Back-to-back episodes results in two firings—and plenty of other head-scratching moments.
My love affair with The Celebrity Apprentice began back in season 1. I can even pinpoint the exact moment when I knew we had something truly special in our midst. It was in that inaugural season when Sopranos star Vincent Pastore concocted an elaborate “rat” scheme to go undercover and pretend to be a traitor to learn all of the secrets of the women’s team. But then the rat scheme imploded when the rat in question changed his mind and decided he no longer wanted to be a rat and would rather be on the female team for real—confusing everyone (players, viewers, Donald Trump) in the process. It was quite possibly the dumbest thing I had ever seen on a broadcast network in my entire life. And I loved it.
Since then we have been treated to many more moments of insanity and inanity—country music superstar Clint Black making a commercial insinuating that he uses Tide Detergent to masturbate while reading Donald Trump books, Brett Michaels performing the Tour Bus Thrust, anything involving Rod Blagojevich—but just when you think the show can no longer offer up inexplicable events that boggle the mind, we are stunned anew. Which brings us to gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson’s menstrual cycle.
Only on Celebrity Apprentice could a woman’s period become a major plot point. But it did. I mean, of course it did—it’s Celebrity Apprentice! I am half surprised the network did not tailor its promos accordingly to the subject matter: “Tonight’s Celebrity Apprentice will have one woman seeing red!” Or “Tonight on Celebrity Apprentice, things are going to get bloody!” Ewww. Gross. I know. But just in case you are unclear on exactly what transpired here, let me lay this out for you in the simplest terms possible: Donald Trump and Vivica Fox just carried on an at-length discussion about Shawn Johnson’s time of the month on national television. Even after writing it, I still don’t believe it.
The hubbub began in the second episode of tonight’s back-to-back extravaganza when Shawn apologized to the rest of her team for not feeling well due to major cramping. Project Manager Vivica did not like it and looked like she was about to get her Kill Bill on: “I had no idea this would turn into a PMS week, and if you want to check out for me, I will remember it.” Then, once in the Boardroom, Vivica was asked if there was anyone on her team she would like to swap out for “News Icon” Geraldo Rivera. The answer: Shawn. “I really don’t think Shawn wants to be here,” said Vivica. “She checked out on me this task, Mr. Trump.” With The Donald needing a bit more clarification, Vivica explained. “She had a monthly problem that was bothering her.”
“She had a monthly woman’s problem,” repeated Trump—a moment that millions of viewers immediately attempted to wipe completely from their minds. And that led to this less-than-subtle response from Vivica:
Yep. That happened. But that wasn’t even the best part. The best part is what transpired after. Apparently needing further clarification, Trump asked, “Shawn, what happened?”
Hmmm…how do I best explain this, Mr. Trump? Well, approximately every 28 days women shed their uterine lining and…actually you know what? Just Google it. In any event, how uncomfortable must be it be for a woman to have to explain “that time of the month” to Donald Trump? Anyway—congratulations, Shawn Johnson! Now everyone in America knows you were on your period! Needless to say, the Olympic champion was less than enthused about this development. “How dare you call me out for why,” she said to Vivica after they left the Boardroom. “It just was trashy.” Welcome to Celebrity Apprentice, Shawn.
Okay, enough on Shawn Johnson’s menstrual cycle. Here are the other 8 absurd moments from tonight’s double shot of Celebrity Apprentice. So nice they had to air it twice!
1. The Unintentional Genius of Geraldo Rivera
Geraldo Rivera is an outstanding specimen on this show. Just ask him, he’ll tell you! Easily the least self-aware contestant since the modern marvel that was Aubrey O’Day, Geraldo instantly ascended into the Celebrity Apprentice Ring of Honor tonight by repeatedly referring to himself in the third person—beginning just minutes into the episode. “It is in their vested interest to wiggle away at Geraldo,” he informed us. “But, you know, wiggling away at Mt. Rushmore is not so easy.” Did you see what he did there? He both referred to himself in the third person AND dubbed himself Mt. Rushmore. Amazing. I am now performing a one-man slow clap in his honor.
