Credit: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC

And the winner of Celebrity Apprentice is… us! Yes, we are all winners in any scenario that involves Geraldo Rivera attempting to recall the titles of TV series starring Lorenzo Lamas as well as Donald Trump chair-dancing alongside giant Transformer robots. But, more specifically, the real winner was Leeza Gibbons—her just reward for having to endure a season’s worth of debates and discussions about menstrual cycles and butt implants with a side order of Ian Ziering motivational speeches.

In a way, it would have perfect for Geraldo to win—just because it would have made about as much sense as anything does on this show—but in the end, the right person took home the title and the $250,000 cash for charity that went with it. (By the way, I can’t tell you how much I wish there were a trophy to go with the victory—perhaps a golden Trump giving the thumbs up sign or maybe just a giant cast of Kenya Moore’s butt.) So, alas, it seems Geraldo’s nefarious subliminal messaging of referring to Trump as “boss” repeatedly throughout the season could not overcome the power of Olivia Newton John crooning a song from everybody’s favorite roller-disco classic, Xanadu. And, thus, Leeza Gibbons gets to become the latest person to show up in future seasons as a Trump Boardroom adviser, nod politely, and agree with everything that her alleged “employer” says. She earned that right, ladies and gentlemen. So congratulations to her. And congratulations to us as we get to recap our last Celebrity Apprentice episode of the season.

But before we get to the actual final task, I have a question for you guys: How do you pronounce Keshia Knight Pulliam? I ask, because while it seems like a pretty basic name with a pretty basic pronunciation, apparently I need to rethink my drink here because according to Mr. Donald Trump, it is pronounced as follows. Let’s go to the videotape…

I mean, I’ll be the first to admit I’ve never been very good with phonetics, but I had no idea that “Pulliam” was pronounced Ah-Lay-Ah-U-Lou-Ha-Ha. But as Mr. Trump told us earlier in the broadcast, he’s always right so I guess he knows what he’s talking about. He also told Ms. Ah-Lay-Ah-U-Lou-Ha-Ha that, “you did a fantastic job on the show.” She was the very first person fired, so again, that statement seems a bit dubious, but he would know I guess!

While we’re on the subject of the live segments, it was nice to see Amanda monetarily freed from the shackles of her technology-free desk to act as live coast-check girl while Miss Universe (a pageant owned by you-know-who) made a somewhat lame pitch to get cast on next season. Speaking of lame, Kenya once again denied stealing Vivica’s phone and Trump let her off the hook while also calling her “terrific” and “nice.” So there was that. Okay, let’s get to how everything went down on the final Universal Orlando task.

Geraldo and Those Damn Kids

Geraldo may have a short fuse with his teammates, but surely he would have a kinder, gentler, defter touch with the children of America right? Wrong. Granted, his team was running late because no one thought to bring his kid actors to the actual location for their shoot, but it was bit uncomfortable watching him hurry the kids from spot to spot while yelling “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go. Don’t rest on your laurels!” But the best part was watching Geraldo give direction to the children while filming. “Look at me when you say it, hon,” he instructed one poor girl, not realizing that she feared that looking into the (albeit rose-glass-tinted) eyes of Geraldo Rivera was akin to staring at Medusa and that she might turn to stone at any second.

But things were turning around for Team Geraldo after a percussion demonstration from the finalist as to demonstrate the differences between him and his teammate who was on some show he couldn’t remember the name to. “Once Lorenzo conceded that I was in charge, the whole day went smoother,” said Geraldo. Of course, wasn’t Geraldo in charge from the very get-go? I mean, it’s his task, right? And he made sure it was his task but putting himself all over it, including right smack dab in the middle of the commercial being shot. “I think the strength of the concept lies in the fact that I was going to be Geraldo Rivera reporting—a very familiar, almost some would say iconic figure in American news.” Now, when you say “some,” Geraldo, are you referring to anyone outside of, you know… Geraldo Rivera? Because I think it has been clearly established that Geraldo finds Geraldo to be totally awesome in every single way. I’ll give you that. But “some” implies a plural and this could be rapidly approaching “anyone… anyone… Bueller?” level status.

Unfortunately, everything was running waaaaaay too smoothly down in Florida on Team Leeza as Johnny and Brandi—having gotten all their hot dog eating and roller coaster joyriding out of the way—appeared to be on their best behavior. So once the ads were completed, it was off to New York City!

NEXT: Night of a Thousand (Fox News) Stars

The evening began with the celebrities on the red carpet doing interviews. But interviews with whom? This event was recorded almost a year ago and it’s not like anyone could report who the final two were back then so I’m not exactly sure what the purpose of that red carpet was. Plus, why was I not invited? The rage I feel while watching other media outlets hobnob with Celebrity Apprentice contestants is not to be underestimated. Of course, I wouldn’t want to be stuck out on the red carpet. I’d want to be inside mingling with the cultural elite… or whatever you call Ian Ziering and Lorenzo Lamas these days. So what if I didn’t get an invite? I would have just busted out some red leather cowboys boots, a hair dryer, and a half-naked Aubrey O’Day on my right arm and told security that my name was Farouk Shami. Even Geraldo would have to bow down in deference to the almighty power of Farouk!

Speaking of Geraldo, he felt he had done everything in his power to bring home the victory. “I’ve really pushed myself to the limit,” he said. “I’ve shown that an old guy can still get it up.” Wait, what the hell does that have to do with anything? When did this show turn into a CIALIS ad? And, more importantly, why has it not turned into a CIALIS ad before now? While we’re at it, is Geraldo showing “that an old guy can still get it up,” in some way related to Kenya Moore’s butt cheeks, because he sure was making quite the fuss over those things a few weeks ago? Just putting that out there.

