‘The Celebrity Apprentice,’ Episode Two: Blago Brings the Balloons

Falling back on his experience with photo opportunities—a politician’s bread and butter—Rod Blagojevich managed to squeak out of a three-man boardroom showdown without getting fired…

The former governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich poses for a photo op in episode two of The Celebrity Apprentice
Blagojevich captures a Kodak moment, with his beloved balloons in the background

 

Also, “Who’d You Think I Was?” Answer: Donny Osmond

Falling back on his experience with photo opportunities—a politician’s bread and butter—Rod Blagojevich managed to squeak out of a three-man boardroom showdown without getting fired.

Last night’s challenge on The Celebrity Apprentice was to create a storefront for Kodak. After learning about the challenge, Blago, outfitted in a black leather jacket, whispered to fellow teammate and Olympic gold-medal sprinter Michael Johnson, “Do you know anything about photography? I know nothing about it.” It didn’t matter, though, because—as Blago constantly reminds us on this show—he knows people and people know him. Standing on a New York sidewalk, he interrupted his own commentary to acknowledge a passerby’s greeting (“Hey! You’re from Chicago!"). Turning back to the camera, Blago asked the show’s crew, “Did you guys get that?” Then, in a beautifully unscripted moment, fluffed his hair with the vanity of a preteen.

The men’s project manager this time was the stand-up comedian Sinbad, whose loose organizational style left many of his teammates with time on their hands. Blago, who told the camera he considers himself part of what Theodore Roosevelt called “‘the fellowship of doers,"‘ filled his empty moments by standing around, at one point taking time to have a heated conversation with an unidentified person on his cell phone. He seemed to be talking about his upcoming federal trial on corruption charges, and the news he was getting didn’t please him. “‘What did the lawyer say?"‘ he shouted out at one point. “This lying piece of [expletive deleted]. He betrays me in the job and then he goes and does this. There’s no tape to corroborate that, right?”

In an effort to calm his nerves, he went back out to the crowded sidewalks of New York. But the move backfired. “‘You’re a disgrace,"‘ a person told him. “Enjoy jail.” “No, none of those things are true,"‘ Blago said several times while offering his hand to various citizens. But no one accepted his hand. At times, people stepped back. It was hard to tell if they were moving away from the person who kept calling him a disgrace or from Blagojevich himself.

Finally, two women told him a long, convoluted story about how one of them was named “Don"—after him. Even the man of the people found this story baffling. Then, his people skills kicking into action, he realized it was a case of mistaken identity. “Who’d you think I was?” Their answer, ”Donny Osmond,” the Mormon-raised family-variety-show singer.

The guy can’t catch a break. Even Blagojevich knows it. At one point during the episode, he told the camera: “There’s a cloud that sort of travels along with me.”

Blago eventually applied himself to the task at hand. That’s when he came up with his big idea for the Kodak storefront: balloons. “Balloons and plants always work well in politics,” he told Sinbad revealing some of his professional secrets. So Sinbad put him in charge of balloons, but not without throwing a few jabs his way. “Rod has a thing for balloons,” Sinbad riffed, speaking of Blagojevich in the third person even as the ex-gov sat right behind him in the team’s van. “There are not enough balloons in the world for him. I’ve been in places where there were no balloons. I’ve been in nightclubs where I’ve up and left because there were no balloons.”

Last week, Blago smiled at the jokes thrown his way by Sinbad, but now he was not amused. Turning away from the comedian, he looked out the van’s window and pressed his lips together while puffing out his cheeks like, well, balloons.

In the end, the Kodak executives annointed the women’s team the winners, sending the men to the boardroom. Sinbad took with him the rocker Bret Michaels and Blagojevich to face the wrath of Donald Trump.

Staring down a one-in-three chance of dismissal, Blago sat on the edge of his chair, leaning toward Trump with the upright posture of an eager student. The women watched the action on a large-screen TV in their war room. When a close-up of Blagojevich filled the screen, the goth-rocker-wife Sharon Osbourne posed a question to her team. “Do you think his eyes are too close together?” she asked. “He looks a bit half baked. Put him back in the oven.”

Regardless of the merit of that idea, it didn’t happen this week. Instead Trump fired Sinbad, thanks in part to some help from Blagojevich, who launched into a comically stilted explanation about why the manager of the team should take the fall. Evidently revenge is as sweet as a good joke.


WHAT OTHER CELEBRITY APPRENTICE WATCHERS THOUGHT
  • The episode recap from EW.com:
    “Poor Donny O. First Sade comes and swipes all his hype by naming her huge comeback album Soldier of Love, the title of Osmond’s last significant hit, and now his thunder is being stolen by the lamest politician on planet Earth." 

 

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