George Takei: too nice for Celebrity Apprentice?

George Takei’s impending exit from The Celebrity Apprentice was foreshadowed last week when Penn Jillette identified him out as one of the team’s weak links. George, who’s 74 and this season’s oldest competitor, appeared to not be cut out for the cutthroat and high-intensity competition. Maybe he was even too good for it.

Unsurprisingly, George Takei handled his firing with grace and class–though he called out Clay Aiken for being “catty” on The Today Show this morning. (The cattiest George got was joking that Clay’s hair looked like he slept on it and just woke up.)

George was referring to Clay’s criticism to Donald Trump’s other son about George’s leadership, or lack thereof. While designing Lord & Taylor windows for Ivanka Trump’s fashion collection, Clay pointed out that George delegated himself out of a job, essentially, although that’s arguably what a good leader does: allows people to use their strengths and gets out of their way. Still, the editing implied that George struggled, whether it was with creating a vision for their display or managing people or just being aware of what was going on. For a moment, the show was close to suggesting that he was feeble and old and unable to handle it.

I doubt it has anything to do with his age, but after a few episodes, it did appear as though this just wasn’t the competition for him; he used the word “excruciating” more than once last night. I don’t think George Takei is the kind of person who thrives in a “catty,” high-pressure environment. He seems more deliberate and thoughtful, and would have perhaps been better on Celebrity Mole.

That said, I’m somewhat annoyed that Trump fired him instead of Lou Ferrigno, who seems to only be good at getting in the way and getting his feelings hurt. The guy acts–and sounds like–a baby sometimes, and it was both comical and sad to listen to him try to pick a fight with George in the boardroom.

Also, I’m not quite sure why the men lost and the women won. The women’s team’s windows were pretty hideous, even if the men did have one window that was hard to see because of glare on the glass. Perhaps the women’s fashion choices were better, but the presentation just looked cheap. Maybe that’s what Ivanka is going for?

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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.