All the biggest names came out for the soiree. Steve Doocy! Megyn Kelly! Shepard Smith! Hold on, is there anyone here not from Fox News? Oh, there we go! Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. (Sidenote: Maybe I’ve seen too many Robocop and Iron Man movies, but when giant war machine robots enter a fancy soiree, aren’t they required by law to start malfunctioning and opening fire on unsuspecting guests? The second those two lumbered in, I would have raced out as fast as my red leather cowboy boots would allow.) By the way, on another note, just going to put this out there without any further contest or commentary, but Ivanka Trump looked smokin’. However, no matter how attractive Ivanka is, every time I look at her I can’t help but see little genetic traces of her dad in that face and it sort of freaks me out. So I guess what I’m saying is, as beautiful as Ivanka is, staring at her is like staring at the sun—gazing upon her for an extended period of time can carry harmful side effects. You’ve been warned.

Okay, let’s move on to the presentations. Up first was Geraldo and his team, including, “Lorenzo Lamas, the star of the… Revenger?” The Revenger? I guess he means Renegade, but honestly, Revenger is so much better. In fact, I realize Renegade has been off the air for 18 years now, but they should just go back and retroactively change the name of that show, if for no other reason than to ensure that all future airings contain the awesome new Revenger title card, as well as some newly inserted scenes featuring Geraldo Rivera as an erotic male dancer turned bounty hunter who has a score to settle with…the Revenger.

But Geraldo was not even close to being done when it came to screwing up introducing his team, because then he announced the one and only “Ian Zierling. Ian Zierling. The star of 90210, Ian Zierling.” Memo to Geraldo: If you plan on butchering someone’s name, don’t go out of your way to say it…THREE TIMES! Not only that, but the first time he pronounced it EEEE-an, as opposed to the proper EYE-an, which I’m pretty sure drives both EEE-an and EYE-an cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.

Geraldo then brought out Tony Orlando, who talked about his sister having cerebral palsy. It was a super inspirational speech, and you couldn’t help but be moved by it. I could go on and on about it, or I could show you a video of Donald Trump and Bumblebee dancing to “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree.” Which do you think I’m going to do? ROLL THE VIDEO!

NEXT: The 1980s vibes continue…

Leeza was up next and she also got me misty talking about her mother descending into the darkness of Alzheimer’s. For as completely absurd as this show can be, it is awesome how much money and attention is brought to such worthwhile causes. Leeza has dealt with the horrors of Alzheimer’s first hand. She started up Leeza’s Care Connection as a way to raise awareness and funds for caregiving, and now has been able to use her Celebrity Apprentice platform to keep the spotlight on the issue and how to help. Very cool.

In fact, when I think cool, the first two things that come to mind are charitable endeavors and Xanadu, so bringing Olivia Newton John into the mix was aces on Leeza’s part—especially because ONJ’s song “Magic” fit in perfectly to the theme of an amusement park affiliated with magical spells being cast about by one Harry Potter. Yes, in between Tony Orlando and Olivia Newton John the entire evening felt a bit 1980, but so what? By the time they were done performing, I was ready to fire up the Space Invaders cartridge on my Atari 2600 and crank out a little Christopher Cross 8-Track action. But what did Donald Trump think of the whole affair? We had to head to the Boardroom to find out.

The Final Boardroom

The biggest bummer about the final task is that everyone got along too swimmingly. Even while Vivica, Lorenzo, and Ian got frustrated at times by Geraldo’s antics, they never full-on revolted. Still, one had to appreciate Ian’s answer to Trump’s query of what he would have done differently if running the project: “You’re asking me to think like Geraldo, and that is a very difficult task.” How can one truly think like Geraldo? If we were to be offered a brief glimpse into the mind of Geraldo Rivera, I imagine it would just be a vision of Geraldo Rivera making out with… Geraldo Rivera.

While the ads appeared to be something of a draw, and Leeza probably had the edge on the presentation due to ONJ’s song tying into the Universal theme better than Tony “sans Dawn” Orlando’s, we all had to assume that Geraldo killed her on the fundraising portion of the challenge, and indeed Trump teased us by revealing that the money aspect “wasn’t even close.” The shocker, however, was that it was Leeza who dominated, raising $324,000 to Geraldo’s $146,000 (even though Geraldo still raised a season high $725,000). Geraldo’s defense was that he could not keep going back to the same big donors for more and more cash, and I think that is a legitimate point. Still, the fact that Leeza was able to thoroughly trounce him at his own game pretty much eliminated all doubt as to the winner. Although, according to Trump. “You’re all winners!” And he has never been more right.

Then we cut to more live segments, packaged clip montages, and charitable visits from the final two. The questions from fans were pretty much a complete waste, and while you had to love the Joan Rivers tribute, it would have been even a bazillion times better had Melissa Rivers hobbled out in a leg cast as a call back to her season 2 freak-out (my favorite Celebrity Apprentice moment ever). Then, finally, Trump delivered his verdict. And a correct verdict it was. Congrats again to the woman who if I am not mistaken Donald Trump just hired to anchor the Today show.

So that will pretty much do it, folks. Another season of highbrow entertainment comes to a close. I’d like to thank the producers, the contestants, and anyone with the last name of Trump for giving us this jewel in the crown of broadcast television, and I’d also like to thank all of you for reading each and every week. Seriously, what is wrong with us? Why do we commit our valuable limited resources to chronicling and discussing and debating the smallest points of interest in this bizarre television program? It’s probably best not to ask lest it lead to some serious soul-searching. However, I do encourage you to have one last go at it in the message boards, and I’ll be sure to tweet out any updates as to further castings and what have you, so follow me @DaltonRoss. And now, we finish our season-long recapping adventure with the immortal words of season 2 champ Joan Rivers. Say it with me one last time, people: Cluck, Cluck… Splash!

Episode Recaps

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