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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)

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.

Posted by: jackie | March 22, 2011 at 04:54 PM
-_- Typical black women?
Really? I don't condone the women's behavior on the show (even though Star and Nene are the main reason why most people are watching), but did you really need to lump all of us black women together? Let's just forget the other past celebrity seasons where it was white women who were all bitchy. Well, that's white privilege for you guys. Whites can mess up as much as they want and not worry about the destroying the image of all whites.

I am soooo happy Dionne is FIRED! - She was such a nasty old woman. Now maybe these girls can win !!!

@ Tye and Connie...get over yourselves...Star & Dionne's behavior had nothing to do with being strong, competent powerful black women, go sell that crap on ebay or something. They were disgraceful an I for one as a strong black man that appreciates a strong woman am embarrassed at the lack of class and integrity they showed! As I have discovered so are all of the strong successful black females in my family, this isnt a race OR strong willed issue its a ethics and professionalism issue.

As 4 Jackie and your "Walmart Women" comments. That my friend is RACISM at its worse! Although these women showed poor judgment, the statements you have issued are thoroughly debasing and you speak of an entire culture like spittle on the bottom of your shoe that kind of thinking belongs in the stone ages as well as defeats the main purpose of the show altogether of being charitable, kind to others and of people of diverse backgrounds uniting to produce a beneficial affect.

You're all in 4 shock not sure why you are underestimating but
its gonna be Marlee & Lil Jon
in the end! So long Dionne u will not be missed!

when one of dionne warwick songs come on the radio i will turn it off i have not on bit of r-e-s-p-e-c- t anymore for that women. she should be ashame of herself. to treat the stars the way she did on celebrity apprentice was uncalled for. shame shame shame on you dionne warick no diva in my eyes

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