Home > Humor, TV > Celebrity Apprentice recap: “Bitter Suites”

Celebrity Apprentice recap: “Bitter Suites”

Celebrity Apprentice, Bitter SuitesGuys, we all knew this day was coming. It happened. It’s over. Sulking about it won’t do any good. Gary Busey is gone, and he isn’t coming back. Don’t worry, I hear the producers sent him to a farm upstate. He’ll have plenty of room to frolic and practice his animal impressions and book ironic sitcom cameos and talk show appearances. And if you all behave yourselves, I promise, next season we can get a new Gary Busey.

For now, a somewhat less flummoxed nation soldiers on. When last we left the men of Team Backbone, John Rich was one white glove short of challenging his teammate to a duel, and Meat Loaf was stammering like a trauma victim (it should be noted that the CDC has repeatedly warned against prolonged exposure to Gary Busey). Donald Trump – a man who doesn’t stand for turmoil, discord, or needless attention – had no choice but to send the troublemaker packing.

The good news is, I’m sure NBC has a back-up plan in place for Busey, just like when they stuck Charles Van Doren on the Today show after he finally lost on Twenty-One. The bad news is, The Cape flamed out before he could land a three-episode arc as recurring villain.

This week’s episode begins with a “Previously On” montage of last week that I’m pretty sure includes a scene from the week before, but no power on this Earth can make me go back to confirm that. The upshot is, even after two straight wins, the women’s team is on the razor’s edge. NeNe Leakes and La Toya Jackson plain don’t like each other. Knowing the grammar of reality television, this type of foreshadowing is only a hair more subtle and less terrifying than the Silver Surfer showing up on your planet in advance of Galactus.

And as the contestants shuffle in for task delivery, we get a talking head in which NeNe declares both, “I don’t hold a grudge,” and “I don’t want anything to do with La Toya.” NeNe is large, she contains multitudes.

But before I can consider the internal logic of this statement for too long, Trump arrives on the scene to gun down logic with a Uzi and ass-rape its bullet-ridden corpse while feeding posthumous slander about its birth certificate to Drudge Report.

“Everyone’s saying I should run for president!” The Donald announces, Then he quizzes his hapless celebrity sycophants about who would vote for him, which confirms that he’s all but locked up the “people who want money and exposure from Donald Trump” vote. I think we may have hit on the only viable campaign strategy for Trump 2012: Enlist 51% of the electorate (at least in the swing states) in the largest game of The Apprentice ever.

The task this week is to promote the Trump Hotel Collection. Is that all they ever do on this show, create marketing presentations? As I’ve mentioned, I’m a fan of the first few seasons of the original Apprentice, and the tasks seemed much more varied there. Granted, those shows were ostensibly geared towards actual business professionals. Ad campaigns must be the Apprentice equivalent of the easier questions on Celebrity Jeopardy!

So once again we’re off to build a scaled-up diorama, like a junior high class run by a perpetually bored substitute teacher (or like the study group on Community). With Backbone Busey-less, there’s an opening for a resident addle-pated character. Meat Loaf makes an airtight case for himself by proposing a confusing mirror-themed ad concept that suggests he might still be shellshocked from last week.

Over at ASAP the shit is already hitting the proverbial fan. Star has assigned NeNe and La Toya to work together, which is either tactically idiotic or strategically diabolical. Either way, NeNe, channeling her inner Dee Snider, is not gonna take it. Her concerns are two-fold: First, that she is “very real” and doesn’t cotton to “fake people” like La Toya. One can’t help but wonder how she feels about people who are only partially real, like holograms or people who aren’t featured on two separate reality shows.

Second, NeNe is upset at the way La Toya threw her “under the table” in last week’s boardroom. It’s possible she’s just trying to mix up the old cliche, but it seems that being thrown under the table is a much milder offense than being thrown under a bus. Really, that would only sting a little, depending on whether the floor is carpeted, and hey, you might even find a peanut there!

Visiting Backbone, and making the first appearance on the show that I’ve seen, is Eric Trump. The resemblance is eerie; dude looks like a frat guy going as Donald Trump for Halloween. How many offspring does The Donald have, anyhow? I hope it’s seven. He could be the Bowser Koopa of Manhattan, with each of his Koopa Kids guarding a different hotel before you get to the final level in Trump Tower.

In a touching subversion of reality show expectations, the NeNe-La Toya conflict is resolved (for now) with a heartfelt speech and a hug. In the background, Marlee Matlin’s translator has the look of someone waiting in the orthodontist’s chair between wisdom tooth removals.

To underscore how at home Star is in the world of luxury hotels, we get about ninety seconds of her getting a manicure and such. Hey, have I bitched in this entry yet about how this show runs for TWO GODDAMN HOURS? Because this strikes me as a goddamn perfect time to do so.

The camaraderie is much smoother at Backbone, where John Rich praises Lil Jon effusively and says “we work well as a team.” Uh-oh. Whoever the “Big” portion of Big & Rich is better start updating his resume; when this season is over, the new power duo of Lil & Rich is going to take the music world by storm. (And yes, I really do wish it were Big, rather than Rich, in that tandem, so that it could be called, “Big and Lil.”)

