Even in an episode filled with puppets, the craziest characters are still the ones playing for Donald Trump

By Dalton Ross
April 16, 2012 at 06:00 AM EDT
Douglas Gorenstein/NBC
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Hi. How’s it going? I’m fine. Back hurts. Otherwise, I guess okay. Hold on a second. Need to yawn. Yaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwnnn. There. I just yawned. So how’s it going? Oh, I asked that already, didn’t I? Hmmm. Don’t have much else to say. Guess I’ll just sit here for a while. Have to sit. Can’t stand. Back hurts too much.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes my impersonation of Paul Teutul Sr. writing a Celebrity Apprentice recap. Not exactly what I would call a “high energy guy” is he, that Paul Teutul Sr.? Hell, I’ve seen more vim and vigor at my mother-in-law’s senior citizen housing complex. A senior citizen housing complex that goes by the name of Leisure Village, for crissakes! What the hell happened to that guy? I mean, besides the bad back. Don’t get me wrong — Paul was never Mr. Excitement, but I have never seen someone so thoroughly unmotivated to be there as Paul was this week. And that includes Darryl Strawberry, who slept through two straight projects, and Dennis Rodman, who actually left his task to go get drunk with some random dudes — random dudes who didn’t even invite him!

Not only did Paul appear completely mentally and physically MIA on the task of creating a puppet show — a task he was Project Manager on, I might add — but he then showed even less energy in the Boardroom. After showing up in his trademark hoodie — classy! — Paul slept his way through his entire firing, offering little to no resistance. Worst of all? After he was fired, he stepped into the waiting town car like any other fired schmo. Are you kidding me?!? Where’s the freakin’ motorcycle? Paul should have had a big ol’ bike roughly the size of South Carolina waiting for him outside of Trump Tower to take him wherever those cars take people after they’ve been canned by the Donald (read: around the block a few times). That’s just a wasted opportunity, right there.

In truth, Paul didn’t add a whole lot to this season. No doubt producers were hoping for some of the drama he created on American Chopper, when he would constantly get into it with his son (whom he eventually fired). But outside of some early unexplainable tension with George Takei, it never really happened. However, there was plenty else happening on last night’s episode, so let’s get right to my favorite things about the most recent Celebrity Apprentice installment.

1. Lisa Vs. Dayana II: This Time Its Personal (Kind of Like the Last Time, Which Was Also Personal)

When we last left Lisa and Dayana, they had kissed and made up after Dayana proved herself to be a competent Project Manager. And when things first started this week it appeared a Lisa-Clay feud could be brewing instead. “We did it. Good riddance,” Lisa bragged after returning from Lou’s firing. “We did it?” Clay responded. “You act like you had some accomplishment of some kind… He’s still a person.”

When Trump then moved Clay over to team Forte to even out the numbers, one had to expect trouble, but instead of Clay, it was Dayana that once again placed herself right in Lisa’s line of fire once the teams were tasked with performing an improv puppet show with Brian Henson’s Stuffed and Unstrung. Allow me to say this: I played a bit of football back in middle school. Was pretty decent, actually (before everyone else started outgaining me by 100 pounds and I began to resemble the scrawny weakling I am today). I still throw the ball around on weekends. But if there was a competition based around throwing a football through some tires…well, that would be a pretty stupid competition for a show like Celebrity Apprentice. But my point is, if I had Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers on my team, I wouldn’t be the one throwing the damn football!

NEXT: Aubrey 2.0

You know what, maybe comparing Lisa Lampanelli, Clay Aiken, and Penn Jillette to three of the best quarterbacks on the planet is stretching it a bit. But even if I had, say, Rex Grossman, Tarvaris Jackson, and Dan Orlovsky… I still wouldn’t be the one throwing the damn football! (Tim Tebow? Well, maybe then I throw the football, but that’s probably about it.) In this case, Dayana thought her 18 months of improv training meant she should be one of the puppeteers in the show, even though Lisa, Penn and, Clay had around 70 combined years of professional performance experience. There are times to cede the spotlight and let others do what they have been professionally trained to do, and for Dayana, this was one of those times. (Even Ivanka said as much in the Boardroom.)

