Breaking News: There's a version of Apprentice out there that is actually quite nice, mate.
Before the dawn of reality D-lister sludge's Celebrity Apprentice, there was another, better show called just The Apprentice. Although it eventually lost its luster, the original Apprentice was a sensation, with a savvy and engaging cast, educational tasks, and awesome rewards (remember the helicopter ride around NYC???), and it launched the career of affable Bill Rancic. The Apprentice was so good that creator Mark Burnett started a similar version in the UK, with billionaire Sir Alan Sugar standing in for Trump. Sugar is not exactly sweet. He is a much more serious, less flamboyant version of Trump. He's intimidating, thought not really frightening. "I don't like liars, I don’t like cheats. I don’t like bullshitters, I don’t like schmoozers, I don’t like arse-lickers," he tells the contestants on their first day. Win on your own merits, he explains, not on smoke and mirrors.
If you thought the U.S. version was good, you'll love the British version, which follows a more documentary format, avoids sensation, and has more interesting, difficult, and educational tasks (Aren't British versions often better?). Those tasks include selling flowers, designing a toy for grade schoolers, working on the floor at Harrod's, and going on a scavenger hunt around London to buy a list of items as cheaply as possible, like bowler hats and a mattress. The boardroom drama also doesn't drag on as much as Trump's boardrooms do, so we spend less time watching the contestants bicker and more on the cool tasks. Sugar actually really hates when they don't get along and tries to stop their fighting, not encourage it, which is refreshing.
Saira Khan, in particular, is an aggressive and scrappy Environmental Manager who is the first business woman in her family.
She's just downright fun to watch, even when she grates on your nerves. After a tough negotiation for a T.V. box, she is able to get it for free by speaking in her native Kashmiri with the salesman. "That's how I get away with murder," she quips in her delightful British accent. Reality T.V. "character" gold. Love 'er.
Check out The Apprentice UK, and start with Saira's season, season one, which aired in 2005. Almost all the seasons of the UK version are available on Youtube. One of the few reality T.V. shows worth watching these days.
Our take: Celebrity Apprentice has always been framed around a celebrity standing on their own two feet without their assistants, PR reps, or entourage. It's supposed to be a chance to see who they really are without the staff, without the PR. They may rely on their own wits, and that of their team's, and maybe their Twitter account, and that's it. It is supposed to be a chance to strip everything down and really get to the heart of who people are, their strengths and weaknesses, without their support system compensating for them or patching the holes. Steve is more than Kate's bodyguard, he has been called her manager as well as been in a role of both friend and confidant. If security is truly necessary, it should be provided by NBC, a network well capable of keeping all their talent safe, and the security should not be people who know you well and who you rely on for help and advice. A pure show and fair competition means the celebs will sink or swim on their own merit, not on that of the entourage.
The pervasiveness of social media has made it easy to know what's going on as Kate films Celebrity Apprentice. Tomorrow afternoon Kate and the teams will be at Pie Face in NYC. The men will be at one location, the women the other. Both teams will apparently be selling pies for charity. A first look has already been posted, and suggests things are already pretty intense for the women's team as they bake pies, make phone calls, and prepare for the task tomorrow. Other information suggests call time today was 3 a.m.
Feel free to post other pics, tweets and sightings here. As we go along the month-long shooting schedule we will likely continue to do a new thread each week. If you don't want to be spoiled, avoid the thread!
While we haven't heard "official" confirmation yet, Kate's twitter silence and spotting Steve sitting in the background of this video from fellow contestant Terrel Owens is enough to say this with confidence.
Last time on Couples Therapy, the lesbians fought, Duck Lips quivered, and Teen Duck Lips's gestational carrier Debra showed up in a vain attempt to straighten Dr. Jenn out. As straight as that hair is, her soul would not conform. Coming up, Sada confronts her father about abuse in her childhood, another guy from Teen Duck Lips's past shows up to try to explain to Dr. Jenn this isn't your average teen duck, and poor Jon is on the phone trying to speak to his children he hasn't spoken to in two weeks.
Oh, yeah, this dumb fight. As we recall last time, Sada was upset about her father, and Whitney asked Sada if she wanted her to hang around, and Sada told her no. Because lots of people want their space when they are upset, Whitney obliged and went off to play pool. Now Sada is mad because even though she told Whitney to leave, Whitney should have known when she said she should leave she didn't really mean she should leave, in fact she really meant the opposite, that she should stay. And I hate women.
