Ian Thomas Malone

A Connecticut Yogi in King Joffrey's Court

Celebrity Apprentice Archive

Monday

16

May 2016

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Game of Thrones Season 6 Recap: Episode 4

Written by , Posted in Blog, Celebrity Apprentice, Game of Thrones

This recap features analysis from a devoted book fan. As the show has largely deviated from the books I’m not sure how much this matters, but if you hate spoilers you should probably not read these articles. I encourage you to subscribe so you never miss a recap. Thank you for reading. 

I think it’s safe to say that this episode was the best of the season and perhaps the best since season 4’s “The Watchers on the Wall.”

The reunion of Jon and Sansa is significant for a number of reasons. None of the major Stark children (excluding Rickon) have seen each other since season one and most have no idea which of the others are even still alive. Jon and Sansa don’t really have much of a relationship in the books, something that was sort of hinted at in the episode. Given that Sansa isn’t in the North in the books, this plotline will be especially interesting to follow.

Brienne’s hypocrisy is borderline intolerable. I sort of forgot about the weird Brienne/Davos/Melisandre dynamic since the Red Woman is the only one at the Wall in the books, but it was about as awkward as could be expected. Brienne, who “executed” Stannis on the “authority” of a dead pretender king, shows next to no animosity toward Melisandre, the woman who conjured up the shadow demon that killed Renly.

It is by no means a stretch to suggest that Melisandre played a much, much bigger role in Renly’s death than Stannis, being both the person who executed the plan and presumably also the one who came up with it. Couple Brienne’s carefree attitude toward her with Davos’ casual mention of Shireen’s death, in episode 4 mind you, and we have ourselves a prime example of the show’s laziness in closing up plotlines it doesn’t like. Like Dorne, Stannis’ arc was quickly wrapped up with little logic. I know most regular readers of these recaps are hoping for the day when I stop mentioning Stannis, but that was important to acknowledge.

The pacing of Sansa’s arrival to the Wall was superb, but the fact that Jon continues to hang around Castle Black is kind of weird. I liked how he mentioned his death releasing him from his vows, but if that’s all true, he sort of needs to move on. The divorce between Jon and the Watch looks quite messier than it should. At least he showed remorse for killing Olly.

Why does Tormund only have 2,000 warriors? What happened to the 100,000 that attacked the Wall two seasons ago? They couldn’t have all died at Hardhome.

It was hard to be excited about Littlefinger’s return since he’s one of the most inconsistently portrayed characters on the show, but his scene was excellent. His seemingly indefensible decision to marry Sansa to Ramsey was handled quite well by casting doubt on Lord Royce. The only thing that kind of bugs me is that Littlefinger does show genuine affection toward Sansa in the books. I wouldn’t be surprised if that turns out to be the case later on in the show, but it’s not really believable. Who wasn’t thrilled to see Sweetrobin again?!?!

The Meereen plotline got a much needed infusion of life into it, despite having two of the most boring characters on the whole show. Grey Worm and Missandei’s deficiencies only further show what a mistake it was to kill Ser Barristan last year. Tyrion was on point as usual, but he needs a stronger character to spar with.

Jorah and his magical durable shirt are back! Which means I have to make an obligatory “why does Jorah have greyscale?” mention. Doesn’t look like I’ll be saying that much longer. More on Dany at the end of the recap.

King’s Landing also perked up. I’ve been mentioning the Tyrell’s powerful army for about a year now. It’s about time someone brought up using it. Giving the key KL players something to do was long overdue. It’ll be interesting to see if both Margaery and Loras make it out alive. I’m guessing no, but I’m willing to sacrifice both if it means we don’t have to endure another High Sparrow lecture. Jonathan Pryce is great and all. I just don’t care about listening to him ramble anymore.

How did Theon get a boat? Seriously. Anyone?

The Yara/Theon interaction was another highlight in a very strong episode. Yara is the obvious candidate to rule the Iron Islands, though A Feast for Crows had a different idea. Euron stands as a better challenger than Reek, but this will make the Kingsmoot dynamic all the more interesting. It’s hard to speculate as to what Theon’s role will be beyond a mere endorser of his sister.

