Trump splits up the teams to set up an epic fundraising duel as two more people are fired.

By Dalton Ross
January 13, 2015 at 06:00 AM EST
Douglas Gorenstein/NBC
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My poor wife. Because it is only during the airing of Celebrity Apprentice when it truly dawns on her that she married a pathetic mess of a man. Here are the types of interactions that happen in the Ross household during such an event:

WIFE: “Dalton, could you please help the kids with their homework?”

ME: “Not now, dear. I’ve got more important stuff to deal with. Ian Ziering is talking about a pole dancing essay he’s about to write, so…”

WIFE: “Honey, you promised me you’d take care of those dinner dishes.”

ME: “Yeah, no, I hear you, but I think Geraldo Rivera is simulating anal sex with Johnny Damon so just give me a minute here.”

WIFE “Um, do you want to say goodnight to your children before I tuck them in?”

ME: “What? Ugh! For crissakes, woman—I was busy counting all the pairs of gold scissors on phony baloney receptionist Amanda’s desk. Now I totally have to start over. THANKS A LOT!!!”

Needless to say, my spouse is not thrilled by my viewing habits. But I can’t help it because my fascination knows no bounds when it comes to this program. And it is the only show on television where I truly cannot believe what I am seeing. And the most unbelievable thing this week came from the lips of Donald J. Trump himself. It happened during this whole mess where losing Project Manager Jamie Anderson was talking about how she did not bring Brandi Glanville back into the Boardroom with her and Kenya Moore because she thought Trump liked the drama of two Real Housewives arguing and therefore would not fire either of them, leaving her to be let go instead. And then Trump said this:

“I have to tell you it’s not about what you just said. If it were, maybe I wouldn’t have fired Kevin, who has millions and millions of fans and followers. And I could have fired someone else and it would have been probably more popular, but I would have had no credibility. It’s not the way it works.”

Okay, but here’s the thing. IT’S EXACTLY THE WAY IT WORKS!!!!! Trump practically begged Kevin to bring Lorenzo Lamas back into the Boardroom last week precisely so he wouldn’t have to fire Kevin. But he didn’t, so the big guy had no choice. Nine times out of 10, tomfoolery trumps talent on this show. How else to explain Trump firing six different folks before Gary Busey in that madman’s first season. Busey is perhaps the most incompetent Celebrity Apprentice contestant ever, yet he outlasted perfectly sane people like Mark McGrath for one sole reason—Trump thought he made good TV.

It sounds like I am complaining about this, but au contraire mon frère! The charade that performance is the most important factor in advancing on this show is just one of its unique quirks and charms. I loooooove watching Trump go out of his way to fire someone who has no business of being fired so he can keep someone he deems as more famous or more entertaining instead. The whole process is intoxicating. So for Trump to now sit there and say that such high jinks never take place because he “would have had no credibility whatsoever,” is perhaps the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard on this program. Meaning, I loved it. And here are the eight other things I loved or loathed about this latest double-episode extravaganza.

1. A Period in Time

It was not a fever dream. We all did, in fact, see Vivica Fox and Donald Trump carry on an extended conversation about Shawn Johnson’s menstrual cycle last week. Needless to say, Shawn was less than enthused about that development, and she let Vivica know about it at the start of tonight’s broadcast. “The fact that you mentioned that on national television—so embarrassing,” Shawn said to her new self-appointed gynecologist. “It’s like me mentioning that you’re going through menopause.” Oh. No. She. Didn’t.

Okay, so now we know that Shawn Johnson is on her period and Vivica Fox may or may not be experiencing hot flashes. Celebrity Apprentice—never too much information.

