Celebrity Apprentice

Celebrity Apprentice Smackdown: Pt. 9 (Mar 3)

Previously on Celebrity Apprentice: Marilu Henner loved ladders in a way that no human being ever has or ever will. Lennox Lewis was sleepy, and curiously we see more of this footage in the previouslies than we did in the actual episode. Trace Adkins demonstrated that a sweeper could pick up bolts and Trump went nuts. (See what I did there?) Ultimately, Trump sent Marilu home to her house full of ladders.

Piers Morgan and Lennox return to the suite, and everybody is happy to see Sleepy Boy.

This nickname will follow him to the grave. Tito Ortiz has a good laugh about how Piers threw Lennox under the bus. In fact, he says the exact same thing three times. Tito, that’s not how the comedy “rule of three” works. There is much talk about the sleepiness of Lennox, and Piers proclaims himself to be “on (Lennox’s) case”. Sure, if by case” you mean…. No. Too easy. Lennox explains that Piers wants to win at all costs, over a shot of Piers doing something on a desktop computer. Come on Piers, post a comment. You don’t have to register or anything.

Opening credits. Hey, Carol Alt’s opening shot is a cover of Redbook. They’re all over this episode. (Yes, I’m running out of things to say about the opening credits. Sue me.)

Stephen Baldwin calls his mother on speakerphone to tell her about his most recent win, and the new donation to her charity. It’s sort of weird, because she doesn’t seem to recognize his voice at first. And then she identifies him as “Stephen…the Flea”. Ha! Has anybody ever had a more appropriate nickname? And it’s not like this is his frat nickname, or something his buddies call him. His mother calls him “Flea”. I can’t even express how awesome that is. Little Stevie B does not appear amused. Cheer up, Stephen. I understand famed litigator F. Lee Bailey had the same nickname.

I’m not a huge fan of the presentation segments, but this one is weirdly sweet, because Mrs. Baldwin seems like kind of a cool old lady. Plus, William Baldwin was on one of the late night shows, and talked about how she knocked out two of Daniel’s teeth with a frying pan over the holidays. Isn’t it great that Alec is the normal one in the family?

Stephen tells us that he’s a two-time winner on this show, and he will use that to psych people out if he has to. If this works on you, you are very easy to rattle. I don’t recommend you work for a bomb squad anytime soon.

The Retarded Baby Ducklings meet Trump in the lobby of Hearst Tower. Trump’s wingmen this time out are George and Ivanka. Yay, George! Trump explains that this task is for Dial soap, which he explains is the soap he uses. Hey ladies, you’re welcome for the mental image of Trump bathing. It’s an ad campaign that will run in Redbook. As he introduces the various executives, I can’t help thinking that Dial sponsored a task on an earlier season. Both teams made phenomenally offensive ads, and he declared that nobody won. Then he fired the first person to look at him funny.

The executives lay out the task. Each team is to created a four-page ad for Dial Nourishing Yogurt Body Wash. There’s a great shot of Trace here, where it’s clear that he’s heard all of these individual words before, but certainly not together. Trump starts explaining the concept of project manager, and we see Omarosa volunteering and then unvolunteering. It’s kind of funny, but I think they dubbed Trump’s voice later to make Omarosa look stupid. There’s no way he’d let people talk amongst themselves while he’s speaking, and he can’t possibly take this long to explain what a project manager is at this point in the season. Even Tito gets it by know. Still, anything that makes Omarosa look stupid is OK by me. If post-production were to add a digital dunce cap to every shot of her, I’d applaud that choice.

Three out of four Empresario members choose Tito as project manager, with Tito being the dissenting vote. Trump is impressed that he’d be project manager for Dial. Does he assume Tito doesn’t bathe? Maybe he doesn’t. I should upgrade to HD so I can see the smell lines. Carol volunteers for Hydra, because “she’s been in this world a long time.” I’m not sure when Carol became an elderly Navajo woman, but I hope she lives to see the harvest.

