celebrity-apprentice-marlee-matlin-nbc-320By Collin Kelley

Last night’s episode was all about raising money for charity and the two teams raised more than $1 million. The Donald said it was the most money raised in the history of the show. That’s great news! But getting there was full of screaming, back-biting and the first stirrings of the NeNe Leakes  vs. Star  Jones showdown.

The task for the two teams this week was to raise money by creating art work to sell in gallery spaces in Manhattan. The art work wasn’t so much the challenge as the celebrities ringing up their famous friends with big checkbooks to shell out thousands of dollars for “art” that looked like it came out of a third grade art class.

Let me just say this: Gary Busey might be crazy as all get out, but Meat Loaf has some serious issues. One minute he’s crying, the next he is demonically raging because he thinks Busey stole his paints. I guess the third grade art class comparison applies here as well. Meat said he’d taken anger management classes, but he might want to try an exorcism next time. Meat eventually apologized and Busey and his enormous teeth had this to say: “Meat Loaf excelled to the level of dancing on a rainbow with no fear and no doubt.” Uhhh…right.

Over at the ladies’ art room, Star Jones didn’t want to get her hands dirty making art and sat at the computer and complained about the printer. After Star included her handprint in a piece of the art, she griped about not being able to get the paint off her hand. NeNe told her to use a little soap and water. Star said NeNe was patronizing her. NeNe’s reply: “Nobody is patronizing your ass.” Oh, yeah, it’s going to get ugly real soon.

Country singer John Rich was the Backbone project manager and he put down the hammer on the men, saying they each had to make phone calls and get big dollar donations. Rich got on the phone to Nashville, chartered a plane and brought all of his folks to New York for the gallery show. And Nashville ponied up some serious cash. With checks for $5,000, $50,000 and more than $400,000 the men seemed like a shoe-in to win yet again.

ASAP was late getting to their gallery space because of traffic and Star complained that project manager Marlee Matlin wasn’t organized, but then in the boardroom said Marlee was the best project manager ever. Uh-huh. Like NeNe, we’re all getting your number, Star Jones. But it became obvious that Marlee has more wealthy friends than John Rich, as checks for $99,000 kept pouring in. La Toya donated a rare t-shirt signed by Michael and it also sold for $99,000.

NeNe, Marlee and HopeJohn Rich and the men’s team thought they had this task in the bag as evidenced by the stunned looks on their faces when Trump announced the women had raised nearly double the amount the men collected. The Donald was big-hearted and let both project managers keep the money to give to their charities, but then threw a curve ball.

Since Jose Canseco left the show last night to go and care for his ill father, The Donald wasn’t going to fire anyone from the men’s team unless Marlee told him to. After a quick conference with the ladies, Marlee said after three firings in a row from the women’s team, it was time for the men to face the music. So much for charity. Hey, like the show’s motto says: It’s not personal, just business.

In the end, Richard Hatch was fired because he didn’t bring in enough bank. With no celebrity friends to call (and no way for his jailbird friends to make a donation from debtor’s prison), I think he raised about $2,000. A couple of the guys tried to throw Busey under the bus, but when Trump asked Marlee for her opinion, she said Richard. And he was gone.

Next week’s preview was all about NeNe having a big fight with La Toya. La Toya calls NeNe a bully and NeNe screams at her: “Start acting your age” and then calls her “Casper the Ghost.” NeNe always knows how to hit below the big sequined belt.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.