The original American production of The Apprentice has a lot to answer for. It sold a bankrupt, shyster wheeler-dealer as a business savant with a decisive mind and a supernatural ability to close the deal.
Knowing what we know - that he's not a dollar-making genius in a fancy suit but is instead an abusive, bigoted, rambling numbskull in an ill-fitting one - I can only conclude that the show's editors were, in fact, magicians.
Nevertheless, it's widely acknowledged that The Apprentice laid the groundwork for him to slither into the White House a mere year after his final season as host. And thus began the globe's four-year long nightmare, of which we have only recently awoken.
With all this in mind I sat down to watch The Apprentice Aotearoa, which starts this Monday at 8:30pm on TVNZ 1. The New Zealand host is mortgage man Mike Pero, who I know little about but he already seems more switched on than the other guy simply because his suit fits properly.
The show opens with a montage of Pero surrounded by the accoutrements of success; a helicopter, a new-model Mercedes, a flashy motorcycle and a briefcase.
I wasn't distracted by these financial decorations as I was busy making an ocular assessment of his face, scanning for any signs of misplaced ambition beyond the almighty dollar. But just like a CEO walking briskly past a homeless man on the street, Pero was not giving anything away.
He presented an inscrutable expression. What were the intentions he hid behind his far-off gaze across the viaduct harbour?
Was he musing on which of the show's "14 ambitious go-getters" would become his new apprentice? Or, like the other guy, was he surveiling the kingdom he hoped would one day be all his? Maybe he was just wondering where the public bathrooms were. Like I say, it was hard to tell what was going on behind his steely, stubbly face.
There was no such problem with the wannabe apprentices. "I'm a boss lady and nothing gets in the way of my success," one boasted as she strode purposefully past the camera. "I'm driven by money and I'm not afraid to walk over anyone to get what I want," crowed another, perhaps not realising how loathsome and miserable such a rotten existence sounded.
Regardless, the contestants weren't there to make friends except - of course - with Pero, who would give one of them one-on-one mentoring advice and a $50,000 investment into their business if they won the 12-week-long competition.
Like a wealthy Yoda, he advised them to "take control of your own destiny", before sending them off to make popcorn.
They split into two teams - women vs men - and started popping off ideas for a kid-friendly popcorn brand. Team Tahi, the women, began by blessing their boardroom while Team Mana, the men, began by talking over each other.
One quiet chap suggested Mana make honey-coated popcorn. Everyone like the idea. He then suggested the mascot could be - wait for it - a bee.
It didn't take long for them to get stung. When buyers from two supermarket chains individually said their honey popcorn wasn't, in fact, "vegan-friendly", the men argued, loudly and wrongly, that it was "a moot point".
Meanwhile, the women had given their pancake-flavoured popcorn the positive slogan of "discovering treasure in every moment".
It didn't take long for them to discover an error in every moment. A misprint on the packaging saw "treasure" replaced with "pleasure".
"It's treasure corn not pleasure porn!" the team leader wailed, before correcting herself, "Pleasure corn! Oh my gosh."
Worse, they also forgot to price their product.
"Any questions?" they asked at their big sales meeting. "Yeah," an unimpressed buyer shot back. "What's the cost?".
No spoilers but both teams find themselves back in front of Pero, three people end up on the chopping block and Pero utters the show's famous catchphrase to send some poor rube home.
Fittingly for a show about money, The Apprentice Aotearoa is slick and the show's format remains as entertaining as ever, with hints to its future villains and groundwork laid for emerging rivalries.
Like all reality shows, the pleasures of the series come from watching people bicker and bitch as things go badly for them. There's plenty of that as even here in episode one the knives come out and the clashing potential of the assembled apprentices comes into focus.
As boss, Pero's fine. Mostly steely-eyed but occasionally letting some humanity and humour seep through. But if at any point he starts sporting a red cap with a questionable slogan embroidered on it, someone's really gonna need to step in and tell him he's fired.