Celebrity Apprentice Recap: Winning by a Nose Part One
I broke this into two parts today because this week, since most of the followers of this portion of my blob are Clay Aiken fans, I am going to have to cover the whole nerve-wracking business of how he managed not to get fired this week. I will be completely honest: I knew who was out ahead of time this week, or I might have ended up hiding under my sofa
How did he dance his way out of this one? Which of these guys is more like Houdini? It begins as the contestants file into Trump's Office of Doom, which I guess we should be grateful is not plated in gold like his apartment is. For a guy who blanked out during his big presentation, Clay seems awfully happy. He thinks his team really pulled together, and he can't choose a star. Actually, I suspect it is tactical on his part that he chose not to pick a star; he could not choose himself, and Lisa did not earn it. He needed very badly not to overpraise the other two, so he did not. He just says everybody is incredible, and renders that word generic.
Lisa calls Clay one of the top two project managers she has ever worked with, and she didn't even work with him on the Crystal Light assignment. It makes me wonder what he did that got that assessment from her - what did we not see? Did he perform better than they told us he did? Or was she trying to sway the decision in their favor? Of course, she said Aubrey was the other one. Maybe she meant it.
Lisa thinks Dayana killed it, too. I suspect this is true, since all she had to do was look beautiful and suggest nude photography. Twice. She suggested a takeaway, too, but that happened too late. Trump says both teams did well, although I don't think it's true and I don't think he really believed that. He does point out that this was virtually a tie. The winner won by... a nose.
Trump turns to Aubrey and the bullbleep factory begins production. Oh, my team is supportive, oh, we are like family, oh, I'm lying like a rug and I'd stab my own mother in the back to get on your good side, oh Mighty Trump. May I have the winner's trophy now? Whattdya mean your son is totally onto me? Can he be onto me? Will he come onto me?
Donald moves closer to his prey. What did you think of your team? Who did the work? Was it really everybody? Do you mean that? Arsenio is still in the nicey nicey Pollyanna mode that usually graces the Board Room right before the knives come out. He praises Teresa for painting in a silk blouse and running in pumps. She may not have much common sense, but she sure does try to help and damned the paint stains.
Donald stirs the pot. Isn't Teresa nice? She's underrated, she works hard, she's nice until you insult her. Why, has somebody been insulting Teresa, Mr. Trump? Whoever could it be?
Let's let the vultures fly above our heads for a minute or two as we look at the work that each team did. Clay and his crew get to observe the cardboard dollhouse that Aubrey's team set up, and it really hits me a day later that this ad is not only amateurish, but it doesn't really make any sense. How does a profile looking at a really bad skyline indicate success, and what does either have to do with instincts? Aye, what a mess. Then they get to look at the little brochure, and it's much better. I suspect this is when the cold grip really begins to clutch at Clay's stomach. Uh oh.
Arsenio looks at Forte's much more professional display and goes into BFF mode. Clay did a great job! Let him stay, Trump! Fire somebody else! Take Aubrey, we don't want her! And Dayana is beautiful. (Don't hate her because she's beautiful, Lisa.)
Aubrey realizes that approximately forty-five seconds have passed since anybody spoke about her, and feels this needs to be fixed. We got Eric to be our model! He was a great model! Almost as great as YOU would have been, because we like your hair better. Sir. Just one moment while I get all the brown flakes off my nose. Eric will be quite happy to wipe the brown flakes off your nose, Aubrey, and when he's done he will make you eat them. Eric quite calmly informs the entire Board Room that Aubrey has been representing herself as a one-person team.
Teresa turns to ice, and Eric is now my favorite Trump, poaching violations notwithstanding.
Aubrey backtracks so fast she leaves skid marks on the table. Oh, no! I didn't say that! I... uh, it was really early in the task, yeah, that's right, and they really did help...
"It could be insulting" says Trump. He lives to make people fight with each other. Arsenio doesn't like being minimized, especially by a woman who has never really ever accomplished anything. He felt he contributed... see, he found this quote from Donald Trump...
Aubrey jerks like she just got shot. Nononononononononononono my idea. Mine. All mine. No help. Just me. Only me. Arsenio did not help. Yes, he found your quote, but it was all me. Only me. This was not a collaboration, and we did not work together. I was always thinking about you, you successful businessman, Trump. Oh, and by the way, any old hack can have a pretty girl snuggled up against a suit. We have tacky fake buildings!
As Aubrey burns all her bridges for the rest of her life, Eric delivers the verdict.
Report Card for Forte- beautiful photography, beautiful tie, beautiful girl, beautiful display well-constructed.
