Celebrity Apprentice Recap: Winning By a Nose.
Part One: The Task.
This one is going to be hard tonight. I have very mixed feelings going forward as I recap this episode. One of the feelings is absolutely relief, to be sure, but it's a bit rueful. Remember, I've actually met Penn Jillette, and I will understand if he feels he got a raw deal here. I am not entirely sure exactly how Clay escaped this week, and I am sorry if this makes me a bad Claymate. I will not let my bias influence my judgement. But relieved? You betcha I am.
Well, Clay has been eliminated more than once when he should have gotten to stay. Maybe his karma earned him a squeak-by. And I think it's pretty clear he wanted to win more than Penn did. I think this round was won and lost in the Board Room. Possibly smart argument is one of the important skills of the winning Celebrity Apprentice. Hey, it's just like Tribal Council. Because Clay survived this round with his performance in the Board Room, I have to cover Trump's little staff meeting very completely this week and can't skim over it like I usually do, so I will have to write this in two parts, finishing the Board Room tomorrow.
Forte is waiting for the results, speculating on who will go home. Lisa promises the camera that she will be sugar and rainbows to Dayana from now on, so help her Trump. Arsenio is busy pointing out why a guy who can put together a motorcycle is more skilled and helpful than a woman who can flip over a table when the two survivors straggle out of the board room to the chagrin of many. Arsenio is downright disgusted; he's lost Paul, the only person on his team he can stomach. Aubrey icily informs the camera that she does not have anyone's back, and she will spend the next hour proving this quite horribly.
Lisa gives the $20,000 she won to the Gay Men's Health Crisis. Later that day, Trump invites the seven remaining players to visit his apartment. I am impressed to see that he's managed to import the Hall of Mirrors from the Palace of Versailles to New York City. Boy, this was ostentatious. Now he's just showing off. Not only is he showing off his money, but he's showing off his tie, which somehow ties into the new task: create a display that shows off a new men's fragrance, called. "Success." The exec very clearly states that this task will be judged on:
- Creativity of the slogan.
- Brand Messaging.
- In-store display presentation.
Aubrey chooses to be project manager because it's her turn. Clay gets to be the other project manager because Penn does not feel this task plays to his strengths. Cologne, of course, is something Clay knows.... not much about either, actually. Penn would like to wait for something he'd be good at.
Trump is feeling extra specially generous today, and he wants to be really flattered and wowed, so he tells the teams that he will raise the $20,000 prize to $100,000 if they can come up with something really special.
So... what do successful men like most? Well, with ten percent being notable exceptions, (including Clay) successful men tend to like beautiful women. Everybody on Forte agrees. Dayana seems to be really into the idea of photographing somebody nude, and Penn really wants to create a picture where Dayana poses against his tie. Penn really wants to do this. He really really wants to. Clay really really wants to know why Penn, who has not been PM since Medieval Times, made Clay be PM again this week if Penn's going to push all these ideas. It's as if Penn wants all the power and none of the blame.
Dayana gets to be the face of the girl! She finally gets to be in front of the camera, YAY! Penn wants to be the guy who poses with Dayana... Clay looks at the abnormally large man across from him and considers his own unathletic physique, and says... yeah, let's get a normal-sized professional in here. Dayana again asks to be naked. Nope, Clay's not interested in getting Dayana naked. That doesn't say "success." That says "sleazy." Then Dayana talks so fast Clay can't understand her, which is something Lisa warned us about with the improv last week. I said that understanding an accent requires effort and respect, and Clay does offer both as he asks her to repeat herself, but she won't.
Aubrey likes the smell of Success. No kidding. She asks Arsenio to look up definitions for the word and asks Teresa research displays. What is success? What does that word mean? How do you measure it? Arsenio's definition of success is pretty materialistic and simple; Aubrey decides that such mundane considerations cannot possibly be worthy of the great Donald Trump, who lives in a gold-plated apartment. She personally measures success by how much other's lives are improved by what you do. Ahhh... that sounds great for the cameras, hon, but I don't buy that you believe that. Arsenio feels her steamroll go over his head again, and he still doesn't like it.
The executives arrive to advise both teams about the directions they should go with the task. Arsenio notices that Aubrey is trying to convince the executives that she is the only creative person on the team. Just wait, man, because it's going to get worse.
Forte is running through slogan ideas. Penn is the one who comes up with the phrase, "You earned it." Clay questions the relevance of this, but he's the only person on the team who does not like the slogan... and this may very well have saved his butt... so he leads by consensus, and lets them overrule him. Then, Penn proposes that they create a building set with their poster on the building as a billboard. And then, apparently, he pitches it again. Penn appears to be a little bit intimidating. Yes, I can totally see how that might be the case. Don't forget, I've been in buildings shorter than Penn. He's BIG. Penn basically lays out the entire presentation almost exactly as it finally appeared, and all of a sudden, I am beginning to understand how this episode ended the way it did. This entire campaign had Penn's fingerprints all over it even more than it had Clay's.
Aubrey and Teresa are fumbling over bad slogans while Arsenio looks for Trump quotes. Aubrey suggests "Trust Your Instincts" at almost exactly the time that Arsenio finds the pertinent quote on the Internet, and the group decides that they will trust their instincts and go with this as their slogan. Both Aubrey and Arsenio leave the conversation genuinely certain that they have been the individual who came up with the slogan first. It looks like a collaboration to me, except that Aubrey never, ever collaborates with anybody. Then, Aubrey suggests that they get Eric Trump to pose for the display as a silhouette of his father, gazing at the skyline. They have to get some pictures of that skyline! They get in the van to get the pictures, and Aubrey asks Arsenio to hoist her on his shoulders so she can get a better photo. Arsenio admits freely to the audience that he contemplated the possible consequences of dropping her... it's probably better that he did not do that, but damn, it would have been entertaining.
Penn explains the layout of the cityscape to the fabricators, and Clay realizes that he is having some trouble conceptualizing what is to happen spatially in the display. He is, however, fairly sure that the tableau of Penn and Dayana posing for the cover reminds him too much of a romance. novel. Oh, Clay, just remember... it won't be Penn, and anyway, we can't see the guy's face.
Aubrey manages to convince Eric Trump to pose for the display and then she selects materials that would work for the display. She sends Arsenio and Teresa out to collect the actual materials, a fundamentally important task, and then informs the camera that she's sent them out to do busy work because they aren't helpful to her in creative work. Arsenio seems to think that's because she won't listen to a single word anybody else says. Hmmmmmm...... Arsenio has already figured out that Aubrey has sent them out, not to complete a task, but to leave her alone to scheme and to insult them continuously to the camera.
It also gives her some alone time with Eric Trump. As she photographs his profile, she flirts with very transparently and he is soooooooo onto her crap. Then she begins explaining how she is the only creative person on her team... maybe on any team... maybe in the entire world.. and he calls her an interesting person. Tactful guy, that Eric. Eric asks a few probing questions that are pretty clearly designed to give her a big enough shovel to bury herself, and she's too narcissistic and short-sighted to realize it. Aubrey is very careful to explain that Teresa, the less talented and threatening of her two teammates, is marginally more helpful at peon tasks than that awful Arsenio guy. Eric tells us exactly what she's doing: If they win, she will take every ounce of credit, and if they lose she will blame them for being no help. He knows exactly what's up, and it is now very clear to me that Aubrey is edited as the show's villain and she's going to have a very spectacular fall.
Over at Forte, Dayana has become frustrated with some dithering on Clay's part. It is nightfall, and the deadline approaches when Dayana realizes they need some kind of flyer or other kind of takeaway for the display. Clay decides they don't have time to waste on that, and this was a decision that could, quite rightly, have sent him home. I will not sugarcoat that regardless of my loyalties. I am really quite proud of him for admitting this mistake in his recap, "Clay's Take." Meanwhile, we actually see Aubrey creating the smell tabs and pamphlet for her team.
Lisa peeks at Unanimous' display: Cityscapes seem to be the order of the day. Dayana sniffs because they are falling behind in getting the work done, and Clay begins to realize he will have to point the finger at somebody if they lose. I wonder how long he spent pondering this ugly but necessary consideration.
Morning at Macy's: Unanimous arrives to ooh and ah at their backdrop, a fairly cheesy fake cityscape with little shelves to put the cologne on. It looks like something talented high school students could make for their school musical scenery. There are little brochures. Aubrey is so proud of herself she wants to give herself a raise, a promotion and a big fat bonus check of $100,000 because she's just so awesome. She's a mini-Tramp! Er, mini-Trump!
Over at Forte, they've created an elegant, grown-up display that actually looks like it was created by professionals. There are no little brochures. Dayana sees a couple of small blemishes that I did not quite make out. At any rate, that was not an issue in the end.
Aubrey sweetly informs George Ross that they have already won the task, and her face freezes as he assures her that she does not know that for sure. "Rolls Royce grills" he says immediately, indicating that he was as unimpressed with the backdrop as I was. The little cardboard cutout of Eric's head is ever so cheesy as well. George doesn't think it even looks like Donald. Aresenio can tell there is blood in the water, the display proper is not good, and no amount of cheerleading by Aubrey can change that.
That being said, Aubrey comes to the actual presentation with a strong sense of entitlement. She is well-prepared and polished, but the execs do not look excited. She also puts Arsenio on the spot. Arsenio ties success back to his own children, hands out pamphlets, and discusses the price. Teresa hands out smell sticks. They clearly thought this part of the project out clearly and everybody has a role to play.
The execs then come to Forte, where the elegant display itself... is the only thing they get right. Clay gives a short spiel explaining the concept for the art, and then...
"Keep going" says the exec. Clay has nothing else prepared to say. No pamphlets. He has smell sticks, but they have not highlighted them well. He looks like he just bit into a lemon by mistake. Lisa grimaces. She knows he's in trouble. OK, Clay... remember all those great improv skills you showed us last week? HIT IT! All he can really do, though, is repeat himself. Nobody else on the team has anything to say, either.
The execs didn't really love either display. Unanimous had a good slogan and pamphlets built into the display, but that display itself... uh....
Forte created a stunning picture. It represented the brand well. They thought the slogan was pompous. Pompous. Penn. Well, yeah... They could not find the slogan on the display. If they could combine Forte's art with Unanimous' slogan and takeaways, they might have actually had something here.
Celebrity Apprentice: Winning By a Nose Part Two: The Board Room