Celebrity Apprentice, Episode 8: It Slices, It Dices… But Wait, There’s More!by Brian Towers -- 02/22/2008
Last week, Trump put Piers and Omarosa on the same team, and it was UGLY! Though Piers definitely showed his dark side, Omarosa distinguished herself with a performance that earned her yet another induction into the Reality TV Hall Of Shame. Team Hydra won again, primarily due to Piers’ Rolodex.
In a Boardroom first, Trump saw fit to break one of his rules and not fire anyone from Empresario. However, he held sacred another rule, that winners are safe from the fatal cab ride, choosing not fire Piers or Omarosa either. At the end of the episode, Trump had Marilu and Omarosa change teams.
For your reference, here are the new team rosters:
Action begins back in the suite with Hydra again awaiting Empresario’s return from the Boardroom. Omarosa is sure Trump swapped her to Team Empresario because “he really, really likes me.” Ahh, no, that’s not it. When they find out Marilu is joining Hydra in Omarosa’s stead, Piers says, “That’s like replacing The Devil with Nelson Mandela.”
In the next scene we see Piers informing the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund of the $65,000 check he has for them. The charity helps the families of soldiers who have fallen in battle. As expected, they are very appreciative of the donation.
Trump meets with the teams on the tarmac of a helipad. Ivanka and Donald Junior are with him. The Donald vows that this time out, someone will be fired.
Trump informs the teams that the challenge is to write, direct, and produce a ten-minute segment on QVC to sell a product of their choosing. Should they select the same product, they must negotiate a resolution themselves. The winner gets $20,000 for their charity.
After short discussion, it’s decided that the PMs will be Steven Baldwin on Empresario and the newly arrived Marilu Henner on Hydra. Trump tries to stir the Piers-Omarosa pot, but Piers doesn’t bite. The scene ends with the two teams taking helicopter trips to QVC’s headquarters in Pennsylvania.
Piers thinks they should once again use Lennox as pitchman. That’s a surprisingly bad suggestion, since Trump slapped them down for using him as the front man a second time already.
Lennox is apparently hung over and sleep deprived (and looks it). Lennox says Piers has diarrhea of the mouth. Sorry, dude, it’s obvious you’re damaged… you are here in body only. Lennox says that this time out, he would prefer to direct. And that’s what happens.
A rule of the challenge emerges that we didn’t previously know. There is a choice of only six products they can pitch. The six products are:
We’re only accorded a cursory look, but the first three items look like sure task losers.
Trace likes the LadderCart, the ladder that can change into a hand cart. Over at Hydra, so does Marilu. The teams meet to announce their choices, which are the same. Negotiations are brief, as they agree to a coin toss to resolve the deadlock. Baldwin is sure God worries about such things and figures they can’t lose.
Empresario opts for the floor sweeper instead. Baldwin rallies his team saying, “Out of the problem, into the solution,” which might be his only good business-oriented sound bite all season. Their first impression is that it’s easy to show off a sweeper, because people understand it right away.
Another rule of the challenge emerges that we didn’t previously know. There can be two people on screen, and QVC will supply one host per team, if requested.
Over at Hydra, Carol Alt says her first thought was for both her and Marilu to go on camera, but then figured they would be talking over each other. Piers agrees, as we next see a cameo from Carol in which she explains that both she and Marilu have presented on QVC before. She adds, “I worked with them for five years, and I know QVC.” In her own cameo, Marilu reveals that she has sold several of her books on QVC.
It’s quickly decided that Marilu will be the one to do the presentation. With Piers contributing a lot of the lines, Marilu rehearses. She pushes it left, she pushes it right. Up the stairs – look, one hand! She smiles. Marilu loves her LadderCart. Why, Marilu actually says, “I really love it!” Like I would make up that Marilu Henner has a raging passion for hardware? This is SO going to make her Christmas presents extra interesting this year!
