'Celebrity Apprentice' Recap: The Power of Redemption - Rolling Stone
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‘Celebrity Apprentice’ Recap: The Power of Redemption

A decimated Team Power fight to uphold their dignity

Celebrity Apprentice Stephen Baldwin Gary Busey Lisa Rinna Penn Jillette

Penn Jillette, Lisa Rinna, Gary Busey and Stephen Baldwin on 'Celebrity Apprentice'

Douglas Gorenstein/NBC

“I started to have a connection with Dennis,” says Lil Jon, moments after learning that Donald Trump had fired his teammate Rodman. “But we need some wins.” The rapper speaks the truth: It’s been a sad and lonely road for Team Power this season, each week’s loss all the more depressing. Their team is now a decimated disaster.

Would this be the week Team Power’s luck changed?

Trump presents both teams with their next task. They’re charged with making a 45-60 second silent film promoting Australian Gold products – which, for the uninitiated, are products designed to shun, fake or ease the effects of exposure to sunlight. Seeing as Team Power is now only three large, Trump moves Marilu Henner from Team Plan B over to Power.

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The project managers on this week’s task are Trace Adkins and Gary Busey for Power and Plan B, respectively. Busey’s teammates are immediately skeptical of having the deranged actor at the helm. When the pair of executives for Australian Gold – who include former Miss America Katie Stam – arrive for their customary guidance session with both teams, Busey’s oddball antics come on full-force. Yes, the mascot for Australian Gold is a koala. No, Busey did not need to talk about that time he saw koalas getting high. “We like you, Gary,” Stam says, trying desperately to stop herself from laughing. “You’re . . . fun.”

Adkins may be Team Power’s project manager, but Lil Jon is taking the reigns. Having competed in an Australian Gold challenge in his previous season, the rapper starts wooing the executives with his product knowledge. Adkins thinks the team is wasting its time. After all, he already came up with the idea for their silent film. And what might that be? Well, naturally it’s him dressing up like a caveman and parading around with models in bikinis. OK, it’s a little more focused and relevant than that: Adkins the caveman is looking to “add color into an otherwise black and white world” – yes, that’s Australian Gold’s motto – and bikini-clad girls soaking up the sun are just the trick.

That’s not to say the team isn’t working efficiently, especially new addition Henner. She’s, as Adkins says, the team’s “Energizer Bunny – she’s on 11 all the time.

“My knob goes to two,” he adds.

Plan B’s video is not much different, in fact, from Power’s. The premise of theirs is a couple lounging on a beach, the female being portrayed by Lisa Rinna. But the female is hesitant to be exposed. Bring on the magical spirit guide that is Gary Busey to present them with the wonderful Australian Gold bronzing product to solve their conundrum. Again, it’s a bit more nuanced. But that pretty much spells it out.

Of course, what would a task be without some team infighting? In Plan B’s case, it’s Penn Jillette and Stephen Baldwin, who stepped up to direct the team’s film. They disagree over several elements of the film production, including tag lines and editing.

“Penn creeps me out,” Baldwin proclaims. “If he creates more problems and I gotta slap him upside the head, I’ll just need a foot stool.”

Both teams present their films to the Australian Gold executives, and it’s time to head to the board room. The reality is that both were successful in producing creative, entertaining and effective videos. Which, of course, makes for an interesting decision for Trump.

Trump asks project manager Busey to out his weakest teammate. But the actor is standing firm: everyone on his team, he says, was outstanding. Baldwin agrees: “This is the most creative and collaborative task we ever executed.” Highlights of this week’s board room? Busey describes Adkins’ portrayal of a caveman as similar to a stripper he met in Detroit in 1965. And Trump, per usual, superficially judges a woman. This week the Donald’s gaze is set upon his, um, own daughter, Ivanka. She’s a “seriously good-looking daughter,” he says at one point, causing not a few awkward chuckles from both teams.

So who won this week’s task? The Australian Gold executives loved both teams’ films, but ultimately they felt that Team Power’s had better product integration. Yes, after being the laughingstock of Celebrity Apprentice this entire season, Team Power finally notches a win.

Now, of course, someone on Plan B must be axed. Busey admits his team should have included more product in their film. Then again, it was Baldwin who directed the video. So Busey brings back Baldwin and Jillette (?) to the board room. He quickly tells Jillette, though, that he shouldn’t be there. So Trump sets the magician free. With the candidates for the pink slip now down to Busey and Baldwin, Trump calls out the latter for saying Busey did an “amazing job” as project manager, only to backtrack. “This was a tough one, Stephen, I’ll be honest,” Trump says. “But Stephen, you’re fired!”

Baldwin is as sleazy as they come – that fact is undeniable. But this week’s firing felt like Trump was searching for any reason to let someone go. After all, neither team really messed up. But hey, that’s how this bizarre, demented contest goes.

Last week: The Blatant Blunder


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