Greetings, my brothers and sisters under the benevolent pink squint of The Donald! It has all come down to this momentous occasion, when Mr. Trump must select His Emissary to the lesser, Trumpless areas of the country. Will he select the likable country singer who talks like he eats business schools for breakfast? Or will he choose the pretty, deaf actress with really wealthy friends? If you have to ask, then you are expecting more of a twist than the man they call Mr. Trump is capable of. Consider: I only mentioned talking like business school in the description of one of these candidates. But first, we must take our time to reflect on the good things that The Donald has provided for us this season.
Remember David Cassidy? The last time we saw him, he was pretending to be Jose Canseco’s ward and boy wonder. Now we get to see him gloat because a guy who was mean to him is in jail. There is no schadenfreude when you’re famous.
Remember Lisa Rinna? Her chest will be prominently featured in the live portions of this episode, usually stealing the limelight from Star Jones. This is some sort of weird semi-celebrity revenge.
Remember Niki Taylor? She believed that someone should own up to their own mistakes. It’s like she never went to business school! The Donald fired her good for that, and for being pretty but unavailable.
Remember Dionne Warwick? She bathed in the blood of virgins, ate only endangered animals, and went to bed early. I hear she’s singing “That’s What Friends Are For” for the detainees at Gitmo these days.
Remember Jose Canseco? I would make a joke, but I’m afraid that guy would hunt me down and lecture me about The Truth before using my head for batting practice. But I have to wonder: Why wasn’t he at the finale? Did he leave for reasons that were more nefarious?
Remember Richard Hatch? He was bitchy, but not quite bitchy enough to capture America’s imagination, so now he’s in jail.
Remember Mark McGrath? Both he and his excitable square jaw came across as fairly decent guys. I think the producers had him fired so that they could keep Gary Busey around for another week.
Remember Gary Busey? Remember when Meat Loaf murdered him and then tearfully served up his remains to unsuspecting executives as an Omaha steak? Good times.
Remember Hope Dworaczyk? Strangely, neither do I.
Remember NeNe Leakes? Remember when Star Jones had a malfunctioning motherboard and disintegrated NeNe with her laser eyes? I kid, because I think NeNe did exactly the right thing. Reality TV seems to make her crazy. The show isn’t a prison sentence. You actually can leave if you want.
Remember La Toya Jackson? She stings like a butterfly and floats like a bee.
Remember Star Jones? She might be a Mental Organism Designed Only for Competition AND Killing, but the way that The Donald fired her was very wrong. In a contest between her and a blubbering Meat Loaf, who would eventually be fired for said blubbering, The Donald decided that he would rather not have a prickly, self-serving egotist represent him, because, you know, well, that would be... I’m having a hard time following the logic here. But let it be known that The Donald has a great relationship with the blacks, as he likes to say.
Remember Lil Jon? The Donald fired him for stating to other celebrities an honest opinion. Lil Jon said that he thought John Rich and Marlee Matlin would be the final two, because they both raised a lot of money. One cannot be honest in business! Jeez, that’s the first thing they teach you in real business schools. But it should be known that The Donald most definitely has a great relationship with the blacks and did not fire Lil Jon capriciously, even though after Lil Jon was fired, there were only three people remaining, all of whom happened to be white and at least two of whom happened to be vocal Republicans who raised money for their candidates. Mere coincidence, that.
Remember Meat Loaf? Just thinking about him gets me... so... emotional! I can’t help it, fellow Trumpites! I just care so much! OK, ok. I need to settle down. I may not be educated in any old business school like Mr. Trump, but I know that I have a good heart! My tears are MANLY tears, dammit! I may be a mess, but at least I’m bringing good energy! All of which is to say that Meat Loaf is the anti-Ron Swanson. With Ron Swanson’s politics.
Of course, you remember our finalists, John Rich and Marlee Matlin. More on them later. I just want to remind you that every week, when you asked yourself the inevitable “why is this show so damn long?” question, you should keep in mind that it was because of the lasting memories. You can now treasure them forever, as if they happened to you or people you know instead of to people who are somewhat famous! On behalf of the Entertainment-Critical-Industrial Complex, you’re welcome.
