Fans of Celebrity Apprentice have waited all season for Star Jones to take her exit. Finally tonight, Donald Trump told her, “You’re fired.” Yet she wasn’t the only one to leave. By the end of the three hours long episode, LaToya Jackson was the first person to ever be fired twice, and Star’s nemesis, NeNe Leakes, had quit the show.
Trump opened by switching the teams around. LaToya was brought back last week and added to the men’s team which consisted of Meat Loaf, John Rich, and Lil Jon. The women’s team now stood with just three – Star, Marlee Matlin, and NeNe. Knowing that wasn’t going to work out well, Trump had Meat Loaf and NeNe switch teams.
While you would think that NeNe would be happy with this, having made her feelings of Star known to everyone, she definitely wasn’t happy. It was written all over her face. She spoke in a confessional saying she wasn’t in a good place and didn’t know what she was going to do. She never came back and left her new team waiting for her. Trump made the announcement later that she talked to him and formally quit. He wanted her to know that she may have quit, but he was firing her, that meant she never did beat Star.
With LaToya and Meat Loaf as Project Managers for their new teams, they were tasked with putting on comedy shows to raise money. That meant it was time to pull out the big money donors. There was a lot of focus on the comedy itself, but in the end, it was the money raised that mattered, and not how funny the shows were. Both pulled in big name comedians, with John Rich pulling in his buddy Jimmy Fallon, and Star pulling in Tracy Morgan, who used to mock her on Saturday Night Live with the “I’m a lawyer!” schtick.
Although LaToya had more reason to cry than anyone, as NeNe abandoned her when she needed her most, it was Meat Loaf who spent his time crying, and not just once. He cried repeatedly throughout this first task. As Project Manager, if his team won, his charity would win all the money raised from both teams. If they lost, they’d get nothing. He cried over the fear that his charity, The Painted Turtle, wouldn’t get the money. They tried to convince Trump to let them keep the money even if they lost, but that didn’t go over well at all.
In the boardroom, Trump brought up Meat Loaf’s dedication to his charity and had him in tears again. It’s clear the guy is extremely emotional about the things he is most passionate about. He’s screamed at Gary Busey, and now sobbed over money lost before it even went missing. He had reason to rejoice, though, when his new team won the challenge. As Project Manager, LaToya was fired from her new team, with absolutely no suspense attached.
In this three-hour episode, the teams took on a second challenge, to produce advertising videos for OnStar. They were to advertise that the service can now be added to your car. Soon you’ll be able to go to Best Buy and have OnStar installed into your car instead of having to buy a car with the service already built in. John Rich and Marlee Matlin were the Project Managers.
With the editing focusing most of the time on the team of Meat Loaf, Star, and Marlee, it was a sure bet that they would lose. There’s only one reason to make sure the audience sees that entire dynamic, and it’s because it would become incredibly important later on when it came to firing someone.
The teams are small enough now that it was impossible for Star to hide on a computer the entire time while letting everyone else do the bulk of the work and take most of the blame in a loss. Her job on this was on branding and integration, while Meat Loaf was allowed to plan much of the filming of the spot. He was pushed to write a script, but refused, wanting to improv. He won that round. Star specifically left the editing to Marlee and Meat Loaf, hoping that if they failed no one would find fault with her.
Despite the fact they only had two people on their team, John Rich and Lil Jon won the challenge. The OnStar executives didn’t like Meat Loaf’s somewhat comedic take on the video, and also didn’t like that the branding wasn’t what they asked for. It was especially important to point out OnStar would be available soon at Best Buy stores or similar, but Star only added that in hastily at the end.
While Trump talked over his decision privately with Donald Jr. and George H. Ross, Meat Loaf and Star got into a loud discussion about whose fault and responsiblity this loss was. She wanted to argue it until she was losing the argument, then wanted to tell him “case closed” and “enough.” Star refused his argument, but had to stand up and fight back when he called her “Sweetie.” She took great offense to this. Trump heard it all and called the team back into the boardroom.
Trump asked about Star’s objection to being called “Sweetie,” and Meat Loaf was adamant that he didn’t mean anything negative or derogatory. Trump only saw it Meat Loaf’s way. He didn’t understand why that was such a big deal, knowing he had been called much worse, and assuming that she had been as well.
Looking at who was responsible for the branding and integration, it had to be Star. She mentioned several times during the episode that she was the person responsible for those two things. You can’t take that back once it doesn’t end well. Yet the real problem was what Trump touched on lightly. Star couldn’t get along with anyone. It can’t be everyone else’s fault but hers every single time. With only three people left on the team, she could no longer hide in the background while subtly controlling everything.
No one wanted to particularly sit through three hours of Celebrity Apprentice tonight. That’s a long time to dedicate to any show. However, if that’s what it was going to take to finally rid the show of Star Jones, it was worth it.
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Photo by Virginia Sherwood/NBC