Though I am not too proud to concede that I have watched an episode or two of The Two Coreys I generally am not a big fan of Celebreality fodder. Incidentally, thanks, VH-1, for introducing yet another noxious, dispiriting yet kinda nifty buzzword into the pop-culture lexicon.
Yet when the cast for the second season of Celebrity Apprentice was announced I was more than a little geeked. Dice! Rodman! Multiple Rivers, each creepier than the last! Tom Green! How could that not be awesome? Well, last night I wasted two precious, precious hours of my life, time that otherwise would have been devoted to finding a cure for Cancer or writing poetry about my feelings, to watching the season premiere of Celebrity Apprentice. I found out for myself exactly how non-awesome Celebrity Apprentice 2 can be.
The show at least got off to a promising start, with an insanely bloated Andrew “Dice” Clay whining about the shameful lack of bagels throughout the Trump empire. Clay felt that it was downright meshuggenah that a big macher like The Donald was such a schmuck and a putz that he couldn’t cough up a few sheckels for some bagels and lox and maybe a nice schmear. At this point I started to suspect that Clay may, in fact, be a member of the tribe.
Clay, who spent part of the show dressed in a screamingly loud pin-striped suit he apparently stole off the corpse of a thirties mobster—dominated the premiere of Celebrity Apprentice by being the loudest, most obnoxious, most arrogant exhibitionist in a show full of loud, obnoxious, arrogant exhibitionists. He had a serious Norma Desmond thing going on, bragging incessantly about selling out Madison Square Garden and being the biggest comedian in history when these days he’s merely the puffiest, most deluded stand-up in history.
Clay made such an embarrassing spectacle of himself that he all but negated the presence of everyone else in the cast. The premiere devoted two interminable hours to a single challenge. What epic challenge could possibly justify such a shameful waste of prime-time real estate? A motherfucking cupcake sell-off to see who could raise the most money for charity. But it wasn’t even a real motherfucking cocksucking good for nothing piece of shit cupcake bakeoff, since the self-styled celebrity “money-getters” were free to have their famous, deep-pocketed friends drop ten thousand dollars on a single cupcake. So it was really more of a raising-money-from-friends-off.
Before the cupcake baking could begin, the celebrities were segregated by sex and split into teams that highlighted the almost surreal gulf in fame between the male and female contestants. In addition to the aforementioned Clay, the men included folks like
*R&B hitmaker Brian McKnight, who eloquently argues “If you stay out of the mix, the bullseye can’t be on you” then lives up to that creed by doing nothing and not getting eliminated
*Olympic gold-medal winner and announcer Scott Hamilton, who looks like a wizened, overgrown fetus
*NBA superstar Dennis Rodman, who spends the entire show sulking and avoiding work. “He relaxes well” says one of the competitors diplomatically
*Unexpectedly restrained, buttoned-up Canuck cut-up Tom Green, who eschews tomfoolery in favor of hard work, strategizing and being a team player
*Motorcycle dude/Sandra Bullock husband Jesse James, who proudly flaunts his working-class roots by showing up dressed like a lumberjack ex-convict but shows a fair amount of business savvy
*Country star Clint Black, content to fade into the background, Brian McKnight style
*NFL and college football great Herschell Walker, who brags about being smarter than he looks and a savvy businessman, then fails to impress with either his business acumen or Machiavellian strategizing. Here’s a hint, Herschell: if you don’t want to be stereotyped as a dumb jock, don’t use a sports metaphor every time you open your mouth. In his underwhelming first game, Walker fumbled, hit into a triple-play, spent several quarters in the penalty box, was fouled for sticking and double-dribbling, then was ejected for flagrant mixed metaphors.
Obviously, none of these figures are at the height of their fame or popularity, but they’ve all achieved a good deal of success in their respective fields. Maybe not enough to justify naming their team KOTU (for Kings Of The Universe) but they’ve each left a mark on pop culture or sports. In sharp contrast the ladies included such powerhouse figures as
*A Deal Or No Deal model
*A Playboy playmate
*Kim Kardashian’s sister Khloe
Kim Kardashian’s sister isn’t even the second most famous member of her immediate family! She’s the fifth most famous person in her family, after her late father Robert, her stepfather Bruce Jenner, her stepbrother Brody Jenner and her mom. It says something about the sad state of celebrity that Khloe is quasi-famous for being related to a woman semi-famous for having a big ass and making a sex tape with an R&B singer (Ray J) semi-famous for having an elephant-sized cock, a sex video and a famous sister (Brandy).
The women’s team, I’m sorry, womyn’s team was dominated by poker phenomenon Annie Duke, who immediately established herself as an overbearing, power-hungry control freak out to win at all costs, even if it means alienating everyone around her. Don’t be surprised if she utters the immortal words, “I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to win.” in an upcoming episode.
By contrast Joan Rivers, the ostensible leader of the team, came off like a nice Jewish grandma while Brande Roderick the Playboy playmate, impressed everyone with her guile and giant fake boobs. The men boasted much bigger names but they were no match for a few determined sexy ladies willing to use their ripe sexuality to sell some cupcakes.
Have I mentioned that the show lasts two fucking hours? Two goddamned hours devoted to a bunch of has-beens selling shitty cupcakes. The premiere packed a solid half-hour worth of entertainment into a two-hour package.
While his teammates sweated over a hot stove, Clay played hooky, doing Sirius radio to promote the cupcake sell-off. “I don’t believe in baking” Clay announced strangely, as if baking were a bizarre conspiracy theory or Celtic deity.
In lieu of doing any actual work, Clay crowned himself his team’s “jester” though no one seemed to find remotely funny. Clay kept telling everyone how funny, entertaining and popular he is/was instead of, I dunno, showing people that he was still a larf and a half by cracking them up. In the show’s most riveting moment, Clay was all, “How could you even work in a kitchen with this hilarious, zany guy who sold out Madison Square Garden for three consecutive nights when he pulls out Travolta and goes (adopts terrible John Travolta voice) ‘Eh, I’m John Travolta. I was in Grease. I likea to eat the pizza!’ or Sly (adopts terrible Sylvester Stallone voice), ‘Eh, I’m Sly Stallone, I’m gonna go box some people and then go all Rambo and then eat some pizza, fughgettaboutit!”.
Yes, it was a sad, sad scene that ended on a very predictable note, with Clay being sent home for being grating and pathetic even for a reality TV star. Yet Clay was philosophical about the whole affair. When asked whether he enjoyed being on the show, he adopted his very best Sylvester Stallone voice and said, “Absolutely”. In the spirit of Donald Trump’s catchphrase, I am now officially firing myself from covering Celebrity Apprentice in the future. Life’s too short, friends. Life’s too short.
—We never did get to see the Diceman’s legendary girlfriend with an ass like a basketball though he did awkwardly/unsuccessfully hit on a foxy secretary
—T or C of TLC was a contestant yet made no impression whatsoever
—One contestant said his team was going to put the “fun” in “dysfunctional”. Ha!