'All-Star Celebrity Apprentice': LaToya Fails Snake Handling 101
March 18th, 2013 1:43pm EDT
Last week, Dee Snider’s team Plan B lost to Omarosa’s team Power. Dee took the blame for his team’s loss, and was fired. Omarosa appeared to break down in tears of joy at her win on behalf of deceased fiancé Michael Duncan Clarke’s charity, but both teams were skeptical, thinking it more performance than emotion.
Marilu Henner smoothed over her tiff with Gary “I’m an angel in an earth suit” Busey, but vetoed his offer of a visit to Texas to ride a horse backwards.
At the Paley Center for Media, Donald Trump outlined the celebs next task. They will be working with representatives Adam and Tiffany from Crystal Light, to promote a new product, “Crystal Light Liquid”. They will write, direct and perform a five minute soap opera scene that dramatizes how the new product works, in front of a live audience. (Hint: you add the liquid to water, as little or as much as you want at a time.) They will be judged on audience reaction, creativity, execution and brand messaging. Plan B will have legendary actress Susan Lucci to work with, while Power has actor Jack Wagner on their side.
This week’s advisors will be Ivanka Trump, and past winner Arsenio Hall. LaToya Jackson and Stephen Baldwin will be Project Managers. The winning team will receive $20,000 from Trump, and $30,000 from Crystal Light, for a donation total of $50,000.
Stephen Baldwin decides that his strategy as PM is to be far more dominant. This apparently means treating everyone on his team as though they were idiots. He talks down – and slowly – to them, while letting them know that he is to be in charge of every detail, including any interaction with the Crystal Light execs or their advisor. He interviews that he plans to be a “Gordon Gekko, ruthless, psycho, all rolled into one.” Well, he got the ‘psycho’ part down. As Penn Jillette notes, “He does seem to think that everyone around him is breathtakingly stupid.”
Tiffany from Crystal Light outlines what they need to communicate in their presentation; it must be on brand, and introducing the product in a way that makes people want to try it. The littlest Baldwin informs them that he’s worked in Marketing before, which I am sure greatly reassures the execs.
Penn has an idea for their script; if they equate romance with drama, and drama with Crystal Light, maybe they could show variations of drama based on how little or how much of the liquid is used in a glass of water. So, a little drop would be low drama, while a big squeeze of liquid would be high drama.
Of course, that means there’s gonna be some romance in their scene. Trace Adkins immediately calls dibs on making out with Susan Lucci, “that sweet, classy lady.” The team is enthusiastic about the concept. Well, everyone but Stephen Baldwin, who’s simultaneously jealous at Penn’s good idea, while already planning to make Penn the scapegoat, should their team lose.
Trace is head over heels when Susan Lucci arrives for rehearsal, but is upstaged when Arsenio arrives, drops to his knees and kisses Ms Lucci’s tiny hand. When Penn outlines their plans, Arsenio feels they have things under control, and look like a happy team.
Meanwhile, Power’s LaToya begins to outline duties for her team. Lil Jon will be the Director, of course, and Omarosa will be Stage Manager. Say what? Round One of the Match begins. Omarosa wants to be in the scene – she’s done tons of soaps, and even been on the cover of Soap Opera Digest, for your information! And besides, doesn’t LaToya know that they should come up with a script before she starts casting?
But it’s not really about who’s doing what in the project; it’s about Omarosa establishing – loudly, continuously, and over whatever anyone else has to say – that she is going to be in charge, no matter who tries to be PM. Most of what Omarosa has to say is intended to put LaToya in her place, and to make sure that no one else’s ideas are heard.
LaToya has no intention of being railroaded. She interviews, “You may think because I’m soft spoken that you can take advantage of me. It’s not gonna happen. Not this time.” And it is plain from the way she is staring down Omarosa, that this project is gonna be a rocky ride.
The rest of the Power team feels the tension in the air. Brande Roderick is especially nervous, and skeptical as to the worth of Omarosa’s idea of scripting a parody of the “Real Housewives” franchise. Lil Jon comes up with a riff on soap opera clichés, and the script begins to take shape.
LaToya assigns Dennis Rodman and Claudia Jordan to shop for props and costumes. Omarosa says she wants to go with them, but LaToya says she’s needed to stay back and write the script. Omarosa wants to know why they need her, when they already have the concept. LaToya tells Omarosa that she wants Omarosa to stay, as this is a team play. Omarosa mocks LaToya’s tone of voice, and starts singing “Beat It.” LaToya tells the other team members that she won’t have anyone running over her. Omarosa talks over LaToya’s words, until LaToya snaps and asks her to “please be quiet.”
Boom! Omarosa takes great offense at LaToya asking her to be quiet and the fight is on! She accuses LaToya of being disrespectful, and LaToya responds angrily. As Lil Jon says, “when LaToya stood up and put her hand on her hip, and cocked her neck … when a black woman does that, you know you got problems. It escalated even more because Omarosa got up and cocked her neck, and put her hand on her hip.”
Omarosa is blathering something about running a company and half the west coast for OK! Magazine, and completely disrespecting LaToya, while demanding that LaToya take control of her team. Dennis, Claudia, Brande and Lil Jon can only look on in shock, and hope that neither one is armed.
In an effort to calm the situation, LaToya decides to get rid of Omarosa by sending her off with Claudia for supplies, so Omarosa does get her way in the end. But she’s still not happy, saying that “our project manager gave me absolutely no instructions. She kicked me out of the room.” She bombards LaToya with calls from the shops, asking what she calls “specifics and directions” and disrupting work at team headquarters.
Claudia interviews that she was happy to see LaToya check Omarosa – it was nice. Like when you see a bully get bullied and knocked out. Brande says that Omarosa is ruining the team, and sucking the energy out of people. LaToya interviews that she suspects Omarosa is playing the sympathy card over her fiancés heart attack … which Omarosa probably gave him!
As they rehearse their scene with Jack Wagner, Arsenio Hall arrives to view their progress. LaToya outlines their plans, including Lil Jon’s great audience participation idea of having the audience take a sip of Crystal Light each time a trademark soap opera riff is played. Arsenio questions Omarosa’s acting background. She assures him she’s always been in theatre, but that she had to fight to be in this scene.
Arsenio feels the tension in the room, and takes LaToya aside to find out her take on Omarosa. “Conniving witch,” says LaToya, which surprises Arsenio, as he knows that LaToya is a soft spoken person. When asked, she says that she’ll definitely be bringing Omarosa in to be fired, should the team lose the challenge.
As the day draws to a close, with just an hour left to rehearse, Omarosa gets a call informing her that a tabloid news magazine show is about to release her fiancé’s final 911 call. She feels she has to immediately deal with the issue, and briefly tells LaToya that she’s leaving. The team is taken aback; Omarosa had fought to get the biggest role in the scene, and has now left them in the lurch, with no indication of if or when she’ll return.
The next morning, Power has to reorganize, and re-cast Omarosa’s role with Claudia. Dennis, calling Omarosa “Ms Saboteur” is relieved that she won’t be around. LaToya writes most of her own lines on her hands, so as not to forget important points.
Plan B struggle through a rehearsal that is constantly interrupted by Stephen’s yelling “STOP” at each line – as a director, he makes a great dictator. And Marilu may have done a lot of love scenes, but doing one with Gary really tests her abilities. Stephen’s “aggressive claim of power” tries Trace’s patience, who threatens to kill Stephen if he doesn’t stop haranguing Marilu.
With minutes to go before show time, Omarosa arrives at Power’s set. “I wasn’t gonna let you guys down; I had to get here,” she says. What she really means is that she’s come to criticize and critique everyone’s work, without having to make any effort herself. No one is happy to see her.
The audience, including Ivanka, Arsenio, and the Crystal Light execs, are given cups of Crystal Light Liquid. Lil Jon explains that they are to take a sip whenever the “dun dun dun” music plays. The lights dim, and the scene begins. Brande is delighted to see the smiles on the audience’s faces, especially Arsenio’s. LaToya feels that their scene was well received, but cites Omarosa as being the weakest team member, disruptive and distracting at all times.
Lisa Rinna is excited and happy to be performing their scene. Penn welcomes the audience, and the show begins. Trace is hilarious in his three part role, and gets to sweep La Lucci off her feet for the finale. Stephen says that everyone gets 20 Gold Stars, but if they lose – all responsibility falls on Penn.
Ivanka interviews the Crystal Light executives to get their impressions of both teams’ efforts. And then we’re off to the Board Room.
We get right down to business as Trump asks LaToya to name the stars on her team. She cites Claudia and Brande. But not Omarosa, as she didn’t participate. Omarosa’s lip begins to tremble, as she defends herself by explaining about the emergency she had to deal with, on top of having to deal with LaToya’s management faults. Dennis agrees that Omarosa was meddling and distracting. Brande agrees that things improved whenever Omarosa wasn’t around. Stephen Baldwin’s just glad that Omarosa wasn’t on his team.
But now Baldwin has to put forth his weak link, and it’s Busey again. Everyone on the team agrees that Gary is the weak link overall, which deeply wounds Gary. He feels he did everything that was asked of him, and can’t understand why everyone keeps calling him weak.
Ivanka asks Penn to explain why their scene only highlighted one of the two flavors they were asked to illustrate, and he explains that it was for dramatic effect. Trace is congratulated for an unexpectedly brilliant performance.
Bottom line: LaToya’s scene was creative and fun, but there was too much going on, which took away from branding. Arsenio’s only regret is that Omarosa was not there. She says she wanted to, but she will never choose Apprentice over Michael’s needs, and goes into full blown meltdown. Arsenio points out that asking permission to leave was disingenuous, as she was going to leave, regardless of LaToya’s response. Omarosa calls Arsenio out for being cold hearted, and repeats, perhaps 20 times, that she will never, ever choose Apprentice over Michael. She pummels him with her words until he basically gives up trying to be heard.
Meanwhile, the other celebs are whispering amongst themselves that they wished Omarosa had never come back to the game, and that she should not have decided to play, if her emotions were really this unstable. Rodman offers Omarosa tissues to wipe her non-weeping eyes. Trump warns Omarosa that she might want to be careful about using Dennis’ tissues. And he then announces that Stephen Baldwin’s team has won the $50,000 for his Carol Baldwin’s Breast Cancer charity.
Plan B heads for the victory room, where Gary sits at a table and puts his head down. He is upset with his team and angry at Stephen especially, telling him not to call him ‘brother.’ Trace calms him down, and they gather to watch team Power be asked stupid questions by Donald and Ivanka Trump.
“Dennis, are you happy you got tattoos? Lil Jon, are those grills on your teeth removable?” From the other room, Lisa adds that she was uncomfortable when the Donald remarked upon her lips. And Gary continues to pout.
Okay, let’s get back to the LaToya/Omarosa battle. Omarosa points out that she may not have been available for the scene, but it was the branding and integration that lost the team the challenge, and points out that LaToya did not even say the name of the product correctly. She feels the Project Manager was totally at fault for the team’s failure. As usual, Omarosa talks over everyone else, battering away at anyone else’s comments, and picking new fights where possible. She calls Claudia a weak player when Claudia says she felt uncomfortable with Omarosa’s combative game play. LaToya jumps in to ask Trump if she can have permission, as Project Manager, to fire someone on her team.
Nope, says Trump. He’s already given LaToya a lot of liberty, having brought her back after she was fired, just because she asked. Arsenio asks LaToya to repeat what she said to him, about Omarosa’s actions, and she says she called her a witch. Omarosa says it’s low to resort to name calling, but she’s there to play, not make friends. Trump points out that Arsenio didn’t have to use treachery or cruelty to win his season, and still has friendships with his team mates. Claudia says that a smart player doesn’t have to resort to cunning and treachery, and can win on their own merit.
Arsenio wonders if there was an unspoken plot to get rid of Omarosa, and she eagerly agrees, saying that it’s true; look at how they’re all piling on! Claudia says they were actually trying to be sympathetic to Omarosa’s needs. Trump says he feels sorry for LaToya, as she’s on the line, as Project Manager. But she has to pick two people to bring back in.
Bizarrely, LaToya picks Brande and Dennis to be brought back. Ivanka drops her pen in surprise. Even Omarosa can’t believe her ears. Trump asks LaToya why she’s not bringing Omarosa back, and she says that she’s listening to Omarosa’s lies, and not hearing her team mates back her up. Arsenio surmises that LaToya is trying to behave as Trump might, in the same circumstances.
LaToya says that she’s picked Brande, despite Brande having been praised by both herself and the execs, based on Ivanka’s comment that the product wasn’t utilized properly, and Dennis because he wasn’t as aggressive as everyone else when it came to actual work. Trump says he still can’t believe his ears. Why did she not pick Omarosa? He sends Omarosa, Claudia, and Lil Jon away, and tells LaToya, Brande and Dennis to wait in reception.
Brande and Dennis are shocked as well. They feel that Trump saw right through Omarosa’s fake tears and words, and would have gladly fired her. But LaToya did not feel certain that Omarosa would be fired. My guess is that she hoped Trump would keep herself and Brande on the team, and somehow find a way to fire Dennis. At any rate – they are called back to the Board Room.
Trump asks LaToya again why she didn’t bring Omarosa back. LaToya says it’s because Omarosa started the sympathy cry, and she thought Trump was buying it. Trump says he didn’t buy it, and that he didn’t see any tears, and confirms with Arsenio and Dennis that no one has actually seen any evidence of tears. But tears or no tears, she really deserved to be brought back. He can’t see how he could be asked to fire either Brande or Dennis. Was she that afraid to battle Omarosa in the Board Room? That’s Arsenio’s take as well.
Still claiming complete surprise, Trump fires LaToya.
LaToya’s exit interview: “Omarosa is the most evil person I have ever met. She’s a low, conniving, scheming cutthroat – probably pulled the cord on Michael Duncan Clarke – and I thought Mr. Trump was falling for that fake cry. Such a lie. When I met her I knew she was a snake. I should have handled her a little bit differently. They will always bite you.”
Next week on All Star Apprentice: When the All Stars have to sell beauty products, things are going to get ugly. “I’m not trying to be a jerk.” “Too late.” And handling Gary gets hairy. “Men in black are gonna come get him, cuz he’s an alien.” Then, for the second week in a row, the Board Room makes history. “Thirteen seasons – the most surprised ever. Ever!”
Photo Credits: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC