Wednesday, February 29, 2012
By Susan Esther Barnes
I don't watch a lot of "reality TV," and I'm not a fan of the show Celebrity Apprentice. I've seen a few episodes, but never really liked the show. This season, however, I tuned in because George Takei was going to be on it.
Although I am a fan of the original Star Trek, I recently became a fan of George Takei, not so much because he played Sulu on Star Trek, but because he consistently posts hilarious photos and other things on Facebook. Seriously, friend him if you're on Facebook and you want a few laughs.
So there I was, watching Celebrity Apprentice, enjoying George Takei acting pretty much the way I thought he might act, and then I started noticing Penn Jillette.
Penn Jillette is half of the unique magic team Penn and Teller. I've seen Penn and Teller on TV. They have an interesting act. It isn't your run of the mill magic show. He seemed smart and funny, but I didn't have much of an opinion of him beyond that.
What surprised me about Penn Jillette on this show is what an amazing human being he is. It's not that I thought he'd be a mean person or anything, it's just that, on TV, people in general often aren't very nice. Especially when they are competing against one another. The Apprentice shows have certainly seen their share of cat fighting, lying, insulting, and back stabbing. Those are some of the reasons I don't usually enjoy watching the show.
If Penn Jillette is really as he appears on this show, however, he is by far the nicest person I've seen, on TV or elsewhere. He is incredibly generous to his team-mates. I don't mean this in terms of giving money, but in terms of complementing them, trying to make them shine, giving them credit for things they have done - things like that.
Often people can be nice when we feel safe and comfortable, but when we feel threatened in some way, our behaviour changes for the worse. Not so with Penn Jillette. Despite the competition, he is generous in his actions. Even when another member of the cast was verbally attacking him, (for no good reason, in my opinion), Penn Jillette remained calm, apologetic, and generous.
I still enjoy watching George Takei, who seems to be a perfectly nice person in his own right. But I seriously wish I could learn to be as nice a person as Penn Jillette.