Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Celebrity Apprentice: Ouch

Let me just say right up front, that I am not a big fan of Reality Television. I never "got" the Grand Daddy of RT (The Survivor) and I've never watched Biggest Loser, or Top Model or The Bachelor. The closest I've come to being one with RT is a 9 year investment in American Idol, which in truth, was more about loving Simon Cowell than loving music. For that I endured weeks of being mauled by melismatic caterwauling while waiting for flashes of vocal brilliance in the final five. Needless to say, once Simon departed, so did I. Although I do have many friends who tell me this is mean and the show is still good. So sorry...I'm stubborn, I'm Irish and I'm gone. I'll be there for Simon on the X-Factor in the fall.

So this post can be about how someone who is not a fan of RT can navigate through viewing the hot current version of Celebrity Apprentice without jumping off a bridge. I decided to check it out based on many anecdotal comments from folks who said the cast was inspired (it is) and that Gary Busey was strange and funny (absolutely). But it was still really, really hard for me to get through a two hour episode this past Sunday. It would have been easier to lick a raw banana slug. Without salt or hot sauce.

So...about the cast. On the guy side, we have aging teen idol David Cassidy, who has already been fired. Additionally we have the above mentioned Academy Award nominated Gary Busey, as well as rock impresario Meatloaf. Helping round out the motley crew is Richard Hatch, who once won The Survivor and who, if Yahoo News is correct, was recently arrested again for tax evasion. There's also a country singer dude and a rap dude and someone else I've never heard of.

On the women celebrity side there is (was) Lisa Rinna, who was mercifully fired this week for incompetence. Back to the lip pumping station for you Lisa! The cast also features classic and iconic songstress Dionne Warwick, Academy Award winning actress Marlee Matlin (oh how the mighty have fallen), super model Niki Taylor, TV personality Star Jones and (I don't know how to classify her and neither does NBC) LaToya Jackson.

Their challenge this week was to create a children's book targeted towards 5 year olds and then perform a rendition of the book on stage. It sounds really fun and interesting. It would have been great if it hadn't devolved into endless nit picking and cat fighting (even between the guys) and (this is a hallmark of Reality TV) closeups of someone who is about to cry. There is far too much crying on RT, and not nearly enough laughter. I kept waiting for somebody to realize how totally absurd the whole thing was, crack a joke and collapse in hysterics. I wanted them to abandon the show and have the camera follow them to the corner bar where they could hoist a few and talk about real life, or Charlie Sheen. It never happened. There was a lot of yelling though, if that's your cup of tea. And fake closeups of celebrities trying to look hurt, or attractive.

I guess it's probably not a good sign when the most measured, reasonable lines in the whole program were sternly pronounced by host, Mr. Donald Trump. He seems to be quite fond of Gary Busey, easily the most accomplished and riveting "character" on the show. Trump, regardless of his hair follicle challenges, is actually an amazing business mogul. His has a sort of warped gravitas that works for me, even though it is a bit like he's channeling Alec Baldwin from 30 Rock.

Ah well, it was painful, but I don't regret dipping a toe into the RT-world. I took a bullet for the Flaming Nose on this one, and actually welcome opposing viewpoints from those who love the genre. The only problem is...well...I sort of feel like I've invested all this time in the whole thing and wonder who is going to get kicked off next. Dear God. Will I tune in again? It's either that or start looking for Banana Slug recipes.

P.S. I know this is Pee Wee Herman Week and I am sorry this is not about Pee Wee. Although, come to think of it...wouldn't he make an AWESOME character on Celebrity Apprentice?


Lisa said...

You are a champ, gal, for exposing your eyes to this! Hilarious and insightful commentary on something that I can't look at but I'm so glad you did! Pee-Wee would, BTW, be amazing on ANY show!

Jane said...

Well that's certainly true about dear Pee Wee. I loved him as Murphy Brown's secretary, many moons ago!

Jeri said...

Well said Jane. I like reality TV or rather liked it more earlir than I do now. I see the same drama and games going in at work and only wish that I could vote someone out of their cube or yell you're fired!

FlickChick said...

This is my most guilty pleasure, my dirty little reality tv secret!