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The Celebrity Apprentice: The Final Six and the Problem of Gary Busey

We’re down to the final six on this year’s All Star season of The Celebrity Apprentice. Of the six, three are no brainers (Penn Jilette, Trace Adkins, and Lil Jon), one is not so surprising (Marilu Henner), one could’ve gone either way (Lisa Rinna), and then there’s Gary Busey. The show has never been known for its fairness or for its adherence to precedent, so this isn’t surprising.

Busey’s survival in the show creates a problem for its team. The Celebrity Apprentice has had a “joke character” since its second season (Dennis Rodman, Rod Blagojevich, Busey, and Lou Ferrigno), whose sole importance lies with entertainment value. These contestants are almost always sacked around the midway marker when teams are large enough to sustain the dead weight. Since this season had Rodman as well, the teams were a little more balanced, as both teams had their own comedy character. But Rodman has been gone for two episodes now and Team Plan B is down to three players (Jilette, Rinna, and Busey). alg-gary-jpg

Busey has lasted longer than any joke character, but this isn’t all that surprising. The joke characters have all had multiple chances to fail before termination, largely so Trump and NBC can reap the ratings benefits of their continued presence. Having Rodman on the season allowed Busey more time to use his chances since Dennis’ team has had the lion’s share of the losses.

Busey survived even his poor performance as project manager when Trump sacked Stephen Baldwin for being responsible for a key error despite firing Rodman, who was project manager on a task where Adkins make a similar mistake to Baldwin’s. I doubt Busey will be allowed another chance, but his lack of ability to do anything productive makes it harder for his team members to make it to the finals.

Jillette and Adkins have been the front-runners since the show started. Both of them are now 2-0 and barring a key gaffe (not completely out of the question), the two will be in the finals, creating the least surprising finals since John Rich beat Marlee Matlin.

This has been a fairly by-the-books season of The Celebrity Apprentice. For any other season, this would be okay. Given that this is All-Stars, I would’ve liked to see a more exciting season. In Apprentice terms, “All-Star” means whomever they could get back, but there was still plenty of talent to make for the best season ever.

Trump was correct when he said that The Celebrity Apprentice was “more than just a show.” The show transcends other celebrity reality shows to create a unique experience where D list celebrities can have a chance to prove their semi-competence in tasks that are judged using the utmost nepotism with concerns for ratings above fairness. The show is the perfect analogy for life, and we are lucky that Trump takes time out of his busy work week to fire whoever he wants to for whatever reasons he deems just.

One Comment

  1. I am rooting for Penn Jilette to take it all in the final. The fact that he didn’t kill Gary Busey in the last task is reason enough.

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