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'Celebrity Apprentice' recap: Gary Busey tries to go big, but – finally — goes home

April 18, 2011 |  7:30 am

NUP_143140_0069 On "Celebrity Apprentice" Sunday night, it was clear the men wanted just one thing from Donald Trump: deliverance from Gary Busey.

It makes sense why: The noted actor — and, for some reason, a Trump favorite — was treated like the scourge of his team. He was distracting, he could be offensive, his head seemed to be operating in a different dimension than the rest of his teammates. And by last week, the team that had been handily trouncing the women at the onset of the season was weak and diminished. 

This was Busey's time to go big or go home. Guess which way he went?


Gary Busey video: My team has a conspiracy against me

For the challenge this week, the two teams were tasked with preparing a cooking show for Omaha Steaks and creating a variety package from the Omaha Steaks catalog. This was a creative mission, centered around their ability to market a brand. The women were led by Hope Dworaczyk, who finally had her chance to serve as project manager.

The men put Busey in charge. After all the talk from the boardroom that Busey was perhaps some kind of manipulative genius (rather than a nonsensical space cadet), this was his chance to prove it. It should also be noted that his teammates would not go out of their way to help him out, either. 

It was bizarre, but it could have been worse. Busey made Meat Loaf the chef, without any consideration that Loaf said he couldn't cook. In fact, Busey never even asked if he could. (Yet if Loaf hadn't stepped up as usual, it would have been a total nightmare.) Then the project manager went on a confounding tangent about a kite and something to do with Father's Day.  Somewhere along the line, he called John Rich "boy" — off-camera — which the country-music star didn't care for all that much.

Also, some of the old fractures started showing themselves again on the women's team. La Toya Jackson returned to her paranoia that her team was plotting against her and wanted her to fail when they decided that she should make a hamburger instead of a steak. NeNe Leakes was getting frustrating, which apparently starts to bubble over next week. And Star Jones returns to her power-grabbing and printed-material making ways; she took over the first creative meeting and, as usual, handled making the fliers and the graphics for the display — her favorite task all season. 

Dworaczyk, however, managed to do a steady job. She brought the women together and put on a solid show. It hewed to the trend of the women all season: They're not going to blow you away with anything risky, but they are prudent and, at least for the past few episodes, stayed clear of the sniping that kept them from winning early on.

The same can't be said for the men, though. And it appears Gary Busey is the reason why. His antics and his acronyms were harmless and sometimes humorous earlier in the season. A bigger team could afford a little deadwood. But it's getting closer to the wire. With the team down to four, it's evident Busey should have been booted a while ago. 

Last night, he made a lot of talk of his cat-like prowess — including a portrayal of a hissing cat — and how he's mysterious and he's the ultimate player who's going to sneak past everyone and win. 

Indeed, everyone from Trump to his teammates said that Busey is either a manipulative genius or a moron. Busey himself said that he can sometimes make people wonder if there's a village out there missing its idiot. 

The men lost, and Busey's been sent home. Genius or fool? That's for you to decide.

The men's team was happy, to be sure. Busey noted in a roundabout way that he was happy himself, saying something about how from a horrible storm he could make a rainbow and now he was flying over that rainbow. And we shouldn't be all that worried about a lack of drama in his wake: If the promos and the gossip are true, the showdown between Star Jones and NeNe Leakes is heating up right in the nick of time.

What do you think? Should Gary have been sent home — or, better yet, should he have been sent home earlier? And do you think of the drama potentially brewing on the women's team?

— Rick Rojas

Photo: Gary Busey faces Donald Trump and a team ready to see him go home in the "Celebrity Apprentice" boardroom. Credit: Douglas Gorenstein / NBC