This was one action-packed week on “The Celebrity Apprentice.” There were tears, laughs, fights, funk, and even a President Obama cameo. Someone quit, someone else was fired, and Bret Michaels taught us another new word. So wipe that look of “stofusion” (Defined by Bret Michaels as “a mix of stoicness and confusion”) off your face and let’s recap what went down.
Last week, The Bald and the Bizarre hair band that remains on Team Rock Solid got beaten by the Wizards and Muggles on Team Tenacity. It was the third loss for the guys, so now they really, really, really need a win.
Selita Ebanks: (Victoria) Secret Angel delivers a $20,000 check to her charity: Shine on Sierra Leon, and then joins everyone for the next task. Trump announces that Sharon Osbourne is out sick and Cyndi Lauper will be leaving for Washington D.C. to meet Obama, who will sign an anti-hate crime bill that she and her charity have been fighting for. Trump gets all proud and puffy and lest anyone doubt his own importance in the world, tells Cyndi to say hello to his pal Obama. Obviously Trump knows the President, and what’s more he actually LIKES him. Obama must be so relieved! I know I am.
The task for everyone else is the annual ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ deodorant challenge. (Don’t they do one of these every year?) Each team is charged with creating a 30-second TV ad and 10-second internet ad to introduce the world to the latest Right Guard deodorant – Total Defense 5. The ads should target young athletic men, and each team gets to use an NBA superstar (Scottie Pippen or Clyde Drexler) in their spot.
Before they get started, Trump wants to shoot hoops and promises that if everyone plays, he’ll give $10,000 to the Project Manager whose team sinks the first basket. Just in case anyone needs a demonstration, Trump takes the first shot - cut to the basket- and scores. Really he could have gone pro but when you’re as great as Donald Trump at so many things, you’ve just got to pick and choose. Maria the WWE Action Hero is the only one who scores, and Holly Robinson Peete’s charity gets $10,000.
After that adrenaline rush, the teams break off into their work spaces, meet with executives, and brainstorm/bulldoze their way to a concept for their ads.
Despite the executives saying that mom’s are NOT the target audience, Holly Robinson Peete thinks their concept of a mom discovering her son’s “First Moments of Funk” is spot-on. I would bet her another $10,000 that this comes back to bite her in the ass. That said, their concept sounds cute and Scottie Pippen is adorable as the “funky godfather.”
Over at Rock Solid, Bret Michaels is buzzing around, talking about concepts, acting them out, dressing Goldberg up like a tree, etc. Curtis admits that when the guy stops behaving like a manic bumblebee long enough to share his ideas with the team, Bret is pretty strong.
At this point, I’m really missing Cyndi. Holly Robinson Peete – not so much. Cyndi checks in from D.C. and Holly gives her a worthless job, so that she feels included but doesn’t mess with HRP’s own brand of remarkable creativity. Still paranoid that she may have to listen to someone else’s ideas, Holly tells Selita to “manage” Cyndi when she gets back the next day. Queen Robinson Peete gets back to work, but is secretly still thinking about Cyndi and how that feather-brained moron is meeting Obama when everyone knows that Holly’s the member of Team Tenacity most worthy of that honor.
In the middle of everything, Bret gets a text to call his daughter and finds out that she’s being tested for diabetes. As we’ve learned in previous episodes, Bret is diabetic and is on the show to raise money for the American Diabetes Association. He is understandably emotional as he explains the situation to the cameras and his teammates. It’s nice to see everyone being supportive, and Bret seems to handle the difficult situation as well as someone in these bizarre circumstances can.
Each team prepares for their shoot and Trump’s eyes and ears check-in. George doesn’t think Selita looks busy enough, which, if her team loses, is pretty much a bulls-eye on her back. Ivanka checks in with the guys and Curtis provides the perfect example of how every PM should manage these check-ins. 1) Don’t let your loose cannon creative teammate anywhere near the powers that be. Both parties will walk away less confident. 2) Control the check-in by dealing with it directly. Leaving the Trump Rep to wander around and observe puts everyone and anyone at risk. (See: Selita) 3) Be calm and confident about your work… even if you’re not. Give your Trump the answers they are looking for and they will leave sooner and let you get back to work.
