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TV Recap: 'Celebrity Apprentice' (Mar 29, 2010)

In which we learn Rod Blagojevich is some sort of balloon-obsessed freakazoid

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The Apprentice (Season 7) | Blago loves to work a crowd, but can't seem to get anything else to work.
Mitch Haaseth

You know, I have to admit: I was nervous when I decided to start recapping Celebrity Apprentice. Sure, I’ve been recapping Survivor for years, but could I handle the urban jungle as deftly as the island one? Last week went pretty well, I think, and I sure do appreciate all the kind feedback, but I couldn?t get past the nagging feeling that there was something missing. Did I forget to harp on the hilarity of Cyndi Lauper dissing Trump’s wife? No, I had that in there. Was I negligent in reveling in The Donald giving himself props for having more sexual conquests than “celebrity chef” Curtis Stone? Nope, there was plenty of reveling. So what was my first Celebrity Apprentice recap missing? I know! BALLOONS!!! Red balloons. Yellow balloons. Goldenrod balloons! I need to turn this thing into freakin’ Balloonapalozza! And you know why? Because everyone loves balloons. Don’t believe me? Just ask my man Rod Blagojevich, who turned this week’s task into an invitation to rock a little 5th Dimension and go ”up, up and away in my beautiful, my beautiful balloooooooon.” The only way he could have become any more obsessed with balloon related paraphernalia is if he started sucking helium straight from the canister and reciting his whole “I’m innocent of all charges” speech while sounding like one of the Chipmunks.

Okay, as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s take it from the top. Before we could get to all the hilarious ineptitude, we had to get through what is always my least favorite part of the episode — the previous winning Project Manager delivering his/her winnings to charity. I know, I know, I’m evil. Look, it’s great that this show is raising so much money for charitable causes. I totally support it. I just don’t need to watch five minutes of somebody handing over a check. This week was a bit different, however, as Poison’s Bret Michaels instead entertained two young boys with diabetes, because that obviously would be more dramatic and likely to get viewers reaching for the Kleenex. Personally, I found it to be one of the more curious pep talks I’ve ever seen. ”I live a crazy lifestyle,” Bret told the youngsters. ”I’m here to show kids you can live a full lifestyle: You can rock.” I get the message he was trying to convey — don’t let an illness like this hold you back from your dreams. But I also have visions of the kids running home all excited: ”Mom! Dad! Bret Michaels says that I can be just like him and write really awful songs about banging lots of fat chicks! He says I can also make music videos about how hard life on the road is when you’re in a popular glam metal band, that I can do lines of blow off of a hooker’s ass, and that I can star in not one, not two, but three seasons of a raunchy VH1 reality dating show where I have sex with all the contestants and then pretend to date one for a month before kicking her to the curb as well. I CAN BE JUST LIKE BRET MICHAELS! YAY!!!”

After corrupting America’s youth, Bret rejoined his team as the men and women both stood outside awaiting Trump’s arrival when he would give them their instructions for the next task. And arrive he did…in his limo. (Hey, what happened to walking? I guess the whole man-of-the-people thing was a one-week deal.) The challenge was for each team to create a Kodak storefront experience. Celebrity Apprentice and Kodak have a long, proud history together, and I guarantee you that wherever he is right now, Gene Simmons is trying to convince someone that “It’s a Kodak world, we just live in it” is still the best advertising slogan ever created. (Whether he is doing this while in or out of 10 tons of silver and black makeup is anyone’s guess.) But those sneaky bastards from Kodak had a trick up their sleeve this time: SECRET SHOPPERS! That’s right, SECRET SHOPPERS! And yes, I am going to continue to write the words “SECRET SHOPPERS” in all caps because that’s simply the only way I can possibly convey how incredibly dramatic this twist was. Let me break this down for you: These people would be shoppers who would shop — now, follow me if you can because this is where it gets tricky — in secret. That’s right: They’re SECRET SHOPPERS! They can strike any time at any place. Well, technically, that’s not true: Their power ceases to exit outside of the two designated storefont zones where the teams were competing, but still? SECRET SHOPPERS! They could be men, women, or — get this — children. SECRET SHOPPERS! They could be fat, skinny, or a little skinny in the midsection and fat in the ass. SECRET SHOPPERS! Trust no one. Fear everyone. SECRET SHOPPERS! Oh, you evil genius Kodak bigwigs, laughing manically in your secret lairs as you concoct Machiavellian schemes that can embarrass and ensnare even the lamest of 1980s comedians and disgraced former baseball stars. Your day will come, Kodak! Your day will come!

Anyway, as I was saying, the teams had to create Kodak moments for fans in some Kodak storefronts that they would set up. Trump asked Cyndi who would be leading the women, to which Cyndi rudely responded, ”Well, can I talk to my team?” My guess is that any actual employee of The Donald that spoke back like that would be not only fired but chopped up and buried somewhere in the Meadowlands. However, most of Trump’s employees probably never made music videos with Captain Lou Albano and scored top 10 hits singing about the joys of masturbation, so I suppose a bit of entitlement goes along with that. The ladies finally settled on Maria who appeared up for the task, even if she was wearing some sort of weird hair accessory that made it look like a red Crayola crayon had vomited all over her head. The men, meanwhile, settled on Sinbad. Or, rather, Blago settled on Sinbad, who was surprised, but eager nonetheless to unleash his random train of thought nonsense upon anyone within a 50-foot radius.

And that?s exactly what he proceeded to do, talking in circles and making no sense whatsoever. None of the team members were given anything to do, and, as a result, resembled the crowd at a Sinbad stand-up comedy showcase, all looking around at each other befuddled and wondering, ”Why in the name of Houseguest and Jingle All the Way have I put myself in a position where I have to ACTUALLY listen to Sinbad, and how the hell do I get out of here?” Turns out, that’s exactly what Bret tried to do. After getting frustrated with the lack of direction he was being given, Bret retreated to the basement, but then became angry when he saw cameras filming him pacing back and forth. He immediately went back upstairs and demanded, ”Guys, get me out of here in a van because they’re making me out to be the f—ing joke on the show.” Essentially, Bret was upset that producers had decided to film him…walking. But hey, he’s no newbie to reality television. ”I know,” he insisted. ”I did three seasons of Rock of Love. I know what they do.” (You mean pour massive amounts of free alcohol down skanky women’s throats so they will get in catfights and sleep with past-their-prime hair metal singers?)

The men all finally left the store to embark on a little picture-taking field trip, which was presented as a refreshing break in the action but, considering all that had to be done, was probably a colossal waste of time. It reminded me of those times when I knew I had to clean up my tiny apartment and decided the best way to do that was to ”reorganize my record collection,” which basically consisted of me staring at all my favorite album covers instead of actually cleaning up anything. Of course, the highlight of the entire excursion was Goldberg grabbing Bret Michaels by the family jewels. Actually, he didn’t just grab them. He hoisted him up by them. ”That’s the first time I’ve ever been lifted up by my cojones,” said Brett. ”And it hurt severely. I gotta tell you, I had to take a knee.”

The only person who could come close to matching Bret for pure entertainment value was Blago. If he wasn’t stepping out of frame during an interview to shake hands with a passer-by and then inquiring to the cameraman, ”Did you get that?” he was referring to himself as a member of the Fellowship of Doers, which I have to believe is sorta like the Fellowship of the Ring, but with a lot less nobility and a lot more hair care products. And if he wasn’t referring to himself as a member of the Fellowship of Doers, he was cursing someone out on the telephone. And if he wasn’t cursing someone out on the telephone, he was working the crowd and being told ”You’re a disgrace, enjoy prison” by people in that crowd. And if he wasn’t working the crowd and being told ”You’re a disgrace, enjoy prison” by people in that crowd, then he was — in clearly the most genius moment of the episode — being mistaken for Donny Osmond! Poor Donny O. First Sade comes and swipes all his hype by naming her huge comeback album Soldier of Love, the title of Osmond’s last significant hit, and now his thunder is being stolen by the lamest politician on planet Earth. Donny has not been this disrespected since the day Marie decided that she wanted to try being ”a little bit rock and roll” for a change.

