While staging a Medieval Times show, the women suffer self-inflicted wounds

By Dalton Ross
February 27, 2012 at 07:00 AM EST
Douglas Gorenstein/NBC
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I have been watching The Celebrity Apprentice for five years now. Millions of people share my passion for the program. Due to my somewhat unexplainable obsession and borderline masochistic insistence on reliving every single detail in recap form, I suppose you could say I’ve become something of a Founding Dean here at Celebrity Apprentice University. And in that post, I can tell you that there is one thing that every Celebrity Apprentice viewer needs to have to truly appreciate this unique program. It is one of the most important words in the English language, and can be expressed in exactly seven syllables: D-I-G-N-I-T-Y. Wait, no. That’s not right. I mean, that’s the last thing any of us have. Sorry. Let me try that again. G-O-O-D-T-A-S-T-E. Hmmm, that’s not it either. Think. Think…Oh! Got it! N-O-S-H-A-M-E. I would call Celebrity Apprentice a guilty pleasure, however I don’t even feel guilty about it! I just spent two hours watching a show with James Lipton spelling. James Lipton!!! And I’m gonna tell you something else: I thought he was awesome.

Sure, at first, I was bummed that we were losing Boardroom Dominatrix Ivanka for a dude who asks narcissistic actors to describe their favorite sound for a living. And then it hit me: What could be a better addition to this show than a dude who asks narcissistic actors to describe their favorite sound for a living? It’s brilliant! “You may be wondering why I qualify as an advisor,” Lipton told the contestants. “It’s because I happen to be a Knight.” And while Lipton then went on to proclaim himself a Knight of France, I can’t help but be skeptical and wonder if the only way this guy is going to become an actual Knight is to marry either Jordan or Jonathan from New Kids on the Block. (Side note: You have to hand it to the producers for printing his name as “Sir James Lipton” on screen. Perfect.)

The absurd and over-the-top seriousness that Lipton brought to the proceedings was downright hysterical, as was his declaration to Trump that “Thank God I’m not you — with two exceptions. I’m a pilot; I’d like your airplane. And I’m in television; I’d like some of your ratings.” Lipton! Your fawning interviews on Bravo make me want to punch a hole in my TV set, rip out any electrical wires, use the electrical wires to strangle myself until my eyes pop out of my head, and then stomp on my eyes until they are puddles of goo so that I never have to watch you on television again. But you have an open invitation to appear on this show whenever you please. That’s P-L-E-A-S-E.

Here are a few other things that had me jazzed about last night’s episode of Celebrity Apprentice.

An MIA Adam Carolla

I used to bitch and scream when celebrities would sign up to be on this show then disappear for a task and not get fired. “That is so unfair!” I would yell to my cat Clawed sitting next to me, who would then roll her eyes and go pee on my laptop bag. But then it hit me: Of course it’s not fair. Nothing on this show is fair. In fact, it’s perfect! It only adds to the What-the #&%@ nature of the entire thing.

NEXT: Lisa Lampanelli takes on the mob

The best part about Adam’s disappearance is that there was no family emergency or prior contractual obligation that he needed to attend to. It was a wedding he was hosting at his house. Not his wedding, mind you. Somebody else’s wedding. What’s next? “Sorry, Mr. Trump, I promised my niece’s boyfriend I would help him with his algebra homework so I’m going to have to sit this next one out. Oh, also, I’ll need immunity from being fired while I skip the entire task. Thanks!” The fact that no one has been fired while bailing on a task — even when their team has lost — has me wondering why a contestant doesn’t just come up with an excuse to miss every single project until the finale. Apparently, on this show, you can’t lose if you don’t compete. Of course, Adam was not the only MIA member of the men’s team. Did Michael Andretti say a single word this entire episode? That dude got less screen time than the M&Ms Chief Chocolate Officer!

Lisa Lampanelli  vs. Victoria Gotti

Women are having a tough time on reality TV these days. The ladies on Survivor can’t win a single challenge against the men because they are too busy at each other’s throats. And the females on Celebrity Apprentice are faring no better. However, their pain is our gain. I was worried about Lisa Lampanelli on this show because often comedians just come on to be wacky and crack some jokes and don’t fully invest in the game, but make no mistake — Lisa Lampanelli is invested. As Project Manager for the women in their task to put on a 12 to 15 minute Medieval Times show, she barked at Debbie Gibson for interrupting her, said that the only thing Dayana was competent at was “sitting and looking good,” and yelled at the entire team for being excited about their costumes. In short, she was incredible. Lisa Lampanelli should be Project Manager for every task from here on out — for both teams.

But she was at her absolute best while feuding with the lovely and talented Victoria Gotti. Perhaps worried that the sight of Victoria Gotti might scare young children in the audience, Lisa made her stage manager. Of course, Victoria is used to people named Gotti being the boss, so she felt marginalized by being kept off the Medieval (or is it “mid-evil”?) Times main stage. (After being called out publicly by Teresa for spelling her name wrong last week, the last thing I should be doing is taking someone else to task for their spelling. Besides, it could have been worse, like…no, actually it could not have been worse.)

It all blew up in the Boardroom when Lisa hammered the mob boss’ daughter for trying to defect to the men’s team and missing her cue on a trumpet flourish during the show. She was relentless and unsparing, even causing Gotti to cry at one point. “I am not arguing with you because you are inarguable because you have lies made up in your head, so enjoy the delusion of your life,” Lisa told Victoria after the ladies had lost and the two and Dayana were in the reception area waiting to come back in and see who gets fired.

When they did come back in, the barrage continued with Lisa in such a state that she even managed to make herself cry. The whole spectacle — complete with a James Lipton spelling bee — was irresistible, and in the end, Victoria was indeed fired and Lisa had earned herself a place on the Celebrity Apprentice All-Star season.

NEXT: Lou Ferrigno does his Incredible Hulk Impersonation

Everyone Overstating the Cultural Impact of The Real Housewives of New Jersey

I get why Lisa decided to go with a Unreal Housewives of Camelot theme, playing off of The Real Housewives of New Jersey. After all, they were in New Jersey and had one of the stars on the show on their team. I get it. And I get Teresa boasting that, “Right now one of the hottest shows on TV is the New Jersey Housewives.” After all, she is on a show hosted by Donald Trump, and if Trump has taught these people anything it’s that you always overstate the importance of your own program. But what’s with everyone else walking around under the assumption that RHONJ is the be all and end all? “The Real Housewives is the biggest show on television,” claimed Aubrey. “It has, like, 5 million viewers.” First off, the show never got 5 million viewers, and secondly, if it did, and 5 million viewers was the “biggest show on television” then television has a hell of a problem on its hands. Geez, The Celebrity Apprentice even gets more than 5 million viewers!

But Aubrey wasn’t the only one. “What’s bigger than The Real Housewives of New Jersey?” Tia inquired rhetorically. Ummmm, well, for one thing, freakin Work It, perhaps the most embarrassing sitcom in the history of sitcoms. That’s right, Work It even got more viewers than RHONJ. I’m not trying to dis and dismiss the cultural relevance of the show. It certainly has done well for Bravo and I, as a current inhabitant of New Jersey, have watched my fair share of it, but let’s not get carried away here.

Don’t make The Hulk Angry. You Wouldn’t Like Him When He’s Angry

Other than Dee Snider breaking his finger (and then having to listen to Clay Aiken compose a song about his broken finger), there was not a lot of drama on the men’s team. (Damn you, Penn Jillette for running things so efficiently!) Until, that is, Trump asked Penn to name the two people he would bring back with him into the Boardroom should he lose. When Penn named Lou Ferrigno, the Hulk flipped out and morphed into an angry robot seemingly capable of only blurting out the words “110 percent” over and over again. Even back in the suite after being declared victors, Lou told off the entire team and warned them not to name him as a weak link again. What, are you gonna argue with a former Mr. Universe?

Trump Taking Time Out From His Busy Schedule To Hit on The Contestants

It wasn’t shocking for Donald Trump to suggest that Miss Universe ride in nude like Lady Godiva. Frankly we would be disappointed if he didn’t. But where Trump went above and beyond the call of duty was when smack dab in the middle of a disagreement over whether Victoria Gotti had, in fact, threatened to quit the team, Trump said —apropos of nothing — “You look very good tonight, Aubrey. I have to say. Do you mind if I say that? Was that’s sexist?” Yes, it was. And don’t you dare stop doing it.

Who’s to say The Donald is above putting out feelers to the men’s side as well? Sure, he may claim that was a mistake when he dubbed Lou “The Incredible Hunk,” but we know better. In the immortal words of George Takei — oh my.

Next: Dr. Trump will see you now…

Trump Taking Time Out From His Busy Schedule To Offer Rock Solid Medical Advice

So it seems Clay Aiken’s tambourine spooked Dee Snider’s horse, causing the Twisted Sister frontman to “severely fracture” his finger. “It’s snapped at the base so they think I’m gonna need a pin,” he informed Trump, who then took it upon himself to offer his own expert medical opinion. “Don’t listen to the doctor,” he replied. “Just let it heal.” WHAT?!? Just let it heal? This is based on what? I don’t see any X-rays on the table. No medical degrees hanging on the wall. Not even a Purell hand-sanitizing dispenser anywhere on the premises. I love how Trump makes this assessment based on absolutely no knowledge of the situation whatsoever. The “Don’t listen to the doctor” part is even better. HE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW WHO THE DOCTOR IS!!! That entire exchange pretty much sums up why Donald Trump is the most amazing man on the face of the planet.

Clay Aiken: Beauty Pageant Judge

Clay Aiken (on Aubrey O’Day): “I think she’s so insecure. I don’t think she likes not being the prettiest one on the cast.

Arsenio Hall: “Are you saying Dayana is prettier that Aubrey?”

Clay Aiken: “I’m saying Victoria is prettier than Aubrey.”

That’s like the biggest burn in the history of burns.

What The Hell is Amanda The Receptionist Writing in That Notepad?

As far as I’m concerned, Amanda the phony baloney receptionist has the greatest job in the world — to simply sit there while contestants wait and stare at each other awkwardly. Occasionally, like in this last episode, the players bitch and yell at each other, and that must be fun to watch too. What does Amanda do while sitting there at the desk? Nothing really, except write notes to herself in her cute little notebook. What exactly is she writing in there anyway? Is she taking shorthand on anything that is said to report back to The Donald? Is she writing down a list of all the things that she could be accomplishing in life were she not stuck sitting at her phony desk watching quasi-famous people embarrass themselves on national television? Is she penning love letters to Adrian the elevator operator to hold up for him to see in that brief moment when the doors open to let in a just fired celebrity? (So close…yet so far away.) I have no idea, but I do know she has the best seat in the house. And for that, Amanda the phony baloney receptionist, I salute you.

And I salute all of you for soldiering through another episode and recap with me. Special thanks to Sir James Lipton for being himself and to Debbie Gibson for flashing her hoo-ha to the entire Mid-Evil Times audience. Well done! Also, someone put an All Points Bulletin out for Michael Andretti, who has been more invisible than Dayana Mendoza’s body suit. Now it’s your turn. Whom are you loving and loathing and what was the most gloriously absurd moment of the week? Hit the message boards to let us know! And for more Celebrity Apprentice news and views, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. Until next week: Cluck, Cluck…Splash!

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