The two people who got the most attention on last night’s Celebrity Apprentice were Dayana Mendoza and Aubrey O’Day. On the surface, they seem like very different people: Dayana thought a jingle was a version of “Jingle All the Way,” while Aubrey has actually written every jingle ever used, ever, all while doing cancer research during her many trips into burning buildings to save orphans.
But they aren’t so different at all. Dayana is in over her head, while Aubrey’s head is over-inflated. They’re essentially the same type of contestant, trying desperately to prove why they deserve to be there, and falling apart in the process. Last night, Donald Trump finally put Dayana out of her Celebrity Apprentice misery, firing her without even bothering to send Dayana, Lisa Lampanelli, and Clay Aiken out of the room.
Dayana isn’t necessarily stupid, and on previous tasks she’s proven herself to be a hard worker, which is what saved her in the past–especially when someone such as Lisa would point out how hard she works. But in her attempt to prove herself worthy, cover for her occasional ignorance, and to win for her charity, Dayana injects herself into every moment without realizing that she’d be more effective backing down.
When she did that during the jingle-writing task, that led to both more yelling from Lisa and gave us more of what has become a highlight of this season: Clay Aiken reactions. Both in the moment (he made faces behind her back) and in interviews, he is hilarious and ridiculously quotable–so quotable I just stopped writing down things he says, because there are too many and they’re much better in context. Once again, Celebrity Apprentice helps us see a celebrity in an entirely new way.
Aubrey, meanwhile, is actually smart and multi-talented, but she’s convinced herself that she’s far better than everyone else, and no one will ever be able to accomplish what she does because she’s so amazing. I mean, Aubrey does everything! And no one else is good at anything, ever. She both pulled a flabbergasted Don Jr. aside in the war room to tell him that she was, once again, doing everything, and later literally said in an interview, and I quote, “It’s difficult when people aren’t as good at things like this than you are.”
Her constant reminders–to us, to her teammates, to Donald Trump and his family, and to herself–about how amazing she is actually undermines her actual contributions. In a competition like this, it’s inevitable that one has to defend oneself and make sure Trump and his kids know what you’ve done and why you’ve done it. Penn Jillette was pretty good at doing that humbly throughout the season, though he lost his motivation at the end.
Ultimately, I’d guess this will backfire on Aubrey, just as it did with Dayana. Project managers who do everything aren’t good leaders, and team members who take credit for everything aren’t good contributors. With next week’s episode featuring John Rich and Marlee Matlin, I’d guess they’ll see through Aubrey’s bullshit immediately, and Aubrey will be driving her car service of shame to the hotel while filming herself giving her exit confessional about how she personally constructed every building in New York City.