'Celebrity Apprentice' – Retro Rumble – The Final Two Part 1
May 16th, 2011 11:51am EDT
Last week: two terrible OnStar promo videos later, Star Jones was fired. There are now only four Celebrities still in the game; Meat Loaf, Lil Jon, John Rich and Marlee Matlin.
We return to the lounge, where Lil Jon and John Rich are awaiting Trump’s decision. They know that Meat Loaf will give as good as he gets, but worry that Star will triumph again. They are ecstatic to see Meat. But Marlee, the other survivor, is teary and upset. She’s lost her team mate, and the win for her charity. Meat Loaf tries to cheer her up, but she clearly would have preferred Star to remain.
No time to relax! The Donald enters, and the celebs snap to. He tells them that they will be interviewed by three special people; Bret Michaels, Joan Rivers and Piers Morgan, previous Celebrity Apprentice winers. Based on those interviews, two more celebrities will be fired.
John Rich is first up. When asked who he would fire, he cites Meat Loaf and Marlee. He says his own skills are in writing, leadership, organization and decision making. Bret wonders how John would feel facing Lil Jon in the end game. John says it’s all about the chance to make money for his charity, and he has the strength to win it all. The judges seem impressed with John overall, but Piers feels that John relies too much on his writing skills.
Next, Lil Jon. Bret wonders if Lil Jon’s coolness might be his downfall. Lil Jon admits he’s great under pressure, and wouldn’t have made it in the music business if he didn’t have what it takes. Joan asks who he think will be the final two – John Rich and Marlee, he says. The others are stunned. Is he calling himself a loser? No, says Lil Jon, he came into the game to win money for his charity, which he did, and to show people that not all rappers are blunt smoking, crack selling, ignorant people. But John and Marlee raised so very much money that they may be more deserving. He would like to win, but John and Marlee were tough competitors. In a crunch, he’ll fight as hard as he can. And, oh yeah, Meat Loaf’s very emotional. The judges think Lil Jon is smart, talented, but a little too laid back.
Meat Loaf greets the judges, and says they should call him “Meat.” (So now we know.) Before they begin, Meat asks Bret how he’s feeling, and is glad to hear Bret is doing well. (Bret famously spent time in hospital recently having emergency surgery for a hole in his heart.) Joan wonders if his age had any effect on his game. He thinks it was an asset, as he used his experiences. Piers mentions that people say he cried a lot. He defends himself by saying that his charity meant more to him than perhaps any other player felt about their charity. Piers wonders if Meat showed a lack of business savvy by crying too much, and having anger management issues. After all, Bret made it to the end of the game without losing his cool. Bret wonders if Meat can focus enough to win, then mentions that both John Rich and Lil Jon threw Meat under the bus. Meat says that Lil Jon can be a little lazy, and he had never heard of John Rich prior to starting the game. Meat also says that when asked who was the biggest celebrity of the season, he said it was himself. Piers wonders if Meat’s arrogance will win him the competition, but Meat says it’s not arrogance, it’s the truth. The judges feel that Meat is smart and passionate, and wears his heart on his sleeve.
All three judges rave about Marlee. They ask her about her Oscar, which she admits she keeps in her office, and says that Celebrity Apprentice has been harder work than winning an Oscar. She knows that she’s labeled as the ‘deaf actress’, but she’s used to that. People make assumptions that she can’t do anything, but in fact, she can. Joan says she was amazed that Marlee performed at the Comedy Show. Piers says he wished he was deaf several times during his season working with Omarosa. Piers also points out that, with the exception of the amount of money she raised during the Art Show, there were no other high points to her game, and it could be argued that in fact, she’s been getting weaker. She’s an incredible fundraiser, but has she saved any big guns for the final challenge? She admits she worries that she may have tapped out her donors. Piers seizes that statement as his biggest strike against Marlee.
The judges all agree that the two most worthy to go on to the end are ….
In the BoardRoom, Trump addresses the four. When asked who should go to the end, John Rich chooses himself and Marlee. Lil Jon says himself and John Rich. Marlee says herself and John Rich. Meat Loaf says himself and John Rich. The Donald mentions Lennox Lewis, a previous competitor, who, on the game didn’t choose himself, and says that the judges were unhappy with Lil Jon’s answers. Lil Jon, you’re fired.
Lil Jon interviews that he’s happy to have made it to the end. As they say in the ‘hood, he kept it ‘One Hundred’, and that’s all he could do. He has no regrets.
