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'Celebrity Apprentice' recap: The tale of the class act and the 'hussy'

NUP_143136_0034I must admit, I almost didn't feel like watching "Celebrity Apprentice" on Sunday night. It was rainy, I was tired -- I couldn't take such drama. Or so I thought. The producers knew all I needed was a little NeNe to get into it. 

She's been flying under the radar on "Celebrity Apprentice"  -- and, alas, she continued on that path last night -- but she's what hooked me in. And the fact that she was in an RV only helped: The last time a television audience saw NeNe in such a vehicle, she had joined fellow Atlanta housewives Kim Zolciak and Kandi Burruss on tour and lashed out Kim in another one of their brilliant blowups.

Unfortunately, being stuck in an RV didn't rekindle any anger in NeNe. But it was a heck of an episode, nonetheless, with Gary Busey and Dionne Warwick picking up the slack, to be sure.

But I jumped ahead: Why was there an RV involved in the first place? The assignment this week was for the two teams to market Camping World and their recreation vehicles. Busey was project manager for the men's team; Niki Taylor led the women. 

Busey led the team as one would expect. He muttered; he was disorganized, keeping no tabs on the proceedings. He was perfectly content, offering up acronyms for words that needed no further explanation. ("Team," for example, means in Busey speak: "Together everyone achieving more.")

Mark McGrath just kept flipping out, constantly panicking but doing very little to fix it. Jose Canseco was just a big lug who contributed nothing. 

The saving grace for the men came, once again, from the two strongest, classiest and respectable men on the team: Meat Loaf and John Rich. Rich, especially, worked tirelessly, picking up everyone else's slack and carrying the team with wit and creativity. 

After the mess that last week was for the women -- and even before that, with the pizza parlor -- Team ASAP managed to pull itself together under Taylor. They gussied up the RVs, they got along relatively well; it seemed to go smoothly and without any of the catfights that have, unfortunately, plagued the team thus far. 

But then there's Dionne Warwick.

Star Jones toned down her antagonistic ways. But Warwick was sassy and difficult to work with and just plain rude. That episode of "Walker, Texas Ranger" she was in will never be the same to me again. She has contributed little to the show and the chemistry of its cast.

This season's cast has shown a remarkable cohesiveness. Just as we saw in the first episode in which Canseco stood up for the seemingly meek former teen idol David Cassidy, a spirit of camaraderie has persisted throughout the show. In just this episode, we learned that the marvelous Marlee Matlin helped Busey, who apparently is hearing impaired, get fitted with virtually invisible hearing aids. 

But Warwick has gone completely against that. She doesn't even push buttons in that it's-OK-it's-just-reality-TV kind of way. She simply comes across as a fading legend to the rest of the world who's still queen in her own mind, thus giving her the clearance to demean those around her. 

I must credit her with a line worthy of the pantheon of reality-TV quotables, though, which came after she raised a ruckus with Taylor: "I got your number, hussy!" I can see that printed on T-shirts.

Ultimately, the men were the dark horse, propelled by Rich and Loaf (should he actually be called Mr. Loaf on second reference?), to win the contest. And for a second week, the women had to stay behind. 

It was a quick and simple firing but perhaps historic for the Boardroom, in the class and dignity shown by those fired. Taylor refused to throw her teammates under the bus, even with Warwick, who should have gone home. 

Taylor said it was her team; she was project manager, and if blame was to be assigned, it should go to her. 

It speaks volumes about a show when the one who's lauded by everyone in the room for her integrity, for her grace and for her honesty is sent home. The troublemaker who contributes next to nothing survives to see another challenge.

— Rick Rojas

Photo: Dionne Warwick goes shopping for wares to decorate one of Team ASAP's RVs on "Celebrity Apprentice." Credit: Douglas Gorenstein / NBC

Comments () | Archives (45)

Nikki was one heck of an honest real lady? See not many in the group of women was going to tear her down in the end per they respected her. Star did grow up a little and drop her former being a prosecutor and Dionne sounds like one very bitter getting older woman, I now just feel sorry for her and yet I grew up with her in the 60's and loved her music oh well, such is life, not everything is as it seems?

Taylor should have stuck up for herself. She did not lose the task. She forgot to relate how when she told Dion to go buy trees to make it look like an outdoor experience, Dion insisted on using precious time go to Bed, Bath and Beyond to buy colorful things for her kitchen.

She ended up not getting any outdoor, critical items like the trees she was instructed to buy. If I was Taylor I would have called her to make sure she got to Home Depot to purchase the items.

Taylor also should have related how Dion was sassing her in front of customers. Dion was more concerned about the teammate's whereabouts stating she was entering the "wrong" RV (no one assigned RVs anyway) than listening to the project manager's instructions that everyone can give tours and assist the customers.

It is a disaster that Taylor went home...Dion needs to go..she is a hindrance to the team. I am surprised no one else stuck up for Taylor. Perhaps it is strategy because they know they can get Dion off soon. Taylor was more of a threat.

The show is very disappointing,the wrong people get fired and for the wrong reasons. As for the 2 posters on here Tye and Connie, your posts are ridiculous. This has nothing to do with race,no has a problem with strong women except inferior men. Leave your prejudice comments out.I hope Latoya,Meatloaf or John Rich win.

Ms. Warwick,

It's sad that you display such a non-existent level of class and professionalism.

Sadly, I saw you in concert. You appeared bothered to have to perform in front of a paying audience. It was the most regretful investment of $10.75 I have ever made for a cheap Laughlin outdoor concert.

You are only on the Celebrity Apprentice as an example of what a bitter, washed-up, and mean-spirited former star looks like. Too bad that the need for ratings superseded the premise of the show; business talent. So shame on the network! You are causing the viewers to lose interest by allowing Warwick to taint the show.

Warwick, you are a terrible human disgrace to your discipline. Too bad you ruined a "perceived" image of class.

Good luck.

Dionne Warwick.......It would seem by your age you would have learned to have some class and be able to treat others with respect. Instead acted like a back stabbing, lazy, self -centered racist. You need to sit and figure out how to treat people before you leave the house again. I would be embarrassed if I were you. Lost all respect for you!

I think Jose Conseco is a plant by Donald Trump to stir things up. You notice two traits about him every episode: first, he always "goes on the record" as objecting to this or that - the "I'm just saying . . ." schtick. Second, he sits on his behind and does pretty much absolutely nothing and nobody really gets in his face about it, including The Donald! After watching season after season of The Apprentice in either flavor, there are some things you can count on - there will always be a controversial personality that is usually fired by the fourth or fifth episode, and the fact that something will always go wrong for either competitor in the finale, even if things are running perfectly. I can see why that happens in the finale, though. If I were going to be paying some unknown a huge amount of money to work for me, I would absolutely want to know how they handle the curveballls tossed at them in the working world. If they can't handle it there, they won't be doing it on my dime, either!

My prediction for the finale? John Rich and Star Jones, and it will be a close one!

I think that Nikki should have been more direct on how the outside should have looked. I think that's what Star was trying to do when she called to ask Nikki about the "experience". I didn't see how Dionne was rude when she approached Nikki; I just wished that Dionne would have dropped it. One thing is true that NeNe said to Star 'you're not the project manager". This reminds me of my workplace. Some people think that their opinion should be accepted; but as a team member just make your suggestion and let it be if you are not the project manager. I think that's what's going to irritate NeNe about Star and Dionne. I think it's going to be Meatloaf & Star.

I am devastated at the behavior of Dionne Warwick. She is a mean, bitter, judgmental, bullying witch. I want her voted off, and take her counterpart Star Jones to the bat cave with her. Dionne was totally out line for calling Niki out of her name, she needs to pick up her psychic side gig and pray that her royalty checks continue to roll in. A word of wisdom for Dionne, you have shown thousands of people who you truly are, ugly inside and out.......

New Name-


The women from the walmart. No class head whiping, finger pointing typical black women. I used to think Donald Trump has a lot of class but after seeing his selection of these women, Dionne, star Jones, Nene, its call the Walmart women. Donald look at your wife and daughter and you pick these walmart women.

I understand that Dionne is 70 years old, but if she doesn't have the energy to do the show, then why sign on. It comes to no surprise that Nene and Star are the way they are, because that is what they are famous for. Their strong characters and opinions that get people riled up, probably why they are on the show. Dionne was perceived differently by her fans. They hold her in a higher light, than the other two. So it is disappointing to see a great legend act in a way that would lower her light.

I am so sad that in this day & time we are still mired in racism. Dionne Warwick is filled with hate for white people. If a white person would have made the comment,"she's so black" as Dionne did about Nikki Taylor only with the words "she's so white" the NAACP would be involved. The Donald was a big wussy & did't even mention it!!! Get over yourself Dionne. The world sees you for what you are.

Dear Mr Trump- You really blew it on this selection. What happened to your smart choices. I just hope this is not how you are going to make choices if you become the president of this country. No one needs to watch the show to see the nastiness of these " WALMART WOMEN" . We all know how they are. Only Tyler Perry picks the WALMART WOMEN for his stupid movies. " Why dont you call the show the colored girls apprentice, pretty soon they will put you in your place as well, I cant wait to see Star Jones the leader of the WALMART WOMEN move her head back and forth and put you , your son and daughter in your place. It is pretty clear that Nicki wanted out of there so she picked herself to be the manager and knew that would be her way out of the hole. Nicki rather spent her with her kids and family than with the. Just looking at Dione is nasty her outside and inside, thats a true WALMART WOMENS diary. Be careful MR. TRUMP these walmart women will beat you, your daughter and your son up. Wait until you say "fired " to one of these walmart women , they will be all over you, they knock you off the chair, you have any hair left. You need to find a way to cancel the whole show now.

Mr. Rich's comment about- if it needs lifting I lift it- was inspiring, so quintessentially American particularly in context with the unreliable contrarian Conseco, who may have an Adonis Complex, sadly pitiable but making time to throw a baseball around while camping counts for a heck of a lot.

Wonder if Ms. Taylor had a near death experience after her accident years ago which would explain her Graceful success with achieving team harmony (except for songstress Ms. Warwick whose sense of humor? seems racist, mostly Dionne is narrowly and crudely ignorant). Beyond racism, bigotry has many definitions and is always corrosive in a group situation- ask any beautiful women what other women say to her when they think no-one is listening- it ain't pretty.

One of my favorite authors Iyanla Vanzant says “when you see crazy coming, cross the street”. I think the integrity filled and classy Niki Taylor did just that.

I watch Niki, Latoya, Marlee & Lisa when Star & Dionne speak and it seems as though they go a bit quiet and stumble on responding due to not knowing how to process and respond to the mean spirited, aggressive, instigating words and physical mannerisms that come from them. I realize we don’t see all of the footage but these don’t appear to be situations to immediately jump to these types of reactions. It’s as though N,L,M&L were taught to be respectful (of self and others) and S&D weren’t or chose not to be. Nastiness, bullying is the route they choose. And it appears it gets them places since the descent people involved don’t know how to respond to crazy. It’s as though they’d have to allow themselves to get pulled in and become disrespectful and nasty which is NOT who they are.

I do agree that this show is representing the core of what is dividing our country. However, I believe it has less to do with racism and more to do with descency and respect of self as well as others.

And then reality hits and I remember that this is a TV show so of course they’re going to hire the mix that will best create the drama and get the ratings. How interesting… a show about raising money for charities (doing great things) while (doing not so great things) bullying and treating other humans disrespectfully and nasty. I wonder if Donald Trump has realized the big picture.

It is truly a shame that people like Warwick and Jones are rewarded for their inability to be a part of the team, get along and put their petty self-serving attitudes aside. Unfortunately, that is what is wrong in the work place these days. Those with ethics, who are hard-working, have respect, class, work hard and don't put others down or throw their coworkers under the bus are left behind. These are the individuals who are overlooked and punished because their sense of fair play and honesty make them appear weak. The rude, difficult, deceitful and even lazy individuals are the one who get ahead and promoted. They know how to play the system, take credit for other people's ideas/work and have no problem lying and throwing anyone under the bus to save their own neck. I have worked in a government position for more than twenty years and watched it repeatedly.
You want to know why people have become so self-serving, because they have learned that's the way you win. It is a real shame and not something I hope to ever be!! I never had respect for Jones but Warwick, she needs to just fade away!!

Wow- look at all of the comments which so clearly reflect how much of a disappointment that Dionne Warwick really is. EVERYONE in each of the posts have been astonished at what she really is and how poorly she behaves. And, it's funny because most have judged her on her PERSONALITY- NOT.. on her race or nationality. ANYone who wants to make common human behavior a race thing need to step back on the race card.. cuz, it's not about that.. it's about personality and ethic..NOT race... let's get REAL kids!

I love reading these comments, because I have been sitting watching the first three episodes of Apprentice in a row and found myself seething! Do the women not understand that the main objective, ultimately, is to raise money for people's charities. Do they get the meaning of "teamwork?" What is it with Star Jones talking about "don't mess with me!!!!" She has lost any class she might have had. How embarrassing is Dionne 's behavior. I hired her 20 years ago and tried to tell people that her ego outshone her talent by a long shot....so glad the world is getting a chance to see her true colors. What is it with the chip on their shoulders with these two women. There wasn't anyone there to attack them...but they just came out fighting! Too bad.

A few commenters have raised the issue of race on this season of The Apprentice. The first two women fired were White. Had Mr. Trump fired two black women first, he would have certainly been accused of being a racist. So in the interest of fairness to Whites, I'll say this: It was racist of Trump to fire two White women in a row. Obviously, he did it because he was afraid of being perceived as a racist if he fired any of the black women first, even though some of them clearly deserved it. It's disturbing to see the black women on this show stick together as "sisters," while the White women don't do the same. It was interesting to watch how the White women sat in the board room and were afraid to support Rhinna while Star Jones and Warwick executed their vendetta against her. When blacks attack Whites, it's more important to lay low and not be seen as a racist then it is to stand up for one another. Shame on those White women. Speak out and stick together.

John Rich has his qualities. He with Meat Loaf did do most of the work here, including lifting a generator that weighed just about as much as he does. He also quickly wrote an excellent little ditty for the occasion. But challenging everyone to a fight perpetuates the stereotype advanced by Jose, and calls into serious question if country music fans are indeed lower intelligence and class as Jose suggests. As if "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)"--the most insulting song to country music ever written--didn't do that enough already. As a country fan myself, I know that Jose was wrong--both about the stereotype and the suitability of the ditty to the project. However, John didn't help matters any by his reaction, and he should watch himself more closely in the future.

Taylor is not classy...she left like a coward dog with its tail between its legs...she was scared to stay because she didn't have a backbone to stand up against the others...the coward needed to go.......

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