Sunday, March 8, 2009

Congrats to the Top Chef Winner 09-Celebrity Apprentice 09 Premieres, Some Commentary.

We've got a TV post here with a Bravo Top Chef Winner and some insight into Trump's 09 Celebrity Apprentice, the contenders and thoughts on the celebrity culture and who the hell cares.

All with video and pics you'll find nowhere else on the Internet.

Pic of the Day
seal with cub

Celebrity Apprentice 2009-The Worship of Celebrities- Begins

On 3/1/09, Donald Trump, AKA “The Donald”, began his series “Celebrity Apprentice”. The Donald once had an extremely popular series known simply as “The Apprentice”. This series kind of fizzled out so The Donald revamped his idea, stealing the notion of having celebrities looking for exposure as do contenders from “Dancing With the Stars”.

Like “Dancing With the Stars”, “Celebrity Apprentice” will generally choose a couple of over-the-hill or retired sports stars, a few singers with a small following, some sort of beauty queen/model type, and a former Olympic medal-holder. Throw in a few celebrities in need of more exposure and boom, you’ve got either the roster for “Dancing With the Stars” or “Celebrity Apprentice”.

The list of contenders for this year’s “Celebrity Apprentice” below:

-Jesse James-founder of West Coast Choppers
-Dennis Rodman-5 time NBA champion
-Andrew "Dice" Clay-once dirty mouthed comedian-sent home 3/1/09
-Joan Rivers-talk show host
-Herschel Walker-Retired NFL player
-Khloe Kardashian-the Kardashian without the nice ass
-Tionne "T-Box" Watkins-R&B singer
-Natalie Gulbis-Professional golfer
-Tom Green-Actor, comedian
-Claudia Jordan-Actress, model
-Clint black-country music star
-Brande Roderick-Actress and Playboy model
-Brian McKnight mutli platinum R&B singer
-Melissa Rivers-daughter of Joan Rivers
-Scott Hamilton-gold medal olympic figure skater
-Annie Duke-professional poker player, motivational speaker

I am not going to follow this show week by week on this Blog but will post a report every three weeks or so.

“Celebrity Apprentice” is a reality show, my fave TV genre, and a proper and believable amount of scripting is necessary. The Donald does a pretty good job with the premise. But I sure would like to see the original Apprentice come back with the favor it once had.

The Donald, as I understand, is part and parcel and sunk in deep in the celebrity culture. He loves to hobnob with those of fame. He loves the camera, he loves the attention, he thinks it makes him special. “Celebrity Apprentice” reflects that love. For almost each and every challenge has a segment that will reflect on the contenders’ place in the “in-crowd” and who they each may contact for money.

Not that there’s anything wrong with this, but make no mistake it happens and is part of the scripting.

The premiere show had Joan Rivers and Herschel Walker as the Project Managers. The female team’s name is “Athena” and the men call themselves “KOTU”, abbreviation for “Kings of the Universe”. Their assignment was to bake cupcakes then sell them on the streets of New York. Whichever team brought in the most money won the challenge.

Cupcake Montage CA 09 premiere

Let it not be overlooked that The Donald does not miss an opportunity to insert lots of advertising in this series. In this challenge, we had the cooking school getting some commercial exposure as their cooks helped the contenders prepare the cupcakes. Later in the challenge, another bakery got some airtime by judging each team’s finished cupcakes and giving a big contribution for the one they judged best. The bakery name was Crumbs and they paid a price for this real time commercial, I am sure.

The scripting involves some conflict, a mess-up and, of course, drama in the boardroom. The ladies had some real problems with Annie Duke, the famous female poker player. I’d heard of her before in that daughter and son-in-law are poker players of a sort. Anyway, Duke was very bossy and a few scenes and the vignettes of the other female contenders played up Duke’s somewhat hostile takeover of project manager duties from Joan Rivers.

people montage premiere CA09

Joan’s daughter, Melissa, who would, I’ll insert here, be pretty much a nobody were it not for her mother, is also a contender. This fact begs for scripting of conflicts or other drama between mother and daughter. This year it seems that Joan tends to favor her daughter even over her own choices. For example, Joan designs the flyer for the female’s cupcake sale. Soon after Melissa practically re-designs the entire thing and Joan says not a word. Vignettes of the other players have them shocked that Joan Rivers allows her daughter to run roughshod over her.

Meanwhile, over on the men’s team we have Dennis Rodman and right there you’ve got some kind of storyline that will keep the viewers coming back for more. On this premiere show, Rodman remained in the guys’ cupcake truck instead of going out on the street and mingling, thus attracting, cupcake buyers.

Dennis Rodman is kind of a bad guy, full of himself and not one to take orders easily. He said, during a camera vignette, that he felt that if he went out on the street that the public would be coming to see him and NOT buying cupcakes. Further, Rodman argued, it’s best to bring in cupcakes buyers AFTER they’ve made a purchase, into the truck for a pic with him. Other members of Rodman’s team disagreed with this notion, of course. If nothing else, look for Dennis Rodman to create much dramatic conflict during this series and I suspect he won’t be going home soon.

Another obviously scripted event was a major disaster with each team’s cupcakes. Folks, how damn likely is this what with all baking being overseen by professional cooks in a cooking school? The disasters added to the drama of the show and it was effective, if not totally believable. The females evidently used baking soda instead of baking powder, or visa-versa, or maybe left out any sort of leavening ingredient. All of their cupcakes collapsed into themselves. The ladies solved the problem by topping the collapsed cupcakes, which tasted fine or so the storyline went, with a chocolate ganache, producing cupcakes that would appear for all the world to have been planned this way.

sale site montage cupcake task CA09

The guys forgot to put sugar in a huge batch of their cupcakes. Of course there was not enough time to make a completely new batch so the fellows dissolved some sugar in liquid and poured a little of this liquid into each cupcake. Obviously this did not do the trick as Crumbs Bakery pronounced their cupcakes as inedible.

There were celebrities in this premiere episode but no Hugh Hefner even though one contender was a Playboy bunny of the year or some such. I suspect Hef will make an appearance sometime this season and, in fact, I think The Donald will tease the audience with such an implicit promise. The celebrities who did show up to pay outrageous prices for cupcakes were third, even fourth, string. The Donald, however, will insert this celebrity adulation into every episode no doubt although Hugh Hefner, what’s he…70..80 years old? Can there be anything less appealing than an over-the-hill Playboy covered with wrinkled skin and shot up full of Viagara?

Andrew Dice Clay was once a foul-mouthed comedian, although he still may be but he’s no longer on network television using public airways, and he shouldn’t be. This guy used to make me ill with his dirty jokes and denigration of women but hey, my husband loved him. Clay buckled under to the public onslaught to shut him up although I’d have been okay with him taking it to cable, free speech and all that.

He turned out to be a big blubbering new castrati, as Limbaugh would call him, and, indeed, Clay offered to quit the show in the Trump boardroom, all contrite and noble in offering his body that others might continue on.

What hooey.

I give The Donald credit in that, when all was said and done, he fired Clay anyway because his use to the show was done. One can only take so much Andrew Dice Clay.

Below a video montage of the show’s highlights with my own fine commentary spliced in.

NBC’s Home Site for “Celebrity Apprentice”.

Top Chef Winner and Fan Favorite

Bravo’s cooking reality series, “Top Chef” ran the course this year and the winner is Hosea with fan favorite Fabio.

I watch each Top Chef episode religiously but consider it not for everyone. Food Network’s “Next Food Network Star” is a way better cooking contest for an average everyday cook such as myself. I can’t imagine I’d ever make anything like the top notch chef contenders do on Top Chef but a)I like reality shows and b)I like cooking shows and c)well, hell, I like to expand my horizons as much as the next guy.

Anyway, couple of comments on this year’s contenders and the regulars on this series. For what it’s worth.

Padma is the hostess for this show and here’s a woman so full of herself she needs to be seriously slapped. She wears short dresses, poses provocatively, tilts her head just so her pouty lips and wind-blown hair overwhelm us with their beauty.

Remember folks, this is a damn cooking show. Padma annoys me. Samantha Harris co-hosts “Dancing With the Stars” and wears beautiful gowns every week and Samantha is not near in love with that camera as Padma.

Tom Colicchio is a professional chef judge as well as a co-host. Tom knows his stuff and is tough as required but fair as one could hope. I have respect for Tom but wonder how the hell he can stand Padma.

Hosea, the winner of this year’s Top Chef, has an extensive cooking resume behind him. He’s worked with Wolfgang Puck and is executive chef at a Boulder restaurant. He’s a man who loves cooking and it shows.

Fabio is an Italian contender and he was voted fan favorite. I’d have picked lovable and quirky Carla in a second but Fabio was funny, personable and hey, good with the sauce pan.

Which brings me to Carla, who is my favorite Top Chef contender of all time. I’d love to meet Carla someday, maybe have her cook for me.

Bravo to Bravo TV for a great series and we await next year’s contest eagerly.
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