Thursday, February 23, 2012

Celebrity Apprentice Recaps: Episode One!

I am obsessed with reality TV competitions. I love the pettiness, the desperation, the delusion, the back-stabbing. The unfaltering urge to conquer and crush all opposition and rise to the top by any means necessary. And nobody does it better than America! American competitors have a killer instinct that in disappointingly lacking in my own lethargic corner of the world. There’s nothing I enjoy more than a headstrong, loud, arrogant contestant who believes in all their heart that they are the best at everything they do, only to repeatedly fail in front of a large audience. And then STILL claim they’re the best while they’re being kicked out, “I wouldn’t change a thing! All y’all are just jealous!” I. LOVE. IT.

So Donald The Maniac Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice is reality TV amplified. It’s the most pumped up format available thanks to the delicious added ingredient of waning celebrities, determined to take that last shot at glory. Delusion is rife, gargantuan ego’s clash, and dignity is never, ever an option. Who will melt down? Threaten physical violence? Who will drown in their own tears and sweat? And one plucky C-lebrity is going to beat the odds and rise the top!

It’s humiliation versus jubilation, and we’re going to find out exactly what episode one was all about... after the jump!

I’m going to approach Episode One a little bit differently. Rather than chronologically recap from start to finish, I’m going to reacquaint you with each of the contestants and let you know how they impacted the show. It’s very important that we form tight bonds with these guys right from the very beginning so I want to ensure we’re all on the same page. Then I’ll add a little a boardroom business at the end.

As background, the teams are split into men and women and their first task is to sell sandwiches. If you’ve seen Celebrity Apprentice before then you’ll realise that this does not really involve sweating away making sandwiches for five dollars a pop. Instead it means causing a huge, obnoxious ruckus in the street outside the sandwich store and desperately phoning multi-millionaire friends and contacts and trying to convince them to pay $20,000 plus for two pieces of bread with some cheese between them.

Now let’s meet the teams...

Team Unanimous
The men’s team humourously settles unanimously on “Unanimous” after Back Hair, Honey Badgers and Urinal Cakes are rejected.

Project leader: Paul Teutul Snr
Paul is the badass old walrus from the American Chopper series. Immediate props to Paul for not being a has-been, possessing genuine talent, having beefy tattooed arms, and not being afraid to get a job done. He’s not here to pose, primp or promote. He’s here to punch holes in people. I respect the man and he’s a great first choice for project manager.

They theme the sandwiches all around Paul and even put a drawing of his muscular trouble-making arms on every box. He also promises to personally bring in $500,000 in sandwich sales. Spoilers - he doesn’t quite make it, but the team does raise over $300,000 and he easily leads his band of brothers to victory. Paul’s one to watch out for, but his surly walrusness and intolerance for sissies, will probably bar him from taking the ultimate prize. I think he is going to flip out at someone.

Adam Carolla
Now here’s where this series really differs from some of the others. They’ve decided to cast smart people. Comedian/podcast Carolla plays the role of the audience, making snide and insightful comments about what’s happening in the show. Carolla won me over early on when he told trump - with a completely straight face - that the charity he was playing for was “White Kids Without iPads”. He’s a bit jittery like an anxious old lady, but I think he’s going to be great entertainment on the show. He probably won’t win - and I’m not even sure he’s playing to win - but he’s a loose cannon and should cause some amusing chaos before he goes.

Penn Jillette
The loud half of Penn and Teller, and a true talent, Penn is far from a has-been and is my number one pick to win the show. This guy is super smart - I mean he had a show called Penn and Teller’s Bullshit which was about cutting through society’s bullshit. He can’t lose! He can see through everything! He was carefully studying everybody’s skeletons.

Penn performs the sandwich task with smarts and class. He’s a true professional and he carnival barks, juggles fire, and even rustles up some sexy circus ladies. Trust me, he has this in the bag.

Lou Ferrigno
Now we’re starting to get a little more washed up. Lou seems like a nice guy, but hasn’t done much I’m familiar with since he wore green body paint and a wig in the old Incredible Hulk. Lou’s hearing isn’t too good, and his speaking isn’t too good, but to give him credit he’s still super ripped and his shirtless scene in this episode nearly gives George Takei a nosebleed! Unless Lou can punch is way out of a problem, I think he’s pretty screwed. Lou will hang around until he has to project manage and then its going to be a train wreck. He will probably punch a train and wreck it.

Clay Aiken
I draw the reality line at American Idol so I don’t really know anything about Clay Aiken. Apart from the fact that he wears so much waxy make-up that he kind of resembles a ventriloquist’s dummy. I get a little bit of a weird, creepy Pee-Wee Herman vibe off him, but he seems affable enough and was able to summon his charm to do some serious up-selling on the sandwiches. I can’t help feeling he’s a ticking time-bomb though, and I think before long he’ll explode!

Dee Snider
Speaking of singing sensations who wear a lot of make-up, Dee Snider was front man for hair metal band Twisted Sister, but underneath the stage persona he actually appears to be a really genuine, funny, down-to-earth guy. I’m familiar with Dee from his glorious cameo in last season’s Celebrity Apprentice, so I think he’s one to watch, but he doesn’t get an awful lot of time to shine this episode.

Michael Andretti
They were supposed to have racing driver Marco Andretti, but due to the loss of a close friend, we have father Michael subbing in instead. He’s just a happy-go-lucky dad at this stage, racing right under the radar. Have no idea what to expect from him.

Arsenio Hall
Former late night talk show host Arsenio Hall makes me thinks he’s taking this super seriously and playing for keeps. In a team full of rogues and lunkheads, I think he’s going to be the “teary guy with the big heart who will do anything for his charity”. He’s intense in a showbizzy kind of way and I think he was truly taken aback in the boardroom when project manager Walrus Paul pointed him out as a weaker link. I don’t think he showed any particular weakness this epsiode. I just think that Paul doesn’t like him. Maybe they’ll fistfight?

George Takei
Who doesn’t love the original Star Trek’s George Takei? One of his first comments was a proud announcement that his “loins” were “girded”. He’s not as flamboyant as I’d hoped though, and he’s reasonably reserved for much of the episode. Walrus Paul takes an immediate dislike to him and keeps referring to him as “Star Track”. Track? Paul clearly doesn’t give a damn about the nuances of the English language.

In the boardroom the Walrus calls out Star Track as being the weakest on his team. He says he’s a meek guy and won’t be able to keep up. Trump is all like, “Aw hell naw, George might be quiet but he’s not meek. That guy is tough! He’s fought against many things in his life.” And then Takei does something that is pure class... he’s just standing there stoically, his hands placed on the back of the Walruses chair and he talks about how he grew up in an internment camp surrounded by barb wire. George Takei is a total badass and it makes everyone shut up and the Walrus hastily apologises and admits he got it wrong. He’s lucky George’s hands didn’t move over his throat. Amazing!

So now let’s meet the quivering mass of unpredictable energy called....

Team Forte
The women eventually settle on “Forte” after making the ludicrous claim that they won’t be bitchy or catty this series. Jesus! Have they even seen reality TV? Well, I guess there’s a first time for everything...

Project Manager: Patricia Velasquez
Patricia is an actress? A model? I don’t know her, but she’s super intense and extremely passionate about her charity in a kind of any-moment-I-might-burst-into-tears way. She does a solid job as PM but just doesn’t have the influence or confidence to pull in the huge bucks, although she does convince Wyclef to do an impromptu concert in the sandwich shop. More on that in a minute.

Lisa Lampanelli
I guess Lisa is a comedian, but one of those old school comedians who’s schtick is to be loud and obnoxious. I actually think she is working as hard as she can to be as off-putting as possible. Apparently she once blasted Trump in a comedy roast, but the two of them seem to be laughing about it now. He’s probably just biding his time.

In the actual task, Lisa is relatively fun-loving but I predict great darkness underneath the clown mask. I think we have another contestant who’s likely to explode.

Debbie Gibson
I like eighties songstress Debbie Gibson. I think she’s pretty cool and doesn’t really do anything to disgrace herself here. She’s who I’m rooting for on the women’s team. She’s under the radar for now.

Aubrey O’ Day
Is a young singer that I’ve never heard of with dyed red hair. She’s pretty conceited and has kind of a chip on her shoulder about how she’s more famous than all the other female contestants and that they’re not recognise what a potentially huge sandwich seller she is. The truth is none of these women - except for PM Patricia - are really raising much money at all. They’re all saving up their favours for when they’re in control.

Aubrey seems to loath Debbie and battles with her for the microphone during the Wyclef gig. When she finally gets hold of it she’s warbles into it in a crazy and unnecessary way. Aubrey doesn’t stand a chance.

Tia Carrere
Hey remember Tia Carrere from Wayne’s World? I love Tia! She seems, friendly, easy-going and then it all goes pear-shaped when Trump decides to needlessly humiliate her when they return to the boardroom! Patricia compliments Tia’s performance and says that she won’t be bringing her back in if they lose. Tia says kindly, “You can bring me back if you want to” and Donald flips his fluffy lid! He bellows, “That’s not very smart!” and Tia’s face turns super surly and sour like she cannot believe this shit! She’s been all smiles and sunshine, and Trump’s going to call her an idiot in the first five minutes?

Plus this comment haunts her again about ten minutes later when Trump and his wicked children continue to drive home how stupid her offhand statement was. Tia looks ropable and I think its going to take some healing for her to shake this off and get back in the game.

Plus did I mention that the back of Trump’s son’s hair look like the arse of a duck?

Teresa Giudice
She’s a fiesty Italian from a “real wives of something-or-other” show I don’t watch. I’ve never laid eyes on her before in my life but apparently she’s one of the most famous out of all of them and is used to draw the most attention to the sandwich shop during the task (much to Aubrey’s chagrin). She looks really mean and angry and will probably kill someone I guessing.

Dayana Mendoza
A Miss Universe, but she is so far under the radar that I don’t even remember her in this episode. I can’t even summon a mental picture. Seriously. This is all news to me.

Cheryl Tiegs
Seventies super model Cheryl just looks incredibly tired and unenthused. She’s pretty slow and expressionless throughout and when the women lose she’s an easy pick to drag back into the boardroom.

Victoria Gotti
Daughter of a mobster? Everyone is absolutely terrified of her. I’m kind of terrified of her. There’s some timid joking about how she can make you disappear but you can’t help feeling that everyone believes it. Lampinelli takes a shot or two, but no doubt instantly regrets it. She’s like Cruella Deville but with her face locked into a permanent, stone-cold, calculating grimace.

The team seem pretty keen to be rid of her, but it’s not going to be easy. She’s wily like a fox! Many of them pinpoint her as the weakest link for doing personal business on her phone and turning up late to sandwich selling day. Victoria shrugs it all off like she doesn’t give a shit. But she has a wonderful moment outside the boardroom. Realising she’s lost the money for her charity, Patricia is about to go into an award winning crying performance, and Gotti cuts her down with a steely, “Don’t do that. You’ll get it. You’re better than that.” And saves us all from a scene. I’m beginning to think that Gotti is pretty great and will be the person that cuts through all the bullshit on this team. I think she’s a contender.

The Boardroom
So Patricia drags Cheryl Tiegs and Gotti back into the boardroom and one of them will be fired. Patrica and Gotti have to concede a mutual respect for each other’s ruthless efficiency and it’s generally agreed that Cheryl has been a total dead weight. Cheryl looks completely worn down and doesn’t even want to get into a battle. She admits that this whole thing may just not be right for her, and with lots of “I really think you’re a great woman and a huge celebrity and you did awesome” ass-kissing/back-pedalling Donald points his mighty finger and fires her. One down. Seventeen to go.

Did I also mention that these are movie length episodes. This series is EPIC. Seriously, you do not want to miss it. I am beside myself about what happens next!


  1. huh, maybe I'll actually have to drag myself away from warcraft for the next one O_o

  2. I had never seen even a moment of it, but I'm too much of a Penn Jillette fanboy to miss out on this. It's a strange, strange show...