Every rose has its thorn. And every reality competition has no use for former winners-turned-repeat-contestants. Such was the lesson learned from last week’s season premiere of Celebrity Apprentice, during which former champion and purveyor of monogrammed cowboy hats Bret Michaels was promptly given the pink slip by Donald Trump and sent on his color contact-wearing way.
So it is that week’s episode kicks off with board room survivors Brande Roderick and La Toya Jackson returning to a delighted suite of fellow contestants, none happier than Michaels’ devilish former teammate, Omarosa. “My wish came true!” she exclaims, trying her damnedest to portray herself as cold-hearted. “Deuces, Bret!”
There’s little time to celebrate: Trump interrupts the party to inform the teams that they’re soon boarding his Boeing 757 jet (“You know, if you have a plane like that, you can have any woman in the world,” he’ll later enlighten us) and flying down to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida for their next task. Without knowing what exactly they’ll be doing, the teams must select project managers. Dee Snider and Omarosa man up, respectively. (We also learn that Trace Adkins will be unable to participate this week; apparently a cruise with Blake Shelton takes precedence.)
OK, so what’s the task? The teams will be creating a “photo experience” at the theme park. The winning project manager will notch $20K for his or her charity. For the time being, all Omarosa’s team can think about is the forthcoming drama awaiting them with her at the helm . “You don’t have to worry about me backstabbing,” Omarosa insists. “I’ll come from the front!”
Once on the ground, both teams set out to work. Omarosa says she wants to treat the task as if her team were an ad agency promoting Universal; Snider takes the Universal executive’s advice and says he plans to follow the mantra of creating “memorable experiences.”
Omarosa’s team ultimately decides to construct a three-part photo booth of sorts, with each “room” in the booth featuring a specific Universal brand (Harry Potter, Spiderman, Despicable Me). Lil Jon, Jackson and Roderick venture out to snap pictures throughout the park. Dennis Rodman stays back with Omarosa, who is keeping herself busy demeaning her team’s hired hands.
Meanwhile, Snider finds himself succumbing to Penn Jillette‘s suggestion to create a 3D illusion for the photo experience. (“He got sucked into Penn’s illusion,” teammate Stephen Baldwin says of Snider.) Eventually, the Twisted Sister singer grows a pair and dismisses Jillette’s over-the-top proposal, instead opting to construct cutouts of him and his team members posing like goofballs. “We’re all pretty bright people,” Snider says minutes after Gary Busey makes it obvious he’s never before used a digital camera. “Very sweet,” Marilu Henner says describing teammate Busey. “But so irritating.”
The next morning, both teams arrive at the park; their “experiences” are now constructed and ready for action. “I’m a visionary and a leader,” Omarosa says to no one in particular, reflecting on her self-proclaimed project-managing genius. Theme-park guests file into both teams’ exhibits, snap pictures, let Busey creepily tickle them and watch as Trump’s two sons and the Universal executives awkwardly feign excitement. Nothing’s for certain, but Omarosa’s team’s display appears far superior.
Now we’re back in the board room. Henner tells Trump that Busey was nothing short of a nuisance to their team. Omarosa says Rodman basically stood around and did jack. There’s a bunch of the usual catty chit-chat (Claudia Jordan says teammate Omarosa is nasty . . . but dammit, she respects her) as Trump tells the celebrities how great they are. Let’s get the results: Trump informs Snider that the Universal executives thought his team’s exhibit was sorely lacking in creativity. So, as we predicted, Omarosa’s team notches the win.
Wait, was it that, you say? Is that Omarosa balling hysterically simply because her team won a Celebrity Apprentice challenge? Well, apparently she’s also overjoyed that she can now donate money to the charity of her late fiancé, Michael Clark Duncan. Rodman isn’t sold. “That’s so Oscar-worthy acting,” the first North Korean diplomat with a lip ring says.
Obviously someone from Snider’s team must now be fired. The team’s ideas for the task were all Snider’s. Then again, Jillette didn’t exactly press hard for his original, far more creative concept. But after fake-firing Jillette (“I was already halfway to the elevator,” the magician says with a laugh), Snider opts to bring back Busey and Baldwin with him to the board room to face elimination. (The former, Snider says, has “limited capabilities” and the latter is “shady.”) Quickly, though, it becomes apparent that Snider is prepared to fall on his own sword this go-round. “Dee, I don’t want to fire you,” Trump says, “but Dee, you’re fired!”
“I didn’t expect to see you so soon,” Snider tells the Trump Tower elevator attendant as he makes his exit, and with it signaling two episodes in the can and two rockers sent packing.
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