Sunday, March 29, 2009

Celebrity Apprentice: Video Phone Catfight!

"You want a piece of me?"

So here we are back in Manhattan to see just which "celebrity" can scream the loudest and make the worst business decisions. Welcome to Celebrity Apprentice!

We begin this week with Dennis Rodman triumphantly strolling into the VIP lounge as the non-fired hero. Actually, his triumph is questionable, as I do really believe he wanted to be fired. He tells us that now there are three teams: the girls' team, the guys' team, and the Dennis Rodman team. Well, as the Dennis Rodman team will not be receiving any individual challenges, I'm guessing this is Dennis's next attempt at termination. Clint Black paces and gives a mini speech about everyone having to learn how to be subordinate to a boss. Hmm, that should go over well with a bunch of people who refuse to take instruction. Dennis says he would act this way no matter who his boss was and Clint tells him he doesn't care if his eyes were bleeding, he's still expected to show up. Dennis tells us that he's always the one targeted - even in the NBA and if we don't believe him we can ask Michael Jordan. That's okay, Dennis. No need to involve Michael Jordan. Carry on with your pity party.

Ah, here is Brande meeting a guy in Central Park to hand over the check from last week's win. She has chosen California Police Youth Charities, for which she is a celebrity advisor. That sounds like a fake title, but whatever. She hands the guy a check for over $166,000 so I'm guessing they'll call her whatever she wants. The most important thing in this scene is that they are both eating hot dogs and it's making my mouth water.

Brande check.jpg
"And we're changing my title to Supreme Goddess."

Later both teams head over to Capitale which is some sort of event venue. The Donald arrives and announces yet again that Joan Rivers is excused for the day because she has "work." Don't these people have managers whose only job is to babysit schedules? What's up? Anyway, The Donald tells about a company called ACN that does tons of sales each year in the telecommunications industry. Greg, a pretty face for ACN tells the teams that they will be helping to launch a new video phone. How will they be helping you ask? Well, Tony, Greg's right arm, explains. They will be giving presentations to hundreds of ACN representatives (who will in turn try to sell the phones to US.) The presentations will be judged on which team can raise the most excitement, the most energy, and most important the strongest emotional response to the product. The ACN reps will vote and whichever team gets the most votes wins. Now choose Project Managers!

Greg and Tony want to know when the celebrities are getting here.

The Donald notices that Dennis Rodman immediately walks away from the guys, leaving them to choose a Project Manager without him. When The Donald wants to know why, Dennis just says, "They got it, they got it." The Donald tells Dennis he's a very independent guy. That's an interesting euphemism. Brian McKnight volunteers for Project Manager because this is staging an event and he has been staging events for the last 20 years of his life. Claudia Jordan, a model from "Deal or No Deal," is the girls' Project Manager because she's pretty. This week Don, The Donald's kid, is back and apparently a complete lack of awareness for one's hair is hereditary. Now off to work!

Don hair.jpg
"Yes I have a mirror. Why?"

The first thing the teams have to do is figure out in what order they will give their presentations. Dennis skulks off to a corner to pout while the teams both decide they want to be the second presentation.

Dennis pouts.jpg
The victim.

The teams decide the best way to solve this is mano a mano, or hand to hand combat between Annie Duke and Clint Black, the champion warriors of each team, evidently. They march up to each other and both say they want to go second and they will not budge. So now what, fisticuffs? No, silly. Coin flipping! Annie is even so gracious as to let Clint flip the coin and call it in the air. Big mistake, Annie. Clint calls tails and tails it is. Right about now Dennis starts screaming from his corner, "Hey Clint Black! Hey Clint Black!" He gets up and saunters over to Clint, still yelling, "You think you're the s#!%, right bro? You think you're the s#!%, right bro?" Hmm, what could this be all about? Is it because Clint said earlier that everyone needs to learn how to listen to a boss? Or could it be that Dennis Rodman hasn't been the center of attention for 10 seconds? "F--- you, f--- this s---!" and on and on. Clint stands there looking way up into Dennis's piercings and asks, "Do you think this is going to help?" Finally Dennis rips off his mic pack and throws it on the ground, declaring, "F---- this! I don't need your f---ing show!" Any further questions as to whether Dennis Rodman wants to be here? He storms off. The rest of the guys are like, "Whatever, let's get to work."

