The Celebrity Apprentice recap: Tears For Fears (of Being Fired)
Apparently All-Star Celebrity Apprentice is not just about recycling contestants. It’s about recycling the product-placement project partners as well. That’s why Crystal Light was back on the scene this week for a…
Excuse me? Stephen Baldwin, why are you here?
I said STOP! I don’t like the emphasis you put on “back” there. Can you take it again and try it with a little more oomph on “scene” instead?
Um, okay. So, as I was saying, that’s why Crystal Light was back on the scene this week for a soap opera task in which the contestants had to come up with a…
“Contestants” doesn’t sound right.
But that’s what you are!
Noooooooo. We’re celebrities. Call us celebrities. Take it again.
…for a soap opera task in which the celebrities had to come up with five-minute soap opera espousing the joys of flavored liquid for…
Ugh! Yes, Stephen. What now?
What does espousing mean? I’ve never heard that word before in my life. I don’t like it. Get rid of it.
Look, Stephen, this would be a lot easier if you’d just let me do my job here and get on with the recap.
Oh, so not only does the director have to take orders from the stage manager, but now he has to take orders from the writer too? Is that it? Are you and Marilu Henner in cahoots?
Well, she did tell me what day of the week I was born on, but no, we are not in cahoots. And Trace Adkins says if you are not nice to me he is going to kill you. So there’s that. But I’ll tell you what: I hear there are rumblings of a Bio-Dome 2: Dude, Where’s My Dome? in the works, so why don’t you go check that out and I’ll present my seven most memorable moments from last night’s All-Star Celebrity Apprentice.
1. Aborted Apprentice High and Low Fives
What is it with Celebrity Apprentice and painfully awkward aborted high and low fives? I mean, let’s be honest, even a successfully completed high or low five can’t help but be a bit silly looking. However, this season has taken it to a whole new level of confusion. Stephen Baldwin stands as Patient Zero for this epidemic when he got caught cold last week by a nonsensical Trump fake-out as The Donald announced the results of the Universal Studios task by saying “Congratulations, Dee — you lost!” Baldwin’s hand extended high for a slapping of skin with Dee, but once he realized he had been duped, the self-proclaimed “Stevie B” skillfully transitioned into a classic slick back the hair saving face maneuver.
This week, guest adviser Arsenio Hall took a much different approach. After responding to Trump’s request for a low five (so old school), Arsenio expected a reciprocal palm strike. But none was forthcoming! So last season’s champ made a bold move. He just kept his outstretched hand there. Arsenio was in a truly perilous position now. The longer he left his un-fived hand out there, the more foolish he looked. But if he could get Trump to finally hook him up, it would be worth it. The whole scene was slowly turning into a gunfight at the O.K. Corral — two titans locked in a fierce battle of wills. Who would blink first? Well, Trump finally consented to the reciprocal five, but it was still super awkward.
NEXT: A Trace of a celebrity crush
2. Stephen Baldwin Wants to be Taken Seriously. Seriously!
I have had the pleasure — if you want to call it that — of having watched Stephen Baldwin on not one, not two, not three, but four seasons of celebrity-themed reality television. That includes two seasons of Celebrity Mole — don’t judge — and now two seasons of Celebrity Apprentice. Back in his Celebrity Mole Yucatan days (and yes, that was the name of an actual show which aired on network television), Baldwin was a merry prankster, getting into all sorts of mischief with partner-in-crime Corbin Bernsen. But the funny thing about Stephen Baldwin here is that he actually expects us to take him seriously! He dresses up in a slick suit, puts a lot of gel in his hair, and tries to look as smooth and intellectual as possible. “I’m looking forward to being just a sort of Gordon Gekko ruthless psycho, all rolled into one,” he told us. However when it comes to instilling fear and respect, Baldwin is more on the level of the Geico gecko than Gordon Gekko.
