All-Star Celebrity Apprentice – Episode 8 – Recap and Results (UPDATED)

The All-Stars Go High-Tech to Create a Demonstrational Video for LG. Joan Rivers Guest Stars. With just six All-Stars remaining, the teams are asked to write, produce and direct a demonstrational video to highlight LG’s Smart Home and Home Entertainment systems. One Project Manager’s runaway concept leaves the team with little choice but to follow their leader, while the other team gets too caught up in small details. Boardroom Advisors: Joan Rivers and Ivanka Trump.

Lil’ John’s team won. Gary Busey as fired after his team lost.


Ahab’s in Charge, and He’s Gone Mad

Don’t let it be said that you can’t learn anything from watching Celebrity Apprentice. Because the thing you do learn is that, even in the suits-and-ties world of business, crazy will be tolerated for the sake of brilliance. Or even just the hope of brilliance.

Case in point: Gary Busey. This week, Gary wrote and directed a video for his team that, as Penn put it, went farther up the river of darkness than any other project on Celebrity Apprentice. And yet, James, the pleasant executive from LG electronics, sat through the result with a face that never cracked its mildly expectant smile — and even rewarded the teams with full smart appliance suits for all the remaining celebrities’ charities.

But I’m starting in the middle. The show starts without a return visit to Opportunity Village. Instead, we get Lil Jon marveling that Brande gave him a pass the past week. He’s the final member of the original Team Power and that makes him feel “like the black guy in a horror movie.” He’s determined to survive now.

In Times Square, Joan Rivers totters in with Trump and LG executive “James.” When asked how it feels to have won the game, Joan replies, “I’m bankrupt!”

Trump does a nice tie-in with Times Square, entertainment, and technology leading into the task: To create a 90-second demonstrational video of LG’s Smart Home and Home Entertainment Systems. Ivanka explains that they’ll be judged on creativity, brand integration, and presentation. Lil Jon and Gary take the Project Manager positions for their teams.

What follows is one of the most enjoyable episodes this entire season. It’s more fun than watching Stephen Baldwin being fired.

For one thing, the task actually looks like fun. The teams meet up with LG techies in this set they’ve already built for the videos. (So, it won’t look like something middle-school students created in the gym with cardboard sets.) The set contains a living room, and a kitchen/utility room. All filled with “smart appliances.” It’s like a home of the future, with a 3D TV, refrigerator, oven, and washer/dryer that communicate with a smart phone and/or electronic tablet. Which makes my Jetson’s watching inner child turn cartwheels. I can see that reflected in both Lisa and Marilu’s faces when the techies show how to use the computer embedded in the refrigerator door to create a grocery list or find recipes for the ingredients inside. Robot kitchen appliances! The Future is now!

Penn is also excited. He self-identifies as a technology geek and early adopter, so he is LG’s target demographic. Gary, on the other hand, is not. He’s everyone’s befuddled grandpa and keeps walking away when the techies explain how to use things like the phone and 3D TV. I understand why, because it’s a lot of information to take in. But it doesn’t bode well for him as the project manager.

When Plan B starts to brainstorm, Penn is full of ideas. He tries to throw out three of them, but Gary rejects each one. Lisa starts talking about a family from the 1950s transported to this new time and place, but Gary tells her to be quiet. I think it’s the sound of her voice that disturbs him. Lisa is understandably upset, though.

In the quiet, Gary comes up with an idea about a man turning into a mechanical dog. It makes perfect sense to him, but to no one else on his team. Or the world. Lisa laughs at the sheer absurdity of it, which unfortunately encourages Gary to take it ever farther. While he scurries off to hump the furniture, Lisa mutters to Penn about how disrespectful Gary was in shushing her. “We have bigger problems,” Penn mutters quietly.

“I’m worried about the overall idea,” Penn tells Gary. Gary nods. “I’m completely behind you…” Penn continues, but Gary wants him to be in full agreement with his heart. Then Lisa gets impatient, and Gary accuses her of yelling and talking down to him.

And so it goes for the rest of the day.

But Team Power is a thing of beauty. All three partners are excited by the task (even if Trace doesn’t show it). All three have different strengths that play perfectly into the project. Trace comes up with the initial idea, Marilu immediately learns a script filled with technical jargon and delivers it perfectly — so that anyone will think it’s easy and fun to live in this home. (Which, by the way, is really difficult.) Lil Jon is the perfectionist director, making sure that every product is highlighted, every angle covered, and every shot lit.

When Joan Rivers shows up to inspect their work, she thinks Marilu is great. Her only worry is that Lil Jon is wasting time on the details — making sure the lighting is correct.

In the middle of the day, Trace realizes he’s not needed on set and suggests to Lil Jon that he go to the editing room and start working on that as the video disks are filled up. Lil Jon jumps at that and figures he gains at least an hour from it.

