*** WARNING: SPOILER ALERT! ***
In what would become one of Joan Rivers’ final television appearances, she offered Geraldo Rivera a referral to her plastic surgeon.
"That’s my beautiful champ," said The Donald, referring to Joan’s "Celebrity Apprentice 2" win in the first part’s Boardroom. "How good does she look? Everybody talks about Geraldo doing well. She’s blowing you away."
Then Joan served her signature side-eye to the "news icon" and quipped, "I’ll give you the card later."
The bit killed.
Rivers, the winner of the show’s most entertaining season, served as a guest advisor during the episode’s first ask: have the teams prepare a mobile boutique to promote Ivanka Trump shoes, which are sold at Nordstrom. It’s not completely random -- the beloved QVC maven also competed in a similar Ivanka-branded jewelry challenge on her season, and has returned in a consulting capacity in subsequent editions of the show.
Except this time around, her appearance seemed muted. Shot last April, Joan offered little jabs and observations aside from her challenge check-ins and asides about the success of each troupe. She mocked Team Vortex’s coffee bar set-up, saying "I’m a New Yorker. I take a [free] coffee, grab six friends, and go," but was otherwise quiet. Perhaps the show’s editors and producers trimmed down her role on the show? But then again, how often do you hear from The Donald’s brain trust of Ivanka, Donald Jr., Eric Trump, Piers Morgan or George Ross in the first place? (I love George. We should see more George.)
It’s not the end for Joan, though. The episode was dedicated to her, and she’ll make another posthumous return to the competition on Feb. 2.
Back at the shoe battle, both Vivica A. Fox and Kenya Moore "stepped up" to guide their teams as Project Managers. Vivica was just PM in Week 3, but volunteered her "leadership skills" again since Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson couldn't be bothered.
"When it comes to direction, I wouldn't even know where to begin," said Shawn, who happened to fit Ivanka's target demographic of millennials.
It sure seems easy to get lost on Team Vortex, or pulled into Geraldo’s ego.
"I have a big personality," said Geraldo. "I am amazed by my own endless creativity. I don’t mean to be egotistical."
On the other side, we learn Kenya loves chandeliers more than Sia, and EYE-an enjoys taking pictures of "cute shoes." Whereas Vortex members Kate Gosselin and Shawn took a change in direction from Vivica as an excuse to pout and bicker while eating their salads away from the team, Infinity’s EYE-an and Brandi Glanville kept reasserting they would do whatever it took to win, even when they weren't at the helm. Of course, the Vortex attitude spun out of control and though they created the kind of atmosphere Ivanka was looking for … there were very few shoes in sight, so Nordstrom wasn't happy.
In the Boardroom, Vivica quickly unloaded on The Donald about her dead-weight twosome of Kate and Shawn.
"Congratulations, she picked up fresh flowers," she said, with the same vigour as this memorable scene from "Independence Day":
Oh yes. Sayonara, Shawn.
Now that The Donald has checked off the "Celebrity Apprentice" essentials of baked good-centric fundraising, wedding dress sales, advertorials, and hawking Trump family products, it’s time for a viral video task.
Remember when Clint Black insinuated he preferred to masturbate using All detergent? Or when Lou Ferrigno said he would "mop the floor with you" using a special mop? They’re "Celebrity Apprentice" staples.
This edition was for coffee brand Chock Full o’ Nuts’ single-serving cups, and could be filmed only using Go-Pro cameras. Sure.
Two contestants who had yet to serve as Project Manager volunteered to do so: the twice-bankrupt Lorenzo Lamas for Team Vortex, and Emmy-winner Leeza Gibbons for Team Infinity. But don’t call her an Emmy winner around The Donald, because it gives him ‘Nam-style flashbacks to when "The Apprentice" lost to "The Amazing Race." Seriously.
Each team had to hit three targets: creativity, brand messaging and entertainment value, for a "brand so old it’s perfect for Geraldo." You can thank Lorenzo for that gem.
But Geraldo agrees, and is front and centre in their "viral" ad campaign which saw him and Kate dancing together from the '50s to now.
"Lorenzo knew this was a role I was born to play," said Geraldo. "For me to be dancing and singing about Chock Full o’ Nuts, they must have been thrilled. I've been offered a lot of money for this kind of endorsement and I'm giving it to Chock Full o’ Nuts for free."
It's a wonder Geraldo's head can even fit in the frame. It’s so nice of him, though, isn't it? It would have been nicer still if Geraldo's services came with a co-operative Kate, who took roughly 30 minutes out of the fixed time budget to have her '50s housewife hair done by a celebrity hairstylist from Ted Gibson. This is yet another example of the amazing egos that rule this show -- they've got to be camera-ready, even when their "survival" is on the line.
Team Infinity took a different approach to "viral." Leeza mined the group for what actually stood out -- the rivalry between Real Housewives Kenya and Brandi. The two play-fought on the street, and then had a pillow fight while in bed with EYE-an and Johnny Damon. Family-friendly? Not quite, but the Chock Full o’ Nuts team loved their edginess, and, apparently, watching Kenya "smother [Brandi] with her giant knockers." Yet, when asked about their success before they knew they won, Kenya took this opportunity to be a "professional" and belittle Brandi, citing unseen "unfortunate" comments as a precedent.
"I didn’t bring up LeAnn Rimes with her when I had my scene [with her]," said Kenya. "I didn’t bring up that fact that her husband left her for a younger, prettier woman."
A low blow, certainly, but Brandi kept her composure. Soon after, Lorenzo was sent packing after he chose to fall on his own sword.
With nine contestants remaining, can anybody foresee a Final Four that doesn't include Geraldo, Vivica, Leeza and EYE-an? I doubt it.
"Celebrity Apprentice" Over-Under Scale:
"At the end of the day"– Over/Under three mentions, including two for Brandi.
"Power up your S-O-L-E, not SOUL"– Over/Under four mentions.