EW on the New Celebrity Apprentice

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‘The New Celebrity Apprentice’ recap: ‘I Don’t Have Time for Anyone’s Ego Except My Own’

We have our new Celebrity Apprentice, everybody! And his name is… wait, what is the guy’s name again? Mike Iceman? Mitt Isotoner? Hold on, let me Google this real quick… RIGHT! Matt Iseman! That’s it! He’s the guy! He’s the dude who won! Look, it’s not my fault I couldn’t remember his name. I was too busy daydreaming of baby kangaroos and dance parties with Carnival Cruise Lines CEO Arnold Donald. So don’t blame me! Plus, even Matt himself talked about how much lower his fame level was compared to anybody else. When this season started, he barely had more Twitter followers than me, and to remind you, I AM A COMPLETE NOBODY!

It sounds like I am giving Iseman the business, but au contraire mon frère. It is actually the exact opposite. To come on Celebrity Apprentice with that low a public profile and that small a Rolodex of famous people to lean on and proceed to then win the whole damn thing? Super impressive. And super impressive pretty much describes Matt in this competition. His high point (outside of raising an insane $573,329 in this final task for the Arthritis Foundation) was the Harry Potter task, where Iseman was able to be his dorky kid self (again, a compliment) and use his creativity and knowledge of the source material to snatch the Golden Snitch.

It looked a bit dicey at times for Matt on this final one, though. When the last hour started, we were reintroduced to the final two and reminded via voiceover that one of the finalists was the “charismatic pop icon Boy George,” while the other was “one of the least well known.” Nice ringing endorsement!

But it wasn’t just that. George had the vastly superior supporting squad (as discussed in detail last week) including self-proclaimed cruising expert Carson Kressley. George had also already proven himself a master fundraiser. His only issue at all was that he wanted to pull an Oddjob from Goldfinger and use his insanely oversized hat to slice his keyboard player’s throat. But after he got a new main man to pound the keys, even that obstacle was overcome.

We finally got to the actual presentation and it was… awkward. Awkward because the two team spaces they had laid out for their respective parties were in the same room! This is where Matt’s hustle paid off as his space appeared much more lively — literally, as they basically turned their area into a zoo with live animals all over the place. Was it raining Fruit Loops in there? Because I could have sworn I spotted Toucan Sam hanging out with Team Iseman.

Matt also wisely swooped in on the boss and advisors the second they entered the room like he was Chael Sonnen fangirling all over Warren Buffet. He handed Arnold a passport, leading to lots of incredible Total Recall quoting, although I would have been more impressed had Iseman —instead of saying “Two weeks!” — just gone with the classic “Get your ass to Mars… Get your ass to Mars… Get your ass to Mars… Get your ass to Mars….” Missed opportunity. Gonna have to deduct points for that.

But assuming the kangaroo didn’t take a dump on the poker table and the random ice sculptures did not melt into a puddle on the floor, thereby causing that way too enthusiastic Carnival Cruise executive to fall on her butt while showing off her “Karma Chameleon” dance moves, you have to score the party space competition in favor of Iseman. Luckily for Matt, the only cleaning up he appeared to be doing was in the bringing in of money. The checks just kept rolling in: 75k! 100k! 210K! And Matt made sure to announce every single one of them in the moist boisterous manner possible. “Very noisy,” noted Boy George. “They make a lot of noise.”

While I do not doubt that Matt’s decibel level was roughly equivalent to that of a Seattle Seahawks football game at Century Link Field as the 12th Man flag is raised, George’s complaint was no doubt rooted in fear that the guy without the celebrity Rolodex was about to overtake him in the critical fundraising department thanks to the arthritis charity stepping up to get donors on his behalf. And that fear led to the most inadvertently brilliant exchange of the season between BFFs Carson and Boy George.

CARSON: “I think a lot of people have arthritis.”

BOY GEORGE: “Is that bad or good for us?”

