Who will be fired tonight from Celebrity Apprentice? Discuss the show here, and later, read Montavilla’s recap.
Quick Results: LaToya Jackson’s team lost the Crystal Light challenge. Although she tussled with Omarosa the entire task, LaTyoya inexplicably brings back Brande Roderick and Denis Rodman.
Trump feels that he has no choice but to fire Latoya Jackson
The recap stresses two points this week: Gary Busey is “distracting” (Marilu Henner’s euphemism for “crazy”) and Omarosa rules through terror. We watch Omarosa getting congratulations and air kisses from her team. Claudia Jordan, however, doubts Omarosa’s tears. Marilu apologizes to Gary and says, “You have a big heart,” spurring him in an extended riff on healing and angels and making Marilu question every decision she’s ever made in her life.
Omarosa visits the Sue Duncan Children’s Center to deliver her check. She interrupts the heartwarming story of one beneficiary of the center to make sure she weaves Michael Clarke Duncan’s complete resume into the conversation. Then, she cries.
We rejoin the others at the Paley Center for Media. Crystal Light is this week’s sponsor and executive Tiffany is there with her male sidekick to explain the task. The celebrities must write and produce a soap opera featuring a Crystal Light Liquid, This is the same as ordinary Crystal Light, except that it’s in a squirt bottle, instead of a canister.
La Toya is appointed Project Manager for Team Power, because she’s creative. Stephen Baldwin alpha-males his way to the Project Manager position of Plan-B. Stephen Baldwin plans to be dominant. He promises to be “a Gordon Gecko ruthless psycho all rolled into one,” forgetting that that’s just one thing. So, he’s one thing all rolled into one thing. He starts his reign by meeting with Tiffany and Co., and determining that the squeeze bottle means that they can squeeze the liquid from it into water. Stellar!
La Toya starts out concerned about getting work out of Dennis Rodman. But her big problem turns out to be Omarosa, who initially fights (tooth and nail) to get an acting role, then (toothier and nailier) to buy props and costumes instead of writing, and then leaves entirely to fight toothiest and nailiest with some tabloid TV show. That last part isn’t really a problem, because the team gets on better once Omarosa is gone. But she causes a bit of turmoil when she shows up the next day three minutes before the performance. Somewhere in all that, La Toya comments that Omarosa probably gave Michael Clarke Duncan his fatal heart attack. Okay, yikes. Or, as RuPaul would put it: Oh no, she better di’n’t!
Meanwhile, Stephen Baldwin, blessed with professional performers and actors, plays the petty tyrant. The show tries to play this up as a big problem, but Penn Jillette is there to do his Penn and Teller thing of explaining the trick to the audience. He lets us know that all directors are petty tyrants and Stephen’s attitude is more laughable than frightening.
Soap opera stars Jack Wagner and Susan Lucci are assigned to help out Team Power and Team Plan B respectively. Trace Adkins is charmingly smitten by Susan Lucci.
Season 5 winner Arsenio Hall shows up to inspect the teams. He pulls La Toya into a closet to ask her about Omarosa and learns that she is a “conniving witch.” He finds Plan B so harmonious that he simply leaves them to carry on. He does reminds us that happiness doesn’t always equal success. Way to try and create suspense, Arsenio!
Team Power presents their scene. Their main ideas were to throw every soap opera cliché into the scene, followed by a “dun, dun, DUN!” musical effect, which is the audience’s cue to drink their complimentary Crystal Light. It’s a pretty terrific idea, but their execution is a bit rushed and the audience is cued too drink so many times they finally stop following the cue.
Plan B’s scene builds on one of Penn’s ideas. He compares one feature of the Crystal Light Liquid, the ability to make the flavor as weak or strong as you like, to the level of sex within a single soap opera scene. So, while Penn demonstrates mixing a little liquid into water, Lisa and Trace perform a mildly romantic scene. Penn mixes a stronger drink and Trace comes in with a cowboy outfit and a hornier attitude. When the strongest drink is mixed, Trace comes in tearing off his Crystal Light t-shirt, and Lisa leaves to “put on something even more fabulous.” Susan Lucci (as Lisa) comes onstage and Trace Adkins carries her off to the bed room. The audience applauds.
After commercial, Ivanka asks Tifffany and sidekick for their assessments. They credit Team Power with using classic soap opera tropes. But the product wasn’t central enough to the scene and the sound effect was used too much. Team Plan B integrated the producet very well, but only featured one flavor (while Team Power featured two). The executives found it confusing when Lisa turned into Susan Lucci.
During the next commercial, I decide that Plan B has probably won the challenge. They were better at integrating the product, which will always trump (pun intended) any other aspect of a task.
The bad news is that we have an entire hour of Board Room this week. The good news is that Ms. Brown M&M is gone and we’re spared her “business advice.”
Trump starts the Board Room by warning La Toya that she gets no do-overs this year. He immediately starts stirring up her team by asking her to name her stars. La Toya obliges by saying Omarosa was not a star. She was distracting and La Toya had to send her shopping to remove her negative energy from the group. Omarosa says she respects La Toya but makes sure to mention that she countermanded La Toya’s decision to send Dennis shopping and went herself.
