When I first heard that Donald Trump was forging ahead with a second season of Celebrity Apprentice, I was shocked -- and I thought, "No way I'll watch that." Then I saw the cast list, and I thought, hmmmm, I might have to check it out.
Last night was the debut, and I was more entertained than I would have predicted. The teams are again divided into men and women, and it's a strange brew.
Mostly it was the men's team that got my attention -- I mean seriously, can you imagine Dennis Rodman, Andrew Dice Clay, Herschel Walker, Brian McKnight, Scott Hamilton, Jesse James, Tom Green and Clint Black hanging out in a room together? (Jesse James is the only one I needed an identifier for -- he's from Motorcycle Mania and Monster Garage). Now you don't have to imagine.
The women's team called a little less "whoa" and a little more "who?" to mind: Joan and Melissa Rivers (yeah, yeah, we know them), poker player Annie Duke, LPGA player Natalie Gulbis, Playboy Playmate Brande Roderick, reality star Khloe Kardashian, Deal or No Deal model Claudia Jordan and T-Boz from TLC.
First up, the teams had to choose names and project managers. After a lot of back-and-forth, then men went with Kotu (for Kings of the Universe), which was a little too Survivor. The women chose Athena, citing every single mythical attribute of the goddess (beauty! waging war intelligently!). Herschel was named PM for Kotu, and Joan Rivers for Athena.
The teams then met up with the Donald and learned that their first task was to ... make cupcakes. Ha! A bake sale! How awesomely mundane for these egocentrics.
Of course, since these are celebrities, the bake sale proceeds were for charity, and everyone tried to call in their most generous friends to give outlandish sums for a single cupcake. First, they had to make the cupcakes, though, with some help from an NYC culinary school. Both teams went with vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, but both had issues. The women's chocolate cupcakes sunk, and the men's seemed to be missing the critical ingredient of sugar. Team Athena saved theirs by filling the sunken part with ganache, and Kotu brushed a sugar syrup over theirs, hoping they'd absorb the sugar. I don't know about you, but that first option sounds much more palatable.
Anyway, for the other part of the task, the teams had to decorate their cupcake truck. Jesse James did most of this for Kotu -- he said he takes lots of product shots for his business, so he shot all the guys and created a wrap of all the stars appearing to hold cupcakes. Joan went to the designer assigned to her and created kitchsy signs with sprinkles and cupcake pictures, but no sign of the celebs. Whoops!
Lots of the stars' friends came out to donate, but the real drama was in the team interactions. In the kitchen and on the street, Annie Duke was acting like she was in charge -- and basically irritating the heck out of every member of her team. She grated on Claudia by trying to give her instructions on how to frost a cupcake and on Natalie by reminding everyone that she (Annie) hadn't had anything to do with those disastrous chocolate cupcakes.
On the men's side, Andrew Dice Clay apparently decided not to participate in cooking, but at least managed to come up with something helpful to do -- he headed over to Sirius Radio to promote the event and try to drum up crowds. I'm not really sure why Dennis Rodman even agreed to be on the show. He went off to take a nap during the discussion of team names, went with Dice to the radio station since he wasn't helping, either, and stayed in the van during the task because he was afraid people wouldn't buy cupcakes if he was out on the street.
In the middle of the task, each team had to choose someone to bring one cupcake over to a professional baker, who would decide which was better, giving that team a $15,000 advantage. Melissa, who hadn't been in the kitchen during the discovery that the chocolate ones were kind of mangled, chose a chocolate one, and Dice brought a vanilla one. Of course, we didn't hear the results that soon, though.
At the very end of the task, Tom Green managed to get a $10,000 check delivered from Donny Deutsch. At the same time, Brande sold a flat of cupcakes to a couple of friends for $9,000 and Annie didn't want to give them up. Her point was that they had to exchange cupcakes for donations, so if they ran out of cupcakes, they couldn't accept any more money, and what if another big donor stopped by? But since it was the very end of the task, this didn't really matter anymore, so she just ended up ticking off her teammates more.
I really thought the men had this task in the bag -- they had way more big-name draws that would get random person on the street to drop $20 or more (even on a nasty cupcake). And it originally appeared that they had gotten more big donations. But in the end, the women won the $15,000 bonus with their cupcake, and in addition, sold $61,267 to the men's $49,449. (So if Kotu had won that taste test, they'd have won the task.)
In the boardroom, most of the blame was placed on Dice and Dennis for their total lack of effort, with Tom Green placing some blame on Herschel for not managing them well. But in the end, Dice, Dennis and Herschel went to the boardroom, and Dice, who had sort of threatened to quit -- and who had had some seriously awkward interactions with Trump -- got the boot. That elicited a big shrug from me since it was ridiculously clear the only reason he was there was to promote himself. (I'm sure the same is true of everyone else, but he didn't hide it well.)
Still, I'm glad Dice was on the show for one episode, if only for his bizarre moment of blaming Trump and his people for not providing them with any "bagels or anything" in the suite. That was priceless.
Did you watch? What do you think of the new season?