'All-Star Celebrity Apprentice': And Your Little Mechanical Dog Too!
April 29th, 2013 3:16pm EDT
Last week, Gary Busey got on Lisa Rinna’s last nerve, with his inability to focus or be a part of their tiny team. But Penn Jillette still managed to pull off a successful task, winning for Plan B. Team Power’s Brande Roderick took the fall for the loss, and was fired.
After last week’s Board Room, Lil Jon is the last original member of Power, and he feels like the proverbial “black guy in a horror movie.” With only six players remaining, Plan B is still not playing on a level field; Gary is their weakest link.
Donald Trump greets the troops with a surprise adviser – Joan Rivers, a previous Celebrity Apprentice Winner. Ivanka Trump will be the other advisor. With them is James Fishler, Senior VP of Marketing for LG. The teams are told that they will be making a 90 second commercial promoting the LG line of interactive Smart Home and Home Entertainment systems. They will be judged on creativity, integration of product knowledge and overall presentation.
For project managers, Lil Jon is chosen for Power, and Gary for Plan B. The winning project manager will win $40,000.00 for their charity, as well as an additional $1.00 for every share of the winning video on LG’s Facebook page, up to $35K.
Penn, a self-confessed techie, is thrilled to work with the gadgets, but Gary – not so much. In fact, he only wants to be project manager so that he can win for his charity, Kawasaki Disease, from which his son has suffered.
The teams arrive at “model home” setups, with a kitchen and living room laid out for easier understanding of the Smart Home systems. A three man geek squad of LG product specialists visits to run the celebs through the paces.
Penn is in heaven; smart technology is like magic to him. Lisa loves the practicality and ease of household management. Gary is unable to comprehend the details, so spends most of his time just writing down the names of things, slowing everyone else down. In fact, in the middle of a demonstration of how the phone integrates with the refrigerator, Gary simply wanders away into another room, uninterested.
Trace Adkins enters Power’s studio, telling the others, “Welcome to nerd heaven.” Lil Jon is excited about the task, and the LG products. The techs explain that the system allows them to link up their phones to everything in their house; refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, washer and dryer, and TV. The phone has new features as well, like a “cheese” feature. If you say “cheese,” the camera in the phone takes your picture. That would be handy at a wine and cheese party!
Marilu loves the way the household items are integrated, especially the refrigerator, which operates so efficiently that it would be like having another family member. On the other hand, Trace just wants his refrigerator to tell him “Go away, you’re too fat. I thought you were on a diet.”
Mr. Fishler drops by to help the teams with branding. Power’s Marilu burbles on about how impressed she is with the system. Fishler says the key message is that “LG makes life good.” And that they need to show that not only are the products easy to use, they can even be fun to use.
At Plan B, Fishler goes over the same points, telling the team that LG positions itself as a warm and friendly, “Life’s Good” kind of company. They want consumers to see that the tech is easy to understand, and will give people back some of the time previously spent on household management.
Gary’s pretending he gets the message, but in reality, he’s off in lalaland, intending to follow his own creativity and spontaneity. Neither Penn nor Lisa can get a word in edgewise, as he shoots down their every idea mid-sentence. Penn throws out three concepts to which Gary shows little interest. As Lisa tries to propose a time travel concept, Gary says, “sssh, sssh … be quiet. Hey honey, slow down with your words.”
Gary then describes his concept. “What will LG do next? And you’ll hear Dad say, “They’re gonna create a mechanical dog!” “ And then he’ll act like dog, barking, go down on all fours, maybe humping the coffee table. (truly, Busey’s own words.)
Lisa and Penn laugh at the absurdity, which Gary takes as appreciation of his idea. But as Penn says, “he is – literally – barking mad.”
Penn and Lisa try to put something semi-professional together. Lisa feels completely disrespected, but Penn says the problem goes far deeper than Busey telling her to shut up, and it’s the idea of a mechanical dog.
As the crew arrives for the video shoot, Gary asks Lisa and Penn if they are satisfied and happy with their script. Penn admits that he’s worried about the overall idea. Busey may be project manager, but his vision and LG’s vision do not overlap in any way, shape or form. However, he tells Busey that he’s completely behind him, and committed to the task.
When Gary says that he has a feeling that Penn doesn’t have complete confidence in the script, Penn readily agrees that he doesn’t. Penn hopes that, when he sees what Gary creates, he’ll understand better. Privately, he thinks Gary’s off track. “We’re hunting Moby Dick, it’s a bad idea, and Ahab’s in charge. And he’s gone mad.”
Gary asks Lisa if she likes his script, and she snaps back that he doesn’t really want her input. Lisa and Penn try to explain that they may not be happy with the script, but it’s decided and they’re going with it. Suddenly Gary accuses the two of yelling at him, and talking to him like he’s an idiot.
