By Sarah Devlin
April 18, 2011
Season 11 of "Celebrity Apprentice" is already well under way, so let's dive right in, shall we?
Eliminated so far: Jose Canseco, Richard Hatch, Dionne Warwick, Niki Taylor, Lisa Rinna and David Cassidy. Still in the game: Lil Jon, Meat Loaf, John Rich, NeNe Leakes, LaToya Jackson, Star Jones, Marlee Matlin and Hope Dworaczyk. Since the contestants are celebrities (or "celebrities," rather) they're each playing for a particular charity. The teams are divided by gender -- the men's team is called "Backbone" and the women's "A.S.A.P." (Artists, Singers, Authors, and Professionals for a Purpose). Donald Trump still appears to be playing a large role on the show (despite his recent bid for the presidency), thereby demonstrating his very presidential ability to multitask. Well played, Trump.
Mark McGrath and his "Real Housewives"-style facelift got the boot last week when the men lost the Australian Gold suntan lotion challenge. It was between McGrath and Busey for elimination, and when Busey is the one who returns from the boardroom, the ladies shriek with delight. Lil Jon's ("Rapper/Entrepreneur") face, on the other hand, is a mask of despair. John Rich ("Country Star") has a very After School Special sort of confrontation with Busey, during which both of them mutter vaguely threatening things at one another, then go their separate ways. Just a normal cocktail party conversation between two would-be moguls!
LaToya Jackson, last week's challenge winner, pays a visit to AIDS Project Los Angeles, an organization she says is especially important to her in the wake of her brother's death. She gives them three checks, for $10,000, $20,000 and $25,000. Way to bury the lead, LaToya! It's a very sweet scene and the program director is obviously overwhelmed by her generosity — whoops, out of time, gotta head to the Trump Tower Grill!
With all the apprentices assembled in the lobby, The Donald plugs both the restaurant and Omaha Steaks, the company that will issue their next challenge. They will be writing, directing and starring in a cooking demonstration featuring Omaha Steaks products. Hope Dworaczyk ("Playmate of the Year") volunteers to be the project manager for the women. Trump literally says "Whoa, Playmate of the Year, fellas" when she volunteers, single-handedly setting feminism back two decades. Busey volunteers to head up the men's team, and Trump calls him a moron. Fair enough.
Dude brainstorming session: looooots of detailed questions from Busey about slaughtering cattle. There is some gentle ribbing between the men, quite a bit of animosity toward Busey, and very little in the way of human drama or compelling television.
Lady brainstorming session: lots of cooing over petite filets and cookie dough. Women be dieting! And then ruining said diet with a cookie dough binge! Upon arriving at the studio where they will be taping their demo, the ladies decide to change their menu at the last minute, which concerns LaToya. NeNe mocks her penchant for baby talk, which is a pretty disrespectful way to talk about the woman who gave us "Heart Don't Lie." LaToya is having trouble cooking the burgers they planned to make, because her family (yes, that family) employed personal chefs when she was growing up. "Do you live in America? That's what we do, eat hamburgers," NeNe interviews exasperatedly.
Ivanka Trump checks in with the guys and politely laughs when Lil Jon and Meat Loaf basically ask her to form a suicide pact with them. Ivanka is a bit of a robot. She interviews: "I felt like I walked in on a group therapy session! It was... fascinating." Poor man's Scott Disick (take a moment to think about what that looks like), or rather co-host Donald Trump, Jr., checks in on the women. They've decided on a tagline: "Time to discover what delicious really is." Fine, but it's a cooking demo for steaks, not a day spa.
Meanwhile, John Rich is upset because Gary Busey apparently waited until the cameras weren't rolling to call him "boy" in a vaguely derogatory manner. Busey reacts pretty reasonably, saying he doesn't recall the incident but that he's sorry. John Rich refuses to accept his apology and storms out of the room, as men do.
Time for the girls' demo! They seem to have it together. The audience reacts well to their presentation, and their food looks good (lemon cake, get in my belly). The Omaha Steaks top brass whisper to each other that they wish the women were saying "Omaha Steaks" instead of "Omaha," but the crowd is eating it up.
The men's presentation starts strong, with Meat Loaf doing some actual cooking and making plenty of gentle puns. Gary makes it weird almost immediately, pontificating in the foreground about anniversary dinners and the meaning of love. It looks like the guys, despite being much bigger messes than the ladies during the prep stage, are better at working the crowd. The show tries to convince us that Busey is on the cusp of moving the audience to tears, until he starts talking about fathers and children flying kites after dinner and loses the room. But THEN, the guys get out the big guns and invite a few audience members to eat the food they just made. Audience participation, man. It's like liquid gold!
Trump conference time! Though the men of Omaha Steaks liked both teams, after about 20 minutes of filler and various players selling each other out in the boardroom, the women are dubbed the winners! That is actually not how I thought this would go down. Hope's charity, Best Buddies, will get $20,000 for her trouble. Trump tells the women to go back to their suite and watch television. Huh?
Of course, this means that SOMEONE'S GETTING FIRED! I can't imagine they're going to get rid of the ball of crazy that is Gary Busey. Maybe Lil Jon? He was a disappointing non-presence throughout the episode. John Rich brings up the "Boy" Debacle of 2011. Busey counters that he was calling him "k'boy" instead of "boy," like the Dallas…K'boys. Everyone in the boardroom argues about this for several minutes.
Oh! What! Gary Busey, despite being an "amazing guy" (per Trump), is FIRED! Hats off to the show for getting off the crazy train much earlier than I thought they would. He takes it well, yakking about rainbows in his post-elimination interview — literally just talking about rainbows, and where he is in relation to them. We'll miss you, Busey!
Coming up next week: everyone is high on Busey's departure, NeNe hates her team members, and Star Jones throws down. Can't wait! See you next week!
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