THAT SAID, Lisa did not have to blow a complete gasket when it was suggested that Dayana at least bring items on stage to hand to the troupe. “How about this?” Lisa yelled. “Do whatever the f— you want! You know what? You’re a f—ing pain in the ass. I had to kind of create out of my ass yesterday something for you to do.” Okay, for one thing, I don’t want to have anything to do with anything that Lisa Lampanelli is creating out of her ass. That’s just a personal policy of mine, and I’ve done well by it. Secondly, take a chill pill, woman. On the list of egregious Celebrity Apprentice offenses, Dayana wanting to have a role in the show is pretty damn low. Do I need to go get tapes of Gary Busey as a reference to convince you?

Clay chalked Lisa’s anger up to possibly being jealous over Dayana being “beautiful, screw beautiful — stunning.” Whatever the reason, things calmed down somewhat by the time they got to the Boardroom. When asked how she got along with Lisa, Dayana replied, “How everybody gets along with Lisa, I guess. Until she explodes.” Trump then asked Lisa what she thought of her Venezuelan nemesis. “Not much,” answered Lisa. What’s so positively odd about this feud is how one-sided it is. Lisa yells and screams at Dayana, who knows better than to yell back so she either shrugs her shoulders or goes off and cries.

Unfortunately, Lisa’s team won so we didn’t get to see whether she would have gone through with not bringing anyone back to the Boardroom with her had they lost. My guess is she would have brought back Dayana, and Dayana would have been fired because she doesn’t bring the crazy like Lisa. No one does.

2. A Kinder, Gentler (Yet Still Plenty Bitchy) Aubrey

I have said it before and will say it again: Aubrey O’Day is a Celebrity Apprentice contestant for the ages. The woman is truly something special. My favorite thing about Arsenio’s Boardroom rant against Aubrey was that it was hilarious and uncomfortable at the same time. My least favorite thing about Arsenio’s Boardroom rant against Aubrey is that I worried it would tame and tone down our sassy and selfish control freak. Unfortunately for us, Aubrey definitely muzzled herself in front of the other contestants this week, pretending to be much more of a team player so they would stop attacking her in front of her future father-in-law.

NEXT: Rate the Aubrey Put-Downs Of the Week

However, that doesn’t mean the redhead has completely lost her fire. She’s still good for some supremely bitchy comments once the other players are well out of earshot. Let’s score this week’s contenders for Aubrey Put-Down of the Week:

CONTENDER #1: “Clay made one of his bitchy queen comments. I love it because I can’t stand Clay. She’s been the first person here able to shut Clay Aiken up.” Hmmm, that’s not bad, but clearly not her best work. This came very early in the episode, however, when Lisa and Clay were going at it, so I’m going to give Aubrey the benefit of the doubt and assume she was still warming up. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m scoring this one a 5.8.

CONTENDER #2: “The mohawk totally inspired Arsenio and I can see why — he’s bald.” Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. This is classic O’Day right here — go straight for a low blow by attacking someone’s physical appearance. Because Lord knows that’s their fault. Sure, it’s simple, but effective. I’m giving this a 7.4.

CONTENDER #3: “We lost Clay and nobody in this group minus maybe Arsenio Hall has experience being comedic performers.” See, now Aubrey is just showing off. Damn she is good at this. The brilliance of this quote is that on the surface it appears to be a compliment, but by inserting one simple word — maybe — it turns everything on its head. Now she is talking about a man that hosted his own late night talk show, appeared in major motion pictures, and made his living off of making people laugh, and she is saying that he maybe has experience being a comedic performer. The genius is in both the subtlety and precision. When it comes to dissing and dismissing, the woman is a surgeon. This one gets a perfect 10!

Of course, Aubrey’s best comments are often about herself. (Speaking of which, would you like to know more about all her Twitter followers? She’d be happy to tell you!) This week’s gem came as she was discussing the challenges of hosting the live puppet show: “You never now what’s going to happen once you get on that stage, but I usually impress myself, so I’m not worried” She usually impresses herself! That is so unbelievably incredible the only thing I can do is sit here and slow clap the absolute righteousness of that statement. And how did Aubrey do as host? Well, it seems her hosting philosophy basically amounts to: when in doubt — bounce and twirl! She kept bouncing around on stage for no apparent reason other than to jiggle for the audience as much as possible, and I would like to make it absolutely clear that this is not a complaint by any means.

3. Puppet Up!

I’m sorry, but this is worst slogan ever. I felt so uncomfortable for all those poor audience members forced to yell “Puppet up!” repeatedly whenever commanded and demanded by their taskmaster of a host. Awwwwwwwkward.

4. Puppet on a String (of Unintentional Hilarity)

In case you were wondering what a Teresa Giudice puppet would look like, think of a trashy hooker with big boobs and a low cut dress and you’re getting pretty gosh darn close. “Designing my puppet is a reflection of me,” exclaimed the Jersey Housewife before explaining how she gave the puppet boobs as fake as her own and wanted to make her “fabulous, over the top, glamorous.” Teresa then put the entire task on hold while she attempted to come up with a suitably trashy name for her Teresa puppet. “Fabulina,” Arsenio suggested. Predictably, Teresa loved it. “As a matter of fact, my third book, Fabulicious: Fast and Fit, comes out in May!” Of course it does.

NEXT: Ivanka distracts me from anything else happening in the Boardroom

Aubrey was none too impressed with Fabulina. “Basically, Teresa was inspired by everything tacky on the table,” said the tasteful and demure one, also dubbing the puppet “a hot mess Jersey lady.” But Aubrey wasn’t done. She then went on to….

We interrupt this “Celebrity Apprentice” recap to bring you the following bulletin. A red alert has been issued for the area of northern New Jersey, where a source has informed us that 80s pop star Debbie Gibson has been accused of dropping what is being described as a “4 alarm dump” in the Medieval Times locker room. The stench from the locker room was described by one eyewitness as being “worse than anything on the entire ‘Electric Youth’ album.” Gibson was unavailable for comment, and rather than offer any sort of rebuttal, representatives for the former pop icon merely insisted on singing the lyrics to Gibson’s recent Crystal Light jingle, hoping the tune will eventually catch on and earn the singer a recording contract with the powered beverage giant. The area has been quarantined, and we will continue to monitor this situation. Once again, Debbie Gibson has been accused of dropping a “4 alarm dump” in the Medieval Times locker room. We’ll update you as more news comes in, and for now, we return you to your regularly scheduled “Celebrity Apprentice” recap, already in progress.

…and thus concludes my argument on why Eric and Ivanka Trump would have been the perfect casting choice to play Jaime Lannister and Queen Cersei on Game of Thrones. Anyhoo, back to Teresa. As if watching her dress the puppet wasn’t precious enough, then we got to watch her attempt to work the puppet. See Teresa learn there are two syllables in the word “seven.” See Teresa get confused and say “Hi, Tanya” to someone else when her puppet happens to be the one playing the role of Tanya. See Teresa be instructed to say an adjective and respond with “monsters,” the most wonderful non-adjective in the history of adjectives. Well, at least in the words of Aubrey (clearly channeling her inner Lou Ferrigno), Teresa “does give 110 percent.”

5. Return of the Boardroom Dominatrix

Hot damn, Ivanka looked crazy hot in the Boardroom this week in her red dress and flowing locks. Her beauty even enraged the normally mellow and normally homosexual Clay Aiken. I really have nothing to add to that but thought it would be nice to go on out that image of Ivanka to carry me through the week until we meet once again in the Boardroom under the watchful and somewhat befuddled gaze of Donald Trump.

In the meantime, it’s your turn to sound off. Sad to see Paul go? Are you as impressed with Aubrey as she is with herself? And Team Lisa, Team Dayana or Team Neither? Hit the message boards and 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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