When I heard about who was in the cast of this season’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” I wasn’t overly excited. There were a few people I was sort of interested in, like Dionne Warwick and David Cassidy, but I didn’t really hold out too much hope that it would be a good great season. Boy, was I wrong about everything!
First, there’s the cast, which has surely proven to me that appearances are deceiving. It is made up of: LaToya Jackson (Michael’s sister,) Gary Busey (crazy actor,) Star Jones (former “View” co-host,) NeNe Leakes (“Real Housewives of Atlanta,”) Lisa Rinna (actress,) Marlee Matlin (actress,) Dionne Warwick (singer and Psychic Friend,) David Cassidy (’70′s heart throb,) John Rich (country singer,) Richard Hatch (winner of the first “Survivor,”) Meat Loaf (rock legend,) Mark McGrath (former lead singer,) Jose Conseco (former baseball player and steroid user,) Lil Jon (rapper,) Niki Taylor (super model,) and Hope Dworaczyk (Playboy Playmate of the Year.)
The very first episode got off to such a rollicking start that I just knew this season would be a load of fun. All of my preconceptions were thrown to the wind. People I thought I liked have turned out to be villains. People I didn’t like have won me over. And all of these strong personalities have made for a tinderbox just waiting to be ignited! Great TV!
Before I get to the Good and the Bad and the Busey, I want to take a minute to talk about players who didn’t have a chance. David Cassidy whom, by the way, I never had crush on in his “Partridge Family” days, has joined the club of “celebrities-who-have-had-too-much-plastic-surgery.” Seriously! He’s 61 and his face is as smooth as a baby’s behind. But it’s stretched so tightly that I feared that any moment his stitches would pop and all of his facial skin would collapse around his jaw like a basset hound’s! I think David had hoped to be more of a hot-shot than this show allows. He turned out to be whiny and was soon sent home. Lisa Rinna, who I kind of didn’t mind, forgot to make friends and when the sharks began to circle, she had no allies and was gulped up quickly and sent home. Niki Taylor was really soft-spoken and nice and on this show nice girls finish, if not last, then pretty fast. She’s gone. And Richard Hatch who was absolutely diabolical on the first “Survivor,” thinks he’s going to win this, but I can tell that the guys are less than impressed with him. I think his days are numbered.
As for the Good - Marlee Matlin, whom I have never much cared for before, has become my hero. She’s one of the few women who will step up and tell it like it is to Donald Trump. Her translator is so good and fast, that her deafness hasn’t been a problem at all. She calls people on their hypocrisy and doesn’t allow herself to be rolled over. I’m pulling for her. LaToya Jackson, while not exactly a powerhouse of initiative, seems so sweet that I can’t help but like her. And NeNe Leakes, whom I’ve never seen on the “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” is coming across as a real person, not perfect, but trying. Hope Dworaczyk, the Playmate, has kept a pretty low profile, but so far she hasn’t pissed me off.
On the men’s team I’ve taken a real shine to Meat Loaf, who, surprisingly, has a very sentimental streak and cries when talking about his charity. Mark McGrath, John Rich and Lil Jon all seem to be really nice guys. I’m wondering if any of them will be able to sharpen up their knives when they need to.
Now for the Bad – On the men’s team, Jose Conseco is the baddest of the bad. This guy is not only rude, but lazy, as well. On the last task, while others were working their tails off, he spent most of the time relaxing in a recliner or playing catch with Gary Busey. Since he’s a former baseball player, I’m very surprised that he has no concept of being a team player.
But the real baddies are on the women’s team. Here we have two. Star Jones is the slippery kind of villain. She is totally nice to your face and when you turn around, she’ll stab you in the back. Honestly, when she’s explaining herself, she’s so persuasive that I can see why someone would buy into it. But I also see how she manipulates everyone and everything. I believe she’s probably the most dangerous player and has a good chance of winning.
Then there’s Dionne Warwick. Oh boy, did I ever have her wrong! She has been the most despicable, rude, arrogant and lazy player I’ve ever seen. I got so mad watching her that I often wanted to throw something at the television! For one task the teams had to write a children’s book. As the women brainstormed the idea of diversity, Marlee suggested that one of the characters could be deaf. Dionne piped up and said, “Oh no! That would be too sad and pathetic! We don’t want the kids to feel sorry for a character like that.” Marlee came right back with “Well, I’m deaf and I’m not sad and pathetic!” Dionne just ignored her, like she ignores everyone who disagrees with her. She insisted on having her way and the team lost. Since then, I could tell that the other team members were becoming frustrated with how slowly she does things and how she’ll refuse to listen to anyone. Up until last Sunday they left her alone in the Boardroom because “Well, she IS a legend,” or “Well, when I get to be her age…” But she pushed them too far. She’s so rude and mean-spirited that I refuse to play any of my Dionne Warwick albums ever again. It was a joy to hear Donald Trump tell her: “You’re Fired!”
And then there’s Gary Busey! I’ll admit he’s a bit out there and I know he’s driving his team crazy, but I see a bit of underlying sweetness in him. He’s told people that after a bad motorcycle injury he had a traumatic brain injury and that’s the charity he’s playing for. When his team complained in the Boardroom that he doesn’t always listen to them, he made an interesting admission. He said that just the week before Marlee told him she thought his hearing was compromised and fixed him up with a specialist. He said he now has a hearing aid and exclaimed, “she changed my world!” It kind of brings home the idea of not judging someone too soon, doesn’t it? It wasn’t that he wasn’t listening. It was that he couldn’t hear. And, crazy as he may be, when he was Project Manager, his team won. Maybe it was his very spaciness that made his team work harder. Who knows? That could be his strategy…although I doubt it.
Like I said, I can tell this show is going to get better and better with each week. You don’t have to be a regular viewer to enjoy it. So, if you want to have a peek, it’s on NBC Sunday night from 8 to 10 central time. It’s a great escape. And it’s fun to watch. Just thought I’d share that with you.