Later, Mt. Rushmore continued on with the self back-patting after Project Manager Kevin Jonas excluded him from the brain trust he assembled to create an ad for Neat scanner products. “They have to understand that I’m Geraldo. I’m not one to be trifled with.” Damn straight! Lord how I wish all the contestants were required to refer to themselves by their own names at all times. By the way, here was Geraldo’s genius idea for the ad:
This was merely the beginning of Geraldo’s testiness. Later, when the Neat executives showed up, Geraldo interrupted the meeting so he could yell nonsense on his cell phone to some unidentified party. “He sued me on that contract” he carried on. “I told them not to take me on.” No idea whom he was talking about, but it seems Geraldo feels like everyone is always taking him on. After Kevin chose Mike Rowe to narrate the ad, Geraldo informed us that, “My voice is as recognizable and would have been more effective in the spot.” And then, for no reason, “If you push me, I’ll push you back.”
NEXT: A contestant goes missing—again
Then, things just got weird. “Don’t give me that bullshit, man,” Geraldo barked at Kevin after Kevin asked him to wait five seconds before barging in on a conversation. “That’s very annoying. And don’t grandstand with me, dude.” BECAUSE GERALDO RIVERA NEVER GRANDSTANDS!!!! Later, when Lorenzo Lamas asked Geraldo to record a safety narration track, Mt. Rushmore recoiled when the Renegade dared to touch him. “Don’t be Hollywood,” complained Geraldo…because I guess touching people is being Hollywood or something? “It is the most egotistical manner I’ve seen anybody behave on a set,” said Lamas. “And I’ve been doing this for 30 years.” Oh, pipe down and stop being so Hollywood, Lamas!
There were other delicious nuggets too—like the time Geraldo bragged to Kevin about being selected to come back to the Boardroom by saying, “If I were you, I would have chosen me too because I think I’m your most potent rival” and the other time where he instructed Ian Ziering not to point at him. You know what, when it comes to the Mt. Rushmore of Celebrity Apprentice contestants, you may as well put Geraldo’s face up on there right now, because he is inadvertent comedy at its best.
2. Kenya goes M.I.A.
As deep as my Celebrity Apprentice love goes, I do actually have a few pet peeves. And my biggest is when contestants are just allowed to leave whenever they feel like it. This time it was Kenya Moore who was suddenly M.I.A. for a “prior commitment.” As far as I can tell from my years of intense Celebrity Apprentice study, if you tell Donald Trump that you are too busy to take part in a task, not only do you not have to take part in it, but you are also immune from being fired. With that in mind, if I were cast on this show—something I dream of every single night, incidentally—I would just tell Trump I have “prior commitments” every single week so he could never fire me.
I’m pretty sure the only person to ever be let go because they skipped out on a task was Khloe Kardashian, and she was not even fired for the task she missed, but was rather let go after the next task once Trump found out her absence had to do with KK dealing with her previous DUI arrest. (And yes, you should be frightened that I have immediate recall as to the events surrounding Khloe Kardashian’s ouster from a 2009 episode of Celebrity Apprentice.)
In any event, producers should tighten things up here and only take contestants that are able to completely clear their schedules to compete—and no offense to Kenya Moore at all, but especially in the case of a Real Housewife. Don’t they have assembly lines in various states to crank those suckers out? If one can’t commit to a whole season, find someone else with implants who will.
3. Now They’re Just Making Up Words
I’m sorry, but what the hell is a Neatologist? Is that a real thing, or something team Infinity made up for their commercial pimping Neat scanners and cloud service? Naturally, I had to investigate. After channeling my inner Geraldo Rivera and conducting hours of intense research (Read: a three second Google search), I learned that these so called “Neatologists” are, in fact, practitioners in some sort of cult called “Neatology.” What is Neatology? Well, I’m glad you asked! Unfortunately, even after perusing the Neat website, I remain too confused to properly answer that question, but if the Neatology tagline is to be believed, it has something to do with “the art & science of smart organization.”
What an actual Neatologist does is even more murky, but again, according to the site, “Neatology is fueled by a community of experts in the art and science of smart organization. They’re hand-selected Neat users with specialized skill sets, knowledge and experience. Their mission is to help small business owners ‘Neatify’ processes and workflows to become more efficient and productive.”
Sorry, I’m still lost. Personally, it all sounds like a bunch of gobbledygook to me, but feel free to contact one of the Netaologists yourself for more info. (I’d stay away from Dan Franks, who looks a bit intense, but Deb Lee looks positively delightful. And I don’t know what my main man Matt Thomas is smoking, but I’ll have some of that please.)
In any event, Neatologists are apparently real—or at least as real as anything that a company makes up to promote its products.
NEXT: Kate Gosselin argues on TV with someone who is not her ex-husband
4. Reality Diva Smackdown
I don’t watch a lot of Real Housewives, so I have lived my life up to this point immune to the charms of Brandi Glanville. But I am immune no longer. She had the quote of the premiere when—after having a pie slammed into her face—she opined that “I do not like to be sticky. Unless I’m with a super hot guy and then it’s okay.” She was back at it tonight after being annoyed that Project Manager Kate Gosselin had wasted so much time on the task eating lunch. “If we go a day without food, we’ll be fine,” said Brandi. “Have a lollipop and get to f—ing work!” For my money, that is the best food-related pep talk since Rex Ryan implored his New York Jets to “go eat a goddamn snack.”
Brandi’s frustration boiled over due to Kate’s alleged lackadaisical work habits and admitted confusion over the technology she was supposed to be trumpeting. The butting of heads culminated with this tremendous back-and-forth.
KATE: “Your panic level is very panicking.”
BRANDI: “Kate, you’re making me more panicky right now.”
KATE: “I don’t know anything that wouldn’t make you panicky right now. Don’t default to drama.”
BRANDI: “I don’t appreciate you saying I’m defaulting to drama because I’m not.”
That’s just rock solid debating skills on both sides right there, ladies and gentlemen. Regardless, Brandi has definitely become one to watch for me. She’s not on Mt. Rushmore yet, but she’s getting there.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to come off as a complainer about 4 hours of Celebrity Apprentice in 2 nights. It’s a goldmine, people! But I do have one not-so-minor grievance: Instead of giving us a standard one-task/two hour installment on Monday evening, NBC gave us one task per hour, meaning we burned through two episodes instead of one. For the legion of complainers who have long held that these episodes could use some streamlining, this was a welcome addition. But to those naysayers I say this: How dare you? How dare you attempt to limit—nay, CENSOR—my Celebrity Apprentice viewing experience? Not only is one hour not enough time to properly convey all the subtle nuances of a Celebrity Apprentice episode, but I’ll just come right out and say it—NEITHER ARE TWO HOURS! That’s right, I would take 3 hours per task. Even 4. Hell, in a perfect world I would want C-SPAN-like coverage of every Celebrity Apprentice challenge complete with live cams, real-time betting, and a stage surrounded by a pit of mutant fire-breathing piranhas where Frankie Goes to Hollywood randomly performs at intervals just because why not?
But the worst part of these condensed episodes is the diminished screen-time for the gatekeeper of the Boardroom—America’s favorite phony baloney receptionist, Amanda Miller. No longer do we get to gaze upon her gold scissors, Filofax, and disturbing lack of any technology whatsoever. No longer do we get to hear those oft-repeated words escape her lips: “Mr. Trump will see you now.” (Or whatever the hell she says when she sends the contestants back in. Truthfully, I am too busy trying to decode what she is secretly scribbling in that Filofax to notice.) Here’s hoping this blatant disrespect for Ms. Miller’s talents comes to an immediate halt starting with next week’s installment.
6. Kevin Makes a Rookie Mistake
I’m just going to come right out and say it: Kevin Jonas pulled a Gene Simmons. Which is not to say that he has slept with 5,000 women. Nor is it to say that he slapped silver and black make-up all over his face and starting sticking his tongue out at every opportunity. Rather, he forced Donald Trump’s hand. Back in the inaugural CA season, Gene was an immediate breakout character. Since who stays and who goes on this show is completely subjective, with competency playing only a minor role in such deliberations—for example, Gary Busey outlasted seven other perfectly mentally stable people on his first season—if you make for good TV you are guaranteed to stick around for a while.
This made for pure hilarity when Gene lost a task as Project Manager but then refused to bring Nely Galán (who?) with him into the Boardroom so Trump could fire her instead. Trump was practically begging the KISS star to bring back the boring, unfamous Galan (whom I am quite confident 99 out of 10 people reading this could not ID in a lineup) so he could fire her instead, but Gene held his ground and as a result got jettisoned in just the third episode. Trump still talks about how mad it makes him that he had to fire Gene so early.
I bring this up because once Kevin lost the Neat challenge—dude, where were your Neatologists?!?—it became all about whom he was going to bring back with him into the Boardroom. It was a given he would bring nemesis Geraldo, and just as much a given that Trump would never fire Mt. Rushmore so early in the season when there was more drama for him to stir up. So all Kevin had to do was pick his own sacrificial lamb, and that lamb’s name was Lorenzo Lamas. The former Renegade star has been relatively low-profile so far, which made him expendable as far as Trump was concerned. Plus, he directed the Neat ad so there was at least a flimsy excuse to cut him loose. But Kevin picked Ian Ziering instead. Terrible move! Jonas, don’t you remember what a 90210 fan Ivanka is? You think the Boardroom Dominatrix is going to sit there and let that happen? Plus, not even Trump could muster up a reason to fire Ian. As a result, Kevin is gone.
You think Trump wanted to get rid of Geraldo’s biggest rival in just the second episode? Not a chance. Kevin thought he knew how to play the game, but his problem is that he was playing the wrong game. The real game is figuring out the people Trump wants to keep to make his show entertaining and targeting anyone else not on that list. The Renegade was Kevin’s get-out-of-jail-free card this episode. But he neglected to use it. Holy crap, did I just waste four paragraphs discussing actual Celebrity Apprentice strategy? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME?!?
NEXT: Trump is not sure whether to kill or kiss Gilbert Gottfried
7. The Other Task
I realize I have spent the majority of this recap discussing the first task of the evening, while most of my coverage of hour number two has centered around Shawn Johnson’s period. (We have Vivica Fox and Donald Trump to thank for that.) But in case you were curious, the second task forced the teams to create a bistro and product tasting for some frozen fast food company called Luvo. All you really need to know is that the men’s team lost when two things happened.
1. Ian Ziering insisted on using the word “Steamazing” in his presentation.
2. Gilbert Gottfried decided to blab to a crowd of horrified onlookers all about having sex with his wife. To his credit, he did not describe the act as “Steamazing.”
Yeah, so they lost.
8. Killing With Kindness
We all knew Gilbert was not long for this competition. He was there to be a “wacky” competitor and then sort of be on his way. At least Gilbert fared a bit better than his last reality competition outing. That was when he was knocked out first on season 2 of Rachael Vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off. I should know, because I was one of the judges. That’s right, the first task that season was a dinner theater challenge and I was one of the guest judges brought on board to judge both their theatrical and culinary prowess. Suffice it to say, Gilbert’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches did not make the grade. Sorry about that, man.
So Gilbert being the third person booted here definitely marks progress on his part. And his ouster brings us to my favorite moment of every Celebrity Apprentice recap, when Donald Trump showers the fired party with compliments while simultaneously booting them off the show. I love it. It’s the ultimate I-hate-you-but-I-love-you moment each and every week. Unfortunately, Kevin Jonas’ firing was too sudden to get the full-on Trump treatment, but this time the Donald once again went to great lengths to go on and on telling the fired person what incredible work he had done while firing him for incompetence at the same time. Ladies and gentlemen, I present for your edification the brilliance of Donald J. Trump firing Gilbert Gottfried. Enjoy:
“By the way, you’ve done a fantastic job. You’ve done great…I think you’ve done a very good job so far, don’t you?…And you know, I think you’re terrific. And I think a lot of people are going to like you a lot more than they liked you before. You know that, right? Gilbert, you’re fired. Good luck. Thank you. Thank you, Gilbert. Good luck.”
You’re amazing! (Now I want you out of here). Unbelievable job! (Seriously, get out of my sight.) I had no idea you possessed such an intoxicating mix of charm and business acumen! (Don’t make me call security. Pack your shit up and don’t ever call me or my receptionist or my elevator operator ever again.)
Okay, I have wasted far too much of both my time and yours going through this nonsense. Honestly, there is nothing I’d rather do with my life, but I guess I should go spend some of my energy on my other “work,” and maybe go acknowledge my “family.” But I now turn the reins over to you. What was your favorite absurd moment from tonight’s extravaganza? Did the right people get fired? And who are the early favorites to win the prestigious (and totally made up) Celebrity Apprentice crown? Hit the message boards to weigh in with your thoughts. And for more of this stupidity brought to you on a daily basis, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss. Now 100% endorsed by Geraldo!
Okay, that’ll do it for this week. Thanks, everyone for playing along, and until next time: Cluck, Cluck…Splash!