Continuing my (sporadic) series of Apprentice posts in the (several month…) run-up to the long-awaited return for the UK Apprentice, it is now time to finish revisiting Season 2 of the American Celebrity Apprentice, under a far less controversial Donald Trump. Gosh, those were the days! Originally airing from March-May 2009, 16 celebrities entered to win money for the charities of their choice – they did 11 business related tasks, and at the end of each a minimum of $20,000 would be donated to the winning Project Manager’s charity. Of those 11, some naturally stood out more than others, being more interesting and (in some cases) entertaining. It is worth clarifying that these are my favourite tasks and, before writing on my Top 5, there are some which just missed out, so here are the…
- LifeLock (Task 7): the teams each had to create in-store promotional displays for the identity-theft protection company, and KOTU won because their display involved celebrity endorsement, and it was also great to see Joan Rivers and Clint Black overcome their differences.
- Frozen Food (Task 9): both teams had to create a new meal for Schwan’s frozen food line. Although KOTU’s chicken dish was apparently delicious (looking at it made my mouth water), Athena won because they thought outside the box by making their meal gluten-free (this was 2009, when gluten-free options were far fewer)!
5) Cupcakes (Task 1)
Like with the first tasks on the original seasons of The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice, this was a fairly simple food sales task, the one difference being that they had to make them from scratch. All of the women on Athena threw themselves into it, and Project Manager Joan Rivers proved herself to be a strong contender through her excellent leadership, as did Brande Roderick and Annie Duke through the phenomenal uses of their rolodexes! Whilst the men raised nearly $50,000, they were hampered by Andrew Dice Clay and Dennis Rodman taking a back seat due to not wanting to do something as feminine as making cupcakes – the former was fired, and it foreshadowed how the latter would regularly cause issues for KOTU.
4) Hotels (Task 5)
Both teams were tasked to work as hoteliers for The Regency, and the winning team would be determined by customer feedback. This was a very different type of grafting than anything that they had done before, with many of the celebrities commenting on how much it made them appreciate hoteliers as it was a much tougher role than they had realised. Dennis Rodman led KOTU to make amends and because he was serious about raising money for his charity. It started well…until Dennis had a drink, which led to him being incredibly friendly with some of the guests – it was amusing to see two guests stunned by the surreal-yet-enjoyable experience of him taking them out to dinner. KOTU still lost though, and the most heart-breaking scene in Apprentice history happened in the boardroom when everyone did an intervention with Dennis over his drinking, and the episode ultimately raised awareness about alcoholism.
3) ACN Event (Task 4)
Following a three-week long losing streak, the men of KOTU were determined to win, and no-one was more so than Project Manager Brian McKnight. In fact, he was so determined that he benched the disruptive and aggressive Dennis Rodman midway through the task (the first time anyone had ever managed to do that successfully with a problematic candidate)! Both teams had to produce a live event promoting ACN’s latest videophone (gosh, that is a step back in time!), complete with a video. Brian did an excellent job with the event, his career in the music industry massively coming through and the charismatic presentation overcame the lack of focus on the product. The women of Athena kicked off their presentation with essentially some Joan Rivers stand-up (as she had had a prior engagement, she had had to miss most of the task, ergo she did not do more), but their dreadful presentation meant that they were absolutely thrashed by KOTU. Still, it was worth watching their event just for some truly hilarious stand-up from Joan – gosh, she was wonderful!
2) Detergent Advertising (Task 6)
The sixth task saw each team assigned to create and present a viral video for All laundry detergent, and for the first time this season, the teams were mixed genders (following the previous task there were 7 women left and only 4 men, so it needed doing!), and that in itself made it an interesting task as they had to work out new team dynamics. The dynamics made it the most interesting, as Clint Black and Joan Rivers massively clashed when (as Project Manager for the new KOTU) Clint refused to listen to her objections to his innuendo-heavy/male fantasy and her counter-suggestions, which foreshadowed how his stubbornness would cause issues on his teams for the rest of the season. Athena’s video had Jesse James being scrubbed clean by dwarves and used the politically incorrect term “midgets”…humour which totally missed the mark for the family-friendly brand. Due to the inappropriate videos there was no winner and one celebrity from each team was fired! It was a weirdly entertaining episode, and it proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that no amount of time around sets can guarantee expertise in creating even just a 30-second-video from scratch.
1) Jewellery Auction (Task 8)
After it became apparent that they disliked each other on the previous task, Joan Rivers and Annie Duke went head-to-head as opposing Project Managers. The task was to do an auction of jewellery from Ivanka Trump’s brand (some absolutely beautiful pieces!), with each team selecting 5 different pieces to model and sell. Melissa Rivers chose fantastically well for Athena, whilst Natalie Gulbis did not for KOTU. At Athena’s auction, Brande Roderick once again proved a key asset when one of her contacts made a huge bid, but nothing was as fascinating as watching Annie Duke play her poker buddies, which proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that she was not above playing people to win Celebrity Apprentice – it worked magnificently well! Whilst Clint Black fumbled KOTU’s auction in his role as host, Joan showed herself to be a team player by taking over and incorporating some very entertaining stand-up, whilst Herschel Walker’s contacts made some big bids. Between them the teams raised $245,000, and what was even more interesting was seeing Piers Morgan observe the whole task as a guest judge/boardroom advisor and make some very well articulated comments!