As Project Manager Brian McKnight decides he's not going to waste any time trying to coddle or babysit Dennis. He tells us that Dennis isn't a team player and he wasn't even a team player when he played basketball, he was just an extraordinary basketball player. Today, however, they are not playing basketball so they will be moving right along without him. Good call, I'd say.

The girls have set up a meeting with Greg and Tony, the ACN pretty boys, to talk about strategy. The guys say that they want to see something very exciting and emotional that will convince people they need this phone in their homes. See, I tend to think that NOT seeing the person you are talking to on the phone can be a huge advantage. You can always go on the webcam if there is a vital need for a visual. I guess that's why I don't work for ACN. Greg and Tony then head over to the guys and re-emphasize the need for emotional appeal. So I'm picturing long lost sweethearts and kidnapped babies seeing their mommies for the first time on this magical phone. Let's see how carried away they can get.

Later Jesse James tells the guys that product launches are a spectacle and they usually include something like a concert. Brian McKnight's eyes light up. He's been giving concerts for 20 years! How this relates to video phones I'm not sure, but it certainly relates to celebrities and their egos! Jesse James wants to also make a video showing soldiers talking to their families on the video phone. Ah ha! A good use for a video phone! And he's going to drive down to West Point to film the video. Really? There aren't any soldiers in Manhattan? Or actors who will wear a uniform?

"Golly gee. I'm the greatest."

Team Athena has also hit upon the idea of doing some kind of stage extravaganza. Claudia Jordan is coming up with different small scenarios that can be acted out to demonstrate why everyone needs a video phone. Joan Rivers will be the featured performer to open the show and work the audience between vignettes. This is all conveyed to Joan via non-video phone as she is off "working." The genius of the girls' presentation (or so they think) is that their vignettes are going to be part live and part taped so the audience will be watching someone onstage using the video phone and then up on large monitors the taped portions will act as what the actor is seeing on the video phone. Dazzled? Me neither. The problem is that none of the girls can get into each others' heads and everyone has a different idea of what this will look like, resulting in mass confusion.

And suddenly... a bump in the road! Joan Rivers will not be landing until 10:30 the next morning so there is no way she'll make it in time for the presentation. Well now what?

Hershel and Jesse are off to West Point and have arranged to meet with a cadet to do an interview. On their way down in the van they discuss Dennis Rodman and his drinking habits. They are kind of at a loss as to what to do about him.

Meanwhile the girls are whining and wondering what they can do since Joan Rivers isn't going to make it back on time. Natalie Gulbis, a professional golfer, has a eureka moment when she remembers that she has a private jet company that flies her around when she's on tour. She calls them up and tells them she needs to fly Joan Rivers from Dallas to NYC in the middle of the night. Crisis averted. Don Jr. pops in to pay the girls a visit and see how they are coming along. Instead of talking business, Brande and T-Boz reenact the Dennis Rodman / Clint Black confrontation. They use they guys' fighting as ammo to fuel their own assurance that they will come out on top.

girls reenact.jpg
Notice Khloe's outfit.

Over at KOTU headquarters Brian McKnight is on a cell phone apparently composing a song for the presentation. Someone on the other end is playing little bits of music to him while Brian dances around. If only he had a video phone for this little project. Clint Black asks Brian if he'd like to bounce his new song off of the rest of the group, but Brian McKnight tells us that he's not sure how many country music fans are going to be in the audience, so he doesn't really see the point in having Clint's opinion. Instead Brian puts Clint to work making phone calls and arranging for this person to be here and that person to bring that. And frankly Clint is a bit insulted. Well Clint, volunteer for Project Manager and you'll get to do more. He complains that he's been producing shows for 20 years and this is beneath him. Then he proceeds to order pizza. Ha! Guess what, Clint. Brian McKnight has been doing this for 20 years as well and his ego is just as huge and fragile as yours.

On team Athena Melissa Rivers has tried to step up and steer things in one direction or another. Claudia is not having this. She tells Melissa that she understands she has been a producer, but she doesn't appreciate her taking over. Melissa says that they need to get something done and she has hands-on technical experience. This immediately disintegrates into a power struggle between Melissa and Claudia. Claudia is the Project Manager so Melissa needs to back off. Melissa is a PROFESSIONAL PRODUCER and can't believe she's being brushed aside like this. It gets nasty as Claudia tells us Melissa's face is scary and her forehead never moves and furthermore, if there were no Joan Rivers there would be no Melissa Rivers on TV. Good point, Claudia, but I can't get with you while you're wearing suspenders. You look like a hobo clown.

"Back off, I'm a model."

Dennis Rodman has returned to his team to let the guys know that he's calmed down and would still like to be a team player. Understandably the guys aren't sure how to take this and just keep on with what they're doing. Ivanka drops by to strut around in front of the guys and she wants to know why Dennis isn't hanging out with Clint and Brian. She tells us that Brian needs to humble himself and invite Dennis to participate. Dennis tells her that he offered to help, but the guys turned their backs on him. Boo hoo hoo. And Ivanka is off! Thanks for stopping by. Clint gets back to his phone calls and this time he's finding out how much it will cost to set up monitor systems for their presentation and Dennis jumps in again, saying he has some hook up for the monitor system. I wonder if it has anything to do with the Russian mafia.

The girls have hired the world's most hysterical baby to act the part of the serene angel talking on the video phone to her daddy who is away on a business trip. The baby screams and flails and no one can get her to do anything. Annie Duke says she feels like she is on the seventh rung of hell. Khloe Kardashian takes a load of and just sits there rubbing her forehead.

This is why baby actors are usually twins.

Meanwhile Hershel and Jesse arrive at West Point and pick out a nice looking cadet to star in their video. I have to admit, this is a good way to tug at the heart strings. And I do like that the soldier is actually a soldier, even though he's acting anyway. Really there are no soldiers in Manhattan? And back in the Big Apple Dennis and Clint are building bridges. Dennis says that he had a bad day and took it out on the wrong person. Clint asks if Dennis will still take him out to gay bars. Ha! That's an outing I'd like to see.

We spend the next little while going back and forth watching the teams progress in their tasks and piss each other off. There's really no need for these two hour episodes. I swear, it's like the networks get wind that Honey Gangsta is recapping so they immediately decide to leave in all the footage that was supposed to be edited out and stretch everything out as long as humanly possible. If I have to hear one more of these egos tell me how long they've been in show business I'm calling in a bomb threat to Trump Tower. During the run throughs the next morning the girls' team can't get anything together and Khloe just hangs out watching everything again - and in a very misguided outfit.

Khloe sits.jpg
Strike two, Khloe's stylist.

At last it's time for the presentations! The Donald has a Dr. Phil moment where he tells us that Claudia and Brian are great performers. Fascinating. He stands up in front of all the ACN reps and tells them the deal, which is that they'll vote for the presentation they like best.

The girls' presentation starts with a light show and dancers twirling these big long ribbons and then Joan Rivers comes out to do a bit. She introduces the phone and the first vignette begins, which is the screaming baby. They have an actor sitting onstage and he's apparently a dad on a business trip talking to his family at home on the video phone. The mom and baby are being shown on one of the huge monitors. I get what they're going for, but honestly it's kind of blah. Joan Rivers comes back on and says, "Isn't that nice? Wait until he finds out it's not his kid." LOL, Joan Rivers, that is actually funny. She jokes about not having to go to the gyno ever again because she can just do her exam with the video phone. Uh, gross. Then she says that it's important to her that people see her face because she's spent $150,000 on her face. And we're back! The next vignette stars Brande who is receiving a video call from her boyfriend telling her there is a car waiting for her and to go get in it. Then the "boyfriend" is standing onstage holding flowers and Brande walks in through the rear of the auditorium. See what they did here? They brought it to life. She walks up to the stage and the boyfriend proposes and Brande says yes. The audience stands up and cheers. Okay, that's lovely and all, but why did it necessitate a video phone? It didn't. He could have told her with no video to go get in the car. The main action happened in person. Wrong answer, team Athena. Joan comes back to wrap it up and the dancers and ribbons twirl around a little more and we're done.

girls bow.jpg
Are you rushing out to buy a video phone?

The guys begin their presentation with dancers as well, but no ribbons. Clint Black introduces the video phone and then we see the video of the soldier talking on the video phone to his girlfriend and telling us how proud he is to serve his country. It's way better than the girls' vignettes. But then Brian McKnight comes out and just indulges himself by singing a song that, as far as I can tell, has nothing to do with a phone. Oh wait, some dancers come back and do dance around while holding the phone, so there is the tie-in.

dancing with phone.jpg
See? It's all completely relevant.

The crowd is into the performance - probably because it has nothing to do with work and they feel like they're getting a day off. Dennis tells us that this was just Brian McKnight taking an opportunity to sell records, but he's no Quincy Jones. Ha ha ha ha ha! That's the best line of this episode. After Brian finishes, the sales reps start chanting ACN! ACN! ACN! Salespeople. Who needs 'em?

And it's Boardroom time! The Donald asks each Project Manager if they think their teams won and they both do. He asks Brian McKnight if they worked as a team and Brian McKnight says, "Most of us," which leads to yet another rehashing of the Grand Dennis Rodman / Clint Black standoff. But it's all better now and Dennis and Clint are headed out to the gay bars together. Then The Donald tells Brian he heard that Dennis offered to help but Brian wouldn't use him, so what's up with that? Brian says he didn't have a man to spare to babysit Dennis. Good point. The Donald and both his kids want to know the origin of the conflict, but no one seems to know, not even Dennis. The Donald wants to know who is to blame if the guys lose and Dennis says that everyone will want to blame him. The Donald tells Dennis enough with the persecution complex already. Hear! Hear! Shut up Dennis Rodman. No one is out to get you, you're just a pain in the butt.

The Donald asks Claudia who the stand out was on their team and she immediately says Joan Rivers was their savior. Then Melissa begins her rant of being underutilized when she has 15 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE PRODUCING! Ugh, this again? Melissa! Volunteer for Project Manager and you'll get to do everything! Annie Duke says if they lose it will be the Project Manager's fault because everything was chaotic and out of control. Claudia says that all she was doing was trying to keep everything harmonious and that meant putting a muzzle on Melissa Rivers, who wouldn't keep out of the way. Of course Melissa jumps all over that saying she tried to do what Claudia wanted. Claudia says that Melissa can't take criticism, which prompts Joan Rivers to dive in and defend her dear daughter, saying that Claudia is the weak link on their team and Melissa held their show together. I get that Melissa is annoying, but I also don't think Claudia really has a leg to stand on here. She had no clue what she was doing with that presentation. Melissa was, in fact, the one who knew how to put a show together.

"Don't you know I've been producing for 15 YEARS???"

Ivanka and Don read comments from the peanut gallery, aka the ACN sales force, but let's get to who won here. The Donald says it wasn't even close and with a majority of 85% of the votes the guys won. Really? I guess going second does have its advantages. And I did like the soldier video. And like I said, I guess the salespeople enjoyed attending a concert instead of working. So there it is. The guys FINALLY win a challenge and now Claudia and Melissa will claw it out to see who goes home. The guys head to the VIP lounge to pop some champagne and view the carnage.

guys win.jpg
See Dennis in the back there getting blamed?

The Donald drills the girls for a while and it turns out that the audience loved Joan and hated the vignettes. The vignettes were horrible and cheesy. The Donald wants to know why T-Boz didn't perform and my answer would be that this was a video phone launch, not Battle of the Bands. I still don't think the guys even did that great. Anyway, the girls all seem to agree that everything about their presentation was a mess, but Melissa managed to push things in a productive direction. Claudia maintains that there was a personality clash between her and Melissa and she doesn't want to discount her talents, but not being able to stand her, Claudia couldn't get anything done. That seems like a really lame cop out to me. This is (supposed to be) business, not junior high school. Needless to say, Claudia and Melissa will come in to the Boardroom finals, but who else will come in to absorb some of the blame? The Donald wants to know who the least effective team member was. Well, it was Khloe Kardashian. Khloe defends herself, saying that everything was such a stressful disaster that she just stood by and tried to help where she could. I agree with that except for the trying to help part. By the way, all Brande Roderick has contributed to this discussion is to giggle every time The Donald teases her about kissing that guy during the proposal vignette. Darling.

So Claudia, Melissa and Khloe sit down before The Donald and family to try to save their own respective butts. Claudia says that Khloe lacks initiative and that Melissa is so obnoxious she's disruptive. Melissa says that this is nothing but a character assassination and this should be about getting the job done. Khloe says that she's worked for people she can't stand, but she does her work and leaves, so personalities shouldn't cause so much chaos. More yowling and scratching and finally The Donald puts an end to it by firing Claudia. Of course, not without telling her she's beautiful and going to be a big star (oh brother). She was the captain so she goes down with the ship. That's a shame. I'll really miss her even though I wouldn't know her if I ran over her with my car.

In her Cab Ride of Defeat, Claudia says it sucks to be the first woman fired. She reiterates that she had difficult people to work with, but ultimately the responsibility is hers.

Next week, more Dennis Rodman antics. He's not going anywhere.

So what did you think? This week they DID have to rely on their own resources instead of rich friends. What do you have to say about the results?

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

No comments: