Thursday, April 16, 2009

Celebrity Apprentice: A Lesson in LifeLock


It's that most glorious time of the week again. Time for Celebrity Apprentice! This week we get an overdose of Brande Roderick and Brian McKnight catches up on some much-needed sleep. To Manhattan!

We begin this week's episode with wrapping up last week's all around farce. In the VIP lounge Joan Rivers is vehemently declaring that she will not work with Clint Black again, so she's glad that there is no one to blame for this task's debacle except for him. Just then Clint and Natalie come strolling into the room and a collective gasp erupts. Joan tells us that she's been sick to her stomach from working with Clint and she just can't do it anymore. Both Clint and Melissa are dumbfounded because they were certain that they would be the ones to be fired. And we all know that they SHOULD have been, but The Donald has another agenda - which isn't, by the way, a crusade against drunk driving. It's a crusade against dropping ratings, so please give us a break and come down from the soapbox, your majesty.

This week we skip the obligatory meeting with a charity rep because both teams sucked so badly last week that children will have to continue to starve all over the world. Instead the teams meet up with The Donald to see about their next attempt at reviving their own careers.

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"What are we sucking at this week?"

First The Donald assigns Brian McKnight to team Athena. Remember, he had last week off to give a concert, which certainly is not grounds for dismissal. Then The Donald dares anyone to have a problem with his Boardroom decisions of late. Well Joan Rivers dares. She thought that when a team captain performs badly, that team captain has to account for it. The Donald explodes in a series of platitudes about learning one's lesson and public safety and Khloe drove drunk and she was so boring to watch it was ruining my show... oops I mean I will not stand for celebrity drinking and you too, should watch yourselves, case closed. Thank you, Donald Trump. That was so convincing that I'm sure Hollywood will be free of drunk drivers from here on out. What is on today's sober agenda? Well I'm glad you asked because it's identity theft. Todd and Andrew from Lifelock are here to throw down the gauntlet. The teams each have to create a package and retail store display to promote Lifelock. They will be judged on brand messaging, packaging and original design. In case you don't know what Lifelock is, it's a company that guarantees security of your identifying information. Their current campaign is to put their CEO's social security number right out in public on all of their marketing material to show just how bullet proof their protection is. I have no idea how they do it or how any of it works, but today we will be coming up with pretties to get the word out about their services. Now choose Project Managers!

KOTU chooses Natalie, whose main task will be keeping Joan Rivers and Clint Black from scratching each other's eyes out. Athena chooses Brian McKnight, which I don't get because he's already been a project manager. I remember because instead of launching a video phone he gave a Brian McKnight concert and acted like it was the biggest favor humanity has ever received. Thanks again for that, Brian McKnight. He tells us that after being gone for a few days to give another life-altering concert, it was really hard for him to get up early today. These poor people and their tortured lives. We need to set up a charity for THEM and let them take a break from all of their giving. Anyway, Little Donny is missing again this week - he's at his DUI hearing - so George and Ivanka will be the eyes and ears.

Todd and Andrew sit down with team Athena first. Annie Duke sits and fires question after question at the execs while Brian tries really hard not to take a nap on the conference table. At team KOTU, Joan Rivers pushes to have their campaign based around humor. Joan, we all know you can crack a joke. What else have you got? Clint wants to know if they will all be receiving free Lifelock memberships. And of course they will because no one needs a handout like the richest people in America.

"Actually, my jewelry line could use a pick-me-up..."

As KOTU gets to brainstorming Ivanka struts in to see what's going on. Joan wants to hire a beefcake to stand around in front of their display acting as a bodyguard and the slogan would be something like since you can't afford HIM 24/7, Lifelock will protect you instead. That sounds ugly and a bit frightening. Clint and Natalie like the idea of a giant safe, which actually sounds more like an in-store display if you ask me. Actually, what Clint would like to do is emerge from the giant safe with an enormous smile, a moist towel and a bottle of laundry detergent, but that is quickly voted down.

Athena brainstorms and basically comes up with the not-so-brilliant idea of using the same marketing campaign that Lifelock is already using, which is to put a picture of the CEO on their display along with his social security number, then hang little kits that people can buy all over the display. Did they miss the part about originality? Jesse and Brande set out to get a photo of a padlock to use in their artwork while Brian, Melissa and Annie try to come up with a slogan. Brande tells us several times how smart she's being for just laying low and letting the stronger personalities take the lead. It's a good thing The Donald likes Playboy models, Brande, because laying low is exactly what got T-Boz and Khloe fired.

As far as actually building the displays, the teams have to trek all the way to Brooklyn where a construction company awaits orders. Clint and Hershel do the honors for KOTU and set the construction guys to work on a giant safe façade. The construction guys assigned to Athena stand around wondering when they'll receive an assignment. Speaking of which, back in Manhattan Annie wants to know if Brian has even bothered to make contact with the construction company, and of course he hasn't. He's busy replaying his concert in his mind and remembering what it is like to be the bearer of light for masses of concert goers. Annie offers to call the construction company, but not without firmly declaring that this is NOT her responsibility. Wow, she's annoying. It turns out that the construction guys need their instructions within about 15 minutes in order to have time to complete the display, so Annie starts freaking out and sends Brande and Jesse immediately over to Brooklyn. They seem to be creating a photographic study of padlocks, but agree to put a pause on their artistic ponderings in favor of getting the display started. On the way over to Brooklyn in the van Jesse starts feeling really nauseated and we are treated to a lovely exterior shot of a porta-potty accompanied by the soothing sounds of Jesse James puking. Uh oh.

The construction guys are like, "It's about time, did you guys want a display or not?" and Jesse tells us that he's not going to take any sick time because he gets really annoyed when his employees are sick. Well, jeepers, they're human. Never work for a celebrity. Trust me on this; it's my hot tip of the day. They view all other humans as mere cogs in their own all-important life wheels. Brande is at long last in her element - that is, she is surrounded by average males. She transforms before our eyes into the dumb blonde who is fascinated by the big tools. She picks up shiny things and asks the big strong construction workers to explain to silly little her what they're for.

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"Hold still, I'm going to polish your glasses so you can see me better."

This is embarrassing for all women, and naturally the construction guys feel very empowered and intelligent. Brande asks for an outlet and giggles when one guy points her to a "three way," then she shyly tells them she's really good at screwing nails in. Too bad nails get hammered in, and not screwed, but what does her pretty little head know about all that technical jargon? To us she says that she's just one of the guys with higher heels and bigger boobs. Um, no, Brande. These guys aren't giggling to each other and twirling their hair while having a "dumb" contest. And I don't see you carrying anything heavy or actually helping in any way, so save it. We all know that your self-esteem comes from having strangers look at you naked, not from your engineering degree.

Meanwhile Joan and Natalie are supply shopping and Joan tells Natalie that she thinks that KOTU's whole idea is boring and won't appeal to women. Joan thinks they need to bring a celebrity element to the project, so they come up with the idea to add all of their faces to the display with quotes about Lifelock. They call Clint, who resists because that is his God-given duty, but they eventually convince him and Hershel that this is the best course of action.

Athena hits another snag when Brande gives the designers their graphics CD, which ends up having nothing on it, not even Brande's centerfold. They call the team in Manhattan and ask them to email the graphics, sending Annie into an all-out frenzy while Melissa and Brian remain totally calm. George strolls in to see how they're doing and what they're doing is research on in-store displays and identity theft. George is not impressed and thinks they're really boring.

