Sometimes, given the amount of reality television I watch, I sit back and count myself lucky that I’ve never been so insane as to even audition for one of these shows. Right now, the six remaining celebrity apprentice aspirants should be kicking themselves for being talked into participating in Trump’s drama-o-rama; none of them are portrayed in a particularly forgiving light and things are going to get worse as the finale approaches. But, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s see what this past week’s two-hour character assassination brought upon the celebs.
Covering up the stink.
Of course, there’s the business of taking care of the loose ends from last week; Herschel departs, Joan hugs him, and Clint just walks away in a “See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya.” way. Then Jesse visits the Long Beach Education Foundation, a facility dedicated to teaching trades, and gives them the $20,000 he won in the prior challenge. With these housekeeping measures out of the way, it’s time to see what challenge these folks will face this week.
The four members of Athena and the two remaining Kotu denizens meet with Trump and his posse at the NBA store on 5th Avenue. As the first order of business, Trump moves Jesse from Athena to Kotu to work with Joan and Clint. Jesse doesn’t mind working with Joan, but Clint not so much. The challenge the teams will face this week is to come up with a four-page print ad spread for Right Guard’s “Fast Break” deodorant that will appear in “Sports Illustrated”. (Wait a minute—print media is still viable?) With Trump are Brad and Doug (no last names give) , a couple of execs from Right Guard; they say the ads will feature NY Knicks player David Lee. I know not this David Lee, but I figure he must owe someone a favor and that’s why he’s on the show. As usual, Ivanka is going to be checking in on the teams; also along for the ride is Jim Cramer from Mad Money and a wonderfully painful Daily Show appearance. Brande will be the PM for Athena and Clint will take the lead for Kotu.
Gonna make you sweat.
The teams meet to come up with their ad campaigns. On Athena, Melissa can’t pass by any confessional opportunity to complain that Brande and Annie are mean girls who gang up on her like in high school. This goes on the entire episode and become the most tired theme of a show I’ve recapped ever. And people, I’ve put in time on The Bachelor. Melissa is a grown-ass woman and just needs to act that way. She also should try to come up with some relevant ideas but instead, she pitches a spread that, as Annie calls correctly, would bet better in “Redbook” than “Sports Illustrated”. Brande and Annie discuss some kind of nearly nude shots of David Lee but are concerned that it may be too sexy for the executives. They meet with the executives and clarify the line of “risqué;” Annie takes the lead in the meeting, resulting in Melissa commenting that Annie has a sense of entitlement, needs to be always right, and is arrogant. Well, I guess it takes one to know one, right?
Kotu meets with the Right Guard execs as well. Clint launches in to his usual approach of using sexy girls to advertise, well, anything. Jesse becomes quickly exasperated with Clint; he has his own magazine so Jesse knows Clint is just blowing smoke.
Brande, as leader of Athena, assigns Annie the task of brand messaging for the campaign and doing the presentation. That leaves Melissa and Brande to do the photo shoot; Melissa thinks this means Brande is freezing her out. Adding fuel to that fire is Annie’s constant reassurances to Brande that she’s doing a good job.
The other Rivers—i.e. Joan—throws out ideas on Team Kotu that would make Martin Luther King, Jr. roll over in his grave, so I’m not going to indulge those here. Luckily, Clint doesn’t take them. However, he also doesn’t take Jesse’s idea for a four page spread with an orange stripe down the side of each page, like the Right Guard stripe. He wants the spread to be more text-centric, and keep with the brand messaging. Jesse thinks this is all too wordy and shuts down, for the first of many times.
So off to the photo shoots both teams go. On the way for Athena, Annie calls Brande to let her know they’ll have David Lee first. Melissa treats this as some sort of conspiracy and we know her insanity is in over-drive. She tells Brande that she thinks Brande and Annie are conspiring against her, in such a vitriolic way that one may be inspired to call the mental ward. Once at the initial photo shoot (sans Mr. Lee), Melissa barks out orders to the photographer like she knows what she is doing. Okay, by this point in the recap, you know I have no love for Melissa Rivers and I don’t care who knows my bias. She’s a wannabe who’s ridden on her mother’s coattails for too long. As many problems as I have with Joan as this episode progresses, at least she’s a self-made woman. Melissa is just skating on her mother’s credentials with no notable talent of her own. Ultimately, Brande confesses to Annie that Melissa has gone off the rails with a conspiracy theory, which Annie will use to her benefit later.
Kotu also has a preliminary photo shoot. Jesse takes off to snap pics of the NYC skyline to use in the spread, and I’m confident he knows what he’s doing. I’m not confident Clint will actually use those pictures. Ivanka stops by to see what’s going on and asks Joan about Clint’s leadership. She says that Clint thinks he’s a good listener and Jesse is giving Clint just enough rope to hang himself.
Words of wisdom from a guy who’s gone bankrupt more times than I can count.
Trump himself offers a couple of kernels of advice: you may need to work with people you don’t like and passion in business is as important as brains. Yeah, that’s the truth, sure, but what about that “hair”? Good hair is important too. You’ll note I have good hair, and I’ve never once bankrupted a casino.
On Kotu, Jesse comes back with some lovely pictures, which Clint likes and incorporates into his design, though with a whole lot of text and “fireball” graphics. Jesse doesn’t like these fireballs, so he shuts down again. Joan thinks Jesse is trying to sink Clint and, if so, then that’s a lousy tactic because they should work as a team.
David Lee shows up for his actual photo shoot with Athena, rather than the staged version with just models. Brande takes charge of the events and Annie plays up her “game theory” by talking to Melissa. She tells Melissa that the problem is that she’s been given too much to do and Melissa hasn’t been given enough to do. That’s true, but what could Melissa bring to the table without her mother there to tell her what to do? Annie is totally getting Melissa in her confidence, just like I would. Annie is my hero
After shooting for Athena, David Lee goes to take some pics for Kotu; they put him in a Knicks jersey, then they put him in a Right Guard jersey. After the photos are done, Clint works with the graphic designer to put the layout together and Annie and Brande come in to just say “hi”. Yeah, right. Jesse thinks Clint’s layout is absolute crap and doesn’t refrain from saying so. He calls Clint stupid no fewer than on meeelion times, so much so I get bored, once again. All it is, is the Bickersons but not as entertaining as Don Ameche and Francis Langford.
Jim Cramer, the putz that he is, stops by to visit Athena’s production. Annie lays out all that she’s done—the presentation, the layout, etc. He asks them what each would want him to say in the boardroom about them. Annie says that she’d want him to say that she did all the work asked of her; Brande says she’d want to be called out as a good leader; and Melissa says that she did a good job at the photo shoot and that everything was equal. Well, this sets Annie off in confessional like a match under a Roman candle. Cramer sums it up by saying that Annie has set herself up to take all the credit if they succeed and none of the blame if they lose.
The layouts are done and both teams present. Annie and Clint both make attempts at presenting, but sound awkward. Ultimately, when Trump meets with Brad and Doug, they say they liked both presentations. Kotu used the orange stripe well—something Clint cribbed from Jesse’s original layout at the last minute—but they should have ultimately used David Lee in the Knicks jersey, not the Right Guard one. They liked Athena’s pictures, but the they thought the order of the photographs was wrong.
Pssst? What’s on that note?
Finally, we’re down to the boardroom festivities. I feel like I’ve been watching this episode for three whole days, not just an hour and a half. As usual, the teams are polled on how well they worked together. Brande thinks Athena did a great job, the executives loved the layout, and the team worked well together. Clint is a bit more sly and says that if Kotu won, then they did a great job. Jesse throws out his comment that the team doesn’t work well together because Clint won’t listen. Clint counters that as PM, he had to make choices but he did listen to what they had to say.
Brande is convinced Athena won and keeps talking up her team. Annie mentions that she’s a personal friend of David Lee, and Joan just rolls her eyes. This leads to some intense bickering, but mostly is Joan and Melissa saying disparaging things about Annie while she just sits there. Annie then says they worked hard as a team and, if Athena lost, she shouldn’t be fired because she did a lot of work. Brande admits that she delegated the presentation and branding to Annie, but notes she’s better at photo shoots and models and whatnot than Annie would be. Ivanka wants to know why Brande, as PM, would forgo the opportunity to take a true leadership position in the challenge. Brande said she didn’t “forgoo” anything but played where her strengths lie. Yes, people, “forgoo.” Because Brande admitted Annie had the largest role, Melissa sees a chance to get in her “I was boxed out” argument to Trump. Joan can’t help but defend her daughter and says that Annie is a troublemaker and would rather be against Brande in the finale because she’s weaker. Annie says that’s not true; she’d rather be against Brande in the finale because Brande is a better fundraiser.
Before this goes any further, Trump shows each team the other’s ad layout. Annie and Brande think Kotu’s ad is okay and Jesse admits that Kotu’s ad—inasmuch as he hated it—is better than Athena’s. Trump says the race was very tight, but Kotu won and $20,000 will go to Clint’s charity, the International Rett Syndrome Foundation. Both teams are dismissed so Trump, Cramer and Ivanka can have a discussion about who will be leaving Athena. Both Cramer and Ivanka think Brande should be fired for being a bad PM and delegating too much, but Ivanka notes that Melissa or Annie could both hang themselves in the boardroom.
Athena is called back in; Brande says she should stay because she has skills, is a hard worker, has raised the second-highest amount of money, and volunteered to be PM. Annie says she should stay because she wants to win more than anyone, but if she had to fire someone, it wouldn’t be Brande because she’s the stronger player overall. Brande returns the favor and says Annie should stay but Melissa has taken things to personally and it’s a disruption. Now, Brande said that is a cool, collected way so Ivanka and Cramer jump on her for lacking “passion”. Personally, I don’t see a lack of passion but a measured amount of decorum, but Jim Cramer has made a career out of jumping around, talking loudly, and being “passionate” about really bad investments so clearly he’s the expert. Brande knows what she’s doing, so she counters back loudly that she needs to stay because she’ll bring in the money and Trump should fire Melissa. Around this time, Trump passes a note to Cramer apparently telling him to back off Brande.
Trump asks Melissa why she should stay; she says she worked her ass off, out-worked everyone, and has been a middle-of-the road fundraiser. Well, Cramer got the message because he’s all over that comment, saying why would they want to keep her when the top two fundraisers are Brande and Annie. Cramer then says he’d fire Melissa, and that’s what Trump does.
You’d think the drama would end there, but you’d be wrong. Melissa—bum leg and all—runs out of the boardroom up to the “suite” where Kotu has been watching the scene unfold. Melissa screams for her mother and her things, loudly declaring she will not do an exit interview and calling Brande and Annie whore pit vipers. Joan gets wound up, giving great television, says that Annie and Brande are just a Nazi and a follower, and she’s not going to be there the next day. More shouting ensues wherein Joan indicts all poker players around the world as scum and white trash, says all the money Annie raised has blood on it, and Brande is just a stupid blonde who will not win and is being played, yadda yadda yadda. After a while, it just seemed like a poorly scripted soap opera scene with a lot of bleeping. Melissa finally departs, along with Joan, and Trump, Ivanka, and Cramer listen through the door to the drama. Will Joan return next week? I sure hope not, because I want to see Clint and Jesse get into it without Mother Joan mediating their disagreements.