On Empresario, Trace will do the on-screen presentation. They decide that their second person on screen will be a QVC host named Lisa, from Tennessee. Lisa and Trace make a cute couple.
Hydra makes a similar choice, except they’ve been assigned a male talking head named Rick. Marilu has the idea of wheeling Rick in on the cart, and they try it out. However, his weight is too much for her and he hits the deck hard with his sit-down parts. Nope, that’s not going to work! They are glad that accident happened now, and not live on camera. Rick holds his back and jokes that he wants to be on the other team.
Omarosa wants to rehearse Trace, but Baldwin feels Trace is used to performing and he has faith that Trace will do fine. [Editor’s Note: He also had faith that God would intervene in the results of a coin toss!] I have to side with Omarosa on this one.
Don Junior arrives at Empresario to see how they are doing. He thinks they are on the right track. He then visits Team Hydra, where he is impressed how much they believe in the product. He notes that Marilu likes to talk a lot, though.
Apparently, both teams have been assigned a creative consultant, who knows how QVC works. Baldwin asks their guy about payment schedules, and learns about their Easy-Pay system. He’s “grateful to the Lord” that he thought of it.
Meanwhile, at Hydra, Lennox is reveling in his role of director. He’s like a kid in a candy shop, really. In a surprising tidbit about task details that is so rare this season that I must assume they came up thirty seconds short, we learn Hydra has deployed Carol as the set decorator and Piers is in the control room, watching the sales numbers. Piers thinks his task is fun, too. Alas, there’s no reading from Carol’s fun-meter.
The first ones to go on the air are Team Hydra. The Donald and Ivanka are watching the broadcast from an office in Trump Tower. I can only surmise that after his earlier on-site inspections, Don Junior has the afternoon off and went bowling.
Trump likes Marilu’s enthusiasm, but feels she is talking a lot. I think she’s talking rather rapidly. Ivanka feels Marilu is unfocused and changing topics a lot, and Donald now thinks Marilu is talking over the host. She’s even talking over the phone-in viewer, who is trying to explain why she wants to buy one of LadderCarts. It’s a little manic at times, but we can all see how Marilu loves her LadderCart!
It’s Empresario’s turn. Trace is nervous and Omarosa thinks he just might pass out. Tito tells us that maybe a rehearsal would have been a good idea after all. On prompt from Baldwin, the hostess explains the QVC Easy Pay system.
Back in the Tower, Trump likes how the vacuum picks up small nuts and bolts. He seems undecided whether Trace’s low-key presentation is too laid back. Ivanka notes this product is simpler to demonstrate.
I think this one’s close. Both teams did well, but the Trumps were able to identify some relative weaknesses. Well, it all comes down to sales numbers, so let’s get to the Boardroom to see what happened!
With the teams assembled in the Boardroom, both are confident they have won. Trump likes how Marilu got so enthused over a ladder. Piers names Marilu as their star, while Tito names Trace. No surprises there, as both on-camera acts would have generated a lot of sales.
Baldwin says Omarosa did a good job, which makes a relieved Trump happy.
So let’s get to the numbers. Don Junior reports that Empresario sold 716 units for $43,000. Ivanka reports that Hydra sold 703 units for $35,145. Empresario wins!
Trump notes that Hydra sold fewer units at a lower price. Baldwin wins another $20,000 for The Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund. He’s the first PM to win twice. Baldwin thanks Jesus.
Trump has to fire someone from Hydra. He sends Empresario out and begins probing for the reasons Hydra lost. Trump asks Hydra why they didn’t use Easy Pay, and they all admit they don’t know what it is. Don Junior doesn’t think he’s ever seen a product on QVC that doesn’t have an installment plan.
If Don Junior’s watching QVC that much, father needs to assign him more work. In defense of Marilu, who ever heard of buying a book on a five-pay plan? But Carol says she had never heard of it either – remember, she worked there five years.