Gary takes Lisa aside and says that he feels like she’s talking down to him. She apologizes if that’s the way he feels, but he’s not listening yet again. She says that he’s “shh-ed” her a lot all day. He accuses her of not listening to him. And on and on. Despite Lisa apologizing and asking him to start off afresh, he continues to accuse her of undermining him, not listening, and not wanting him on the team.
“Gary is bats**t crazy, “says Lisa, “but we’re a team. I’m just gonna stand up there, support him, and let him share his vision.”
As they run through the video script, Gary takes over completely, saying he’s got no support, so he’ll do it all himself. Lisa and Penn pray that Gary, the mad genius, is so outside the box that the LG executives will see something that they are not seeing.
When the actresses that Gary has chosen to play his wife and daughter arrive, Penn notes that the actresses are both the same age, “some sort of weird Mormon sister wife thing, which was creepy.” Gary lectures the cast on his theory that “acting is the absence of acting.” He feels the spirit of the work has chosen these actors. The actors try to look suitably impressed and enthralled as they attempt to understand what the heck Gary is rambling on about.
Gary introduces Lisa to the cast by saying that Lisa used to be as smart as a bag of hair, but is now brilliant. Lisa’s still trying not to take Gary’s lack of respect personally, but the tension is clearly getting to her.
Filming begins. Gary is all over the place. And it’s clear that Gary doesn’t really understand how filming works, as he pushes a cameraman out of the way, physically. Lisa tells him not to do that. Gary asks Lisa to not say that sort of thing to him in front of the others. Lisa says she thinks he should apologize to the cameraman, because he did indeed push him.
With two hours left, and no filming yet begun, Lisa calls out, “Let’s shoot! Let’s shoot!” Gary takes offense, telling her he’ll tell her when to begin. Lisa agrees, but is frustrated. They’re fighting a losing battle, and there’s nothing they can do.
Ivanka arrives as Penn and Lisa are at their most depressed. Penn tells Ivanka that they may not have a video for the next day. There’s half an hour left, and they’ve hardly shot anything. She watches them tape the mechanical dog line, and then asks Gary if the dog was barking or throwing up. She can see the difficulties, but wonder if Penn and Lisa have checked out of this task.
Lil Jon has things in hand at Power’s shoot. They’ll keep things simple, and let the products highlight themselves. Trace throws out a concept, and Marilu jumps on it, embellishing the idea with her real world situation. The twist would be the college student coming home to find that mom’s replaced all her appliances with the smart system, and now mom has to explain to the kid how things work. Marilu can play the mom; after filming 78 commercials, she’s pretty good with demonstrating products.
Joan Rivers arrives to check on Power’s progress. She thinks they are using their talents very well, but finds Lil Jon’s attention to detail a waste of time. They’re not filming Lawrence of Arabia, and Lil Jon is not Alfred Hitchcock; get it in the can, and move on.
Trace and Lil Jon are impressed with Marilu’s memory and performance. Trace leaves early for the editing suite, to get a jump on their final video. Lil Jon figures Trace’s edit work has saved a couple of hours of work for them. Marilu worries about little details, but Lil Jon calms the waters, and in the end, feels they’ve got the winning commercial.
On the other hand, editing Plan B will be a snap, as Gary has focused on little but himself. There are no product shots, nor second or third angles to choose from. Penn feels like he’s going further up the River of Darkness than any other Celebrity Apprentice has. But he and Lisa made a promise to stand by their project manager, and they’ve done that, 100%.
The next morning, the teams do their presentations for Joan Rivers, Ivanka and James Fishel. Lil Jon is confident. Fishel smiles at Marilu’s enthusiastic comments on LG products. Trace, although silent, later interviews that he thinks they’ve won, unless Gary comes up with something so radical that the executives minds are blown.
Gary says he feels great about his commercial, regardless of the complications during the task. He babbles during their presentation, but Penn saves the day when he praises the phone’s features, before starting the video. Everyone watches in horror as the video plays. Except Gary, who thinks that everyone loved it … especially Ivanka. “We’re going down, down, down,” says Penn.
Ivanka asks Joan and Fishel for their opinions. Fishel says Gary’s presentation was strong, with good brand representation, but missed the mark with the mechanical dog, which was neither funny, nor had anything to do with the video or the products. Joan agrees, and they all wonder if the dog was barking or vomiting. Joan loved Gary’s presentation before the video. Fishel liked Gary’s energy, but liked Penn’s clear appreciation of the brand.
As to Lil Jon’s offering, Fishel noted that Trace only said ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to him, while Marilu drove a lot of the questions, and Lil Jon showed a clear understanding of the product. Overall, Marilu was the star of the team. But there is a clear winner, and that is …
Sashaying into the Board Room, both teams face The Donald, Ivanka, and Joan. He begins by telling them that the LG people were impressed with both offerings, and will be providing every one of their charities with a full suite of the products, worth well over $100K.
When asked, Lil Jon says he believes their video went above and beyond LG’s brief, and is a clear winner. Trump asks Marilu when she and Joan first met, and of course, Marilu cites the time, date and place that they met, in the 60’s. The Donald praises Marilu’s incredible memory, and suddenly asks her if she’ll go with him to Vegas to help him win money by card counting. Wonder if Trump’s own casinos ban card counters?
Trace praises Lil Jon and Marilu for their work. Ivanka says that the LG rep thought Trace was a little under the radar, both in the formal presentation and in the executive meeting. The Donald says Trace has been a little under the radar for some time, but Trace snaps back that they keep using his ideas.
Gary made a speech about his commitment to his charity, and then launched into an attack on Lisa and Penn for their lack of support. He wants to fire Lisa for yelling at him and “confrontating” him. She was loud and critical. Lisa quietly answers that Gary seems to have his own ideas about what happened. Penn sides with Lisa’s answers. Gary is crushed that Penn doesn’t come to his defense.
Ivanka agrees that things looked pretty dismal at Plan B’s video shoot, and she felt that Lisa and Penn had mentally checked out, exhausted from the dynamics. Lisa says they didn’t check out, they did the best they could do.
Penn says that it was a disaster; there was no brainstorming, and every idea he or Lisa offered was shot down by Gary, unheard. Gary says that is not true, and wonders if they are jealous or fearful of him.
Trump flat out asks Gary if he doesn’t like Lisa and Penn. He says he respects and loves them, but he felt completely alone during the task. Gary adds an explanation about his mechanical dog, claiming it was the best part of the video. Penn jumps in to say that neither he nor Lisa had any part in the creative process. He also says that Gary expected the others to support him unconditionally, whether they agreed with the concept or not.
At this point, both team’s videos are shown. After Gary’s, Trump agrees that it looked like Gary was vomiting, and both he and Joan are confused about a character’s line about letting Nature take its course.
Lil Jon’s video is shown, and Joan says that she liked and understood the concept, and it made her want to own the products. Gary says he thinks both videos were equally good, but that his was the winner.
Trump tells him that the executive disagreed; he liked Lil Jon’s better. It’s Power for the win. Busey, Lisa and Penn are on the hot shot, and one of them will be fired.
Ivanka runs over the notes given by Mr. Fishler. Gary says it’s good information, and admits that the mechanical dog was all his responsibility. Trump wonders why he shouldn’t fire Gary, since the main complaint was Gary’s big contribution. Gary blames Lisa, who “stabbed him in the front with all her yelling.” Lisa denies yelling. Gary demonstrates her yelling, which stuns everyone. Gary says they are all against him.
Gary continues to deny any complicity in any wrongdoing, as Lisa gets progressively more annoyed. Ivanka says the dynamic she’s seeing right now is the same dynamic she saw at the video shoot. Lisa and Penn did not understand what Gary was trying to do, and he was not allowing them input into the scene. Penn says he’s always supportive of Gary’s artistic view, but that there was a different understanding of how best to showcase the products. Gary accuses Penn of lying when he agrees with Lisa’s take on their interactions.
Trump brings it back, asking why he should fire Penn or Lisa. Gary says they weren’t with him on the task, and he felt abandoned. And Lisa also should be fired for her confrontation, criticism and raising her voice to him in front of the crew.
Lisa says it’s absolute and utter non-truth, and she won’t stand for it. So Trump asks her if she wants to leave. She says no, she just won’t let him go on with his own version of the truth. Ivanka again says she saw a lack of support from Lisa and Penn. Penn says that Ivanka saw them at the point when they were most despondent. If there had been any yelling or criticism, Ivanka would have seen that in action then.
Again Trump brings it back. Gary, as project manager, is responsible for the team’s failure. He has no flowery “I love you’s” for Gary, it’s just “Gary, you’re fired.” Gary leaves without another word.
Gary’s exit interview: “When you don’t have your teammates working with you, and you’re project manager, that means your teammates want you out. And that’s what happened tonight. But so what? I don’t care! I’m going home! Yeah!”
Next Sunday, on Celebrity Apprentice: We’re down to the Final Five with only three episodes to go. “It’s on like popcorn,” says Lil Jon. With the pressure at an all-time high, Trace will crack. And in the Board Room, somebody wakes the Sleeping Giant.
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