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TV Review: Celebrity Apprentice – Nene Leakes Rips LaToya Jackson a New One

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With each team now down to five players, the time had come to separate the wheat from the chaff. The men have been whittled down to their strongest members: Mark, Gary, John, Meat, and Lil Jon. The women, on the other hand, could stand to lose some weak links.

LaToya, aware of her precarious spot on the team, decided to step up as PM. Mark volunteered to be PM for the men. That leaves Hope as the only player not to act as PM. A sure sign of weakness, unwillingness to lead, or sheer incompetence? She’ll have to become PM soon if she wants a spot in the final.

From the outset, the men were gunning for Gary’s dismissal. “We’ve all said that we may walk off if he doesn’t get fired,” Meat privately confided to the camera. Mark said they couldn’t carry Gary any more. Gary seemed oblivious to the growing animosity.

The teams were tasked with creating a 10 by 10 foot glass box to showcase Australian Gold sunscreen and body lotion. They would be judged on creativity, product integration, and branding. The winner would receive $20 thousand from Trump and another $20 thousand from Australian Gold. Nowhere close to the amount of money raised last week, but still a nice chunk of change for charity.

LaToya assigned jobs to everyone but herself. Immediately, Nene and Star complained about LaToya’s lack of organization. Truthfully, no one knew what they were supposed to do. Nene offered an idea for the concept which LaToya nixed. In their meeting with company executives, the owners stressed family fun and the company logo, a surfing koala bear named Sidney. LaToya then cobbled together a “fun in the sun” theme with little detail. Assigned to props and costumes, Marlee complained she didn’t know what to buy. Playmate of the Year Hope volunteered to paint her body gold and strut around in a bikini. Inexplicably, LaToya said no.

Meanwhile, the men quickly latched on to Mark’s suggestion of a pirate theme that would showcase the product as buried treasure. John wasn’t sure a pirate motif fit the brand and Gary didn’t like the concept. In their meeting with company executives, the executives spoke again about family fun, emphasizing “treasure those moments with family.” That convinced Meat the pirate theme was a winner. One owner began talking about teenage boys using the product. Gary interjected, “Gives you a sexual feeling” and the room seemed to go dead. The men were mortified by executives’ reactions. Again, Gary seemed clueless.

Mark, Meat, and John worked hard on fabricating their box and producing promotional literature. Mark sent Lil Jon and Gary to buy props and costumes. Privately, Jon said he was assigned to babysit Gary. The two of them picked out great costumes, but passed on the koala bear because Jon didn’t think it resembled Sidney. Gary became bored as they waited for the costume store to load their truck. He sang a made-up pirate song, danced the robot, and smoked a cigar.

“I’m cray-zee, but smartly cray-zee,” Gary rapped out loud. Jon, looking like he might keel over, called Gary his kryptonite.

The women fared well with props and costumes. Marlee made sure they rented the koala bear costume. “A no-brainer,” she said, referencing the meeting with company executives. Nene volunteered to wear the costume for the task. A budding friendship between Marlee and Nene blossomed. I wonder if it had anything to do with their rhyming names.

As expected, LaToya’s style of management didn’t sit well with her team. She didn’t tell the women they had to help construct the glass box. By that time, the women were tired and had no idea what LaToya wanted. Even Ivanka thought the beach theme was unoriginal. That sparked LaToya, at the eleventh hour, to add a snow theme to the presentation. Hope thought the idea was half-baked. Nene, already frustrated by being ordered to construct a beach from 6,000 pounds of sand, thought LaToya was acting kooky. LaToya didn’t fare much better with Star. Star wanted her to be practical about the budget. LaToya wanted to spend money the team didn’t have.

“I’m the project manager,” proclaimed LaToya. “What I say goes.” All right then. Figure out a way to get the money from thin air and you can spend as much as you like.

Miraculously, LaToya made everything come together for the presentation. While safe and unoriginal, the women’s glass box looked nice and drew a sizeable crowd. However, when Don, Jr. came to check on the women, Nene made sure to tell him LaToya did a lousy job. She said the implementation of the task was very chaotic and that nobody knew what they were supposed to do. Privately, Nene confided to the camera, “If we win, that means the guys sucked.” LaToya told Don, Jr. she felt ostracized by her own team.

