This week, on Celebrity Apprentice, there must have been a pre-show meeting among the Trumps to brainstorm a new challenge. I assume it went something like this:
Donald: I've made a generous donation to the Children's Television Workshop and now Henson Enterprises owes me a favor.
Donald: I say the teams have to put on a puppet show.
Donald, Jr.: Excuse me?
Donald: (waving his hands around to demonstrate) A puppet show. And let's make it an improv puppet show.
Donald, Jr.: You mean, like making stuff up on the fly?
Donald: In front of a live audience.
Eric: (getting excited) And they have to eat a stick of butter while they do it!
(The Trumps stare at Eric for a moment).
Eric: Never mind.
Donald: You and your butter fixation.
Eric: I just want a challenge involving butter. Is that so wrong?
Donald, Jr.: Yes. I think it is.
Donald: (making a telephone gesture with his hand toward Eric) Call your therapist directly after this meeting.
Eric: Yes sir.
And that's how this challenge (maybe) came to be. The teams are dwindling so Clay is put on Team Forte with Lisa, Penn and Dayana. This leaves his buddy Arsenio on Unanimous with Paul, Aubrey and Teresa. Teresa gives a big check to a little boy who has a terrible kidney disease for the NephCure Foundation, which will hopefully help find a cure. This basically evil show makes me cry every week during the charity segment. I wish that little boy and his family all the best. But I don't want him to watch this show, even though there's puppets this week. Because some of these celebrities are out of their minds.
Brian Henson, son of my hero, the late Jim Henson, shows up and introduces the concept of the teams putting on two improv puppet shoes for the ongoing theatrical experience, "Stuffed and Unstrung." This has nothing to do with business or marketing, but nobody brings that up. Paul volunteers to be project manager, even though he could care less about puppets. Fool! Puppets are awesome! Henson puppets are like royalty! Lisa is project manager for her team, hoping to make some money for her charity after losing a bunch of challenges.
Puppets are made. Arsenio and Teresa are puppeteers and Aubrey is their host. Paul has a hurt back and mostly sits around and texts. But he does it with quiet dignity. Lisa and Clay are their team's puppeteers. Clay's a ringer. He's performed with puppets at his church before. His team snickers about that but I've seen a priest perform with an ostrich puppet during the one mass I attended during my two-decade stint in San Francisco. The guy was damn good. And that ostrich made a lot of sense. So I know what Clay's talking about. Penn is their host and although Dayana claims she's been doing improv for more than a year, Lisa cites her 22 years of experience performing and tells Dayana she can make the puppets, but that's it, It's like the opening for Cinderella, or a puppet show about Cinderella.
Dayana is flat-out tired of dealing with Lisa's manipulative and I'm sorry, cunty, behavior toward her. She sulks beautifully while making some very nice puppets. The Henson team tells her they'd hire her in a minute. Take the job, Dayana! It would be so much better than being on this show. Meanwhile, Clay turns out to be a hilarious puppeteer. Lisa briefly makes her puppet into a stereotypical Latina, spouting gibberish like, "Ay caramba!" and "Ay, Papi!" and various exclamations that belong on the site, Yo, Is This Racist?
When Dayana looks even more miffed, Lisa interviews that making the puppets is plenty to do and that Dayana can then be "ocupado, por favor." She says this with such bitterness. She's like every bad project manager I've ever had. Congratulations, Lisa—you're in very bad company. Also, she tends to close her puppet's mouth when it should be opening. Rookie error, despite her 22 years of experience. Meanwhile, Teresa struggles with reciting a nursery rhyme from memory and tries to figure out how many syllables are in the number seven. It's pretty obvious that Teresa's head is as empty as a...well, a puppet.
Backstage before the show, tensions run high. Clay suggests that Dayana at least be able to hand them props onstage so she's not just sitting there (like Paul), and Lisa blows up. She's not going to allow some prima donna beauty queen ruin her puppet show after 22 years of experience on stage. Clay and Penn sit there stunned, while Lisa yells and yells about what a would-be stage-hog Dayana is. Dayana leaves the room in tears.
Puppet shows! Clay makes the audience laugh and laugh. He and Lisa use props in a risque manner. Oops—it's not that kind of show, and my goodness, Clay! Arsenio and Teresa pull it together but barely since Teresa can't remember the rules of improv (always agree, don't deny, go with the suggestions). Her brassy chutzpah goes over well enough, apparently. Aubrey yelps, "Puppet Up!" every once in a while and keeps her bossiness in check this time around. Paul sits quietly. Dayana sits sulkily.
In the boardroom, Lisa cries when asked who she'd bring back for firing. She tells Trump, no one. No one leaves her act in tears, she explains, according to her showbiz credo. Riiiiight. Her team ends up winning and Paul is fired for not being a puppet-show kind of guy. He's back to making badass motorcycles, which is how it should be. Lisa's charity, Gay Men's Health Crisis, will get the $20,000. Good deal.
I want to do a puppet show with Clay Aiken. Something like this:
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful puppet named Dayana, who was kind, hard-working and care free...
That is, until the evil Puppet Project Manager Lisa came along and ruined everything with her abusive and maniacal tirades.
Teammates, Puppet Clay and Puppet Penn, were no help against the onslaught of negative spew that came from Puppet Lisa's fabric lips. All they could do was watch, sitting very still to try and keep Puppet Lisa from noticing them too much. But it was hard. Her big, popping-out eyes were everywhere.
Puppet Dayana spoke of how it felt to be so unfairly treated. But Puppet Lisa only got more defensive and offensive.
Over on Team Unanimous, they had their own troubles. And Puppet Project Manager Paul was sent packing.
In the boardroom, Puppet Master Trump was well pleased.