Celebrity Apprentice: Annie Duke Talks About Rodman Intervention

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This week on Celebrity Apprentice our task was to run a hotel. each team was given a floor of the Loews Regency and we had to provide room service, housekeeping, bell service, concierge, everything you need to run a hotel well. We would be rated on the overall service experience provided to the guests. So this challenge was right up my Type A alley. Hands down, my favorite task of all in terms of my own experience. But at the same time, the most painful to recall because of what happened with Rodman.

 So, I think I will start with Athena and just briefly go over our experience then really focus on the KOTU team this week since, obviously, they were really the meat of this episode.So, when we got this challenge Melissa suggested Tionne as project manager and Tionne took on the task. We were missing Khloe because she had to be in LA on a personal matter. But Tionne assigned the rest of us our jobs right away so there was no confusion. That was a relief because one of the issues the previous weeks was that the PM did not assign tasks right away. Joan was assigned concierge since she had the most NYC connections. Brande and Tionne mainly did housekeeping. Natalie was on room service. Melissa was supposed to help anyone who needed help and also man the front desk when it was too busy for one person to handle. And Tionne assigned me bellman and room service. I was concerned at first when Tionne gave me a job that involved communicating to the customer. I felt that my biggest downfall in the game was communication and that that was the worst place for me to be. I wanted to be on housekeeping where I didn't have to talk to anyone because I felt like communication was my weak suit. But I am really glad, in retrospect, that Tionne assigned me those jobs because I LOVED them. I mean I really, really got a kick out of this whole task and said right after we were done that if poker playing stopped working out I was going to do room service in a hotel as my next job. I couldn't have been happier this whole challenge with the jobs I was given!

So, really quickly, strong and weak points to our team. I think Tionne did an amazing job organizing us. Brande was great on housekeeping. I think Natalie got a bad rap on this episode. She got those amazing free baskets and cases of free water for us to hand out to the desks. I got free champagne and wine and flowers for their rooms as well so between the two of us we had some rocking ammenitites. On the whole I think Natalie did a great job on room service. I understand that 702 wasn't happy with her but everything else she did on this task was great so it is too bad that got focused on so much. I think that Joan was both a star on this task and the weakest link at the same time. I know it seems weird to say that but she did amazing work and some sloppy work too. You saw some of the mistakes she made on the episode in terms of not quoting costs in advance to the guests and that was a pervasive problem. That being said, she did take responsibility for those mistakes and rectified them by removing the offensive charges. She also was not thorough in taking the room service orders and room service found themselves having to keep calling back the guests to clarify the orders...things like not asking what kind of bread on a sandwich or what kind of cheese...that kind of thing. But she did get every reservation and every show ticket we needed so in that sense she rocked it. Lots of good from her, some bad. But most of the bad she took immediately responsibility for which is a nice side to see from Joan. Less brash and softer and more vulnerable.

I think I enjoyed this task much more than the rest of my team did (just as I disliked the wedding dress challenge while my team lvoes that one). I really enjoyed the whole experience immensely and I particularly loved the guys in room 702, Matthew Garber and friends. It was the night of one of the presidential debates and they were having a debate party and I just thought they were a hoot. I thought it was interesting that everyone complained about those guys so much in the boardroom in terms of them being difficult. From my perspective the producers clearly coached all the guests to be difficult and I figured that is what we signed up for when we agreed to do Celebrity Apprentice. Celebrities geting abused, right? So, I would expect nothing less than trying to be ridiculously difficult from our guests. So I guess because of that expectation I just thought that 702 was hilarious in the way they were executing the producers' directive to be difficult guests and so had a great time with them. Anyway, fun fun challenge for me personally. I want to run a hotel full time now!

Interestingly, depsite the fact that we could see Dennis being totally wild and erratic the whole challenge, I did not think that meant we were a lock to win. I also could see clearly that Jesse, Herschel, Brian and Clint were doing an incredible job. And the fact is that this was a subjective task. Juat because I would not want to be served by Rodman does not mean there aren't others who would love to have that kind of interaction with him. And clearly that was the case with the guests Rodman went off to dinner with. They loved this crazy, rambling drunk guy just hanging out with them and many times that is the case with bigger than life celebs. And that was a scary thought to me that the KOTU guests might actually like the Rodman show. Tough because I really didn't want to see anyone get fired from our team here. If we lost the task but had we I would have thought Tionne would bring in two of these three: Joan, Natalie and Khloe. Joan was criticized in the boardroom for some of her mistakes but also praised for her high points at the same time so I am not sure she would have been the right choice. The question with Joan would be whether or not the good things she did outweighed the bad and I believe the answer there is yes. Natalie was openly criticized for her handling of 702 so I think Tionne would have had to bring her in despite her shining in getting all the baskets and ammenities for the guests. Khloe would be a choice because Trump clearly criticized her for not being there the first day. I don't personally think she should be fired for that because Joan missed 3 days herself during the previous 3 challenges so in fairness to that Khloe should be given a pass on that too. But Trump was obviously irked by it and you have to listen to him very clearly in who to bring in so I think Khloe would have been a strong candidate.

Luckily, Athena won the challenge so none of that was an issue. But the win was by a very narrow margin which is a testament to how amazing Brian, Clint, Herschel and Jesse were during the challenge since they obviously compensated well for the disruption Rodman was causing. And, the narrow margin is also a testament to how much slack larger than life celebrities like Rodman get cut in terms of their behavior by the peope who interact with them. Because I think some of the guests really enjoyed him even though they would have been appalled if a "normal" hotel employee acted that way.

Which brings us naturally to KOTU and the boardroom. I am so sad for Dennis Rodman. And so sad for the other members of his team. First, it is difficult just from a game perspective to feel sabotaged by a member of your team, no doubt. Particularly one who is taking no responsibility for the failures. But on a personal level that must be even more horrific. I know that Jesse James has personal experience with alcohol abuse and that his experiences with Dennis were painful for him. Brian, Clint and Herschel all were also frustrated with Dennis but you could tell they wanted him to just get help because everyone could see that deep down inside there was a good guy in Dennis that just was destroyed by the alcohol abuse.

I don't think anyone thought when they signed on to the show that they would be doing what ended up as an intervention in the boardroom. I mean that is truly what it was. An intervention. And a tough one to watch and participate in. From a personal perspective, I grew up with an alcoholic mother. She has been sober since I was 17 years old but much of my childhood was very difficult because of the alcohol abuse. I understand how alcohol can change someone. My mother is the most amazing individual I have ever known. She is intelligent, incredibly funny, perceptive, and her mind just works in such a fascinating way. She is astonshingly unique and inspiring. But when she was drinking, well, I would not have used the same words to decribe her. And I think Dennis is much the same. Sober he is almost painfully shy, sweet, intelligent and perceptive. Drunk. Well you saw for your own eyes what he is like drunk and that is an awful transformation to bear witness to.

I think all of KOTU really just wanted to see Dennis get help but I think Jesse felt that the most keenly of all of them. And to see the sadness in Jesse during that boardroom was so hard. When Dennis was talking about his past achievements in sports and Jesse just pointed to Herschel and said look at the difference between these two great athletes, that just said so much and hit the nail right on the head. What else can you say? You can see where Dennis' life has been and you can see so clearly where it is heading if Dennis doesn't change and that path is not a path you want to see anyone go down.

I just truly, truly hope Dennis gets the help he needs. He can be so much more than he is right now.

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