'The Celebrity Apprentice' recap: The competition goes to the dogs

Gene_lWell, at least last night’s episode of The Celebrity Apprentice cleared up one thing: Nadia Comaneci actually does exist. One week after she was relegated to the background by the show’s producers, the Olympic gymnast made her presence known this week, only to get the boot for having virtually no presence. Not that The Donald’s choice to fire Nadia was necessarily the correct one: Usually a challenge that failed because of poor execution would lead to the firing of someone who actually worked on the production side of things. Not this time.

That’s because the real reason the women lost was empty-belly syndrome, a malady that leads to overacting and fatuously coordinated apparel. But let’s look at the plus side of Nadia’s ouster: At least we won’t have to spend any more time reading those pesky subtitles. Because, let’s face it, if you’re watching The Celebrity Apprentice, you’d rather get a Lennox Lewis jab to the face than have to read those distracting words rolling across the bottom of the screen.

Dubious elimination aside, however, last night’s episode boasted a taskthat was an improvement over last week’s who-has-the-richest-friendschallenge. This time, the teams were instructed to use theirskills as kinda sorta celebrities to create 30-second commercial spotsfor Pedigree’s adoption drive. Hitting things professionally and/oracting opposite Danny DeVito usually doesn’t prepare you for a futurein marketing—and it gave us viewers a chance to see who actually hadthe goods and who merely had an expansive Rolodex. On the women’s side,Telemundo exec Nely Galán took the reins asproject manager, while the men chose Gene Simmons (pictured) as their leader, even thoughLennox Lewis likes cats.

While the girls chose to meet with Pedigree official to talkdirection, the boys—and by boys I mean Gene—decided to skip out on themeet-and-greets to get started conceptualizing their ad. In this littlebrainstorming session, we learned that Vincent Pastore is trulyeloquent (“Boom. Boom. Boom. Dog. Dog.Dog.”) and that Trace Adkins gets testy when it comes todefending his ideas (“YOU DON’T BUY THAT VISUAL?!”). The men ultimatelydecided to take advantage of Lennox’s size and unlikely affectionfor animals (“I like cats.”) and opted to film a spot highlighting thedichotomous image of the heavyweight champ playing with a puppy.

But before Hydra had their plan completely plotted out, they wereinterrupted by one of those annoying, nettlesome little things witharms and legs…what are they called? Oh yeah, women. Ivanka paid theboys a visit to check up on their commercial concept, much to thechagrin of Hydra’s project manager. After point-blank refusing to gointo detail about their plan, Gene asked Ivanka whether hersisterly bond with Empresario would lead her to reveal Hydra’s ideas tothe women’s team. Gene’s comments could indeedbe considered sexist, but even worse, he delivered them in that leery perv voice that he’s honed toperfection. Nnonetheless, Ivanka left without a fight—after all,being a Trump, she’s used to sexism, no?—and the men moved on to film theircommercial.

Aside from one ill-conceived plan to film a scene on the streets ofManhattan, the men’s shoot was a walk in the dog park, thanks to directorStephen Baldwin (dream big, Stephen!). And then we learned thisvaluable little nugget of information: God apparently is a Southern manwho is currently channeling his will through the voice-box of TraceAdkins. Okay, so you could say Hydra’s comparison was a bitover-the-top, but how come their commercial left me with the urge to adopt 100 puppies and listen to “I Left SomethingTurned On At Home” on repeat (God is apparently as forgetful as he isbenevolent)?

Over on the women’s side, Empresario started out with a cleverconcept, but struggled after going back in time to recruitmy entire high school drama club for voiceover work. I’ll justgive those actors the benefit of the doubt and blame nerves for their painful overacting, since you really can’t indict voiceover coach Marilu for the failure. Not only was the poor woman in charge of the actors, but she had theresponsibility of crafting the ad’s script as well. Couldn’t have hurtto pass on some of those duties to Nadia, who was left tosimply order food for the crew. Which, apparently, was beyond her capabilities. But even a bit of nourishment couldn’t salvage Empresario’scommercial, which seemed bound for trouble once post-production made itclear the ad was disjointed. Plus, I have to agree with Omarosa thatbroadcasting a photo of a dog foaming at the mouth isn’t necessarilythe best way to convince people to head to the shelters. Unless, youknow, they’re fans of Cujo.

Once Hydra finished filming their spot, Stephentook it upon himself to kick everyone out so he and Gene could work onthe ad’s post-production. Tito, however, wouldn’t stand for it, andled the rest of his teammates back into the studio looking like anelementary school bully searching for lunch money. But thegrunt force of Tito and his crew was negated byGene’s power of persuasion, and the group was once again booted fromthe production room. After seeing their ad, however, Tito backtracked, declaring he was so happy with the spot that he “went from a frown face” to a smile. Priceless.

The women, looking ready to take over for Joey Fatone’s background dancers on The Singing Bee,went into their presentation convinced of victory, and even offered upa radio spot and a proposal for Web advertising. Their video, on theother hand, wasn’t quite as TV-ready, suffering from awkwardtransitions and those distracting voiceovers. Because, you know,nothing says “adopt me” like a dog with an accent more confounding thanMadonna’s faux British drawl. Heck, a pet that sounded like Charo would’vebeen more alluring.

