Previously on Celebrity Apprentice: The teams made interactive displays for a Trump hotel and golf course. It mostly amounted to making tiny hotel rooms. Ian Ziering was intense and repeated things that he said in previous episodes, but he led Infinity to another victory. On Vortex, Kenya Moore and Vivica A. Fox fought about trivial points and Kate Gosselin was fired for not being more interesting.
There’s another baffling opening that indicates Infinity didn’t see the firing even though it was yet another one where Trump didn’t dismiss the rest of the team before bringing back the Project Manager and their two choices. And last week we saw them watching the Boardroom, so presumably there’s just a moment where they cut the feed without warning? I should not spend any time thinking about this, but I can’t let it go.
When Vortex gets back to the suite, Geraldo Rivera compares working with Kenya and Vivica to a tour in Afghanistan. Remember that next time he wants to emphasize how he’s a serious journalist who puts his life in danger. Actual war is really just a punchline for him. Kenya gives the classic reality show interview about how she’s not here to make friends. It’s always so gratifying when you hear somebody say that because it’s become such a cliche. And as a Burning Love fan, I always want to hear “I’m not here to make friends. I’m her to win nine hundred dollars.”
Opening credits. So, most of the segments have a shot of the various contestants on a soundstage or an abandoned warehouse, or wherever they shoot these. Keshia Knight Pulliam wasn’t on the show long enough to get one of those scenes and she’s literally just leaning on a mailbox for her shot. I hadn’t noticed it until now, and it cracks me up. It’s like they didn’t schedule the shoot until before the second task and she refused to come back inside.
The baby ducklings gather for their new assignment at the International Center for Photograpy. (Trump: “Lots of good things happen here.”) Trump is flanked by a couple executives on one side and on the other, it’s Don Jr, and Kevin Smith. Not the jorts-wearing director – the British assassin from the video game Killer7. Oh, wait. That’s just Eric Trump. Hi, Eric!
They’re going to be working with King’s Hawaiian, a company that makes packaged goods. My mom loves their buns, and I assume they taste like pineapple but that’s probably not actually true. They’re going to create a “photobomb” campaign where they digitally insert “King’s Hawaiian imagery” into their own original photography. So that’s more like “Photoshop” and not a photobomb at all. They’re totally just saying things they heard their kids mention.
Also, they have to create original hashtags for customers to communicate with King’s Hawaiian. Oy. I can’t imagine the person who would choose to do this. Each team will present the campaign and they’ll be judged on (all together now) creativity, brand messaging, and originality.
Kenya volunteers to be Project Manager for Vortex, and Brandi Glanville nominates Johnny Damon because “he looks Hawaiian”. HA! Johnny has an interview segment where his captors have clearly told him what to say. He couldn’t look more uncomfortable, and he even looks like off sick. Did King’s Hawaiian poison him with the superfluous taste of pineapple? Vivica once again mentions keeping her “good eye” on Kenya and I’m more convinced than ever that she has a secret glass eye.
Infinity heads back to their room and explains the task again. Good thing Johnny is so adept at speaking! Guys, Ian has slogans. How about “You can have a slice of paradise for lunch or just a snack. Once you taste Hawaiian, there’s just no turning back.” Ian knows that the first rule of writing a slogan is “Make it as long as possible. No, no. Longer.” Or “You’ll lava slice.” Ian is so proud of that one that he gives himself an “Oh no I di’nt.” Wow. I feel like Jay Ward would have discarded that pun for being too dumb when he was coming up with titles for Rocky and Bullwinkle episodes. Brandi interviews that “he’s full of terrible slogans” and says he’s stuck in the eighties. When puns roamed free!
Brandi comes up with “We rise to the occasion”, which is nice and straightforward but it feels like a boner reference to me. I don’t think that’s intentional and there’s actually no good reason for me to jump straight to that. But you’re stuck in here with me, so there you go. Everybody seems to like it. Leeza Gibbons suggests somebody floating over the city holding a package of buns. Ian wants to make a building out of buns and he knows somebody who owns a helicopter. It would be hilarious if his helicopter-owning friend lived in, say, Omaha and couldn’t possibly be of any use to them. Ian just wants to brag about helicopters.
