Celebrity Apprentice AustraliaWed & Thu 8pm, Ch9

The Glamazons... and Patti.

Here we go with another year of Celeb Apprentice. More shocks, more snark, more fights and more tears than last year – and guaranteed Hoff. This thing almost writes itself. The promise of a dog pampering allows at least for the legitimate discussion of bitches being on heat and Dicko. It’s an ominous welcome as they all walk over the hill in their first challenge overalls. David Reyne takes up the narration role again and introduces us to the celebs who’ve come out to play:

Patti Newton
Ian “Dicko” Dickson
Charlotte Dawson
Lauryn Eagle
Fiona O’Laughlin
Ben Dark
Marion Grasby
Jason Akermanis
Nathan Joliffee
Tania Zaetta
Vince Sorrenti
David Hasselhoff

“I’m no longer David Hasselhoff, I’m The Hoff. You can call me ‘The’.” Good to see everyone’s ego is in check, then.

As the celebs assemble, Tania reminds us she was on Baywatch. Won’t be the last time we hear that, I’m sure. “Working with the Hoff was great,” says Tania. “He had a special pet name for me – ‘that girl’ – and he hardly ever spoke straight to me. It was magical.” Ben’s nervous just being around Aker, and he doesn’t want his buttons pushed. “Oh my God I LOVE gay footballers,” says Ms Charlotte about Aker. THERE ARE TOO MANY GOOD THINGS BEING SAID IN AN UNKIND WAY TO WRITE THEM DOWN BUT THEY ARE ALL HILARIOUS. God, I hope no one makes Patti cry.

Now seated in the theatre, the celebs are addressed by a previously recorded Lady JMo – “or as I like to say, Australia’s Celebrity Apprentice, because I’m awesome” – where she advises them to have fun, relax and not get too caught up in the momentary spite. She throws the gauntlet to the floor as only semi-royalty can, and challenges this crop of celebs to beat the total last year’s team raised for charity(over $500,000). Can they do it? Are the Hoff puns already considered to be ‘Hoffal’?

Mark “MrB” Bouris strides onto the stage and underwhelmingly welcomes the celebs, and reminds them he’s looking forward to seeing them all use their pulling power, business and street smarts to raise as much money as character. Mr B asks Patti who she sees as the strongest competitors – for the record, Ms Charlotte and Tania. Dicko tells us he knows how to deal with alpha females: “Roll over on my back and let them scratch my belly.” Yeah – right before they cut your balls off. The Hoff is welcomed and immediately ignores the question from Mr B and tells anyone who’ll listen how happy he is to be here. Fiona reminds us he’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most watched TV personality ever – how does one compete with that? Let the Hoff talk about himself and he’ll sort that out for all of you seems to be the correct answer.

Remember Ben Dark? B105's bush pig?

Nathan’s no fan of the Hoff. “His career’s been so long winded I don’t even know what he does any more.” This from a guy who’s won an Australian reality TV show and has been alive for 12 minutes. The Hoff can’t get no respect, I tells ya. No regard. Fiona also notes Lauren’s not lazy, so she’s no threat at all.

In a deft move proving nepotism is anything but dead, Mr B’s assistants are announced – son Dane Bouris and not-son Deborah Thomas. There’s no chance for the celebs to got back for a drink and a lamington, it’s time for the first challenge. Deborah advises the first challenge is for the teams to set up the ultimate doggie pamper experience. Dicko hates the thought of it: “All those yappy things running around, crapping all over the floor.” It reminds him of when he was a record executive as that was a normal day in the office for him. The teams will be judged SOLELY on how much money they raise, so Dane advises them to get on their phones, Facebook, Twitter, carrier pigeons and smoke signals and get everyone they can.

The teams are split by gender for this challenge, though Mr B throws in a twist by letting each team choose the other’s project manager (which in itself requires a meeting to determine who will speak on behalf of the group). “Be smart and choose the weakest person to lead the opposing team,” says Mr B. Ooh, he’s a cunning one.

Lauryn, Patti & Charlotte are busy discussing who to pick for the boy’s PM as they travel back to their HQ for planning. Charlotte’s strong in suggesting Aker as he’s likely to blow up, but there’s lots of contenders. Nathan, Ben & Vince are discussing the girl’s strategy rather than who should be PM. “The thing about women is they’ll pic exactly the right person,” says Vince. “No they won’t! Chicks make TONS or dud choices,” says Ben, reflecting on his past relationships.

At HQ there’s a room full of dogs arranged to meet the teams to help them get into the right mindset for tomorrow’s challenge. The barking is only drowned out by Ms Charlotte yelling at the dogs to SHUT UP. Tania’s all over the puppies and as an accurate review on Zaetta’s career, one dog wees on the floor. They boys are greeted by a similar cacophony though the Hoff is like a dog magnet. “I’ve got 7 dogs at home and they like nothing more than welcoming you home by rooting your leg until you give them a carrot,” says the Hoff. Ummm a carrot? That’s Hoffing stupid.

Tania and Ms Charlotte both stand up to try to bring some order to chaos and help the girls pick a team name. Tania sees it as a girl v girl headmistress challenge, while Ms Charlotte sees it as an astronomy opportunity. Personally Tania doesn’t like anything Ms Charlotte suggests and can only offer cheesey names: Team Solidarity, Team Love, Team Tania. Ms Charlotte offers Team Fortuna and the girls settle on Team Fortune. Everyone predicts fireworks between Tania & Ms Charlotte – even Tania & Ms Charlotte.

Lady JMo tells the celebs how it is.

Dicko’s proxied himself into the position to get the boys to pick a team name. The Hoff excuses himself to go relieve himself in the corner (all the other dogs are doing it) while the boys debate. Dicko thinks a name including “Hoff” would be great, but Ben disagrees and offers “Team Bull Ants”. “I didn’t like the girly namby pamby names from last year, and I stick by my name of Bull Ants – it’s a bloody good name,” he says. “I had kookaburra in my back pocket too.” While the boys realise Ben shouldn’t ever be in charge of matches or flammable objects, the Hoff returns to hear someone suggest “Team Goal”. For once he and I agree – that’s the stupidest thing we’ve ever heard.

After some bickering the boys agree on Team Platinum, though Dicko thinks it sounds more like a lap-dancing bar. “Maybe that’s why it works for us.” Token pretty thing Nathan thinks Team Platinum sounds like getting your hair done like Aker. I think he should just not say anything for the rest of the show and go with his strength.

Not only do we get ads for YBR (you’ll see that again before the end of the series) but a timely website reminder. How quaint and 2006.

We’re back with the boys – Team Platinum – and they’re picking the PM. The Hoff thinks Patti’s too nice and doesn’t want to offend anyone so she’ll be a great pick. Aker thinks everyone will want to over ride Patti at some stage, causing chaos, so she’s the logical choice. Dicko thinks there’d be more blood on the walls if Tania is made the PM ahead of Patti – more opportunity for conflict. As an aside, poor Deborah Thomas having to put up with this gibbering.

The girls – Team Fortune – get reminded by Tania once more that she worked with the Hoff before (DRINK!) so she has unique insight as to why the Hoff would be the best/worst PM. “If he’s team manager he’s gonna be so busy signing autographs and taking pictures that he’ll forget to manage the team,” she says. All the other ladies can focus on is that Tania keeps telling them she’s worked with the Hoff before. IF for no other reason than to shut Tania up the ladies agree that choosing the Hoff as the PM is the right move. “Deep down I’m thinking what have we done, this is a big mistake?!” says Lauryn, “But, you know, whatever Tania says goes.”


The phone rings and Patti & Dicko exchange PM details. The boys have picked Tania and EXACTLY AS THEY PREDICTED she immediately tries to guess and analyse why they picked her. “What’s their strategy?” she wonders. Sit down and let me explain it to you in mostly single syllable words, Tania : you are vain, vacuous, vague and your ego is out of control. Dicko is advised of their PM – the Hoff – and he tells Team Fortune that’s one of the dumbest decisions ever. All the boys seem to agree, too. The Hoff holds court with his team and allocates roles and responsibilities to his people off camera (“Has my Baywatch stuff come in yet?”), and the guys know the big challenge will be harnessing the Hoff’s energy and channelling his smarts into some small tasks before letting him get into his swimmers and down to Bondi Beach.

Tania gets down with her bitches.

The girls are in a pickle. Ms Charlotte acknowledges she should have just sat her arse down when Tania was named PM. Note the use of the word “should”. Patti had some great ideas and was addressing them to Ms Charlotte when Tania cuts into her eyeline to remind her to talk to her. Glorious. Fiona, Patti & Lauryn are sent off to dog training while Tania, Marion & Ms Charlotte get started on the PR and media campaign. Mind you, they’re up against the Hoff, Aker & Nathan who are already doing radio publicity for their team’s event. “It’ll be Hoff the charts!” Only 30 minutes in and that hasn’t gotten old AT ALL.

