You know, when the title of the episode is one of the two slogans put forth during the program, it isn't hard to figure out who is going to win ahead of time. In other breaking news, Celebrity Apprentice is clearly about exposing the king-sized egos of every person involved, and may the most decent and grounded person win. Every decent and grounded person appears to be on the men's team... my GOD these women were obnoxious!
Just the Facts Ma'am: This week, the assignment was to create a viral video about a mop. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but don't viral videos just kind of happen, because of how interesting or creative or informative they are? Can you deliberately set out to create a viral video? Well, maybe Trump will be ordering all of his minions to pass the video on to every person they know, whether they like it or not. At any rate, Lou Ferrigno steps up and demands to take charge of this. He's going to run it! He's going to star in it! He's going to present it! He's going to do the whole damned thing all by himself! Paul helps out by providing some structure to Lou's vanity project: "I'm Going to Mop the Floor With You". And with that, the men are off and rolling as they create a light, very funny video in which this massive man boogies with a mop. It's hysterical. I don't know if it's viral, but it sure is entertaining. The only down side to this very effective commercial is that Lou is the only team member in the video.
On the women's side, Tia steps up to take command, and what follows next is approximately two insufferable hours of Aubrey complaining because she doesn't have enough to do, isn't being listened to, finally boiling down to this succinct statement: me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me. Excuse me, dear, but I've never heard of you. Am I supposed to be impressed? Yes, granted, you have had some creative ideas, but if it is somebody else's turn, then step aside and let them drown if they do not live up to the legend that is you inside your own head. I believe I would not hire you if I had the opportunity; I need team players. At any rate, the women decide to get suggestive about the mop, asking the camera... what is YOUR number? How many mops have YOU handled? I think it's a silly idea, and I don't see that going viral. I will give the ladies this, however; as much as they all hate each other by now, everybody gets to be in the video. It is incoherent, sloppy, and they forget that it was supposed to be about a mop, but everybody is in it together.
In other developments, Penn discovers that he can be condescending, in a segment that I will discuss more when we come to Clay, and spends the entire episode pouting about it. That's a mild disagreement compared to the dirt being flung on the women's side: Lisa, Aubrey and Debbie declare themselves the only people contributing on their team, missing the point that effective team leaders get the job done by BUILDING UP the weaker members rather than shredding them. I do not see this turning out well; I foresee these three tearing out the throats of the other women and then turning on each other. Ultimately, the O-Cedar people like Lou's video better, and the men win the challenge. After a really spiteful board room that frankly I skipped over because I was sick of hearing Aubrey talk, Tia decides to get the hell away from this mess and agrees to be fired.
Now, I really need to point this out. Tia is the second consecutive losing Project Manager to say "Screw this, I want out of here, PLEASE fire me." What does that say about this show? Seriously - that's a discussion topic! Discuss in the comments section!
How Did Clay Do? I cannot begin to tell you how proud I was of Clay this week. Groupthink is a difficult force to be reckoned with, and it was clear that everybody was of a mindset to put Lou down and expect him to do poorly. Perhaps Clay's background in working with individuals who have disabilities comes into play here, but he decided that it wasn't right to set Lou up to fail, and he came out swinging as Lou's supporter.
It all starts during the brainstorming session. Penn, whose idea of "brainstorming" is "pull out ideas and shoot them down unless they are mine" does not think much of Lou's initial concept. I have to say that this does not jive with what I know of brainstorming. You write 'em down and leave them all hanging out there, and see what rises to the top.
About the time that Penn begins mocking Lou, making snide remarks about O-Cedar Man and O-Cedar Woman, Clay looks like he's ready to shoot somebody. And then he explodes, standing up to all 6 foot 7 of Penn and declaring that there are people who want Lou to fail. More to the point, he's hearing a lot of negatives from Penn, but no constructive ideas. (I could really have lived without the moment that he, um, "touched" his nose.)
One of the first positives to come out of this - Arsenio says his respect for Clay grew. In a show that is designed to make people tear each other down, that was very nice to see. Penn Jillette is a very imposing person; he's physically massive and he's extremely intelligent. It takes somebody with a lot of balls and some smarts of his own to stand up to somebody like that.
During the dialogue, Clay states again that Penn is tearing down other people's ideas without offering anything positive of his own, and then he calls Penn condescending... and that's the beginning of the end of Penn's dignity in this episode. He withdraws, getting very terse and grumpy.... basically, he's pouting. Clay and Penn ended up having a conversation about how much Penn was bothered by the word "condescending", but they could not find common ground. I think it is entirely likely that this bothered Penn so much because he's basically a decent man and he realized it was true.
Clay and Arsenio go run errands and bond, and in a voiceover Clay points out that Penn has been accustomed to praise; he is not ready to be countered. Clay also very cleverly notes that Penn has gone into this task expecting to lose; his primary goal is to escape the Board Room. But Clay wants to win. He wants Lou to win, and he has Arsenio agreeing with him in short order. In comparison with the carnage on the women's side, this was quite wonderful to see.
Clay's background as a teacher comes into play once again as Lou, who is hearing impaired, has trouble with the dialogue. Clay turns speech therapist, and manages, very patiently, to coax the right words out of Lou. He narrates the segment in which Lou begins to dance like a maniac, and this was the moment at which I am pretty sure they won.
All in all, this was a terrific week for Clay. His skills as a teacher helped Lou to shine, and his positive attitude helped enable a win on a team that was prepared to let their PM fry. I hope Clay's team building skills come into play in the coming episodes.
Check out Clay's recap of this week's Celebrity Apprentice here: http://www.nbc.com/the-apprentice/clays-take/
EDITED: I am adding this addendum in the face of some new, rather startling information that may give a slightly different flavor to the events of last night.
Penn Jillette is claiming that Lou Ferrigno physically hit him. http://blogs.newsobserver.com/tv/celebrity-apprentice-sidebar-did-lou-ferrigno-assault-penn-jillette
If this is the case, Clay may have had more than one motive for coaxing the best performance possible out of Lou; not only was it wiser game play in terms of his own well -being, but it might have been safer.