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First rule of the boardroom: never willingly take blame for something before finding out the entire story. That’s the hard lesson Mark McGrath learned this week after telling The Donald he should be sent home if the team lost based on his pirate concept. Ultimately, they did; so, despite the fact teammember Gary Busey, arguably the biggest liability since Steve Martin’s uncoordinated kid in Parenthood, told a female executive sunscreen makes him feel sexual and tried to pitch himself as a corporate spokesman, the former frontman of Sugar Ray still got the big ugly axe in the most frustrating firing ever on Celebrity Apprentice.
I’m so over Gary Busey. He’s joined this week’s project manager LaToya Jackson in the worthless category, though which one of these two mouth-breathers is worse is a matter perhaps worth debating. This week, LaToya spent most of the episode refusing to make decisions and complaining about how her teammembers were sabotaging her. Apparently, in her view, repeatedly asking her what the theme was is tantamount to intentionally screwing up the challenge. I might have tried to jump inside the TV Pleasantville-style had Nene not gone on one of the more epic rants I’ve ever seen. Saying LaToya only got this far because of her name and screaming at her to act her age, the diatribe was perhaps overkill, but then again, so is the Jackson family member’s aggressive incompetence.
The Celebrity Apprentice Power Rankings are an averaging of weekly ordered lists submitted by Cinema Blend writers Mack Rawden and Jessica Grabert. Sixteen points are awarded for a first place vote, and this week, eight were given for a last place vote. Seven contestants have already gone home; so, they automatically occupy the bottom slots. Here’s a look at how this week shook down…
#1) John Rich (32): Every time John Rich opens his mouth, success comes out. It’s that simple. He writes creative slogans in about ten minutes, has a badass miniature sidekick and raised almost half a million bucks by himself. I guarantee he has a hot wife. Let me check. Yup, obviously. Despite the fact that he somehow lost as project manager, Rich has established himself as the clear cream of the crop this year. He’s just as reliable and talented as 1) Star and 2) Marlee, but unlike those two he’s not 1) bad with people or 2) a complete pussy in the boardroom. I would take two to one odds in Vegas that he wins.
#2) Star Jones (30): Star may be a clear step below John Rich, but she certainly competes with him when it comes to efficiency. If interacting and wooing strangers is not an essential part of any remaining task, the smart money may even be on here. In all honesty, I wish she was my assistant. Sure, she’d hit me with that sass now and again, but if I told her I needed something completed by five o’clock, I would sure as hell know it was going to be completed by five o’clock. Even her teammates have figured it out. Figure out what the organizational portion of the task is and pass that along to the former View host. Something tells me in real life, Star has more admirers than friends.
#3) Nene Leakes (26): After being wheedled by Dionne and harassed by Trump when her project didn’t go well, Nene is understandably a little on edge. This week, as LaToya continually tried Nene’s patience, you could see her go from befuddled, to irritated, into ‘slap a hoe’ mode in a snap. It wasn’t surprising Nene went all Desperate Housewives on LaToya when post-boardroom after she whined like a dog about to be put down. My roommate declared this behavior inappropriate, but I think her teammates empathized. LaToya needed to understand how disgraceful her performance was, but Nene did choose the wrong outlet—tune in next week to see how the conflict resolves.
#3) Marlee Matlin (26): Every week, I love Marlee for three quarters of the show. During the tasks, she’s great, but once the boardroom begins, she turns into a nervous sex education teacher trying not to be fired. Everything is stated is the nicest, least offensive way possible. LaToya just has a different managing style? Come’on Marlee. She sucks and you know it. This nicey-nice tone might fly when there’s a ton of overtly incompetent people left, but once it winds down to Star, John Rich, Lil Jon, Nene, Meat and Marlee, she’s going to need to stop pulling Hershey’s Kisses out of her pocket and grab the occasional razor blade.
#3) Lil Jon (26): Lil Jon was on Busey watch this week, which, as we know, is a full-time job. Unlike Meatloaf though, he can reserve his irritation for the post-challenge interviews. That’s a skill unto itself. I’m not entirely convinced he’s quite as solid as the two ladies he’s tied with this week, but he’s willing to defend himself in the boardroom, as well as criticize others and he’s a very supportive team player. Celebrity Apprentice is typically at least one-third likeability, and on that scale, it’s hard to find his equal left in the competition now that Mark McGrath has gone the way of BetaMax.
#6) Meatloaf (22): Meatloaf is generally such a humble, creative, excited dude… unless Gary Busey is around and then he turns into a crushed and wounded lion willing to put up a fight. This week, Meatloaf went to the mattresses to defend Mark McGrath after McGrath felt he was to blame for the men’s outside-the-box project deemed tawdry by the judges. For the longest time, Meatloaf spoke of Gary’s faults and McGrath’s capabilities and none of the other teammates jumped in to help him. On top of that, Meatloaf was largely responsible for many of the creative designs incorporated into the task this week. His drive and demeanor might keep him in the running for a while, but look out: if he’s stuck doing project manager again, he’ll need to play harder than the wounded lion he’s proved himself to be. Being a nice dude and a cutthroat businessman are two different things.
#7) Hope Dworaczyk (20): How do you have a challenge where bikini models are needed and not choose Hope? It’s hard to blame her though after she offered her services and was turned down by LaToya. She was a good sport and still got out there and tried to model, but without a swimming suit, it just made the executives sad pandas. As the only remaining participant who hasn’t taken on project manager, her time should come next week, at which point she’ll need to finally offer more than volunteering to go to the prop house. On the plus side though, she’s not an active detriment to her team like the two below her. Silver linings, baby.
#8) LaToya Jackson (18): Last week, I talked about liking LaToya because she has been trying really hard over the last challenges. I wish I could subdue Jessica from last week before she wrote said article. I don’t like when I do things that make me look incompetent, but, apparently, LaToya does. This week LaToya seemed to try to run the women’s project into the ground. Her ideas were scatterbrained, her concept was dull, and she was incapable of delegating work or coming to any decisions. Because the other girls rallied around her, they accomplished the task, but without flair or vision. The only reason the women won is because the Australia Gold representatives seem unable to understand how best to advertise their product. This was insanely good news for LaToya, who is so assured in her self-righteousness, she couldn’t even see what a disaster her project was. Had the women lost, it most certainly would have been her turn to go home.
#9) Gary Busey (16): Mark McGrath shot himself in the foot this week, and because of that and that alone, Gary Busey was allowed to stay in this competition. Like Rogaine, eggs, soda… Busey has a shelf life. Keep a man with too many ingredients swirling together for too long and his teammates are likely to sour on him. The men so far had made allowances for Gary, but with Mark “the peacekeeper” “McGrath gone, it’s the end of the road for Busey’s antics. The men are over it. Audiences are over it. Gary’s like bell bottomed pants in that way. He can show up once every five years and get people invested for a bit, but there’s no long term love for a man who behaves inappropriately and then denies responsibility for that behavior. There’s no room for bullshit in the business world.
Here’s a look at how each of the two ballots shook out: