Welcome back to another season of “Celebrity” Apprentice. Let’s face facts—the people on the Dr. Drew rehab show have a higher Q score than most of these folks Trump has rounded up for this season. In fact, I’m pretty sure Trump’s pink tie is more famous than 50% of the “contestants.” However, Omarosa is still “famous” (or infamous), so this is probably the best career move these guys have. So let’s see what kind of crazy antics these newly minted reality stars get into, shall we?
The ladies are all right, the men are not bright.
In true Trump style, the season opens by The Donald landing his TrumpCopter on the Trump-saved Intrepid to greet the Trump-selected “celebrities” and shout stuff at them in Trump lingo. Yeah, baby, it’s all about the branding. The eight men and eight women stand far enough away to escape the blades of the helicopter and any spittle that may fly from the pursed lips of their boss as he yells that the first competition will pit women against men. He instructs them to go back to Trump Tower, pick a team leader for the challenge and name the team. Then he takes off again in the TrumpCopter. This whole Intrepid trip was piontless.
The ladies arrive first at their suite of rooms, and much to my surprise, they are not seven ways from Sunday tacky, like Trump’s own digs. There the women quickly let Joan Rivers be Project Manager, as she’s the oldest. They debate a little bit about the name and all rapidly get on board with Team Athena, named after the goddess of wisdom, beauty, and intelligent warfare. So far, things are clicking along on the women’s team; I wonder how long it will last.
In sharp contrast are the men. Right off the bat Andrew Dice Clay (who will be referred to as “ADC” for the rest of the recap), is “joking” around and being that kid in the 3rd grade you wanted to be run down by the wheels of a school bus just so he’d shut the &$(# up. Scott Hamilton is a bit of a revelation—he’s apparently been cast as the goodie-goodie suck up who likes to comment on how people aren’t doing their job. Not that he isn’t right, but it’s not what I expected. There is some random debate about the name, and just about everyone throws out a lame suggestion. Herschel Walker has had enough of the yakking and says they all need to get organized. Scott nominates Herschel to be the PM, and he takes it. Dennis Rodman is none too pleased not to have had a say in the PM choosing. Maybe if he took some of the 14-year-old punk girl jewelry out of his mouth, people would listen to him. Herschel takes charge right away and goes with the lame suggestion of Kotu for the team name, which stands for Kings of the Universe. This is not the WWF, Herschel.
With the PMs and team names chosen, the contestants head to the boardroom to have their first sit-down with Trump and the Trumpettes, Little Donnie of the inherited bad hair and Ivanka of the overdone veneers. Trump learns that Herschel and Joan are the PMs for this challenge and Trump warns them both that oftentimes the PMs get canned first. He then tells them their first challenge will to bake a ton of cupcakes and then sell them on the street in a mobile unit.
Before they can be dismissed to face their challenge, the men start whining about uncooperative members of their group. ADC blames his mood on Trump’s failure to provide coffee and bagels in their suite. Trump gives him a dead-eye stare but doesn’t say anything. After a beat, he says Ivanka will be checking up on the men and Patrick Bateman-wannabe Donnie will be checking up on the women. Ladies, if you even hear something that sounds like Huey Lewis and the News, do not hesitate to run for the hills.
This should have been a cakewalk.
Before heading out to the culinary school to bake the cupcakes, the teams have a bit of time to plan their strategies. Herschel wants ADC to be like a carnival barker and draw people to their truck. Tom suggests that they park the truck in Times Square; sure, the women may also pick the same location, but he thinks the men’s team has more recognizable faces and will attract a crowd. Jesse James takes the task of designing the decoration for the truck; he already has ideas about the wrap to put on it and will take pictures of the guys to put on the truck. On the way to do the baking, Tom calls some contacts and gets a contribution out of Donnie Deutsch without even one bit of batter poured yet.
The women have a bit more of a debate over the location to park the van. Joan wants to park it by Macy’s at 34th and 7th; Annie thinks this is a bad idea because that’s close to where the hotdog challenge losers parked their cart last season. They squabble a bit about the location of Macy’s and Penn Station, but then Brande comes up with the idea of 57th and 5th, right outside of the Playboy building. She knows everyone there and can get them all to come down. Joan goes with that, but not before the team gets fairly exasperated with Annie’s somewhat argumentative style and competitive behavior. Still, I’d take 1000 Annies over one ADC.
Off to the kitchen these celebs go; luckily, the culinary school has provided someone to each team who actually knows how to bake cupcakes. The men don aprons and decide to get their baking going. Well, not all of them. Jesse and Brian McKnight are off to get the truck design done, so they have an excuse. ADC, however, doesn’t want his friends in Brooklyn to laugh at him for wearing an apron and hat so he refuses. He should really worry about the ridiculous glasses he sports, if he wants to be saved from fashion ridicule.
Soon enough, ADC and Rodman decide to bail on the baking and go on some Sirius radio show. Clint Black comments that they could have used the extra manpower, but neither he nor Herschel try hard to dissuade them from leaving. Tom, obviously a studied fan of reality television, notes that Clint and Herschel are just using this to set up ADC and Rodman in the event of a loss.
Jesse quickly gets the wrap for the truck designed while Brian just hangs out with nothing to do. They head back and help finish up the cupcakes; Jesse spots the team division right away and decides to taste a cupcake. He picks a chocolate one and finds it tastes terrible. It seems that someone forgot to put sugar in the cupcakes. There’s no time to bake more, so the chef guide suggests making a simple syrup to absorb through the cake prior to frosting. Still, though, no one is pleased with the taste.
The women chose to evenly split up: Khloe, Annie, Natalie and Tionne go to the culinary school and Joan, Claudia, Melissa and Brande head to decorate the truck. Joan starts off calling the shots on the truck; she wants it to be bright and circus-like with lots of balloons. But then Melissa gets in the mix and starts taking charge; Brande thinks it is weird how Joan just rolls over for Melissa.
In the kitchen, the chef guide instructs them on how to accurately measure the ingredients and make the batter. They can bake 400 at one time, which is quite impressive. Annie barks out orders in the kitchen like she’s some Gordon Ramsay wannabe, but things are running smoothly. Her vanilla cupcakes turn out great and look really cute decorated. Tionne, however, mixed the chocolate ones and they sunk; she probably left out the baking soda. Annie gets to making more vanilla cupcakes but then the ladies discover that the chocolate ones don’t actually taste bad. They’re kind of fudge-like and the chef guy suggests filling the hollow top with ganache and then decorating them. The ladies taste it and decide to go with the ganache. Joan, Claudia, Melissa, and Brande are called to leave the truck designing and come help decorate the cupcakes because they’re in a time crunch. When they arrive in the kitchen, Joan notes that Annie is a great organizer but she’s pissing all the other women off. Claudia, in particular, did not like being told by Annie, in excruciating detail, how to frost a cupcake.
The mother of all bake sales.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t pay anything for a cupcake handled by this entire lot. There was a distinct lack of proper food sanitation in the prep and in the service, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near what biohazards those cupcakes might harbor.
Nevertheless, the guys start out in Times Square with a price point of $20 for a cupcake. Tom calls up Tony Hawk and he donates $1000. Clint, Herschel, Rodman and ADC bring in folks early on and they even get the Naked Cowboy to perform on the roof of the truck. The money starts coming in and the crowds flock to the truck. However, after a while, Rodman plants himself in the driver’s seat of the truck and stays on his phone the whole time. The guys want him to get out of the truck and meet people; Tom gets him out for a little while, but that’s about it. Ivanka shows up to check in on their progress. She thinks they’re generally doing a good job, Herschel is showing quite a bit of spirit on the task, but Rodman is very lackadaisical when he should be out in the crowd.
