Previously on Celebrity Apprentice: Both teams set up outdoor boutiques for Ivanka Trump’s line of shoes. I’m going to assume this is a common sight in New York, but if I came across something like that, I would assume that I had lost my mind. Neither team did a great job but Infinity failed in ways that were less important than the ways in which Vortex did. Shawn Johnson was fired for not caring, and thus, was not too upset about it.
Back in the suite, Kate Gosselin complains that Vivica A. Fox should have been fired. Geraldo Rivera tells the two “You have to make up now, honey”. The way he says it is so creepy. It sounds like Don Dimello promising “a little something for daddy”. And now I just creeped myself out
We cut immediately to morning, with the baby ducklings assembled for their new task. Trump doesn’t even try to come up with a preamble. It’s basically “We’re in Times Square. Know what else is? Chock Full o’ Nuts.”
Now, I’m going to get this out of the way. I knew that there was a company called “Chock Full o’ Nuts”. I did not know that they made coffee. I assumed it was packaged nuts. I also didn’t know that they used to have a famous jingle – this will come up later when Geraldo starts singing it and I thought he was freestyling. Finally, people keep calling it “Chock Full of Nuts”, and even really overpronouncing of. It’s a dated name but embrace it, people who make confusingly named coffee!
Brian the executive says that they’ll be making a viral video to sell their new single serving sizes. And then, AHHH! It’s a White Walker! Get the sword cast from that one weird metal! Oh, wait. That’s just Eric Trump. Hi, Eric! Eric explains the criteria on which they’ll be judged. Do you think “brand messaging” and “creativity” are among them? Well, then you have seen this show before!
Also, it’s always sad when the task is “make a viral video” because executives don’t know what that means. But in 2015, I don’t think anybody produces a viral video anymore. The stuff that gets passed around is cute animals and injuries. The days when you could make a commercial, release it online, and have it become a topic of conversation are long gone. We’re already seeing big companies shift their online strategy to social media and Vine. This task seems more dated than ever – it’s like they’re asking them to make the nation’s hottest daguerreotype.
Lorenzo Lamas steps up as product manager for Vortex almost immediately. There’s a little more discussion on Infinity’s side, but ultimately it’s Leeza Gibbons. And with that, they head to their respective war rooms. Lorenzo says he’s directed TV and movies, so this is his thing. Sure enough, he directed five episodes of his TV show Renegade and a movie called CIA II: Target Alexa starring an up-and-comer named Lorenzo Lamas and several other members of the Renegade cast. Which is still more than I’ve directed.
This is where Geraldo starts singing the jingle and I totally thought he made it up himself. Which made the episode especially weird since Lorenzo is immediately like “Yes! We have to use that” and I thought Geraldo was really good at writing commercials. Geraldo suggests that they do a commercial where it starts with the old version and then it’s sung in a “rad, modern way”. Yep, Geraldo said “rad”. Kate wants to rap and then Geraldo is improvising a rap. Well, sort of. You know that Mr. Show sketch where Bob Odenkirk raps by saying “Rap rap rap and a rappity rappity rap”? That’s what Geraldo is doing. It. Is. Amazing.
Lorenzo sums up Geraldo: “He comes up with stuff, and it’s right on the money sometimes. (pause) Sometimes it’s not.” Also, “The brand is so old that it was perfect for Geraldo.” HA!
They end up with an idea where they go from black-and-white to color. Which, you know, is pretty much the first thing anybody did when color film was invented, so you can see why this one will be a hit. Lorenzo raps, which is just him repeating the name of the product and ending with “I say”. You guys, Lorenzo knows how to rap and he’s here to say that he loves packaged coffee in a major way.
Over at Infinity, Leeza puts Ian Ziering in charge of directing. Ian’s idea immediately begins with, yes, black and white. And then King Kong climbs the Empire State Building. He thinks they can shoot that in four hours on a GoPro. Well, I’m pretty sure the second Sharknado took only about ninety minutes to shoot, so maybe they should listen to him. Brandi Glanville jumps in to say that a viral video shouldn’t be just a regular commercial. Hey, somebody gets it! Also? Brandi has apparently just decided not to button her shirt today. I think she’s proud of her new bra. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’m actually kind of into it. Don’t look at me! I’m hideous!
Leeza wonders if Kenya Moore and Brandi will play off of their “alleged rift”, which is actually a pretty good idea. Kenya interviews that Brandi made “unfortunate remarks” about her “in the press”. I don’t even want to know what their fight is, but “in the press”? Did the Baltimore Sun call Brandi for a statement or something? Or does “in the press” mean “a Real Housewives reunion show”?
Ian starts to put the idea together and Kenya brings it home where the guys watch Brandi and Kenya fight on the street and it turns into a fantasy sequence of them sexy fighting. It’s gross and pandering, but Leeza really seems to be on board with it. Kenya and Brandi like it because cameras will be pointed at them.
Vortex gets to their kitchen set. Well, Vivica and Lorenzo do. Kate, believe it or not, is out getting props! She’s accompanied by Geraldo and Sig Hansen. Or else Sig is hiding just out of camera range as he does in absolutely every episode. Do you think that, if these were two-hour episodes, there’d be all sorts of Sig content? Like maybe he spent the season solving a murder and that all had to be cut. Anyway, the two of them start planning their shots while the shoppers come back. Geraldo says this is “a role I was born to play”. You mean “Man who’s enthusiastic about coffee”?
Kate gets her hair done in a fifties style, but she brings in a “celebrity hairstylist” who takes forever to but Kate’s hair in rollers. Lorenzo gets all the shots he can while they wait. Vivica starts to get impatient and Kate complains to the hairstylist about how unreasonable her team is. They have four hours! Waiting twenty minutes for hair is ridiculous but Kate thinks that wanting to get things done makes one a “busybody”. OH! Kate calls herself “the actress”! That seems inaccurate.
Infinity hits the street and they get the idea that Ian will be working a coffee cart and selling a cup to Johnny Damon. So, here’s a look behind the curtain. I keep a list of every contestant off to the side, and the first time they’re mentioned in the recap, I use their full name. With Sig and Johnny, I often have to wait until at least fifteen minutes into the episode before they say or do anything. Anyway, since Ian is in the scene, Leeza has to shoot it and Ian is super controlling. Leeza interviews that she feels “belittled” when he tries to order her around. Ian then interviews that he started directing 20 years ago. Hmmm. According to IMDB, he directed an episode of 90210 in 2000 and a short called Man vs. Monday in 2006. I’m not sure how any of that works out to twenty years ago, but I’ve only been doing math for 162 years. Ian wants a lot of extra coverage of his scene and it’s getting ridiculous, especially since they haven’t started on either version of the fight scene yet.
Back at Vortex, Kate finally emerges from the salon and… it’s fine. The five-minute version would have looked just as good. Lorenzo interviews that they had to lose several shots because it took so long, but he seems cool with it. It’s the Clint Eastwood “Oh, we don’t have a baby? Well, use this doll.” approach. (That’s the only thing I’m going to say about American Sniper because it seems like any opinion makes people mad. So I’ll just go see Birdman again and stay out of it.)
Over at Infinity, it’s time to shoot the fight scene. Brandi and Kenya fight over a taxi and Kenya seems offended that Brandi called her a “stupid bitch”. Which is really generic, but note that Kenya says “I don’t take jabs at people. I don’t get into personal attacks.” She says these words! Save that for later. Also, their street fight is already kind of what they’re going for with the “sexy fight” what with them tearing one another’s clothes and making orgasm noises. They get the scene, so then we go back
Vortex goes outside to get their big musical number. Geraldo is wearing his tux (with sunglasses because of course) and nothing says “modern” like an elderly man in a tuxedo singing a single from the forties. Geraldo does not have much rhythm and they struggle getting him to start on the right note. And then Lorenzo says the most amazing thing. “He is a little rhythm-challenged. For a Latin, I’m surprised.” Holy smokes.
Now, I just want to remind you that Lorenzo’s full name is Lorenzo y de Santos Lamas. He’s allowed to invoke stereotypes. But “for a Latin”. He called Geraldo “a Latin”! I am laughing just as hard as I did the first time I saw it, and I want this clip to play at my funeral.
