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'Celebrity Apprentice' recap: Donald Trump's circus is back in action, and what a show!

NUP_142225_0010 Justin Bieber probably should have watched the premiere of "Celebrity Apprentice" Sunday night on NBC.

It might have been instructional to see how poor David Cassidy, a 60-year-old man still described as a "teen idol," was humiliated. It could be argued, and it would be true, that "Celebrity Apprentice" is merely a vehicle to humiliate one-time "celebrities." But this was a new low.

I must admit I fall well outside the demographic that knows who David Cassidy is, and I'm even further from knowing anything about his music. But if the Wikipedia entry on him is at all true (I had to look him up to know who he was), this was likely a big step down. 

You know you're clinging onto fame like Mufasa hanging off that cliff in "Lion King" when you've subjected yourself to a comeuppance from Richard Hatch, the dreadful, tax-evading winner of the first "Survivor." And it's clear that things have taken a weird turn when you're relying on Jose Canseco to both protect you and vouch for you.

What can I say? It was a weird night.

Donald Trump certainly corralled an interesting -- to say the least -- group featuring has-beens, former reality stars, a disgraced former athlete and, for good measure, a couple of actual celebrities there because, I suppose, they had nothing better to do. 

The Trump split the group into teams the easiest way possible: men versus women. 

On the men's team, called "Backbone": Canseco, Cassidy, Hatch, Gary Busey, Meat Loaf, Lil Jon, John Rich and Mark McGrath. 

The women called themselves "ASAP," which stands for Artists, Singers, Authors and Professionals -- or, um, something like that. LaToya Jackson, who was labeled as a music icon -- kind of a stretch -- struggled in explaining the team name to the Trump and could never get it quite right.

That team consists of: Jackson, Dionne Warwick, NeNe Leakes, Marlee Matlin (yeah, the Academy Award-winning actress), Hope Dworaczyk, Niki Taylor, Lisa Rinna and Star Jones.

(If you have to Google a good number of these contestants just to figure out who they are, don't worry -- you aren't alone.)

The first challenge was to open a pizzeria to raise money for charity. The ones who think they're connected immediately picked up their phones and began the begging. As you'll learn on reality TV, a phone is never to be put up to the ear. Pssh, that that how the normals do it. A celebrity turns on the speaker phone, holds it in front of his or her face with a loose wrist and uses the loudest outside voice they can muster. 

Others went to work. And a couple started early in their attempt to plow their way to the top. 

They managed to run a pizzeria about as well as many pizzerias are run. There was a line, there were self-important manager types, and there were the lazier employees who wanted a break every five minutes.

Hatch and Jones were the project managers for the men and women, respectively, and they were both equally horrendous. Hatch was bossy, demanding and pushed Cassidy around like a schoolyard bully. Since he outplayed and outlasted everyone else on the island like 10 years ago, it's clear he thinks he's some kind of hot shot. And -- in case you're not connected to reality -- Star Jones knows everything and everyone. Despite shrinking herself into oblivion, she still apparently knows the first family of Bermuda well enough to bother them to donate to her pizza-parlor adventure. 

But there was nothing more egregious than putting Dionne Warwick on the register. It's not Warwick's fault that she couldn't make change or work the credit-card machine; Jones should have seen that coming. (The psychic Warwick should have too, but I'm not going to go there.)

Some of the things made clear in the show weren't surprises: Gary Busey's ramblings can be terrifying and often make no sense whatsoever. Star Jones is, without a doubt, the most important person in any and every room. NeNe Leakes (full disclosure: she is my favorite housewife, period) is waiting in the wings to start up some drama. 

But there were some surprises: Jose Canseco was remarkably tempered and reasonable. I was waiting for a bout of roid rage, especially against Richard Hatch. But he was sensible and stood up for the tiny, defenseless David Cassidy, which is honorable. Apparently, Lil Jon is incapable of verbalizing beyond screaming interjections: "OK!" "Yeaa-yahhh!" "Shots! Shots! Shots!" 

Country-music star John Rich is pretty sharp and witty and is a good addition to the show. Lisa Rinna -- especially now that those unfortunate lip injections have been repaired -- is more than willing to talk trash behind her project manager's back and will likely help Leakes putting some shade on Jones and some of the more foolish ones on the show. (Also Marlee Matlin, why are you doing this? Aren't you better than this?)

Ultimately, the women -- with their cashing in of chits and Niki Taylor's supposedly delicious pizza -- won handily, bringing in well over $100,000, getting something like three times what the men pulled in. The men had to stay behind in the board room with the Trump and his kids, who are business and leadership experts because, of course, the Trump is so wise that such knowledge is just intrinsic for his offspring. 

It was whittled down to Hatch, Canseco and Cassidy. Cassidy squirmed in a pathetic and demoralizing sit-down. He was asked if he was too embarrassed to say anything, and his diminutive size was bandied about. He might as well have hidden behind Canseco, in his amazing bedazzled pinstripe coat, surely a staple of the Ed Hardy Professional Collection. 

That's where the lesson for Justin Bieber comes in. You might be riding high now: Some fool paid $40,000 for your hair, your life has been made into a 3-D movie, and Usher may be your BFF. But be careful, such success is fleeting. One day you will be 60 years old. It might be you being shoved around and bullied by That Man Who Won Some Reality Show a Decade Ago and being judged by a businessman with a punchline of a hairdo.

And it might be you who can't make it past the first episode. 


The Men/Backbone:
David Cassidy
Richard Hatch [project manager]
Jose Canseco
Gary Busey
Meat Loaf
Lil Jon
John Rich
Mark McGrath 

The Women/ASAP
Dionne Warwick 
NeNe Leakes
Marlee Matlin
La Toya Jackson
Hope Dworaczyk
Lisa Rinna
Niki Taylor
Star Jones [project manager]


What did you think? Do you think the Trump should have sent Richard Hatch home instead?

Go ahead make some predictions for the season. It looks like it might be a doozy!

-- Rick Rojas 

Photo: David Cassidy. Credit: Virginia Sherwood / NBC  

Comments () | Archives (40)

I saw that last night, and it was pretty apalling. This clown Hatch, his fame is one season on Survivor (15?) years ago, and going to prison for evading taxes on the money he won on that show, was nothing but a bully, and Trump fed right into it. And to think this man wants to be President? Hatch put his hands on Cassidy. Trump should have watched the tape and he'd have seen it, but in Trump's macho world, bullies are great. David had real fame. He sold out arenas worldwide, sold millions of records, Hatch is the worst kind of human debris imaginable. David is a good person, Hatch is garbage. When I saw the cast list, I read "Richard Hatch" and thought it was the actor from "Streets of San Francisco". Trump should have gotten him.

Cassidy out-classed others and was a gentleman, even getting his daughter to come out and make a generous donation. Hatch is a lying bully and makes the ratings, so Trump chose "drama" over the nice guy, and kept Hatch over Cassidy; no surprise really, because this show is a joke. BTW, Trump commented on another show that he might run for president. Are you kidding me? Trump is a bum because he chooses to keep company with bum.

This episode spoke more about Trump's decision to ignore integrity and reward style than either Hatch's or Cassidy's performances. Donald Trump, YOU'RE fired - from my vote to represent me in any upcoming election. You knowingly passed up the person with integrity and knowingly retained an over-talking liar. YOU LOSE my respect.

What a debacle. In a time where the focus is on stopping bullies and ending inappropriate physical behaviors towards others -- and especially since this show was broadcast after a special on BULLYING and how to protect yourself -- Trump should be ashamed. What a pathetic and pitiful way to be an attention whore, let's aggrandize and reward behaviors that any legitimate employer or person would find actionable in a court of law.

I LOVE DAVID! But i TOTALLY understand why he was so eager to be canned by the donald....that richard dude is so ICKY! he kept touching david and david was GROSSED out by him!

Bullying is a big national problem in our schools. Donald Trump gave bullys a big thumbs up by choosing to fire David Cassidy, the victim, instead of Richard Hatch, the bully! The bullying was subtle, but Hatch crossed the line with physical shoving and intimidation. I will not watch a show that promotes such behavior.

It's clear that Presidential hopeful Trump has a bully streak. He not only reveled in the bullying, he was part of it. How rude he was to Cassidy because he wanted him to "fight" for himself. It was shameful the way Cassidy was treated and a Big Bad Bully was rewarded. So painful to watch don't know if I can do a season of it. Know he wants ratings but it was a big turnoff for me.

This episode should be titled 'Scapegoating 101' or 'What I Failed to Learn in Kindergarten.'

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link so loyalty to absent members ie; gossip and backbiting, bullying, name calling and ignoring member consensus to fire Mr. Hatch weakened the alloy of (Backbone) team-building by alpha dog Mr.Trump- who should know that the rot starts from within. Richard Hatch's modus operandi is cannibalistic, rather putrid, definitely contagious as he works hard to make the world affirm his inner muck, um...borderline personality. Too bad. But, what were Mr. Cassidy's ideas before he was pushed and shushed- we'll never know, that was what should have been discussed post-mortem, not dog baiting for ratings. Presidential? Not really and that's for real.

Low as low can go. Was like watching two Bully's on the playground, Trump and Hatch should be ashamed of themselves, will never watch the show again!

Please get off your high horse, certain posting commentators, this is not the lowest-of-the-low TV. It's pretty darn entertaining. It's so boring to take everything so seriously & you're being petty.

I believe Cassidy's mistake was (at least twice) turning to Jose during the boardroom, obviously looking for support. In order to be heard, you don't defer like that in any work scenerio: project, business or playground.

That being said, I'm not saying that is why Cassidy went bye bye. Not with utter certainty. The show may have wanted Richard Hatch on a little longer. The audience is going to love to hate him. I can't wait to see what Hatch does next week! I hate him already!

I was shocked that trump let cassidy go home. whats wrong with him letting hatch waiver around him except that cassidy new that hatch had it in for him at the 1st. he like picked on him like a bully & mean. hes not a person to do business with. I just hope they wake up & get him off the show. his true colors will fang out. cassidy is good hard working & deserves to be back on their. this is the 1st time I've thought trump was stupid.

I thought that our country was going to stop bullying and make an effort to be...well...kinder and gentler. Guess not. I have never been a big fan of Celebrity Apprentice and now, I never will be. I will never watch it again. Sunday's show was just sad and embarrassing. Picking on someone and being cruel is not entertainment to me. I am old enough to remember David Cassidy in his hay day....which I realize was quite a number of years ago, but seriously, the writer of this article had to look him up to know who he was? Anyway, at one time he had the largest fan club in the world.....bigger than the Beatles or Elvis Presley.

Obviously, David Cassidy is too much of a gentleman to be on a show like this. I just don't think he is a confrontational kind of person. He was doing the show for one of the greatest causes in the world...Alzheimer's research. My father just passed away in January from that horrible, dreadful disease.

Back to bullying...I think American Idol is a really good show this year. So many people thought the show would be ruined without Simon Cowell. I didn't and I was right. Every once in a while us really old people over 30 do get something right. I think Simon got off by being a bully and this added nothing to the show. Bullies don't add anything to a show in my opinion...Idol, Apprentice...or any other show...reality or otherwise.

I am afraid Celebrity Apprentice this season will end up being the NeNe and Star show, or some other wacky situation. What a total waist of time!

Donald Trump is thinking of running for President and he can't even figure out who the liars are on his own TV show? He didn't even SMELL a rat in Richard Hatch? That is sad....just so sad....

This is going to be a fun season for Trump fans. He says what's on his mind.

I believe Mr. Cassidy has merited respect through his many years in the entertainment business. Cassidy sold over 25 million records, garnered multiple Grammy nominations, won a Golden Globe Award, performed in Vegas and in theater on Broadway. He is a gifted musician and actor who has the respect and love of many. Look a little more into his work and you will find more than a former teen idol.

David Cassidy was the reason I watched this season's show. Needless to say, I am done watching.

Before you write an article of this nature, please do some research. All you have to do is skip over to youtube. Your snide remark, "I must admit I fall well outside the demographic that knows who David Cassidy is," was uncalled for. Nick at Nite as well as Hulu have both shown episodes of "The Partridge Family." In the 90s, David Cassidy was on Broadway in Blood Brothers, and has had a career outside of being a teen idol. I guess it is easier to make snide remarks than to do a little research. We are all, who we are on the planet. No one deserves to be made fun of for your or our amusement. However, you mentioned that Nene Leakes was your favorite housewife. She has proven to be loud, obnoxious, and mean-spirited. Similar to some of your comments in this article.

Although I did not view the full episode, and can only comment on the trailers that I did see; I felt that a great injustice was done to David Cassidy. HE clearly should not have been the one going home! Usually the weight falls onto the Project Manager's shoulders....so in that case, would be Mr. Hatch. And he is headed back to serve time AGAIN anyway. Clearly a non win for the men!

It is so disappointing to see how shallow and egotistical Star Jones and Dionne Warwick really are. There is no way to deny that these two women showed the world their diva, self-absorbed attitudes on the show. They huffed and puffed about having their names placed on a childrens' book as creator and conceptor. How petty! They should have been focused on winning the task for the charity and not on their own egos. You would think women of their stature and ages would be more sophisticated. How disappointing.



Sorry Donald, I usually think that your choice of who is fired is absolutely right, but I don't think so this time on the women's team. Dionne and Star should both have gone home. I'll be watching to see them both kicked off the show in the future. Of course, you probably knew this and that was your motive for keeping them on.
I believe you picked the right man to leave on the men's team.
I really enjoy the Apprentice.
I feel you are a very fair person, and would vote for you if you run for President.

Let's make some lemonade out of lemons: 1) New Reality Show: The David Cassidy Show with his family and the former castmates of The Partridge Family and 2) A season of Celebrity Apprentice All Stars!

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