As KOTU brainstorms their celebrity quotes for Lifelock, Joan discovers a newfound respect for Clint Black because he's coming up with some funny lines. She tells us that she knew she had to work with him so she's making the best of it. Yeah, that's not the same tune you were singing a half hour ago, Joan. Team Athena is still rearranging their graphics ideas and reworking their text, all the while the clock is ticking away. Annie's head is about to explode because she is the only one who is panicking while everyone else carries on calmly. Brian so doesn't care about this. They all meet up at the construction place in Brooklyn and find out how sick Jesse is, so they all start wondering what on earth Brande has been doing all day. She's been learning about big hammers and saws, you mean people! There were lots of nails to screw in so get up off her!

Brande confused.jpg
"Did someone say 'three-way?'"

Apparently the display projects are completed and delivered overnight because the teams arrive the next morning to examine the results. Team Athena is worried, and rightly so because this is what their display looks like.

Athena display.jpg

I'm sure glad Jesse and Brande spent those six hours taking pictures of padlocks yesterday or those builders would never have come up with this masterpiece.

KOTU's safe façade looks good, but the graphic of their faces is way too small. It looks ridiculous sitting on the safe like that, but luckily the construction guys - or printer guys, I can't tell which, are they even different guys? - agree to quickly print a larger version so Natalie and Hershel head out to pick it up. What an odd mistake. Were dimensions never discussed? Were the printers just meant to guess the size the graphic was supposed to be? KOTU clearly knew the dimensions because Natalie and Hershel come back with a perfectly fitting graphic.

There was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being crushed by a dwarf.

Todd and Andrew get comfortable to view and prepare to verbally demolish both presentations.

"Let's see what the 'show people' have come up with."

KOTU's is clever in the beginning, with each team member walking into the room and claiming to be Joan Rivers, leading Joan into her spiel about Lifelock and the logic behind their display. It looks really good, and there is a pocket attached full of brochures, which people can then redeem for a Lifelock starter kit - also housed in a fabricated safe made of cardboard. Joan tells us she's disappointed in the presentation because she didn't get to tell jokes. Oh brother. If that's all you want to do, Joan, then why DIDN'T you? It's possible to share information AND be funny at the same time. Have you read my recaps?

Team Athena goes next and they've managed to get a life size cutout of Todd onto their blank display, which is really just an enlarged version of an already existing Lifelock pamphlet. They've also hung a bunch of starter kits on little hooks on the display. Brian gives the presentation and comes to life for the first time in this episode. He must be mentally reliving his concert again. Athena's big hook is that they've made this intangible product tangible by having the starter kits right there to pick up and touch. Aren't computer discs always tangible? I mean this isn't exactly water to wine, people.

Brian presents.jpg
"And as you can see, this is a TANGIBLE display, not an imaginary one."

Wow it's already time for the Boardroom! The Donald questions Natalie first and she reports that Joan and Clint worked surprisingly well together, but she's not sure which team will win. The team reports that Natalie did a good job as project manager. Next The Donald rouses Brian from his power nap to find out how his team did. Brian barely remembers executing the task, but seems to recall that everyone did a pretty good job. Melissa reports that Jesse has been deathly ill, but he hung in there and helped as much as he could, unlike a certain Dennis Rodman, who was bedridden after a cat supposedly came within a five mile radius of his eye.

The Donald wants to know what Todd and Andrew had to say about the presentations. Ivanka reports that they really liked KOTU's originality and use of their celebrity, but didn't like that the starter kits were not actually there TANGIBLE on the display. The Donald agrees that was a stupid omission - a mistake which, of course, he never would have made. George reports that Todd and Andrew liked Athena's presentation a lot, and they liked that the starter kits were TANGIBLE on the display, but that they just recycled an existing marketing strategy that Lifelock has already been using. There was nothing new or even interesting. And the winner is... KOTU. No duh. They're excused.

As the winners settle into the VIP lounge Joan announces that she knows Brande will be the one eliminated because she had dinner with Annie last night and Annie went on and on about how stupid Brande is and how badly they need to get rid of her.

In the Boardroom Brian wakes up long enough to tell The Donald that they didn't think it was necessary to actually come up with any ideas and that's why they went with what Lifelock has already been doing. George thinks that Athena's big downfall was mismanaging their time. Really? Their display was finished, but the idea was crap. Wouldn't THAT be the main problem? The Donald asks Annie who the weakest member of the team is and Joan gets all excited to hear Annie rip into Brande, but instead Annie blames Brian for the loss. For some unknown reason this enrages Joan, who apparently has her heart set on hearing Brande badmouthed. The consensus on Team Athena is that as the nonchalant Project Manager Brian should be the one fired. Brian stirs from his slumber at the sound of his name. Melissa, however, thinks that Brande is a slacker and she should be the one to go. The Donald wants to know what Annie thinks of Brande and Annie uses a poker analogy: Some people play to last and some people play to win. Brande plays to last by flying under the radar. Immediately Ivanka pipes up and calls Annie out for never stepping up as Project Manager, but constantly bossing everyone around through each task. Would that not also be playing to last? Hypocrite much, Annie? The Donald goes back to Brian, wondering why he seems not to care that he is really on the line. Brian's like, "Sorry, did you say something?" Then he chooses Melissa and Brande to come face the firing squad with him.

This is all a little too much for Joan Rivers, who is certain there is a vast conspiracy abreast to make her precious Melissa a scapegoat. She defiantly tosses her full champagne glass to the floor, sending liquid flying and glass shattering, and declaring that if Melissa goes, she goes. And to that I say, good riddance.

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"I'm taking my dishes AND my dollies and I'm going home!"

So furious is Joan that she will not sit in the same VIP lounge with Annie Duke, so she gathers her crap and storms to the door. I have to admit that Annie seems annoying. She's bossy beyond belief and then right after getting out of the chopping block she's gleefully hugging both Brande and Melissa and telling them how much she loves them. Give it a rest. So right as Joan storms out the door, there is Annie, ready to be all buddy-buddy. Joan basically tells her where to get off for not owning up to the things she said during their private conversation. Annie's like, "I did! I did!" And Joan isn't having it. I can't believe I'm going over this part, it's the irritating fighting with the annoying and who cares? Let's finish this off!

Back in the Boardroom The Donald wants to know why Brian seems so uninterested in this glorious show. Brian can't really come up with an answer and he's anxious to get back to his nap, so The Donald wants to hear from Brande and Melissa. They both think that Brian doesn't want to be here anymore. Gee, what gave you that idea? The Donald asks who Brian would fire between the girls and he says he can't fire anyone. He's not like The Donald; he's nicer than that. The Donald goes through his mandatory celebrity butt kiss, telling Brian how amazing and wonderful he is, but that he's lost his edge and he's fired. Brian yawns.

"I woke up for this?"

As Brande and Melissa stroll into the VIP room, Annie goes, "I told you, Joan." Oh pipe down. Joan reprises her speech about a snake in their midst as my eyes crawl further and further toward the back of my head. Just then the entire group gets a phone call from the girl from the Extras Guild who is paid 100 dollars a day to sit outside the Boardroom set and order people in and out. The Donald wants to see them all. Right now. And do you know why? Because he's issuing another task! That's right! This is the double task episode! I'm noticing that I'm already on page number five and starting to cry. Why, Donald Trump? Why? Why can't you have an hour long show like everybody else?

All right, let's have it. Ah ha! It's a pester-your-rich-friends challenge! The Donald pays some lip service to the horrible economy but then goes on to say that Ivanka has a jewelry line that is doing phenomenally well. And that being the case we will be raising money for a struggling jewelry line called - oops no. We will be raising money for Ivanka's booming business. Oh will we? Just how well IS Ivanka's jewelry line doing, or is this what we might call a celebrity bail out? Both teams will be holding a fabulous fashion show and auction at the Fashion Institute of Technology, which The Donald describes as "a real winner of a place." LOL. Stay on prompter, there Donald. I believe the words you are looking for are: the number one venue in the history of fashion shows and auctions. The teams have to put everything together, including selecting which jewelry to sell and hiring the models. The Donald asks for Project Managers and Annie is kind of in the hot seat after all of her crap talking and The Donald requests that Joan heads it up for KOTU. Okay so this will be a death match catfight.

