You can roll your eyes all your want, but I can't stop watching this 'Celebrity Apprentice.' Not only do I watch, but thanks to the unpredictable craziness of Gary Busey, Star Jones, Meat Loaf, and Dionne Warwick, I actually look forward to Sunday nights on NBC. 'Big Love' finale? It can wait. 'Mildred Pierce' premiere? It'll be there tomorrow...
Only four episodes in, this season of 'Celebrity Apprentice' has been downright educational -- and we don't mean the imparted wisdom from Busey's inspirational anagrams. No, the most surprising, though not very useful nugget I've gleaned so far, is that Dionne Warwick is a great big bully.
There was a nice moment in last night's boardroom showdown when someone slipped up and suggested that losing Project Manager NeNe Leakes might actually be scared of Dionne. NeNe and Donald Trump both quickly jumped in to clarify: No, no, no. NeNe just "respects Ms. Warwick."
"I think we all do," Trump added. Well, I'd say we all did -- before we saw her on this show.
Actually, I take that back. On second thought, I think the other contestants on 'Celebrity Apprentice' probably do still respect Dionne Warwick. The same way you respect bears, the ocean, and rattlesnakes.
NeNe Leakes predicted in the first episode that Dionne would probably be in the competition till the end because no one wanted to argue with her about anything. She was a Music Legend. She was intimidating. She was nasty. And it turns out that the collective deference to Dionne contributed to her downfall.
When the legendary singer, who is 70, asked NeNe if she could skip out early on the project to get some rest back at the hotel (or did she simply tell her she was going?), NeNe didn't argue. She didn't like it, but she didn't argue.
(Note: NeNe claimed later that Dionne simply told her she was leaving, but Dionne insists she asked and was told it was okay. I say, even if she asked, what the heck is NeNe supposed to tell a 70-year-old woman who wants a break? That she can't stop? How easy would it have been to paint NeNe as a monster if she'd done that?! NeNe did the only thing she could have done in that situation, in my opinion).
However it went down, Dionne wasn't with the rest of the team as they worked on the final edit of their 30-second commercial, and it didn't go unnoticed by the Son of Trump who visited the worksite. When that issue was raised in the boardroom after the all-female ASAP team narrowly lost their challenge, NeNe admitted it bothered her that Dionne left, but that she hadn't tried to stop her from leaving.
I think Dionne was on her way to surviving that dust-up, but she made a fatal error when Trump asked her who she would fire and she told him (sarcastically? in jest? feeling out a little martyrdom?) that maybe she should go home if everyone else felt that way.
First of all, everyone else didn't feel that way. Second of all, the surest ticket home on 'Celebrity Apprentice' is the one purchased with even the smallest sign of weakness. If you offer to go home or hint that you should go home or say that you can't compete with the others, you are dead in the water.
Dionne tried to backtrack and save herself, after it was pointed out to her that she had earned exactly zero dollars for her charity, but it was too late. Trump fired her. He had no choice, he said.
And lest you feel bad for the little old lady who got booted off the show, there was the stunning moment on her way to the elevators when teammate NeNe (who, for the record, wanted LaToya Jackson fired, not Dionne) tried to hug Dionne and tell her goodbye. Dionne pulled away and glared at her: "You a coward!" she said.
It just seems fitting that Dionne left in a snit. And it was quite the contrast to last week when everyone heralded model Niki Taylor's classy exit.
I would never have thought Miss Do You Know the Way to San Jose would act like that, but then a colleague reminded us this morning that she is Whitney Houston's
aunt cousin. I had forgotten. That explains so many things.
Other thoughts from last night's show:
-"Big Wednesday." I almost threw up when Gary Busey (right, with Meat Loaf), clad in a robe and apparently nothing else, casually informed an anonymous commercial actress (a stranger!!) that that was what his girlfriend calls his "apparatus." Which he had just flashed. NBC's pixelation of Busey's crotch was enough to inspire nightmares for the rest of my life.
-Once again, rapper Lil John and country singer John Rich prove the most capable of all contestants.
-Why y'all gotta pick on LaToya because her Lasik'd eye was blurry? Sure, all she did during the challenge was remind NeNe of the time. But you know why? BECAUSE NENE TOLD HER THAT HER JOB WAS TO KEEP TRACK OF THE TIME!
-I'm almost sad Dionne is gone, because now I can't use any more of her song titles in my headlines.
-Loved Star Jones' epiphany at the beginning of the episode, upon considering two consecutive losses for her team, that they should maybe pull together and try to win. As a team. So, her earlier strategy of throwing the project manager under the bus to get them eliminated was actually destroying the team?? Doh!
'Celebrity Apprentice' airs on Sunday nights at 9pm on NBC. Next week, Meat Loaf totally and completely and pretty violently loses his $#*! on national television. You do not want to miss that.