This week: Meat Loaf makes a meal of himself in front of the viewing audience, LaToya milks Michael’s fame, and Marlee shows the teams how to bring in the money.
We return to the aftermath of Dionne Warwick’s leaving last week, as the two teams gather. The Men (BackBone) are ecstatic, celebrating their third win in a row, but the Women (ASAP) are in tatters, with NeNe Leakes weeping over Dionne’s rudeness, Star comforting NeNe (“She gone, she gone.”,) and LaToya Jackson telling Lil Jon that she is being set up for a fall. “I know I’m dealing with sneaky, cunning girls, and I’m not used to it.”
Suddenly, the Batphone rings, and they are all summoned back to the Board Room to meet with Donald Trump. He knows that something went on with NeNe and Dionne at the elevator, and wants to know if NeNe was surprised. NeNe says Dionne was ”an old, bossy lady since she’s been here anyway,” and the ladies all break into giggles. Dismissing any idea of NeNe being a coward, as Dionne had viciously claimed, the Donald then assigns their next task: the celebrities are to make their own works of art. They can do paintings, sculpture, or what they want, whatever will sell. The second part of the assignment is to design new baseball caps for New Era, which also will be sold. The total of the two parts will be donated to the Project Managers charity, while the designer of the best selling cap will also receivable a ‘sizeable’ donation for their own personal charity. Marlee Matlin edges out LaToya as Project Manager, saying that her friends are not just in the Hollywood arena, they are philanthropists. John Rich will be BackBones PM. John wants to show Trump what Country Boys can do.
While Gary Busey blathers on about art and heart and clowns on bicycles, John calls a friend in Nashville, then tells the team his guys in Nashville are hopping on a jet with big checks. He guarantees the boys that he can get them $500 thousand dollars. He tells the team that as PM, he expects everyone to call in their friends and family for donations. The show is called ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ because the players are celebrities, so prove it by bringing in the money. Jose Canseco looks crestfallen when John says he’ll hold it against anyone who doesn’t bring in a donation.
Meanwhile, Marlee’s rallying the troops, saying there is to be no more backstabbing, no more fighting, and everyone is expected to act like adults. She is aware that John Rich has wealthy friends, but they all need to pull together to do what they can for their charities. She then targets LaToya, saying she’d be grateful if LaToya could appeal to her family (the Jacksons.) LaToya says there isn’t enough time to get anything from LA, but she will create “I Love You Michael, I Miss You” paintings to touch the hearts of people. LaToya knows she’ll be out of the game if she fails. (Hope Dworaczyk is apparently so far under the teams’ radar, she’s underground, as no one even looks her way.)
In the middle of the night, Jose receives a call from home that his father has taken a turn for the worse. He meets with Trump, who is sympathetic, and is given $25 thousand for his charity, B.A.T., before leaving the game. The Men discuss Jose’s situation the next day, and think one of their projects should honor the Canseco name. Richard Hatch interviews that the ‘jaded Hatch’ wonders if Jose could have cooked up his leaving, knowing he’d be unable to bring in any money to the team.
At the art store, both celebrity teams are giddy as they purchase paints, brushes and canvases for their projects. Gary wanders the store, in a daze, then asks Meat Loaf if he’s buying canvases for everyone. Meat Loaf’s back goes up, as he feels that Gary’s had a sense of entitlement since the first day, and Meat’s already on edge around him. Meat asks Mark McGrath to go with him to another store, and he admits that he’s about had it with Gary. Mark tells Meat they need to take it down, and talk it out before emotions get too high, or the situation will implode.
Marlee tells her team that John Rich is the ‘King of Nashville’, so they’ve got a real battle on their hands. LaToya pulls out a special shirt that was made before Michael Jackson died, which is signed, and one of only two made. It is her personal shirt. She says she carries the shirt with her everywhere, because it means a lot to her, but she knows that Michael would have wanted to have the shirt used for charity. Marlee says she got goosebumps when she saw the shirt.
When BackBone arrive at the studio where they will be working, each celebrity lays out their supplies, but Meat can’t find the bag with the markers he purchased. Suddenly, Meat accuses Gary of taking his supplies, and begins ranting and cursing that he’s sick and tired of Gary’s entitlement. The F bombs explode like grenades. Mark and Lil Jon physically stand between Meat and Gary, to prevent Meat ‘tearing Gary Busey’s head off.’ Gary is taken out to the hallway while Meat tries to determine what supplies are his, and is told to stay there until things cool down. But of course, Gary wanders back in the room. How embarrassing! Meat’s missing supplies are found. John tells the group that the language and bad energy is not how their charities should be represented, and they all try to re-focus on doing their art. Meat does not apologize to Gary, despite Gary’s overtures. Richard Hatch, who has calmly worked away at his own art throughout the battle, carries on without a word, which is odd, since it’s clear that Meat Loaf has just made a colossal fool of himself, and Richard is very quick with a cutting remark.
Team ASAP seem serene in comparison, as the ladies each work on their canvases and caps. LaToya has glued a glove to the front of a cap, and is “making it sparkly for Michael.” The ladies are also working jointly on one canvas that will have all of their hand prints and signatures together. Star doesn’t want to get her hands dirty, but NeNe assures the camera that Star will indeed, as the canvas will be called “Sisterhood.” There’s tension between Star and NeNe during the process.
BackBone give themselves until 3 p.m. to finish, as they don’t want to be caught in traffic. The clock shows 3:20 pm as ASAP still paint on, and Marlee is on the phone, trying to get in as many donations as possible. Donald Trump Jr arrives, and cynically says that if they get big money for their art efforts, it doesn’t say much for the Art world. (I’m getting to like Jr – he’s got a wicked sense of humor.) Jr interviews that the women seem very down, and he hopes that doesn’t have an impact on their completing their task. He tries to cheer them up by saying the tide can turn, but not if they don’t do something about it.
The men arrive at ‘BackBone Gallery’, and begin to set up their art. John has decorated a guitar, a pair of boots, and a hat. Meat Loaf has done interesting work by coating basketballs with paint, and using them as his medium. Lil Jon has used a spatter paint effect for his canvases, while Gary has done a primitive styled ‘American Buffalo’ painting. The groups’ hats are displayed together. One of the hats is dedicated to Jose, on which each member has written a brotherly note. Trump’s associate, George Ross, arrives to check on progress, and is fawned upon by the men. George tells them he’s impressed, but let’s see how it sells.
Three and a half hours before the showing, and the ladies are packing up their art. Only now does it occur to them that they might have trouble with traffic. NeNe admits that the team has been moving slow, and taking their time with the hats. It’s now five p.m., on a Friday, and the traffic is bumper to bumper. Lil Jon and Mark, with time on their hands, decide to sneak over to team ASAP’s gallery, and see what their opponents have on offer. Finding the gallery empty, Lil Jon says that ASAP stands for “As Sorry As Possible,” while Mark takes photos of the blank walls to show the others. Lil Jon mocks the emptiness and lack of supplies MTV Cribs style. At the gallery, Meat Loaf tearfully apologizes to Gary about the blow up, saying there was no excuse for his actions, and he is truly sorry. Gary accepts the apology graciously. They both admit to having gone to Anger Management courses in the past, although it seems Meat’s didn’t take. Busey then has to give Meat another of his acronyms, this one on the word ‘forgive,’ and I truly feel Meat will take back his apology and beat Gary to a pulp right then and there. But they hug, with Gary saying he feel the incident has brought them closer together.
For all their fame and money, team ASAP can’t make their art appear on time, as they finally reach the gallery just half an hour before the opening. But Catering has arrived, so at least they have food and wine. Five minutes before the opening, the truck arrives and the ladies all run out in heels, unpacking the canvases and madly arranging the art.
BackBone’s opening on time, and they have a line of people waiting to get in. I have to say, the men have mostly outdone themselves – the offerings look great. A friend of Trace Atkins, who’s away playing for the troops in Iraq, brings $5000 on his behalf. Lil Jon’s friends also buy two decorated bottles for $5000, and the heat is on! Mark McGrath sells a painting for $10,000, and even Gary gets $5000 for his canvas “4 Hands and a Purple Heart.” Richard Hatch looks nervous, as he hasn’t sold anything. He lowers his prices to $1000 each, and finally sells both.
The ASAP Gallery also has a line up, as they finally open. But they only have a few people, while BackBone’s showing is getting raucous. John sells his hat and boots for $50,000 each. Marlee feels that she’s letting her team down, but keeps upbeat. Finally, the high rollers begin to arrive, and the money starts coming in. Other celebrities begin to arrive, and a lot of air kissing ensues. Donations and bids arrive over the phone, fax and email, and Star handles the money processing, saying they have already reached over $150,000, before $99,000 each arrives from three more donors. One of the $99,000 is for the Michael Jackson shirt LaToya donated.
But hold on! John Rich’s buddies pay $470,000 for his rhinestone guitar! And with that, BackBone’s sold out the last of their goods. They are ecstatic and feel that, whichever team wins, they’ve done terrifically for their charities.
Actor and Painter, Frederico Castelluccio (‘Furio’ on The Sopranos,) drops by both galleries, having been invited by Mr Trump to be guest judge for the painted hats.
Board Room time! Both teams are sure they have won. Meat Loaf and Lil Jon are hailed as the best artists of the group, with Lil Jon thanking Trump for the task, since he intends to continue doing art. Trump tells Lil Jon that he’ll expect 20% of the profits, since he started him on this second career, and Jr (bless him!) says; “Only 20? What’s going on here?” (I’m sorry, I’m really getting a crush on Jr!) John praises Gary’s artwork, saying that it’s the story behind the art that is fascinating.
The ‘battle’ is brought up, and Meat owns up to handling the situation badly, and losing his temper. Gary tells his side of the story, placing blame on no one. John is complimented by all as handling the team perfectly.
When asked, Marlee says she was happy with the team. Star notes Marlee’s passion about her charity, and says it was an honor to work with her.
Trump announces that, out of all the decorated hats, LaToya’s was chosen as the best, so she will receive $25,000 for her personal charity, AIDS Project Los Angeles. Trump then says that they have never raised so much money, even in a whole season, as the two teams have done during this one challenge. Trump says he’d like to make a deal: since both teams did so well, if they both agree, both teams will keep their money for their charity. Marlee and John agree. Trump says they both have bigger hearts than he, as he wouldn’t have taken the deal. George Ross tells the men that they raised $626,900, an amount never before reached on any show or any season. Junior tells the women they did very well too, raising $986,000, for an all-time Apprentice record. Marlee’s interpreter cries along with Marlee, so he was either overcome, or the best interpreter ever! Trump notes that Marlee was short just $14,000 to make a million, so he’ll kick that money in himself.
Still, it’s now time to fire someone. Trump asks the women to stay, and then says that, since the men lost Jose, perhaps they should not fire anyone this week. Since the women won, it’s at their discretion. If they ask, he’ll fire someone, regardless of the amount of money raised by the men’s team. As Marlee agonizes over the decision, Star leans forward to whisper in Marlee’s ear, and Marlee has to remind Star that she’s deaf, and can’t hear her. The team consults, and Marlee decides that, with all due respect to Jose’s plight, the women have suffered three losses in a row, and they do want someone on the men’s team to be fired. Business is, after all, business. Trump takes their decision, but asks them to stay, and make the final decision on the fired BackBone member.
The men first say that their weakest member should be judged based on fund raising ability, and that would be Richard Hatch. Hatch admits he raised the least, and Trump says that, in all fairness, after spending four years in jail, he doesn’t have many friends to draw on. Playing Devil’s Advocate, John says that despite the jail time, Richard is still a celebrity, and should have been able to come up with more. Trump then asks the ladies, who would they fire? Hope and Star both say Richard, since he’s the weakest fundraiser in a philanthropy based game. (Well, Star says that; Hope just names Richard.)
Getting back to the men, Trump asks John who was their weakest player, outside of fundraising, and who would he least like to go forward with for the remainder of the game. John says that when it comes to focus, the weakest link is Gary Busey. All of the other members name Gary as well. Although Gary is brilliant in small bursts, his focus is lacking. Jr remarks that, although passionate, Gary’s rambling is unfocused, and his points are lost in a stream of words. Marlee interrupts to say that Gary is brilliant and passionate, and an asset to the men’s team for future challenges. (Huh?) She says that she doesn’t know how the men relate when working together, but based on fundraising, she’d fire Richard Hatch. Despite the entire team voting Gary Busey out, and John Rich defending Richard’s intelligence and team playing, Trump fires Richard. Richard says that he never even got a chance to defend himself. Trump tells George and Jr that the women made a strategic move, and if anyone should understand that, it’s Richard Hatch.
In the exit limo, Richard says that it was a privilege to work with Donald Trump, but he disagrees with the decision. He feels that, given time to defend himself, he could have given reasons to keep him. But oh well, life happens.
Next week: Freakin’ Pirates. The men want Gary to go, and LaToya and Nene argue. Nene says that if they win, the guys sucked.