Whitney wisely says this whole thing is really just about Sada being nervous about her dad, and she will try to be more aware of Sada's needs, but Sada just needs to tell her what she needs if Whitney doesn't realize it on her own. Sada says she needs to not project onto Whitney. And they figured this out without Dr. Jenn's help!
Ha, bed selfie! Teen Duck Lips gets in bed with Duck Lips and her fiancé to take a photo. Open mouth smilies are at least better than duck lips. Somehow I don't think that will be the most retweeted selfie of all time. Most awkward maybe.
Dr. Jenn, who is apparently an upstanding member of the Anglican church when you Travoltify her to "Deacon Jernes," sits down with Sada and her dad.
Sada's father, who used to be a bodybuilder, is now bald, skinny, and kind of wimpy looking, which seems to happen to a lot of child abusers when time catches up. Ironically, Sada could beat him up now, easily, though she never would.
Sada's dad looks sad and remorseful, and admits he would explode sometimes and destroy everything in the house. Despite the fact that he was horrific to her when she was a child, Sada is the one telling him it's okay. Child abuse is often generational, and so it is here. He said all his father had to do was look at him and he would shake. God, how sad. Deacon Jernes remarks profoundly that when you have an abusive parent you either become abusive yourself or you don't and stop the cycle. Well yeah, those are pretty much your only two choices there. Very good, Deacon.
I give Sada's dad credit for admitting yes, he did beat Sada up. Denial is very common in child abuse. He says he's sorry and he loves her, and wishes that his dad would have talked to him like he is with Sada. I think he truly wants to heal this, and that will only benefit Sada and Whitney. Sada is very happy Deacon Jernes helped them with this and she and Whitney hug.
Coming up, Teen Duck Lips's ex-boyfriend Daniel is coming to the house. I'm starting to remember this guy more from Teen Mom and was he ever really her "boyfriend"? I only recall a few dates and maybe one and a half meetings with Debra before Daniel got a clue and high tailed it out of there. And I think that's part of Teen Duck Lips's problem is that she saddles guys with these significant labels way before they're fully cooked, and guys get overwhelmed. By date three you're practically her husband, and what halfway sane man wants that? Give him at least four or five dates to process the prospect of Debra being his mother-in-law.
We're back, and Sada and Whitney are joking that Sada must have been Cleopatra in a past life. Ha, she does kind of have the hair going on there.
Teen Duck Lips is hoping with Daniel here she'll get feedback on why boyfriends don't show up and act shady to her. Teen Duck Lips, save your money. Was she not listening when Duck Lips explained this already? She's f---ed up, that's why. It's really not any more complicated. Guys don't want to be with someone f--ed up usually. You may be hot (she's not) and good in bed (who knows, we'd have to consult the not-a-porn tape) but that's not worth it to most men in the long run if you're also a psycho. Plus, knowing Deacon Jernes here she'll take Teen Duck Lips's side again and that's not helping anyone least of all Teen Duck Lips.
Deacon Jernes is seeking to get to the root of why Teen Duck Lips attracts the wrong men and has such a darn hard time connecting to people. Deacon? It's called sociopathic. Surely you've heard of it. I know some people get all bent out of shape at words like sociopath being thrown around, but the fact is enough people with a background in psychology have observed enough footage from this mess to make a pretty fair guess that that's what is going on here, and that's the word they keep coming up with. I think some folks strongly associate sociopath with serial killers, and that upsets them and they think the word should be off limits because of it. What needs to be understood is that everyday people are sociopaths and that only a teeny, tiny percentage of them actually kill people, and that suggesting that someone's behavior consistently aligns with that of a sociopath doesn't mean you're calling them a mass murderer. I doubt Teen Duck Lips would ever kill someone, but I do believe she is still, at her core, anti-social, without empathy and remorse, and disconnected from reality--a sociopath.
As a side note, I think it's pretty insulting to the men for Deacon Jernes to imply Teen Duck Lips is attracting the wrong men. The few men I've seen with her seem nice and normal. There was nothing wrong with Daniel. And that other guy who was supposed to be on the show but wouldn't because they were going to make him pretend to be dating Teen Duck Lips, seemed like a man of principle. He risked being sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars because he refused to lie about their relationship. That's not the wrong type at all. That's the right type, for heaven sake. Rather, I think the men need to ask themselves why they are attracted to the wrong woman. Or thing. It.