As for the women, or Tenacity, as they like to be known, most of the drama centered around Cyndi. First, she had the audacity to go urinate right as the Kodak execs showed up to talk about how awesome Kodak is. This was just one of the things that would annoy Holly about the girl who just wants to have fun. Holly got perturbed with Cyndi for saying that Holly had started the talk about firing Carol, and for taking credit for Holly’s red carpet idea, and for urinating, and for cutting Maria off while she was talking. Selita — the Victoria’s Secret model whose name I was unable to remember last week to the consternation of a few posters that I am guessing are either her friends, family, or agents — was so desperate to get away from Cyndi that she decided she’d rather run in front of a moving bus instead of spending five more minutes with the pop singer. Still, the women were clearly more organized and inspired than the men (especially Darryl Strawberry, who stood off to the side swinging a baseball bat while proclaiming, ”I’ve been lazy today.” Gee, thanks Darryl. You’ve been a truly riveting personality to watch.). And Maria was clearly a better, more focused Project Manager than Sinbad. My favorite part of watching the women prepare was when Donald Jr. stopped by for his visit and observed that there was a lot less chaos than the previous task. Yeah, maybe because this task was in an empty storefront as opposed to a bustling diner. That may have had just a little something to do with it.

The next day was showtime. And straight from the walking cliché department I present Bret Michaels, who slept through his team bus departure time. I actually love Bret on this show. And loved it even more when he pointed out that, ”In rocker time, I was beyond early. I was stupid early. In real life, I was 10 minutes late.” Luckily, Bret showed up just in time to witness the delivery of Blago’s precious goldenrod balloons. Rock Solid’s plan was to set up all the celebrities at various stations themed toward their expertise. I have to admit, it was a bit sad that Blago was not considered a big enough draw to have a faux-podium set up. Couldn’t they have just lifted the fake one used in the opening credits of the show? But you know who was not so impressed with the set-up? The SECRET SHOPPER! That?s right: International man of mystery James (if that is even his real name) snuck his way into the store undetected — undetected because there was no official greeter. Geez, if casinos have taught us anything (besides that gambling away your life’s savings on the spin of a roulette wheel only works in the movies), it is that you are nothing without a celebrity greeter. Yet that snake James waltzed right in willy-nilly. You think you’re soooooooo smart James. Well, just wait till someone sends a SECRET SHOPPER into your place of business. We’ll see how smart you are then, James! We’ll see!

But forget about all that. Hey, who wants a cupcake that has been coughed on repeatedly? Don’t worry — those are loogies of love! A Team Tenacity special topping, if you will: 3 parts phlegm, 2 parts mucus, and 1 part good ol’ fashioned saliva. As great and organized and energetic as Maria was as Project manager, I don’t know what she was thinking putting a hacking Sharon Osbourne on food duty. Unless the new slogan she came up with was ”Kodak. Giving you memories — and a bronchial infection — to last a lifetime.” But Tenacity had other problems to worry about, like their power, which kept cutting in and out. And if that wasn’t enough, there was also…a SECRET SHOPPER! That sassy little minx Lauren was on the scene and just waiting drop SECRET SHOPPER bombs all over the ladies’ best laid plains. You can’t stop Lauren, you can only hope to contain the damage inflicted by her nefarious scheme. And sure enough, she saddled right up to a lady complaining about waiting 20 minutes for her pictures. DAMN YOU, SECRET SHOPPER!

When all was said and done, it was off to the Boardroom, and while this is supposed to be the most dramatic portion of any Celebrity Apprentice episode, I’m not gonna comment too much on it since it was so painfully obvious that Sinbad was going home. Other than finding out that Cyndi ”was the hooker” during her challenge, there were no surprises. The guys lost, and Sinbad made his last idiotic decision of the task by bringing in Bret and Blago to the boardroom with him: idiotic in that the first Celebrity Apprentice eliminations are almost always based on your level of celebrity rather than how good you actually are during the task. No way was Trump going to fire Cyndi Lauper last week, and no way was she going to get rid of Bret or Blago this time. It didn’t really matter, though, because when it came to Celebrity Apprentice, this guy just went from Sinbad to Sinworse. Hey, at least he got a truly awkward peace-out sign back from Amanda the receptionist before he left.

Honestly, the most entertaining thing about the final Boardroom was watching Sharon Osbourne’s commentary from back in the suite, asking about Blago, ”Do you think his eyes are too close together?” and saying that Goldberg had a ”little d—.” Now that’s just rude…and exactly the reason we all love Celebrity Apprentice. Keep it coming, Sharon! And I’ll see you all next week after another exciting edition. Until then: Cluck, cluck…splash!