Carol tells us that she’s been on the cover of Redbook five times, so she’s got me beat by five. Trump says he “doesn’t want to be ridiculed because there are no women left”. What? Who’s ridiculing him? Do all the reality hosts get together and discuss gender balance? Are Phil Keoghan and the Chenbot giving him crap? You don’t have to take that, Trump! Give Probst a slap, and he’ll back down.

Hydra meets with the executives first. Carol explains that it’s easy to start off in the wrong direction if you don’t listen to the executives. She should know, having spent time on a team with Gene “I don’t care what you want” Simmons and Nely “Have I ever told you about my cat?” Galan.

The Redbook lady explains that she wants to reach their readers. You can see how she soared through the publishing ranks with that innovative strategy. Carol asks if their demographics still skew older, and the woman confirms that the average age of their readership is 37. So you know, ancient. Piers asks how racy they can be. Cuts right to the heart of it, doesn’t he? Considering he pitched “naked Lennox Lewis” for a pet adoption ad, one can only wonder what scenarios are going through his head. Dial confirms that they don’t have “a list of things (they) won’t do”. That’s sort of like giving a drunk six-year-old a handgun. Or conversely, like giving an armed six-year-old a drink.

In my favorite interview ever, Piers says it’s obvious what they want. “We’re talking women in their 30’s who’ve had a lot of sex.” First off, I like the “had”. They couldn’t still be having sex, not in their 30’s. That’s absurd! Is that even physically possible? Also, I think Redbook should consider a new slogan. “For women who used to get laid all the time.” Back in the task, he asks Carol if she knows “all about this stuff”. It’s obvious that he’s talking photo shoots and layouts, but coming on the heels of his interview, it sounds like he’s asking about something completely different. Carol wants to keep it sexy and tell a story. She says the first shot is a baby’s hand in a woman’s hand. That does scream ‘sexy’, doesn’t it? The next shot is her in a bathtub, and then it’s the model and “her man”. I don’t think that baby should be there for any of that.

Piers says it’s about “having babies, getting married, and having great sex”. Interesting order to put those in. Carol agrees that it’s “every aspect of her life”. Really? I guess every aspect of my life is watching Celebrity Apprentice and then writing about Celebrity Apprentice, but I’d like to think the rest of the world has a little more going on than that. Piers agrees that the last shot should be “pure sex”. (This recap is going to bring in a whole new kind of Google traffic.) Lennox says in an interview that Piers is working well with everybody, he’s not “rabbiting on”, which is a great phrase. He also mentions “diarrhea of the mouth” for the third time in two episodes, which is just gross. Carol and Piers exchange the most awkward high-five since the invention of the hand, and they head off to shoot some porn.

Over at Empresarion, nobody has told Tito that you necktie shouldn’t extend beyond the belt buckle. Of course, Tito probably has a bunch of ties that his dad tied for him, and all he has to do is slip them over his neck and tighten. You can’t get the length exact with that method. Hilariously, the Dial guy explains that Dial is known for healthy skin, and Stephen starts taking notes. You’d hate to get that one wrong in the presentation. The Redbook lady says that the magazine is 104 years old, but it did have a lot of sex prior to its 30’s. She also says that they have “a very deep connection to the middle of the country”. I don’t really know what that means. The middle class? Politically middle-of-the-road? Kansas? But she says that those people love Trace, and he mentions how many country artists they put on the cover. I believe him, but that surprises me. Trace makes a joke about how they haven’t called him, but they put “ugly old Tim McGraw” on the cover. I had to check online to make sure Tim McGraw isn’t actually deformed in some way. I needed to know if Trace was being funny or a jerk. Stephen steps in to tell everybody that he was just kidding. Thanks, Flea. Where were you ten seconds ago?

