Celebrity Apprentice Recap: I Say A Little Prayer for Decency

Unspeakable things happened on Celebrity Apprentice last night, and I’m not talking about Gary Busey’s sentences. I’m referring to a challenge about stupid commercials, Jose Canseco’s “risque humor,” (which must be Trump code for “homophobia”), and the firing of a first-rate buzzard. Tragedy all around. Plus, Busey told us his johnson is nicknamed “Big Wednesday,” and he meant it. Because this show? Is kind of hell, for sure. But a fresh hell! Let’s relive and re-love it.

The Challenge: Since last week when Trump fired Niki Taylor and presumably fed her to a timberwolf (Mark McGrath), the ladies’ team (A.S.A.P.) has faceplanted into depression. Two weeks in a row they’ve failed due to slipshod leadership. Star Jones is frustrated, Nene Leakes is irritated, Marlee Matlin is gesturing like an enraged Village Person, and LaToya Jackson is dressed like a bandleader in a murder mystery. Just a mural of hopelessness, this team. Meanwhile, members of the gents’ team (Backbone) aren’t much happier since they’re stuck with Jose Canseco, Gary Busey, and the ghost of Richard Hatch. I sympathize; Mark McGrath, John Rich, and Meat Loaf run that team on the strength of their wits, and people like Gary outlast better competitors (like Lisa Rinna) thanks to their efforts. Makes me want to sing a defiant medley of their hits “Fly,” “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy,” and “Bat Out of Hell” — except there is no more deplorable idea on Earth.

Donald Trump and his trumpkins Don Jr. and Ivanka gather the teams and unleash the next challenge with the help of execs from telecommunications company ACN. The prompt: Make a 30-second commercial highlighting ACN’s new “video phone.” There are three judging criteria: 1) Be creative! 2) Use thoughtful company-brand messaging and an “emotional” storyline, and 3) Pretend Skype doesn’t exist. The teams caucus and elect Nene Leakes and Lil Jones as project managers because those are the most hilarious options available.

Team A.S.A.P: Nene turns out to be a fine leader. She bosses around LaToya and Dionne Warwick with enough soundbites to clog an average Real Housewives season, and only Star and Marlee appreciate it. “You’re the only two I can trust,” Nene says to Star and Marlee. Star nods vacantly while Marlee concurs with a hand-jive. Though Nene delegates tasks well, it’s safe to say the team’s commerical is ridiculous: A young girl staying in Paris communicates with her parents on the video phone, and Dionne Warwick plays the woman she’s staying with. “Bonjour!” Dionne chirps into the video phone. Aaaand scene. Holler back, Clio committee!

LaToya approaches Nene early in the challenge and claims she just had Lasik surgery, so she can’t read any papers or minds today. Nene indulges LaToya’s fake excuse and allows her to keep track of the group’s timetable. That also requires reading, but LaToya is game for the task because she forgot what she just said. Fine. She’s also dressed in a mustard version of her sister Janet’s Zoot Suit from the “Alright” video, and it’s painful to remember talented Jacksons at this time. Don’t even bring up Rebbie right now.

Then, some unseen team member named Hope Dwoorstop gets Nene’s attention! “What!” says Nene. “You are a dwoorstop.” Ms. Leakes is rightfully pissed and orders her to prop open the dwoor. Hope obliges because there’s no such thing as a stubborn dwoorstop, but let’s pray the inanimate objects stay quiet for the rest of the season. We have enough surrealism here with LaToya’s melted timetables and Gary’s haunting glance; we don’t need to hear from any uppity woodblocks. Yes, that includes you, Don Trump Jr.

Team Backbone: The gents deal with the challenge in a more “transgressive” way. “I’ve got it!” clamors Lil Jon, shaking with glee. “A guy uses the video phone to tell his parents he’s engaged, and then… it’ll turn out he’s engaged to a guy!” I can’t express enough the joy, excitement, and gratitude with which his teammates respond. Mark McGrath clasps his hands over his lupine snout and mutters, “That’s so hilarious. That’s so hilarious.” Jose Canseco slaps the knees on his bootcut True Religions. Meat Loaf pumps a fist and laughs to heaven. Richard Hatch, who died in 2005, emits his first giggle of the new decade. The team agrees it’s funny, and in reality it’s so not. It’s the sort of homophobic nonsense that comes up in too many Super Bowl ads. Better yet, Richard (who was gay during his time on Earth) tells Canseco he should play the gay fiance. Ooh! Allow me to quote Jose’s reaction in full:

“Oh boy, my Twitter’s going to blow up,” he says. “My Facebook is going to be ridiculous. All my friends are going to make fun of me. And if my father sees this, he’s going to basically kill me.” Man, what could be more embarrassing than playing a gay character? Definitely not illegal steroid use, appearing on THE SURREAL LIFE, or a celebrity boxing match with Danny Bonaduce. That’s for sure, Jose Canseco.

Shooting the commercial is not a problem-free endeavor: Gary Busey plays the engaged gay man’s father, and he chooses to wear a bathrobe and no other clothes. Yes, this means when Gary plops down on the couch to use the video phone, his junk flounces around on-screen in a moment of blurred-out hysteria. God, God, God. Why us? Why did this vulgar moment happen to the meek readers of TVLine? We are a well-groomed and polite klatch, and we observe the rules of grammar. What did we do deserve this? Better yet, why did we have to endure Gary’s next revelation — that he and his wife call his penis “Big Wednesday”? I’ve thought about what that could mean for 45 seconds now! Ah! That filth would’ve hit the cutting room floor if classy Marla Maples were still in Trump’s life. I miss you, 1990s.

During the final video presentations at the fancy ACN conference, Lil Jon wins over the crowd by promising a video that will make the company “cool.” The room believes him because of dreadlocks. Nene and Star preside over the ladies’ presentation, and they promise that patented Team A.S.A.P. dullness. Less hooting from the crowd this time! Will their straightforward ad win over the dudes’ “risque” clip?

Boardroom: Trump arranges the contestants at the Tundra-Length Conference Table. After some expected repartee, he announces that Team Backbone’s ad is the winner by a 53-47 vote. “Gay panic is a crowd pleaser!” Trump snorts. (Not really.) Lil Jon’s charity wins a check for $20,000, and Trump is named an honorary East Side Boy. The women look deflated as ever, except in their Nerf-like cheekbones. Looking for someone to blame, Trump points at Dionne Warwick and asks Nene, “Didn’t Dionne leave early one night?” Nene gasps, “Yes!” while Star and Hope Dwoorstop approve using contemptuous woodblock glances. Before Dionne can coo a few bars of “Reach Out for Me,” Trump fires her. Noooo! Dionne was a snippy, snarly, and menacing contender. She could’ve cracked Star Jones’s skull using her melodic sense! On her way out, Dionne looks Nene in the eye and snaps, “You’re a coward.” Awww. I miss her already — especially since scrubs like Jose Canseco, Hope Dwhatnow, and Gary Busey live to torture the future.

What did you think of this week’s episode?? Did Dionne deserve the boot?Could you tolerate either of the commercials? And does anyone think we’re destined for a  Lil Jon/Marlee Matlin finale? Leave your thoughts in the comments, follow me on Twitter at @Louisvirtel, and read me regularly at Movieline.com.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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30 Comments
  1. SallyinChicago says:

    What the general public doesn’t know is that Trump comes off as the big boss, but he’s a good friend to all these people. So when he fires them, it’s with a wink wink. Dionne has to appear at his casinos and they’re probably kissy friends. This is all scripted and staged. But gotta love it.

  2. A. says:

    I can’t believe I’m even going to comment on this, but I swear that Gary Busey referred to ‘it’ as “Big Winston,” which makes about as much sense as “Big Wednesday.” But Busey rarely makes any sense at all.

  3. Linda says:

    Nah, it was Big Wednesday, to which my husband wondered whether it was only big on Wednesdays!! LOL!

  4. dmac says:

    Wednesday is hump day

  5. dmac says:

    could be because Wednesday is hump day

  6. T says:

    I am so happy!!! I couldn’t stand Dionne. She’s a whiny diva who needed to go.