This aside, it looks incredibly crummy. Sig wants to roll a can of coffee into the shot and suddenly he has opinions on directing. I like to think somebody on the crew poked him with a stick and told him he needed to talk. He also wishes that they made better use of the GoPro cameras because “on Deadliest Catch, we have GoPros coming out of our you-know-whats”. I’m going to assume “you-know-what” means “pee hole”. He’s actually right about trying to make it look more interesting, but he doesn’t have any specific ideas. “Make it better” isn’t super useful.
Time for Infinity to shoot their pillow fight. Kenya specifies that they’re shooting in “Ian’s hotel room”. I’m a little disappointed to learn that they don’t sleep in team bunks, like at camp. Also, there’s something creepy about Ian directing girls to touch each other on the bed that he’s going to sleep in that night. I like Ian, but he spends most of his time walking a very fine line. Brandi and Kenya roll around on the bed giggling and Brandi’s afraid that “Kenya will smother me with her huge knockers”. Remember that this is a show where people say things like this when Trump complains later about not having an Emmy.
Then Johnny and Ian are in bed with them and they’re all drinking coffee. It’s like an alien’s idea of something that would be sexy but it’s really just weird and a little gross. They head to the edit bay, and we learn that Leeza agreed to let Ian have a “director’s cut”. So, like, for the Blu-Ray release? And man, Ian is sweating this cut. He’s going all Malick on it and not allowing any feedback until he’s done. Ian is not the project manager, if you recall. Brandi tries to talk and Ian suggests she go wait outside. He’s going power-mad! He insists that nobody else can understand where he’s going with it, when I just thought it was leading up to ladies rolling around in nighties. There’s a whole subtext that I’m missing! Brandi interviews that it needs more brand messaging and it might be “too provocative”.
Vortex has less drama in the edit bay, but they’re all happy with the aforementioned brand messaging. When they put in a beat behind the last scene, it sounds even worse. Geraldo’s still singing the old jingle but it’s over a dance track and it sounds awful. I know time was a factor, but they should have tweaked the actual jingle or even auto-tuned it after the fact. Which would still be bad, but it would get the point across at least.
You know what they should have done? They should have based it around Geraldo as Geraldo. As gross as that is, they should have played with his eighties incarnation as a tabloid host. Have a coffee-based fight break out on the set of his show, for example. It’s not going to be viral, but it’s what coffee executives in their forties would get and maybe even find “edgy”. It would be a terrible thing to use as an ad, but I think they’d win the task.
Presentations! Ivanka is flanked by a pale bald man and one of those twins from The Matrix Reloaded. Oh, wait. That’s just Eric Trump. Hi, Eric! It’s just the three of them in an empty theater and they’re sitting halfway up which seems weird. They’d prefer not to be too close to the celebrities. Infinity goes first. Their ad opens with interaction between Johnny and Ian that is both awkwardly shot, weirdly performed, and full of baseball references that I don’t understand. The fight scene is not very good, but they made the whole thing in a day so by that standard, it’s definitely a video. Kenya doesn’t think the executive enjoyed it.
Vortex goes next and it looks like a poorly-shot TV commercial. Whatever Chock Full o’ Nuts thinks “viral” means, this isn’t it.
Boardroom Time! Trump begins by asking Leeza “Do you like your team? Good? OK? Weak link? Who?” I believe those are the five basic questions of journalism. Leeza says they don’t have any weak links. Brandi says Leeza was amazing and she’s basically the project manager even when she isn’t the project manager. Trump compliments Leeza for a bit, and Kenya mentions that Leeza has an Emmy, and this sets Trump off.
It’s fantastic. “I got screwed out of an Emmy.” He was so sure that he was going to win “I stood up before the winner was announced and I started walking to the Emmy,” and it’s hilarious if you try to picture that happening. Then he says that they gave it to “the most boring show on television”, and NBC wisely bleeps him saying the name of the show. He calls said show “a piece of crap”. I can’t stop thinking about Trump walking up to get an Emmy that he didn’t win and it’s hilarious.
Also, Famous Original Apprentice was nominated for an Emmy twice, in 2004 and 2005. It was never considered a front-runner, but both times it lost to Amazing Race. So Trump is calling that the most boring show on television, and I feel like he definitely hasn’t watched his own show. Like, even a slow episode of Race is going to have a zipline and some kind of task where people assemble something. That’s more exciting than any episode of this show simply because things are happening. There’s motion! But Trump has clearly been nursing his wounds for nine years. I wonder how he feels about never getting nominated for another Emmy since?
