The Celebrity Apprentice made its debut last night on NBC.
In the first episode, Donald Trump introduced the cast of famous faces playing for various charities. Among them were Gene Simmons from KISS, boxing champ Lennox Lewis, Taxi‘s Marilu Henner, Vincent Pastore from The Sopranos, Olympic gold medalists and Nadia Comanici and Jennie Finch, former supermodel Carol Alt, country singer Trace Adkins, Ultimate Fighting champion (and Jenna Jameson paramour) Tito Ortiz, former Telemundo exec Nely Galan, Stephen Baldwin, and lesser-known “stars” like Playboy Playmate Tiffany Fallon, and America’s Got Talent judge Piers Morgan AKA the poor man’s Simon Cowell. The biggest shock of the season thus far was the return ego-maniac and perpetual d-lister Omarosa from the first season of The Apprentice.
I must admit that, when I saw Omarosa would be on the show, I damn near turned it off. Not only is she pure evil, but you can tell she gets off on the attention she receives for being such an insufferable bitch. For the sake of Trashwire, I managed to hold back my Omarosa vomit and watch the show through the entire first episode.
The teams were divided into men versus women and told to pick a name. I immediately felt bad for the women’s team because they had to deal with Omarosa insisting she be the first project manager and trying to control the whole group in that evil Darth Vader way she always does. The women settled on Empresario after tapping into Galan’s Spanish vocabulary and the men chose Hydra, going for a mythological approach after a suggestion from Simmons.
Their first task was to run a hot dog stand. They had to choose a location in the city where they could charge a premium for their celebrity-dispensed hot dogs. Omarosa assigned Alt, the only New Yorker, to chose the location for the women’s team while the guys utilized a team approach to selecting where to sell their dogs.
Each team debated just how high to mark up their items. The men quickly realized they could charge thousands for a dog if it came with a picture with Lewis or Simmons. They also called all their wealthy friends and asked them to come down and make sizable donations on the day of the competition. This plan was a huge success with the men getting thousands of dollars per hot dog.
When Henner and the others on the women’s team suggested using their celebrity status to upsell the dogs, Omarosa quickly vetoed the idea, insisting they would not use their fame, but instead their business tactics to win the challenge. Naturally, she was wrong and the women drastically undersold the men, ranking in about $17,000 compared to over $50,000 earned by the men’s team.
In the Boardroom, Omarosa was quick to pin the blame on everyone else (natch!) as she tried to save her own ass. She blamed Alt for suggesting the wrong location and Fallon for not getting aggressive with her sales tactics. In a somewhat rare occurrence, she actually complimented Henner and Galan for their creative ideas and work ethic.
The men were allowed to listen to the women fight with each other, watching from a TV in the suite upstairs. They all seemed terrified of Omarosa as they watched in horror while she happily threw anyone who questioned her leadership under the bus.
In the end, Fallon was fired and Omarosa, like the hideous super villain she is, was allowed to live another day, scheming and plotting to take down everyone around her.
While it’s interesting to see celebrities in these concocted reality situations, the very term “celebrity” is used very loosely in regards to this show. Aside from Simmons and a few others, I hadn’t heard of most of the cast members. I felt like Andy Milman (Ricky Gervais) from HBO’s Extras during his stint on Celebrity Big Brother when he remarked that the makers of the show could be sued for using the term “celebrity” when all the contestants were no-names.
I’m sure that, with the WGA strike still raging on, we’ll see more celebrity editions of classic reality shows in the future. Perhaps eventually the celebrities on the programs will be people who are at least on the b-list instead of the bottom of the barrel lot (Bret Michaels, I’m looking at you!) who grace the reality tv scene today.