NeNe quits! Trump makes Meat Loaf cry! Star Jones fired! Trump isn’t gay! Apprentice!

NBC scheduled a three-hour Celebrity Apprentice episode last night, and while it was actually just two episodes put together, it was full of the kind of crazy entertainment we’ve come to expect from this season. Here are the highlights, such as they are:

  • NeNe Leakes quits. NeNe has provided some of the best TV this season, both because she’s been surprisingly smart and mature, and because she’s brought her Real Housewives self and thrown down with Star Jones. However, some off-camera wrangling resulted in Donald Trump letting Star Jones switch teams to be away from NeNe Leakes after their epic showdown last week. That led NeNe to quit via a phone call–which seemed faked, because there was no camera on NeNe in the cab, and Trump was incredibly stilted/scripted–and leave us stranded. Later, Trump said, “because everyone calls them a loser and quitter” “So to you, NeNe, I say, you’re fired, and you’re a quitter, and Star Jones kicked your ass whether you like it or not.”
  • Trump makes Meat Loaf cry. Meat Loaf had a breakdown over the first task, which was otherwise a boring fundraising challenge. He was upset because some of his donors gave money expecting that it would go to Meat Loaf’s charity, The Painted Turtle, but might actually go to the other project manager’s charity if Meat Loaf’s team lost. “I can’t gamble the money for the kids,” Meat Loaf cried. “It’s killing me, it’s absolutely destroying me.” Star Jones promised Meat Loaf she’d fight for Trump to once again let the teams keep the money they raised, but in a phone call, Trump said, “That’s not the purpose. It takes the incentive away from winning. The show is, to a large extent, about charity, but to an even larger extent, it’s about winning.” He repeated that later, a stunning admission that I can just see being used against him in a campaign ad (Donald Trump: hates charity, loves winning.)

    The unspoken part of this, however, was the expectation that the money would automatically go to his charity, which Meat Loaf should never have promised a donor, and hasn’t ever been an issue in the past. In other words, it seemed like Meat Loaf may have been broken up over securing donations by misleading donors into thinking money would automatically go to his charity

  • John Rich makes Meat Loaf cry. In the boardroom, this came up again, and John Rich–who was on the other team–promised Meat Loaf that if Meat Loaf’s team lost, he’d personally donate an equivalent amount of money to The Painted Turtle. I’m not sure if this says more about John Rich’s awesome charity or about his financial position relative to Meat Loaf’s; either way, it made Meat Loaf bawl as Trump looked on, awkwardly, through his raccoon eyes. (Seriously, who is doing is makeup and why do they not been given a parade?)
  • Trump spews more bullshit. Also good fodder for campaign ads: Trump’s hilarious lies. “I knew better than anybody,” Trump claimed, referencing Michael Jackson sometime before firing La Toya Jackson, which was inevitable because he already fired her and had no real reason to bring her back except to say a bunch of stuff that he thought would make up for the stuff he said about her before. Later, after Meat Loaf’s breakdown, Trump said, “The world is gonna love this guy,” as if Trump had discovered him. And in a great misspoken line, Trump meant to say “impartial” but instead told everyone, “I’m a very impersonal kinda guy.” No surprise there.
  • Trump still isn’t gay. We’ve learned that Donald Trump is straight before, but last night he sat and admired Meat Loaf’s new, glowing appearance, and said, “I’m not a gay man, okay. I think gayness is wonderful, frankly, but I’m not a gay man. But listen, you seem so much better looking. What the fuck are you doing?” (I wouldn’t be surprised to see the “gayness is wonderful” line crop up in some anti-Trump ads run by more conservative groups or candidates, should he choose to run.)
  • Meat Loaf isn’t sexist, but Donald Trump still is. Meat Loaf called Star Jones “sweetie” while they were waiting in the lobby, prompting a fight that Star basically caused by refusing to fight. Meat Loaf was condescending–“How dare you cut me off, young woman?”–but he later pointed out that he uses that word with everyone, even calling Trump “dear.” When Trump learned that Star was upset by this, he tried to rant about “this politically correct crap in this country” and she interrupted him and shut his ass down, saying that had nothing to do with it. “You don’t say ‘sweetie’ to a professional woman when you’re having a disagreement with her. It diminishes her, and it tends to say, ‘I think you’re inferior,'” she said, making a good point Trump couldn’t argue with. However, Star also said that she wanted Meat Loaf to “treat me simply as your equal” (despite the fact that she refused to even engage him) and also said “he was screaming at it when he said it” (which wasn’t true at all).
  • Star Jones gets fired. Yes, in one episode, we lost the two biggest sources of drama. I was actually blown away that Trump fired Star Jones instead of Meat Loaf. He was clearly not going to fire Marlee Matlin, who will unquestionably be in the finale, so he needed a scapegoat, and Meat Loaf’s directing and poorly chosen jokes in their OnStar ad were cause enough. But Trump fired Star because no one liked her, basically, thereby proving that sometimes even he is blind to what makes good television.

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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.