In the boardroom, The Donald invited a George W. Bush impersonatorMacy’s CEO to help him with his decision (Donald Jr. musthave been too busy mixing volatile chemicals to create the world’s most powerful hair gel). Though it seemed fairly obvious that theboys would win the task—how could they not, with God on theirside?—Nely still assured The Donald that the girls would come out thevictors, even after the mogul aired the men’s superior ad. At least Empresario provided a good laugh, when Omarosa giggled watching Lennox on film, and noted: “I think you’re hot, but you’re married.” Not quite as good as Piers’ response to Stephen’s assertion that he’s worked infilm for 20 years (“Really?”), but funny nonetheless. Alas, the menwere crowned the winners, and Nely called Nadia and Carolback into the boardroom. Nadia did put up a little fightby claiming she always felt the commercial needed celebrity appeal, butback-flipped as soon as her teammates revealed that she hadn’t spokenup until after filming was complete. The Donald felt that Nadia lackeda competitive spirit, and off she went. Farewell Nadia, we hardly knew—orsaw—ye.

What did you think, PopWatchers? Did The Donald make the rightchoice? Did you ever see Lennox Lewis as a cat person? Did you, likeme, find Omarosa to be surprisingly charming this go-’round? And finally, areyou ready to join the Church of Trace Adkins?

Comments (58 total) Add your comment
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  • Tito

    listen I run a multi-billion dollar company!

  • RTA

    The most interesting thing about this go-round is that The Donald can’t intimidate the men like he usually does and it makes for an odd dynamic. But pitting this batch of boys against this collection of girls is like fielding grandma’s sewing circle against the Dallas Cowboys. It’s a massacre.

  • Jean Guy Levesque

    Gene Simmons is a misogynist, Trump will love him more than his own son. Omarosa is a cockarocha. Trump has ugly lips and a catcher mitts face. Vive la France!!!

  • Jessica

    Did anyone notice when Ivanka first walked in and shook Gene’s hand she made a wiping-off-the-slime movement. I was hoping Donald would have fired him just for how unprofessionally he behaved. I think what was overlooked was that the Pedigree exec specifically said he wanted the fact that a purchase means donations to animal shelters mentioned. The guys didn’t even mention pet adoption. I think the women were robbed. And how could that exec have “loved” that commercial? Also the Macy’s guy was right-women don’t know who Lennox is. I don’t know him by face but definitely by name.

  • nyc

    pitting the men against the women is unfair because the men are B and C list celebrities, while the women are Z list celebs. The only, somewhat recoginizable face is Marilu Henner. Other than that, it’s a bunch of randoms, they are accomplished. But, since winning the past 2 challenges has come down to exploiting celebrity power, it’s a totally unfair match up.

  • Adam

    If ever there were an appopriate time to use “the C word,” it’s for Omarosa. When she purposely ignored her team getting psyched up – what the heck was she typing so frenzily? – I wanted to reach in and punch her.
    I hate that someone so obviously acting is on the show. Hated it the first go around, hated it on Surreal Life, and hate it now.

  • Sha

    Good recap Kate. Why isn’t this in the TV Watch section with the rest of the TV reviews? And where is Whitney? Again no offense to Kate’s great writing abilities, but the Apprentice recap is not the same without our beloved Whitney. This season is so funny – she would be ripping it up. Please bring her back to review!! Her ducklings miss her!

  • Ceballos

    “Did you, like me, find Omarosa to be surprisingly charming this go-’round?”
    Other than snootily mocking and refusing to join her teammates when the project manager was doing an, albeit silly, team-building exercise and almost getting into a confrontation with Piers and accusing him of being drunk, yes, you’re right. I found Omarosa to be an utter delight.
    Very good recap otherwise, but Omarosa is just a destructive force of nature.
    Should be interesting next week when, as you can guess from the previews, Gene joins the women’s team.
    Also, in case you’re wondering, yes, I’m disappointed that I let myself get sucked into The Apprentice again. (Come back, “Lost”!)

  • AA

    Kate, you’re doing a respectable job with your recap, but we need Whit, sorry! Please come back!!!

  • Teddy G.

    Right on Sha – I couldn’t agree more. While Kate does write a good review, my favorite.thing about the Apprentice has always been the morning after with Whitney. Someone please tell Gene to take his sunglasses off when he’s inside!!

  • sportsmom

    As far as the women being Z-list celebs…My daughters are softball players-We would rather meet Jennie Finch than any of the male celebs.

  • WK

    Gene Simmons is so full of himself, it only a matter of time, that he is also eliminated. All Gene Simmons has to his credit is $$$$$ and an enormous ego problem, that will eventually get him in trouble, along with his mouth (use of verbiage). As for Pier, he is as useless as a limp wet noodle. He is a bigger ASS than even gene Simmons. Pier is no assett to the Appprentice Show. Gene Simmons has no personality either. When Simmons was a super star, it was to the teenie boppers, not the status quo music buyers. I could care less, as to how many women he has bedded!!!

  • kav

    Let’s just declare Gene Simmons the winner right now. He’s so intelligent and just hilarious to watch. What great TV!!!

  • Ms Daisy

    Gene Simmons is a sexist? Seriously? Who knew.

  • Ms Daisy

    Gene Simmons is a sexist. Seriously? Who knew?

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