Saturday, May 09, 2009

Celebrity Apprentice: Grammy Worthy Tuna

The Donald.jpg
"I want to see Sandra Bullock in a mermaid costume PRONTO!"

Welcome back to Celebrity Apprentice! This week begins with our hard-working celebrities hanging out in the VIP lounge wondering whether Joan Rivers will be back tomorrow or if she has quit for good. Jesse thinks she's had it and won't be back, but Annie and Brande have their doubts. They're still riled up about Melissa's tantrum and Brande claims she would like nothing more than to beat Joan at this game. Guess what, Brande. It's not going to happen without Annie.

Clint's charity is a foundation for a disease that killed his niece. I honestly can't understand the name of the disease. At first I thought he said "Tourette's," but that's not it - and I don't think you die from that. Anyway Clint calls his brother on the fancy video phone, but little does he know that his brother is waiting right outside the door at Trump Tower to surprise him! Ah ha! The check says "Rett Syndrome." Hold on, I'm going to Wikipedia... wow it's complicated. Basically it's a neurodevelopmental disorder, and it does not sound fun. That's $20,000 well spent by Donald Trump.

The next morning everyone lines up to find out their destiny... except for Joan Rivers. Oh what could this mean? Has Joan really disappeared? Is she actually going to fall on her sword over Melissa's firing? Quite the hubbub! Someone who IS back, however, is little Donny Jr., nasty hair and all. Why thank you for gracing us with your presence, Prince Donny. Wherever you've been, I'm sure it was vitally important. And just as The Donald is about to get started, an elevator opens and out pops Joan Rivers. Well that was anticlimactic. It was so obvious that some production assistant held her back in the elevator for 30 seconds to create a terrible stir. Yawn. Joan plays along, saying, "My taxi was late." Nice cover Joan, but no. The Donald calls Joan a pro. Right, all those tantrums were proof of that. Moving right along, today the two suits bothering us are from Chicken of the Sea, the food that Jessica Simpson could not identify - even though it says "tunafish" right on the label. The suits tell us all about their famous jingle - "Ask any mermaid you happen to see. What's the best tuna? Chicken of the Sea." Well today the teams will be coming up with a new original jingle for the brand. A jingle? Well! Immediately Brande and Annie look at each other like they know they are effed because the Grammy Award Winning Clint Black is on the other team.

Brande and Annie.jpg
Annie: "It's the end of the line for you, Brande."
Brande: "Don't coerce against me, ok?"

Wouldn't that be a bigger problem if the challenge were to write a Grammy winning ballad? This is a jingle, people, not even a song. It just has to be short and catchy. Could I do it? No, of course not, but I'm not on Celebrity Apprentice, I'm just here to rip on the people who are.

Brande tells us that she and Annie are screwed. "How are we going to compete with that? Holy S-R-A-P!" Yes, she spells out "srap," which is apparently in the Brande dictionary a few pages down from "forgoo." This time she actually notices her mistake and says that she got confused between "shit" and "crap," so "srap," came out. Don't worry your pretty little head, Brande. Just keep giggling and The Donald will remain wrapped around your finger. Anyway, besides the jingle, the teams have to also write a 30 second radio commercial. Now choose Project Managers! Annie volunteers since Brande was "in charge" last week, and KOTU chooses Clint, EVEN THOUGH he was in charge last week. Bad idea, people. Whenever Clint is in charge all you do is complain that he won't listen. Why not have someone else in charge and just assign Clint to write the jingle? That way, he might actually be helpful without pissing everyone off. But Joan thinks that this way Clint will write the jingle and she can write a funny commercial. Dream on, Joan. Clint WILL filibuster.

So Annie and Brande resign themselves to the fact that their jingle will be inferior and buckle down to researching the brand and trying to write a good commercial. In meetings with both teams the suits emphasize the convenience and health of their tuna. Clint pretty much tells his team to take off because he is excited to get into the studio with some musicians. Already Joan knows she won't be allowed to make a funny commercial. You dug your own grave, brainiac.

Annie and Brande head over to the recording studio and actively demonstrate to us the complete lack in either of them of any musical ability whatsoever. They also apparently have much trouble trying to rhyme words. They finally decide to just have fun because they have no chance of writing a better song than Clint Black. Who, by the way, has barricaded himself into a room to strum on his guitar and let his genius flow. He tells us quite knowingly about his "bubble sheet," which is basically a list of all of the buzz words and phrases for the product. The song he comes up with is very lazy and country sounding. It would be great for a Country Time Lemonade ad. In fact, it's almost a lullaby.

The thumbnail disturbs me. Ever hear of a guitar pick?

