George Takei’s attempt to live long and prosper in the game is cut short by the Boardroom Dominatrix
She sits at the desk by herself. Lonely. So lonely. Her only friends: a notebook, a jar full of pens, and a pair of golden scissors. The woman doesn’t even get a computer for crying out loud! I’m speaking, of course, of Amanda Miller, Celebrity Apprentice’s resident phony baloney Boardroom receptionist. Sure, she is occasionally entertained by bickering contestants waiting to reenter Trump’s lair. And yes, she has been known to steal flirty glances from across the room at her strapping young suitor, Adrian the elevator operator. But the reception area has become a prison of sorts for our intrepid young note-taker. I mean, other than writing love letters to Adrian and uttering those nine magic words — “Gentlemen, you can head back into the Boardroom now” — what else is there for her to do? Perhaps you think that is all Amanda is capable of. That her skills do not extend beyond the Boardroom desk. THINK AGAIN, SUCKAS!
Amanda is a multi-talented Trump employee of the highest order! It turns out when the Boardroom beauty is not nodding compassionately to formerly famous people that have just been fired, she works for Ivanka’s clothing line. Doing what? I have no idea! But there she was in Ivanka’s showroom just…kinda…hanging out. Was she there to model Ivanka’s clothes? Is she a saleswoman? Did she simply get lost on the way to the Boardroom? Again, no clue. But did you see how happy she looked to be free from the shackles of Trump Tower? The woman was smiling for crying out loud. SMILING! (Meanwhile, poor Adrian sits — well, stands, actually — in his sad little elevator, waiting for his one true love to return.)
But I will never abandon you, dear readers. So let’s look at the five other things that had me high-fiving myself about last night’s episode of The Celebrity Apprentice.
1. An Explosion of Trumps
They’ve mobilized! They’re everywhere! The Apprentice started off with one Trump, Donald. Then Ivanka showed up. Eventually Don Jr. joined the mix. And two seasons ago, when one of them was unavailable, all of a sudden Eric appeared. But I’m not sure we’ve ever had four Trumps in one room on the show before. However, there they all were, lined up to tell the teams that their newest task was to create two Lord & Taylor window displays for Ivanka’s clothing line. With The Donald hosting, Ivanka judging (along with some other guy we don’t care about), and Jr. and Eric advising, the scene turned into one big freakin’ Trumpalooza! The only thing missing was little five-year-old Barron. How long until he’s in the Boardroom telling his daddy what a great decision he made on whom to fire?
The thing about all these Trumps taking over the program is that while it reeks of nepotism, they’ve each become welcome additions to the program in their own special way. The icy Ivanka has turned into an equal parts feared and respected Boardroom Dominatrix. Don Jr. has proven to have a pretty wicked of humor, which he has been known to direct at his father from time to time. Eric? Well, the jury’s still out on Eric. I had high hopes for the man when he first showed up a few years back tapping his fingers together as if he was doing his best Snidely Whiplash impersonation, but he has unfortunately proven to be significantly less evil in subsequent episodes. Although I swear every time I see the guy he is using more and more hair gel. It’s as if Don Jr. and Eric are having a sibling rivalry to see who can break the land speed record for hair product slathering per second.
In any event, the more Trumps the better as far as I’m concerned. If only Ivanka could get divorced and marry James Lipton into the family, then everything would be P-E-R-F-E-C-T.
NEXT: Lou Ferrigno’s favorite number
2. I Love The Sound of George Takei’s Voice, Even If What is Coming Out of it Makes No Sense
George Takei’s voice is smoother than the foreheads of the entire botoxed women’s team. I could listen to it all day. An when he says stuff like, “Arsenio has elegance and style, but he also has panache. That man is amazing,” you almost feel like you are in a trance — hypnotized by his every word. But when you come out of that trance, you wake up to the realization that the words coming out of George’s mouth are often not as smooth as the voice delivering them.
His presentation to Ivanka and random Lord & Taylor guy was shockingly unsmooth as Sulu began by introducing Clay by the incorrect names of Arsenio, Claude, and Clod before finally getting it right. But Clay got off easy compared to Lou. While attempting to compliment his team, George told Ivanka that, “Most people are like Lou, you know, they’re not involved,” which has to be the worst compliment of all-time. (Lou responded much like he did last week, by repeating the phrase “110 percent” even though giving 110 percent is both scientifically and mathematically impossible.)
But the men’s team did well in spite of George’s verbal miscues and seeming lack of interest in the task as a whole. (He thought they were supposed to decorate four windows instead of two. Then again, the women only really designed one, but more on that later.) The day and night theme of the men was pretty good, and Penn’s idea to use double flavor, double fun, in a sugar free gum (i.e. twins) was downright genius. Sure, the midnight blue backdrop was a bad call, and the choice of nighttime clothes may have been off, but I thought it was still an impressive showing by the men in spite of their P.M. And it was done all without the team member who knows the most about dressing up like a woman — Dee Snider.
Dee wisely ignored Trump’s advice last week to “just let it heal” and instead went to an actual medical professional to have his “severely fractured” hand looked at. After reviewing several X-rays in which the Twisted Sister frontman appeared to be giving us the finger, the doc informed his patient that surgery was required. When? In 10 days? No! Now!!! “This is your fault, Trump,” Dee said as he was wheeled into surgery. That may be, but it would have been a lot more fun if he had just blamed Lou Ferrigno instead so the Hulk could have burst through the hospital wall in a complete rage going on about how nothing is ever his fault because he gives 110 percent.
NEXT: The fix is in!
3. The Women Never Stood a Chance of Losing
Let me be absolutely clear: Not only did the women basically only decorate one window — just sticking some hotties in the second window to smile and wave two minutes before it was presented because their photographs never showed up — but they could have decorated zero windows and still won. That’s the beauty of the subjective challenge when one team has already lost the first two projects: Who does the better job doesn’t even matter. No way Trump wanted to send a third woman home before any of the men got cut loose. Now, see, a fundraising task or something that involves irrefutable evidence of a clear victor would have been too dangerous in a spot like this. But a challenge in which Trump’s daughter gets to pick the winner? Perfect!
What was the women’s theme? I still have no idea. As far as I could tell Project Manager Dayana was hanging out in one window with a fan, and a few women stood in the second one waving like they were in the saddest beauty pageant ever. Nothing the ladies did came even close to matching the creativity of the men using the twins, an idea that Ivanka herself said was genius. But then in the Boardroom, Eric reported that Ivanka said the guys “lacked creativity.” Huh? Also, Ivanka loved Paul’s signage so much she wanted to order some more copies for her actual store.
So how the hell did the men lose? Because the men losing is what was determined as being in the best interest of the show. And let me be equally clear on this as well: I have absolutely no problem with that. Nothing on this show has ever been “fair.” After all, six people were fired before Gary Busey last season. Let me state that one more time to make sure it completely sinks in: Six people were fired before Gary Busey last season. If you’re looking for a fair fight, then you came to the wrong show, my friend. We just want a fight with as much comedy as possible, and watching Trump forced into bizarre rationalizations as to why certain people win or lose is just part of the fun. I’m sorry, I know this is being repetitive but I cannot stress this enough: Six people were fired before Gary Busey last season.
4. Pick a First Name and Stick With it
Was there any better moment in this entire episode than when Debbie Gibson offered to be one of the window models and Dyana scrunched her face up and responded “I’m just scared of the age range”? (“I play younger on TV,” responded Gibson). I don’t know what was more awkward — Debbie volunteering to be the 25-35 year old model or Dayana then having to tell the 41-year-old that she was too over the hill to represent an Ivanka Trump clothing line. The entire exchange was brilliant.
NEXT: Let’s all play the Debbie Gibson name game
But now Gibson has me confused because when she called Ivanka to ask for some free jewelry, she called herself Deb. Later, Tia called her Deb as well. Sure, I get that Deb is an abbreviation of Debbie, but those of us that do not know our history are doomed to repeat it. Which brings us to the great Ricky/Rick Schroeder controversy at the turn of the century. A fellow teen sensation, he was “Ricky” back in his Tiger Beat days of The Champ and Silver Spoons, but then graduated to “Rick” once he started wanting to be taken more seriously in shows like NYPD Blue. Then I heard he went back to “Ricky” for some reason. Honestly, I have no idea what he’s called now — The Big R, perhaps? So all I’m asking for is a little clarity on the Debbie Gibson situation. Is she trying to distance herself from delicious Little Debbie snack treats? Is Deborah an option here? What gives?
5. The Way Donald Trump Fires People
Before we get to the dismissal of George Takei, I want to pause for the cause to point out something that I did not like about this episode. In fact, I consider it an affront to Celebrity Apprentice fans everywhere. I’m speaking, naturally, of the women’s refusal to name anyone on their team as the weakest player when asked by Trump. Why, just last week Penn Jillette waxed poetic on how he knew better than to deny such a request by the big boss man, even though it pained him to do it (and pained Lou to hear it — 110 PERCENT!!!). But the women — from Tia to Teresa to Project manager Dayana — all refused to play along. Trump even went so far as to tell Dayana that she would “go back to modeling” if she didn’t answer the question. And she still didn’t. So what were the repercussions? None whatsoever.
And that is a huge problem in my book. Make no mistake: It is completely ridiculous that they are being asked to answer such a question. But if Trump wants to have the contestants play this absurd game of forcing them to name their weakest player before they even know if they’ve lost for the sole purpose of creating conflict that would not otherwise exist, then there have to be some actual repercussions if they refuse to do so. If I’m on the men’s team and I just saw the women getting away without naming names, then damn if I’m going to do it. Ack! I can’t believe I’m getting so up in arms about this. Do you see what this freakin’ show does to me?
NEXT: I love you. Get out of here. But I love you.
Okay, I may not be happy that Trump let the ladies off the hook, but there is nothing I love more than the way he fires people on this show. It didn’t used to be this way. Back when the regular Apprentice first aired, Trump would yell and demean and degrade people before kicking them out of his Boardroom, and yes, that was fantastic as well. But he can’t bring himself to do that to “celebrities” (unless their last name is Kardashian, apparently). Instead he scoops about 10 spoonfuls of sugar on every dollop of Boardroom cyanide, killing them with an overdose of kindness. Witness his firing of George Takei, who basically was quitting by saying that he deserved to be fired for losing the task as Project Manager. The following response, ladies and gentlemen, is about as good as it gets. Sit back and relax as we treat you the firing stylings of one Donald J. Trump. “And, by the way, in no way are you quitting. I fully understand that. You are not a quitter. You are tough. You are strong. You are amazing. In a certain way, you were a great Project Manager.…You know who else has the most respect for you, George? Donald Trump! But George, you’re fired. Thank you. Thank you very much. You’re a terrific man”
Wow. You know what the best part of that entire thing is, right? “In a certain way, you were a great Project Manager.” Really? And in what way is that?!? The way he didn’t know anything about fashion or design? The way he picked a background color that was about 30 shades too dark? The way he didn’t know what Clay Aiken’s name was? Positively brilliant. But Trump wasn’t done with the overeffusive praise. “He’s a very high quality person,” Trump said to son Eric, who was too stunned to respond. “Definitely amazing,” answered Don Jr, in a quick save, although he clearly did not believe a single word of what he was saying.
God I love this show. And I know you love it too or you wouldn’t have bothered reading this far. But now it’s your turn to weigh in. Was the fix in against the men? Did George deserve to get the boot? And how excited were you to see Amanda spread her wings outside the Boardroom? Hit the message boards and let us know. And for more reality ramblings, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. Until next week: Cluck, Cluck…Splash!