Celebrity Apprentice: Out With a Pop

By Lily Sparks

May 21, 2012

The Celebrity Apprentice S012E14: "And the Winner Is..."

Last night's Celebrity Apprentice finale made me really wish Andy Warhol was still with us. He had a manner of deflating celebrities and summing up ridiculous behavior with such cool detachment, and this age would've kept him so, so busy. What would he have ever written about last night's episode? You KNOW he would've DVR'd the show religiously, probably watched it on Monday mornings. The finale was such a mad scramble for money, for popularity, for the celebrities proving they have friends who will give them gobs of money for no good reason. Their poor fans and friends trundled along with their tributes and the celebrities, on an adrenaline high, just slung it around, like Arsenio did last night when one of the Andretti clan brought him several thousand dollars in cash. "Classy family!" Arsenio said in voice-over as he threw bills to the floor.

And that sad fan of Clay's who brought $20,000 or $10,000 of combined donations from several fans, how many combined donations? How many kids will go without new shoes this next school year because their mothers, in a fit of guilt and misplaced sexual tension, decided to "treat themselves" to helping Clay's charity? This show insists that elegantly panhandling for charity is somehow kosher, but it's SO gauche. Warhol would have had much to say, he did NOT approve of glittery creatives borrowing money from their rich pals.

Warhol had some works he called "living portraits" because the sitter who was depicted would change his or her appearance and then demand he change the portrait to match. Aubrey O'Day would never get into the Factory (a camel has a better chance of making it into Harvard) but if by some fluke someone (besides me) agreed to make a portrait of her, can you imagine how often you'd have to retouch it? When she showed up last night to the live finale, the size of a couch with honey blonde hair, I didn't know what to say. Quelle chameleon! Also her eyelashes are the length and breadth of raven wings now, and its unnerving because it looks like she can't get the mascara all the way through to the thick, bristly ends, and the tips are beige or something, like a dusty fringe inches from her eyes. It's insane! There's never been anything like it! Not since ancient Rome have women been allowed to appear in public with such weirdly fake hair and makeup. Okay maybe Marie Antoinette times.

How ridiculous was it when Aubrey met the Trumps and started walking them through Clay's half of the party space? She knew there was no way for her to be declared the winner at that point, so maybe her tragic bossiness this season was less strategy and more a compulsive need for approval. Maybe it's tied to how "undervalued" she's been her whole career, but if that's your takeaway from a lifetime of effort then perhaps you're in the wrong career. Perhaps, instead of navigating the choppy waters of being famous, Aubrey should join the circus. This is not an attempt at derision. The way her eyes glowed around those carnival games and the shoddy mural that sprang up around them? "The tent-booths looked incredible." That is just not true. That's like saying "the fire was cold."

The tent-booths were depressing, the fake turf was a hazard, and the mural was disgusting. After Debbie whining and pleading and begging and showing Clay a mural her cousin/sister/whatever had made probably over the course of a month, Clay graciously agreed to cut the cousin a check and the muralists showed up and painted the walls like a weird high school community theater background for Barnum: The Musical.

In stark contrast, the winning Arsenio party had a much more effective landscape: low couches, lots of liquor, and an understated celebrity appearance by Whoopi Goldberg.

Of course, nothing that happened at the actual event could truly sway Trump. His motives were as primitive and as incapable of being influenced as the spray that gushes through Old Faithful. The fact he asked the Greek chorus of Unapprentices who they would choose is a good example of how seriously he's taking any of this.

Warhol would have found some way to dismiss the whole venture that would sum up the surreality and fakeness and desperation. Something that would tie in Mario Andretti committing $80,000 worth of moving violations on New York City streets on-camera at the beginning of the show (don't worry, it was all done in post-production, Aunt Mimi) with the inexplicable duet by Arsenio and Clay moments before the winner was announced. Nothing in my reality TV viewing career has ever equaled how antithetical that display was to the supposed concept of the show. This is about people competing in small-business projects for charity, yet we had a full gospel choir screaming at the audience as some emotional denouement before the official "hiring" of the Celebrity Apprentice.