The women go with Brande’s idea to park the truck in front of the Playboy building; this brings them two things early on: $5,000 from Hef and a real, live Playboy bunny to attract the masses. All of the Playboy employees show up, and the cupcakes start flying out of the truck. Khloe gets out on the street and drums up business. Claudia gets her musician pal Eric Benet to show up and drop some cash. Somehow or another, Khloe also gets Kathie Lee and Hoda from the Today Show to come by. The truck is really buzzing, but Melissa worries that the big dollars haven’t shown up yet. And just then, Annie’s poker player buds start to pour in, dropping thousands for cupcakes. Joan is impressed with the cash Annie brings in. Little Donnie arrives to check on the women and curiously talks to Melissa. Maybe he can’t tell her apart from Joan; they do seem to share the same plastic surgeon. She hedges her bets and tells him that it is hard to get women to work together. I take umbrage with Melissa’s misogynistic comments; I have never had a more pleasant office experiences than when I worked in several offices of all women. And it never helps to hate on your own gender.
While the bake sale is going on, Trump calls both Joan and Herschel. They are to pick out their best cupcake and send it over to Crumbs, a well-known bakery, for a taste test. The team with the best tasting cupcake will get another $15,000 added to their total for the night. Melissa picks up one of the screwed up chocolate cupcakes with the ganache, based on the theory they taste really good. Scott picks out a cupcake and Herschel dispatches ADC to Crumbs because he’s not doing anything anyway. They show up, the baker tastes them, and Melissa and ADC go back to their cupcake trucks. ADC is sure, based on the baker’s reaction, that the guys won. When Melissa gets back, she gets chewed out by Annie and Brande for not picking the vanilla with chocolate chip frosting, since they taste the best. Melissa knows that if they lose, her cupcake choice will be held against her.
Big checks start arriving for the guys—thousands of dollars at a time—and they are in high spirits. As the day winds down for the guys, Tom is worried that Donnie Deutsch’s check won’t show up on time, but with a mere 1:30 remaining, the PA from his show arrives with a $10,000 check. Meanwhile, with the women, Brande has a big donor on the hook but Annie doesn’t want to part with the last flat of cupcakes, since they still have some time on the clock. She is quite rude to the old guy with the checkbook because Brande can’t tell her how much the dude is going to donate, but Brande smoothes it over and gets $9,000 for twenty four cupcakes.
The vicious pink tie strikes again, cobra-style.
Finally, it is time for the boardroom show down. The Pink Tie of Doom arrives, flanked by the Trumpettes, and the questioning starts. Joan says her team was extraordinary and everyone put forth a 100% effort; if she had to choose—and she does have to—she’d say Brande was the star of the job because she made a lot of money, called a lot of people, and was always glad to do what was asked of her. When asked, Claudia says Annie was the weakest because she took over in the kitchen, when Joan was the PM. Annie counters that Joan let her be in charge in the kitchen because Joan was busy with the truck design.
Herschel also says his team was great and they didn’t have a weak link amongst them. ADC, looking to forestall any criticism that might be lobbed at him, says he doesn’t “believe in” baking and he invented the job of court jester to make people laugh and be entertaining. As evidence of his so-called entertainment skills, he does a 25 year old impersonation of John Travolta. Way to be current, ADC. Trump asks about Rodman’s performance—he’s recognizable with the looks the height, and the fame, so why wasn’t he used? Herschel says he wanted to use Rodman, but Rodman wouldn’t get out of the truck; perhaps, Herschel says, he should have given him a spanking. Now that’s something I’d donate some dollars for.
Trump then delivers the taste test results; Crumbs loved the women’s cupcake and called the men’s cupcake disgusting. The women get the extra $15,000 added to their total. Without wasting any more time, it is revealed the men brought in $49,449 and the women brought in $61,267 (plus the $15K), so a total of $126,000 will go to Joan’s charity, God’s Love We Deliver, which delivers food to homebound folks to preserve their dignity. The women are dismissed and head to the suite to watch the grilling of the men.