2. Yet Another Magazine Editor Steals My Thunder

I cannot tell you how infuriating it is for me to see other magazine editors getting airtime on my favorite show. If I’m being completely honest here, it feels like a violation. A betrayal. A slap in the face. How dare Cosmopolitan Senior Editor Liz Plosser get to go passing out projects willy-nilly while I sit sucking down Cool Ranch Doritos and Milwaukee’s Best on my couch. DAMN YOU, PLOSSER! I mean, the woman doesn’t even work at Cosmopolitan magazine even more! She now works at Self. (Not like I did creepy internet and social media stalking to find that out or anything.)

The point is, as gorgeous and photogenic and media-trained as this Plosser broad appears to be, it should be me up there on the screen! Why can’t I stand next to The Donald while he dishes out the latest project and say stupid stuff like “Actually, Mr. Trump, Entertainment Weekly would like to match that with another $20,000.” (Although I noticed Cosmo did not go for the usual corporate match this time—cheapskates.) Why can’t I sit there at a presentation and fake chuckle when a celebrity Project Manager makes a lame joke? Why can’t I get close enough to ask Geraldo to try on his bizarre rose-tinted glasses? Dammit. Life sucks.

3. Let’s Learn All About Ian Ziering’s Sex Life

So the first task was to develop a four-page fitness editorial. To some that might mean focusing on a crisp and clear design or an online editorial brand extension. For Ian Ziering, it meant sex tips and pole dancing! The part-time Chippendale remarked about all the “nude suggestive poses” in Cosmo and remarked that “I have to have my wife read this stuff because it kind of bridges the gap between what I’m a little uncomfortable saying and what she needs to know.” As if Ian Ziering talking about new sex tricks with his wife was not uncomfortable enough, he also insisted on repeatedly making a slapping motion with his hand, which was just unfortunate on pretty much every level. But he wasn’t done.

That’s because Ian’s big contribution to the editorial was a “pole dancing essay.” First Ian talked about his wife taking a pole dancing exercise class, because of course she does. And so I can only assume his “essay” was on the merits of pole dancing… I guess? Pretty heavy stuff. Unfortunately, the camera did not go tight enough on the actual text in the essay so you could read it, but I can only assume it went a little something like this.

“Hey, ladies. I know what you’re thinking: What could that guy with the mullet-fro from Beverly Hills 90210 possibly know about pole dancing? Well, let me tell you, I was known to ride a few poles in my day. Wait, that totally came out wrong. Can I start over? How do I get rid of that? WHERE’S THE DAMN DELETE BUTTON ON THIS THING?! AND WHY AM I TYPING OUT MY THOUGHTS?!”

NEXT: Kenya gets rear-ended

4. Geraldo Rivera Has a Touching Moment with Johnny Damon

Honestly, I am not entirely sure what we just saw. All I know is I look away from the TV screen for a second, and when I come back to it, Geraldo is telling Johnny Damon “I’m naked. You’re naked. And I’m hugging you like this.” And then Geraldo takes the two-time World Series champion in a tender embrace while appearing to whisper sweet nothings in his ear. And then he won’t let go.

And then things just got more confusing. Again, I’m just reporting what I saw here, but if I am not mistaken, Geraldo then pressed himself and his junk right up into Johnny’s back and had the slugger bend over. Because this clearly falls into the category of “Don’t Believe It Until You See It, And Even Then Still Kinda Don’t Believe It,” I procured some visual evidence of said encounter. You be the judge for yourself:

Ladies & gentlemen, Geraldo Rivera and Johnny Damon… https://t.co/EvEYEGN8PO

— Dalton Ross (@DaltonRoss) January 13, 2015

“What was that?” inquired Johnny. “Please tell me that was your thumb.” Let me ask you something, Johnny: Would that have been any better? Also, Geraldo was later seen walking around wearing only boxer briefs and some weird boots while doing dumbbell curls and proclaiming, “I am very much at ease with my body.” Some might say too at ease.