The men collectively worried about Gary. “There’s a huge concern about what Gary’s going to do,” Mark privately confided. “Gary’s a wild card. You never know what Gary’s gonna do. Gary can be a real liability in a public relations campaign.”

As it turns out, the men were right to worry. Their presentation was fabulous, with gold “wenches” in tiny bikinis, a motley crew of pirate actors, and an addicting pirate chant (penned by John). But when company executives arrived, Gary corralled them for the pitch, keeping them away from the rest of the team. He even went so far as to push Mark away. Gary also offered to act as company spokesperson “for a reduced fee, of course.”

Gary’s nonsense was offending, but it was not the reason company executives chose the women over the men. The women’s presentation had its faults – not putting Hope in a bikini and covering up Nene with a koala costume – but they also had a concept embodying the brand and a real life company mascot. In contrast, the men only put Sidney on banners. The men also created a concept that did not resonate with company executives. They didn’t think the pirate theme represented their brand.

Going into the boardroom, Mark said if his team lost, it would probably be him going home. “I would have to take full responsibility,” Mark said, “because it was my concept.” The Donald did not look pleased.

The Donald also looked surprised when Nene complained about LaToya’s management style and countered that LaToya was quite impressive. Marlee tried to be diplomatic in commenting on LaToya’s style. Although Nene remained firm about the chaos swirling around LaToya, The Donald was not convinced. LaToya complained that Nene didn’t like her. “It’s nothing personal, just business,” Nene professed, another nod to the show. I wonder if they get paid more money if they keep plugging the show’s theme.

After The Donald announced the women had won, he told Nene to apologize to LaToya. Instead, while nestled in the waiting room, Nene ripped LaToya to shreds.

“You tried to make it look like I didn’t like you,” she screamed at LaToya. “If you want to say anything about me, you say I’m real. If you didn’t like it, go in the bathroom and hide.”

“Nene is all mouth and height,” LaToya countered. “And she uses that to her advantage. Nene is a big bully.”

Nene continued criticizing LaToya, saying she did all the work while LaToya stood there “like Casper the Ghost.” Then it got ugly personal. “You fooled a lot of people with this but you have not fooled me,” Nene yelled as LaToya cowered in the corner. “The only reason you made it this far is because of your last name. You faked it for 50 years. You’re very old. And you need to play your age and not 12. You’re an old lady.”

Well that’s certainly laying it on the line.

In the boardroom, Meat tried to save Mark’s hide by ratting on Gary. He told The Donald about Gary’s “sexual” comment in the planning stages and about corralling company executives at the presentation. John and Lil Jon also ganged up on Gary.

“I now have a doubt in my mind that I didn’t have before this task that his dysfunctional ways were part of his makeup,” John told The Donald. “Gary said last week that he likes to keep people off-balance. He is very focused in this boardroom, but outside the boardroom, he’s all over the place.” That prompted Mark to take Gary back to the boardroom rather than fall on the sword for the team.

Out in the lobby, Gary wanted to know why the team was against him. Mark told Gary to “take a swim in Lake You and see what you find.” Gary admitted to being 66-years old and having two out of body experiences. “I’m a lot further along than you,” he reminded Mark. I have no idea what this exchange accomplished.

In their boardroom showdown, Gary denied making inappropriate remarks to company executives. He denied keeping them to himself at the presentation. And he also denied pitching himself as their next spokesperson. I don’t know if Gary seriously believed what he told The Donald or if his lies are part of his strategy to make it to the final.

In the end, however, it came down to Mark admitting full responsibility for the concept and the concept accounting for their loss. Mark could have shifted blame to Meat for reinforcing his idea, but instead left Meat totally out of the picture. The Donald said he did not like firing exceptional people, but Mark had to go. He also reprimanded Gary on his way out, saying he had a long way to go.

“You better shape up,” he admonished Gary. “There are too many complaints and they cannot all be wrong. Watch your face and your hands, and watch your mouth.”

