Congratulations, friends. You’ve made it to the end. No doubt you are now sallow, emaciated shells of your former selves, but such is the price one must pay if one is to sit through the entire season of Celebrity Apprentice. I myself am subsisting solely on a diet of beet juice and crushed almonds, and spend all my time humming quietly to my ficus plant and doodling in a Precious Moments coloring book. Oh well. It’s all worth it!
So join me on one last catastrophe – the two hour LIVE Finale / Fillerpalooza! And for the rest of you schmucks (or geniuses) who didn’t watch the show but read the recaps, you may continue with what you do best: letting me do the dirty work for you.
Let me just grab a nice tall glass of beet juice and…here we go!The camera pans directly into The Donald’s face in the boardroom, where he screams at us that we started with fourteen and now we’re down to two, Trace and Piers. He turns to his spawn for advice, and after their infuriatingly ambiguous input, we go right into one of my favorite parts of the live finale: the revelation that we are not in the boardroom, but in fact in front of a LIVE STUDIO AUDIENCE!! The boardroom walls ascend into the heavens to reveal…what appears to be some sort of a cramped, miniature auditorium. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Remember the season two finale? Three hours at Lincoln Center, hosted by Regis Philbin and with a performance by the O’Jays? THOSE were the days.
“DENYING THE FADING OF ONE’S OWN RELEVANCY IS A THIRTY BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY!”
The voiceover guy gets really excited and introduces “the biggest celebrity of them all, Donald Trump!” Trump, a vision in a shiny red tie, waves at his adoring public and throws us out to our first segment, a video montage of the past twelve weeks. If you want to know what it contains, please see: all previous recaps. It ends with a summary of what happened last week with the final task, and the proclamation that this is the “greatest international battle in Apprentice history”. Oh, I don’t know, voiceover guy. Remember the psychological battle between me and Season 5′s Sean from Britain, the guy whose face I intensely desired to punch again and again and again until nothing but a bloody stump remained?
During the commercial, we are instructed to send text messages to Trump in order to raise money for Piers’ and Trace’s charities. I’m on to you, Mark Burnett. Ripping off Idol Gives Back, are we? Well, I’m not giving a single dime until I see Donald Trump personally serenading a group of Somali children and squeezing a couple tears out when he learns that none of their toothbrushes are diamond-encrusted.
Okay, back to the final task. Piers is on the phone with everyone’s favorite dog whistle, Sharon Osbourne. Seriously, it’s a wonder strays don’t just show up at her front door, wondering where the heck that shrill noise is coming from. Anyway, he gets another tea with her or something (do the British know how to do ANYTHING other than drink tea?), but now it’s time for someone Bigger. Piers gets on the phone and dials up his buddy Andrew. I rack my brain, attempting to think of a famous Brit named Andrew, but nothing comes to mind, not even when the voice of Andrew picks up and exclaims in the jauntiest, most British way ever, “Good heavens!” I’m totally expecting the person on the other end to be eating a crumpet and wearing a monocle.
Well, we do happen to have some live video feed, conveniently enough, so let’s get right to our mystery man. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber! Piers tells him about the charity auction, and Lord Andrew responds by telling him that “the funny thing is,” he’s sitting in Abbey Road, “the great recording studios!” Piers acts all surprised, as if he hadn’t known he was there by the fact that there’s already a camera on the guy and he called him on THE LAND LINE PHONE INSIDE THE STUDIO. Anyway, Lord Andrew twitters that he’s there because he’s currently laying down some tracks for the sequel to Phantom of the Opera. Because if there’s anything that Americans are clamoring for, it’s more of a musical that everyone lost interest in fifteen years ago after seeing it three friggin times with their parents and being informed that it’s the most magical experience of all time. Ooh, the chandelier falls. Big honkin deal!
Oh, LORD Andrew. You should have said so! How’s it hanging, Lordy?
Anyway, Lord Andrew continues speaking and I literally canNOT stop laughing. This man is like the love child of Austin Powers, the Grinch, and some sort of hideous but lovable creature from the Harry Potter series. Everything about this scene is comedy gold: the half-assed attempt to pass it off as an impromptu phone call, the way he keeps looking off camera at the cue cards or whatever, the Phantom Mask draped ever so delicately across a silk-lined box in the background…I am absolutely delighted. Anyway, Lord Andrew gives Piers two tickets for the premiere of the show, and then gives US the best gift of all: a hilarious, totally uncalled-for come-hither look, complete with raised pinky.