Over at Vortex, Kenya tries to make peace without admitting to any wrongdoing. Vivica is trying so hard not to go off on her that she’s getting Forrest Whitaker face. Geraldo just isn’t going to make eye contact with anybody. Nobody is impressed by this sort-of olive branch, but they move on. Kenya wants to superimpose buns on the butts of models with the slogan “I like big buns”. Sigh. She gets points for calling it “cheeky”, at least. Geraldo: “We’re all in. It’s all about butts.”
Geraldo suggests that they use Kenya as the model what with her fake as hell butt. And then he says that her butt is bigger than Vivica’s, which is why he didn’t suggest her. I’m not sure what the right way to handle this situation is, but it’s definitely not that. Vivica interviews that she was in Booty Call and her “assets have grossed over a billion dollars”. Look, I like Vivica, but that’s kind of a pantload. That billion dollars includes Independence Day, which is not a movie that lived or died on Vivica’s assets. I mean, mostly she has to be in the background so men can shoot stuff. Heck, Randy Quaid is taking credit for Independence Day now, but that’s the least of his problems.
But she redeems herself with the very next line. “But right now your lopsided booty is on trend, so let’s let you have this moment.” HA! That is fantastic and exactly right. Vivica gets how this stuff works, and she can just cut people down to size. She’s smart enough to save it for the interviews, too.
Guys? Kenya is going to make it weird. She thinks the ad should be a baby reaching for a woman’s big ass. Vivica kills me by saying “Baby wants buns. I’m gonna write that down” in the funniest tone possible. Geraldo calls it provocative but interviews that he hates it.
The Infinity guys meet Ian’s unnamed helicopter connection and go for a ride. They take pictures of everything you’d take pictures of if you went to New York. Ian thinks their shot of the Statue of Liberty is completely unique, and I’d estimate that it’s been photographed from helicopters about a million times. But, you know, if I were in a helicopter, I’d be excited about everything too. I actually took a helicopter ride over Las Vegas years ago. It was awesome but completely terrifying when you think about what’s holding you aloft. Ian interviews about how helicopters are amazing and I think he implies that he made it appear with his own mind.
Vivica and Kenya approach attractive women on the street to pose for photos. Geraldo wisely hangs back, because nobody’s going to agree to that. He looks hilarious sketchy though, lurking just off on the periphery. He looks like he’s going to request a little something for Daddy. And I creeped myself out. Vivica offers to walk with the tall ladies that they found, since she has long legs, too. Kenya: “I want them to be, like, really, really thin.” Vivica gives her a look that says one day she’ll consume Kenya’s soul. She complains to the cameraman, and rightfully so. Kenya instead tasks her with holding a coat. Kenya poses for some pictures, and Geraldo calls her butt “world-class” and “magnificent”. Man, he’s trying to be a bigger creep than Trump. After the picture, Kenya summons Vivica for her coat.
They work Vivica into a shot and Kenya interviews that she’s very limited, but “she’s good at playing an actor”. Oh, honey. You should not be taking shots at anybody’s level of talent. Your fifteen minutes of fame are in danger of getting a shot clock penalty. That doesn’t make sense, I know. Point is, by the end of the year, she’s going to be the question nobody gets right on bar trivia night.
Back at Infinity, things are more functional. Ian shows off his pictures and they go over pretty well. Then it’s time to come up with hashtags, and Ian has ideas. How about #BigIslandBigTaste? #NewYorkIsRisingHigh? I don’t think he realizes that Twitter has a character limit. Oh, also #You’llLavaSlice. And I know you can’t use an apostrophe in a hashtag, but it’s the only way to make sense of it. He thinks it’s hilarious and Brandi is not even going to fake enthusiasm. She interviews “I lava you, but no.” Hee!