In the war room Annie assigns Jesse to design brochures of the jewelry and Melissa to select the jewelry. Melissa tells us that this is right up her alley because her mother owns a jewelry line herself. She also wants to be in charge of selecting the clothing for the models, but Annie says that Brande will do that because she knows the most about beautiful women. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! WHAT? This, of course, ticks Melissa off because THIS IS WHAT SHE DOES. Oh I am so tired of hearing about Melissa's wide ranging expertise in everything, but seriously. Brande will do it because she knows the most about beautiful women? Give me a break!

So Brande gets on the phone and think she has pulled off a major coup by getting the pre-assigned modeling agency to send over the pre-selected models for the team to look at. Congrats, Brande. That must have been even harder than screwing in nails. Brande also manages to call a department store and this sends Annie over the edge in an appreciation fest for Brande's brilliance.

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"Aaaand your hair smells SOOOO good!"

Of course Melissa is put out because she knows all the nasty things Annie just got done saying about Brande to her mother. What's with the sudden sapphic outburst?

Over on team KOTU Joan does her good deed of the day by allowing Natalie to pick out their jewelry so that she can feel feminine, which doesn't happen often as she is a female golfer. Clint will be the auctioneer, because as a country singer he was certainly raised on a cattle ranch and had experience with auctioning.

Everyone starts brainstorming about people they know who will be willing to part with some cash. Let the pestering begin! Annie starts making the phone rounds of high stakes poker players and ordering them to cough up some cash. She then tells her team that whoever raises the least amount of money will go into the Boardroom with her should they lose. Jesse points out that he wants to save his high bidders for a challenge that will benefit his charity, not Annie's.

The next morning Clint and Hershel devise a strategy to pool their high bidders and buy the cheapest piece for the most amount of money. Okay, whatever. Meanwhile Melissa and Natalie meet to pick out jewelry for their teams. Melissa chooses big chunky trendy pieces and Natalie chooses more classic pieces. When Melissa shows Athena what she chose, she's very irritated that there was no party thrown in her honor for a job well done. And on KOTU Joan is annoyed that Natalie didn't choose bigger jewelry. Bigger isn't always better, Joan, but what would you know about that?

There is more footage of pestering phone calls and then Natalie has an epiphany. She is going to track down someone in the poker world who would like nothing more than to put Annie Duke in her place. This is the best idea I've heard yet - and should lead to some drama, so even better.

It's time for each team to choose models! Team Athena has each model walk back and forth, pretend to model jewelry, and show their pierced ears and manicures. Team KOTU, consisting of Clint and Hershel because Joan and Natalie are off picking clothing, approaches the model selection differently. Meaning they just sit and giggle. Jesse accurately predicts that Clint and Hershel will just pick the models with the biggest tits. What idiots. With everything they've accomplished they lose any sense of intelligence when pretty girls walk in.

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"Come here often, little lady?"

Also, Brande gets her ego completely inflated when Athena decides to use her to model one of the pieces. I don't know if she is capable of modeling while wearing clothes.

Natalie and Joan pick out clothes for their models, which is boring, then Brande goes on a personal shopping spree, completely forgetting that she is part of a team and participating in a task. She can't tear herself away from the mirrors - that's how fun it is to stare at herself. She even glazes over in the car on the way back remember how glorious she looked trying on dresses.

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"It was mystifying."

Back at Trump Tower, we have the lame scene that was teased as the huge surprise of the week. The Donald has called in Piers Morgan, the winner of last season's Celebrity Apprentice, to "keep an eye" on the teams. In other words, stir up some crap.

And we're out! This episode is to be continued! What's with this task-and-a-half? Was it really necessary? What do you think Piers is going to add? I guess we will see when this very special episode of Celebrity Apprentice continues.

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

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