The only thing that would make that story better is if Trump had made it up to the podium at the same time as all the Race people and he was just standing in their midst all confused.
Over to Vortex. Lorenzo says they had a great time making the video. Trump asks whose fault it is if they lose, and Lorenzo says that he’s like to “withhold” that information for now. It’s smart to not make an enemy unless you have to, but that was a really weird way of saying it. Trump asks Kate who the weakest player is and she talks forever without getting to a point and Trump responds “You’re not giving me the right answer” and asks Vivica instead. Hee! Vivica singles out Kate for her poor time management and Kate is scandalized.
Time to play the videos. Geraldo’s reaction to his own performance is great – he’s staring at the screen creepily with his lip twitching. He is clearly thinking “I’d hit that” about himself and The Soup was right to play this clip over and over. Infinity is not impressed at all, and I like that Brandi thinks that viral videos should be “futuristic”. Laser cats! Then they play Vortex’s video. It looks less like a TV commercial but it’s nothing amazing. There’s also a hilariously bad voiceover that makes me like it more. If I’m ever on this show (which would never happen), I’d have a lot of deliberately bad lo-fi stuff and make it seem like a Tim & Eric project – we’d lose, but at least it would be something.
Oh, more crazy. Trump asks Kenya if it was hard to work with Brandi. She says Brandi always takes personal shots at her, which we have never seen. By contrast, Kenya says “I didn’t bring up Leann Rimes with her”, and Brandi looks like she’s been slapped. That’s how I know her! Her husband ditched her for Leann Rimes! There’s no reason for Kenya to bring this up, especially as an example of the kind of personal shot she doesn’t take. It’s a dick move. She dicks it up some more by saying her husband left her for “a younger, prettier woman” and then closes by saying that Brandi “should leave my personal life alone”. Wow. That is a level of delusion that can only be described as Trump-esque.
I will say, I really like the way the people in the Boardroom react through this screed. They’re like the studio audience at a Married….with Children taping. Trump makes everybody tell Brandi that she’s pretty, and I wish that I were making this up.
Results! Ivanka says that they thought Vortex’s ad was more like a commercial than a viral video. Powder says that Infinity took a risk, but they liked the feel of it even though it didn’t mention the single serve dealies. Oh, wait. That’s just Eric Trump. Hi, Eric! Ultimately, creativity beats brand messaging and Infinity wins. Way to go, Leeza! I just now noticed Ian’s purple suit. I can’t decide if it’s a tribute to the Joker or Louie the Lilac, but he’s definitely invoking villainy.
Lorenzo is shocked by the loss, because he think they met the criteria presented. Helpfully, Trump adds “It wasn’t even close”. Trump asks Vivica who he should fire, and she notes that he always asks her that. He says he respects her opinion, which means that if Trump doesn’t ask you that question…. Sorry, Sig. Vivica says that if Kate hadn’t eaten up so much time, they could have gotten the shots they needed. Kate complains that Vivica wants to keep to a schedule and get things done. Per Kate, “Everything I do in life, I either do and kill it, or I don’t do it at all.”
Guys? She’s been on TV a lot. Has there ever been any evidence that she’s good at anything? That whole philosophy of hers may work if she actually is amazing at… anything. Like if Gordon Ramsay said it, it would make sense. It’s still kind of a jerk thing to say, but at least he’s doing something and “killing it”. The woman is on TV because she had a lot of kids and it was sort of funny how bad she was at parenting. She even claims that the team isn’t appreciating her “stealth”. Did I miss the episode where the task was to assassinate a foreign dignitary?
Trump asks Lorenzo who he’d bring back to the Boardroom, and he says he doesn’t feel comfortable doing that. Oh man, he’s giving up. He says that he takes full responsibility – he doesn’t want to go but he’s not willing to put anyone else in a position to be fired. So, of course, Lorenzo is fired.
Wow. Either he is too nice for this show or he was having a miserable time. Maybe both. He’s another person I ended up liking a lot more as a result of being on this show, which is not really a thing that’s true fore anybody who’s still on the show.
It is definitely a different elevator operator than usual this week. Did the regular one get a development deal? Lorenzo plugs his Today appearance and we are hell up outta here.
Next week, Sig does things and appears on camera. I know. I’m scared too.