Osha falls victim to the “let’s get rid of all the characters we don’t want anymore” cleanse. I’m kind of okay with it. She’s a fun character, but the show was right to acknowledge the fact that Ramsey would definitely know about her involvement in their escape. Another scene where she gets to speak would have been nice, but this episode had a lot going on.

Finally we go to Vaes Dothrak. I was rolling my eyes at the idea that Daario and Jorah would help by somehow retrieving Drogon, Dany’s scene with the Khals was excellent. As with the Sansa plotline, I was surprised with its fast pacing, but that’s a good thing. Meereen is bound to be a complete wash with everyone inevitably setting their eyes on Westeros in the not so distant future.

The parallels to the end of Dany’s season one arc were to be expected, though probably not in episode four. I assumed there would be some kind of trial, but am pretty happy that there wasn’t. Dany now commands the largest force of anyone besides the White Walkers. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of opposition the show puts against her, given the mess in KL.

It is worth noting that GRRM has said that Dany is not immune to fire in the books. This is obviously different in the show, which is a good thing. That was a great way to end the episode.

Side note: Aggo, one of the Dothraki mentioned, is one of Dany’s bloodriders in the books. I’ve often been critical of how the Dothraki just disappeared after the Unsullied were introduced, but it was nice to see a tiny throwback.

That’s it for this week. No Arya, Bran, Dorne (yay), or Sam & Gilly, but this was a very strong episode. See you next week!

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Tuesday

17

February 2015

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Celebrity Apprentice Recap: Episode 8

Written by , Posted in Blog, Celebrity Apprentice, Pop Culture

Last night I picked Geraldo Rivera to become the next Celebrity Apprentice.

I was wrong.

I haven’t spent much time fretting over my inaccurate prediction. My recaps have spelled out many of my thoughts on Leeza’s chances. I never thought she couldn’t win, just that there wasn’t a clear logical reason to pick her over Geraldo. It’s one thing to want her to win over Geraldo (who doesn’t), but to say she was a better player is a bit of a stretch.

Before I go into that, I want to point something out. For the past few weeks I’ve talked about Trump’s love of playing kingmaker. I’d cite this as the only real reason Arsenio Hall beat out Clay Aiken. The trouble was that Geraldo is rooted at Fox News and Leeza didn’t appear to want to make a comeback.

Trump snuck in a potential Today Show’s opportunity for Leeza. While I won’t say that played a “deciding factor,” I will say that if he had ever said that before, I would’ve picked Leeza easily. The Today Show’s ratings are bad enough that this seems like a possible option.

Leeza had one thing going for her over Geraldo. She possessed a far better record. How much does this matter?

Less than you’d think.

If record mattered, Trump wouldn’t have canned all of Infinity in the last task before the finale. It was kind of ironic to see Johnny Damon bring up Leeza’s record repeatedly considering he was also part of the team that won five in a row. Trump was never going to have a finale that included the semi-articulate Damon or a Real Housewife.

Let’s explore the five-task win streak. If you looked at the pieces, you don’t really see this powerhouse that should curb stomp the likes of Geraldo and Lorenzo. That’s not to downplay the legitimacy of their wins. They had the better concept more often that not, especially with the Nordstrom task.

How much was Geraldo to blame for those losses? Nordstrom, not at all. Chock full O’Nuts, meh. They lost that one to a bizarre video featuring fake fighting between Brandi and Kenya. I won’t pin that on anyone, even Leeza as project manager, who mostly deferred to Ian.

Then there’s the booze cruise. This is really the task where Leeza’s prowess proved better than Geraldo, though Hooter’s was more of a downfall than his “screw the terrorists” comment. We’ll give credit where credit is due here.

The Trump National Doral was a disjointed mess as a task. Could have gone either way, at least from what we saw on TV. I wouldn’t say either Leeza or Geraldo factored into the decision.

Which brings us to Babies Luv Buns. Another task where Leeza and Gerlado could have sat out the task completely and made no impact on the outcome. You didn’t need a helicopter to beat Babies Luv Buns.

What’s the point of this? Leeza might have had a better track record than Geraldo, but in that five loss streak, she only truly bested him once and that wasn’t the task she was PM on. Was Leeza a better candidate to become Celebrity Apprentice?

No. Don’t believe me? Find a point in the show where Leeza won it for her team. Difficult, right?

The final task worked in her favor as well, even though it was basically an afterthought. She raised more money in the last task, but the emphasis on collective earnings throughout the show during the finale seemed to indicate that wasn’t much of a deciding factor. Tony Orlando seemed to be better than Olivia Newton John (apparently the Josh Grobin mention in the previous episode was a complete afterthought). Who knows?

So why did she win? Despite my analysis, which picks apart her legitimacy as a candidate, she really wasn’t bad either. The 3-0 record as PM matters. It stands up well against Geraldo, who had a 2-0 record prior to the finale. She played safe. Safe won.

The fact that Geraldo won both Lorenzo and Ian over makes his loss all the more puzzling. He raised more money and wasn’t completely hated like Annie Duke. So why did he lose?

As far as finalists go, Geraldo looked like Piers Morgan and Leeza resembled Arsenio Hall. One was dominant. One was not. I don’t think anyone is going to shed a tear that Leeza won. I’m not, but it was the wrong call. Unless Leeza ends up working for the Today Show. I did probably overestimate how much of a factor Trump’s love of Fox News would play, but the man does love his nepotism.

That’s it for Celebrity Apprentice recaps. Thanks for reading them. I’m going to take a break from recaps until Game of Thrones. My new book, A Trip Down Reality Lane, comes out in a week. I encourage you to check it out (what’s a little shameless self promotion).

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Wednesday

11

February 2015

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Celebrity Apprentice Recap: Episode 7

Written by , Posted in Blog, Celebrity Apprentice

Trump did an online Q&A last week that explained the mass exodus of Team Infinity despite their five task winning streak. The motive was obvious. Scheduling. Does this change anything?

Not really. The whole thing was poorly handled. Trump could have fired two of them and brought back the other as part of the final four and still had his Geraldo/Leeza final. Vivica never had a chance.

I’m actually at Universal Studios as I write this, which makes the final task quite bizarre for me. Universal has hosted two infamous tasks. Rod Blagojevich had his communication blunders with the opening of Harry Potter World back in season three and Dee Snider commissioned the redundant cardboard cut outs during All-Stars.

This task seems a little less chaotic, though with some (expected) laziness from Johnny Damon and Brandi Glanville. If anything, their beer drinking, roller coasting riding antics showed the precise reason why they’re not in the finals. I don’t think I’d be too surprised if either one had done that if they’d made it to the end.

The teams for the final task are always awkward. It’s not really a team anymore. It’s a dictatorship. That’s why Lorenzo getting all pissed off about Geraldo changing everything doesn’t make sense. Lorenzo is there to help. That’s it.

We saw Debbie Gibson pull a similar, albeit more extreme stunt, when she wanted Clay Aiken to trust her cousin’s mural painting abilities. It’s not surprising that these D-list celebrities have big egos, but this one of the few times where it’s not exactly justifiable.

Who’s going to win the task and become the next Celebrity Apprentice? Geraldo. He’s got the money and Josh Grobin, who’s significantly more relevant than Olivia Newton John. Leeza might be able to beat his video, but probably not by a wide enough margin for it to matter.

I think Trump likes Leeza better, but the problem is that he doesn’t dislike Geraldo. The past two finals have been largely decided by Trump’s nepotism. Arensio Hall beat Clay Aiken because he was trying to get a new late night show and Trace Adkins beat Penn Jilette because Penn badmouthed Trump in his book (a good book by the way). If it was Leeza vs. basically any other contestant, this would be a no brainer.

The pre-show montages were kind of nice. I would have preferred more episode to them, especially given my embarrassingly thorough knowledge of the show (almost all my throwbacks are from memory, though I usually fact check them to be sure). The problem with the montages was that they reminded us that this season has been rather brief.

Is this a good thing? Maybe. I’m annoyed that they’ve burned through the episodes, but I’m not exactly sad we weren’t treated to more Kenya Moore. #BabiesLuvBuns was enough. Kevin Jonas’ reappearance doesn’t exactly make me wish he’d lasted longer either.

Between Kenya/Brandi, Kenya/Vivica, and the Geraldo/Ian/Kevin/Lorezo battle that never really was, there was plenty of potential for a great season. We didn’t really see any of those evolve into a Piers/Omarosa or a Joan/Annie. Which is a shame, but maybe that’s why they edited the episodes the way they did. It’s not like NBC has much else on the air.