Stephen pitches the idea of Trace in a bathtub with “chicks squirting yogurt all over him”, which both Stephen and Tito find hilarious. Stephen keeps making reference to “honky-tonk-badonka-donk”, and I have literally no idea what that means. Is that a real thing?

Back at Hydra, the job of restating the task for people who came in late falls to Carol, who calls it an “advertorial”. Honey, there’s no such thing. It’s an ad or it isn’t. Upsettingly, Microsoft Word agrees with her, as it doesn’t flag the word. Et tu, Word? I had to add “cyborg” to the Dictionary, and you come loaded with “advertorial”? Piers explains to their photographer that the “range is 20 to 50, with an emphasis on 37”. Man, he fell in love with 37, didn’t he? Not even “late 30’s”. Their target audience is very specific indeed.

Anyway, Piers thinks the models provided are too young, so they should use Carol. There’s a backhanded compliment if ever I’ve heard one. Carol doesn’t want to do it because “it puts many hats on (her) head”. That would be the ideal place for hats, though. She says the Project Manager will most likely be fired, and she doesn’t want to be fired as a model. Well, I don’t think Trump can actually end her modeling career, but if she’s that worried, they might as well use the person who modeled last time she was Project Manager. What was her name again? Oh yeah, that was Carol!

At Empresario, Omarosa complains that Tito (whose name she mispronounces) needs too much guidance. She has a point. It’s not like she herself nominated him for Project Manager or anything, except for the part where she did that exact thing. Stephen says that they’ll stress the health and cleanliness aspects of soap (which makes sense), and set it against a county background. Everybody agrees, with Omarosa saying “Lady O approves.” You know, if you give yourself a nickname, you suck. If you give yourself Oprah’s established nickname, you suck and you’re dumb. Omarosa says the men have been winning with off-the-wall concepts, so she’s going to let them continue what they’re doing. Note that some of the “off-the-wall concepts” they’ve won with have included actually attending the executive meetings, not putting crazy people on live TV, and doing a better job of selling things. That is pretty kooky.

As the photo shoot begins, Stephen tells us he has an “innate understanding of how the camera sees things”. How exactly did the camera see Bio-Dome, do you think? They’re getting shots of their model, a very attractive young woman wearing a cowboy hat and a towel. Then there are the topless shots with her back to the camera. (Slideshow! She’s in it!) Keep in mind, Stephen didn’t want to read Vincent’s notes on the Crocs task because it clashed with his morality, but he’s got no problem with making half-naked women arch their backs. I’m not even going to the ‘hypocrite’ place, because everybody’s lines are their own. I’m just saying that Stephen’s line is clearly gerrymandered.

Stephen tells us that people are always telling him he should run a Hollywood studio. I will give him twenty dollars if he can name three people who said that without smirking.

Trace says “Daddy like-y”, which is easily the creepiest thing we’ve seen him say or do. Omarosa complains about being on a team with all men. You know, it’s not like they’re hooting or waving dollar bills or anything. They’re actually being pretty professional. Then there’s a shot of the model in a bathtub with Trace perched on the edge, holding his guitar. The model is wearing a flesh-colored top that matches her skin tone so exactly that I didn’t notice it at first. My first time watching, I thought to myself “Can they show breasts on TV now?” and went about my business. They actually do get kind of a cool shot where the backdrop looks like the tub is out in the desert, and Trace Adkins is serenading a woman as she bathes. I mean, it’s not winning a Clio or anything, but I’ve seen professional ad agencies run worse ads.

At Hydra, Carol is halfheartedly trying to talk Piers out of having her model. Nobody really believes she doesn’t want to do the shoot, do they? In the next shot, she’s directing the makeup people as to how they should prepare her. In a perhaps inadvertently hysterical edit, there’s a cut to somebody dipping a paint roller. Carol explains that “all the pressure in the world” is on her, and the world thanks her for giving us some time off. There are so many shots of people preparing her hair and makeup, that I can go get a drink and come back and not miss anything worth recapping.