Team Platinum arrive at Bondi and Aker in is awe of the Hoff’s ability to draw and engage a crowd. “I’ve had them lined up out the door wanting to punch me, but I’ve never seen someone pull a crown like him,” he says, like a young man experiencing his first crush. Just don’t tell the boys back at the club. All the while Fiona, Patti & Lauryn are discussing Tania as their PM. “She was born to lead,” says Patti, “And I think she’s worked with David before.” She’s an old hand at this sort of comedy. Just like Fiona is for milking the physical comedy at the dog handling training.

PM Tania, Marion & Ms Charlotte have hit the phones looking for corporate sponsors and on her first call Tania scores $25,000. She tries to soldier on without tears but since Marion gave her a hug the floodgates have opened. There goes her facelift. At Bondi PM the Hoff, Nathan & Aker are spreading the word about their team’s services sheerly through the Hoff’s pulling power. “You think he was a one-trick pony – a media circus,” says Aker, “And we’re gonna burn that trick to the ground to get what we want.” Confused? As well you should be. Nathan thinks this is the wrong audience to attract to their challenge, but nobody listens to him.

The morning of the event Dicko, Vince & Ben are following up on their phone calls to their big name mates and sponsors to help get their kitty up. The Hoff is hitting the brekky radio shows to promote their grooming experience and Ms Charlotte is doing the same, but dishing the dirt on the ‘man-sucks’ who’ve been sidling up to the Hoff the whole time (she thinks Aker is the worst, and she’d be right).

Now that all have converged on the challenge site, Nathan is feeling the boys have been gypped as their spot is miles away from the carpark compared to the girl’s spot, which is right next to it. Pricing strategy is key too – Nathan says the boys have set the price of a dog wash to $500(!) while the girls have set their wash to $100, “which is a lot but much more achievable for any of the punters who are coming down,” says Marion. I know it’s all for charity, but WHAT PLANET IS SHE LIVING ON?! The girls pop up to see the boy’s prices and Fiona is aghast at the price set for a wash. “You can buy a dog for that price.” That’s right Fiona, but it seems it can’t buy anyone any dignity.

I once had a career *this* big.

The challenge starts and the girls are confronted by their first dog wash client – a Great Dane. At least the owners will donate $10,000 for the task. Patti & Fiona get into it and Tania asks them to hurry up as there’s quite the line up (“Phar Lap was first cab off the rank”). Marion feels bad that Patti is washing dogs, but soon realises that as the wife of Bert she’ll have had to wash a few of Bert’s toupees and they’re near enough to dogs so why worry.

There’s a crush of people wanting an ‘Hofficial’ photo with the man and their dog. “We just milked the Hoff for all he was worth,” says Nathan, which proffers a very strange yet comforting mental picture of the Hoff as a cow in the dairy. Hmm. For Team Fortune Ms Charlotte is running the photo booth and posing for too many photos imitating dogs. How demeaning. The least she could do is manipulate Tania into doing it. It’s only now that Tania has realised that Ms Charlotte is her biggest threat because “she thinks like me, she’s smart like me, she’s stronger than me, more professional than me, has a better career than me, knows more people than me – so we’re exactly alike”. But after the break – bikinis!

With both teams trying to get the edge, everyone is ready to try anything. Patti is working her backside off, even eating dog biscuits to get the job done. Big props. The corporates arrive and start dropping money at Team Platinum and the boys are are relieved – finally money is arriving. The girls are getting the cash too, though Fiona is concerned Team Fortune isn’t getting enough of the monies… so she marches up to the Hoff and demands the boys donate 25% of their income to the girls to help level the playing field. It doesn’t work, and Fiona leaves feeling demeaned at a little silly. Maybe she should take up drinking – that’ll take the edge off.

With an hour to do, Narrator David Reyne sounds more serious than he has all season. Deborah notes that the Hoff is a star but is concerned that the other men are only there to serve him. The girls decide to fight the Hoff with fire, so Lauryn gets down to a bright red bikini which gets right under the skin of Tania who’d been talking about getting in her Baywatch swimsuit. It never surfaces after that, though Tania does get Ms Charlotte to cut her overall legs off to turn them into a neat khaki pant suit thing. Not threatened at all.

Dicko’s running around as unofficial 2iC making sure things get down, and notes that Nathan was totally impressive in getting things done. Nathan is happy to be known as ‘Little Hoff’ and hold the Hoff’s drink, umbrella, girlfriend (at least he is now, until they get back to the hotel tonight when he learns of the next duties of Little Hoff). A sponsor offers them $35,000 if they’ll wash dogs in their shoes… their high-heeled ladies shoes. For $35,000 I think they’d all walk around in assless chaps at Mardi Gras if it meant they won.

Bondi vs the Hoff.

