Celebrity Apprentice brings surreal drama immediately with Cassidy vs. Hatch

I admire the recappers who toil away after an episode airs, recording every detail and moment. But for me, sometimes it’s just better to sit and watch and enjoy rather than try to recreate every moment of an episode, especially if there’s nothing I have to add. That’s particularly true for The Celebrity Apprentice, which is like a container of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream that just keeps delivering spoonful after spoonful of delightful surprises. So go watch it.

Donald Trump saying of Michel Jackson’s time living in Trump Tower, “We had a good time.” The establishing shots of Jack Jason, Marlee Matlin’s translator. Richard Hatch suggesting “Integris” as a team name and Gary Busey commenting, “Integris is weak. She’s suffering from Integris.” Cameos by Survivor winners Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca. Star Jones calling Lisa Rinna “a little girl.” Richard Hatch’s constant dismissal of David Cassidy, and physical brush-offs that became magnified in each retelling. Gary Busey becoming the Pepperoni Profit–not prophet–throwing pepperoni into the air on the streets of New York City. His cell phone ringing during the boardroom. Richard Hatch saying Jose Canseco isn’t smart, then David Cassidy thinking Hatch called him a little person.

Amazing TV. I criticized this cast for being reality TV heavy–most of the people have done reality TV before, suggesting that the pool for even quasi-celebrities who are willing to do this has reached its capacity–but it’s still a fantastic mix of strong personalities. You can already get a sense of who will surprise you and who you’ll grow to hate.

Survivor winner Richard Hatch is perhaps best known to us as a reality TV contestant, and his arrogance is in full bloom, although it’s a different kind of arrogance than Russell Hantz has. Hatch failed to back up his arrogance this week, but you can tell that he already knows how to play this game, and it’s okay that some of his teammates aren’t fond of him. (Mark McGrath, notably, defended his leadership style, sort of.) Hatch knows and even said that all that matters is Trump, who we all know is an irrational hypocrite (for example of the latter, see what the thrice-married man thinks about gay marriage), and so he doesn’t need to do much more than convince Trump rhetorically in the moment that he’s better than someone else.

And Hatch seems to know how to do that. He consistently turned David Cassidy’s own statements against him, telling him at one point, “You weren’t working for me, David, you were working for charity.” Brilliant. I think Hatch could end up being a Piers Morgan-style contestant–unlikeable but undeniably deserving–but he’ll have to back it up first. Any more failures and he’s gone.

Luckily, there are a lot of other characters who are basically already starting to implode; the previews have teased a NeNe Leaks versus Star Jones fight that looks epic, never mind other craziness like Meat Loaf yelling. Another great season is ahead.

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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.