career on the side. Taken together, the documents ‘demonstrate that he was far more successful playing a business mogul than being one in real life,’ the Times said.

“Trump’s tax documents reveal that he netted $427 million in earnings, endorsements and licensing from 14 seasons of The Apprentice, a sum which worked to cover the losses of the real estate and hospitality concerns that made up his business ‘empire.’

“On TV, Trump played a billionaire who judged young entrepreneurs hoping to make the big time, testily firing them one by one. Without the role, his earnings would have been basically flat from 2000 to 2018, his tax documents show — potentially leaving him unable to service debts incurred from his disastrous casino projects.

“Now...even the Apprentice money appears to be gone, sunk in a series of golf resorts which appear once again to have delivered him to the brink of financial disaster.”

In real life, Donald Trump was much unlike the eminently successful businessman character he played on TV. Trump’s earnings from The Apprentice kept him financially afloat while his real-life businesses faltered and failed.

A list of Trump’s failed businesses includes Trump Steaks, GoTrump, Trump Airlines, Trump Vodka, Trump Mortgage, Trump: The Game, Trump Magazine, Trump University, Trump Ice, The New Jersey Generals, Tour de Trump, Trump Network, and Trumped!

Six of Trump’s companies—Trump Taj Mahal, Trump’s Castle, Trump Plaza Casinos, Trump Plaza Hotel, Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts, and Trump Entertainment Resorts—filed for bankruptcy protection between 1991 and 2009.

The real Donald Trump never had firm political convictions. According to Wikipedia: “Trump’s political party affiliation has changed numerous times. He registered as a Republican in Manhattan in 1987, switched to the Reform Party in 1999, the Democratic Party in 2001, and back to the Republican Party in 2009.

“In 1987, Trump placed full-page advertisements in three major newspapers, proclaiming ‘America should stop paying to defend countries that can afford to defend themselves.’ Asked whether rumors of a presidential candidacy were true, Trump denied being a candidate, but said, ‘I believe that if I did run for President, I’d win.’ According to a Gallup poll in December 1988, Trump was the tenth most admired man in America.

“In 1999, Trump filed an exploratory committee to seek the nomination of the Reform Party for the 2000 presidential election. He also considered running for president in 2004.

“Trump publicly speculated about running for president in the 2012 election, and made his first speaking appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February 2011. The speech is credited for helping kick-start his political career within the Republican Party.”

In ABC News (9/16/2016) “How Donald Trump Perpetuated the ‘Birther’ Movement for Years,” Alana Abramson reported: “Following a successful Conservative Political Action Conference appearance where Trump announced he is considering a run for the presidency, he begins appearing on talk shows urging President Obama to release his birth certificate and questioning if he was born in the United States.”

According to Wikipedia: “Trump’s presidential ambitions were generally not taken seriously at the time. Trump’s moves were interpreted by some media as possible promotional tools for his reality show The Apprentice. Before the 2016 election, The New York Times speculated that Trump ‘accelerated his ferocious efforts to gain stature within the political world’ after Obama lampooned him at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in April 2011.”

10 years later, we see the spoiled fruits of Trump’s vicious and ruthless quest for revenge. More than 500,000 Americans have died of COVID. Twice Trump lost the popular vote, and twice he was impeached. Trump incited the horrific assault upon the U.S. Capitol, forever scarring the soul of our nation.

Donald Trump might have been a great reality TV star, but he was a terrible businessman and a purely awful president.

Mark Heinz lives at Nolin Lake. Visit his website at

Mark Heinz lives at Nolin Lake. Visit his website at

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