Previously on Celebrity Apprentice: People referenced “La Cucaracha” more times in one episode than in the entire history of television up to that point. Trump went nuts and fired a whole team on increasingly specious grounds. Farewell Ian Ziering, Johnny Damon, and Brandi Glanville. May our paths one day cross again…. like next week for the finale, probably.
Due to the clip show that opened the night, we actually start with the opening credits for a change. In Lorenzo Lamas’ segment of the opening, there’s an old publicity shot from Renegade of Lorenzo on a motorcycle. Then there’s a shot of just a motorcycle, and then a shot of Lorenzo. They really captured his many moods – he can be both on and in the vicinity of a motorcycle.
In the suite, Vortex frets about how long they’ve been in the Boardroom. You know, after last week’s multiple references from Trump about being there “all night”, I’m wondering if it actually was a marathon Boardroom session. And once again, at what point did Vortex have to stop watching? These are the questions I’ll ask Amanda the Fake Receptionist or Original Elevator Guy when I interview them one day. (I started following Amanda the Fake Receptionist on Twitter because I am dedicated to my recapping duties.)
Wow, Leeza Gibbons actually says that they’ve been waiting for hours. She doesn’t seem like somebody who wildly exaggerates, but I also can’t imagine a Boardroom going that long. There might have been technical stuff. Or else Trump forgot there was another team and just turned out the lights and went home. (I’m going with tech stuff.–Myndi)
And then the phone rings. Everybody gets weirded out because it’s 2015 and who talks on the phone anymore? It’s Amanda the Fake Receptionist, calling them back to the Boardroom. Geraldo Rivera says “At least it’s not Vladimir Putin.” As if that were the second most-likely scenario. Or else he’s just working out his topical zings from the early days of 2014. Oh man. They shot this season when the Winter Olympics were happening.
Vivica A. Fox narrates what’s happening for a bit and then they go back to the Boardroom. Trump fills them in on the mass firing and Vivica’s the only one who even really acts surprised. I’ve been thinking more about this, and when they signed up for this show, there was probably a range of dates they had to leave open, so they may well have known that they were coming right up on the end of the shoot. This show lies in so many ways!
Trump’s going to fire somebody (else) tonight, and first he asks Vivica why she should stay. She says she really wants to be the next Apprentice, and that’s such a weird holdover from the original incarnation of this show where you actually got a job with Trump if you won. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the winner just took a job? Like Joan Rivers had to cancel her tour dates because she’s suddenly approving plans for a golf course.
They talk about Kenya Moore and how tough that was on Vivica. Trump turns his attention to Geraldo, who’s not surprised to be there. Nobody is. They set that up from day one. He says he and Leeza are most evenly matched and would make for a better finale. Trump asks Leeza if he should pick Vivica over Geraldo. Leeza says that Vivica’s great but Geraldo’s experience will “serve him better in the overall 360”. That’s a weird way of talking, Leeza. Trump asks Vivica if she’s better than Leeza, and I love that Vivica says Leeza “speaks well”. It’s the inverse of a Key & Peele sketch.
He asks Vivica if he should keep Leeza over her, and she says yes. She gets really emotional about it, and this is really weird. It’d be one thing if the prize was actually a job and you were ceding to somebody better qualified. What’s at stake here is money for your charity so trying to be noble and honest about your abilities really just means you’re taking your charity out of the running. I’m not sure I get that, but this seems to be a big deal for Vivica.
So Trump asks whether Leeza or Geraldo is better. She says Geraldo can bring in big dollars but Leeza is a better leader. This is basically Vivica’s concession speech, and Trump obliges by firing her. So we’ve got the final two that my friend Sam and I picked in Week Two. Somebody give us some money for being smart!
Trump congratulates the final two and talks about how successful the show is and what a big deal it is to win. Oh, this again.
For the final task, he’s sending them on a private jet to Universal Orlando Resort. Trump pronounces their charities both “great”, by the way. Do you remember Celebrity Poker Showdown when David Cross and Nicole Sullivan were on their final hand and he started making fun of her charity? It was something like “If I win, this money goes to wounded vets. If I lose, I guess some cats get it.” We all watched Celebrity Poker Showdown religiously, right? Back when Dave Foley was drunk and depressed but really funny? (I freaking LOVED Celebrity Poker Showdown. I miss it every day!–Myndi)
They’ll produce a commercial and sell vacation packages to the resort. Then they’ll come back to New York and present the commercial at a red carpet event. So it’s basically the same kind of thing they did last year. Make a commercial, host an event. Sadly, they don’t get to create Snapple flavors this time. They’ll be judged on (everybody now) creativity, brand messaging, and overall presentation. Also, money raised. No clue as to how that’s weighted because it actually doesn’t matter and it’s going to be a whim anyway. Trump tells them they’ll be getting help from some people they know “very, very well”, like we don’t all know that they’re bringing back fired contestants.
The two toast back in the suite and there is zero animosity here. It’s kind of neat. Geraldo’s been a jerk to almost everybody else, but he and Leeza have no beef at all. It helps that they only worked together on one task, I think.
Thrilling scenes of Geraldo and Leeza sitting on a plane and arriving at their destination without incident! They each get to tell us about their charities for the second time in an episode that’s only seventeen minutes in. At least it’s pretty funny that Geraldo gets off the plane in Orlando wearing a long scarf. There are shots of Universal rides at the theme park, including a Spider-Man roller coaster. Remember when Omarosa kept pronouncing it Spiderman, like a last name? Timothy and Lorraine Spiderman. You know, the Spidermans. They’re such a cute couple.
We see a conference room where Brandi Glanville, Johnny Damon, and Kevin Jonas are hanging out making not at all rehearsed conversation about what they’ve been up to. Leeza walks into that room, so it looks like she’s got a pretty solid team. Two people who made it to the end and a guy who seems really smart but got fired for dumb reasons. I’m kind of surprised they didn’t put a walking disaster on her team. Kevin promises Leeza that he came back only to crush Geraldo. Hee!
Leeza talks about her charity again. But I should note that it’s her own foundation she set up because her grandmother and mother both died of Alzheimer’s Disease. You know I’m never going to make fun of a charity on this show, but this one hits really close to home right now. So if I don’t bring it up that much over the next couple of episodes, it’s because I’m actually really uncomfortable making jokes near that topic. Like, physically near. On the page. So that’s my deal, and I apologize for bringing it up.
She talks about crafting her presentation around “The Magic of Memories” and wants to bring in Olivia Newton-John to perform. I feel like Myndi’s going to be really into that. (You know me so well! Also, I just saw the Broadway version of Xanadu-which is a parody of the movie– and I’m currently obsessed with the music. The play is hysterical, by the way.–Myndi)
Geraldo meets his team, and it’s Vivica, Ian Ziering, and Lorenzo Lamas. Again, two people who made it to the end and this time they also have a guy who basically fired himself but seemed decent. Of course, Ian does not like Geraldo at all, so that’s a weird thing to throw in. I’m impressed that they didn’t saddle somebody with Kenya, though. Geraldo tells Lorenzo that he was hoping he’d get him so he could direct the commercial. He notes that he “butted head” with both of the guys on the team, but I feel like anything we saw with Lorenzo was pretty minor and it was mostly because Lorenzo touched Geraldo’s shoulder. You can’t pick many people who’ve ever worked with Geraldo (both on this show and in life) that he didn’t have trouble with at one time or another.
Geraldo and Ian agree to “reset”, and Ian says it was never personal. They start brainstorming, and Lorenzo starts to explain a commercial idea where kids badger their parents to take them to Universal, and that’s as far as he gets. Geraldo pitches “Geraldo as the investigative reporter persona”.
Wait. Geraldo has a Geraldo-centric idea? I’m going to need somebody to recover my monocle, having shot off my face in surprise as it did. Also, Geraldo refers to himself in the third person. Of course he does.
See, Geraldo thinks that he, as an image, is a positive. But anybody who remembers him has strictly negative associations. You have to be really careful about exploiting your celebrity when you’re famous for being a symbol of where TV journalism went wrong.
It keeps going. The parents will go off on their own and the kids accompany Geraldo to a “magical world” where “they have to be brave”. Oh, that sounds like a situation where the authorities need to get involved. And then Geraldo wants to play Harry Potter! That’s not going to make kids cry at all. He keeps talking and we hear the slogan “Courage, Kids! The Dragon is Real!” Everything about this is terrifying! Also, if this is all the same idea, I love that Geraldo wants to remind parents that he used to be famous thirty years ago while also convincing kids that he’s a boy wizard. Ian and Lorenzo are giving him looks of open hostility while he talks, and I love it. (He makes Voldemort look charming.–Myndi)
Leeza’s team talks strategy in a way that’s incredibly vague but they sort of land on making Universal a “family destination”. I think that angle is already built into an amusement park, but nobody asked me. Kevin pitches a father micromanaging a vacation, but everybody runs off to do their own things while he’s reading the itinerary. So far, Geraldo is abducting children and telling them that the things they fear are real and Leeza has a man losing his family at a busy amusement park. So they’re both going the “nightmare” angle, basically.
Kevin is really showing some hustle here – he’s got a vision and he seems to have a pretty good head for this kind of thing. Some Universal executives show up and I’m just now realizing we haven’t seen executive meetings all season, except for that time Geraldo took a call and talked over them. The executives explain the task again, so maybe we haven’t been missing out on much.
We then cut to Geraldo’s team, where Ian is asking those executive questions about what they want to stress when they’re fighting for market share. They want parkgoers to “discover their own hero”, which is asking a lot of people who just want to ride a roller coaster. Nobody told me I had to read up on Joseph Campbell before they’d let me on the Demon Drop. Do they have a sign outside the rides where Spider-Man tell you that you have to have reconciled great power with great responsibility this much in order to enter?
The edit makes it look like Leeza’s team didn’t ask any questions, by the way. Geraldo tells the executives that they want something like “Courage, Kids! The Dragon is Real!” The meeting stops dead and finally one of the women says, uncomfortably, “Yeah. It breathes fire.” HA! She’s clearly just humoring the lunatic. Geraldo interviews that he wants to convey that “the customer has to be brave”. Maybe that’s a good strategy if you’re selling spots in a mud run, but I feel like maybe you want to emphasize fun in this situation. Nobody talks Geraldo down, because it doesn’t matter anymore.
Leeza’s team gets out to the part and hits the Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Kevin knows what shots he needs, and he wants to focus on the parents enjoying themselves there. After they’ve faced down the physical personification of their own fears, Empire Strikes Back-style, I assume. Leeza reports that she’s got a donor committing to $120,000 dollars and everybody freaks out.
So, I don’t get Universal as a theme park. I assumed it meant they specialized in Universal Studios properties, but we’ve already seen Spider-Man who’s owned by Disney (and Sony holds the film rights, but now they’re sharing them so Spider-Man can appear in an Avengers movie but that’s a whole other story…); there’s a ride featuring Kodos from The Simpsons, which is FOX. Really, they seem to have everything but the Warner properties, and I don’t know how that works. Also, their Spider-Man display uses the logo and art from the late nineties, which is very upsetting to me for some reason.
Kevin notes that he was previously fired when he directed a commercial, but he thinks he can do it this time. Yeah, that was scarcely his fault if we’re being honest. Anyway, they suddenly realize that they’re short two members, and sure enough, Brandi and Johnny have wandered off for beer and hot dogs. I like to think they were gone for an hour before anybody noticed. Leeza and Kevin go looking for them and Kevin explains that his parents used to put him on a leash when they went out. Hee! It’s funny to think of three tiny Jonases all pulling futilely in different directions. Eventually, Leeza and Kevin give up because those two aren’t really the key to success anyway. Cut to Brandi and Johnny, who agree on the best way to microwave hot dogs. They seem to have completely forgotten why they’re there, too. Do I hear wedding bells? (Isn’t Johnny married? Also, who prefers microwaved hot dogs over grilled hot dogs? These people are morons.–Myndi)
Geraldo calls a guy named Larry and asks him for a check. We see the whole team texting or making calls, and it’s clear Geraldo is going to try and win this on cash. In Ian’s case, he tapped out his donors on the last fundraising task, but he’s got a friend who might be able to hook him up. Geraldo brags that he invited all the FOX News people to his event and I’m not going to be able to resist making fun of the friendly friends at FOX and Friends when that time comes.
Leeza’s team returns to their suite, and they’re all together. It’s not clear when they reunited or if anybody got in trouble. There’s this weird edit where the table is clear, we see Leeza looking thoughtful, and then everybody has big plates of food. Did Leeza make lunch appear? And did Brandi and Johnny have to pretend to be hungry to cover up how many hot dogs they ate? Is this task going to end with tummy aches? I have so many questions!
The endlessly optimistic Leeza decides to sent Johnny and Brandi out to do their shopping. Leeza dials up a donor while everybody else finishes lunch. Brandi interviews that she’s there for Leeza because of how inspiring she is. I mean, she’s not inspired enough to not wander off mid-task, but she’s still pretty inspired. Leeza worries that she’s out of donors, but Kevin assures her that Geraldo may have money, but he’s bad at the creative end of the tasks. Brandi suggests that Geraldo could be bringing in a “gazillion dollars”. Good talk.
A montage of Universal attractions reminds me how much I hate the movie designs for the Transformers characters. Way to get on my bad side, show! After that, Lorenzo and Vivica scout locations for their shoot. Vivica is super excited to see a roller coaster and she literally goes from screaming with delight to turning away and saying “Oh, see? Ain’t no way I’m doing that.” HA! I love how excited she was and how it turned to ash so quickly. You’ve disappointed Vivica, roller coasters!
Ian and Geraldo work on the commercial script and Geraldo’s scarf is back. They’re inside, in Florida, and it’s tightly knotted around his neck. My current theory is that his head came loose and he has to use the scarf to keep it attached. Then they get to talking about the entertainment for the presentation. Ian says he doesn’t know any bands. Johnny can introduce you to the imaginary bands he knows, Ian. You can meet Stillwater and Hep Alien and Dewey Cox. Geraldo suggests Josh Groban, and the question is whether Geraldo actually has access to him.
Geraldo doesn’t technically say that he knows or can even reach Groban, but he thinks the real problem is that he might be insulted about being asked at the last minute. Which isn’t really an issue, since Josh Groban is a time traveler. (That was for the Venn Diagram intersection of people who watch both Celebrity Apprentice and Comedy Bang! Bang!. So, basically Myndi and Sam.) Geraldo suggests that they come out as wizards and sing.
Vivica and Lorenzo come back with props and Geraldo puts on his Harry Potter costume. it is super creepy, especially since he’s still wearing his stupid rose-tinted sunglasses. Ian rasps “There can be only one”, and I’ll admit that I’m not a Potter expert, but he’s quoting Highlander there. That’s a different thing! Lorenzo’s feeling pretty good about the shot list and their plan for tomorrow. Lorenzo calls Geraldo “the x factor” because he’s met the man. Oh, you can think you have tomorrow’s shooting schedule planned, my friend…
Over at Leeza’s Olivia Newton-John calls in and agrees to come to the event. Awww! That’s really sweet! Brandi and Johnny head out to go shopping but really to be distracted by shiny objects. They head to one of the gift shops and Brandi then says it’s “important” that they go on a roller coaster instead. She declares that there’s nothing in the store that they need, so that’s that. These are adults! Brandi thinks that it’s more important to be able to “give feedback” on the rides than to prepare for the commercial. I think I missed the part where Yelp reviews written by the team would factor into the final decision.
Brandi talks about her “love-hate” relationship with roller coasters. At least she loves them more than she loves helping Leeza win money for her charity. She also says she’ll “probably cry”. So, Brandi’s Facebook status re: roller coasters is “it’s complicated”. We get exciting footage of them on a mostly empty ride, and I’d be so pissed if I was waiting in line and they just sent those two chuckleheads to the front.
They spring for those pictures they sell after you ride a coaster. Don’t get a picture! You’re bringing back visual evidence of your slacking and it’s no longer the perfect crime. Brandi is pleased by how her boobs look in the picture and Johnny nods in a creepy way that suggests he’s noticed.
They come back to the suite announcing “We go so much done. No we didn’t.” Brandi comes right out and says they went on roller coasters instead but the stores didn’t have anything. That’s the problem with amusement parks – it’s so hard to find things to purchase. Leeza has a sense of humor about it in an interview, and I give her a lot of credit for that. It’s got to be aggravating, but yelling at them won’t fix anything and you’re only days away from never having to deal with them again.
Johnny tries to make up for their failure by saying he has “cool Transformer pictures”. Like, he at least realizes that they screwed up. And then he screwed up further by taking pictures of that butt-ugly Megatron design instead of Spider-Man.
The next day, it’s commercial time. Lorenzo still thinks it’s going to go smoothly. But before the rest of the team even gets there, Geraldo has already started without a shot list. So nothing Lorenzo did yesterday matters because Geraldo is just going to do what he wants anyway. Vivica calls him out, but Geraldo isn’t great at picking up on things people think, feel, or say out loud.
Leeza’s team seems to be on the same page regarding the shots they need, but that’s definitely easier for them because it’s really Leeza and Kevin who know the plan while Brandi and Johnny wander around getting scammed into trading their cow for magic beans.
So let’s go back to Team Geraldo! They’re doing a shot that involves some kids and at some point, they realize that the kids aren’t there. Apparently, they sent a PA to get the kids, and another lady explains that they’re back at the suite. Geraldo and Lorenzo head back there and Geraldo complains about how somebody screwed up. Lorenzo is pretty chill about it and finally unravels what actually happened. Geraldo never actually sent anybody to get the kids from the suite. He admits that he assumed somebody would know to do it. This is followed up by a Geraldo interview where he says that he needs to take charge. He announces that he’s in charge of every shot, which is not actually the problem. The problem was that his management style requires everybody around him to be mind readers.
And that’s the end! Cliffhanger! Live finale next time, although the majority of it will probably be on tape since we haven’t seen the end of shooting or the presentation or the events. Do you think there’s anybody who’s going to miss the finale? Who’s going to be the target of Kenya’s wrath? Will Johnny and Brandi make their way to the finale but then stop for a round of mini golf and get lost? Has anybody forgotten being on the show? How many times will Trump make the “But other than that, you like her” joke? And, oh yeah, who will be the next…. Celebrity Apprentice?