The way Daniel's shirt is cut so high and the dark navy color makes it look like it's part of a Civil War uniform. Poor Daniel, it is like going into a bloody battle every time anyone sits down with Teen Duck Lips.
Daniel highly resolves that his brief relationship with Teen Duck Lips shall not be in vain, as he begins to explain that although initially she was fun, he soon found out she was a freak of nature who wouldn't let him have an opinion about anything and didn't treat him like a boyfriend should be treated. Isn't that how it always goes when you step into a vortex like this? Woo-hoo fun good times.....oh dear make it stop. He goes on to explain she was dedicated to the proposition of being extremely rude, blunt, and disrespectful, and that he doesn't think she even realized she was doing it. Ouch, Daniel says Teen Duck Lips needs to be a better mother and example for her daughter. Teen Duck Lips rolls her eyes and gives a "whaa?" expression. Lol, like it's such a shocker to her someone would call her a bad mom. Deacon Jernes seems pleased with this revelation and thanks him for coming. Daniel says his pleasure, gets up to shake Teen Duck Lips's hand like a gentleman, and, oh, no she didn't, haha! She won't shake his hand and says snottily thank you so much and I wish you the best in your relationship.
Baw-haha, she's such a bitch. Well, I for one want to thank you, Daniel. At ease.
Teen Duck Lips says she is a very good role model for her daughter in real life. Real life? What's that mean? Everything we see of her parenting on T.V. is fake? Yeah right, nice try.
Even Dr. Jenn seems to finally be admitting that what Daniel just said is about the same as what everybody else in the house has been saying, and that this feedback is consistently the feedback Teen Duck Lips has been getting since the beginning of time. Hmm! The deacon is finally catching on, maybe there is something to this! Sort of a fool me once situation, eh? Teen Duck Lips seems to understand they think she is disrespectful at times but seems fully unable to recognize it when she does it. Truly, that's a bit scary. It's one thing to know you're being a jerk and you realize it of course but you just don't care to stop for whatever reason, quite another to be clueless about your jerkiness and think you're actually quite sweet and nice. I'm beginning to think she's the latter, and how do you fix that? And this is why so many people with various backgrounds in mental health or just good plain common sense think she's a sociopath. A sociopath is so emotionally stunted and cut off from other people's feelings, they can't even begin to recognize when they're being cruel.
Oh, blah, Deacon Jenis or whatever the hell her name is is now congratulating Teen Duck Lips on all her therapeutic progress. This is just patronizing at this point. What progress? Really, what has changed about her? Not two minutes ago she was rolling her eyes at and refusing to shake the hand of someone kind enough to fly out there and tell her the truth. Call me crazy, or cruz me meems, but I think she's regressing, not progressing.
Day 18. There's Wu-Tang sprawled across their bed, big surprise there. He spends so much time on his back there I'd start hauling him over once in awhile just to make sure there's no bed sores. Thank God Kelsey says she's let him go at this point. Then get out of the same bed, girl! Unless she's on bedsore duty?
It's a beautiful day, Teen Duck Lips announces as she walks into the kitchen with her mentor Duck Lips. Nearly every day is just gorgeous in Los Angeles, rarely too hot or too cold, which is a blessing. We got this freak rainstorm for three days the weekend after this episode aired and it was hysterical the drama over it. You get swept up in it, even I didn't want to be on the roads. It wasn't too bad in retrospect and didn't last long, but they made the most of it. The funniest was a reporter from KCAL9 news who was supposed to be doing a spot news segment in a rain jacket, Anderson Cooper style, but it already stopped raining by the time they got around to her. So she had to basically stand out there, in the bright lovely sunshine, and swear on her scout's honor she was just standing in a downpour earlier and it was epic, wish you coulda seen it! LOL, and it hasn't rained a drop since.
Geez, I almost forgot about Duck Lips. It's so fascinating the way she's sort of become one of the "normal" ones when you compare her to the likes of Teen Duck Lips or the Latrice love triangle with that lazy pig over there. She was so not normal on Real Housewives.
Woo-hoo, one-on-one with Duck Lips. Oh, curses, it's about her abusive past, which is so hard to poke fun of especially because her husband committed suicide, may he rest in peace. Lol, Duck Lips remarks how Dr. Jenn sure has had quite a last couple of days! Dr. Jenn cracks up. Between Debra and Daniel, definitely. Duck Lips is witty!
Duck Lips says she's been struggling to parent her daughter Kennedy, who sometimes just shuts down. She feels she wasn't there for her emotionally all the time. Dr. Jenn says Kennedy's anger is normal given that her father died, and that Duck Lips should not try to brush it under the rug. Geez, that cross around Duck Lips's neck is so huge you could crucify someone on it. Wardrobe change, and now Duck Lips is wearing some kind of Pharell Williams type hat. File that under trends that look ridiculous on you after age 40 or even 30. She says she thinks she needs to give Kennedy more structure. How do you even begin to try to seriously give a child structure in that getup?
Jon is outside at his usual hangout with the lesbians and Duck Lips and John. It's obvious this little group has really bonded, and since I more or less think these are the nicer people in the house, I'm glad these are the ones Jon has befriended. He says he wrote a book explaining everything that happened to him but then his legal team got their hands on it and were concerned, so he hasn't published it.
Jon says the lawsuit with Kate has been very hurtful to him. As much as we have giggled, laughed, snickered over Kate's "squeezed and pulled and hurt my neck in 1988" moving papers, lawsuits hurt. They really hurt. They are emotionally damaging to those involved. They are stressful, embarrassing, and demoralizing. They instill fear in you. Fear in what could happen and how much money, time and energy you are going to need to exert so that the worst doesn't happen. Fear of the future. Fear of being destroyed, professionally, personally, and financially. What she did to the father of her children with this frivolous suit, which as we know was soon dropped, was terrorize him. Make no mistake, a lawsuit is really no better than pulling a gun on someone. Our legal system has become that frightening and adversarial. Lawsuits were originally designed for the rare circumstances where you have been truly wronged, cannot move on from that wrong, and have tried everything in your power to correct or heal that wrong first with the other parties before resorting to the court of law. For instance, a dispute like this probably could have been resolved with a simple phone call, or lunch date, and a few apologies. Instead lawsuits have morphed into a method of first resort, of terrorism, blackmail, and intimidation. They are abused by people like Kate, and others, and it's shameful. And the fact that she used such a terrible method to go after her children's own father, only to drop it completely as soon as she realized he wasn't going to back down, is truly the most heinous thing she has ever done in her entire life, even worse than exploiting her children. The fact that she dropped it so quickly just proves she was only using it to intimidate. If she truly thought this suit had merits and was going to go to the trouble of filing in the first place there would be no reason to drop it just like that. She used it as a weapon, period, and when Jon and Shawn Tuma
(dreamy!) pulled back the curtain and exposed her weapon as just one of those props made out of rubber, she ran away like a little girl. Heck, lots of people have exploited their children, let's face it. But few people would do this to their children's father.
Ah the voice of reason in Duck Lips. What's the point of suing if he has very little money in the first place and what he does have goes to his kids? That's what we said! Isn't this sort of a robbing Peter to pay Paul situation?
"Let it go, you know?" Duck Lips remarks. That's what we said too.
Who knew Duck Lips would be the voice of wisdom for Kate. Kate, listen to Duck Lips and let it go. Not just the lawsuit, but everything. Your hatred for Jon, your sad quest to get yourself back on T.V., your stupid tweets about birds and dirty socks, your desperation for a career that's been over for years now, your fantasy of eight little Shirley Temples who skip off into the sunset every week on our T.V. screens. It's over. It's....over. Duck Lips's words may be simple--Farrah's fucked up, lawsuits should be let go--but she's just so darn correct most of the time.
"You hate me more than you love your children," Jon says. Yes.
Duck Lips says it all, so I'm just going to quote every last bit of it, and I hope Jon and Kate take it to heart. "Jon and Kate need to focus on eight. Wasn't that the point of this whole thing with them? I don't understand what the hell they're fighting over. First of all, this lawsuit? Let's say she gets a judgment against him. There's nothing at the end of the rainbow! So it's just a waste of everyone's time, and there's eight little people stuck in the middle. Imagine how much energy it takes to raise that many children. I can't imagine dividing your energy amongst fighting and bullshit."
Thank you, Duck Lips. See, you can be the cool girl, wear Pharell Williams hats and be the smartest girl in the room. Lean in! My only minor nitpick with her speech is there is something at the end of the rainbow, these creepy guys:
She even said "among" like the Irish would, "amongst." Lol, oh Duck Lips, always so timely.
We're still on Day 18 I guess and they show a touching montage set to Matthew Perryman Jones of Kelsey running, the sun on her shoulders, John and Duck Lips in bed together giving each other loving looks, the lesbians kissing, Liz making a phone call probably to her kids, Wu-Tang praying over his meal (lol that's funny, boink God knows how many women but be sure to pray over your eggs). Then, they show Teen Duck Lips. Putting on lip gloss. Haha, that's great. Nice touch, producers.
This next part is heavily edited but I'll try to explain. Jon is sitting with his phone upset because he hasn't spoken to his children in two weeks. "F-- her!" he says. Dr. Jenn says Jon is upset because he just got off a heated phone call with Kate. They don't, however, show the actual phone call. We just see the aftermath. Jon says Kate doesn't value him as a man or even human. Liz advises him not to get fired up like this.
Jon's frustration comes out in droves. He says she's narcissistic, tweets too much about the kids, even has a web site dedicated to them, every book she's ever put out is about them, and she desperately wants to be on T.V., but he says it's never going to happen. "Eat sh-- and die." As we've discussed, this is a common expression that is not a death threat; although it's not a nice thing to say, obviously. Then again, it's not nice to deny a father contact with his children for two weeks either. I can't really disagree with Jon on all that and I'm sorry that he picked this Borg as the mother of his children and now has to deal with this until the kids are 18 and probably much longer. If there's one lessons we should get out of Jon and Kate's divorce, it's that you have to be careful who you pick for the mother of your children.
Day 19. Dr. Jenn sets up an exercise for the group where they are in a nice dining room and are going to break the "Norman Rockwell" image. Dr. Mike says this is called exposure therapy, where you connect to your feelings with actions. They're going to find something in the room that connects to a defining moment for them, and then they're going to tear the house apart. Now that they explain it this way instead of just a six-second promo clip taken out of context, it actually sounds reasonable enough.
Duck Lips breaks some shit with a trophy and mutters about Russell and her mom and dad as she quivers and sobs. Liz is crying too but kind of looks like she's quietly laughing as well. Heh, I kind of was a bit too, I'll admit my evil side.
Sweet, Teen Duck Lips's turn! So I guess they're not saving the best for last. Poor thing, her mom wanted to keep a reasonably tidy house growing up. She wasn't allowed to be the pig and slob that she is. She breaks a painting for all the paintings she couldn't touch growing up. Teen Duck Lips, no one is supposed to be touching a painting, even adults. It gets it all greasy and grimy and then it doesn't look pretty anymore. It's not a play thing. It's a painting. It was not just Debra being mean to you, none of our moms let us touch fine art and somehow we made it through childhood unscathed. This girl is just ridiculous. She breaks the painting through a window.
Haha, they make Teen Duck Lips pretend that Dr. Jenn is Debra for a moment. Oh this is so incredibly great. "Mom, what I needed from you that I didn't get is to just care about me more than all these things that I don't know why they matter to you."
People made fun of her flat chest and nose, too. No not her nose!
The thing Teen Duck Lips needs to understand is that everything she is describing is just part of life. Life will not be all roses, nor should it be, as that would be rather boring and would never build much character. High school is tough for lots of kids, dare I say most kids. You might get teased a bit for developing too slowly or quickly, for a funny nose, too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, or anything else that kids pick on. It happens to almost everyone. You might also have a mom who doesn't want you to touch nice things because that's sort of a mother's job to teach you about valuing nice things. But most people don't see such things as childhood trauma like she does for some odd reason. Rather they grow up, realize Mom was right you shouldn't put your grubby hands all over nice things, and that that person making fun of your nose never graduated high school and sits on the couch all day drinking beer and watching Hulu Plus. So who cares, they don't mean anything to you now. Time to get on with life. I can't imagine what Sada is thinking, whose dad admits he beat the crap out of her and even once slammed her between the car and car door. This girl is just a mess and she could destroy a hundred rooms before she'd ever get that noggin on straight.