Back at Empresario, Omarosa suggests reaching out to women by having Trace and the male models take their shirts off. Trace is not thrilled with this, largely for issues with his paleness. Plus, you can’t just spring shirtlessness on a guy. Models, sure. That’s part of the job. But regular guys need some time to prepare. In my case, I would either use the time to kill myself, of have my head transplanted onto Sawyer from Lost. Trace moans about it, but he takes his shirt off. I’m not exactly comfortable discussing shirtless dudes, but let’s just say that Trace doesn’t have to be embarrassed, but his chest isn’t really adding anything to the proceedings. Still, he’s a good sport, and he poses with his guitar while the male models vogue in the background. One of them has a series of oriental characters down his back, which is both irritating and distracting. Wouldn’t that hurt your modeling career? Especially for a cowboy-themed shoot. If there’s anything Middle America loves, it’s inscrutable Japanese characters on a guy’s spine. It’s worth noting that Omarosa is way more creepy and immature about the men than any of the guys were earlier.

Ivanka shows up just as Trace is getting dressed. For some reason, Ivanka is wearing Inspector Gadget’s outfit. She wonders how the ad will play with the Dial executives, and she has a point. Without the bathtub, they don’t even have a tenuous connection to soap. Now it’s just shirtless cowboys. Empresario dismisses their models, and as Tito thanks everybody who passes, he does not look at them. It’s very weird.

At Hydra, Lennox is directing the photo shoot, and Piers confirms that he had a good night’s sleep. Piers would know, what with the way he stood in the door watching and almost hardly eating pineapple. Carol is wrapped in a towel and holding a doll that looks sort of like a real baby, if you’re not really familiar with what babies look like. Some of the shots are really disturbing, including several where the doll seems to be gratifying her, and one where she might be trying to eat the baby.

Then we get shots of Carol pouring nourishing yogurt in her hand and down her back, and looking way too damn happy about it. These shots pretty seriously creep me out, for reasons I just can’t identify. Then the bathtub shots, where she’s once again emoting pretty broadly. I actually like Carol, and she knows much more about modeling and photography than I ever will, but to me her poses look like silent-movie acting.

Now, Carol’s on the bed, and Lennox is demonstrating how the other model will approach her. We get a shot of Piers licking his lips, which is just too easy. Piers then explains to us that “Redbook girls like to have sex”. No more bars for me! I’ll just be hanging out at the magazine rack. So, the male model comes in and he’s fondling her, and it’s really suggestive. There’s a sudden shot of George casting a disapproving glare over the proceedings. And man, does this dude have a lot of moles on his back. He’s part Dalmatian! Finally, with a shot of the model biting Carol’s shoulder, Piers and Lennox are very excited, and call it “the money shot”. Maybe you could use a term that doesn’t actually come from porn? Maybe?

At Empresario, they’re arguing over whether to lead with the female model or with shirtless Trace. Omarosa has strong feelings on the matter, which should surprise nobody. Tito complains that Omarosa and Stephen are hard to manage. It seems like they’re arguing about separate things in this scene, as Stephen seems to be suggesting that Dial wants a wholesome image, but the other team might do that, so maybe they should consider a different path. Meanwhile, Omarosa’s arguing that shirtless Trace is better than shirtless nameless woman. Really, those two just like to argue.

Back from the commercials, there’s a shot of a squirrel who looks exactly like that squirrel from Ice Age. Trump and the various executives sit down for the presentations. Trump’s gone back to the pink tie. Piers makes the presentation, which is sort of unusual. Generally, that falls to the Project Manager. Their ad actually looks pretty good, and it includes information about the product. Since we never saw them discuss it, I don’t know if they pulled it off the bottle or what. In an ordinary season, writing up the bullet points would have been five minutes of screen time, but they had all the fondling they needed to fit in.