Trump asks Piers who should be fired. He names Lennox, who slept. Piers calls him “Sleepy-Boy,” which Trump doesn’t like at all. After last week’s vitriol and venom, “Sleepy-Boy” offends him? Way to stay consistent there, Donald. Back in the suite, Omarosa is sure Piers is going to be fired.
Lennox admits to sleeping on the helicopter ride, but Piers says it was more than that. Lennox insists he was productive when it mattered. He turns to Marilu for backup, and she uses many, many words to say that they could have used him in the earlier stages. Piers again supports Marilu. Trump says Marilu was over-enthusiastic.
Trump asks Lennox who should be fired, and he weakly puts it on Marilu because she’s the PM. Carol’s response is to say that it has to fall on Marilu, but says it in a very supportive way. Marilu thinks the problem may have been price point, but Trump doesn’t buy that. However, he agrees that not mentioning Easy Pay mattered.
Trump again asks Piers’ his opinion. His response is to support Marilu again, and adds that Lennox contributes more when he’s not asleep.
When Marilu is asked who should be fired, she uses so many words to build up that Trump gets impatient waiting for an answer. I think she was going to name Lennox. But Trump doesn’t want to wait that long, so he just asks who will be spared the final Boardroom. She again uses many words to say little, and Trump interrupts again to get her to actually give an answer. Marilu excuses Carol from the final Boardroom. As she leaves, Carol quietly encourages Marilu, “Fight!”
With just the three of them in the Boardroom, Trump asks his kids who should be fired. Ivanka says Marilu. Don Junior agrees, but he isn’t sure why Carol got to go back to the suite.
Out in the anteroom, Piers points out to Marilu that after five years, Carol must have known about QVC’s Easy Pay. Lennox agrees, but this seems like a revelation to Marilu. And it’s too late now anyway.
Trump asks Marilu why he should fire Piers over her. She replies that she’s been a better player. I’m not sure how she can say that when she’s been on the other team until this week, so she has little first-hand knowledge of Piers’ role in previous tasks – and that other team has lost all but once! Trump cuts her off to say that doesn’t matter for this task.
Trump next asks her what Lennox is doing there, and Marilu cites Carol’s work ethic. She adds that Lennox did not contribute early, and she often didn’t know what he was doing. Trump’s reply is that as PM, she’s responsible for knowing.
Piers next gets to make the point that Carol ought to have known about Easy Pay and in fact probably did, so if that’s why they lost, Marilu should have brought Carol back to this Boardroom. It’s a good point, but Trump is more fascinated over the fact that Piers is sweating than listening to his answer.
Marilu says it felt like they were a team of just three, because Lennox wasn’t there in the early stages to do research about price points. I’ll add, or discover Easy Pay. However, Trump insists Lennox is not the reason they lost.
This one’s over quick – Marilu is fired. The Trumps all speak well of her, but this week there is a cab ride away from the building. Inside that cab, Marilu says that “it was a blast,” and that she’s always been a fan of the game. After all those years of playing taxi driver Elaine Nardo, it’s probably nice for her to be on TV in a cab, and get to sit in the back.
Next week: Trace… shirtless! Carol… de-bloused! Ratings… soaring!
My Comments: I enjoyed watching a “normal” episode for a change!
Marilu was probably the highest profile woman of them all. I thought her effectiveness sagged in the last few episodes, though, perhaps because she was trying to do too much. This week, Carol probably should have been pitching, with PM Marilu in the control room. Bottom line, I am sorry to see Marilu go.
In almost five years at RealityNewsOnline, I have never had as much feedback to a column as I had last week. In fact, the volume was so high that for the first time ever, I had to stop responding to reader mail. I do thank you for your opinions, and I’d have liked to share some the clever points in this article, if they weren’t essentially impossible to find again in the sheer volume.
However, it’s now time to close the book on a truly ugly piece of television and move on. I’m still interested in reader correspondence, but if you want me to even read past the first line, pick another topic, please!
Join me here next week for more of the same… not that any two weeks have been the same!
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