Lauryn takes matters into her own hands and runs over to the massed throng at Camp Team Platinum and beckons them over to Camp Team Fortune to be served rather than to wait. Tania didn’t know anything about this until afterwards, and this, my friends, is when only a picture does justice to the flash of jealousy that ran through Tania’s face at hearing the news.

There’s much consternation at Camp Team Fortune – mainly from the PM – at things not getting done and Lauryn running around in her bikini. “What you need to remember is Lauryn is a fighter,” says Ms Charlotte. “An actual fighter who punches the shit out of people for a living.” There’s some very clear lines being drawn between the girls already, with Patti and Marion smack bang in the middle attempting to be peacemakers. Time runs out and the boys are confident they’ve done all they can to win. Patti’s pleased that the ladies worked very hard and have done all they can. Tania’s convinced that some (Patti) have worked harder than others (Lauryn). Everyone is convinced Tania has no business referring to herself as a ‘celebrity’.

After all the fun of their first challenge (let’s be honest, it wasn’t exactly a tough one), it’s time for reality to kick in as the teams face their first boardroom, and Mr Bouris and his judgement. Someone will be fired. There’s lots of bravado shown by both teams as they enter, but it’s all for naught if Mr B has his mind made up. “In my view, reputations and fame are like vapour – they can evaporate very quickly, says Mr B. “This is all about character, winning, and most importantly, the charities you play for.” Sort of a Tony Robbins cum Charlie Sheen mash-up of inspirational address. Mr B just wants egos left in reception: “In the board room, we play it straight”. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA It’s the CELEBRITY Apprentice and he wants egos left outside. That’s all some of them have!

Mr B congratulates Dicko & Tania, as individually they both raised the most in this challenge – over $45,000 each. When asked, Tania tells Mr B their team name, and then he asks the stupidest question ever: “I’d like to know who it was that you selected to be the boy’s Project Manager”. He has two advisers and he doesn’t know this? The Hoff is sitting in the Project Manager’s seat, for crying out loud. It’s reality TV – it’s formulaic! The girls are forced to explain their choice of the Hoff as PM (though Lauryn & Patti are allowed to acknowledge they didn’t agree with the choice), with Tania saying he’d be too busy caught up being a celebrity to manage anything. The Hoff laughs it off, as if anything it motivated him to be more focused and get the job done.

Again Mr B asks the boys who they picked to PM the girls for this challenge. This just makes no sense, and makes Mr B look like a fool who should be pitied. On revealing Tania was their choice, the Hoff advises he had to defer to his team as he knew none of the ladies short of working with ‘Tracy’ only briefly on Baywatch. Nathan pipes up and offers it was his idea, figuring Tania would likely have her ego bruised the most as there’s some big personalities in the group, and who would you like least to take orders from. Aker chimes in saying they didn’t take long to make the decision, in that it was pretty easy. Tania attempts to swing it back at him but it sounds feeble at best.

"Who is this strange little woman?"

When Mr B brings up that Tania raised the most money, he questions the boys asking if they thought it was still the best idea. “Absolutely, 100%,” says a defiant Dicko. Mr B then asks the girls what they thought of Tania as their PM. Ms Charlotte thought she’d be all show and no go, but admits she completely underestimated her and Tania did a great job. “Unassuming?” asks Mr B. “Not at all, she’s got a huge ego,” replies Ms Charlotte. Fiona owns to her two big mistakes: 1) putting all her sponsorship eggs in one basket and having nothing else when that fell through; & 2) Going over and going spastic at the Hoff, suggesting the boys should share 25% of their money earned with the girls to level the playing field. Mr B is incredulous but Fiona explains “who wants to win a fight if the other guy has one arm tied behind their back?” That’s very Alice Springs thinking. I like it.

There’s more questioning of the girls, and when Mr B suggests Lauryn going up against Tania was “young pup vs old pup”, it hits Tania in the face she’s the old pup in that equation. GOLD. As for the boys, the Hoff couldn’t have done it without ‘Deeko’. Dicko says he stepped up to a 2iC as they needed to let the Hoff do what he needed to do and promote them. The Hoff admits he appointed Dicko as 2iC (huh?!) and managed him so that Dicko could manage the rest of the activities. “If that’s the case, then that’s a brilliant strategy to defeat what the girls intended,” says Mr B, to the shock of the six ladies stage right.

Nathan is told he raised the single highest donation (the shoe challenge) and everyone on the boy’s team is pleased. Mr B asks how they would have done without the Hoff and they are all convinced they’d have done as well as the Hoff didn’t personally bring in any corporate sponsorship, but their strategy was based around him being present and drawing crowds. Dicko admits they would have played it differently without him, but did they best they could with what they had.

Ultimately, this challenge was all about the money. Team Fortune raised $88,287 (the girls are really pleased about this), and Team Platinum raised $143,362. Landslide victory. The combined total goes to the Hoff’s charity of the Starlight Foundation and it’s a special moment for the Hoff – he’s supported that charity since he started on Knight Rider. The Hoff’s proud and the boys are ready to relax in the winner’s room and watch the fireworks as one of the ladies will be fired. They also get to present a cheque for $231,649 to a lady from the Starlight Foundation and accept all the plaudits.

In the boardroom, Mr B reminds Tania that even though she raised a lot of money the responsibility of losing sits with her. Mr B lists how much each person raised – Patti pulled $17K, Lauryn $14, Ms Charlotte $5,500, Marion $2,000 & Fiona pulled $325. Marion & Tania admit to setting the prices so low (by comparison) may have worked against them but Marion figures it allowed them to be accessible to more members of the general public. What they’ve not worked out is that they boys priced the things they didn’t want to do out of the game – this left the girls washing dogs, with Patti doing 30 herself!

Lauren gets a blow job.

Mr B thinks the pricing was very wrong. Why wasn’t Patti Newton up the front? “That was my oversight,” says Tania, unable to explain anything. There were stunts everywhere (Lauryn, Fiona), but nothing up front that would have drawn a crowd. Ms Charlotte is unflinching when asked who she’d fire first – Fiona, because she didn’t bring in the cash and that’s all this challenge was. “It’s not a popularity contest. If it was, I’d get rid of Tania.” BOOM. Tania decides to bring Fiona (lack of cash) and Lauryn (not listening) back into the boardroom with her. “Guys, the big question here is: has $45K saved Tania?” asks Vince, but nobody really listens. After all, it’s just Vince.

Before the Tania, Lauryn & Fiona come back Mr B seeks the advice of Dane & Deborah. What of Tania? “Is she a little inflexible?” ask Deborah in return. “Did she make the most of each team member’s talent?” Dane thought Tania would be the weakest because he’s seen Who Dares Wins. Fiona was so enthusiastic and is trying so hard to get involved as far as Deborah can see, and Dane is impressed with Lauryn’s tenacity – she’ll do anything to win. But does that make her a wildcard? It’s the toughest decision Mr B has had to make this season.

Each of the ladies would be upset if they were the first fired, but someone has to go. Lauryn’s a little pissed off she was thrown under the bus by Tania, and Fiona just wishes she had someone else to be pissed off at. Once they face Mr B, Lauryn is asked why she thinks she was brought in. She thinks it’s because she’s competitive and seen as a threat. Tania jumps in and says it was because she didn’t compete with team spirit, wandering off to do her own thing. Furrowed brows and pouty lips from Lauryn. Tania doesn’t think she should be fired because she raise the most money and she has “so much more to offer moving forward”. There like three reality cliches and a political campaign in that alone!

Fiona feels she shouldn’t be fired because she will access the mettle that she’s got and make money for charity. Lauryn thinks she shouldn’t be fired because she’ll give 120% to her mathematics lessons to make her a better competitor. Mr B’s concern is that Lauryn comes from an individual sporting background and this is a team game. Mr B respects Fiona for the way she dug in and got involved, and her cheekiness – “that may be because you’re a comedian, I don’t know(!)” – but to stand up to the Hoff like she did was something he really admires. Cheekiness makes teams win. Mr B reminds Tania that as PM she has to take responsibility for the fact her team didn’t make enough money (even though she made the most) and therefore didn’t win. Nobody wants to be the first to be fired, but in this case Fiona’s effort didn’t cut it and…

Fiona, you’re fired.

No, YOU'RE fired!

The girls leave and hug, while the boys speculate wildly as to who was fired. Aker thinks Fiona all the way, Dicko thinks Tania because “I reckon we’ve got another one of her and I reckon she’s better – Ms Charlotte”. The door bursts open and Tania and Lauryn come through to surprised screams and collective amazement. Ms Charlotte’s face at Tania coming through the door is another priceless passing TV moment.

As Fiona walks out to her limo home, she just hopes she hasn’t wasted people’s time. “I’m a creative person, I am not a business person – that side of my brain doesn’t really work,” she admits. “Life is a series of good days and bad days, and this was really a bit of both.” With eleven celebrities remaining, who will hang in through tomorrow night’s challenge, and who will light the fires of conflict that have started bubbling tonight? It’s all gonna get way out of hand sooner than anyone thinks.