Meanwhile Brande and Annie are working hard on their radio commercial and they have an encyclopedia worth of information they want to cram into 30 seconds. After cutting out as much as they can, their next solution is to just talk really fast. Joan and Jesse try to convince Clint to pep up his jingle a little to make it more radio appropriate. Clint agrees and takes the tempo up about a half a beat, and then decides to use his slow version anyway. Wow, he's a brick wall. Little Donny comes to check on the Athena girls and after they get done complaining about how unfair it is to have to compete against Clint he just wishes them luck. Then Brande offers to turn up in a mermaid costume tomorrow. Well people, she knows where her strength is.

Joan comes up with the idea of coming in at the end of Clint's snoozer jingle going, "Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck... splash!" Get it? Chicken of the Sea. It's zany. I'm not sure if it's exactly the feel that the Chicken of the Sea suits are looking for, but it does add a pizzazz to Clint's song. Clint immediately says no. Don't mess with his masterpiece. Clint has brought in an entire gospel choir to warble out his lullaby for Ivanka and she questions whether this is the style the executives are looking for. Clint doesn't care. His brilliance will overshadow any silly little marketing strategy.

The Athena girls work on recording their spot, which keeps going several seconds over their allotted time, but eventually they whip it up into chipmunk speeds and squeeze it all in. Good thinking, girls. KOTU's ad ends up sounding a bit like a game show, with one voice asking, "Did you know...?" and another voice giving facts about the tuna fish. Unfortunately, they have hired a male voice that is just as lazy as Clint's jingle and isn't coming across at all exciting. Jesse and Joan do a high energy demonstration for the voiceover actors and the girl does a good job, but still, the guy is subdued and boring. They finally send the actors on their way and decide to do the voiceovers themselves. Clint just hangs out in the studio playing his jingle over and over.

Here's a development: Athena has been provided with actual songwriters to come in and work with them on turning their ideas into a jingle. Are you serious? What were they bawling about? Here are professional musicians for the express purpose of helping them write their jingle. This is BS. Clint? Still playing his lullaby. Joan and Jesse finally beg about two minutes at the mic to spit out their commercial, then Clint shoves them back out into the hall and resumes his strumming. Two takes was PLENTY for that commercial, thank you very much!

Joan at mic.jpg
Aaaaaaand you're done!

Because Athena isn't working with a stubborn narcissistic country star, they are coming up (via their songwriters) with something that actually sounds like a radio commercial. Annie keeps announcing that she wrote a song today. No matter what else happens, today she wrote an amazing jingle. "I did it! I wrote a song!" Uh huh. I would like to hear that song had you been left without songwriters, Annie. Undaunted, she continues patting herself on the back for the rest of the afternoon.

Time for presentations! Apparently the way it will go is that the jingles will be performed live and the commercials will be played over the sound system. Uh oh, Clint gets a chance to practice his jingle at the microphone, so here we go again hearing it another five thousand times. Joan wants to know if she can carry a Chicken of the Sea poster across the stage, but Clint shoos her off, saying they'll talk after rehearsal. Eventually he lets her hold up the poster, but say and do nothing. Especially not "Cluck, cluck, cluck."

Athena presents first, and they point out that their singer is a woman, since women are the brand's target consumer. In your face, Clint Black! Their hired voice comes out to sing while Annie attempts to dance - not pretty. Next they play their chipmunk commercial and Annie congratulates herself several more times before leaving the stage.

Athena singer.jpg
"Annie, please. I'm trying to sing here."

Next Clint enters in all of his glory and sings the 15 second jingle he's been buried in for the last 24 hours. He has four backup singers. It sounds really nice, but I still think it's way too lazy for radio tuna. Furthermore, it's completely incongruous with the peppy, high energy commercial that he never bothered to listen to.

Clint sings.jpg
"Keep your seats, fellas. I'm going to sing this several dozen times."

The suits look underwhelmed.

"Soooooo, what else have you got?"

To the Boardroom! The Donald asks Clint if KOTU's jingle was better or their commercial. Well geez, what do you think? Clint says that he wrote a Grammy worthy jingle but they took a chance on their commercial with some brash comedy - or something to that effect. The Donald asks Annie if she thought she was at a disadvantage and Annie claims that despite being up against unbeatable odds, and having no musical or lyrical abilities, she too, has written a Grammy worthy jingle - or something to that effect. The Donald plays Annie's masterpiece first and she and Brande wiggle and sing along. Even Joan admits that the whole thing is adorable. And here's something wild and crazy - it's aimed at moms! The whole dialogue of their commercial is two moms on a playground talking about what a great solution Chicken of the Sea is. Then their jingle is fun and energetic - for moms on the go! The Donald asks Clint what he thinks and Clint says that he believes there is music in everyone. What an ass. Clint's song is next and the entire room passes out on the table before it's over. They wake up when Joan and Jesse's voices come on for the commercial. Then they fall asleep again with the jingle reprise. Therein lies the major problem - peppy dialogue, lazy jingle. It seems like two totally different ads spliced together. To their credit, Annie and Brande both graciously praise Clint's genius.