5. Butt Of Course

As if Ian’s pole dancing essay and Geraldo molesting Johnny Damon were not enough, we also incurred a disproportional amount of time spent on the subject of Kenya Moore’s butt. The whole brouhaha began when Kenya got upset that her offer to be the model was rebuffed for Brandi instead. “Seriously, you don’t want to use this face and this body in the ads? You want a stick figure in your ad when you can have all this woman?” Kenya then was trying to coach Brandi to stick her rear end out more for the photos, to which the Beverly Hills Housewife took umbrage. “Listen, my butt is real—unlike hers—and it’s not going to pop no matter what,” said Brandi. “But it’s cute! It’s just not going to be like Ka-Kunk! It’s not happening.”

Apparently at some point Brandi also said that “you can just go out and buy it” in reference to Kenya’s butt. And thank God she did, because once it was revealed in the Boardroom it meant that Donald Trump got to weigh in on this crucial subject. “They can actually do artificial asses now, is that right?” he asked…AS IF HE HASN’T BEEN OBSESSIVELY TRACKING THE LATEST ADVANCES IN ARTIFICIAL ASSES FOR YEARS! “I’ve been hearing about that. I don’t like the concept of it for anybody. I don’t want to see it.” Okay, first off—anyone buy that? Anyone buy that Trump is morally opposed to a little extra junk in the trunk? Anyone? Bueller?

So in case you are keeping score at home, we now in back-to-back weeks have had Donald Trump weighing in on a contestant’s menstrual cycle as well as Kenya Moore’s possible butt implants. And people wonder why I love this show. I would say this is where such ass-related shenanigans would have stopped on a normal program, but on a normal program, the whole thing would never have started in the first place. Regardless, there was still more to come. Because after the players all re-converged in the post-Boardroom suite, Terrell needed his inquisitive itch to be scratched. “Kenya, is that booty real?” he asked, because why wouldn’t you ask a woman that? “You can touch it if you want to,” she replied, because why wouldn’t you give some guy permission to grope your booty while a camera captures all the action for posterity (or should I say posteriority)? Then, naturally, Terrell Owens started fondling Kenya Moore’s butt cheeks. Again, perfectly normal behavior.

6. Make Up Your Mind!

Jamie Anderson may be the worst Project Manager I have ever seen in my life. She started the Cosmo task by not liking Kenya’s “touch me” slogan but went with it anyway just to “keep the peace.” Keep the peace? You’re Project Manager! What a terrible management strategy. She later in the Boardroom told Trump that the disconnect in the women’s editorial was because she didn’t want to argue with the Housewives. Lame. But then Jamie went from a mere pushover to someone making some of the most inexplicable comments in the history of the Boardroom. It began when Trump asked Jamie which two people she would like to bring back to the Boardroom with her. That led to the following exchange:

JAMIE: “I’m not sure. Who do you think I should bring back?”

TRUMP: “It’s not up to me. It’s up to you.”

JAMIE: “Why do I have to do this? Can’t you just fire one of us?

TRUMP: “I can fire you.”

JAMIE: “Do you want to fire me?’

TRUMP: “No.”

He should have fired her right then and there. “Who do you think I should bring back?” Are you kidding me? Also, doesn’t Trump already make it abundantly obvious who he thinks are prime candidates for dismissal? If you can’t pick up on those signals, then you deserve to be fired. Just ask Kevin Jonas. But wait, then it got better. Which is to say, it got worse. After selecting Kenya and Kate, Jamie began to rethink her drink after getting berated by Kenya in the lobby as Amanda the receptionist scribbled notes furiously in her Filofax. So when they came back in, Jamie began with this: “Okay, I have something to say. I don’t know if I made the right choice with who I brought back.” Instead, she actually wanted Trump to now fire Brandi, even though she had already designated her as safe. “I don’t think it’s too late to fire her if that’s what’s right,” Jamie implored. Yeah, not gonna happen. Jamie was fired minutes later.

NEXT: Why Are Athletes On This Show Always So Boring?

7. Trump Throws in a Twist

The second project was a fundraising task. Knowing that Geraldo and Ian would be able to raise the most money by far and that the women would get crushed, Trump switched up the teams—sending Ian, Johnny, and Terrell Owens over to Infinity and Vivica, Shawn, and Kate Gosselin to Vortex. That allowed Ian and Geraldo to both be Project Mangers and duel it out while selling wedding dresses for as big a markup as possible. Along the way, Ian made lots of inspirational speeches, Brandi had a panic attack, and Sig Hansen manhandled any woman unfortunate enough to come within a 100-yard vicinity of him.

When they got to the Boardroom, Trump announced that the teams had combined to raise almost $600,000 and there was only a $2,500 difference between winner and loser. Without saying which team came out on top, Trump asked Ian and Geraldo if they wanted to go winner take all (as usual), or each keep the money they raised. In the past, there have been instances of losers asking to keep the money and Trump refused. This time, he was allowing the Project Managers to gamble without knowing the result. So they consulted. Now, do me a favor and tell me if this interaction makes any sense whatsoever:

IAN: “Geraldo?”

GERALDO: “Yes, Ian.”

IAN: “Beauty before age, so go ahead.”

?????? Correct me if I am wrong, but seeing as how Geraldo is 21 years older than Ian, I believe the phrase would be “age before beauty,” not “beauty before age.” I know this, because it’s what Rocky Balboa said to Apollo Creed while wearing a bizarre oversized yellow jockstrap at the end of Rocky 3. In any event, they chose to play it safe and split the loot. Wussies. Turned out to be a smart play for Ian though, as his team came up short.

8. Killing With Kindness

Since he lost, Ian brought world-class athletes and world-class Celebrity Apprentice duds Johnny Damon and Terrell Owens back to the Boardroom. With the exception of Dennis Rodman (who once completely abandoned his project and instead invited himself out for dinner and drinks with some clearly confused hotel guests) pro athletes have been super boring on this show, and this season’s crop (the two Olympians included) have likewise been pretty yawn-worthy. Yo, T.O.! What happened to “get your popcorn ready”? In any event, it was clear one of the jocks would get the boot, and since he raised the least amount of cash, it was Terrell. Which means it is time for our weekly installment of Watch Donald Trump Fire Someone While Simultaneously Praising Him/Her Repeatedly. So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Donald J. Trump firing Terrell Owens:

“You know how much I like you. And I’ve gained great, great respect for you. And you’ve really done a good job. And I think you’ve helped yourself immeasurably. Terrell, you’re fired. Thank you. Thank you very much. Good luck. Thank you very much.”

That’s usually where things end, but then motivational speaker wannabe Ian Ziering decided he had his own words of wisdom he wanted to share with his fired friend. Check out Ian channeling his inner Tony Robbins with this inspirational message: “I hope that what the future holds for you is as bright as you want it to be. I think you have amazing potential. And I know the future is going to deliver because of what’s inside here. You showed everybody. Thanks, Terrell.”

The thing that made this whole heartfelt message so awkward is that Terrell Owens is not some kid whose entire dream was just dashed. The dude has made tens of millions of dollars, played in Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl, starred in several different movies and TV shows including an appearance on, yes…90210! And yet Ian Ziering is here sounding like a freakin’ Hallmark Card. It’s not like Terrell is heading straight to the Homeless Shelter For Humongous Losers That Have Never And Will Never Experience Any Success Whatsoever. He got eliminated fifth on a reality television program and can now go cry himself to sleep on his pillow stuffed with $100 bills. No big whoop. It’s not like he needs life advice from a dude whose big claim to fame over the past decade has been starring alongside Tara Reid and a shark-infested tornado.

Okay, that’s going to do it for this week. Now it’s your turn. What was your favorite moment? Were the right people fired? And should Trump have let the teams split the money like that? Hit the message boards to weigh in, and for more Celebrity Apprentice nonsense, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. Until next time: Cluck, Cluck…Splash!

Episode Recaps

Donald Trump, “you’re fired” — you know the drill.
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