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Celebrity Apprentice jumps the shark with dumb firings

Celebrity Apprentice jumps the shark with dumb firings

In two hours, The Celebrity Apprentice went from a season high to a series low. The first hour ended in an epic face-off between two celebrities fighting to stay with accusations about a stolen cell phone and menopausal tweet, and the second hour ended with a shark-jumping decision by Donald Trump that was so arbitrary and capricious it makes the rest of his decisions seem thoughtful and well-considered by comparison.

The show’s achilles heel has always been Donald Trump’s arbitrariness and stupidity, and that can work to its advantage, such as when he fires someone annoying but perhaps not deserving. But firing Ian Ziering, and then Johnny Damon, and then Brandi Glanville because they lost the jingle-writing task was nonsensical. There have been many other people who’ve failed in much more spectacular ways this season, so to dump these three in a row was clearly designed to get down to the final three as soon as possible and/or create some drama.

And exactly what the hell was the point of burning through three cast members when half of next week’s two-hour episode is a freaking recap? That makes an already short season feel even shorter. NBC, what are you doing with this season?

It was so unnecessary, especially considering that the boardroom had an exceptionally satisfying ending in egomaniac Ian Ziering getting fired after getting caught in a boardroom fib by Trump. The exchange was spectacular, starting with Trump saying excitedly, “That’s La Cucaracha. You’re copying it!” Ian tried to talk his way out of saying his not-at-all-La-Cucaracha jingle was better and would have won, which confused Trump so much. “You said it was better than her’s. Am I going crazy here?” It was one moment in which he wasn’t going crazy.

Ian’s firing followed Brandi awesomely shutting him down, or at least, attempting to, during the task. “Stop being so fucking condescending, Ian,” she told him, adding, “I would like you to sit and shut the fuck up.”

Yes, Brandi’s team may have lost, and Johnny Damon may have written a dumb jingle, but there was no need to get rid of them other than trying to create a moment. Never mind that two of the remaining three players, Geraldo and Vivica, have losing records, while the fired people had more consistent wins. All of that tainted the pleasure of the episode and  previous firings, and the alleged purpose of the show.

Kenya and Vivica fight over a tweet and a phone

But let’s focus on the good, shall we? Because before all that, there was this, which you should watch at least five times in a row to fully appreciate the moment.

“That one!” Oh wow, that was terrific. The conflict was set up throughout the episode, with conflict between Vivica A. Fox and Kenya Moore being highlighted in nearly every act. The highlight of that was Kenya not-so-graciously saying Vivica wasn’t fit enough to model in their King’s Hawaiian photobomb photoshoot (“my assets were not worthy enough,” Vivica later said). There was also Vivica telling us that “magically, my phone just went missing.”

The Case of the Missing Phone wasn’t resolved, which is suspicious, but even more suspicious was the way the whole tweet reveal played out. Kenya brought up Vivica’s menopause but said that was okay because Vivica tweeted about it, which Vivica denied. That Kenya was aware of the tweet when no one else doesn’t automatically mean she’s guilty, but it sure doesn’t help her seem innocent.

Vivica denied tweeting that, and then came the moment. If Donald Trump, Jr., doing anything can be considered dramatic, it was quite dramatic when he pulled out his phone and said, “Vivica, bad news” as he read the tweet. The tweet, by the way, said (and the lack of punctuation and other errors are all original):

“This menopause id killing me I cant think straight, im acting a damn fool half the time 50 just isnt sexy”

Thus Vivica claimed Kenya–excuse me, “THAT ONE”–stole her phone and tweeted. Kenya denied it. Trump declared, “We’ve really reached a new low.” He fired Kenya not for that but for her idea to use King’s Hawaiian bread as actual buttocks, and then the fireworks continued.

After Kenya shamelessly kissed up to Trump–“your sons are amazing, your family is amazing, thank you very much”–she said, “Vivica, I wish you all the luck in the world.”

Vivica, bless her, said, “I could care less. Bounce. She stole my phone.”

In the car, Kenya said, “I’m not going to talk about the phone because that is inflammatory,” and then she talked about the phone. “It will damage me for somebody to think I stole a phone. I’m not a thief. And I think that is the most ridiculous thing I have heard of in my life.”

No, ridiculous is Donald Trump firing three people from The Celebrity Apprentice for no reason. Stealing a phone and tweeting something mean is just hilariously brutal strategy.

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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