“How about it, AMERICA?”
Oh, man. Okay. Moving on. To a van that unfortunately contains Stevie B. After Piers gets off the phone with a mysterious large bidder named “Howard” (the Duck?? Maybe!), Stevie B compliments him on his fund-raising abilities, prompting Piers to apologize for any times that he may have offended Stevie B. This causes Stevie B to rejoice in a Hallelujah chorus, which wouldn’t have been funny at any time, but coming up on the heels of Lord Andrew’s Rollicking FunFest, it’s just terribly lame and only makes me wish even harder for their van to suddenly wrap around a tree.
Stevie B, in the part he was born to play.
Trace, meanwhile, is still in a dilly of a pickle over these damned Backstreet Boys. Now they’re calling him up and requesting that he purchase them some black nail polish, prompting a facial expression that’s hauntingly familiar:
This is like the twenty-seventh Muppet comparison I’ve made this season. Coincidence?
A big deal is made out of how funny it is for a heavyweight boxing champion and “the [self-proclaimed] most heterosexual cowboy on the planet” to go shopping for nail polish for another man, but honestly, Trace, get with the program. These are the Backstreet Boys. What did you think they’d want? Steak and porn?
We then cut to yet another montage of Stevie B failing to do anything that even mildly resembles competent work. He’s on the phone, attempting to contact his “celebrity” “friends”, but all he gets is a lot of no’s, a few hang-ups, and a fair amount of “Who is this?” Though the most amusing part of this segment is that he often gets hung up on right after he mentions that the Backstreet Boys will be performing.
Piers continues to panic over his abysmal ticket sales, while Trace welcomes a bunch of big-name country stars whom I’m not even going to pretend to know. Suffice it to say they’re all wearing large and colorful hats.
After the commercial, Trump blares that he wants to see if the guys can react under pressure, because you’ll never make it if you choke under pressure. Then he flubs a line on live national television. “LET’S TAKE IT OUT!” he bellows, then corrects himself by snapping “CHECK!” Irony, you’re hired!
After a brief “pressure” montage, Trace is visited by his wife and two daughters, one of whom is the six-year-old with the severe food allergies. He hugs his little girls and cries while plaintive music plinks away in the background, and I vomit into the bucket that I have prepared exclusively for the two-hour crapfest that I knew this would be.
Contrast this heartstring-tugging scene with the next, which contains Piers instructing the waitstaff and bartenders to serve as little food as possible and to get the guests as drunk as they humanly can so they’ll bet more freely on the auction items. Where are Piers’ little doting children? Where are the tears upon his face? I think it’s pretty clear as to who Mark Burnett thinks is going to win this thing. Or maybe he’s just distracted by the fact that Carol’s alien boob is attempting to escape.
Kill it! Kill it or it will consume us all!
One of the BSB (“If you know them like I do,” says Trace wryly, “they’re the BSB”) needs a knee brace. Apparently Howie D has been doing too many jiggy squat thrusts. Trace sets off to track one down, as well as the notorious and ever-elusive wheatgrass juice, which he still has not procured. He informs Nick Carter of this travesty, and Nick yet again looks as if he’s just been informed his entire family had been killed in a tragic boating accident.
“There…there is no God.”
Trace tells us that the prissiness of the BSB has given him new-found respect for himself, as he has done shows with broken bones and whatnot and even had 18 inches of his colon cut out after a show one night. “Don’t get me started on the BSB!” he quips. The studio audience bursts into laughter. I feel like I’m watching an episode of Laverne and Shirley or something here. I can’t wait for Lenny and Squiggy to show up.
The Unnamed Charity Event of the Year begins. While many of the guests struggle to figure out who the hell Piers is, Trace is greeted by all of his country singer friends, who, once again, I wouldn’t recognize if I fell over them in the street. Suffice it to say they all look pretty drunk. Meanwhile, Piers’ props, excuse me, wounded veterans arrive, and he instructs them to stand around and be as visible as possible so that people will give more money to them. How about some cardboard signs while we’re at it? Anyone know how to construct a sandwich board?
Anyway, the Trumps arrive and the auction begins. The tea with Fergie and an evening with the Osbornes each go for $100,000 each to the mysterious Howard whom Piers had called earlier. Turns out it’s not the Duck, but rather Howard Lutnick, the CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald, a financial company that lost almost 700 people on 9/11. Oh man. Just give it to Piers right now. Who can argue with this kind of strategy?
