In Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, the “Two Minutes Hate” is a short film, shown to all Party members in Oceania, in which the Party’s enemies, and in particular the figure of Emmanuel Goldstein, are depicted as odious villains, for the purposes of generating a short sustained burst of extreme hate from the loyal citizens. Meanwhile, in The Apprentice, we are presented with the outrageous machinations of a group of hateful cartoon fuckwits, the only human response to which can be to jeer, laugh, shout abuse and generally work ourselves up into a frenzy of mocking indignation.
Viewed through Orwell’s prism, The Apprentice emerges as a device by which the authorities can channel our contempt and disgust for the failures and excesses of our consumer/capitalist society against a carefuly selected set of borderline fictional characters, allowing us to feel that it is in fact these fatuous goons who are the problem, rather than those who wield the power in the real system. And as with Orwell’s fictionalised version, this cathartic hate must be absorbed, and the energy redirected into a positive love of the current order.
The Hate rose to a climax. The voice of Goldstein had become an actual sheep’s bleat, and for an instant the face changed into that of a sheep. … But in the same moment, drawing a deep sigh of relief from everybody, the hostile figure melted into the face of Big Brother, … full of power and mysterious calm, and so vast that it almost filled up the screen.