So I’m calling it for Geraldo. Some big screw-up could change everything. Leeza isn’t fierce enough a competitor to stop him. She reminds me of Arsenio, who also coasted his way to the finals. Problem is, Geraldo is no Clay Aiken.

 

 

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Tuesday

27

January 2015

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Celebrity Apprentice Recap: Episode 5

Written by , Posted in Blog, Celebrity Apprentice

Trump has done something unusual for two weeks now. He’s used the phrase “a lot of money” to refer to the amount that the winning Project Manager gets for his or her charity. He’s never done this before, leading one to think he’s hiding the dollar amount because it’s less impressive than previous years. The fact that NBC has basically cut this season in half seems to back this notion. $20,000 is typically the standard amount for a non-fundraising task plus occasionally the sponsor throws in more money.

The problem is that if he’s hiding the money amount because it’s lower, then the $25,000 gift to Sig Hansen doesn’t make much sense, as it would be higher than the winning amount. I’ve seen reports that Brandi got $50,000, but have been unable to verify them. Trump withheld the money again with the task that he personally sponsored, making this all the more confusing.

Despite Trump’s insistence that a boat task would cater to Sig Hansen, I’d argue that his team was at a disadvantage from the start. This wasn’t a “boat task.” It was a “party task.” Team Infinity had a certain player that plenty of people want to party with.

Johnny Damon.

Who wouldn’t want to dance on a boat with a World Series champion New York Yankee (putting aside my Red Sox fan bias for a second)? Sig knows boats. He doesn’t know parties.

Geraldo supplied the line of the night with “screw the terrorists.” It’s hard to argue with that notion. But it was supposed to be a party and having a Fox News reporter deliver a “fair and balanced” tour isn’t exactly as fun as dancing with Johnny Damon. At the very least, they could’ve incorporated taking shots into the “screw terrorism” theme. Apparently having Hooters was enough.

So they lost even though the other team didn’t really have a theme. Which was still better than Mardi Gras. They didn’t need a theme. All they needed was music and Johnny Damon and for Kenya not to screw things up with that horrid song.

Sig loses. Sig goes home. Another downside of the compacted episodes is that we don’t really get to know everyone. Sig is usually the least interesting person in the room, unless Eric Trump is there. His team missed him. Geraldo gave him money. Despite his temper tantrum, he seems like a nice guy. Right from the start, he had about a 0% chance of winning. Fishermen don’t win Celebrity Apprentice.

The second task was just okay. I’m not a big fan of the Trump centric tasks, even though I would win them all if I were on the show. Winning them is easy. Suck up to Trump and make it classy. Kate Gosselin failed with the latter.

The class element might have been harder than you’d think. This task pitted the star of a TLC reality show about her excessively large family against the star of Sharknado. Yet Ian pulled it off. Again.

The Kenya/Vivica fight was a little much. Shopping takes awhile. This had always been the case. Kenya wasn’t Project Manager. Her not being at home base when she was on a team with only four people should not have been treated like a snub. But it was.

Kenya did establish herself as a dominant boardroom player, even though it was pretty clear that Kate was a goner. Trump hinted this in the last task when he singled Kate out in his firing of Sig. Kenya makes better television. She fought in the boardroom. Trump rewards people who make his show interesting.

Only three weeks left. Feels odd and a little sad. After waiting a year and half, we’ve been rewarded with condensed episodes so NBC can air boring knockoffs of other network’s hits. What a shame.

I’m going to stick with my final four predictions from last week. Kenya is emerging as an interesting player, but I don’t think she’s a legitimate contender. She’s too hated. Being called the next Omarosa is nice and all, but she was never a legitimate contender either.

The one question that’s surfaced since last night is, can Geraldo win it all after losing so many tasks? He’s three for nine overall. The answer to this is simple.

Yes.

Trace Adkins made it to the finals in season one with an 0-2 record as Project Manager. Winners Bret Michaels and Arsenio Hall had far less impressive track records in their respective seasons than he has. At 2-0, he can survive without even needing to tap into his boardroom abilities.

This was a big win for Ian. He’s 1-1, but his loss came with $300,000 raised for his charity. Brandi, Kenya, Johnny, and Leeza are all 1-0. Whoever wins next week will practically guarantee themselves a spot in the final four.

I feel comfortable calling Geraldo-Ian in the finals. There’s history between the two. Trump isn’t going to put Brandi, Kenya, or Johnny in the finals. They’re not strong enough. Vivica could make it with another win, but it seems unlikely she’ll get that chance. She also suffered her fair share of unfavorable boardrooms.

Leeza could be a sleeper candidate. She needs another win as PM to get there though. If she doesn’t step up, Trump won’t reward her.

Ian and Geraldo hate each other. That above all else is what matters. Unless one of the two screw up, this is the likeliest outcome.

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Tuesday

20

January 2015

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Celebrity Apprentice Recap: Episode 4

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It looks like two tasks an episode is going to be the standard for this season. For those of us who have waited over a year for Celebrity Apprentice to return, this is kind of a bummer. Not every episode is worthy of two hours and this has often been a problem.

Shawn Johnson’s immediate departure was a complete no brainer ten minutes into the episode. Not stepping up is more often than not a bigger death sentence than being project manager and losing. Jamie Anderson might not have gotten the can if she was a halfway competent boardroom player. Gary Busey survived many boardrooms and only about 80% of that can be credited to being good television.

Her excuse was stupid as well. Who among the contestants was “fit” for a Nordstrom’s task? Vivica A. Fox certainly wasn’t. Kenya looked comfortable as PM, but her qualifications are hardly better than an Olympic gymnast, putting aside the fact that Johnson’s career doesn’t require her to wear shoes. So Johnson’s termination is hardly a surprise to anyone.

Athletes are historically terrible at Celebrity Apprentice. Johnny Damon has a win, but it was against a fellow athlete (Anderson). Furthermore, they’re boring. Jose Canseco was the only one in the history of the show to display true flare, but he had to leave to be with his dying father. Lennox Lewis wasn’t exactly a dynamic player, but his partnership with Piers Morgan made for great TV. No one will miss Shawn. Flying under the radar doesn’t work. Unless you’re Sig Hansen.

Lorenzo Lamas’ firing was tragic because he’d actually blossomed into a decent player. He’s shown ample character for a complete has been and appears to be a good guy. I’m not sure I can completely blame him for the loss either.

This is a downside of not having one task per episode. Under the usual format, we get to see the teams meet with the executives. Which is usually boring, but it would have shown us how risqué the Chock Full of Nuts people wanted their viral videos to be. If I were Lorenzo, I wouldn’t have necessarily thought to do something as inappropriate as having two Real Housewives rolls around in bed together.

Which is why Lorenzo probably would have survived. He could’ve served Sig or Kate Gosselin up on a silver platter to Trump. Hansen appears to be a nice guy, but he’s boring and has a limited skill set. He also hasn’t been a project manager. It’s hard to believe Trump would have kept him over the Lamas, who by all indications did a decent job.

This wasn’t a particularly interesting episode, except for Kenya’s quip about Brandi’s marital embarrassments. A quip which will probably cost her in Trump’s eyes down the road. Both boardrooms were fairly obvious right from the get go.

So let’s turn our attention to this question. Who can beat Geraldo Rivera? The man displays a Piers Morgan like dominance over his teammates, but also an Aubrey O’Day desire to control the entire creative process. Being a journalist and not a member of the Pussycat Dolls should help him look more like the former to Trump.

My answer to this question in the beginning was simple. Geraldo’s biggest enemy was himself. Domineering contestants self-destruct. But now Geraldo is dug in. He’s 2-0 and is practically guaranteed to make the final four. Sig needs to be PM, probably next week, before Geraldo is even eligible to do it again. Even then, he can survive a loss if he doesn’t completely implode. I wouldn’t necessarily rule that out either.

Vivica is good. Kenya is good. Ian is good. Kate is probably better than anyone wants to admit, but the fact that no one seems to like her is a huge problem. Brandi will likely face off against Sig in the first task next week if the cards fall the way they’re supposed to.

If I had to make a final four prediction now, I’d say it’s going to be Geraldo, Ian, Vivica, and Leeza based on records and Trump’s nepotism. I wouldn’t necessarily say Leeza is all that deserving, but she’s got a win and Trump likes her more than most of the contenders. Kenya’s battles with Brandi are cute, but Trump isn’t going to reward that sort of behavior with a final four appearance. As we saw with Kevin Jonas, things can change, but I feel comfortable with this prediction.

Lastly, I want to acknowledge Joan Rivers’ final appearance on the show. I wrote a Celebrity Apprentice centered tribute to her shortly after her death that you might find interesting. Rivers saved what was a pretty weak season two cast and had continued to entertain in her appearances as a boardroom advisor. She’ll be missed mostly for her actual comedy work, but also for Celebrity Apprentice, at least in my mind.

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Tuesday

13

January 2015

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Celebrity Apprentice Recap: Episode 3

Written by , Posted in Celebrity Apprentice, Pop Culture

Before we tackle part one of this episode, which once again featured two tasks, I thought I would clarify that Trump was wrong in saying that allowing the Project Managers to keep their own money had “never been done before.” This was also done in the fifth task of season 3, which featured John Rich against Marlee Matlin, arguably the two most impressive fundraisers in the show’s history. More on that later.

I tweeted last night that Jamie Anderson might be the worst player in Celebrity Apprentice history and having slept on that, I still find that to be the case. Comic relief contestants like Gary Busey, Rod Blagojevich, and Dennis Rodman all drew the ire of their teams time and time again, but that was the singular least impressive Boardroom showing in Celeb Apprentice history, potentially of all time. You’d have to go back all the way to season one, where Omarosa knocked off a few of the women to find comparable instances.

Jamie made three horrendous mistakes. She admitted early on that she was bullied into the concept that she didn’t quite believe in. More importantly, she didn’t set anyone up to take the fall. This was problem one.

Problem two was that she was completely indecisive in the boardroom. Her team was chaotic in deciding who to set up for the fall. Kate, Brandi, and Kenya were all targets. Jamie could have made a case to plea for any of their firings and probably could have knocked off Kate or Brandi. Kenya would have been tough considering she’s the only competent player of these four.

Had Jamie picked a target, maybe she could have survived. She could have even defended bringing Kate and Kenya back as Kenya was responsible for the loss and Kate is disliked. But then she admitted she made a mistake. Then she tried to see if Trump would bring Brandi back. It was over for her before that, but this was just embarrassing. LaToya Jackson made a similar mistake during All-Stars in not bringing back Omarosa, but at least she put up a fight.

Jamie? No, there was no fight here. After years of this show, it’s clear that certain contestants come into the game knowing how it’s played. Jamie wasn’t one of them. She made nearly every basic mistake in the book and this was no surprise.

Let’s go back to the money predicament. Geraldo and Ian collectively raised close to $600,000, a figure that Trump later raised to that exact sum. Jon Rich and Marlee Matlin back in Celeb Apprentice 3 raised over $1,600,000. Big difference, right?

It can be easy to forget that the whole “winning team gets all the money” is highly problematic when you’re hitting your big donors up. Especially when you’re a D list celebrity like Ian Ziering, who probably doesn’t have many rich friends. His charity, The EB Medical Research Foundation, needs that money. The person who gave the $165,000 check probably had ties to that cause. It would have been pretty awkward had the money gone to Geraldo.

We saw this in Celeb Apprentice 5, where Patricia Velasquez lost her $126,962 to Paul Teutul Sr. In that season’s finale, she tried to explain to Trump that a school couldn’t be built because her donors spent their money only to see it go to a different charity. That was awkward for many reasons and the truth of the matter is, these are the rules.

But the way they framed the narrative with Ian’s emotional plea would’ve made it difficult to see his money go to Geraldo. While Trump (as usual) exaggerated the significance of his decision to allow them to keep their money, it was the right call. This show is mostly about entertainment, but it’s nice to see them act like human beings every once in awhile.

Fundraising tasks aren’t very interesting. It’s fun to watch the people who barely raise any money look awkward, unless it’s Ian trying to get Terrell Owens to do something. Despite making close to $70 million in the NFL not counting endorsements, Owens is broke. It’s no surprise he has no rich friends.

The show usually adds some sort of contest element to the task to get the participants to actually care about their product to raise some extra cash. That’s rarely a difference maker. Ironically, it would have been the case here. I’m not really sure if there was a single element to this task besides selling, which is unusual.

It’s rare that the two weakest players in the game get fired consecutively. Trump made the right calls. Athletes have rarely made for interesting contestants on this show. Damon is just as boring, though not entirely incompetent. He made for a decent PM, albeit one steamrolled by Geraldo.

If I had to pick the final four now, I’d go with Geraldo, Ian, Kenya, and Leeza, though I fully expect at least two of them to screw things up for themselves. Leeza is a dark horse, but one that Trump likes. Sig Hansen looks to have most of Paul Teutul’s negative traits in that he’s quiet and awkward, but also doesn’t have the large Rolodex. He could be a dark horse, Jesse James type sleeper candidate, but that’s also because there are far worse contestants still on the show.

Brandi’s meltdowns resemble NeNe Leakes’ too much for me to care. Leakes quit. I imagine Brandi might as well. This is a weird season without any overly dominant players aside from Geraldo, who’s too bold for his own good. But we get to see Joan Rivers next week! I miss her.

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Tuesday

6

January 2015

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Celebrity Apprentice Recap: Episode Two

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If there’s one thing we’ve learned about the boardroom from fourteen seasons of Apprentice, it’s that Trump hates when people don’t play by his rules. His tendency to alter the game at his whim blurs this quite a bit (like when he decided to fire two people when Adam Carolla refused to throw Michael Andredi under the bus), but he’s never missed an opportunity to punish someone who prevented his boardroom from turning into all out warfare. Even though I christened Kevin Jonas as the frontrunner last recap, simple mistakes prove how little that means in the grand scheme of things.

The boardroom was almost reminiscent of Celebrity Apprentice 1 episode three where Gene Simmons was fired essentially for trying to oust Omarosa when Trump basically told him that Nely Galan would be a good choice to bring back into the boardroom. It’s clear that Trump would have preferred to fire Lorenzo Lamas over Kevin, Geraldo Rivera, or Ian Ziering, but Jonas took that away from him. As such, he must be punished.

The concept of bringing someone like Ian Ziering back to “advocate” for you has been tried before. It’s never worked. Trump hates it. For good reason. You’re supposed to bring someone back who deserves to be fired. Bringing someone back who doesn’t deserved to be fired bothers Trump. Not good.

Jonas was also naïve to think that he could knock out Geraldo the week after a big win with basically no plan in place to unify his team against the man. Trump loves Fox News and doesn’t love Lorenzo Lamas. Kevin should have known this.

The tasks themselves weren’t very interesting. I think both tasks this episode were a bit of a toss up. Aside from Gilbert’s horrendously inappropriate joke, both teams were fairly on par, both hovering on the plane of mediocrity without being standout performers.

Which is sort of shame for the second task, since a board room centered around menstruation would have been more interesting than watching Gilbert Gottfried fall on his crude sword. Whether or not that’s more inappropriate that ousting the moon cycle of one of your own teammates remains to be seen.

Watching Vivica A. Fox tell Donald Trump that Olympic Gold Medalist Shawn Johnson was lazy because she was on her period is why this show is still worth watching in its seventh incarnation. Johnson was right to call her out afterwards. A potential fight between the two is the only reason why putting two tasks in the same episode looked to be a mistake. I might have rigged that one in favor of the men just to watch Fox defend the crudeness of her revelations.

Despite the Geraldo/Kevin antics coupled with Johnson’s moon blood, I don’t actually think this episode was negatively impacted by the decision to squeeze two tasks into one episode. The hour-long boardrooms work when there’s material to carry them. Neither boardroom in this episode looked like it would benefit from being twice its own length.

Kevin’s early exit throws a wrench in determining who the real contenders are. It’s obvious at this point that it’s Geraldo’s to lose. That’s a far cry from saying he actually will though.

We’ve seen uber-alpha contestants before like Piers Morgan, Omarosa Manigault-Stalworth, Annie Duke, Jon Rich, Star Jones, and Aubrey O’Day. What separates Morgan and Rich, who won, from the women who lost was that they had friends on the show. Morgan had Lennox Lewis and Carol Alt while Jon Rich had Lil Jon and Meatloaf. Geraldo has some people on his team who don’t appear to hate him, mainly Terrell Owens and Johnny Damon, but having two enemies this early on is going to be a problem.

Despite two victories, the women still didn’t look terribly dominant. Given the lack of talent on the men’s team, this isn’t a huge problem but Gosselin and Fox were both unimpressive project managers who probably would have both been fired if they’d lost. Brandi Glanville and Leeza Gibbons showed some flare as contenders, but it remains to be seen if they have what it takes to really separate themselves from the pack. I’d give Gibbons more of the benefit of the doubt that Glanville given her extensive Hollywood background.

If Geraldo is taken out, we’re likely looking at a repeat of season five, where Arsenio Hall and Clay Aiken flew under the radar to the finals. The vast majority of the contestants are neither standouts nor clear stinkers. Kevin’s firing should serve as a wake up call to Geraldo that simple mistakes can lead to one’s termination, but when the major force of opposition is from two primetime soap opera stars, I find it hard to believe he’ll actually care.

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Celebrity Apprentice Recap: Episode One

Written by , Posted in Blog, Celebrity Apprentice

It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since Celebrity Apprentice All-Star. Which means it’s been three years since we were introduced to an entirely new cast of D list “celebrities” to participate in Donald Trump’s faux reality competition. With stars like Kevin Jonas, Gilbert Gottfried, Shawn Johnson, and Terrell Owens on board, this season looks to be a strong one for the venerable rigged contest.

First episodes are always more about the contestants than the task itself, which makes fundraising challenges the perfect type to start with. It’s important to note that at no point was pie making a central focus of the task. The money is the only thing that matters.

Over the years, we’ve seen Trump and the show itself try to circumvent the fact that the battle of the rolodex doesn’t exactly make for suspenseful television. The past two seasons have featured project managers Paul Teutul Sr. and Trace Adkins bring in such large donations that they barely cared about the task itself at all.

This is where naivety can really come to bite you in the ass. It was pretty clear about thirty-five minutes into the two hour show that not only would the women lose, but that Keisha Knight Pulliam would be the one to go. What was unusual was how blatant Piers Morgan was in essentially telling her that social media didn’t matter at all. Not very Celebrity Apprentice-like to be upfront about it being all about the big money.

Starting off with a money challenge also shows the audience who the real players are right off the bat. It’s an unwritten rule that the PM has to pull most of the weight in a money challenge since his/her team is the only beneficiary of the money that people are presumably saving for themselves. Lorenzo Lamas isn’t going to hit his mother up for two hundred dollars if it’s going to Geraldo Rivera. Surviving a task like this is all about bringing in enough to not draw attention without wasting any of your own high rollers.

The task was pretty straight forward. No one expected Pulliam to beat Rivera. The boardroom was a little more interesting than expected. The Rivera/Jonas dynamic is one to watch out for, especially when Rivera is no longer PM next week. But there was a ton of potential for a Pulliam battle with Kate Gosselin, who had the weirdest boardroom rants since Lou Ferrigno and his 110%.

Raising chump change on a money task when you’re the project manager gets you fired plain and simple. But Gosselin could have been taken down by a savvy player like Omarosa. Problem was that Pulliam was boring. Gosselin had a chance to sink her own ship, but she’s entertaining and that’s what matters. There’s a reason why the show keeps people like Gary Busey, Dennis Rodman, and Rod Blagojevich around as long as humanly possible. They make for good TV.

It’s hard to see who the real frontrunners will be moving forward. Rivera’s attitude doesn’t seem like it will help him in the long haul. He looks destined for more of a Gene Simmons type tenure. Jonas is the most complete package of any of the contestants. He’s outspoken and has a lot of money. Johnny Damon could be a darkhorse, but the men don’t appear to have a ton of juggernauts on their team. It remains to be seen whether Sig Hansen will resemble Paul Teutul or Jesse James in terms of usefulness.

The women’s team is complicated. With two Real Housewives, two Olympic Gold Medalists, and two has-been TV personalities weighing down the team with contestants who have neither star power nor rich backers, Team Infinity doesn’t look very strong.

I don’t think the money will flow quite like it has without a deep roster of money laden celebrities. But the personalities are certainly there. Gottfried delivered right off the bat, looking like savvier Adam Carolla. Snowboarder Jamie Anderson showed charisma and personality. Even Gosselin was surprisingly likable until she started rambling in the boardroom. It should be a very exciting year for The Celebrity Apprentice.

Recaps will continue every Monday throughout the season. The best way to insure you never miss a post is to subscribe to ianthomasmalone.com or to like my Facebook page. Thanks for reading!

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