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This week’s Celebrity Apprentice finally ended the relentless parade of terrible dog puns. To fill the void, Gene Simmons stepped up to the plate to repeat the exact same five words over and over. And over. Still can’t quite recall what they are? Read on, my friends.We begin this week with the candidates in the loft speculating about who will be going home. Piers, who seems to be upping his British Quotient more and more each week, teases Jennie for throwing Nadia, her childhood hero, under the bus. Also, pip pip, and cheerio. Meanwhile, Nely is losing her shit and crying into Cryptkeeper Carol’s arms after the boardroom. I guess she’s sad about Nadia getting fired, but it could also be that she feels guilty for stealing a sparkly Paris barrette from her eight-year-old niece.
The Donald meets the kids next to the river, presumably just so he can make a mob joke to Vincent Pastore. Oh, The Donald. You’re just so goddamn hip. Your witty pop culture panache eclipses us all. He introduces Ivanka, and Jim Cramer, the stock market imp! Dance, economy troll! Trump gives Gene the check for his charity, the Pediatric AIDS Foundation, then offers him the chance to switch teams and be the project manager for the ladies. Gene takes off his sunglasses, because by now we all know he can’t think with them on, and agrees to switch, thereby becoming, in his words, “the king of all women.” Charming. He then tells calls Trump the Devil, which prompts this look:
Trump then introduces the corporate yahoos from Kodak, who explain that their task is to create a Kodak experience on the streets of New York, using a large bus, several cameras, an all-in-one printer, a paper clip, a rubber band, and a used piece of chewing gum.
Gene starts off by informing the ladies that they are now mired in a benevolent dictatorship. Most of them nod and smile and drool a little. Ahhhmarosa is the only one who seems to have a problem with it, but she’s probably just sad because her hat is broken.
Gene makes the executive decision to only have a couple team members meet with the executives. Then he starts talking about himself in the third person, and how Gene Simmons doesn’t need to go to any stinking meetings and Gene Simmons IS Mr. Outside-The-Box. Though I’m guessing Gene Simmons has spent much more time in boxes than outside of them, if you catch my drift. Then he mugs for the camera some more and I throw up in my mouth. He decrees that the slogan of their campaign will be “It’s a Kodak World. Welcome.” He then repeats this approximately thirty-seven times, each time further proclaiming its brilliance and further incurring the wrath of America.
Meanwhile, Hydra, led by project manager Tito Ortiz, meets with the Kodak people. The execs stress that what they’re really selling here is the low-priced, high-output ink. The ink is what’s important, they say, trotting out two differing stacks of paper to compare the ink output. INK! INK! Piers Morgan, lightning-quick on the uptake, says something like, “So, what you’re really selling is ink.” The Kodak executives nod and, sans sarcasm, tell him that he’s very astute. Haha. Who ARE these people?
Nely and Cryptkeeper Carol meet with the executives next, who take several minutes to recover from the initial shock of Nely carrying a bag made out of a human child’s head:
The executives begin to happily show the ladies the precious paper stacks, but then Nely opens her mouth and doesn’t shut it for several hours. The executives attempt to yell “Ink!” at her every once in a while, but it doesn’t stick and they end up looking pretty perturbed. Though maybe the woman is just sad because she misses her Dark Crystal buddies.
The two ladies return to the rest of their team to relay all of the false information, only to have Gene shoot it all down anyway. He suggests that the Kodak executives don’t know what’s good for Kodak. But he does. He also informs us that if he were sitting on the sidelines, he’d say, “Gene Simmons, you are a powerful and attractive man.” I’d again like to stress that I am not making this up.
Stephen Baldwin, having decided not to take his Ritalin today, is flailing all over the conference room and shouting out ideas that make little to no sense. Piers finally shuts him up and reminds everyone that he alone was able to decipher that the ink is what’s important. They eventually come up with a fighting-themed concept, using Tito and Lennox to illustrate that it’s a “knock-out deal”.
Empresario is hard at work, if by work you mean Gene shamelessly flirting with the ladies on his team and generally making everyone uncomfortable and slightly grimy-feeling. Hydra stages a sexy little photo shoot on the conference room table, with a naked Tito and a naked Lennox both passed out on top of the Kodak printer. Ah, office supply porn. If there’s a better kind of porn, I haven’t heard of it.
Suddenly, tragedy strikes! As everyone piles off the table, the entire thing tips over and spills our heroes onto the floor. But worse is that a wayward cup of coffee spills onto the computer that contained all of the team’s art and signage. Everyone just stands around, dumbfounded, as if their collective staring and gaping will somehow cause the computer to fix itself.
After the most exciting paper-toweling and compressed-air-cleaning montage ever to grace the screens of network television, we go to commercial break, which always fixes everything, right? Wrong. When we return, the men are still crowded around the now useless piece of technology, shaking their heads and lamenting the loss of their precious artwork, which as far as I can tell consisted solely of Word documents, so I’m not entirely sure what they’re so worried about. Apparently without the classy touch of Comic Sans, they’re doomed!
The next day, Gene, now having descended fully into madness, is still reciting his precious slogan over and over to himself. The rest of the team attempts to teach him the name of the printer, to no avail. You foolish mortals! This is Gene Simmons, the most powerful AND attractive man in America! He has not the time to dally with your heathen technology!
They set up their bus, and it does look quite professional. Gene informs us that it would be an insult to God to not let the ladies shake their asses and sell the printers (again, not making this up). Jim Cramer emerges from a shrubbery to check out the scene. Gene takes him on a tour around the bus, pointing out the slogan, which contains an obscene amount of exclamation points and, appropriately enough, repeats itself ad nauseum. When Gene Simmons dies, he will be reincarnated as this bus.