Meanwhile, Gary is walking around his set, spewing ideas in a stream-of-consciousness monologue. Penn and Lisa follow with notepads, looking like 1960s secretaries. Penn types up the notes into a script, but even as he does so, he’s on the verge of a hysterical breakdown. “I don’t understand,” he cries, “I don’t understand at all.”

Magically, three young actors appear at Gary’s feet. He turns into the craziest acting teacher you ever saw (and that’s saying something, because intensity and insanity are the prime requisites for teaching acting), while they listen, enrapt. Creepily, the actress playing Gary’s wife, and the actress playing his daughter are approximately the same age.

We see a shot of Gary turning straight to the camera and pushing it to the side. Lisa tells Gary not to do that, and he takes her aside to tell her not to yell at him in front of others.

With two hours left in the day and there’s no real footage yet. When Ivanka shows up, Penn warns her that they might not have any video to show the executive.

But perhaps her presence spurs Gary into actual filming. She watches him pretend to be a mechanical dog. “Is he barking or throwing up,” she asks, but so nicely that Gary doesn’t take offense. Ivanka laughs at Gary’s antics, so at least she’s enjoying herself.

The next day, the videos are presented to James, Ivanka, and Joan. James maintains a pleasant, expectant expression throughout — and does not change it for anything. This makes Lil Jon extremely nervous.

Once both presentations are finished, Ivanka and Joan discuss them with James. He thought Marilu was more effective than Lil Jon in the presentation, but notes that Lil Jon was the “video guy.” He also liked that Penn was such an early adopter that he actually demonstrated the smart technology in doing the presentation. Joan really liked Gary as a presenter. That tells me more about Joan than I’d really like to know. No one, however, understood the concept of the mechanical dog.

It’s Board Room time!

Trump starts with the announcement that LG liked both videos so much that they are gifting all six remaining charities with a full suite of smart appliances. Joan Rivers gives a little encouragement to the six celebrities left in the competition. Oddly enough, the advice is not to run away as quickly as they can.

Marilu retells every single detail of her first meeting with Joan Rivers on August 26th, 1973. Trump marvels at Marilu’s freakish memory and conjures up the memory of Annie Duke just to piss Joan off. He thinks Marilu could clean up in the casinos by counting cards. Penn dismisses that because the casinos have limited the spread and it’s harder to cheat now.

That’s not cheating, ” Trump says. “O….kay,” says Penn’s face. And right there, folks, is the fundamental difference between Donald Trump and Penn Jillette.

So, after a minute of Team Power being happy with their video, Trump turns to Gary for his assessment of his team. Gary feels abandoned because Penn and Lisa did not provide positive reinforcement. He would fire Lisa for being loud and confrontational.

We watch the videos. The story of Gary’s video is that he’s a befuddled husband. Smartly, the other actors take on the task of explaining the appliances, but there’s no real product shots to help illustrate what they’re saying. At one point, Gary calls himself a mechanical dog and starts barking. His future son-in-law stops him by handing him a smart phone.

Lil Jon commends the video by saying it covered some points that his video missed. But the general reaction in the Board Room is confusion.

The Power video is extremely good. Marilu is a mother welcoming her son and friend home from college wearing 3D glasses. Her son asks why, and she starts explaining (and demonstrating) how the TV works, then the refrigerator, and so on. All beautifully shot with plenty of close-ups of the smart phone and computer screens. Afterwards, Joan declares that she wants everything!

Team Power is the clear winner. Lil Jon wins the $40,000 for the American Diabetes Association. Visit LG Electronics USA Facebook page to like Lil Jon’s video (but only if you do like it). He can earn up to another $35,000 by accruing likes. Lil Jon does a happy dance in the suite, while Trace calls Marilu a rockstar for her performance in the video.

We have twenty minutes left in the show at this point, which bodes for an eventful Board Room. What we get is a re-make of the movie Rashomon, as Gary presents a reality in which he was “abandoned” by his team mates, Lisa denies yelling at Gary, and Penn uses his most soothing voice to make his version sound reasonable.

With such disagreement, Ivanka tries to provide some outside perspective. She says that Gary did seem unsupported, but stresses that Lisa and Penn did not understand the overall concept of the video — and thus had no clue how to support it.

Gary, unlike most of the celebrities, seems eager to stay. He adopts the strategy of fast-talking, but he really doesn’t have an argument against Penn, who has corrected the flaws in his game from the last season, or against Lisa, who has reduced the size of her lips.

Trump indulges Gary for five or six minutes, then commends him for doing a much better time this time around. In other words, Gary was occasionally lucid. But since Gary was responsible for all the creatives decisions on his video, and his video was bizarre and incoherent, Gary is fired.

Gary leaves without a word. Trump notes that it was tough firing Gary. “Very, very tough,” Joan Rivers agrees, making her largest contribution to the episode.

Gary shares this nugget of wisdom in the town car, “This is what happens when you don’t have your team mates with you. They want you out. But, who cares? I’m going hoooommmme!”

Congratulations, Gary! You’re free! Free! Freeeeeeeeee!

Next week: There are five celebrities left. Trace is bored.