Then they get to the last picture, and Trump is horrified that the model is biting Carol. He really is, too. He’s biting her shoulder. Piers explains that “he’s so entranced by the aroma that he could literally eat her”. I don’t think he really means “literally”. Unless Dial is actively approaching the cannibal audience. I don’t know how the soap business works, I guess.

For Empresario, Omarosa and Tito make the presentation. Omarosa’s opening is sort of like the first week of public speaking class, as she explains that soap makes you clean. That’s the kind of genius presentation that can get you to the top of the ad game, provided you’re in The Muppet Movie. Then it comes to Tito, and he throws a bunch of words and pauses together, including “pitch”, “aloe vera”, and “scrub”. And he explains the desert setting by saying “That’s when the skin is driest”, the way second graders start every definition with “It is when…”.

From a purely mechanical standpoint, it’s worth noting that Hydra’s ad consisted of a front page, a double-page spread, and a back page. Empresario’s is two double-page spreads. It seems to me that Hydra’s format is more workable as actual ad placement goes, but this is never mentioned, so really I’m just finding new things to be nerdy about.

In the end, Empresario went with the bathtub shot, rather than shirtless Trace. So that was a lot of screen time devoted to something that ended up on the cutting room floor. Nice job, editors!

Here’s an actual sentence from Tito’s presentation. “Ladies ranging from the age of 20, excuse me, 30 to 59, which, um, most country folk ladies that would love Trace’s, uh, kind of to push the product exactly.” Roll that over in your mind and admire the way that went. I can’t even tell what he thought he was saying, though I think “Country Folk Ladies” would be a fantastic name for a female bluegrass band. Everybody gives Tito a mildly patronizing “good job”, like he’s showing total strangers what a good job he did tying his shoes.

They discuss Hydra, with one executive specifically praising their integration of product description, so it would really have been nice to see how that came about. One of Dial guys does not care for the last picture at all. Then they discuss how they didn’t like Empresario, praising only the actual photography. Trump says “OK, so you liked both.” Except for the one they said they didn’t like.

Boardroom time! Trump says it’s odd that Tito isn’t nervous when he fights, but he was nervous in the presentation. Newsflash! People tend to be more nervous when doing things they aren’t good at! But then Tito mentions his desire to be perfect, only he pronounces it like the verb. Mispronouncing ‘perfect’? Comedy gold! Well, pobody’s nerfect, if Murderface’s tattoo can be believed.

Carol explains that it was important to hit the demographics since that’s who Dial is trying to reach by advertising in Redbook. Man, the Captain Obvious costume is really getting a workout in this episode. Carol says she’d rather be fired for standing up to a challenge than running away from one, and Trump calls that a load of crap. What’s going on here?

Now they discuss the biting. Trump asks “Was that supposed to be a biting picture?”, like it’s some fetish genre. You know, “His hard drive was full of biting pictures.” Myndi pointed out that all this biting talk invokes Marv Albert to an uncomfortable degree, so I’m thrilled to have that image back. Trump keeps talking about biting, and then mentions that Tito gets bitten all the time. Everybody sort of laughs, but nobody knows what’s going on. When Trump loses his mind, nobody’s going to be able to tell. Carol claimed that the picture “surprised and delighted” the executives. Like kids on Christmas morning, they were.

Trump shows each team their competitors’ layout. He asks Tito about the biting picture, and Tito claims they had something similar with shirtless Trace, but they decided not to use it. Yes, a shirtless man is almost the same thing as people biting each other. Remind me not to go to any pool parties at Tito’s house. You’ll catch Chlamydia, and people will chew on you. Tito says that Trace looks good for his age, which is actually funny. It was probably an accident, then. Trump says that women would like shirtless Trace, as would some men. I am firmly of the belief that Trump learned of the existence of homosexuality within the last three years, so he tries to bring it up like it’s going to blow people’s minds.

Piers doesn’t like Empresario’s ad, and he questions the use of Trace as a model. Trump jokingly asks if they should use Omarosa, and Piers responds “Only in a graveyard scene.” Oh, come on Piers, that wasn’t even funny. You can do much better than that! How about “Only if you’re marketing to drag queens”?

Stephen says they wanted to do something more original, and Trump apparently thinks that “original” and “edgy” are synonyms, because he points out that you can’t get more edgy than a biting picture. Trump clearly never checks his spam folder.

Piers says that Empresario didn’t tell a story, and he can’t read the text of their ad. Not only does it look small, but it’s white text on a multi-colored background. That’s just unacceptable. As Piers, who is actually an editor, makes valid criticisms of their layout, Stephen earns the “Flea” nickname by repeated asking in an English accent “Piers, where’s your specs?” Everybody is ignoring him, but Trump seems to think it’s pretty funny.

Trump asks Trace about the ad, and they agree that they like the first shot, but not the rest of it. Note that. Trump said he didn’t like Hydra’s ad. He immediately reminds them that his opinion doesn’t matter, as Redbook and Dial pick the winner, but remember it anyway. Trump pronounces Hydra the winner. Carol gets another $20,000 for her charity. If you’ll recall last time, he made fun of her for getting emotional about her brother who died. This time, he makes fun of her again, for getting emotional last time. What is in this guy’s head?

Back with Empresario, Trump questions whether Tito was the best choice for Project Manager. “You’re a fighter. A physical fighter. We all fight. My whole life is one big fight.” Trump is having an existential crisis right before our very eyes! Tito reminds us that Omarosa originally volunteered and then backed down. Omarosa denies it, but we all saw it. Just because he’s simple doesn’t mean he can’t remember things, lady. Then Omarosa says they went back and forth, which is technically true. Only, she was pushing for Tito to be Manager, and he was trying not to be. George chews her out for not stepping up with her marketing background. Omarosa is actually on the ropes for this whole sequence, and Piers is giggling hysterically.

Now George nails her for focusing on Redbook and ignoring Dial. Man, George is on fire tonight. Omarosa says there was no concept, and she blames Tito and Stephen. Her rationale on that last one being that Stephen had to pick up Tito’s slack. Yes, moving outside your role to help the team is certainly a fireable offense. Trump tries to get Stephen to admit Hydra’s ad was better. You know, the ad Trump stated earlier that he didn’t like? He’s all over the place today.

Trace blames Tito for the loss, but he does so in a very nice way where he almost doesn’t even get around to it. Trace then says, as a compliment, that Stephen focuses so much on his target that you have to “physically break his concentration”, which creates a funny image of Trace punching Stephen in the face to get him to listen. Tito calls Stephen “overbearing”, which is true, but it’s not what lost the task. Now it’s turning around where Tito blames Stephen for shooting down Omarosa’s ideas, and Trump has to remind Tito that he’s the Project Manager. When asked for her opinion, Omarosa blames Tito, because she always waits for the blood in the water before she commits. Trump says the ad would be more exciting with shirtless Trace, but not without reminding us that he himself wouldn’t be excited. Thanks for that.

Trump asks Tito who he would exonerate. Tito has no idea what that means, so he says nothing. Trump lists the reasons he can’t fire anybody else, so he fires Tito. He even sets me up for an easy spike by telling Tito that he’s “really very special”. In a surprisingly decent gesture, Trump gives $50,000 to Tito’s charity anyway. That’s more than Stephen’s charity got last week for winning! As they leave, Trump again states that Tito is “a special person”. Donald Trump: Billionaire, spunkybean reader.

In the exit limo, Tito begins with “This is all my charity time to give back.” Ah, Tito. We’ll miss your way with words. He also says that he met some great people on the show, and I have to wonder when that happened.

Next week, we’re back to the Piers-Omarosa feud, and Omarosa calls Piers gay. Come on, he’s not gay. He’s gay for Lennox Lewis. One of those two things is funny, and one isn’t. Get it straight, homophobe-arosa.

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