The Fourth Wall: How can I miss you if you won’t go away?

I’m trying to think of the best pop culture analogy to describe the relationship (if that’s truly the right word) between the former reality show star turned president and the former reality show star turned presidential aide turned tell-all author who’s waging a war of words with her five-time former boss.

Thus far, the best comparison I can come up with is Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist.

Ennis and Jack — for those who don’t have instant recall of character names (I had to look it up) — were the central characters in 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain” whose mutual devotion and inner torment kept bringing them back together and breaking them apart.

In the film’s most famous line of dialogue, Jack laments about the situation in which they find themselves: “I wish I knew how to quit you.”

And while I can’t imagine either the president or his former aide mending literal or proverbial barbed fences, their history seems to suggest that they are entangled in a way that extrication seems impossible for either.

I mentioned before that He has now fired Her five times. Think about that these have to be the worst “don’t touch the stove!” players of all time.

Considering the most recent firing (which came somewhere between Sebastian Gorka and Rex Tillerson) led to the inevitable memoir and the even-more inevitable publicity campaign across multiple media platforms, She’s clearly stealing Warholian minutes from more than a few people.

She was fired in the first season of His show “The Apprentice” back in 2004, after a season-long run through opponents that earned her the title of “Reality TV’s No. 1 Bad Girl.”

(Now, if you’ve seen any reality television at all, you realize that to reach the top of that list isn’t an easy thing to accomplish.)

She returned to His kingdom four years later for “Celebrity Apprentice” — her “celebrity” apparently being the notoriety that put her on a first-name basis in the pop culture landscape — and then, five years after she returned for “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice,” competing against the likes of Medford Senior High School graduate Lisa Rinna, star-siblings LaToya Jackson and Stephen Baldwin and eventual U.S.-North Korea intermediary Dennis Rodman.

OK, we’re missing one ah, yes just when you thought this couldn’t get any weirder, there was the show that fell somewhere between her “Celebrity” and “All-Star Celebrity” seasons.

(If you’ve just taken a sip of your beverage of choice, I suggest you take a moment to swallow before going on.)

What could be more enjoyable than watching as She made her way backstabbing and scheming to win the big prize? Well, of course if She was the big prize.

With absolutely no shame, I remind you of the 2010 series “Donald J. Trump Presents: The Ultimate Merge” — a duck-taped and super-glued combination of “The Apprentice” and “The Bachelorette” wherein a dozen contestants He personally selected competed for Her affections.

No, I am not lying. Yes, it existed on the TV One Network.

This show apparently had everything — mental and physical challenges, a spiritual adviser, a “mediation room” and a dozen reality all-star celebrity hopefuls living together in one of His hotels in Las Vegas.

What could go wrong? Well, it turns out that the “winner” was a gentleman caller who seemed to pass every test — except the one that should have eliminated him from the competition before it began.

He was married.

Jack and Ennis were married to others as well, but the more I think about it, “Brokeback Mountain” isn’t the proper reference here. I think more of Her in the role of Maximus and Him as Commodus in 2000’s “The Gladiator.”

As Commodus sits on the throne, Maximus whacks away — defeating the challenges put before him.

It’s there in the ring where Maximus speaks to the hypocrisy of the situation, with dialogue that might well describe our apparent fascination with the years of wrangling between our current combatants.

“Are you not entertained?” Maximus asks. “Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?”

If what we’re watching on a day-to-day basis is a presidency morphed into a reality show (or vice-versa), then Her eventual appearance as a villain/hero should have been expected from the moment she was named Donald J. Trump Presents The Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison.

(Yeah, yeah, you caught me the “Donald J. Trump Presents” part wasn’t part of Her actual title whatever the rest of it means, I’ll leave to you to decipher.)

It’s a truism of typecasting, oft-called “The Jack Elam Rule” after the famed character actor and Rogue Valley resident:

Stage 1: “Who is Jack Elam?

Stage 2: “Get me Jack Elam!”

Stage 3: “I want a Jack Elam type.”

Stage 4: “I want a younger Jack Elam.”

Stage 5: “Who is Jack Elam?”

She found herself dangerously close to Step 5 after He fired her for the fifth and likely final time. And now She’s found a new way to make it more difficult for Him to quit Her.

Of course, even if he does, there’s a younger Jack Elam around the corner. The British version of the “Big Brother” reality show just announced its cast for next season and it includes Stormy Daniels.

While Mail Tribune senior designer Robert Galvin tries to quit the both of them, you can contact him at

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