Warring Women of Reality TV: When Will It End?

The recently fired Lisa Rinna speaks out about the dramatic catfights on The Celebrity Apprentice

The word "catfight" doesn't do justice to the warring women on this season's The Celebrity Apprentice (NBC, Sunday, 8 p.m. ET). "I was dodging knives and bullets!" said the just-fired Lisa Rinna, during Ryan Seacrest's radio show on Monday morning.

Though Rinna was the project manager during Sunday's challenge, her female teammates, led by Star Jones, banded together and "went after me," as Rinna put it. Meanwhile, the men's team worked relatively well together, with project manager Meat Loaf describing the whole group as "fantastic."

Before it even began airing, season 4 was already making headlines over a fight between Star Jones and NeNe Leakes. The altercation got so heated, it turned physical. Leakes later told Wendy Williams, "I wouldn't spit on Star if she was on fire."

Two episodes later, Rinna is describing an atmosphere of bullet dodging. What's the implied message here? Men know how to get the job done without emotional baggage. But women? Well, meow.

This is troubling because it's not the only place on reality TV where women are pitted against one another. Did you happen to catch the latest The Bachelor: Women Tell All special? Or, have you seen a single episode of any season of The Real Housewives franchise? The women involved are clearly cast with conflict in mind, and no doubt producers encourage them to ramp it up for the cameras.

Like most reality competitions, The Celebrity Apprentice mines conflict where it sees fit. This season, the drama appears to be among some queenly females hand-picked by casting agents, then prodded to fight.

In defense of the female gender, it must be pointed out that on this show, the contentious moments just as easily come out of the men's group. In the past, producers have chosen to go that way -- choosing off-kilter men and nudging them even closer to crazy. Let's remember, please, the volatile Dennis Rodman of season 2, raging against Clint Black because…oh, who knows?

The show wants conflict, and it will take it wherever it can get it. This season, the women happen to be supplying the mean. Let's hope the trend doesn't continue.

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