Easier said than done. It is now clear that Gary has a strategy for staying in the game: keep his teammates in turmoil while denying all to The Donald. It‘s unlikely Gary can continue playing the buffoon without getting sacked. Promos for next week show him back in the PM saddle. I firmly anticipate a mutiny on the Bounty.

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About Cheryl Taragin

  • Araminta Tubman

    NeNe’s actions and words against LaToya Jackson show her small talent and big mouth. She acted like the stereotypical big-girl who isn’t confident enough to be herself without bullying someone else up to her size. LaToya Jackson has an extensive entertainment career dating back to her childhood, is intelligent, and beautiful at 50+. Just because a person is soft-spoken doesn’t mean they’re a bimbo. But those who play to the steretypical loud-mouthed, ignorant, jealous sistah type like NeNe wouldn’t understand that or know how to display grace as “true-diva.” She is putting sistahs back! Truth is Ms. Leaks would kill to be a “Jackson.” At least LaToya knows WHO her father IS; and I’m sure at this point he’s proud of what she’s accomplished with HIS name. Respect Mr. Jackson and what he did for his kids. Keep it real as you like to do, NeNe: you’re a new kid on the block who just got her break in the medicore reality TV show industry at 43. Ms. Jackson has been “in the business” almost as long as NeNe’s been looking for her real father. Ms. Leakes…NO ONE in the world would by Greg’s shirt for $99,000!

  • Lia Gamble

    It was very unprofessional for NeNe to come down on LaToya like that. She was upset that it was said that NeNe didn’t like LaToya but then she attacks her on a personal level. When NeNe said that LaToya is only there because of her last name, LaToya should have come back and asked her why she’s there. Is it because she’s loud, obnoxious and likes to bring drama? If there wasn’t such a fad for reality shows, we wouldn’t even know who NeNe Leakes is. However, LaToya is a name we will always remember!! Now, why don’t you go hide in the bathroom, NeNe!!

  • Candy P

    I am very upset and angry with the way NeNe spoke to Latoya! My 12 year old doesn’t even name call like that. She really made herself look soooo bad. I can’t believe that the other ladies did not defend Latoya…come on! Latoya handled it beautifully. She inspires me to always take the high road. I am so happy SHE won the challenge for her team! The concept of adding the snow scene was all hers and I think it was brilliant!

  • sara

    i thought gary said ‘special’ not sexual.

  • Embarrased Black Woman

    I am really disappointed with how Nene spoke with Latoya. It’s obvious that Nene is not totally happy with herself and will lash out at anybody for almost no reason. It’s nothing wrong with being outspoken but why be abrasive to someone you don’t even know. Hats off to Latoya for being so poised and ladylike. Latoya was able to silently rip Nene. By just using her sheer elegance Latoya was able make Nene look like someone who had no business in the realm of the other professionals.

  • TEAM LATOYA

    I found Nene asualt on LaToya to be soooo very disrepectful cruel, tasteless and just down right mean. You can take the girl out the Getto but you cant take the GHETTO out the girl. . . Nene isn’t worth the SPIT to talk about!

  • Briana A

    I feel that NeNe was soooo out of line for comin at La’Toya like that. Who do she like La’Toya is? And that smart remark she made about Michael on the cooking challenge when the fire bursted up. She is soo ignorant URG!!!! I hate it when black women act out on TV for attention its soo ANOYING!!!!!!! No offense to anyone because i’m black.

    I’m glad La’Toya handled it without arguing back like Nene was, it was so professional how she is so calm.UNLIKE Nene she is so unprofessional and bogus for treating La’Toya like that. La’Toya should have broke her foot off in Nene’s A**.Lol jk* i’m dead serious*

  • Ms. Jones

    I disagree with “The Donald” on this one. Latoya was rather good on all of her task throughout the season. Donald’s comment “Giving the Women a chance to win” and then deciding to let Latoya go had no basis or rationale. When Star gave her pitch to Donald and put him up on a pedestal with her idols, it basically seal the deal for star to stay in my opinion. Latoya, was great

  • Ms. Jones

    Another thing NeNe talked about how her other Team mates (besided Latoya) was so far up Stars behind…She didn’t realize how far Star was up Donalds. She Knew exactly what to say to him to remain.