Leeza thinks the hashtag should mention the word “King”, but nobody listens. She also thinks that just showing bread in a picture doesn’t connect to King’s Hawaiian. It’s just bread. So she pushes to add the logo to their shots. I feel like that’s a good move.
At Vortex, Kenya tells Vivica to go work on the presentation, which is her way of tossing her out. Vivica gets ready to leave but she can’t find her phone. As she’s looking, Kenya has the nice graphics lady superimpose buns on pictures of asses, and it looks terrible. Especially at the angle they’re using – it just makes each lady look like they have a light brown circle on each butt cheek. They managed to put buns on butts in a way that doesn’t read as being a bun or a butt substitute. It’s really bad. Vivica doesn’t think putting the client’s product on people’s butts is appropriate. Kenya doesn’t agree and she loves the one about the horny baby.
Kenya beats the “throw me under the bus” metaphor to death and Vivica still can’t find her phone. She compares it to losing a child, which is way more dramatic than warranted. I think it’s really funny that she’s afraid of somebody getting their hands on her contacts because just imagine what somebody could do with Will Smith’s number from twenty years ago.
Presentation time! By the way, we’re not even at the halfway point yet, and they’re already presenting. Infinity goes first, and Johnny is nervous about presenting because he used to have a stutter. His introduction is really awkward, despite the fact that he’s only presenting to four people. I don’t know – public speaking is just about the only fear I don’t have. Of course, I’d rather address a crowd than have a conversation with a stranger, so we’ve all got our things. Anyway, he turns it over to Leeza pretty quickly.
Their pictures are pretty cute, they’ve got one with a package of buns carrying Brandi and Leeza through the air like a big balloon, the Statue of Liberty holding baked goods, and a building under construction that’s a loaf of bread. I like that one because the crane on top is holding a dinner roll, and it’s a funny visual. Also, I assume that bread is actually made of dinner rolls mashed together, so it tracks. Please note, I come from two generations of bakery owners.
Their hashtags though? Eesh. They’ve got #RiseAbove, #CrowningMoment, and #NYHighRising. None of those really say “baked goods”. I feel like #RiseAbove especially would be something that, like, an anti-domestic violence campaign would use. They are not good. You know it’s just killing Ian that he couldn’t get his “lava” pun in there anywhere, too. Oh, he also says “Hashtag Checkmate, Bitches” in an interview. The only people who can get away with speaking in hashtags are Aziz Ansari and Karen Gillan, and even then they have to be in character as Tom Haverford or Eliza Dooley. (Though if real life Karen Gillan did it, I have no doubt it would be totally charming and wouldn’t bother me a bit. Ian Ziering, you are no Karen Gillan! You’re not even Kieron Gillen, come to think of it.)
And that’s that. The presentation goes smoothly, the executives and Trumplings seem mostly pleased. Well, that’s nice. Let me just check what’s next on the schedule. Oh, right. The team with the horny baby.
Guys? This is the first time I’ve noticed that the chyron in Geraldo’s interviews identifies him as a “News Icon”. Put as many airquotes in there as you feel necessary.
Kenya’s presentation is suitably bizarre. She opens by saying that they’re “building on the popularity of buns of a different variety”. Cripes. Also, are butts suddenly more popular lately? They keep acting like there’s been this big uptick in butts. I know all the pop songs seem to be about them, but I think that’s more a case of an increasingly homogenized market. Soon as somebody has a hit about elbows, that’s what all the songs will be about. I’m just not sure butt stock is up, you know?
The first picture has a dude staring at Kenya’s ass with #ILikeBigBuns. Vortex managed to resist giving everybody baked good butts, so now the staring guy is holding a comically oversized King’s Hawaiian package. Of course, without the bun butts, not it just looks like they’re straight up endorsing street harassment. I feel like Vortex is actually responsible for damaging society. And since they shot this so long ago, I think it’s safe to blame them for GamerGate and also that time I threw my back out lifting a box of comics. They probably cancelled Trophy Wife, too.
