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TV Open Thread: Celebrity Apprentice – Marlee Matlin and John Rich Head for Finale

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After weeks of battle, it’s thankfully down to the final two. Shame this second-to-last episode coincided with the Survivor live finale. In switching back and forth during commercials, I almost didn’t switch back. The highlights of last night’s show are barely worth recapping. In other words, a real dud. Feel free to stop reading at any time.

Let’s see…

“The Jonz” were amazed and delighted to greet Meat Loaf after his face-off with Star in the boardroom. Meat proudly patted himself on the back for out-arguing a lawyer. The waiting room celebration ended abruptly as The Donald made a surprise appearance to announce immediate commencement of interviews with previous Celebrity Apprentice winners Piers Morgan, Joan Rivers, and Bret Michaels.

Piers dominated the selection process with Bret and Joan barely getting words in edgewise. The contestants weathered the selection process by donning fighting gloves. 

John Rich: “They will experience John Rich in a way they haven’t experienced John Rich yet. I’m going after that quarter of a million dollars for St. Jude.”

Lil Jon: “I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t a great guy under pressure. I want to win, but this is the real world. My persona is one thing and my mind is another.”

Meat Loaf: “I come locked, loaded, and ready to go. I have more energy than any of those other players.”

Marlee: “People who know me know that I can do anything. People who don’t know me are amazed.”

Marlee also said that people label her as “that deaf actress.” Piers said her deafness was an advantage in the game. “If I couldn’t have heard Omarosa speak, it would have been one of life’s great blessings,” he quipped.

Lil Jon made a tactical error in his interview, saying he believed John and Marlee should be the final two. Bingo – you’re fired. Everyone thought Meat was too emotional to compete successfully in the finale. Bah-de-boom – you’re fired. That left John, aka J.R., and Marlee as the final two.

I was sad to see Lil Jon go. He was smart, creative, cool under pressure, and would have made a formidable competitor. I don’t think he should have been fired for one bad answer. Meat blubbered one more time, not for being fired, but to thank The Donald for a moving experience. He went out in a very classy way, shaking The Donald’s hand and telling John and Marlee to go out there and “rock ‘em.”

For their final task, Marlee and J.R., had to prepare a 3-point launch strategy for 7UP Retro. Basically, this is the same old un-cola trotted out for new marketing. The task included designing a new package, creating and shooting a commercial, and throwing a launch party, one with a 1970s theme using The Harlem Globe Trotters, the other with a 1980s theme using Def Leppard. 7UP gave both finalists $50,000 for incidentals. Marlee chose to host the 1970s Harlem Globe Trotters party, leaving J.R. with 1980s Def Leppard.

For support, The Donald brought back Star, Lil Jon, Meat, Mark, Richard, and LaToya. These former contestants came back under the auspices of support, but I say they are there to keep the finale lively. J.R. chose Jon, Mark, and Star for his team. Marlee chose Meat, Richard, and LaToya. Marlee may have shed tears over Star’s departure, but when push came to shove, she didn’t want the woman responsible for a branding SNAFU to work with her again.

J.R. penned his own campaign slogan: 7UP – Keeping it real. He’s positive the slogan is a winner, but I’m telling you now, it’s his biggest liability going into the final. Loved the wild zebra stripe print for the can. Loved the ’80s icons audition idea for the commercial. Hated the slogan. Best part of their commercial: talking Dee Snyder from Twisted Sister into shaving off his Fu Manchu mustache to star in it.

About Cheryl Taragin