Omarosa explains that she fought La Toya because she was the best person to pick out women’s clothing. (Earlier in the show, we see her annoyingly calling La Toya to make La Toya approve Every. Single. Purchase.) She had to leave the task that night to prevent TV shows from airing the 911 call from the night her fiancé died.
She was unsuccessful; the tape was aired (not that I ever noticed). Trump asks Dennis for his opinion and Dennis thinks they won. Brande thinks La Toya was strong and that Omarosa was a problem and they got on better after she left. Omarosa immediately takes credit for leaving and thus helping everyone out.
Trump then stirs Plan B up. It’s like stirring molasses. Everyone is proud of what they did and everyone else was great. Ivanka points out that they only featured one Crystal Light flavor and that this was a major problem. Penn continues to be an adult by taking responsibility for the problem and admitting that it was something he recognized and failed to solve.
Forced to choose a “weakest” player, Plan B unanimously picks Gary. Well, Gary doesn’t. He raises his hand to praise Stephen as a “champion of honesty,” and protest that he did everything he was asked to do.
Arsenio presses Omarosa about asking permission to leave, prompting a huge meltdown, while Claudia plots with Brande to get Omarosa sent home for her own mental health. La Toya tries to explain why Omarosa wasn’t used, but Trump gets distracted by Dennis Rodman’s handkerchief and the moment is lost.
Plan B is declared the winning team. Stephen wins $50,000 for The Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund. His team retires to the suite. Gary is bummed about being disrespected and puts his head down on a table like a little boy. He refuses to shake Stephen’s hand, but finally sits down to watch the Board Room.
Trump is currently discussing Dennis Rodman’s tattoos and Lil Jon’s removable grill. Even Lisa Rinna (of the magically shrinking lips) finds this absurd.
La Toya found Omarosa’s absence a distraction, but Claudia stepped up. Omarosa points out that her absence didn’t cause the loss for the team. The problem was lack of product integration. She blames La Toya for messing up the flavor names.
Ivanka — who is remarkably focused — dismisses Omarosa’s point. The executives didn’t care about La Toya’s slip. They cared that the product wasn’t more integrated. Omarosa goes back to her brand messaging mantra.
Stephen chortles that Brande and Claudia aren’t defending La Toya. Omarosa calls Claudia weak because she doesn’t like women fighting. Claudia responds by wading into the Board Room mud pit to attack Omarosa.
Brande notes that Omarosa had only ONE idea (a pretty terrible one involving Real Housewives) and La Toya asks Trump for the authority to fire someone herself. Hehe! Go La Toya!
Trump denies La Toya her request. Trump asks if La Toya likes Omarosa and she does not. Arsenio reminds La Toya that she called Omarosa a witch. Omarosa is shocked (shocked!) that someone resorted to name-calling. No one has ever done that before, she claims, clutching metaphoric pearls.
This prompts Trump to ask about cut-throat tactics and praise Arsenio for the civility with which he played the game. (I guess we’re just forgetting that Arsenio completely lost it and called Aubrey O’Day names that had to be bleeped out?)
La Toya picks Brande and Dennis as her fellow firees. Trump is flabbergasted, calling it one of the stranger choices ever. Arsenio basically tells La Toya that Trump is planning to fire Omarosa, but La Toya sticks with her decision.
As they wait in the lobby, La Toya explains that Trump was buying Omarosa’s tears over Michael’s death. Brande and Dennis can only shake their heads in disbelief.
Inside the Board Room, Trump, Ivanka, and Arsenio vainly try to figure out what La Toya was thinking — but none of it makes sense to them. (Hehe. Don’t mess with La Toya, Trump. There’s no crazy like Jackson crazy.)
The three celebrities return. “Why didn’t you bring Omarosa back?” Trump demands. La Toya mentions Omarosa’s tears, surprising Trump yet again. No, he was not taken in. He was so ready to fire Omarosa, he could taste it.
Trump finally boils it down to La Toya being afraid to face Omarosa in the Board Room. La Toya denies it, and, looking at her face, she’s telling the truth. Seriously, La Toya is the only person on her team to stand up to Omarosa, but apparently there is only so much crap a Jackson is prepared to take for petty checks and C-list celebrity. Once again, Trump is forced to fire someone for not playing his Board Room games.
La Toya makes her dignified way down the elevator and escapes into the night. She spends her town car ride in a scathing denouncement of Omarosa. It’s getting pretty funny how eager these celebrities are to jump ship this season. People are falling on their swords right and left. I’ll bet that hasn’t been so popular since Caligula made everyone in Rome play by his rules… hmm. Now there’s food for thought.
Was La Toya stupid or stupid like a fox? Maybe this is all a revenge plot (ala Murder on the Orient Express) all the celebrities are conspiring to foist Omarosa and Garey Busey into the final two? Do you have a crazy theory to explain why every project manager but Brande has thrown in the towel so far? And what absurdly trivial subject will Trump force the celebrities to fill time with next week? Share your thoughts below!