Basically, is that bad or good for us and our prospects on an absurd reality television program that millions of people suffer from crippling pain every day of their lives? Brilliant. I love that exchange so much I want to wrap it up, swaddle it, breastfeed it (even though I have no milk or breasts to speak of), and sing it a lullaby to sleep. But George made a lot of money as well, including 90K from Caitlyn Jenner — who was both fashionable and fashionably late — and was awarded for her massive contribution by having to take part in a super awkward medium-to-high five with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Then it was time for the presentations. Matt went first and started with some stand-up comedy, including the Arnold impersonations we’ve seen him perfect all season of the show. After sharing his personal story about gaining 55 pounds — perhaps the most horrifying thing imaginable to the ears of body perfectionist Arnold Schwarzenegger — and becoming a shell of his former self due to rheumatoid arthritis, it was time to turn back the clock for a performance by Wilson Phillips, during which every middle-aged person in the room (especially anyone working for the Carnival Cruise Lines) went absolutely bananas.

Wow, how are you going to top that in the nostalgia department? Oh, right! Boy George! For his presentation, the other finalist wrote two new songs for the cruises, and while they seemed fine and all, I was way too distracted by the fact that there were random dancers on the stage, as if I were being forced Clockwork Orange style to watch a performance at the freakin’ Copacabana. But that was just the warm-up. Next thing you knew, Natasha Bedingfield was on the stage with barely covered bosoms, and then somehow Scary Spice was on the scene and everyone was dancing to “Karma Chameleon.” And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. Arnold Donald proved you can’t spell dance-off without CEO, while Schwarzenegger busted out the most rhythmless old white dude moves since that time your soused uncle tried to get funky to “Can’t Touch This” at your cousin’s wedding.

If you gave the fundraising and party space nods to Matt, you’d have to give the pamphlet and performance edges to Boy George. So off to the Boardroom we went, and we were this close to getting the Holy Grail of all Celebrity Apprentice moments as Arnold Schwarzenegger was on the verge of impersonating fellow Planet Hollywood investor and over-the-top ’80s action star Sylvester Stallone. Honestly, can you imagine? I mean, for one thing, the impersonation would have been hilariously terrible, but I am not sure the space-time continuum could even handle the myriad levels of confusion brought about by an Arnold-as-Sly impression. It’s like punching a self-destruct button on a super computer. Sill, if such an event would cause our entire universe to implode upon itself, that’s a pretty glorious way to go out.

Sadly, Arnold demurred. But he did wonder out loud if Boy George simply had no more money to raise after collecting 120K for Vince Neil’s fundraising task. “I actually called Vince and he didn’t call me back,” laughed George. “I called him a few times.” Well, of course he didn’t call back. He probably was on a bender with some off-duty Hooters waitresses.

Eventually, Arnold dismissed the teammates and kept repeatedly telling the final two, “I have a really difficult decision to make.” After asking both George and Matt to sell themselves as to why they should win, the Governator finally ended the suspense and named Matt as the new Celebrity Apprentice “because you kicked some serious butt in task after task after task.”

It was odd not having the decision drawn out for approximately 28 hours as in the past, and it was also odd to not see a live studio audience bursting into applause amid confetti as the winner’s name was announced. Instead, Arnold congratulated Matt and that was kinda that. Although I suppose if you were looking for some drama, you could point to the fact that runner-up Boy George was conspicuously absent as Matt celebrated his victory with a champagne toast with the helpers from both teams. (They say wine comes from grapes, but apparently not sour grapes. Oh, I kid. George already complimented Matt on his victory over social media. He probably just had a deadline to make at his hat rental shop or something.)

Anyhoo, that will do it for this season. Once again, it has been an honor and a privilege to serve you as tour guide through the inanity and insanity that is the Celebrity Apprentice. Thanks for playing along, and until we meet again, say it with me one last time: Cluck, Cluck… Splash!

Article from Entertainment Weekly

Matt Iseman
Matt Iseman
I'm the host of American Ninja Warrior and I'm squaring off against 15 other celebrities, all representing their favorite charities while vying for the title of “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
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