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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Celebrity Apprentice - "Child's Play"

Illustration for article titled The Celebrity Apprentice - "Child's Play"
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Last week, our dashing celebrities took off the kid gloves and sent David Cassidy back to selling used cars. How will our expectations be shattered this week? For the first 10 minutes, I am literally on my feet. That's because my cable has gone out, and I’m trying to connect an antenna so that I can find out about how my expectations will be shattered!


The challenge appears to involve each team writing a children’s book about one member of the team and then performing it for real, live children at a theater somewhere in New York City. It is a great idea to let your kids be around these people, as the episode will show. Meat Loaf is the Backbone project manager. Lisa Renna and her lips are the ASAP project managers. AND IT IS ON. The show, I mean. My reception isn’t great, but I can see it now.

The guys perform fairly well with the challenge. Meat Loaf has a little blow-up with Gary Busey and Jose Canseco, and Canseco seems to be a little more Punisher than Batman this time around (I’m not going to say Hulk, because Canseco’s pants are more fabulous than purple). I mean, the truth was all Canseco could talk about last week, but this week, the truth seems to be running neck-and-neck with how annoyed Jose Canseco is at any given moment. His major blow-up seems to involve his belief that the others are treating teachers as if they are no one, so I’m still on that guy’s side, even though his point was well and truly inane. Team Backbone’s story is about Li'l Lil Jon finding acceptance in a new school, and it rhymes, thanks to the rhyming genius of John Rich and the earthy simply pleasures of contemporary country music. Hatch seems to have faded into the background this time, although it is almost assuredly a ploy of some sort. We know now, though, that Richard Hatch will not win this game because he is going back to jail. Apparently he decided to appear on this show instead of re-filing his 2000 and 2001 taxes as ordered by a judge. Oops.

On Team ASAP, however, the rift between Lisa Rinna and Star Jones opens wide and threatens to swallow everyone whole. Dionne Warwick reveals herself to be several types of awful old lady as she pushes everyone else around, insults Marlee Matlin, and generally behaves as if none of her psychic friends have ever forecast harmonious work relationships in her future. Matlin is furious, stating that in all of her years in entertainment, she’s never seen attitude like this. Let’s regard this as an improbable statement brought on by the heat of the moment. Even if it is true, well, is it possible that she hasn’t figured out the central idea behind this season? Did she not notice that Star Jones, La Toya Jackson, and Gary Freaking Busey are hanging around, being themselves? In the meantime, Lisa Rinna and, possibly, her lips are unable to figure out how to separate allies from enemies or remember that she’s playing a game. Star Jones is always playing a game, though. Her paranoia about Rinna’s motives in giving her a job to do is both laughable and delicious. We learn that while there is no ‘I’ in ‘TEAM,’ you can’t spell ‘TEAM’ these days without “As Conceived By Dionne Warwick and Written By Star Jones.” Good to know!  When they inevitably turn on each other, the Trump dogs will eat well that night.

Ivanka is replaced this week by another Trump offspring, Eric The Smarmy.  Eric reveals in his talking head interview that he feeds on the anger and hatred between Meat Loaf and Gary Busey, because he is A MONSTER FROM THE ID! Li’l Don is back, too, but somehow his smarminess bulb has been diminished by Li’l Eric. I hate to say it, but when he shows up later with his wife and kids, well, I realize that Li’l Don is human, too. It must be hard growing up with Trumpzimandias for a dad and a Monster from the Id as a brother. I feel something akin to sympathy for Li’l Don. And I hate that.

So each side has a play involving yelling La Toya tigers or Lil Jon doing some of that crazy hippity-hop that kids love, and I don’t think it’s the editing that makes it all so very confusing. Children are exposed to the cast of Celebrity Apprentice 4, and the CDC is presumably still working overtime. Back in the Forbidden Boardroom, Trump talks about how much he loves how Lisa Rinna’s lips have deflated in the last year, and how he hates tattoos and trout pout. I don’t see much difference in Ms. Rinna’s appearance, but I hear that television adds weight, so okay. Upshot is: The guys win. In the final moments, Lisa Rinna cannot stop repeating all of the derogatory things that Star Jones and Dionne Warwick say about her, and thus, three Trumps and a camera gaze at her ass as she heads to the Elevator Of Shame.

Last week promised and delivered an trainwreck of a show by putting sleazy Hatch and bossy Star Jones into the top roles. This week was more mismatched, with Meat Loaf proving himself not only mature, but fairly competent at playing to his team’s strengths, while Lisa Rinna seemed unmoored and unable to read the plain expressions on the faces of any member of her team. If she had allied herself with Matlin, Niki Taylor, and NeNe Leakes instead of shooting them down, she could have possibly survived the boardroom. But that would have required some spine and an ability to manipulate others, both of which she apparently lacks. Thus, we reach the paradox of this sort of reality show (let’s call it the Burnett Conundrum): People who are essentially nice and assume the best in others are completely unfit to go far in this game because they don’t realize that they are playing a game. But they are probably better people to be around than those who win. So at least there’s that little consolation prize.


Stray observations:

  • “Star Jones is a micromanager, but you can’t micromanage creativity, baby!”
  • Neither Lisa nor Marlee was able to articulate a salient reason why Jones or Warwick should have been fired. That’s an ill omen for Marlee’s future on this show, or so I hear from my psychic friends.
  • Star Jones telling La Toya Jackson to suck it up: mean, awesome, or both?