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The Celebrity Apprentice season premiere recap: 'May the Gods of Good Pie Be With Us!'

Geraldo Rivera and Keshia Knight Pulliam square off in a pie-making challenge that brings both the money and the funny.

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Celebrity Apprentice
Douglas Gorenstein/NBC

The Celebrity Apprentice

TV Show
Current Status:
On Hiatus
Reality TV

2014 sucked. Sure, you can point out all the highlights you want, but the fact that we went an entire year without a single Celebrity Apprentice episode makes the whole thing just seem like a waste. So take your ice bucket challenges and your Too Many Cooks and your Serial podcast and get them out of my face. I’m all about 2015, baby! Because the circus is back in town. That’s right: random D-listers, has-beens, and “who the hell are those people?” contestants are back vying for both charity and camera time under the somewhat dubious “celebrity” banner, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. So welcome back, Celebrity Apprentice Nation! And as we kick off another glorious season, let’s likewise kick off our season premiere recap by giving thanks and praise for the eight most fabulous and absurd moments from last night’s episode, complete with a bonus Joe Piscopo sighting!

1. Best. Show. Intro. Ever.

There is little I love more in this life than the introduction to a new Celebrity Apprentice season. The pomp! The bombast! The hyperbole! It is all beyond amazing. Which is why we should not have been surprised to see the season begin with The Donald on the roof of Trump Tower promising us that “It’s going to be bigger and better than ever!” I believe you, Mr. Trump! I believe you! We are also informed of how former contestants “pushed their own careers to new heights” by appearing on the show, which is one of the most dubious claims to ever be broadcast on national television, but much like Bluto in Animal House discussing the nuances of the Germans bombing Pearl Harbor… forget it, he’s rolling.

The descriptions of the current contestants are equally incredible. We learn that Geraldo Rivera is an “award-winning journalist,” that Ian Ziering is a “television icon” (pretty loose definition of the word “icon” if you ask me), that Gilbert Gottfired is a “legendary comedian” (pretty loose definition of the word “legendary”—and “comedian” for that matter—as well), that Lorenzo Lamas is a “Golden Globe-nominated actor” (for some odd reason they chose to ignore his Razzie-winning work as “Chilly” in 1984’s Body Rock), and that Brandi Glanville is a “reality megastar,” although one could certainly point out that “reality megastar” is something of an oxymoron. But I won’t point it out. Because I love it. Although it should be noted I have gotten very mixed reactions so far from the new cast. This one seemed nice:


This next one, not so much:

In all fairness, that second tweet was likely in response to me previously referring to Geraldo as a “human dignity vacuum,” so he probably was a bit miffed about that. Here’s the thing, however: Although a lot of people make fun of Geraldo for his The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults special in 1986, I still think the whole thing was positively genius. Who cares if once they opened Al Capone’s secret vault all they found was a bunch of dirt and a few empty bottles of booze—it was one of the precursors to modern day reality television. 30 million people watched it. They had a freakin’ medical examiner on hand in case any dead bodies were found! That’s world class marketing, right there. Geraldo is as much a forefather of the reality movement as Mike Darnell or Mark Burnett. I love that kind of stuff. Plus, the guy has a bitchin’ mustache.

2. All Geraldo, All The Time

Wait, I’m not done talking about Geraldo Rivera! And I may never be. His presence on this show makes me incredibly happy. And when you get right down to it, it’s rather shocking that it took this long for it to happen. Geraldo is almost as big a master of hype as Donald Trump himself (See: The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults). I love in the premiere how he repeatedly insisted on touting his own accomplishments. “Once you’ve survived Bora Bora, once you’ve survived Somalia, I think that the task will not be so daunting,” he said of being Project Manager for the first challenge, which involved selling pies. “When you’re a war correspondent, you go to sleep knowing there’s going to be a battle,” he chimed in later while simultaneously patting himself on the back. “After you’ve starred on both Baywatch AND Baywatch Nights, the spotlight never intimidates,” he boasted while pushing pins into his Kevin Jonas voodoo doll. Okay, I made that last one up, but he did indeed appear on both Baywatch and Baywatch Nights, and if I were him I would brag about that distinction at every possible opportunity.

But his true masterstroke, his pièce de résistance, was the poster Geraldo put together to promote his pie sale, because the poster Geraldo put together to promote his pie sale featured two different pictures… of Geraldo! Watch out, everybody—Geraldo Rivera has been cloned! He’s gone all Tatiana Maslany! It should be noted that the poster also featured the word “Celebrity” in big huge letters next to Geraldo’s smiling mug. I loved it.

But one person was not picking up what Geraldo was putting down. Clearly on some sort of anti-mustache crusade, Kevin Jonas started things off by not digging Rivera’s choice of Vortex as the team name. (Side Note: I never understood why people bother arguing about Apprentice team names because there is literally nothing in the entire world less important than what you call your team name on a reality show hosted by Donald Trump. Yet people always argue about this. It boggles the mind.)

Later, Kevin complained that his Project Manager was never checking on their progress while working downstairs at the pie store, and then he also didn’t like it when the award-winning journalist sent Gilbert Gottfried outside to “supervise the balloons.” Even after Geraldo kicked ass and destroyed the women’s team by raising twice as much money as team Infinity, Kevin still found it necessary in the Boardroom to point out that his leader did not know the exact totals of money everyone had brought in. “It’s interesting that he doesn’t know the amounts of the team around him,” said Kevin. “I would have come to the treasurer at the end of the task.” Soooooo looking forward to more of this simmering feud.

3. Return of the Boardroom Dominatrix

Anytime Ivanka is on screen, incredible things are bound to happen. The Boardroom Dominatrix made a visit to team Vortex, and Sig Hansen was not unhappy about it. “Very, very beautiful” slobbered Sig. I agree, Sig! “She has a presence about her as well.” Once again, agreed! “A lot like her father.” Whoa! Way to kill the vibe, dude! But the best part of Ivanka’s visit was learning we had a Peach Pit regular on our hands who seemed star struck by… Ian Ziering?!? “I’m a huge 90210 fan,” Ivanka announced. “Unbelievable 90210 fan… I don’t think I ever missed an episode. Glued to it. I loooved 90210.”

And then the real reason for her visit surfaced. “I’m going to start pummeling him with questions about Dylan and Brenda and Kelly and all the tawdry details I wish I had known when I was 14.” You mean, like how David Silver was so effortlessly able to put the honky in phonky?

NEXT: Every mention of Bill Cosby makes everyone watching super uncomfortable