The editors throw in hilarious suspense movie musical stings when they zoom in on the picture. The King’s Hawaiian executives kind of react like they just watched the tape in The Ring. Eric Trump looks like he wants to giggle.
Also, everybody on the team keeps using the word “photobomb” incorrectly. They seem to think it means “take a picture of”.
Next is the picture of the horny baby, who actually appears to be a small child that’s outgrown his stroller, reaching for Vivica’s butt. #BabiesLuvBuns That’s super gross right? Like, every piece of it is the worst it can possibly be. Even spelling it “luv” for that further infantilization. I hate this so much and I feel like I’m a worse person for having seen it. Don Jr. gives Eric this hilarious look, like he can’t believe this hot mess. It’s basically the look Jim would give the camera on The Office whenever Michael put on a costume. Vivica picks up on it, and she knows they’ve already lost.
Finally, and I promise the horror is almost over, it’s just a line of ladies turned away from the camera with the focus on their butts. Kenya says that it’s “girls just having fun”, but it looks like they’re just standing there and watching something going on across the street. #GirlsJustWannaHaveBuns. Wow, that is a long hashtag. And I’ve used the hashtag #JohnFromCincinnati on multiple occasions. Geraldo wraps up with “People are going to associate King’s Hawaiian sweet buns with the whole… bun explosion.” BUN EXPLOSION! The executives silently regard Vortex as if they’re trying to kill them with their minds. (Where’s that Scanners reboot, Hollywood?)
Kenya interviews that, if they lose, she’s got some tricks up her sleeve. Tricks involving butts, I bet.
Boardroom time! Trump asks Johnny who the star was, and he picks Leeza. Trump says he wants to buy stock in Leeza and the way he says it seems gross even though there’s nothing offensive about it. Ian says Johnny did a fantastic job. Trump asks Brandi about their concept, and Brandi mentions “We Rise to the Occasion”, and Geraldo pronounces it “kind of a yawner”. He also calls Trump “boss”, which I hate. But more to the point, I’m sorry you find their slogan so boring. Does it not have enough horny babies for you?
They talk about using iconic New York locations, and Trump asks if they used Trump Tower. When they say no, Trump jokingly fires Johnny. All I can say is just wait to the end of the next Boardroom.
Trump asks Kenya what she thought of her teammates. She says Geraldo was amazing and Vivica was (long pause) “good”. Kenya says Vivica didn’t feel well, and that inhibited her performance. Vivica has no idea what that means, but she is quick to make it clear that Kenya was behind the creative. Vivica knows how this is going down.
And just like that, Kenya is explaining the clever “buns” pun. I hope somebody is taking notes, because I might need another explanation. It’s too subtle for me! She says they wanted to tie it to the “popular, what’s on trend, going on on the Internet about women and their rear ends.” Seriously, am I on a different Internet? I know butts are a thing, but I haven’t really seen this bun explosion. This was way before that one episode of Girls, or that Kim Kardashian magazine cover, so I have no idea what they’re talking about. What was the big news in butts last March?
Geraldo calls Kenya’s butt “the star of the show”, and I can’t wait to stop writing about butts. Come on guys, let’s class it up and keep the butt talk to fart jokes, where it belongs.
Vivica says that Kenya only thanked Geraldo at the end of the task, and I don’t know if that’s true or not. It probably is, but I’m not going to go back and check. Besides, what are the odds that they’d actually keep footage of something that comes up in the Boardroom in the episode anyway?
Time for the results, not that there’s any surprise. Per Don Jr., they liked Infinity’s product shots and the way they complemented the brand. They liked the pictures, but they weren’t wild about the hashtags. Hey, I bet if they listed to Leeza about using the word “King”, that would have worked out well. Then they’d win even harder!
An incarnation of Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion says of Vortex that the executives thought Kenya was “articulate” but they hated the concept. Oh, wait. That’s just Eric Trump. Hi, Eric!
I wanted to wait on the Eric reveal until the end of the critique, but I have to quote him directly because it’s amazing. “They hated the slogan ‘Baby Loves Buns’. They thought it almost, you know, the fact that baby might be sexually attracted to your ass and…. they really just didn’t like it.” HA! Kenya says they took a risk and Geraldo, suddenly looking exhausted and every one of his seventy-one years says quietly, “I didn’t like the baby”. That’s pretty great, actually.
Once again, it wasn’t even close. Infinity wins! Johnny wins money for…. the Johnny Damon Fund? I feel like that’s a loophole. I’m going to play for the EJ Feddes Fund. Mostly they do a lot of good work in buying PS4 games.
Infinity celebrates their fifth win in a row, and then it’s back to the Boardroom. Trump notes that Kenya didn’t break their losing streak, but then “you’re not exactly Babe Ruth”. I’m not sure what that means, and I bet knowing more about baseball wouldn’t help. I mean, maybe an insane billionaire put Babe Ruth on a losing team to change their fortunes, but I don’t remember that happening in the John Goodman movie.
Vivica says that Geraldo can sometimes lead the team astray, and in this case he was so supportive of Kenya’s bad ideas. In the suite, Infinity clutches their pearls over the offensive ads, even though they just did a coffee commercial that apparently ended with a four-way. And then it’s back to the Boardroom. Thanks for that cutaway!
Kenya claims she’s done nothing but help Vivica and then there’s an argument over who threw who under the bus first. This show loves that phrase. Geraldo steps in to explain who should be fired, only he says “who gets fired”, which suggests that he has input into the choice. He might, actually. That would explain a lot. He thought Kenya’s idea was “risky but refreshing” and Vivica didn’t really do anything and then Geraldo and Vivica argue for a bit. Kenya talks about all the times she’s had to mediate Vivica’s problems with other people, and that’s something we’ve never seen. She then blames it on Vivica’s “hot flashes”.
And now it’s going to go nuts. Kenya says that Vivica tweeted about going through menopause, and that may account for it. Everybody else is tried of ovulation and the lack thereof coming up in the Boardroom, which is pretty funny. Vivica says she never tweeted that and Kenya is a “dirty-ass bitch”. Kenya says “I don’t appreciate being called out of my name”, and I don’t understand that phrase at all. She keeps saying it, though. Vivica call her a “toxic trick”, and I feel like “trick” might mean “whore”, but I’m just guessing. I’m really bad at slang. Kenya complains that this should be a professional environment and calls Vivica “ghetto”. Guys, I wish there was something that meant the same as “pot calling the kettle black” that wasn’t horribly offensive in this context, but there isn’t. Honestly, this doesn’t reflect well on Vivica, but nothing she’s saying is necessarily wrong, either.
Trump, if you can believe it, tries to get back on topic. He’s mediating! That’s how far gone we are at this point. Freaking Trump is the guy who’s trying to reel it back in.
We cut back to Infinity again, where Leeza and Ian talk about how inappropriate this is. It cracks me up every time they do this, because the editors are basically saying “Even we aren’t on board with this anymore.”
Trump asks Kenya why she’s so nasty to everyone, and she says she isn’t. Never! I’m not going to bother citing examples. Well, maybe that time she brought up Brandi’s divorce in the Boardroom. But really, most episodes are full of her being awful to people. Geraldo butts in to say “It’s true. You have been nasty.” Geraldo is kind of cracking me up this week, and I think it’s because he’s not talking about himself. He’s old and tired and he is over it, and that’s very funny to me.
Don Jr. says it was pretty nasty to talk about Vivica being menopausal on TV, and she insists that Vivica tweeted it. Vivica denies it. Now, I’m just going to report what happens and get to my theory afterwards. Anyway, she says she doesn’t tweet that much and would never tweet that. Trump wonders why anybody would tweet that, which is what I ask myself about, like, 80% of everything on Twitter.
Kenya offers to go get her phone so they can see what Vivica tweeted. Trump says that if she’s wrong, she’ll be fired. Don Jr. gets his phone to check instead of letting Kenya leave the room. He reports “bad news” and reads “This menopause is killing me. I can’t think straight. I’m acting a damn fool half the time. 50 just isn’t sexy.” Vivica seems genuinely surprised by that, for the record. Trump is aghast. Kenya smirks.
And then Vivica puts it together – her phone went missing. She thinks Kenya stole it. Don Jr. jumps in to say that Vivica probably wouldn’t say that about herself, and Geraldo confirms that her phone was stolen. Interesting word choice – it seems like he’s pretty sure that it wasn’t just misplaced. Or else he’s picking a side and committing. Vivica straight up accuses Kenya and says that she would never put out something like that about herself. (I’ll give her a pass on “I have a brand”, but just this once.)
Don Jr. jumps in again. He says Vivica only tweets every few days and they’re always about having a blessed day, so this menopause tweet sure doesn’t sound like her. Geraldo again verifies that he phone disappeared “as a former member of the New York City District Attorney’s office”. He’s citing his credential because not just anybody can say for sure whether a phone is or isn’t there. That’s not a task for the laypeople!
Trump asks Geraldo who he thinks took the phone, and he refuses to “identify a suspect”. That’s good enough for Trump. He accepts that somebody else tweeted on Vivica’s account. Eric just wants to know why Kenya follows Vivica on Twitter anyway. Hee! He wants to be part of the discussion!
Finally, Trump asks Kenya if she has Vivica’s phone and she just laughs at him. He calls it “a new low”, and considering what show this is, that’s really saying something. Kenya says that this should be about her performance. Trump: “But you lost”. Hee! Kenya says she lost doing something that she believes in. She’s passionate on the topic of horny babies! That might even be her charity! Trump reminds her that what she believes in lost them the task. Also, she was supposed to help the team, and she didn’t. Kenya, you’re fired.
Oh, sweet relief!
Kenya thanks him for being kind and gracious and she wishes Vivica luck, and Vivica tells her to “bounce”. It gets heated on their way out, but Kenya’s gone and we have no closure on the phone theft!
In her limo interview, she says that she won’t talk about the phone because “it’s inflammatory and damaging”. Well, not if you didn’t do it! Either way, you’re not my problem anymore. Except for the finale. Sigh.
So, here’s what I think. There’s no way Vivica sent that tweet. It seems out of character, and I don’t believe she’s delusional enough to lie about something that could be easily confirmed. However, that absolutely seems like something you’d see on Real Housewives. I have no trouble believing Kenya stole her phone because that’s the reality TV genre that raised her.
Also, and here’s what clinches it for me. This is all on camera. They have a bunch of people shooting in a tiny room, and I will guarantee that when Vivica’s phone went missing, some intern had to go over the footage just to see if they could figure out what happened to it. There’s no way that they wouldn’t do that for her.
But put that aside. When have the Trumps ever fact checked a Boardroom claim? Let me help you with that – never. They’ve never researched a claim. We’ve seen people blatantly lie about things that happened in the task. Heck, we’ve seen people cheat on camera and they never get called on it. For Trump to check Vivica’s Twitter is unprecedented. I’m willing to bet that the producers tipped Trump off that Kenya had taken Vivica’s phone and this would be a good angle to pursue. Watch the last fifteen minutes or so with the scenario in your head that Kenya tweeted on Vivica’s phone and the Trumps know that it happened. Everybody’s reactions make perfect sense if that’s your starting point. Anything else leaves unanswered questions. And narrative cohesion has never been this show’s strong suit, but just once let’s accept Occam’s Razor.
Here’s the thing. This is only the second craziest Boardroom of the night. We’ll get into that in a couple of days. Holy smokes.