  7. Tommyboy says:

    Homophobia`s bad, but mocking Marlee for signing is ok, apparently? Dial that down, whydontcha.

    • Laurel says:

      Trump maybe friends with Dionne BUT I’m really glad he FIRED her bossy a*s off the show ! lol
      OMG her diva attitude was getting on my last nerve.

      • Sally in Chicago says:

        Dionne was the elder and of course, she’s going to be bossy. You didn’t see Joan Rivers a few years back? OMG, talk about brassy and bossy? And she cussed out almost everybody! It was hilarious, but she won.
        I just don’t think Dionne thought much of Nene – I mean, who is Nene!? She’s a reality star. You notice that Dionne was respectful to the others who had status like Latoya, who she knows from show business, Marlee and Star. But Nene? Who?

        • em says:

          There are probably plenty of elders that have to work under Mark Zuckerberg or the cofounders of google. I know this is probably a moot point since we’re talking about Celebrity Apprentice here, but you can’t do that in the business world. Even if Nene is a nobody, you can’t just disrespect her because you don’t think she deserves respect because Nene’s the project manager. Dionne just seemed like a poor team player. And please…Latoya having status? What the frak is your definition of “status?”

    • @Tommyboy says:

      I thought the same exact thing! Let’s introduce the pot and kettle, shall we? BTW, I don’t think the homophobic stuff is right, either.

    • Kelly says:

      No kidding. Perhaps Mr. Virtel will deign to enlighten us about why it’s funny to mock the Deaf, but not gay folks? I’m so looking forward to hearing him – or perhaps the TVLine bosses – explain this apparent double-standard.

      Or perhaps Mr. Slezak or Mitovich will tell us why gay panic should be shamed, but those silly Deaf people and their language deserve to be made fun of at every possible opportunity.

      I am sure that out of one of the three, someone will have an excellent justification for this – probably one that revolves around “but I thought it was funny so isn’t it okay, since it’s not me being made fun of?”

    • Just Sayin' says:

      Agreed on both points!!!

      Of course, we could pretend its 18th century France and visit mental institutions on the weekends so we can laugh at the mentally insane!!!

      And Louis, ever see an epileptic have a grand mal seizure??? That would give you tons of material for a whole bunch of columns!!!

  8. Liz says:

    This was the funniest recap I’ve seen in a long time. And I don’t even watch the show. Kudos.

  9. sabc says:

    I am glad she got the boot. This show is doing nothing for my opinion of her – love her music, but beyond that, I cannot say this show is going to help her in any respect.

    • Sally in Chicago says:

      Dionne’s tour schedule is pretty full. But she’s slowing down, she’s 70 yo she doesn’t want to hit the road like she used to.

  10. Tony says:

    It’s pretty sickening that people think it’s funny to joke about the fact that gays don’t have the right to marry the person they love. Hahaha. What a funny joke. And why, exactly, is the idea of a gay person getting married considered “risque”, Mr. Trump. Last time I checked, “risque” referred to something indecent or off-color. That term should be reserved for things like strip clubs and pornography, and should not be used to refer to gay people who simply want to marry the person they love.

    • Just Sayin' says:

      What would have been REALLY risque would be to do a commercial about an up-and-coming actor who has a horrific motorcycle accident and ends up brain-damaged. That would have been a laugh a minute!!! Imagine if the “joke” had been that the grandson was engaged to a woman of a different race and when she came into the picture, the grandparents saw that she was a black woman, bare-breasted, with lip plates, and a bone through her nose.

      Not funny, but then again neither was Backbone’s “joke.”

  11. BRETT says:

    This is a really lazy recap. The boardroom didn’t happen the way you portrayed it…

  12. 4F says:

    I’m glad Dionne is gone. She was only argumentative and nasty. I don’t see that she brought anything to the team. Hope and LaToya will fall away easily, and then the top three ladies will duke it out for supremacy (unless Trump switches the teams up?).

    The gay panic stuff was cringey. At first I thought it was kind of cool that Lil John came up with that concept, and that they were even smart enough to choose to have the gay couple living in a place (Argentina) where gays have full marriage equality. Then they put eye makeup on Jose, and he spoke his line in a creepy falsetto like he was an extra from Cruising, and I felt a little sick.

  13. John says:

    I don’t think the gay clip was homophobic. It was silly… If anything, given that the client was a global company, it made sense given that Americans are a bit more conservative on this front than other western industrialized nations, and even for nations that are more conservative, the setup made it a joke. I think the women lost because their commercial was utterly unimaginative and added no value. Lil’ John pointed that out cleverly in the boardroom. The men’s video added something and the women’s did not.

    • Jennifer says:

      It was supposed to be about emotions not jokes. Also, if a commercial like that would be on tv, would it have great reviews or would there be a lot of callers mad at acn for agreeing with this. In the real world, that commercial would never be tolerate, by anyone.

  14. M says:

    Big Wednesday is also a movie Busey was in (1978). Typical Trump going from risky to risque as if they are the same thing, and the commercial was neither.

  15. Joe says:

    I think the whole thing on the guys side was silly, but not homophobic. Its the type of thing you’d see on SNL.

    I honestly think that Louis Vitrel should change his name to Louis Vitriol – he got so hung up on that that it mucked up this whole article/recap.

    And the kicker? There was a gay man on the team who wasn’t offended in the least. I’d think the article is blown way out of proportion and perhaps Louis should take his issues to a licensed therapist, rather than subjecting all of us to them.

  16. winston says:

    miss Dionne didn’t deserve to go im really sorry for that, but now that she’s gone lets see who A.S.A.P gonna blame now

  17. janie says:

    i am sooo happy dionne is gone.. She thought she ruled the world.. she really made me mad when she went up against marlee on the children’s book and then when she wanted credit on the front and got mad about not having it.. such a diva.. Bret Michaels won last year because he was a good businessman and he was nice and fair.. You can tell someone you don’t agree with them without calling them a hussy.. come on… next should be star jones!! i want Mark Mcgrath to win it all..

  18. Lori says:

    I could not be happier that Dionne was fired. Ever since her days with the “Psychic Network”, I have really had no respect for her. She is a sell out who helped to scam millions of people out of their hard earned money by endorsing such crap. Now I am not saying that Psychics aren’t real, but seriously…. the Psychic Network, over the PHONE. Yeah…. I’m sure those were real Psychics on the other line, and even it they were, they could not have been very good ones, or I’m sure they would be onto better things than that!!! Since those days, whenever Dionne Warwick music comes on the radio I turn the station. Hearing her voice reminds me of those Psychic Network commercials that ran ALL THE TIME. Disgusted. She is an embarrassment if you ask me.

    This show just showed what a nasty person she really is, although I am not at all surprised. She really thinks that she is better than everyone else, and has zero humility. She is also a huge baby.

    See you Dionne!!!!

  19. shaunna says:

    I stopped watching appentice years ago, when they had these young aspiring executive-to-be women in their 20’s kssing the butt of Hugh Hefner at his mansion to try and win the project task. An insult to female MBA’s everywhere. I did not know how Trump could have come up with a more disgusting or insulting project.

    But I watched this episode and found myself enjoying it. I did not think Jackson was faking the eye thing. I know people who had same thing happen to them a couple weeks after they gad eye surgery. Nene should not have put her on the task to read time, after Latoya told her she was having an eye problem. she should have assinged her shopping and given the shopper the time keep duty. Don’t care who wins but it is entertaining.

  20. Jennifer says:

    I’m going to be loud and clear about my opinion and why the show did not make sense with the ACN commercial.

    1-It was suppose to be about EMOTIONS. The girls did it right on the emotionnal part.

    2-The jury wasn’t supposed to judge on the performance onstage. It was repeatly said during the show, and Trump said it was the ‘superbowl’ reference that made it for him which was said DURING THE PERFORMANCE.

    3-The girls commercial was classy, emotionnal and well done. The guys was really strangely act (did not get the homosexual joke here, since there is no joke about homosexuality that can be made, especially not in america where gays are fighting for their rights)and badly done (the pink couch with a green blanket…come on).

    I have to say that I’m upset about this and now this week we see the girls being sad and not working well but I totally understand why, how can you pick yourselves up after being BRUTALLY pushed down by Donald Trump.

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