Back to the BoardRoom. John Rich tells Trump that Lil Jon is very smart, very passionate, and worked wonders to work against the stereotype of rappers. He’s a great guy, they all agree.
Trump asks them each why they should be chosen. John Rich says the show has given him the opportunity to take everything he’s learned and won over the years, and put it towards his charity. Marlee mentions her charity as well, and says that she’s enthused and eager to learn more on how to help more people. Meat Loaf also puts his charity forth, but then says he modeled his behavior on how he thought Donald Trump would behave; focused, and giving it everything that he has. (He tears up a little at the end, to no one’s surprise.) Trump says the judges loved Meat, but hated the way he wore his emotions on his sleeve. Meat Loaf, you’re fired.
Of course, Meat Loaf has an emotional goodbye to make. As he leaves, he admits he’s emotional, but feels it’s an emotional game. He won over $200,000 for his charity, and feels his time spent on the game was amazing.
John Rich and Marlee high five and hug, but separately interview that it’s ‘no hold’s barred’ from here on in.
The final challenge begins. Trump, Ivanka, Jr. and Jim Trebilcock, CEO of 7-Up greet Marlee and John. The final task will determine who will win $250,000 for their charity, and take the Celebrity Apprentice title. Their task – to help 7-Up launch their new product ‘7-Up Retro.’ It’s made with real sugar! It’s the UnCola! They have three tasks: design the new packaging and in-store displays, write, create and produce a commercial, and launch 7-Up Retro at a star studded event that they create themselves. One of them will recreate the 70’s with the help of the Harlem GlobeTrotters. The other team will work with band Def Leppard, showcasing the 80’s.
Trump says he thinks they’ll need some help, so he brings in a few friends; Meat Loaf, Lil Jon, Star Jones, La Toya Jackson, Richard Hatch, and Mark McGrath. Marlee, as the biggest fundraiser, gets first pick, and she chooses the 70’s. That leaves John Rich with the 80’s, and Def Leppard. John is stunned that Marlee is giving him a free pass to go crazy with his music connections. Marlee says, not so. She’s from the 70’s, and loves the sports and visuals of the decade. The teams are chosen. Marlee picks Meat Loaf, (but tells him not to cry), Richard Hatch, and La Toya, while John Rich picks Lil Jon, Mark McGrath and Star Jones.
Team Marlee gets right to it, basing their campaign on the 70’s themes of sports, disco, and ‘Staying Alive.’ “And Meat Loaf!” chimes in Marlee. They will be working on packaging that day, tomorrow the commercial, and on the third day, their event. Meat Loaf offers to be a funny spokesperson, in a fairy costume with wings, and a can of pop as his magic wand. Focus on the packaging first, says Marlee. Even La Toya can’t believe that Meat just keeps on with his ideas on visuals for the commercial. Marlee has two ideas for a slogan; ‘Feel the Pop’ or ‘Celebrate the Pop.’ Richard Hatch is concerned that they are not staying on task, with everyone contributing ideas for different projects simultaneously.
Meat Loaf is flinging out good ideas; the carry box for the pop can be made to look like a boom box, while a tin of pop can be repurposed as a disco ball. New idea: ‘7-Up Retro – Feel the Love.’ Richard Hatch poses for Marlee’s camera in a John Travolta disco stance.
When Ivanka arrives to check on Team Marlee’s progress, Meat Loaf asks Marlee if he can present what they’ve done so far. Ivanka tells Meat Loaf she heard he got in trouble in the BoardRoom for taking over, but Marlee is kind, and says Meat is just very energetic. Meat shows off their ideas. Ivanka interviews that she is concerned that Marlee is not reining in Meat Loaf enough.
When Meat Loaf and La Toya leave to pick up costumes, Marlee overrules Meat’s ‘boombox’ design for the case, and chooses a cleaner design. Meat Loaf is not at all happy with Marlee’s decision, feeling it will lose her the game. Next, the team searches out iconic 70’s images, which will appear, and then be squashed by a falling 7-Up Retro can. As they watch a 7-Up commercial from the 70’s, starring Geoffrey Holder, they wonder if using the same actor today would work the same magic. Meat Loaf calls, and the actor says yes. They are excited, and hope to win with this casting.
Team John Rich is pumped. Star says she’ll have a day by schedule ready in 30 minutes. Lil Jon will direct the commercial, Star will do the logistics, and Mark McGrath will be the overall, creative, energy guy. They like “7-Up – Still Keeping It Real” for a slogan. McGrath proposes a polka dot or Zebra stripe can, a New Wave can. Lil Jon has past experience with marketing drinks, so he’s quick to run with McGrath’s idea. They go with the black and white Zebra stripe. Star’s beginning to enjoy working with the men, and even admits to having a crush on John Rich.
Ivanka drops in on Team John Rich, where she congratulates John on getting the task involving Def Leppard. He admits it’s working for him. She thinks they may have the edge, based on the musicality of his team, but will wait to see the execution of their plans.
Lil Jon, glad that their print ideas are in place, seems drained and weak. Star wants to know about casting the commercial, but Lil Jon still hasn’t come up with a concept. He’s dragging a little bit, and John Rich needs everyone firing on all cylinders. Mark McGrath puts forward an idea for rock star auditions, with famous people imposters. (Uh, Mark? Donny Osmond actually did this commercial in the 80’s.) They wonder which 80’s icons they can bring in. He knows that Pauly Shore, and Tiffany live in Nashville. Where does Debbie Gibson live? When he brings up Dee Snider, of Twisted Sister, they know they have a winner. However, there’s a problem – he’s wearing a huge Fu Manchu moustache for his role in “Rock of Ages,” and his contract doesn’t allow him to shave. He’ll ask the producers. They agree to let him shave, and Team John Rich cheer. Now all they need is for Lil Jon to get off his butt and help.
Both teams arrive at their respective studios for video shoots, and are happy to see the graphic and print media in place for their products. John Rich is still a little concerned about Lil Jon’s lethargy – he wants energy! Their actors arrive to be made up as Axl Rose and Madonna clones. Everyone is amped when Dee Snider arrives.
While Marlee is posing for their posters and standee, Meat Loaf is desperately writing up the commercial. Marlee will dress like Abba, Richard Hatch as a disco guy, La Toya will be a superhero, and Meat Loaf will play both a CB trucker, and himself from the 70’s. Richard Hatch likes the visuals, but thinks the script is ‘the end all of cheese.’ He also thinks that Meat Loaf is running wild, and Marlee is tuned out and unavailable. But he’s a hit when he’s videoed in disco gear with a giant blond afro. And he lets us know that his high school photo didn’t look all that different from the way he looks in this costume.
John Rich is getting antsier by the minute. They only have Dee Snider for another hour, and they’re still doing scene setups. Meanwhile, Team Marlee are setting the scene for special guest Geoffrey Holder, while Meat Loaf, long wig blowing in the fan’s wind, plays his 70’s self for the camera.
Dee transforms into his Twisted Sister persona. It’s an incredible visual, with the long blond hair, makeup, hot pink, black leather, and big boots. Star is completely gob smacked; she’s never seen anything like this character. John Rich has written a line for Dee to sing. After 3 or 4 takes, Dee is wrapped, and off to his role on Broadway.
John Rich is feeling bombarded with requests about every aspect of their task. He’s even dealing with Def Leppard’s road manager’s broken English. The road manager is being difficult about John’s proposed use of the Def Leppard bass drum. John knows he can’t lose his cool, or everything will fall apart. But it’s taking a toll on him. Mark McGrath is worried that John’s being too hard on the people he needs to complete the tasks.
Team Marlee get a devastating phone call: Geoffrey Holder’s lawyer won’t let him sign a release. Without the release, they cannot film the actor. Meat Loaf tries desperately to reach Mr. Holder’s manager to see if they can come to some solution, while Marlee wracks her brains for a Plan B.
Next week: Will Team Marlee get the ‘absolutely mah-vellous’ Geoffrey Holder for their commercial? Will John Rich have to play Def Leppard’s bass drum himself? Tune in next week for the conclusion, and the crowning of 2011’s Celebrity Apprentice winner. (Oh, and maybe the Donald will announce running for President, if that interests you.)
Related: Dee Snider, Def Leppard, Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, John Rich, La Toya Jackson, Lil Jon, Mark McGrath, Marlee Matlin, Meat Loaf, Star Jones, The Celebrity Apprentice, Twisted Sister, Starpulse Exclusives, Recaps, Television, Celebrity, Reality, Charity & Good Deeds, TV Networks, NBC
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Photo Credits: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC