Monday, March 28, 2011

Celebrity Apprentice Recap: Dionne Warwick Makes a Cowardly Exit from Boardroom

Article first published as TV Open Thread: Celebrity Apprentice Recap - Dionne Warwick Makes a Cowardly Exit from Boardroom on Blogcritics.

This week, the women’s team began the task with fairly low morale. Having lost two weeks in a row, the team was down to only seven members. A well-stocked team could let lightweights LaToya, Dionne, and Hope slide, but clearly the women had their work cut out for them before they stepped out of the gate.

The teams were tasked with creating a 30-second commercial showcasing the ACN videophone. ACN executives stressed the importance of creating an emotional connection rather than focusing on function. The women, led by Nene, immediately centered on family, creating a spot where a young girl in France communicated with loving parents in America. Academy Award Winner Marlee took the role of the mother, while Grammy Winner Dionne stepped up as French host mother. The women made an excellent video.

However, ACN sales reps would select the best video, not company executives. The men saw this as an opportunity to "think outside the box" and roll the dice. They created an edgy concept called "Tommy Gets Engaged," a gag that "went for the gay angle" by casting a make-up-laden Jose in the role of Tommy’s fiancĂ©.

"It’s either gonna go over real big when we deliver the punch line or it’s gonna go down badly," said PM Lil Jon. "Gay Jose" was their punch line, the fiancĂ© presented at the end. On the other end of the videophone, Gary played a doddering grandfather clad only in black socks and bathrobe. During filming, he accidentally flashed "Big Wednesday" to the camera. Cut! Edit.

For the fourth week in a row, almost everyone on Team Backbone accused Gary of being difficult to manage. "Gary lives in his own world and has no consideration for other people’s space," complained Meat. Jon did his best to manage the distraction. "Just relax," Jon kept saying to Gary. "I am relaxed," Gary shot back. "Okay, then sit down," ordered Jon. Judging by the promotion for next week’s show, Gary better watch his back.

Same goes for LaToya. Supposedly due to LASIC surgery, LaToya suffered bouts of blurry vision. Nene assigned her the role of timekeeper then complained her 11-year old could handle such an easy job. LaToya was taken aback and defended her work for the team. LaToya is clearly a drag on the team, despite the praise heaped upon her last week.

Nene also complained about Dionne, saying she left the task too early. While the rest of Team A.S.A.P. patiently hung around in the editing room, Dionne hugged Nene goodbye. "Oh, you’re leaving?" Nene asked as she hugged her back. "Well, bye. Thank you," she said as Dionne exited.

"My body said, girlfriend, it’s time for you to lay down. And being that I am the matriarch of the group, I felt I deserved a little bit of a reprieve," Dionne crowed privately to the camera. Oh brother, did that ever come back to bite her in the patooty.

Yes, the men gambled on their concept, hoping executives wouldn’t be too offended, and won the task in a 53-47 vote. Everyone on Team Backbone praised Jon’s leadership abilities and cheered his $40K win for The United Methodist Children’s Home. The women also praised Nene as PM. It wasn’t that her team failed – the vote was very close – rather, the men’s big gamble paid off.

But even before a victor was announced the women were at each other’s throats. At one point, Nene cried.

"What is going on with the women’s team? It’s the third week in a row you’ve lost. There has to be a reason for it. Who is your weakest player? Who could your team do without?" demanded The Donald.

It took a while for the claws to come out, but eventually, Nene and Hope pointed the finger at Dionne, while Star and Marlee fingered LaToya. After their very public feuding, I’m surprised Nene didn’t dump on Star. Then Dionne did something stupid. Just like Niki the week before, she essentially accepted the blame for her team’s loss and agreed that she should be fired.

"I seem to be the one who has no problem saying what I have to say and that may be a bit intimidating," speculated Dionne. "It seems that everyone wants to get rid of Dionne," she continued, referring to herself in third person. "If that’s the way you feel, it’s cool." The men, watching from the waiting room, were stunned.

It took prodding from Star and The Donald to get Dionne to change her tune. Star blamed the team’s repeated losses on women who won’t stay and fight for their charities. The Donald agreed that Dionne was basically quitting.

"I can go forward," protested Dionne, "I don’t want to go, but everyone wants me gone."

"Not true," countered Ivanka. "There are people on the team who want LaToya fired."

But The Donald would not let Dionne off the hook. "It’s too late. You did the wrong thing," he admonished, "Dionne, you’re fired." Once all the women were out of the boardroom, he turned to Don, Jr. and Ivanka, saying, "She looked me in the eye and challenged me to fire her. No one gets away with that."

Lesson learned. Do not accept blame unless you’re prepared to be fired. Dionne acted like a whimpering fool, trying to go out as a class act, then changing her mind midway, trying to claw her way back in. It doesn’t work that way in Trump Nation. No one who agrees to be fired walks out of the boardroom unscathed.

Dionne had the nerve to call Nene a coward, but the one with the big yellow stripe running down her back was Dionne as she walked to the elevator.

Read My Other Season 4 Reviews:

Lisa Rinna Thrown Under the Bus

Niki Taylor Loses Battle of Airheads

Nene Leakes Rips LaToya Jackson a New One