Monday, April 6, 2009
What the frak is goin' on at the fake Trump boardroom? This current season of Celebrity Apprentice is just bizarre! I can't decide if the producers are aiming for train-wreck -- in which case, well done! -- or whether they think all chaos this equals compelling entertainment.
Part of the problem (or wonderfulness, depending on your tolerance for reality-gone-loco) has been the decision to run two-hour episodes. (Here's another sign of how far network TV has fallen, that the bulk of NBC Sunday prime-time would be allotted to this low-rated dud.) With all this time to kill, viewers have been treated to excruciating detail of (1) pretty lame tasks; (2) extra-long boardroom sessions; and (3) the waning days of Dennis Rodman's celebrity status.
Rodman seemed like a useless jerk from the beginning, more likely to just wander off than to be helpful. Then, in the video-phone challenge, he threatened to bust the cowboy hat off Clint Black's head. Seriously, there's like a two-foot height difference between these men -- it was like watching a rooster stand down a grizzly.
Then, in last week's episode -- or Watching D-Listers Fake-Run a 5-Star Hotel -- Rodman went all-Dennis, all-the-time, ordering cocktails (two at a time), disrobing (ewww, flabby tattoos), disappearing with a "client" and babbling even more incoherently than usual.
But really, that drama was just the appetizer for the boardroom, where a freakin' intervention broke out. Rodman was pretty impassive as his teammates detailed how he had a drinking problem, was sad, needed help, how much they loved him, etc., etc. Trump clucked and fretted, while continuing to compliment Rodman's long-ago athletic skills. It was almost as awkward as if you were there, and I prayed for the door to open and a no-nonsense interventionists from A&E to step in and get everybody to "stop lovin' Dennis to death."
I wouldn't have thought much could top that episode for derailment, but this week's All video challenge was a double doozy, both in task execution and boardroom nuttiness.
It was an admittedly tough assignment to design a viral video to appeal to users of All detergent -- i.e. boring, middle-aged Midwestern women, because Madison Avenue doesn't believe anybody else in the year 2009 does laundry. None of the contestants could hear me suggesting funny cats, puppies, babies and other cuties that could hit "viral" and "moms." (See also: American's Funniest Home Videos.)
Instead both teams came up with ... midgets. Or little people. Nobody could decide what was OK to call them, and likewise, nobody processed that that concern might be a useful harbinger.
Clint Black led his team into deeply weird territory with a video based on a really stupid joke that equated laundry with sex, and had a masturbation punchline ("Small load, did it by hand"). After the little person he hired couldn't say one line right, Black took to lead role of frustrated husband, and we were forced to repeatedly contemplate the ever-hatted Black jerking off, maybe with All liquid detergent and its patented "fresh release essentials."
Later pop-up captions were added to video which made it even ickier. When a model dropped her robe to reveal sexy bra and panties, the bubble above Clint's head -- he's in bed reading Trump's book -- shows him wondering why she's wearing his underwear. WTF?
Meanwhile, the other team was rolling smoothly, having hired three little people to dress up as All laundry bottles and attack/clean Jesse James. Their video was kinda funny -- it was self-consciously stupid and sort of showed the product working. But, then the little people/laundry bottles went extra-viral, throwing the All bottle to the ground and letting loose a string of curses. Ohhhhhhhhhhh-kay.
As painful as all this was to watch get made, it was truly worth it to see the reaction totally uptight All executive lady. Yeah honey, that's what you get when you hired a bunch of has-beens to do your marketing heavy-lifting.
Needless to say, All execs hated both videos, though special third judge -- the ever-viral Perez Hilton beamed in from L.A. -- laughed heartily to the "Jesse James Dirty With Midgets" reel.
But wait -- that's not all. The boardroom was anything but a business session, with Trump going off his own rails. First, he wasted a lot of time drooling over the girl in Black's All video and asking the Playboy Bunny apprentice her "professional body" opinion on the other girl's figure. Yuck, dude -- rent a video.
Then, Trump fired the chick from TLC, after angrily querying her if she knew who "Bradford" was. (Bradford turned out to be some Apprentice contestant we'd all long forgotten about.) "Tionne, I love your voice ..." -- really? The Donald is down with TLC? -- "... but you're fired." Color Miz T stunned, and who can blame her? Her offense: being a team player. Pretty obvious here that that's a role Trump has never experienced.
But mostly I was flummoxed by the terrible PR that was Trump's stunning ignorance of his "handpicked" apprentices. I don't wholly buy the fantasy that Trump is choosing these folks or even that involved, but that's what assistants are for, so the star doesn't look like an idiot on national TV. He pretty much asked Clint Black, "What is it you do again?" -- and was stunned to learn Annie Poker Champ has four kids. ("You look fantastic, did you adopt?" Classy.)
And then he tore in Khloe Kardashian after he discovered that the "previous appointment" that had kept her off the hotel task had been her court-ordered DUI class. Trump went on a rant about how much he hates drunk driving, and how he'd never do it (as if -- this man has been chauffeured his whole life). Then he demanded to know what her charity was -- even though he'd already written a check for it a couple weeks back.
Mis K was justifiably perplexed that she was being berated for fulfilling her legal obligation, but alas -- Trump loves "those mothers who are against this." So, he fired Khloe for her DUI that occurred -- very publicly -- all the way back in November 2007.
Trump, America's new law-and-order paragon, should look up double jeopardy -- at least before next week's episode.