With Don Jr.’s visit to ASAP, this episode has hit its FCC-mandated cap on the number of Trumps (4) that can appear in a single hour of prime time. During their chat, Star tells him “for the first time in my life, being pretentious doesn’t hurt me!” Star Jones is apparently unfamiliar with the career of Star Jones, and how she became celebrity enough to appear on Celebrity Apprentice in the first place.

In discussing their respective assignments, John Rich utters the phrase, “we got three guys, everybody’s in a place where they can grip.” I don’t know how their luxury hotel marketing is going, but if they ever have to advertise for a circle jerk their tagline is already written. Meat Loaf, meanwhile, is off shooting something involving a butler who looks like Darrell Hammond playing Sweeney Todd.

Unlike La Toya a couple of weeks ago, Star remembers that she has a Playboy Playmate of the Year on her team. During the shoot of Hope luxuriating by the bathtub, though, Star and NeNe clash over the project schedule. That leads to a talking head in which NeNe, laying out a particularly reality show-esque philosophy of self, is spontaneously backed up by La Toya popping into the frame. Hey, the show was totally setting us up to think these two would be fighting all episode long, but it was a misdirect! Now they’re besties! Surely this bond will transcened the ages, or at least the next commercial break.

Lil & Rich are displeased with the results of Meat Loaf’s photo direction, which produced a bunch of identical shots of a dour butler whom John compares to an undertaker. Their long-shot fix is to edit out the man’s head altogether, in what’s probably not the first instance of decapitation being posited as a solution on The Apprentice
Last week, Backbone was dinged for presenting a menu that misspelled two words. This week, John is gung-ho to sniff out any similar mistake. And a good thing too, because the draft they review includes the words “guset” and “sophostication.” (Though for the record, John, “supersede” can be spelled with an “s” OR a “c.”)

Their presentation goes smoothly though. At one point, Meat Loaf rhetorically asks, “Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be Donald Trump?” To my disappointment, no one suggests declaring bankruptcy a few times in order to get a sense of that.

The women’s presentation, on the other hand, kicks off with a series of spirited recitations from Roget’s Thesaurus. “Style!” “Glamour!” “Opulence!” they call out, perhaps hoping that one of those things responds like Beetlejuice in that if you say it enough times it’ll appear. Is it possible that this was one massive, cryptic anagram? Could the first letter of each of their buzzwords spell out some sort of magic code?

The executives aren’t thrilled with either campaign. Despite all of Backbone’s strenuous editing, one claims to still find misspellings – although the only one shown on camera is “discreetly,” which is I’m not sure is actually a typo, because the word “discreet,” meaning judicious, makes more sense in this context than the word “discrete,” meaning separate. Calling it a case of the lesser of two evils, one exec tells Trump, “There really isn’t a winner,” and for the first time I feel like the show feels my pain.

The boardroom revs up quickly when NeNe announces she’s going to be “really, really real,” which is a critical warning because ordinary people are not advised to look directly at such heavily concentrated doses of reality. She feels that some of her teammates were “crawling up Star’s ass.” Trump made a creepy-ass remark in the boardroom last week, but he outdoes himself here in intimating that the physical act of inserting oneself into Star Jones’s anatomic posterior would have been even more unpleasant “before she lost all the weight.” If you’ve ever wondered what presidential timbre looks like, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Donald J. Trump.

Trump says some sugary things about everyone in the room doing well and being smart before dropping the hammer that the judges thought both teams were crap. The Donald buildeth up and The Donald smacketh down. Also, I’m just now noticing how weird it is that they’re making La Toya stand up even though the men have an empty chair at their half of the table. Symmetrical furniture arrangement is a core value at the Trump Organization, I guess.

Each of the Trumpettes reads off a litany of the teams’ failures. The men had too much copy, used generic images, and omitted contact info. The women’s looked like “ads for a sleazy strip club.” Ultimately, ASAP’s project sucked just a little bit harder.

The boardroom then hinges on whether Star should be fired for PMing a disaster, or La Toya for being the least-respected team member. Donald reiterates that, inexplicably, the judges on the past two tasks have singled La Toya out as the best member of ASAP, just in case you were beginning to have faith in the rigor and veracity of the Celebrity Apprentice selection process.

This leads us to a two-step boardroom, starring everyone’s favorite hate triangle of Star, NeNe, and La Toya. Adding another wrinkle to this Shakespearean drama, La Toya is apparently losing her voice, so she can’t wield her typically robust vociferousness in her defense. Though torn, NeNe ultimately tosses her new BFF under the table.

Declaring his decision to be in ASAP’s long-term best interest, Trump dismisses La Toya, but not without sending her off with a wave of praise. Take heart, La Toya Jackson: you may not be this year’s Celebrity Apprentice, but at this rate you’re an inside favorite for Secretary of State in the first Trump administration. Just make sure your podium is always fitted with a heavy-duty mic.

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Categories: Humor, TV
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