You are certainly aware that while all of the onscreen high-jinks were entertaining a nation starved for spectacle, The Donald was invading the more boring, minutely less spectacle-prone news media, too. In his role as the Celebrity Master, Mr. Trump appears to be an avuncular easy-going Unca Donald, but in his role as Serious Candidate For Highest Office, he brought the entire political apparatus of this country to its knees. First, he dispatched a crack team of investigators to Hawaii, where they discovered all kinds of crazy unspeakable truths about the President, some of which we may eventually learn when they get around to tell-all books. The Donald demonstrated to the news media the kind of tough-guy talk needed by a chief executive engaged in international diplomacy. (“Hey, China! I’m talking to you, hear? You guys wanna collect your debt, you gotta go through me and my huge hair and my crack team of investigators. You still wanna a piece of us now? I didn’t think so. You’re fired!”) The Donald also crashed the stage at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where he amused everyone with his witty banter about how he loved his fabulous gay friends but would never, ever support legislation that might allow them rights equal to those of other, less gay Americans.
As in so many of his business ventures, this paid off in spades. As you may recall, President Barack Obama left office when The Donald found the definitive proof that Obama was born in Kenya. In the chaos that followed, The Donald assumed office and, in a surprise move, fired the Congress and Supreme Court. He now rules this country with a firm orange hand.
But enough of these boring political matters! We must focus on whether zombie NeNe Leakes will ever have a friendly dinner with zombie Star Jones!
First! Last week ended on a cliffhanger of breathtaking importance: John Rich wanted Def Leppard to play a kick drum while he introduced them, while Marlee Matlin was unsure if the 7-Up Guy from the 70s, one Geoffrey Holder, would be able to show up for her commercial. Less than 20 minutes into the new episode (1:40 left to go? WHY?), 18 of which are scenes from last week’s show, we learn that no, Def Leppard will not play the kick drum and John Rich doesn’t really care, and yes, Geoffrey Holder will show. Whew!
If you have watched any other episode this season, you could predict the way this challenge would turn out. John Rich’s team ran fairly smoothly. Marlee’s team was a little more flighty (La Toya and Hatch? Why, Marlee, why?) but pulled it together in the end. People kept bringing John Rich donations for his charity, even though this challenge wasn’t about fundraising. All that money didn’t hurt Rich’s cause, though. Marlee’s side met the 7-Up VIPs and Trump Crew at the door, but Rich’s team was busy backstage. Rich’s Team had a commercial that looks better, but the 7-Up people didn’t appear to discriminate much between them. On Marlee’s side, the Globetrotters game went off without a hitch, but when Rich introduced Def Leppard at his event, nothing happened. Their contract said they were due on at 7:00 and, lo and behold, it was only 6:40, man. Here’s where John Rich probably shouldn’t have been arguing with their road manager in the last episode. To his credit, he realized that it is generally best to be sure that the band is in the room before you introduce them. And that’s the point where John Rich won it: Instead of taking the gaffe lying down, he went out and played a few songs himself, including one dedicated to The Donald. Then he re-introduced the band, and all was forgiven.
At the end, everyone says it looks close, but I think they’re only being nice to Marlee. Her event had the appearance of something pulled together at the last minute by a few semi-celebrities. John Rich’s event looked like it was months in the making. Rich simply chose a better team (Lil Jon, Star Jones, and Mark McGrath over Marlee’s La Toya, Hatch, and Meat Loaf), but it’s not just the team that wins it. John Rich was not only a better strategist but a better organizer, leader, and the clear and inevitable victor from roughly the first episode. Maybe Star Jones would have been a better opponent at the end, but most likely, she would have had a team so angry with her that they would have done nothing. Marlee is a nice person, but she’s not on business school time. In our brave new orange-fleshed, pink-eyed society of the spectacle, nice won’t cut it and all time is business school time. Money money money money. MONEY!
- La Toya calls the man “Donald” and then corrects herself. Yeah, it’s hard to hear men and women who are both full-grown and accomplished calling the guy “Mr. Trump.” That’s a stupid, humiliating rule, and being on Celebrity Apprentice should be stupid and humiliating enough for one person.
- La Toya says, “Star was manipulating everything that was going on.” While both Star and NeNe nod yes in sync, The Donald says, “I don’t think Star was manipulating everything.”
- The Donald proclaims that someday NeNe and Star will get along and go out to lunch. Star: “When pigs fly.”
- While I was enjoying imagining people like Charlie Sheen and Newt Gingrich and that guy who writes Dilbert vying for the title of The Next Celebrity Apprentice, I just could not bring myself to watch a show with too many sad and scary people on it. This one had about the right amount of entertaining trainwreck to appalling trainwreck, but it was far too self-indulgent on time, and, as many of the contestants pointed out, much of the really crazy stuff happened off-camera. Anyway, hail John Rich and hail The Donald for stopping his fake campaign. I was getting rather sick of that weird pink squint.