It's like some weird parody of American sensibility in one of those dingy dystopian movies they used to film in the 1970s with too many big ideas and no budget (see: Deathrace 2000 or Gasssss or even more appropriately, perhaps, The Apple). The rapturous goodwill of two men competing over a job position while SINGING at each other, folksy spirituality rattling the thin supports of half a FAKE boardroom from a gospel choir that was ushered in out of nowhere, alongside rows of chairs filled with grinning, nervous celebrities. What weird mish-mash of recession-era career anxieties and our visceral connection to failed celebrities makes this plausible entertainment in the year 2012? Previous generations always thought that by 2000 we'd be scooping designer drugs into our mouths and shutting ourselves in sensory deprivation booths to maintain a constant state of bliss. We don't want bliss, we want to see the sacrosanct tomb of culture excavated and its bones rewired into an unrecognizable dragon, and have the breath of life blown into its fame until it stands upright and sings to us in fire. We're so completely conscious and saturated by advertising and celebrity culture that the only way to renew their impact is to vivisect them on camera like this show does.

Arsenio won, is what I'm trying to say. I was a Clay girl, but last time I checked being Celebrity Apprentice didn't give you any kind of congressional power, or any power really, so, (laughs) whatever.


– What does being Celebrity Apprentice mean?

– Do you still love Clay anyway?

– Who was the biggest winner this season, in terms of making good PR choices?

  • Comments (18)
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  • AkiraHideyo May 23, 2012

    Aubrey was pure TOXIC waste. Nothing around her can ever grow and she is seriously someone u dun want to be around-ever! I do like Lisa. She maybe vulgar but she's real and calls a spade a spade plus she has a kind heart. Guess being The Queen of Mean all these years sometimes does things to you. Have a break Lisa-take a holiday and smell the roses. Dun take everything so seriously-the world's ending and the arseholes are all rushing to beat u at your own game. And Dayana is simply gorgeous, albeit needs to mature more in intelligence. Arsenio & Clay, either one were nice guys. Most importantly they raised good amounts for their charity, although ain't too sure how better the funds at Magic Johnson Charity is better utilized compared to the so many similar AIDS charity around.

  • Yoli_GG May 23, 2012

    I think Patricia Velazquez was a good contestor, very smart, decent, always calm, too bad was fired too early and for a stupid reason...

    What I really liked was the way or better yet the reasons Audrey and Lisa were fired, the first one because is an insecure-hipocrite-clown and the other one because can handle her emotions, in other words, because it NUTS, crazy, loca!!!...

    I also liked the way Dayana behave during the show, including the final, eventhough sometimes the editing tried to make her look dumb, when she was in boardroom she behaves the opposite, I don't know if I could handle Lisa the way she did, without throwing her through a wall, like Lou said, btw, one of the best moments of the show, too bad it didn't happen.

  • BionicBarry May 22, 2012

    I think Dayana made the best impression, yeah her last episode made her look a bit dumb, but the audience doesn't really expect her to be able to string two sentences together. She didn't have a major faux pas or freak out moment, few people knew who she was, going in, and expectations were low, so Ithink the Pleasant Surprise Prize goes to her.

    Also, I like Clay, but eh, if winning this thing helps him in any way to get a new show, so be it. I liked his old show and Coming to America is one of my favourite movies.

    Hope it works out.

  • BionicBarry May 22, 2012

    (I mean if winning this helps Arsenio)

  • blaine101 May 22, 2012

    RiDICulous. Arsenio is a complete waste of space. And a complete chauvinist. His constant sexual jabs at Aubrey are despicable. I really don't care what she looks like. No woman deserves that.

