NBC's Celebrity Apprentice, the action begins, some thoughts on premiere
By April MacIntyre Mar 7, 2011, 5:29 GMT
Gary Busey - The 20th Annual Night Of A Hundred Stars - Arrivals - The Beverly Hills Hotel - Beverly Hills, CA. USA © Albert L. Ortega / PR Photos
There's a heaviness that seeps in to this hyped-up crazier than ever cast that NBC has been killing us with in previews and video snippets.
Gary Busey! Star Jones! Nene Leakes! Jose Canseco! Dionne Warwick! LaToya Jackson! Meatloaf! Richard Hatch!
And the less imposing castmates Hope Dworaczyk, Marlee Matlin, Lisa Rinna, Niki Taylor, David Cassidy, Lil Jon, Mark McGrath and John Rich.
You will immediately see that Hatch, who served hard time for tax evasion, delivers an over-the-top obsequious performance, ass-kissing Donald Trump, with a bloated narcissism that is unparalleled for Trump's diabolical boardroom fun.
Hatch sniffs out weaknesses the way a bear can smell food in the woods. It's not pleasant. He's the kind of person one hopes they never have to deal with in any capacity in real life.
In the past, the show percolated with the likes of Joan Rivers for good reason; she could be a mouthy hellion on wheels, but she was genuinely funny and made the action a joy to observe.
This group is so damaged on so many levels, its wincingly painful to watch at times.
Specifically David Cassidy, whose plaintive pleading to his famous daughter, Gossip Girl star Katie Cassidy on the phone to help him out was hard to take. She appears, and like any proud dad, he trumpets to anyone in earshot who she is and what she does. But she never takes off her head scarf and sunglasses, and leaves as fast as she could after handing over a check for $1000.
Even Gary Busey looks tired of being cast as the default buffoon, and appears resigned to play this part and get on with earning a needed check.
The two wild cards are Lil Jon, who I cannot look at without thinking of Dave Chappelle's imitation, and John Rich, whose hard-edged killer country boy veneer is cloaked in polite mam's and sirs.
My gut feelings after seeing the premiere is that Rich will make it to the end.
Star Jones, Nene Leakes, La Toya Jackson and Dionne Warwick all have chips on their shoulders of varying sizes, for different reasons. Lisa Rinna has school-age kids, a retail store and a successful TV Land reality show with her husband Harry Hamlin, and I am not sure why she made time to do "Apprentice" at this point in her career.
Model Niki Taylor is so kind and quiet, I fear she will be a sacrificial lamb for the tigresses that surround her on team ASAP (Actors, singers, authors and professionals), the ladies' choice for their moniker.
Marlee Matlin can't actually hear all the nonsense spouted off around her, so she has that advantage. Matlin is a real talent, a superb actress, and it deeply saddens me to see her lumped in with this group.
The men decide on the name Backbone, after Lil Jon has a pre Charlie Sheen glimmer and comes up with "Winners." Mark McGrath and Meatloaf are laying low, but the Bat out of Hell can belt out the notes, and after one preview reveals, he will pull an Eddie from Rocky Horror and roll over anyone in his path.
These 16 celebrities must run dueling pizzerias to raise money for charity.
Hard to watch Dionne struggle with the cash register, harder to see Gary Busey play a Pepperoni Profit clown who creates a spectacle on the New York sidewalks.
Time to make the calls and bring in the heavy hitters, except not everyone has rich flush friends. The women win this first challenge, even after leaving $35,000 on the table due to Star Jones' bad delivery strategy, time management, delegating and New York City traffic snarls.
Jose Canseco reveals himself interestingly, as he defends Cassidy to David's detriment in the boardroom, and positions himself as the rival alpha male to Hatch's over-the-top posturing and bullshit spin.
But the biggest heartbreak was seeing first eliminated celebrity David Cassidy, so defeated from the beginning; picked on mercilessly by Hatch. Cassidy is an artist, and was out of his depth exerting himself against several of these self-aggrandizing modern day "celebrities" who are famous for outrageous behavior, and certainly not any true talent.
With so much good TV stuffed into a Sunday night, NBC better hope that Joan Rivers visits "Celebrity Apprentice" every other episode
FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CDionne Warwick Biography -
Dionne Warwick Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesJohn Rich Biography -
John Rich Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesLaToya Jackson Biography -
LaToya Jackson Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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