Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Celebrity Apprentice Recaps: Episode Three!

Only three episodes in and any pretense that this year’s tasks will be even tangentially related to business has eroded. I’m not entirely sure exactly what skills Trump is looking for in his “apprentice”, but it’s almost like the celebrity contestants have a contract that stipulates that tasks will not involve mathematics, economics or accounting. Instead Trump is giving them mindless creative busy work, akin to finger-painting or making macaroni necklaces.

Last week they dressed up as knights and bashed each other with swords in front of mildly enthusiastic diners. What ridiculous ruse will pass as a task this week? Join me after the jump to find out!

With the looming threat of Victoria Gotti excised an eerie calmness falls over both teams. This is especially noticeable in Team Forte (the women) who, for the first time, successfully live up to their promise of not being bitchy or catty to each other. Even the giant maw of loud-mouth Lisa Lampanelli reverts back to human size and she is shockingly relaxed and pleasant. WHAT IS GOING ON, APPRENTICE?! I watch this show for explosions and melt-downs, not smiling and co-operation! Can we turn up the pressure and emotional abuse in the next episode please?

As expected, the task is a joke. And not an especially funny one. To keep an eye on the teams, Trump wheels out his hideous children Eric and Don Jr. Now, I’m being somewhat facetious here, because they may not be hideous people, but they absolutely have hideous hair.

In a tribute to their maker, both men have grotesque slicked back hair and an inexplicable baby mullet flip at the back that undeniably resembles the arse of a duck. It just goes to show that money can’t buy everything. It’s hard to imagine that a hairdresser with functioning vision would even allow these twin duck-arses, so I can only imagine that Trump himself has insisted on these outrageous hairdos in order to teach his boys humility.

But the real focus of the task is the jewel in Trump’s crown, his daughter Ivanka. Ivanka has wonderful hair, and in fact is so bright and lovely that I wonder if she was purchased.

Apparently Ivanka has a clothing and jewelry line, which I think means, “apparently Ivanka’s father has purchased her a clothing and jewelry line”. Is she a designer? Well....

Have you ever seen those behind-the-scenes featurettes on the Star Wars prequels where a group of sweaty, nervous designers present hundreds of alien head sculpts to an expressionless George Lucas who goes, “No. No. No. No. Yes. But take off the nose.” My guess is that Ivanka is one of THOSE kind of designers. It is just a guess though.

But back to the task. Both teams have to present “living window displays” at a New York department store to showcase Ivanka’s brand. Each team gets two windows, some models and some clothes. They may as well just spend the day in a kindergarten cutting shapes out of coloured paper while Lou Ferrigno eats the paste. Welcome to the world of big business, folks!

Miss Universe Dayana takes the reigns as Project Manager because she has worn both clothing and jewelry in the past, sometimes even at the same time. She’s a competent enough leader, but fiery fake redhead Aubrey O’Day becomes the real brains behind the scenes as she comes up with most of the ideas for the proposed display. They’re going to show you what an Ivanka Trump woman is going to look like in the day and in the evening. Or something. My mind is wandering at this point.

The freakish thing is that for the most part the women are actually getting along and making things happen. There is only the very mildest of upsets when eighties pop icon Debbie Gibson enthusiastically offers to model in the window only to have Miss Universe tactfully shoot her down because she’s worried about the “age”. You are old, Debbie Gibson! But I still love you!

Move along, nothing else to see here.

First let’s pause to take stock of the men’s team.

After his absence last week, Adam Carolla returns from partying, and I quickly realise how much his presence is sorely missed. He remains the voice of the audience, observing the proceedings and wryly lampooning them at every possible opportunity. I’m not used to smart people on reality television and I’m worried that it’s going to throw everything out of balance.

And remember how Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider snapped his finger at Camelot? He has to have emergency surgery when his X-rays reveal that his bones have formed devilish spikes. As the rest of the men prep, badass Dee goes under the knife, giving the thumbs up to the camera like he doesn’t give a damn. Rock!

But in terms of this nonsense window dressing task, the men have zero idea of what to do, so they naturally turn to dual homosexual team-mates Clay Aiken and George Takei, who also have zero idea what to do. Takei draws the short straw and becomes a kind of tired, distant project manager, and a pimped out Arsenio Hall takes actual control by heading to Ivanka’s store and picking out all the actual clothes. In fact, Takei is the most passive project manager imaginable, letting his band of merry men do whatever the hell they like.

Luckily, there’s some real talent in Team Unanimous. Paul the Walrus Teutul using his Fancy Motorbike Factory to fabricate some kickass Ivanka Trump signage. Adam Carolla reveals that he is only second to Jesus in carpentry. And - my personal favourite to win - the mighty magical mind of Penn Jillette comes up with the idea of using sets of twins to simultaneously show the “same” woman at different times of day. Magic!

The mild upset here is that poor old Lou Ferrigno just seems to be getting in everybody’s way. He’s well intentioned but seems to be an overall annoyance to the team who don’t seem to put much stock in his skills. Let’s talk about Ferrigno for a moment (because there’s not much happening in this episode)...

I don’t really know how to read Lou. Is he simply being stereotyped as a big lummox, purely because he once played the Hulk? Is everyone - myself included - unfairly labelling him. The guy is huge and he does seem to talk with a bit of a, “Duuh, tell me aboud teh rabbits, George” lilt, but to be fair, Lou’s very open about being hard of hearing, so we should give him a pass on that one. Lou could well be a very sharp, capable guy who is unfairly misunderstood. The problem is that on television everybody becomes a cartoon character, which makes it far too easy to be mean to them. And reality shows demand we take sides and pit people against each other.

My god this is a bland task. The guys have Clay Aiken on an office set with three models in one window, and Arsenio Hall on the red carpet with three models in the other. The midnight blue backdrop of the red carpet set becomes black beneath the reflective glass and Arsenio in his black suit is almost invisible. Corolla quips that Arsenio may need some reflective tape.

The women have some models in clothes in the windows. I think Aubrey O’Day is in there too. It’s all very exciting.

Boardroom time and the women are sickeningly nice. They talk about their hearts and things. I wish Gotti was here to scoff at this crap. When Trump asks Miss Universe to nominate the two weakest links she would bring back to the boardroom were she to hypothetically lose, she repeatedly dodges the question - even though this is clearly against the rules. But alas, her heart will not allow her to answer and Trump inexplicably allows her to get away with it, presumably because he tells her that “she looks beautiful” and sometimes that’s enough.

Tue women take their first win, and the men face the vague scrutiny of Trump. Really they did very little wrong and Trump really has to reach to find something to criticise them on. He tries to corner Carolla about the midnight blue and Carolla very firmly and reasonably fights back and calls Trump out on his bullshit straw-grasping. If there’s ever a true throw-down between Carolla and Trump then Carolla is going to pwn him. And I trust his legions of Internet fans won’t accept any less. Trump isn’t intimidating at all at this point. He’s completely toothless in this celebrity farce.

Project Manager Takei settles on bringing back weakest links Arsenio (for picking the clothes) and Ferrigno (for being a lummox). I hoped Lou would have a Hulk hissyfit like last time but he keeps his dignity. The truth is that, based on the task itself, only an idiot would keep George Takei, who clearly didn’t have hold of the reigns and was only peripherally aware of the activities of his team. I love George, but his head wasn’t in the game. It wasn’t even near the game. It didn’t really know there even was a game. George would be happier napping somewhere, and I’d be happier if he was let off the hook.

And although the outcome is obvious, Trump still treads water for ten minutes, attempting to stretch out the non existent tension. In fact, Takei ultimately beats him to the punch, conceding defeat before the inevitable, “you’re fired” and gracefully stepping away from the competition.

Come on, Apprentice! We need to do better than this!


  1. I love Debbie Gibson. And i don't judge her for trying to model, because she was super hot when younger. But being fair, maybe she don't have that fresh face that we knew, but her body...OMG. Don't worry Debbie, the problem with the face you can fix it with little surgery (she never has had one, but your beautiful body doesn't need anything.

    And look this,

    Arsenio hosting Debbie in 1989, she was super hot and very talented, learn Aubrey

  2. I 100% agree! Debbie is my favourite on the women's team. I'd let her model in my front window regardless of age or what the neighbours thought.

    That's an amazing clip, especially in context of the current show. I'm sure both Debbie and Arsenio never would have imagined back then that they'd one day be together on a reality show, running mindless errands for hideous duck children. Watching that clip, they're both at the top of their game. We live in a completely different world.