And now we cut to Team Hydra, which, as a soundtrack of plinky xylophones implies, is doing quite poorly. Their Kinko’s banners look like shit, and the whole setup looks like more of a church bake sale than a Kodak experience. When Jim Cramer shows up, he starts prancing around impishly and shouting to the camera about the shoddy presentation. “I don’t want to buy from a dumpster!” he shrieks. Oh, Stock Gnome. You warm my heart.
Gene welcomes the Kodak execs to his bus, and proceeds to yet again repeat the slogan slowly and carefully, as one might to a child, or an illiterate hobo. They look amused and even take their pictures with the giant stand-up cut-outs of the entire Empresario team. Because nothing screams Kodak Moment like being sandwiched in between Gene Simmons and the Unknown Botox Squad.
Team Hydra, however, has a secret weapon: a megaphone. And as all those who are up on their Apprentice history know, megaphones win challenges. (I can still hear Randall Squidward’s screechy voice on the wind.) Vincent Pastore is gnawing on that thing like it’s a stick of salami, while Trace Adkins and the rest of the team talk up the ink. And who’s this? It’s Alec Baldwin, showing up to support his little brother and buy some office supplies! Stephen gives him a cringe-worthy sales pitch, and Alec admits to the camera that while there’s no one more full of crap than his brother, he is a good salesman. So Alec buys two printers for $1000 each, since it’s all for charity, and Piers snides that that’s what a true Baldwin is. Haha. Take THAT, Stephen!
When the Kodak execs show up, Piers hits them over the head with the ink concept, which is printed in giant letters throughout the bus. “INK!!!” it says. And “INK!!” Piers yells into the execs’ faces. They stare at the terrible signage, and look displeased.
Later, the execs meet with The Donald and inform him of their favorite. From the way they’re talking about the whole thing, it sounds like they hated the guys and loved the girls. Great. Now return to the cave from whence you came.
In the boardroom, Trump asks Gene why he didn’t meet with the execs. Gene takes his sunglasses off. Good Lord, not again. He calmly explains to The Donald that he didn’t care to listen to what the execs had to say, repeats the slogan YET AGAIN, and pretty much says that he should be president of Kodak. Trump kind of snickers, then turns to Hydra, who explain the computer fiasco. Jim Cramer puts in his two cents, imping that Empresario had the better presentation, but Hydra had the better message. Trump says that the execs agreed, and announces Hydra the winner, making this the first time in history a reality show has actually succeeded in using misdirection.
Once Hydra leaves to watch the proceedings from the loft, Trump asks Gene what happened. Gene smugly replies that the Kodak executives are wrong. Ivanka, inexplicably dressed for the senior prom, tells the team that the execs were miffed because they felt that they weren’t being listened to. Trump agrees that the problem was that since only two people went to the meeting, there weren’t enough ideas about how to go forth with the concept. Gene once again insists that he’s right and Kodak is wrong, and keeps defending his position with nothing more than a conceited smile, further confounding Stock Gnome, The Donald, and his spawn.
Trump tells Nely that the execs felt that she talked too much in the meeting. Cryptkeeper Carol agrees. Gene interrupts this conversation – no joke – to repeat the slogan yet again. Ahmarosa says that he doesn’t even know the name of the product. Trump asks him what it is, so Gene points to his hand, where he has it written down, and reads it. Incorrectly. Seriously, this guy just recaps himself.
Trump quizzes the rest of the team, and the ladies come to the consensus that it is Gene who should be fired, except for crazy Nely, who picks Jennie. Whatever. Enough of this insanity. Pick two people, Gene. Gene asks if he can only pick one, and once he gets the go-ahead he names Ahmarosa. Trump correctly chastises him for this decision, as Ahmarosa, for once, did not have anything to do with the team’s loss. Gene continues to smile vacantly. Trump demands that he pick another name, perhaps Nely, who has been miserably failing for the past two weeks. But no. Gene picks Jennie. Okay, he’s clearing throwing the game.
Trump is incredulous. Jim Cramer puts his head in his hands. So it’s come to this. Is there no dignity left in the world of reality television?? Ivanka, Jim, and The Donald all gape openmouthed at each other for a while, clearly not catching on to Gene’s little plan. Dudes and dudette: he WANTS to be fired. Isn’t it blaringly obvious by now?
Trump bellows to Annette, the strumpet secretary of the week, to let them back in. Annette, apparently a top pick from the Paris Hilton Temp Agency, tells them to go in, then goes right back to pretending to type up an important document. Calm down, sweetie. That Dramatic Chipmunk isn’t going anywhere.
As they return to the boardroom, Gene asks for Ahmarosa’s hand. Jim Cramer does not approve.
Ahmarosa and Jennie both call shenanigans on Gene picking them to come back in with him. So does Trump. Long story short, since he can’t fire either girl because they didn’t do anything wrong, he fires Gene, telling him he had no choice. Gene, satisfied with the ending that he was so clearly asking for, says he respects the decision. He boards the elevator, tells the poor operator kid “Down, Jeeves,” and plummets back down to obscurity. In the limo ride, he informs us that the women don’t have a “popcorn fart chance of shining the guy’s shoes.” Class act, all the way.
So. What did you think? Gene obviously no longer wanted to be there once he lost. He’s got a pretty good thing going on his own and doesn’t really need to prove himself on a reality show that ultimately means nothing to him, or anyone, really. He already won last week, he got some money for his charity, and he bowed out with as much grace as he could muster. What a douchebag. An entertaining douchebag, though. This guy makes great reality television. Though I am starting to miss the high-strung MBAs with decades of business school training, the condescending yet desperate corporate drones would would literally kiss The Donald’s ass in exchange for a kind word or a caviar brunch. Where are you now, Troys and Brents of the world?? We need you now, more than ever!