With just the loser men in the boardroom, Trump asks what happened. Herschel says he doesn’t know because the guys were really working hard at the task. Tom pipes up that he suggested a lot of ideas, called and got a lot of donors--$5,000 from his agent, $1,000 from Tony Hawk, and $10,000 from Donnie Deutsch. Trump asks Jesse why he didn’t call donors, and he says his friends don’t have any money. Trump thinks that the guys should have done a better job of getting Dennis out of the truck. Brian says that the problem is that none of the guys are used to being subordinate to anyone, so it is hard to make one of them do anything. Trump then rags on the bad tasting cupcake; Scott says that everyone was responsible for making the cupcakes.
After another pointless outburst by ADC about how awesome he is because he’s sold out Madison Square Garden, Trump starts asking the hard questions. Jesse says Rodman was the worst because he just sat in the truck the whole time. Rodman says that he didn’t want to become the center of attention and take away from the cupcake sales. Yo, Dennis…this isn’t 1997 anymore, ‘kay? He goes on to say that Herschel didn’t delegate or assign jobs and it was all “every man for himself” in the kitchen. ADC concurs, noting there was chaos in the kitchen. This is surprising, as he was there for about 10 minutes of kitchen time. Brian disagrees and says that everyone had a job to do, and everyone did it. When asked, Clint says there was a lack of cohesion and he’d fire ADC because he required the most pushing to get anything done. Joking is one thing, Clint says, but they needed the manpower to get the cupcakes made. ADC sees he’s being thrown under the cupcake truck and says he’s willing to leave because they all did a good job and he doesn’t want to be where people think he’s not working. This gets into a long Trump/ADC back and forth about ADC being a quitter. Ultimately ADC says he’s not a quitter and would fire Scott because he just flitted about, not on any one specific job, and didn’t bring in any money. Scott would fire Rodman and ADC and Brian would fire ADC because they need someone who will work with the team and not just want to do his own thing. Jesse would fire Rodman because, while he could do a good job, he doesn’t have the work ethic. Tom goes another way and says that he’d pick Herschel because of the lack of management. Herschel counters that he shouldn’t have to baby-sit grown men. Trump finally calls this mess to an end and tells Herschel to pick two people to come back to the boardroom. Rodman scoffs; obviously Herschel is going to pick him and ADC. Then Rodman and Trump skirmish over the scoffing and I remember why I stopped watching last season. Sure enough, Herschel picks ADC and Dennis. The rest of the guys go back to the suite to wait it out and the women’s live feed gets cut. They are sure Rodman will stay around, but can’t figure if it is going to be ADC or Herschel who gets the boot.
While Trump and his kids debate who will be fired, ADC hits on Trump’s receptionist. He’s seriously knocking on the wrong door; no one wants to date a guy who could pass for Fat Elvis in the Last Days. Not even someone who works for Trump. Meanwhile, in the boardroom, Ivanka notes that Herschel didn’t rally the troops but ADC and Rodman did not do their jobs. Little Donnie says that Herschel brought in the most money and the other two douches are impossible to lead. Trump thinks Herschel didn’t use Rodman right and should have been better prepared from the beginning.
Trump has made up his mind and calls the guys back in. He admonishes Herschel for not using Dennis right. ADC says that Herschel should be fired because he didn’t delegate and was left to figure out his job for himself. Herschel counters that he had to send ADC to Crumbs because he wasn’t doing anything. There’s a lot of shouting over each other as ADC and Herschel get into it, but it doesn’t really matter because Trump zeroes in again on ADC’s offer to quit. He says he saw Rodman’s fight to stay and Herschel’s fight to stay but ADC offered to quit, so he fires him. Rodman and Herschel go up to the suite and ADC leaves, but without the receptionist.
After they depart, Trump says that ADC didn’t really quit and he’ll be a winner. Whaaa? Talk about not making sense. In the car away ride away, ADC says he wouldn’t do anything differently and thanks Trump for the chance to be on the show. Curiously, he chooses to close with a truly god-awful Stallone impersonation. Hey, here’s some free advice, ADC: if all of your cultural reference points are from 1983, you need to retire. And you know what else? Justin Timberlake also sold out the Garden, and you don’t see him sucking up to Trump on Sunday nights.