Celebrity Apprentice, Episode 2: It’s All Going To The Dogs!by Brian Towers -- 01/11/2008
Last week, the celebrities were divided into two teams by gender. The teams’ first project involved selling hot dogs on the streets of New York. Largely due to Gene Simmons’ wallet-heavy friends, Hydra (the men’s team) won handily, sending Empresario (the women) to the Boardroom, where Omarosa defended herself strongly. Although Carol Alt fought back hard, playmate Tiffany Fallon was steamrolled over her decision to hold back resources, and she was fired.
This week begins with the non-eliminated duo of Omarosa and Carol returning to the suite. They insist they left their issues in the Boardroom. When they get there, Omarosa and Piers Morgan snark at each other… she implies he’s an alcoholic, and he suggests she needs to go to bed. But that’s all that happens.
Post-credits, action continues with a nice and honest moment I expect we’ll see repeated every week. It’s the winning PM, in this case Stephen Baldwin, presenting his charity with the check that represents the monies earned on the last task. Understandably, the recipients are overwhelmed by this donation – especially in this case, since the recipient is his mother! Kudos well earned, Stephen!
Turning our attention back in the episode, Trump meets with the applicants. Beside him is Terry Lundgren, the CEO of Macy’s, who looks frightfully dapper. Trump asks who likes animals, and although most all raise their hands, Lennox Lewis’ is recognized. Ever-stereotypical, Trump assumes Tito and Lennox like pit bulls. Nope – Lennox likes cats! Yes, Trump is an idiot.
Trump introduces Rob Leboweitz from Pedigree. He tells the troops that they have to create a 30-second TV ad to promote their monthly adoption drive. The winner will be the team that does best, based on the subjective qualities of “message, originality, and creativity.”
Trump asks the teams to pick their PM right now. Swell, no time for game play. It’s Nely Galán for the ladies and Gene Simmons for Hydra. In a later cameo, Gene dictates, “My biggest strength as a PM is, I see the big picture. I’m ruthless. I’ll fire anybody. I’ll fire Donald Trump!”
The Donald explains that since the next task is not dollar-oriented, a flat $20,000 will be donated to the charity associated with the winning team’s PM.
The scene shifts ahead and Nely has her team do pseudo-yoga exercises with breathing exercises, hand holding, and whatever. The whack hats of last episode are not evident, and although she partakes, clearly unimpressed Californian Marilu Henner has seen it all before. Additionally, non-participatory Omarosa sniffs at that “existential bull-$#!t.!”
The next scene shows the women interviewing the sponsor for about 45 minutes. Oddly, they learn that it would be fine if celebrities were involved, but he strongly prefers to see stories about dogs. Huh? Nitwit, do you not know see the opportunity The Donald has brought to you?
Meanwhile, the men of Hydra meet. Gene is running the show, but Stephen Baldwin is nearby. In a side clip, Gene tells us the sponsor doesn’t matter. He wants to go right to the studio and start filming because time is tight. He wants to optimize his time, so meeting with the Pedigree official is not a part of his plan.
Other team members have a lot of suggestions, all of them falling by the wayside. Baldwin sketches out a whole scenario, Vince wants three guys and three dogs to become friends, and Piers has the idea of a dog finding its home in the arms of a naked Lennox Lewis. None of that is going to happen.
Somehow, the concept of (a clad) Lennox with a puppy survives. Remarkably, the sponsor of the idea becomes self-confessed 20-year screen veteran Brother Baldwin.
Suddenly, Ivanka Trump walks into the Hydra planning room. She asks if they have a concept yet. Interceding, Piers outlines their idea of using Lennox as the “nice guy” in their ad. A clearly pissed Gene waits for this, but when she presses for details and it seems like the team might be distracted from Gene’s last inquiry, he says, “She’ll wait.”
Was it 1994 when Ivanka was last told, “Wait”? Research differs. I think it was even earlier that that.
Faced with further inquiry, Gene interrupts Piers’ reply to Ivanka and says, “We think it’s terrific you’re here, but we’ve got work to do.” In a later cameo, Ivanka says, “It wasn’t smart” for him to tell her to wait.
As Ivanka seems ready to leave the room, Gene says, “Being the female of the species yourself, does that mean you’ll be talking to your sisters about what we’ve been talking about?” As if! Later in a cameo, she says, “It was rude!”
A little later on, Hydra is trying to create their commercial. Gene and especially Stephen are running the show, as Stephen has been named the director by Gene. There is a lot of outside input, but no one is agreeing with any ideas being proffered. For example, Piers suggests having Lennox be seen as taking a dog from the shelter, implying he adopted it. No sale.
Baldwin decides that the next scene ought to be shot on the streets. The swelling public that responds to their celebrity quickly shuts this one down. Yes, although the women don’t want to use their celebrity, the men find it gets in the way. Seriously, outside of this group, who doesn’t understand celebrity in NYC?
Gene proudly tells us that a controlled situation inside their studio is better. Baldwin is not so sure, but they cannot film on the street and must abandon the fresh air of NYC and submit once again to the alternatives.
Meanwhile, Empresario is trying to shoot their commercial. Nely notes that Nadia does what she’s told, but not very well. Nely confirms that she’d fire Nadia in the real world. It seems like Nadia doesn’t have real tasks and doesn’t see her role too clearly. Her biggest objective seems to be getting people fed.
