The new season of Celebrity Apprentice has begun and —–I’m fairly certain that among my peers, my love of the TV show is a minority view.
Say what you will about Mr. Trump, and I’ll say more about him later, but the show is genius, so on target that when I taught Teamwork at the college level, one homework assignment involved analyzing the team on that season’s show.
The show is a game, really, in which celebrities compete in teams to win tasks, until finally, they compete individually for the crown. The beauty of the show is the teamwork portion, in which every strength and weakness of any team effort is on display. Which is to say celebrities either make complete asses of themselves or display skills we never thought they’d have.
You’ve worked in teams, I know you have, and I’ll bet you could say a lot about those experiences, right? Well, no need to say a word—just watch the show and the familiarity of the characters will hit home. I’ll share here some of the major teamwork lessons I’ve learned from the current season of Celebrity Apprentice.
Competitors are mostly C-list celebrities. I say “mostly,” because the late Joan Rivers was a competitor and a winner — she will appear this season in segments taped before her tragic death. But for the most part, they’re actors or performers who hope the visibility will provide a career boost. Or maybe they just want attention.
Teamwork Lesson #1: Avoid needy attention whores
And speaking of attention, you and I have both been on teams in which one individual is an attention whore—a person who is so in need of validation that his or her contribution must not only be the right approach, but must be chosen and that person must be lauded for the contribution. That’s a person with a bottomless pit of need for the affirmation that being admired provides.
Yes, I am talking about Geraldo Rivera –a more whiny attention whore has never been on the show. He is—pathetic. Shockingly so. From having a loud and distracting personal conversation with his lawyer while his team tried to meet with execs in charge of the the team assignment to overtalking and drowning out the rest of his team members—well, let’s say it brought back memories. And what a great opportunity to evaluate our own behavior to be sure we don’t act like Geraldo. I was hoping to hear Mr. Trump say “Geraldo? You’re fired!” in one of the first few episodes, but , no. Still, it can’t be far behind. God help us if he wins. Geraldo, you’ve done yourself no favors by putting yourself on this show. Trust me.
Teamwork Lesson #2: Never underestimate a 27-year-old
I can’t say I’ve ever heard a Jonas Brothers song, but Kevin Jonas was fired way too soon. He was smart, organized and had great ideas. I think he’d be a kick-ass young executive, except that he’s a bit green, still. As team leader, he purposely left the attention-whore mentioned above out in the cold. Nothing worse than ignoring a needy guy, and with Geraldo as Kevin’s enemy, well, let’s just say it was a bad move. And that is the problem with inexperience. A few more years on Kevin and he’ll be a force to contend with in business matters. In fact, he already is. Kudos to you, young man!
Teamwork Lesson #3: Don’t use your period as an excuse for poor performance
Oh dear, the women’s team is a mess. They’re cat-fighting and I’m just waiting for the bitch-slap. Olympic champion Shawn Johnson made the mistake of telling team leader that she was going to under-perform that day because it was her time of the month. Of course, this made team leader Vivica Fox see red (no pun intended). No surprise that in the board room Fox tried to do Johnson in — and Johnson saw red that Fox had brought up her menstrual cycle on national television. Ivanka Trump broke her usual stone face with a smile of…disbelief… and Mr. Trump noted with surprised amusement that it was “the first time he’d heard that excuse in the board room.” Oh yeah, those girls are bitchy. Despite Kenya Moore’s reputation as vicious in the board room, the Miss Universe winner had the best line of the evening, a retort to Johnson: “We’re women, we rule the world and there is no period of time when we’re weaker!”
I couldn’t help but wonder what Johnson did when a gymnastics meet was scheduled during her time of the month. Then, I remembered that gymnasts often don’t get their periods. So having periods again after she retired must have been a huge shock. Get over it, girl.
Teamwork Lesson #3: Any bitch can be out-bitched
Kate Gosselin is on this show and she looks like hell. I’m not sure if it’s work gone bad or what, but oh, Lordy, she looks bad. Now, I don’t know Kate and have only seen small snippets of her horrific TV shows…. but do know her reputation as a bitch. However, on this program she is out-bitched by a long shot –Brandi Glanville, Fox, Moore—they’re all far meaner than Kate. This seems to be confusing for Kate as she acts hesitant, unsure and insecure on the show. So really, no matter how bitchy she is, ANY bitch can be out-bitched.
Teamwork Lesson #4: The ends do not justify the means
I had never heard of Comedian Gilbert Gottfried until now, but I can’t say this show did him any favors. Except maybe among Borscht Belt comedy fans. (Geraldo, meet Gilbert.) His contribution to a food event task included a not-so-funny shtick about how women wouldn’t have sex with him. It was inappropriate and fell flat, contributing to the men’s loss of that task. Trump fired Gottfried. But even after that, the comedian said that he thought getting just one laugh was meeting the objective. Umm. Gilbert? The task was to market a product, not make people laugh. No one laughed, anyway, and in this case the means and end didn’t work out so well.
Teamwork Lesson #5: Some people age better than others
Ian Ziering from Beverly Hills 90210 was a fox when he hung out at the Peach Pit from 1990 to 2000 and he’s a fox still at…wait for it…50. OMG, Ian is 50 years old! (oh, and it’s pronounced EYE-IN.) If he’s had work done, and I’m sure he has, it’s excellent. EYE-IN, we want your surgeon’s name and number!
Yes, of course, he’s a blowhard and I think his politics are ridiculous. And his businesses aren’t exactly super-successful, although you’d never know it from the things he says.
BUT. He’s raised four accomplished and well-educated kids (Wharton, U of Pennsylvania sociology, Georgetown) with his youngest still coming up through school. He becomes decidedly mushy when talking about them. He has never touched a cigarette or alcohol, ever, because he promised his father he wouldn’t.
I think he’s a fascinating guy and probably has enough complexity to keep a staff of psychologists busy for decades.
So, those are the top five teamwork lessons I’ve learned from this season’s show. So far. I’m sure there will be much more to come.
Dear readers, if you follow the show or have an opinion at all on team behavior or your own experiences, I’d love to hear it.