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'Celebrity Apprentice 2' premiere: 'Celebrity Pleader' is more like it...

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I suppose it’s a good time to air a new Celebrity Apprentice. Let’s say you’ve invested heavily in Citibank, and you’re watching the value of the shares plummet. Watching this show may cheer you up as you think, “Well, I suppose it could be worse: Tom Green and one of the Deal or No Deal models could be running the company.”

It’s the show’s second season, and I’m even less sure what the point of it is. The scenes and squabbles and feuds are incredibly contrived, and it’s all in the service of a game that makes no sense at all. It’s ostensibly a business competition, and yet the projects and “marketing” are moot, as the whole point is just to see who can get more rich friends to come pay, say, $3,000 for a cupcake. It’s really Celebrity Pleader.

The cast isn’t quite as good as last year’s: Annie Duke is trying tobe the bossy Omarosa but doesn’t have the venom. She’s just pushy.Scott Hamilton and Herschel Walker actually seem to be taking the gameseriously, which is just sad. And Dennis Rodman is still trying topeddle his “bad boy” persona, although he’s just confirming something Ithought in his heyday: His outrageousness is solely expressed by hisclothing and tattoos — but personality-wise, he is the dullest man alive.

SPOILER ALERT, after the jump.

The opening challenge was to make and sell cupcakes. And again: Whatdoes this have to do with business? How different was it from a cupcakestand built by a 7-year-old, except that a moppet couldn’t get HughHefner to send down a bunny with $5,000? And yet they all seemed to betaking it very seriously. A little too seriously. When Melissa Riverswas told to select her team’s best cupcake for a judging, she waffledbetween two and said, “Oh God, it’s like Sophie’s Choice.” Yes,Melissa, sometimes there’s no better way to express the stress of aDonald Trump game show than to invoke dead children at Auschwitz.

Alas, when it was all over, we lost the most interesting contestant:Andrew “Dice” Clay, the only man brave enough to pair weightliftinggloves with Charles Nelson Reilly glasses. He’s the biggest standupcomic, you know. Ever. In history! At least, that’s what he said. I’m alittle confused by the claim. Yes, he was huge back in the ’80s, buthaven’t we as a nation agreed that we’re not sure what we werethinking? That’s like maintaining that the Lambada is the greatestdance in America. Granted, the Diceman’s still got it: He doesSylvester Stallone and John Travolta impressions! How topical! I can’t wait to hear his ripped-from-the-headlines impression of Crocodile Dundee.

In the boardroom, you could tell that Trump wanted to keep Dicearound. Trump’s decisions on this show are the icing on the nonsensicalcake. It’s all clearly done to keep the most colorful charactersaround. You could tell Trump wanted to boot Hershel Walker, who nevermet a football metaphor he couldn’t spike. Unfortunately, Rodman andthe Diceman were so blatantly ineffective that even Trump couldn’trationalize keeping both of them. And seeing as the Diceman mentionedhe wanted to quit, Trump had to let him go.

Now Rodman can hang aroundand redeem himself with such no-fail business strategies as napping inan office while everyone works. The only way this guy could work hardis if someone sprinkled a little Stevie B. on him.

Anyone psyched about this second run of Celebrity Apprentice, or should Donny Trump and Co. stick a fork in this collapsed cupcake of a concept and call it a day?