Yet, still he tries. Evidently, part of Stevie B’s act of convincing us how smart he is involves talking to everyone else like they are incompetent morons. “Stephen Baldwin is really funny,” noted Penn Jillette during the task. “He does seem to think that everyone around him is breathtakingly stupid.” No, breathtakingly stupid would seem to describe someone who failed to pay their New York State taxes for three years straight.
3. Love is in the Air
Trace Adkins keeps professing that he only agreed to come back on Celebrity Apprentice for one reason and one reason only: to raise money for the Red Cross. He keeps talking about how they helped him when his house burned down, blah, blah, blah. We now know that to be a complete lie…well, at least the part about only being there for the Red Cross. Because now it is perfectly clear why Trace really came back: to get his groove on with Susan Lucci!
Even before Lucci showed up to help Plan B with their task of creating a live soap opera to promote Crystal Light Liquid, Trace was insisting the last scene involve him making out with the 20-time Emmy loser (and 1-time winner). Then, when she did arrive, Mr. Grumpypants acted like he had been shot by Cupid’s bow. “I appreciate beauty in any form,” said Trace. “Good horse flesh, beautiful mountains, landscapes, and beautiful women.” Look, I know a little bit about women. And if there is one thing they absolutely love, it is being compared to “good horse flesh.” They’re like putty in your hands after that.
But Trace had competition! Because riding the crest of his success in inducing a reciprocal low five from Mr. Trump, Arsenio sashayed into the Plan B war room. And what was the very first thing he did? Kiss Susan Lucci’s hand! What sort of spell does Lucci have these men under?
The passion was spreading like wildfire! Next thing you know, Gary Busey was moving in to lock lips with Marilu Henner. Surely Marilu could not resist such a bold Busey advance. “You know what? I’m an actress. You can’t imagine the people I’ve had to make out with. Some great ones. Burt Reynolds comes to mind. But not Gary Busey.” Before we move off of this, which Burt Reynolds are we talking about? Is this 1983 Burt Reynolds, (who starred with Henner in The Man Who Loved Women), 1984 Burt Reynolds (who starred with Henner in Cannonball Run II) or 1990-1994 Burt Reynolds (who starred with Henner on Evening Shade)? Big difference. I need a little more info on this before I can come down with a complete ruling on how I feel about that name droppage. I’m sure Marilu can remember which one, because in case you didn’t know, MARILU HENNER REMEMBERS EVERYTHING!
NEXT: I half-understand what Omarosa does for a living
Anyway, romance remained in the air for Plan B’s final show, with the amount of said romance increasing as Penn Jillette added different amounts of Crystal Light Liquid to a glass of water. Trace Adkins progressed from a computer nerd to a cowboy pool boy to a…well, I don’t know what the hell he was supposed to be in that least scene with his ripped-off teal Crystal Light shirt. He looked kind of like an extra from Sweatin’ to the Oldies, or maybe one of the dudes from the Olivia Newtown John’s “Let’s Get Physical” music video. Although I have to say I was disappointed after all that build-up when Trace did not suck face with Susan Lucci at the end of the show, opting to just pick her up and walk her off the stage at the end. Apparently, Cupid ran out of arrows.
4. Action Jackson!
“You may think because I’m soft spoken that you can take advantage of me. It’s not gonna happen. Not this time.” —La Toya Jackson
I was hard on La Toya last time she was on, because she did absolutely nothing and yet Trump kept saying how amazing she was. Then, after he finally came to his senses and fired her, she went into his office and asked to come back. Why? No reason, just because. And in a move that even for this show stretched the limits of credibility, he actually put her back in the game. The whole thing was bizarre, which is to say, incredible.
So I just expected more of the same from La Toya this go-round. An occasional squeak from the corner, but nothing more than that. Boy, was I wrong. Her animosity towards Omarosa started building last week, and when La Toya became Project Manager, she wasn’t going to take any lip from the provocateur. The first spat occurred when Omarosa insisted on going shopping for dresses when PM La Toya wanted her to stay back and help with the script. Before long, both ladies were yelling with — as Lil John astutely pointed out — hands on hips and necks cocked. Omarosa told La Toya to be respectful, La Toya told Omarosa she was the most disrespectful woman in the room, and then this happened, straight from the lips of Omarosa: “I run a company! I run half of the west coast for OK! magazine!”
