Welcome to Celebrity Apprentice, soon to be re-titled Trump Loves Gary!
In its ever-increasingly creative ways to find excuses for The Donald to keep Slap-Crackers Busey around for just one… more… week, Celebrity Apprentice, in only its fifth episode of the season, has already roared right up to that delicate line that separates credibility from totally-orchestrated TV bullshit.
And we’re talking about the line for reality television here, folks, which is a much further drive to begin with.
The extent to with Trump had to go to keep Gary Busey in slacks and loafers beyond tonight’s boardroom was such a reach it wasn’t even fun to watch. I literally placed both palms of my hands against my temples and rubbed aggressively in circles until it was all over.
And if the dull and painfully forced boardroom sequence wasn’t long enough, it came after nearly two hours of watching Good ‘Ole Boy John Rich and Sweet As Pie Marlee Matlin NOT do battle in one of the least interesting (and ironically, single most financially successful) tasks in Apprentice history.
It was about as dramatic as playing UNO with the babysitter.
Based on her professional resume, it makes sense that we won’t see Marlee Matlin getting as low-down and dirty as Star Jones and Nene Leakes do on a weekly basis, which is why I was so disappointed that LaToya Jackson just missed out on this week’s Project Manager spot. You know Star and Nene would have started brewing their best recipes for sabotage even before Latoya was able to bring her hand back down. That would have been worth any viewer’s time.
But who wants to look like a bitch against Marlee Matlin? Absolutley no one. So while her position as head of this week’s task managed to bring the women together with more grace and sophistication than we’ve seen so far all season, dramatically it was as dull as a Dionne Warwick B-side.
And the same goes for the men. Cowboy John Rich with his endless good-natured, fair-minded, “aw-shucks, I’m just folk” attitude, along with his endless declarations of country-western music fans as the most loyal, true and giving people on the planet, would have made any of the men who might have wanted to stir up the pot this week look like a complete heel. So none of them did. And no, I haven’t forgotten the Meat Loaf meltdown, which while dramatically the high point of the night, was directed at Busey and Busey alone.
And so what we got was two teams who worked well together and raised a lot of money for their respective charitites. It’s the kind of Celebrity Apprentice your grandmother might enjoy…. Sunday nights at 4pm, right after dinner and before Lawrence Welk reruns on The Hallmark Channel.
This week, the teams had to create their own works of art and sell them for as much money as possible. Each had their own gallery and could hit up anyone they wanted for any amount they wanted using any method they wanted. This proved to be a key element when it came to tallying the amounts raised, but before we get there, we first must bid farewell to Jose Canseco.
Jose revealed To Trump that his father’s cancer had taken a turn for the worse and he needed to be with him. Isn’t it weird when real-life makes an intrusion on one of these reality shows? You almost don’t know what to think. I feel badly for anyone having to deal with a loved one battling cancer, and then at the same time, if Gary Busey had been the one having to miss a challenge for a medical circumstance, you just know the producers would have found a way to either re-schedule the challenge or allow Trump to excuse his absence and then welcome him back once the shooting schedule could again accommodate him.
So the men plowed ahead without Jose and made a beeline for the art supply store, where Meat Loaf immediately laid the seeds of his upcoming explosion when he fumed at Gary for expecting him to pay for Gary’s art supplies (why Gary would expect this or why Meat Loaf wouldn’t just look at him and say, “Why the fuck would I do that, Numb Nuts?” thus putting an end to the entire affair, was never explained).
Back at the studio, Meat Loaf couldn’t find any of the supplies he purchased for himself and his “painted basketball dribbled on a canvas” brainstorm, and immediately launched into a verbal tirade against Gary, who he accused of stealing his supplies. Seriously, it’s an argument over… art supplies, the kind you get handed for free when you go to Jesus Camp over the summer, and yet here are the veins bulging out of Meat Loaf’s head like Popeye’s just before he exclaims, ‘That’s all I’s can stand! I’s can’t stands no more!”
The best part about this whole explosion was that ultimately, Meat Loaf’s missing art supplies were located and presented to him, at which point I would have loved him to simply go “Oh yea those are mine, thanks,” and just walk off. Instead, we had to later have a full-blown heart-to-heart between The Loaf and Slap-Crackers Busey where Meat Loaf apologized up and down and Gary informed us all that FORGIVE stands for “Finding Ourselves Really Giving Individuals Valuable Energy.”
The two angry bears fell into a tender, conciliatory hug at which point I closed my eyes tightly and desperately chanted, “MARTINI, MARTINI, MARTINI!” only to open my eyes and still find my hand disappointingly empty.
Back in the boardroom, well… it was an absolute love-fest, that’s what it was! John loved his team. John’s team loved him. Marlee loved her team. Marlee’s team loved her. Even Star Jones had nothing but positive things to say. Oh, what a dangerous game these vipers are playing!
Trump announced that never in a single episode was this kind of money raised… not even in an entire season.
The men, thanks mostly to the $470,000 raised by John Rich’s rhinestone-studded guitar, brought in a total of $626,908. However, the women not only sold within their gallery, but took orders via fax and online. That, plus Latoya’s contribution of a rare t-shirt endorsed and signed by her brother Michael, topped the men by over $300,000 and an all-time Apprentice record (just $14,000 short of a cool million).
Since both teams did so well, and since on a one-by-one level, Gary was truly vulnerable, Trump asked Marlee if she’d like him to excuse the men’s team this week and not fire anyone. After Star leaned in to whipser some strategy to Marlee and Marlee reminded her, “I’m deaf,” the women ultimately concluded that with three firings in a row on their side the men needed to be thinned out. Trump asked Marlee to stay and advise him on who to fire. Why would Trump do this, you ask? Because if the women were smart, they’d do all they could to keep Bumble-fuck Busey from getting fired, thus building themselves an edge in future weeks and sparing Trump from having to do the totally obvious.
And that’s pretty much how it happened. Trump went down the line with the women and asked them who should be fired. Hope said Richard. Star said Richard. Trump declared that Gary Busey was something of a genius. “Oh yes!” the women all jumped in, “Such a genius! We’ve never seen anything like him. A real winner! We are all in COMPLETE AGREEMENT ABOUT GARY BUSEY’S INTELLECT, FOCUS AND DRIVE!… and those acronyms of his, well, they just make us downright horny!”
Trump then inquired of the men who they thought needed to go in order to keep their team as strong as possible. Cowboy John singled out Gary. Meat Loaf singled out Gary. Lil John singled out Gary. So Trump did the sensible thing… he turned around and fired Richard Hatch, to which Richard, who’d said next to nothing at this point, sort of chuckled and, thinking exactly what I was thinking, gave the only genuine line of the entire night, “I was all prepared to defend myself. I didn’t get a chance. I had a whole list!”
It’s true. Trump gave Richard next to no chance to defend himself, and handed him his head based solely on the fact that he didn’t have as many rich friends as his teammates. If every challenge were based on hitting up your buddies for some dough, then losing Richard would have made sense. But the Apprentice franchise likes to pretend that shrewd business acumen and management skills are what really matter… unless you’re up against Gary Busey the Ratings Cow.
Minus the Meat Loaf meltdown, this episode was a total drag.
Celebrity Apprentice producers… in the future, please relegate sensible folk like John Rich and Marlee Matlin to the supporting roles they deserve until we’ve had our fill of crazy. Then trot them out to battle in the finale so Trump can declare someone with common sense and decency the winner in an attempt to bring some late-season legitimacy back to your franchise.