In Washington, Obama signs the anti-hate crime bill to prevent hate crimes against the LGBT community. He shakes a beaming Cyndi Lauper’s hand. She’s proud. I’m proud.
Of course, leave it to HRP and her henchwoman Summer Something to kill that buzz. Cyndi calls to check in and share the story she was assigned earlier. Summer crawls out of Holly’s butt to answer her phone and is dismissive and rude. Cyndi knows she’s being ignored, but takes it with a grain of salt. After all, in the real world, she knows she’d never work with a “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper” has-been who can’t even get Raven- Symone to return her calls. Meanwhile, Holly smells some kid’s armpit.
In the edit room, the guys are laughing and working well together. Cut to Tenacity, where Maria dares to have an opinion and is called conniving and twitchy by Holly’s loyal hench-angel. The women’s edit issues continue the next day with the return of Cyndi. Holly has recorded a 1-line “jingle” for the spot, and the Grammy winner among them has a suggestion to enhance the sound. In a surprising move, Holly listens to Cyndi for a few seconds before shutting her up and touting her own musical brilliance. Don’t underestimate HRP. “Cyndi’s not the only one in the entertainment business,” she says, and then pretends to know what she’s doing before taking on the martyr role and sacrificing greatness to let Cyndi do her thing. Summer assures her that she won’t let Cyndi steal her musical thunder and Holly goes off to eat another team member for lunch.
Maria is Holly’s next target. She charges Maria with creating the team’s 10-second ad, and then goes to work on her presentation. Since she’s a control freak and not a manager, Holly ignores Maria and declines to look at the spot until it’s too late and she can attack Maria for her incompetence.
Team Rock Solid presents their ads and the executives react with what Bret coins as “stofusion.” Then Team Tenacity presents and though there are more smiles and laughs, the subsequent conversation with Trump suggests something is amiss.
Before we go to the boardroom, Michael Johnson needs to talk to the Donald in his office, one on one. It turns out Michael needs to leave for personal reasons. Trump’s not happy. People aren’t supposed to leave until he decides it’s time for them to leave. In the boardroom, he puts the question out to the remaining celebs: Who else is going to flake?
He recounts how Darryl left, then Michael, and Sharon’s sick… or maybe she’s faking because everything that happens is just the universe trying to mess with the Donald and his TV show. Trump asks if Bret’s going to leave him too. Bret says he wants to stay more than anything but if his daughter’s diagnosed with diabetes, he has to take care of her. With his own daughter sitting beside him, Trump knows he must move on to other boardroom matters.
They watch the ads and each team thinks theirs is the best. Trump announces that the men won, even though it seemed like the executives thought the women’s ad was funnier. Of course, the fact that the ads were targeted to moms was a negative, as was the fact that the 10-second ad was just a cut of the 30-second ad.
Rock Solid wins and the three remaining members of the team toast and watch as Holly blames everyone else for what Ivanka correctly points out was her one-woman show. Holly fights back. She talks about how Selita was lazy and Maria is conniving and Cyndi’s not the only entertainer. Trump says to leave Cyndi out of it because she was with the President and he’s obviously not firing her. HRP takes this to mean that Cyndi should be banned from speaking for the rest of the day. “Okay MOM,” Cyndi shoots back before realizing that she’s letting her True Colors shine through a little too brightly and reigns it back in. Holly’s pet Summer begs Trump to spare her master and take the Angel or Red-headed Devil in her place.
Trump consults with his advisors and the wise sage, George Ross, says, “You have to fight in the boardroom.” Trump understands. He calls Holly, Maria, and Selita back in and lets the pitbulls fight it out while Selita sits quietly. Finally he calls her out for not going psycho during a conversation that has nothing to do with her. She continues to not go psycho and reminds him (and everyone) that she won money for her charity last week, proved she’s not just a dumb bra model, and knows that this will be the extent of her accomplishments since she’s not interesting or famous. Trump lets Maria and Holly go one more round, and then gives Selita the boot. No Fire = You’re Fired.
Next week: Sharon and Cyndi are back and Tenacity’s “Cumbaya moment is over.” Sounds like fun!
Story by Elissa Farkas
Starpulse contributing writer