Saaaaaay whaaaaaat?!? First off, do you run a company or do you run “half the west coast” for a tabloid rag? Also, what exactly do you do for that tabloid rag? I did a quick search and it said Omarosa was West Coast Editor for something called Reality Weekly (which is owned by the same company that owns OK!). But let’s even give her the benefit of the doubt on this one and say she works directly for OK! Is that really something worth name-dropping? I mean, if you’re dating Paul Rudd, you tell everyone you’re dating Paul Rudd. If you’re dating Pauly D…well, I think you get my point. I just can’t think of any situation where bragging that you “run half of the west coast for OK! magazine” is gonna win you a lot of brownie points. Maybe at a Spencer Pratt or Heidi Montag birthday party, but that’s pretty much it. (Side note: I never tell anyone I work at Entertainment Weekly, because nine times out of ten they confuse it with Entertainment Tonight and ask me what the heck Mary Hart is up to these days.)
NEXT: La Toya calls Omarosa a murderer
La Toya was certainly not impressed, making the first of her two remarks that Omarosa killed her fiancé Michael Clarke Duncan. “Omarosa’s fiancé passed away not long ago. He had a heart attack. I’m sure she gave it to him.” This was nothing compared to her later accusation of murder: “Omarosa is the most evil person I have ever met. She’s a no good, conniving, scheming, cut-throat, probably pulled the cord on Michael Duncan Clarke.” (FYI: She either means Michael Clarke Duncan, or is now accusing Omarosa of killing two people!) While Brande tried to find out what a succubus was, La Toya continued her assault by telling Arsenio her enemy was a “conniving witch.” How she started that last word with a W as opposed to a B, I’ll never know.
In any event, it should have come as no surprise then when the witch made herself magically disappear. After insisting that she be one of the actors, Omarosa took off after saying that she had to deal with a tabloid news magazine show releasing her fiancé’s 911 call. Ugh! Tabloid news magazines — how low can you go? I wish we didn’t have tabloids in this country. But that’s mostly just because then Omarosa would have nothing to “half run” on the west coast.
As for Team Power’s show, it basically was just a dramatic “Dum-Dum-Dum!” noise repeated every 6 seconds, signaling the audience to drink their Crystal Light Liquid each time. Omarosa showed up a few minutes before the show and basically did nothing. Jack Wagner also hung around in a smoking jacket, causing me to consider his place in the pantheon of soap opera actors turned wannabe rock stars (my take: one spot below Rick Springfield, and one spot above Michael Damian).
5. The Crying Game
A lot of readers complained last week that I did not take Omarosa to task for what seemed to be fake tears when she spoke of her former fiancé. I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, people! The one time I am actually nice and you guys are all over me! Well, it turns out you may have had a point. Because I paid extra special attention to the alleged waterworks this week, and they did indeed seem a bit suspect.
Even Arsenio was dubious, saying that there was something off about it. “You’re a very non-trusting person,” Trump told last year’s winner. But I looked pretty damn closely and while I heard lots of crying, I did not see one single tear. Nor did Trump, “I did see no tears,” he conceded later. “Were there tears?” “I didn’t see tears,” responded Arsenio, who then referenced the no doubt STD-infested tissue Dennis Rodman handed over for use. “And the Kleenex looked dry to me.”
I was actually begging for Omarosa to shed undisputedly real tears. Anything to get me out of accusing a woman of fake crying over her dead fiancé. I would give anything to get out of that situation. Like, say…moving on to the next topic!
NEXT: Trump grills Lil John on his grill
6. Trump Tangents
There are few things I love more in life than when Donald Trump goes off on one of his random tangents that have nothing to do with anything. And there were plenty such tangents in the latest Boardroom. They came fast and furious after it was announced that Plan B had bested Team Power. So what was the first incisive question that Trump asked the losing team? Well, here ya go: “Dennis, are you happy that you got tattoos? If you had to do it again, would you get tattoos or not?”
YES! Let’s clear this up right now! Forget about the task. And the invisible Omarosa tears. And getting to the bottom of who should be fired. Are you happy that you got tattoos? Finally, we’re talking about the real issues that matter. Issues like…LIL JOHN’S GRILL!
This got Ivanka playing along as well. “Is the grill removable?” she asked. It is, Lil John answered. “Oh so the grill is actually removable?” replied a clearly fascinated Donald. “And what do you have to do, use a little glue to put it on? It’s pretty wild!” I agree, WILD! To all those people that complain that Celebrity Apprentice does not need to be two hours long — which is pretty much every person in the world but me — I present this as Exhibit A as to exactly why the show needs to be two hours. While little asides like this would be editing room floor fodder on most shows, they are precisely what makes Celebrity Apprentice the twisted genius that it is.
But I think my favorite Boardroom non sequitur occurred later when Trump said, apropos of nothing: “This is our 13th season. We’ve had a tremendous run. We continue to do unbelievably well. People love this show. I don’t even like to call it a show. It’s beyond a show.” He’s right! It is beyond a show! It’s a state of mind. And that state of mind can be described in a single word: Busey.
7. La Toya Chooses Not To Keep Her Enemy Closer
Usually, Donald Trump is the one making inexplicable decisions in the Boardroom. The type of decisions that awarded Joan Rivers victory over Annie Duke and allowed Gary Busey to outlast seven other people on his first season. But this time it was La Toya who caused Ivanka Trump to drop her pen in shock (although I do have to wonder if that was an out of context shot added in out of place for emphasis). After bashing Omarosa time and time again for being an awful person and an awful teammate, La Toya announced she was bringing Brande and Dennis back to the Boardroom with her. What the…?!?
NEXT: Deputy Jackson…or not
But this wasn’t even La Toya’s first shocker. She first asked Trump to deputize her with the power to fire someone from her own team. Personally, I think this would have been a brilliant move. Just fire everybody and be done with it already! Fire Omarosa. Fire Rodman. Fire Whatshername from Deal or No Deal. Hell, start firing people from the other team! Trump won’t get rid of Busey yet. La Toya can. FIRED! Trump seems really impressed by Marilu Henner’s memory. La Toya isn’t. FIRED! Unfortunately, The Donald denied the request to deputize, which is when La Toya then made the shocking decision to bring back Brande and Dennis.
Now, I will say this: I do get to a degree what La Toya was thinking by not bringing back Omarosa. Trump has certain people he thinks make good television and therefore will not under any circumstances fire them too early into the season (See: Busey). For some reason he holds Omarosa in this regard even though I have yet to meet one person that finds her clearly orchestrated arguing entertaining on any level. In fact, Trump even admitted to his own bias: “I almost consider you a friend,” he told her in the Boardroom. “We brought this show to the number one show on television! Do I like Omarosa? I love Omorosa!”
So La Toya is correct in thinking that there was a good chance Trump would keep a person even though she is clearly toxic and wasn’t even around for the majority of the task. I actually applaud the strategy of not bringing back “big characters” early in the season for this exact reason. But if you are going to do that, you need to have another fall guy. You can’t say everyone else was amazing and then bring two of those amazing people back with you or your ass is gone. I don’t believe Trump for a second that he probably would have fired Omarosa had La Toya brought her back. He should have, but he wouldn’t have. Still, La Toya bungled this by not pointing out any reason to fire anyone else. Now the only thing left to see is if Trump randomly lets Michael’s sister back into the game for a fourth time. With this show, you never know.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, it’s your turn to chip in. What were your favorite moments? Were Omarosa’s tears real or fake? Ahat’s your preferred method of dealing with being left hanging on a high-five? Hit the message boards and let us know. And for more reality ramblings, you can follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. Until next week: Cluck, Cluck…Splash!