‘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.

  • 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." 




4 years ago
Posted by SePhin

I nearly died laughing when he asked the camera guy if he got the guy recognizing him and then fluffed his hair. I don't think they come anymore vain then Blago. The phone call was pretty funny too. Asking "there's no tape to corroborate that, right?" just made him look so guilty.

Whoever is editing the show is doing a great job of making him look like an idiot, although I have a feeling he's giving them plenty of material.

4 years ago
Posted by WhiteStix

I had wondered if people recognized him. But thinking he's Donny Osmond? Really?

4 years ago
Posted by WhiteStix

I had wondered if people recognized who he was when he was telling everyone he was innocent last week. Now I wonder how many people were asking themselves, "What scandal is Donny Osmond involved in?"

4 years ago
Posted by Renee F.

Great recap Marcia, you said it all! I thought it was puny when Blago told Trump in the board room that his greatest management skills were "doing the dirty work" just like everyone else on his team!
And what about Trump asking America to vote on their favorite Kodak Moment from the show, with Blago being mistaken for Donny Osmond as one of Trumps top 3 moments!
Blago definitely adds alot of humor to the show and now with Sinbad
fired, Blago may have to be the official comedian of Rock Solid!

4 years ago
Posted by lsob21

He's a train wreck! It was impossible to sit through his wife's show, and this one is getting just as umcomfortable.

4 years ago
Posted by Kim

Last night was the first time I've watched Celebrity Apprentice. I found the show to be both entertaining and horrifying ~ to those of us who live in Illinois. How in the world did that man manage to win an election and run the state? LSOB21's right ~ he IS a train wreck! I'm tuning in again next week and hope to see Blago receive his already-overdue pink slip. His next stop needs to be a psychiatrist's couch ~ NOT another reality TV show.

4 years ago
Posted by Donnie Osmond

Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse!

4 years ago
Posted by JD

I feel bad for Donny. To have this fool mistaken for you. Ouch!

4 years ago
Posted by drake

Sadly, I missed the show last night, but I'm glad to get this great recap. Now I just have to find somewhere on the web to watch it so I can laugh at Blago's Kodak moment.

4 years ago
Posted by Jules

Poor Donny! Blago doesn't even COMPARE to Donny Osmond!
I can't believe his lying and faking it got him through another week - just like when is was gov. Someday, Trump will catch on. But then again, maybe that is what he is looking for.

4 years ago
Posted by twinfern

Their team lost because there was too much emphasis on personality and too little focus on the actual product--style over substance. Sound a little familiar, like Blago's governorhip maybe?

4 years ago
Posted by BooManchu

I'm surprised Blago didn't tie all the balloons together & let them float away, then hide in the back room and make a phone call claiming that someone saw The Hair hiding in the balloons before they departed. Publicity!

4 years ago
Posted by mmmmarshall

Thanks for a great write-through! I appreciate you watching this show so I don't have to!

4 years ago
Posted by catgirl

Sharon Osbourne is right, Blago is half baked.

4 years ago
Posted by mrpip

Sadly, Blago is the most interesting one on the show. What a bunch of duds!

4 years ago
Posted by carol f

I have never seen this show or any reality tv show, but I love Marcia's blog. I laughed out loud last week and again this week, so I'll continue to skip the show but read her blog and hope Blago remains so i can keep reading.

I interviewed Blago once and he told me the following story which I had forgotten (the interview was in 2003 soon after he became governor). Something about his behavior as described by Marcia reminded me. Here goes:

By the time Blagojevich finished high school in June 1975, Rade [Blago's immigrant father] had gone to Fairbanks, Alaska, chasing high wages to send his sons to school. That summer and the next, Rod went to Alaska, too, mostly washing pots and pans for 10 hours a day, seven days a week, for Bechtel Corporation, the engineering company. At one point, he had the night-shift job cleaning Bechtel’s trailer office. The air inside was dusty, so Blagojevich opened two doors, then left to do his chores elsewhere, knowing he’d be back later. Not long afterwards, a man ran up and asked if he’d seen the security guard. “I said, ‘No, why?” Blagojevich recalls. “’Because some fucking idiot left the doors open at the Bechtel offices and there are two bears in there.’ I walked in and …the two bears are just wreaking havoc in the office…. The security guard is throwing pebbles to get them to go out the other door and [he] says to me, `You didn’t leave these doors open did you?’ I said `No, not me.’ “

4 years ago
Posted by Meowlamor

love it he's a tool

4 years ago
Posted by Babe1

Wow, Blago is sooooo embarrassing!!! You have captured his performance perfectly! He reminds me of Gene Hackman at his oily-est like in such movies as Royal Tenenbaums and Superman! Sorry Gene, no disrespect meant. Now the whole nation knows our pain! Can't wait to hear about next Sundays' show!

4 years ago
Posted by Cher

"He looks a bit half baked. Put him back in the oven."


4 years ago
Posted by Ippy B.

Oh, Blago, full of hot air just like your balloons.

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