Celebrity Apprentice: Post-Show Analysis

Welcome to the post-show analysis! Here we can discuss the (yawn) drama from last night and speculate on the future of Donald Trump’s latest set of pawns.

The show opened with Trump meeting the contestants on a stage with a small orchestra in the background. As far as I could tell, this was to play Italian music as he spoke to Victoria Gotti. Gotti appears to be a personal friend of the Donald, which can definitely give her an advantage. Trump sometimes brings friends on the show in an effort to raise their profiles. For example, he tried hard last season to convince us that Latoya Jackson wasn’t a space cadet. He even re-hired her after firing her.

Patricia Velásquez and Paul Teutul, Sr. stepped up as the Project Managers for their respective teams of “Forte” and “Unanimous.” This is a good move if your primary motive is to raise money for your charity, because the first task always involves selling to the public. As we saw last night, tremendous sums can be raised through the power of celebrity and their rolodexes. It’s also better to be PM in the early tasks, because you’re less at risk. There are always a few dead weights on the team and they tend to leave first. Even if you lose, Trump will ask more about the slackers and less about the concept/leadership of the team. Later on, he’ll be much harder on a losing PM.

The first task on CA always contains these elements: Food, selling to the public, and fundraising. This tests the Project Manager’s ability to produce the food, plan the event, delegate tasks, exploit the star power of his/her team mates, and, most importantly, hit up friends for donations. These are all key qualities of the eventual winner.

Unfortunately for the drama of the two-hour episode, the teams worked too well. The editors were forced to use Victoria’s personal phone calls, and the possibility that Paul’s donors wouldn’t show up. Otherwise, everything worked well and the show was reduced to watching George drool over Lou Ferrigno’s topless body.

The firee, Cheryl Tiegs, made two mistakes. First, she held back on calling her friends in. On a fundraising task, this is a complete no-no. Even if the money isn’t going to your charity, you must be careful not to bring in the least amount of cash. As long as you can point to someone else as being poorer, Trump will keep you around.

Her second mistake was allowing herself to be put in the kitchen. Never take the kitchen jobs! It’s a clear signal that you are a beta, not an alpha. You want to be outside, showing your celebrity power in public by drawing in the crowds. You want to be on the planning committee, showing your leadership and smarts. You do not want to be the busboy of the team.

I thought Cheryl looked miserable and humiliated during the boardroom. I like her very much, and I liked that she was able to frame her firing less harshly by saying the show wasn’t for her. That’s maturity.

I was very impressed with Patricia. She’s determined, and I liked that she was right next to the cashier, counting the receipts as they came in. That’s a good fundraiser. I hope she gets another chance. Paul’s take was huge, but it doesn’t sit right with me that we don’t know anything about this mysterious donor who gave $305,000.

As for the show itself, the pacing was dreadful. Two hours was too long for such a drama-free group. They spent a lot of time on Patricia’s charity (The Wayuu Taya Foundation), which was good. But they could have spent a little more time letting us get to know the celebrities, and less on the boardroom, which dragged horribly — with more time spent on Lou Ferrigno’s body. When the eye-candy of the season is a 60-year-old man, you know you’re in trouble.

What are your thoughts on the show? Who is the next man or woman to get cut? How is Clay doing? Voice your thoughts in the comments!