Celebrity Apprentice returns strong with Cyndi Lauper facing off against Donald Trump

Oh, how good it is to have The Celebrity Apprentice back. Sunday nights just aren’t the same with Donald Trump’s irrational decision-making and insight into celebrities like no other show provides. And how could you not love a show during which Donald Trump says to a group of people, never mind quasi-famous ones, “I wish you people could answer the goddamn fucking question.”

From Bret Michaels’ shiny pecs and eyeliner to Cyndi Lauper’s utter spaciness (she’s amazing), it was gold from start to finish, and the two hour episode wasn’t padded at all, except for Joan Rivers’ appearance (she’s becoming the Russell/Parvati of the show: go away). The women named themselves Tenacity, while the men called themselves RockSolid, though they almost called themselves “Rock Hard,” which would have been so much better. The opening task was a nice mix of fundraising and actual management, since the teams had to run a diner. That also led to the impossibly surreal moment of Cyndi Lauper serving food while singing “True Colors” accompanied by an accordion.

Carol Liefer was the first to be fired because Trump couldn’t figure out who to fire, so he blamed her teammates, some of whom eventually and reluctantly identified her as the one who should go. “Your teammates sort of threw you under the bus,” he said, and of course he fired her with his unofficial, ironically undermining catchphrase: “I have no choice.”

It was kind of obvious Carol was going home from her interviews; during one she said, “As far as I’m concerned, these women are some dumb bitches.” (Hilariously, the AP’s lame recap is all demure and says she just called them “dumb.”) But she handled her firing well and asked Trump for a donation for her charity, and got $10,000.

And thankfully, we kept Cyndi Lauper, who is amazing in her spaciness. When Donald Jr. approached her to do an on-the-fly interview during the task, she was surprised, as if he was floating on a magical pony. During the boardroom, she asked him, “How do you know?” staring at him with a look on her face that suggested he’d just explained the theory of relativity using a macaroni picture.

But she also seems ready and able to go toe-to-toe with Trump. “I’m not friends with a lot of rich people,” Cyndi Lauper revealed after telling us she’d worked at IHOP but was fired for a day, and then explaining that she had one friend who she couldn’t call because Trump “insulted her for four months on television and ironically called her fat, and he himself is not a thin man.” During the boardroom, she revealed that friend to be Rosie O’Donnell, who Trump immediately called “disgusting,” which means that three years after their epic feud, he’s apparently still bitter.

We didn’t get too much insight about the other celebrities yet, in part because a few are already familiar to reality TV and to us (Bret Michaels, Sharon Osbourne), and because there were too many to highlight. Sinbad did reveal what an enlightened feminist he is, explaining, “Once you get women irked, they never let it go, it stays with them until the day they die.” Kind of like sexist attitudes, I hear.

Meanwhile, the former governor of Illinois–Did you know that’s what he used to do? Thankfully he explained it 1,281 times–Rod Blagojevich didn’t ever leave campaign mode (“I didn’t do those things, by the way,” he told people who didn’t seem to care), but looked ridiculous working as a sous chef and being taught how to use an order form pad while spouting his campaign talking points. Those are the sort of absurd yet awesome moments The Celebrity Apprentice will hopefully deliver week after week.

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Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

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.