The slogan sucked. Pompous. Not representative of the brand. At his point, Penn's face falls a thousand miles and I swear to God I saw wheels in Clay's head spinning so fast he could have entered himself as a new racecar for the Andrettis. The photo was too much bigger than the product, and you know that slogan they HATED? That slogan that they HATED was too hard to see. Terrible food, and such tiny portions! But they liked the picture! Let's give Dayana credit for being pretty... God knows she normally get abuse from Lisa for it. Dayana points out that Penn took the picture; she knows where this is going and she's chosen her scapegoat.
So, dance, Clay. Dance. What do you think about the pros and cons? Well... dance, dance, dance... it doesn't make sense that the picture was too big if the picture was the best part, right? Oh, yes, and we almost undressed Lisa and put her in a tie. Inject humor, dance, dance, dance. Remember, I am funny. Don't you want to keep sharp-witted, funny people around, Donald? And don't forget humble and self-deprecating. We did not use Penn or myself in the ad... we used a professional. See how professional we are?
Dance, Clay! You are singing for your life here, and it's obvious you know it. Boring? A pretty girl in a ad for cologne is boring? It's been done before? Uh... but how can Dayana be boring? I think she's exciting, and I'm gay! And I can finally say that now on National TV, and it won't kill my career or my chances to win this show! I hope. I hope. I hope.
As for the trophy girlfriend pose... Dayana suggests that there is a loving feeling about it. Since we can't see the guy at all, it looks very impersonal to me, by the way. My biggest problem with this ad was that it was sexist as hell... and most of the elements that made it so were Penn's ideas, the ideas that Clay didn't really like.
Trump turns to Penn. OK, Penn. DANCE!!! Who came up with that slogan? The slogan they hated? It was me. That was my idea. Uh, oh, wait, you didn't like it... uh... we all worked on this together, yeah, and we came up with a lot of things. We all liked this best. Yes, OK, I guess it was pompous, even though it wasn't... I'm not pompous. I'm condescending, and for the next year I plan on being bitter. And I will turn the bitterness into a song and release it on I-tunes. And I will be so mush-mouthed nobody will be able to understand it.
Report card for Unanimous:
- They LOVED the slogan. It captures the essence of the brand. Yes, I would hope that a cologne would capture an essence. The branding was great, the takeaways were great. So basically, you would be extremely impressed with the wonderful pamphlets on the display if you actually stopped to look at the amateurish, boring display that was supposed to be the primary focus of the task. It was disjointed, it didn't make any sense, and the silhouette was... unappealing.
This is like saying that the construction of the house was shoddy, and it's about to fall down, but it's got some great decorations on the front porch.
The execs had a hard time choosing here, because both teams screwed up royally. Crappy display, crappy slogan. Unfortunately, somebody has to win and lose this thing. Who came up with the silhouette.. was that Aubrey? Of course it was. She's a one-person team all by herself, right? Dance, Aubrey! Dance! I came up with the slogan, no, Arsenio did not help, and I did the branding and you loved those and can I say right now how much I've always admired you and how classy you are?
Teresa, DANCE! The silhouette is Everyman! OK, he's EveryTrump!! And I am such a hard worker I will paint in a silk blouse!
Trump slams the table like a petulant toddler. He's tiring of his little game. Boy, I hate the Board Room part of this show. Trump wanted to make a grand gesture by giving somebody a hundred grand so that he could look like Santa Clause. "The problem is..." I see Clay's face shift noticeably. Unfortunately, the problem is that everybody screwed up. so he can't give that windfall to one charity. We do not have a real winner here. Get off your high horse, Aubrey. But Trump wanted to be Santa Clause! He wanted to be Santa Clause! So guess what! He's going to be Santa Clause anyway! YOU get $10,000 and YOU get $10,000 and YOU get $10,000... and the winning PM gets $40,000.
Would you like to know who won, Clay? Are you sure, Clay? It wasn't you, Clay. You see, Aubrey is the only player left who hasn't won for her charity, and she's really good TV, so we have to keep her around for a little longer. As Aubrey shrieks with delight and babbles about how she's fighting bullies... Aubrey's charity... fights bullies.... yeah... Clay's quick little mind has gone into serious overdrive.
Unanimous goes out to celebrate. They praise themselves, they praise the Trumps, they enjoy the wine, and Aubrey informs the camera that it's all Teresa and Arsenio's fault that she didn't get the full $100,000 all to herself. If she'd had SMART people on HER team...
We all would like to thank Teresa and Arsenio for not being smart people, or something like that, because if this bitch had won $100,000 she'd have been impossible to bear... except that the awful display design was all your baby, brat. You didn't allow anybody else to contribute, even when they did.
DANCE CLAY! DANCE! I am surprised we lost because our display is good enough to go downstairs in Macy's.... I mean, SERIOUSLY??????
Hint, Hint. They hated Penn's slogan, Clay. I am feeding this to you very, very pointedly. Pay close attention. For about fifteen seconds there, Trump has begun answering the questions for Clay. I didn't catch it the first time, but I did tonight. Uh, I was leading by consensus.... BEEP! WRONG ANSWER! TRY AGAIN! I have won seven times in a row. There's a reason, you know.. Yeah, he knows, Clay. He's toying with you. He wants to you to get out of here unscathed. So, was it wise of Clay to lead by consensus? Uh... Penn's pitch was strong, strong, have a mentioned that he's six foot seven inches tall? Penn pitched the idea, and he pitched it again, it was Penn's idea that he pitched... did I mention that it was Penn?
Dayana was beautiful, was she not... but too big. Not enough product. Why did the picture overshadow the product? We used every single bottle we had! Hey, can you blame us for having a more attractive display? Oh, it was everybody's idea. Not just mine. I swear.
Why did Lisa like Dayana's work this week? Because it involved her sitting around looking pretty. Maybe she did better because the PM listens to people instead of shutting them up and screaming at them? Oh, and did anybody want to do a takeaway? You did? Who said no?
DANCE, CLAY! DANCE! I.... didn't understand her.... (Sorry, sweetie, but I am not buying this one.)
Who gets to escape?
Well, you said that they hated the slogan, and then you said it again, and you made sure that I heard that, so I know I'd better choose Penn to come with me because if you throw me any more hints I am going to suffocate under them. Oh, and I am taking Dayana back with me because that's pretty much what everybody does. Maybe there's a reason. She's aloof. Oooh boy, I'm in a bad spot... this is the best Dayana has been in weeks... but let's look at the overall picture...
Clay chooses Lisa to escape. As he explains later in his blog, he chose Lisa to escape because she's a better debater than Dayana and she holds grudges. He knew the axe would fall on either Penn or himself, and he chose the peripheral adversary he would have an easier time neutralizing. This is the moment at which Celebrity Apprentice turns into Survivor, and it's the moment at which Penn Jillette cannot or will not continue the game and Clay Aiken can. Decide for yourself if you feel this is a good thing.
This is actually why I don't enjoy the Board Room.
It's interesting. The editing was one thing, but the moment Lisa escaped to the snacks in the lobby, she said "I'm afraid Penn's gone." I wonder if Lisa picked up on the same vibe from Trump that I did, or did she know things we did not? It is also funny that they start debating why they fear that Dayana will not be going home, and Aubrey suggests that Lisa not praise her anymore. The entire debate is whether or not Dayana or Penn is going home. They seemed to think Clay was safe.
The suits confer. Penn came up with slogan. Clay didn't stop him. That's the beginning and end of it. And consider this: if the end of the debate was always "The Project Manager approved it" then there would be no need for a Board Room. The Project Manager would always lose.
Clay explains that he brought Dayana back because he thinks she's the weakest player going forward, and that's true. Why didn't I create a takeaway? Because I focused my attention on making an attractive display that might actually, you know, convince somebody to buy something, instead of on instant litter in a crappy display. Who should you fire? Fire... Penn. He's brilliant, he's creative, I respect him, he can win this,he's a formidable adversary and I've got to throw him under the bus to stay alive here. I'm going to compliment him and praise him because to my eternal credit I do not play this game the way that Aubrey does, but better him than me! Fire Penn! Fire Penn! Oh... and by the way, Penn... it was your turn to be the PM and I did it instead because you tried to dodge the hot seat on a task that wasn't your strong suit. I'VE GOT THE BIGGER BALLS!
Game. Set. Match.
Penn Jillette is fired, and Clay lives to dance another day. Penn will now spend the next six months insisting he's above it all, perfectly fine with what happened, and making a steady series of little public snipes at Clay because he's clearly kind of annoyed at how this all went down.
Yes, Penn, you are quite correct. You were a brilliant player of Celebrity Apprentice, you seem to be a fine, stand-up guy, and we will miss you as we look around and realize you have been outlasted by..
Teresa the dim-witted.
Dayana the moderately talented.
Lisa the hateful.
and Aubrey the narcissist.
Clay... was better at Survivor, and he is a little better at Tribal Council than you are. I would like to mention in an addendum that Caesar's Palace have just given Penn the grand prize that Trump denied him. Today they donated $250,000 to Penn's charity, Opportunity Village. Penn has won... if not Celebrity Apprentice, then something else equally important, at least to him.
Well done, sir. It's been a pleasure watching you. But don't get mad at Clay for beating you in a reality show. Really, this thing has been on for years. Please tell me you knew what you were in for when you came?
I also have a hubpages account. I keep talking about how I've actually met the man.
Visit my hubpage to hear the whole story.
While a lot of the Clay Nation is kind of mad at Penn right now because of his Clay Aiken song I... thought it wasn't really that mean, thought it was funny, and think it was a compliment that Clay is the one person this remarkable man really remembers from his time on Celebrity Apprentice.