"What you want, no plastic surgeon can give you, Farrah," Dr. Mike says. I'm afraid there may be nobody out there, M.D. or not, who could give this train wreck what she wants. She's insatiable.
Duck Lips's fiance John breaks some stuff but we don't know why. His backstory must be inexplicably normal and boring, because the producers have never spent two seconds trying to tell us about it. Whitney and Kelsey break things. Kelsey has a GoPro camera attached to her helmet, like she's about to go snowboard at Crested Butte after this. Wu-Tang finally acts like he's beginning to understand where she's coming from and gives her a nice hug.
Jon's up, and he feels that in his marriage everything always had to be so perfect. He goes at the chandelier like it's a piñata that's about to spit out 100 dollar bills. Sheesh. He says he got tired of having to do everything in the marriage. And I believe him, he did carry the weight in that marriage, between working and caring for the children and running around doing whatever Kate wanted. And not only that but Kate acts like she was the one who did it all, which we all know from all the film is just a flat out lie. This is the first time I really remember Jon expressing some frustration at the weight he had to carry in that marriage, doing it all while she did nothing. He said he wasted ten years of his life on things being fake, another quote that was taken out of context in the promo for this. He of course did not in any way shape or form imply he regrets his children or anything like that, he is simply saying that the marriage Kate wanted was very difficult to be in and left him scarred, that's all.
Jon actually looks relieved after this, he even smiles a little as he catches his breath and says he feels better, that this exercise was "awesome." He needed to get out some pent up aggression, and it's better it was done in a controlled environment. It's interesting that Jon first says he needs to be with "someone." Then he corrects himself and looks into Liz's eyes and says he needs to be with her and needs her love. Liz says she needs to give more love to him. She says she's proud of him, and that this exercise was quite symbolic for them. They get what the therapists were trying to do here, and that's good. Liz draws Jon into a big hug and Dr. Jenn remarks that this was the first time she's seen Liz pull Jon toward him. Dr. Mike says they all did great work. I still think Jon probably needs more therapy, better in private, about why he feels he just needs to be with "someone." I think there are still a lot of unresolved things behind that statement. But Rome was not built in a day.
I was skeptical about this exercise at first, as I'm skeptical of a lot of therapeutic exercises, but I have to admit that almost everyone seemed to get a lot out of this and so many of them seem to feel so much better now. Jon says he and Liz needed to let go of things they were bottling up and they can move forward now.
Next time, oh sh&t, Wu-Tang says he "forgives" Kelsey. Kelsey's face is priceless. You forgive me? she blurts. Haha!
"I realize now that he was right when he said our battles would continue until one of us was dead." -Betty Broderick
Jon's recent stint on Couples Therapy has reminded us just how contentious Jon and Kate's divorce was and still is. Jon says that, four years later, he and Kate are not even civil to each other, Kate emasculates him and judges him, and Kate would not allow him to speak to his children when he was on the show.
All the years Betty worked to put Dan through medical school and law school, including going door-to-door selling Tupperware.
Dan's obsession with money, working and drinking.
Dan would refuse to take the children on his custodial time or spend time with them. Betty had to physically drop them off on his porch. Later he asked for, and obtained full custody.
Dan getting the house and most of the money in the divorce; Dan's lying and manipulation of the court system in order to obtain a grossly one-sided settlement.
Betty was turned down by the best divorce attorneys in San Diego because they were friends with Dan or felt loyal to Dan, a prominent local attorney.
Dan's camp in turn said that Betty:
Was in contempt of court orders including various restraining orders.
Called his answering machine hundreds of times leaving nasty messages; destroyed his personal property.
Was obsessed with him and could not move on.
Was consumed by her anger and hate.
Believed herself to be the best mother in the world when in reality she was causing severe psychological damage to her children with her hate and alienation.
Was irresponsible, incapable, and untrustworthy.
A psychologist for the prosecution diagnosed Betty with narcissism. At a parol hearing, two of Betty's four children argued for her release. The other two asked that she remain incarcerated.
While no divorce experts justified the murder, it did cause many in the divorce community to question California's "Epstein credits," a complicated doctrine which allowed for Dan, a multimillionaire, to be reimbursed so much money from Betty in the divorce he owed her next to nothing in the settlement.