After the private dinner with Trace Adkins is bid on and won by Ivanka (the hussy!), the auction continues at a breakneck pace. Trump watches, bewildered.
“WAIT A MINUTE…THIS ISN’T DISNEY ON ICE!”
Finally we come to the last item: a diamond shopping spree with Ivanka. Some rodent-like chap in the front row bids twenty thousand –
“Hi, I’m Preston, I’ll be your douchebag this evening.”
–but Piers scampers on up to the stage with a microphone in hand and starts talking to the disembodied voice of Simon Cowell. A dick move, sure, but it pays off. Simon agrees to bid fifty thousand, then the chipmunk one-ups him again. This little pissing contest continues until Simon bids a hundred thousand and wins, making it absolutely clear that he’s doing this for the charity and not for Piers, whom, I imagine, he despises. Though I’m sure the feeling couldn’t possibly be mutual. Just look at that face!
Dream Phone: the UK edition
Trace gets up on stage to introduce the Backstreet Boys, who somehow managed to survive without their precious wheatgrass juice. They take the stage to begin the performance and…huh. They’re keeping at it with those ridiculous little dance moves, aren’t they? I thought for sure they’d maybe grow up a little and at least attempt to not look like flaming homosexuals, but I guess I was wrong. Oh well. If it’s ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Back in the live studio, Trump introduces the interviewers from the last episode, that Erin chick, whom Trump says is beautiful, and Jim Cramer, whom Trump says is handsome. Okay, I don’t know what to do with that. Maybe handsome in the way that Furbies are cute? Which is to say, not at all, and in fact closer to resembling soul-devouring demons of the underworld? But I digress. My point is that Jim Cramer is awesome, no matter what breed of gremlin he is descended from.
Anyway, it’s boardroom time. Nothing here that hasn’t been rehashed ad nauseum in weeks past: Trace is laid-back and a really nice guy, Piers is an asshat but really knows how to raise a hell of a lot of money. Good? We all good on that? Sure we don’t want it tattooed on the inside of our eyeballs? Perhaps made into some sort of Broadway musical? Let’s get Lord Andrew on the horn again!
“My heavens, I’d love to score Celebrity Apprentice: The Musical! Just thinking about it makes me…
And now for the results. Piers raised $376,000, as compared to Trace’s paltry $64,000. However, on the ticket sale end, Trace raised $38,000 and Piers raised $12,000. But Piers points out that he gave away 20 tickets to the wounded veterans, as a small halo forms around his gigantic sweaty head. He then goes on to insist that he didn’t just beat Trace, he pulverized him. Piers Morgan: Captain Subtlety.
Trace then says that it meant a lot more for his guys to donate their little sums of money than it did for Simon Cowell the billionaire to swoop in and donate an amount that, to him, is laundry change. He then says that Piers was belittling his donors. Piers denies this and demands that he take it back. Then we go to commercial break! Oh man, the shit’s going to hit the fan when we return!
Or not. Trump brushes it off and says that Piers probably thought it, even if he didn’t say it out loud. Ha! He asks Piers about the food, and Piers readily admits that he didn’t want the guests eating, that he was deliberately trying to get them liquored up so they would cough up more money. Stevie B pipes up to say he didn’t approve of this, but Piers just blasts him once again for being hypocritical and dancing around in his Moral High Ground Platform Shoes For Jesus.
Ivanka points out that this is a prime example of the asshattery that Piers has displayed throughout this entire process. Piers, as if somehow channeling my thoughts directly through the airwaves and into his mouth, asks The Donald once and for all whether this is supposed to be a popularity contest, or whether this is still a BUSINESS GAME. Trump hands that question over to Trace, who once again does the song and dance about how he’s only there to represent his charity and wanted to do so in the most dignified manner possible. Trump says that this is the most difficult decision he’s had to make in a long time. We cut back to live television as he throws us out to commercial, blaring “GET PIERS AND TRACE READY. I WANT TO SETTLE THIS ONCE AND FOR ALL!” Um, could you?? It’s been like five hours already!
And time out. Time the heck out for a sec. How is there still a question of who the winner is here? I mean, I love Trace as much as the next red-blooded American, but Piers hit the nail on the head – this is a business game. That has been the point of the whole thing ever since this monstrosity started. You can’t just go changing the rules halfway through the game because of an especially endearing southern twang. Am I right, people? This guy knows what I’m talking about.
“Back in my day I had to walk to the boardroom uphill both ways! And we fashioned helicopters out of sharpened pencils and ticker tape! Now get off my lawn, you rotten kids!”
Now we’re fully in live finale mode. Who’s ready for some trainwrecks? I know I am! Trump introduces the two finalists – Trace is cheered and Piers is booed. Great. Then it’s time for a little reunion. Trump blares the names of each celebrity, and they all emerge from backstage with grand flourishes and waves. So great to see all of the faces of people whom I immediately forgot existed once they were fired. Tiffany who? Doesn’t she work at Starbucks?
The only two missing are Gene Simmons, who’s shooting something in Japan, and Ahhhhmarosa. Trump runs a quick montage of the infamous rivalry between her, Piers, and her broken hat, then tells her to come on down. Which is fitting, seeing as how she’s dressed almost identically to the way Rod Roddy used to on The Price Is Right.
My eyes just exploded.
Anyway, she flings the doors open and strikes a pose of High Bitchitude, then saunters over to her seat and flashes a look of pure Slutbaggery. Trump asks her why she hates Piers so much. Come on Ahmarosa, this is it. A chance to redeem yourself, to say something mature, or witty, or anything remotely classy. This is most likely the last time we’ll ever see your ugly mug, so try and go out on an intelligent, dignified high note. Okay, go. Why do you hate Piers?
“Because he doesn’t floss.”
Crickets. More crickets. Someone coughs.
“THAT’S PROBABLY THE WORST ANSWER YOU’VE GIVEN TO ME EVER,” blares Trump. Probably? I’d say there’s no probably about it. Ahmarosa continues to drone on about how important dental hygiene is to her and that she hopes Piers will use some of the money to get his teeth cleaned, but Trump, I’m happy to report, is back in fine form, calling her out for the schmuck that she is. “AHMAROSA, YOU BLEW IT WITH THE DENTAL FLOSS,” he trumpets. Damn straight. Now remove yourself from the collective conscious of America, heinous wench.
Trump polls the rest of the celebrities, or rather, the ones we haven’t yet banished to the nether-regions of our reality television memories. Lennox gives some unsurprisingly bland summaries of each finalist’s abilities. Carol says that Piers did what he had to to win, and that she respects that. But then Trump asks about Trace, and Carol snaps! She screeches that it’s hard for her to say anything about Trace because she should have been there instead of him. Whoa there, sweetie. You didn’t seem all that broken up about it at the time. Now you’re foaming at the mouth. It’s like she’s unleashed her inner Cryptkeeper. Anyway, her rantings displease The Donald. “YOU’RE CHOKING UNDER LIVE TELEVISION, CAROL!” he taunts. He is full of it tonight! I love it!
Trump introduces Stevie B, which is followed by a frenzied screeching from the audience by some girls whom I can only imagine belong to the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Club of New York. Stevie B looks thrilled beyond belief with all of this undeserved affection, and even The Donald is dumbfounded.
“I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS HUMAN EMOTION YOU CALL LOVE.”
Trump points out that Stevie B wasn’t doing too good before Celebrity Apprentice, but now he’s a big man about town. Ugh. Yet another reason for me to loathe this entire enterprise. Stevie B throws his support behind Trace, one hundred percent. Next up is Vincent Pastore, who admits that he wishes he hadn’t resigned. He confesses that it was Lennox who put him over the edge, who turned on him in the boardroom when only the night before, Vinny had taken him out to see Chazz Palminteri in A Bronx Tale! Oh, Vinny. No one cares. Go finish off that mountain of cannoli you brought.
Okay, a few more contractually-obligated pleasantries and we’ll get back to business. Marilu is her usual perky Teletubby self. Trump makes Jennie Finch promise to win the U.S. another gold medal. Nadia Comaneci waves and reminds everyone that she has FIVE gold medals. No one cares.
I sure would love to see more people no one cares about! Trump blares out another introduction: “HE HAS THE EGO, HE HAS THE SMARTS, HE EVEN HAS THE BIG HAIR…YOU KNOW, LIKE ME!” No one gets the joke. “SORT OF,” he adds sheepishly. Haha. GOD I love that man. Can’t he just hire himself? Anyway, following an unnecessary montage of Gene’s Kodak challenge and his claim that the marketing execs were dead wrong, we pull up Gene via satellite in Tokyo. He stands by his campaign and continues to assert that Kodak was wrong. So he’s a stubborn ass, we get it. Could we just drop it now? NO WE CAN’T, booms the floating head of Mark Burnett. A portly Kodak exec is shoved out onto the stage to deliver a thinly-veiled commercial spot, and then tells Gene that while the whole Kodak World idea is great and is actually a concept they’ve already been using for quite some time and will soon be made into its very own theme park, he was still wrong on the task. THERE. Are we done NOW? There’s no doubt in my mind that Mark Burnett would have liked nothing more than to rematch that whole Kodak challenge, right there on live television, via satellite from Japan, Gene Simmons vs. Godzilla and his Mothra-led marketing team, but sadly, we have more important business at hand here.
