Melissa and Joan Rivers have apoplectic response to Melissa’s firing

The Celebrity Apprentice 2 expanded its episodes to two hours this season, but last night it needed a third hour just to give us more of the awesomeness that came after the firing of Melissa Rivers.

The firing should have been the biggest surprise, since Joan Rivers told Howard Stern that Melissa made it to the end, a spoiler that’s now debunked, although Joan’s comments to Howard are unsurprising considering her irrational and freakish defense of her 40-year-old daughter.

But what happened after the firing was the real surprise, as Joan and Melissa both freaked out. For a reality show to break the fourth wall, there has to be a good reason, and there was: Melissa’s apoplectic response to being fired.

“Nu uh, bye bye,” Melissa said to the camera crew as she ran through the lobby–despite having a cast on her right foot for “two ripped tendons,” as she said earlier–and then yelled into the suite that Annie Duke and Brande Roderick were “whore pit vipers.” Then it got even better. “I want my shit and I want it now, and I’m not coming back for an interview,” Melissa yelled at off-camera producers. And later we saw producers handing Melissa her belongings and looking stunned as she screamed, “I want my purse, I want everything, and David, you’re not getting an interview. Lying motherfuckers.”

Although she clearly overreacted, Donald Trump’s rationale firing her was curious, although I’ve gotten so used to his irrational decision-making that it doesn’t really matter. After Jim Kramer jumped on Brande Roderick for her weak argument as to why Melissa should be fired–Annie and Brande did, to some degree, shut Melissa out during the task, which was a clearly effective strategy since they won–Brande turned on her aggressiveness and pointed out that she’d be a better competitor at the end because she raised more “raised the second-most money here.” (That was aslightly less awkward phrasing than her earlier attempt to find a past tense version of forgo, which she decided was “forgooed.”)

In the middle of a conversation that followed, Trump slipped Jim Kramer a secret note, and shortly thereafter fired Melissa for essentially not being a strong fundraiser, even though that didn’t have anything to do with this particular task. Instead, he cited Melissa’s lack of potential as a future fundraiser, and even mocked her about her failure to rally her rich friends.

In the suite, Joan Rivers responded to Trump’s rationale by telling Brande, “I don’t want to hear this charity nonsense,” even though that’s, like, the whole point of the show. She then went off on Annie Duke, saying, “You’re people give money with blood on it. I met your people in Las Vegas. None of them have last names. You’re a poker player. … That’s beyond white trash. Poker players are trash, darling.”

Good luck scheduling a gig in Vegas any time soon, Joan. In a previous episode, Joan compared Annie to Hitler, although she softened that tonight, saying to the other contestants, “You’ve now got a Nazi and a follower, and I wish the two of you a lot of luck.” Joan’s really funny when she’s not trying to defend her daughter, when she gets mean and ugly–er, uglier.

The freak-out continued after that, when we saw a shot of Ivanka Trump sitting on the Boardroom table talking to her dad and Jim Kramer, and she interrupted and said, “Guys, guys: Melissa’s screaming.” Melissa was in the lobby yelling at producers, “Get the fucking elevator. I’m fucking done.” Even the elevator operator was thrown off, clearly looking for someone to direct him about what he should do after Melissa and Joan got on.

Whether or not Joan returns is being teased as the big mystery going into next week, and I assume she will be back; hell, she previously threatened to not work with Clint, and now they’re all but BFFs.

The good part about that conclusion is that it moves the series toward the inevitable conclusion that I’ve been hoping for: Annie Duke versus Jesse James. Both have had their flaws exposed more recently, with Jesse James immaturely backing out of the task this week because Clint Black–who’s previously been obnoxious–wouldn’t let Jesse have his way. But they’ve both proven to be the most consistently capable, talented players, and Trump seems generally fond of both. Then again, he is Donald Trump, so who knows what will happen over the next–and final–two episodes.

The sad part about the ending is that, as a pair, Joan and Melissa Rivers have made fantastic villains, and their at times touching, at times bizarre relationship with each other has just been icing. Watching them clash with Annie Duke is absurdly fun; Annie is super-smart and competitive, sometimes aggressively and obnoxiously so, but mostly she drives the Rivers crazy because they don’t know how to handle someone like themselves.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.