And what did the suits think? Donny reports that they like the fact that Athena had moms talking about the product being fast, fresh and convenient. The jingle was catchy and fun. The one negative is that they mentioned the product comes in cups, but not pouches. Pouches? The Donald doesn't like the thought of his food coming in pouches. Unless they are pouches made of solid gold, in which case, no problem. Ivanka reports that the suits liked KOTU's performance of the jingle (happy, Clint?), and they liked Joan's humor in the commercial. BUT, they don't think that everyone loves country music and they don't appreciate that KOTU didn't emphasize the convenience of the product. So! The Donald says that ultimately the suits chose... Annie and Brande - the main reason being that they worried that the country music would rule out a lot of their target audience. That's pretty hilarious after Clint's glorious session of creating a wonder jingle. The two tone deaf girls who can't follow a rhythm win the jingle contest over the Grammy Award Winning Clint Black. As you can imagine Annie and Brande start acting as if they have actually been presented with a Grammy.

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"They like us! They really like us!"

There is jumping and screaming, trembling and crying. It's a tuna fish commercial, girls. Calm down. Annie sobs that they've conquered this unbeatable mountain and she just can't believe they won. She goes on and on to the camera about how she just beat Clint Black in a songwriting contest. Yes, Annie, because you had a SONGWRITER. Never mind that, she'll take full credit, thank you.

So KOTU stays in the Boardroom with The Donald to find out whose journey is over. Ivanka tells them that even though she liked Clint's jingle better than Annie's, this just goes to show how important it is to listen to the executives and give them what they want. I don't think Clint is convinced.

"Uh, no, I think it's more important that they listen to me."

The Donald asks Jesse what went wrong and Jesse says that even though Clint writes good music, he doesn't take suggestions and he just runs his own show. Joan pipes up about wanting to do the "Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck... splash!" The Donald just sits there - he is not amused. Well, whatever, the bottom line is that they lost big time and someone must pay. And at long last, Clint Black is fired. Later! From the VIP lounge Annie smugly says, "He just got beat by a poker player who's never sung anything in her life." And who was given a songwriter since she can't carry a tune in a bucket. You keep conveniently forgetting that, Annie.

So we're down to the Final Four! We have Joan Rivers, Jesse James, Annie Duke and Brande Roderick. That's a slightly pathetic bunch. The only ones I would have foreseen making it this far would be Jesse because he seems pretty business savvy, and Annie because she's conniving. The other two made it here with pure luck. Alright, there's still a bunch of time left, so what are we sitting through now? Another challenge? The Donald summons everyone back to the Boardroom to find out. He says tonight he's firing two more people and Piers Morgan will help him decide who by interviewing everyone. Are you serious? He's just going to try to provoke everyone.

Well Brande's up first so she fluffs her boobs and heads in. Sure enough, Piers tells her that everyone thinks she's dumb. She says she knows she's bright and she's here for her kids - meaning her hot dog charity. Piers reports to The Donald that Brande isn't smart and it would be an insult to the show if she won.

Brande smart.jpg
"Forgoo! I may be in deep srap."

Next is Joan, and Piers asks her if she's a quitter. Joan starts rattling off her resume, but Piers reminds her of walking out over her daughter's firing. Joan brings up the fact that her family died in the Holocaust, so obviously this discussion is over. Piers tells The Donald that Joan gets too caught up in the personal feelings of the competition, but that she's doing great for an old woman. Annie is up and she tells Piers that she is a good games player and she chooses not to be personal. Oh she's just so above all of this. Piers tells The Donald that Annie is the smartest player by far and that she has Joan right where she wants her. During Jesse's turn, Piers says Jesse is the player he can't figure out. Jesse says he just wants to show that a working class guy can do just as well as a guy in a suit. Piers pulls out all the stops taunting Jesse about not hitting up his wife's Hollywood scene to raise money for these charities. Jesse maintains that he wants to leave his wife out of it and that he is a strong player even without raising a ton of money. The Donald is, of course, most troubled by the fact that Jesse James got a hot woman to marry him. He makes himself feel better, however, by stating that Sandra Bullock could never have landed him. Oh right, Hairdo. You should be so lucky.

Back in The Boardroom (yet again) The Donald says that ultimately it doesn't matter at all what Piers thinks because this is his decision. Oh COME ON! Then stop wasting time having Piers goad everyone and get to it! The Donald puts everyone through their paces one more time and I honestly don't have the willpower to write about it. He dismisses Brande for being dumb and Jesse for failing to produce Sandra Bullock on camera. Joan and Annie are the finalists! Shocking! The two cat fighting biz-natches are going to scratch it out to be The Celebrity Apprentice next week in an agonizing three hour finale. I'll do highlights in order to survive.

Who do you guys want to take the cake?

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

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