  • BionicBarry May 22, 2012

    Yeeah that was problematic, agree. I'd like to think that he learned something, he did apologize after all... hum

  • ce May 22, 2012

    Frankly, Clay not getting Donald Trump's sleazy "stamp of approval" is actually a huge compliment in my book.He's a chump. An ass. What does getting "hired" by him really mean? That you did the best ass-kissing, or have the most to offer him afterwards? I'm guessing the latter. Which means Arsenio was always the chosenone; Trump likes rub elbows with the likes of Magic Johnson, et al. Clay didn't have any of that to offer. Not to mention Clay's recent media appearances on programs like "Meet the Press" to speak for Marriage Equality, which I'm sure did not endear him to the Donald "Ultimate Conservative" Chump...er...Trump. Clay's too good to be Trump's apprentice. In fact, Trump should take lessons from him...on Class.

  • AriSky May 22, 2012

    Congratulations, Donald. You just gave Clay a complex. Destined to always come in second.

  • gsager1 May 22, 2012

    I didn't really have a preference for which guy I WANTED to win, becasue I liked them both. I thought that Clay DESERVED to win because he raised far more money and I thought he was a better leader of people throughout the course of the season. But I know Arsenio WOULD win becuase Trumpy, when faced with the choice of a black man or a gay man, would never choose the gay man, regardless of how qualified he is (See his evaluations of Dayana, which always and sometimes exclusively, focus on her beauty, regardless of her performance.)

    Next year, the finale needs a real host, because there were sooooo many questions, especially for Aubrey, that went unasked. I'd have liked to hear some hard-hitting questions to her rather than have 4 people ask Arsenio if he thinks Lisa Lampanelli is attractive.

    Does being the Celebrity Apprentice mean anything? I think that can be best answered by the presence, or lack thereof, of previous Apprenti. Not counting John Rich and Marlee Matlin (who I assume, as winners of last season, were obligated to do the interviews), who else have we seen this year? Brett Michaels? Joan Rivers? Piers Morgan? When Piers Morgan and Joan eternal-brown-noser Rivers are too good for your show that says plenty about the clout that comes with winning this thing.

    And I love how in the end your final summary of the season was "So, whatever."

  • DaisyHurts May 22, 2012

    "How many kids will go without new shoes this next school year because their mothers, in a fit of guilt and misplaced sexual tension, decided to "treat themselves" to helping Clay's charity?"

    What do you think BUNDLED means? No one person contributed more than a few dollars to that total. I know because I was one of the several thousand people who contributed. And I don't recall any "guilt" or "misplaced sexual tension" being involved in the decision. You ass.

  • BionicBarry May 22, 2012

    Uuuuh Lily brace yourself, you have upset the Claymate hivemind!

  • blaine101 May 22, 2012

    She's funny. Get over it. Do you know how many blogs I have to slog through to find one that's actually enjoyable to read? Go read someone who's boring and inoffensive. This column's for the grown-ups.

  • JosephCecil May 22, 2012

    I knew even one slightly disparaging word would bring the wraith of the Claymate Legion booming like a thunder before the storm.

  • DaisyHurts May 22, 2012

    One person, little old me, is hardly a Legion, and what she wrote is far more than one slightly disparaging word. Plus, she's disparaging us, not Clay, and FOR GIVING TO CHARITY.

    All of which is more than a little disgusting.

  • LilyRoRoSparks May 22, 2012

    LOL...you gave to charity! feel good about yourself! life is too short to be offended by someone who's never met you who only slightly referenced something you did in a long and sort of abstract blog. I would ask that you not call me or other commenters names though. It's a little aggressive in tone. I like to think of the commenters all lined up on the couch beside me when we have these recap chats, and it makes me blue when y'all start calling names.

  • AnoukvdZee May 22, 2012

    Besides, it's extremely lacking in respect. Oh... you mean that which you want US to give YOU and your opinions, DaisyHurts?

    Think again, dear.

  • jekyll May 22, 2012

    The problem with the finale is they were both utterly likable and you couldn't really 'root' for anybody. Piers Morgan was a love him or hate him. People loved Joan Rivers or hated Annie Dukes. People rooted for Bret Michaels due to his health. But pitting Arsenio and Clay against each other meant two genuinely nice people going at itboring.

  • antdude May 22, 2012

    I rooted for Arsenio at the end of the season since others got fired. Clay is good too but Arsensio was better.