While all this goes on, it seems Marilu has been assigned the middle-management role often defined as, “Make it work.” This is not good spot to be! She coaches the actors, but time is too short and no one else is in sight and… you can tell she’s spread too thin.
Back at Hydra, Trace has been nominated as voiceover guy. He’s not a one-shot superstar, but it will see him to next week.
Hydra makes a controversial decision at this point. Concerned that there is a potential for a “too many cooks spoil the broth” scenario, Gene and Stephen insist that the other guys go away. Naturally this causes concern among those like Tito, who had been told all along they were being kept in reserve… and now, not needed at all. They rightly feel that if they end up in the Boardroom, they will be hard pressed to show their impact on this task.
Post-commercial, we join Empresario in their editing room. There’s now opinion that the dog they chose is a “drooler.” Nely points out the obvious facts that that it’s too late to change and hey, where were these concerns earlier?
Marilu explains to us that initially, they wanted to tell the stories of three dogs and then have her appear to talk about adopting dogs. But the tones of the two different segments didn’t match up, so they decide to do it as a voiceover instead. Sure enough, just when the team is discouraged over this realization, up strolls Trump’s eyes for the task, Terry. Never at a loss for buzzwords, Nely is right on the ball and rhymes off the three customer requirements that he wants to hear. Nice save!
The scene again shifts back to Team Hydra. After hearing a couple of Trace’s solid voiceovers, Stephen says, “I have been given a gift.”
At this point, the obviously-underutilized members of Hydra feel very vulnerable and concerned about a perceived lack of input; led by Tito, they storm into the recording studio. The wisdom of doing this at the eleventh hour fails most all of us, resulting in a predictable level of blind panic. Finally, Baldwin and Gene convince the nervous foursome to leave. It’s safe to say that none of the men are real happy at this time.
It’s time for the presentations, and Empresario is first. Nely plays the role as presenter Things stars well, though maybe she’s a bit on the wordy side. They apparently created material for other media, including the web and the radio, but Trump finally says, “ I want to see the commercial!”
As we see about five seconds of their work, Nely voices over, “We worked like dogs.” We have to wait to see more.
The men are next. Gene alludes to “The Art Of War,” suddenly popularized by the last season of Survivor. He says, “The battlefield is where the war is. It’s not in the war room.” Trump tries to bring up a point that the client is miffed over not being consulted, but Gene responds simply and clearly that they want to be judged on their product, and in Omarosian fashion, that’s where attention is diverted. Their video plays, and, well, it’s great!
Trump turns to the sponsor-dude, who quickly admits that although both presentations were good, one was fantastic. We have to wait to hear the official decision, but even in the small bits of the clips we saw, Hydra had the better product.
As the teams await the news, Marilu surmises that the only way they lost was by not using celebrity. Over at Hydra, Gene feels comfortable with the decision to bypass “shaking hands” with the client.
In the next scene, the teams are assembled in the Boardroom to hear the results. Ivanka mentions that she felt slighted by Gene being dismissive of her. Trump tries to ramp it up, and even brings Omarosa into the discussion, but Gene apologizes well to Ivanka and all is fine in Hydra-land. Zzzzzz. Crisis averted… promo belittled.
Trump has both ads played in full. The women try to laugh off the men’s ad, but I’m guessing they know what’s coming. Sure enough, Hydra wins again.
Trump again asks why Empresario didn’t use star power. There’s discussion about who is recognizable by voice and not identified by face alone, with the suggestion being made that both Lennox’s face and Marilu’s voice are not identifiable.
It’s time for results. Bottom line, the sponsors loved Hydra’s ad. Nely tries to argue otherwise, but Trump says he agrees with the decision.
The men file back to their war room, where there is a mixture of relief and cocky comments. I say that the more time that passes before you have to face the Boardroom, the better for the team. But… it’s coming.
Back in the Boardroom, the point is brought out that the team may not have had time to bring out their vision. Donald reiterates that he didn’t recognize Marilu’s voice.
I disagree here, I think her voice can be recognized. Also, there’s nothing wrong with starting the spot by saying, “Hi, I’m Marilu Henner…” either.
Donald continues to explain that the time they spent developing radio and other versions of the ad were a waste. He also knocks Nely’s rambling presentation.
Trump then asks about Jenny’s contributions, which satisfy him, but she delays way too long when he asks who should be fired. What, is this the first time Trump has ever asked that question? I say that marks her for deletion as the show runs its course.
When asked, Carol says Nadia should go. Nadia replies in a rather iffy manner – I think she’s toast.
Prompted by Trump, Nely identifies Nadia and Carol as the two she’s bringing back to the final Boardroom.
I’m not going to drag this out, because little of significance follows. Trump makes it clear there is no reason for Carol to be there, so she’s safe. Although Trump questions Nely for not bringing back Marilu, everyone agrees that Nadia can’t lead a team and as much as Trump loves Olympians and likes to call people who don’t have many gold medals “losers,” Nadia is gone.
In her cab ride to the airport, Nadia doesn’t say anything to convince us she should have lasted longer.
My Opinion: I can’t defend any alternatives, Nely wasn’t great as a leader, but Nadia was the one to go. She just didn’t seem to be part of the process in either week.
Let me know what you think about it all at the eAddress below! And next week, join me here for a recap of all the action, sprinkled with my own reactions and opinions.
Brian lives in Toronto. He spent a couple of decades working in middle management at The Prudential, primarily hiding behind the coffee machines in generally unsuccessful attempts to avoid his pointy-haired bosses. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email.
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