Gene endorses Trace, and so do the majority of the other fired contestants. And now it’s time for a little video package about the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network. Trace describes what his six-year-old daughter has to go through and what it’s like to live with severe food allergies. She’s a cutie and it sure is touching, but surely we must be getting to the end now, right? We certainly don’t have time for…Jesus, a live performance? Guess so. Trace sings his new single, and it’s nice and all, but it’s definitely no “For the Love of Money” by the O’Jays. Regis sure did rock out to that one!
Shake it, Reege!
Next up is a clip of Piers visiting the Center for the Intrepid in San Antonio, Texas, and spending time with the wounded veterans there. No room for snark here, really. Blatantly schmaltzy, of course, but it’s still moving, especially when a handful of veterans show up on stage there after the clip. They express their gratitude for Piers’ fundraising, and Trump thanks them for their service. I half expect Ryan Seacrest to jump out of the bushes and kidnap a couple of them for Idol Gives Back. He can do whatever he wants! He’s owned by Apple!
Now that everyone’s thoroughly bummed out, it’s time for the final boardroom discussion. Trump asks Trace why he should win. Trace starts right in with the damage control, saying that no one supports the military more than he does and that he was actually awarded by the USO for his services. Well that’s great and all, Trace, but what does it have to do with the price of beans? He continues by insisting that he’s here tonight in order to raise awareness for his own charity. Again, a noble cause, sure, but this isn’t a competition over whose charity is more deserving. Still, the audience goes nuts, and I become fearful. It’s so clear that Piers should win this, but I’m worried that the Donald will be swayed by the schmaltz-fest that this evening has so utterly degraded into. Piers makes his case once again, the logical case, that he played the game well, perhaps a little ruthlessly, but intelligently and with a great deal of strategy. He gives a run down of his stats – all the wins he’s secured, the money he made, and the celebrities he brought in to donate.
“BUT YOU’RE NOT LOVED,” bellows Trump. Dude, he’s not competing for the title of Celebrity Velveteen Rabbit. This is The Apprentice, dammit! Those words once had meaning! Trump asks his spawn for opinions, but neither one is incredibly helpful. It’s time to pick a winner anyway. He gives the nice little speeches to each of them, and for a moment it seems like it could be anyone’s game….but then…there it is! He just called Trace a Special Guy! And as we all know, the S word is the kiss of death. Sure enough, Piers is declared the Celebrity Apprentice.
He won as he played: caked in sweat.
Oh my hell. I have no idea what I just watched for the past two hours. What WAS that? I’m pretty sure a large portion of my brain has been erased. I can’t remember how photosynthesis works!
Anyway, I’m happy with the outcome. Trace was a nice guy, but Piers played the game far too well to not be declared the winner. I was worried for a moment that Trump would go soft and appease the masses, but he came through in the end. And let’s not forget what’s really meant by Piers’ win: Ahmarosa’s loss. I pretty much started rooting for him the moment Ahmarosa declared him as her enemy. That woman could go up against a deadly bird flu certain to wipe out all of humanity, and I’d probably still root for the damn virus. Yeah, I’d be dead, but at least Ahmarosa and her stupid broken hat would be, too.
Oh, one more thing. Anyone wondering whether this is the last we’ll be seeing of our beloved Trumps? Hankering to know if this bloated corpse of a series will be revived and pranced around Ã¡ la Weekend at Bernies for yet another season? Well, wonder no more. As if telepathically sensing these burning questions, The Donald ends the finale with an especially boisterous “WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT YEAR,” adding, rather ominously, “WE’RE GONNA BE AROUND FOR A LOOOONG TIME.” There you have it, folks Donald Trump: confirmed vampire.
Thanks for reading, kids! I hope you’ve enjoyed the recaps as much as I’ve enjoyed the vast amounts of alcohol required to write them. Have a nice spring/summer, and I guess I’ll apparently be back next year, hopefully refreshed and revitalized after countless months of uncontrollable sobbing. Until then, feel free to stop by my little corner of the internet anytime, and, as always, be sure to have your pets spayed or neutered.