The Celebrity Apprentice Finale Preview Post

8 May

Celebrity Apprentice remains the sole unscripted television program in my viewing rotation.  The season finale airs on Sunday at 8pm in a three-hour extravaganza! It’s not good television, it’s not educational television, but it’s both compelling and entertaining. I’ve becoming entranced with the absurdity of it all, from the idea that Donald Trump’s using it to enhance the public profiles of his children, to blatant two-hour commerical aspect of it. Poker player Annie Duke and comedienne Joan Rivers square off to see who will get fake-hired for the fake job! And what a crazy ride it’s been to this showdown of business titans.

The celebrities, some of them more famous than others, have butted heads (who’d have seen that one coming?!).  The very first week saw Andrew Dice Clay kicked off the show rather unceremoniously when he refused to do any work and then semi-quit in the boardroom.  He tried to backtrack, but all Trump had to hear was the word ‘quit’. Then there was Tom Green, who was fired because he couldn’t handle Dennis Rodman, who also was later fired for simply being a lush who went out with guests instead of working. Scott Hamilton was fired for being boring ass Scott Hamilton.

One of the more ridiculous aspects of Celebrity Apprentice, which only adds to the entertainment value, came when Trump fired Khloe Kardashian.  She’s only nominally famous, being a sister to a person famous for having a big butt and a nominally famous parents.  However, the producers of the show had to know she was serving out a sentence for a DUI by going to classes in Los Angeles.  Apparently the producers knew, but they didn’t tell ol’ Trump.  And when he found out, halfway through the season, he fired her for that reason and that reason alone.  Because he hates drunk drivers!  Yeah, that wasn’t staged!  The staging makes it all the more sweet, because it creates a game within the game; guess what’s real and what ain’t.

Another firing that stood out was Trump’s dismissal of T-Boz, of TLC fame. Perhaps one of the more famous celebrities, at least to me, Trump fired her when she voluntarily came into the boardroom to support her friend.  This is where Trump shows his true business instincts: never put yourself in front of a bullet for a friend, because there are no friends.  He saw the move as utterly moronic, and fired her because she can’t fake-work for him if she’s going to have empathy.

However, the best episodes came when those who obviously wouldn’t be winning were kicked off the show.  Contenders like Jesse James, Brande Roderick, and Melissa Rivers remained, all bringing different positives and negatives to the game.  James seemed to have a keen business instinct, as he actually , you know, runs a big-ass company.  His laid back demeanor belied a quiet intensity, as he took over a project when he became project manager.  However, his inability to raise charity dollars made him a target for Donald’s canning.  He was fired in the second to last episode, along with Brande Roderick.

Roderick’s firing might be the most perplexing.  She raised the second-most money on the show behind Annie Duke, helped gear her teams to sevearl wins with her presentation and social skills, and came into her own by defending herself in the boardroom.  However, she had a couple things working against her.  She was blonde, she was pretty, and Trump probably never looked above her chest to see that she had a brain.  He fired her simply because he didn’t feel in his gut she ‘had it’, whatever ‘it’ was.  Trump’s chauvinism reared its head.  The arbitrary nature of the firings on this show continue to amaze me.  It’s what makes the show so great.  Performance can only take the celebs so far, as what ultimately matters is whether Trump had corn flakes or oatmeal for breakfast that morning when he decides one’s fate.

The best firing of them all came when the teams were three on three, with Clint Black, Joan Rivers and Jesse James on one side, and Melissa Rivers, Annie Duke and Brande Roderick on the other.  Duke had proven herself to be a terrific gameplayer, as she understood it WAS a game.  She took out the emotional aspect of it and looked at it as any whore pit viper would: something to be won.  It’s business and it’s really just fake television business, so there’s no reason to denigrate other players.  Check out her blog to see how much she thought it all out. What she did was point out people’s flaws in regards to how they approached the game, and apparently that alienated Melissa and Joan Rivers.  When Melissa was fired she erupted like a volcano, spewing hate and stampeding out of the boardroom and out of the building.  Her mother followed, but not before calling Annie every name under the book (including comparing her to Adolph Hitler a few episodes prior).

Still, Joan came back.  And she somehow survived, and even thrived.  Clint Black took the reigns on the next project when there were only five left, lost the challenge, and was booted off.  Somehow Jesse James and Brande Roderick were kicked off when Trump convened the final four, and Rivers remained standing.  To that point she’d done very little to deserve it.  She’d raised no money, performed no task exceptionally well, and screwed up royally in her one major task (she didn’t tell guests about the costs of many of the perks she was ordering for them when she headed the hotel for a night).  She did have one thing going for her though: CONTROVERSY!

Controversy sells.  More directly, controversy gets ratings.  A Duke v J. Rivers final would certainly guarantee more fireworks than James v Duke or Roderick v Duke.   Annie won’t back down to Rivers’ childish taunts, and Rivers feels she’s standing up for some perceived slight against her child Melissa.  A three-hour episode with a bunch of people deciding on who to fake hire needs some pizazz, and this matchup will bring just that.  I came into this show disliking Annie Duke for her connection to Ulimate Bet.  I’ve come out the experience actually rooting for her to kick Rivers’ butt for all poker players and poker enthusiasts. It’s funny how a keenly edited weekly broadcast of a bunch of former and minor celebrities can make one start to like perhaps the most cunning of them all. Well played Annie, well played.


4 Responses to “The Celebrity Apprentice Finale Preview Post”

  1. Jay Ballz May 8, 2009 at 1:42 am #

    I’ve seen most of the episodes. Duke has been running the whole game. She should win.

  2. Steve May 8, 2009 at 11:04 am #

    I’ve seen most all of these episodes, and I agree – the firing of Brande Roderick made no sense, nor did the firing of Jesse James.

    And for those of us who have watched the previous seasons of The Apprentice before the celebrity version, consider this: if ANYBODY ELSE had done what Joan Rivers did – which was to throw a foul-mouthed cry-baby fit, grab her things and stomp off the set and quit, THEN show up the next day, late, dark eye glasses like she was nursing a hangover or something – would Trump have let her back on the show? NO WAY! In previous seasons, if ANY candidate expressed any ambivalence about staying on the show, they were fired before you could say “Atlantic City”. But not only does Joan Rivers get welcomed back by Trump, in the boardroom he constantly asks her opinion about everyone else, in spite of her obvious conflicts of interest and borderline psychotic emotional tirades and mood swings. The woman is bi-polar or something – one minute she’s spouting the most vicious of hateful attacks on Clint Black, the next she’s claiming to cry over the mere thought of saying anything negative about him. Gimme a friggin’ break, and fire that woman’s butt off the show NOW. Honestly, I’ve been a fan of Trump since “Art of the Deal”, but this kiss-butt attitude he has toward this gutter-brained psychotic is inexplicable. Maybe she has embarrassing photos of him or his children. But something weird is going on there.

    Annie Duke deserves to win in the biggest way. If Joan Rivers wins instead, I’ll toss my entire collection of Trump books and Trump University training boxes in the trash and never watch this show again.

  3. Ezzy Williams September 16, 2009 at 1:57 pm #

    I do agree with you. Brande Roderick’s firing is really perplexing. It also amaze me.

  4. haha3888 July 12, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    he very first week saw Andrew Dice Clay kicked off the show rather unceremoniously when he refused to do any work and then semi-quit in the boardroom

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