Gary Busey’s departure doesn’t mean drama is gone, too. Why? NeNe Leakes is still around!
Again, she brought her insecurities out into the open while continuing to play her “I’m keeping it real” reality.
At the start of episode eight, NeNe was still smarting over LaToya Jackson’s comment from last week that said she’d stay in touch with everybody on her team – except NeNe.
Then she said a bunch of whoppers, at least to people who know her from “Real Housewives of Atlanta.”
“I cannot understand what I”ve done to her personally for her to say that,” NeNe said. (Um… how about that Casper crack and about how she’s been living off her Jackson name all these years?)
“I don’t know anybody I hate,” she said. (Really? Kim Zolciak?) “And I have had people do some really bad things to me over the years.”
“I don’t hold a grudge,” NeNe added. (Really? Dwight Eubanks anybody?)
NeNe finally says something truly real: “Im not a very trusting person.”
Anyway, there were three men (Meat Loaf, John Rich, Lil Jon) and five women (Hope Dworacyk, Marlee Matlin, Star Jones, NeNe, LaToya) left. The eighth challenge was to create a four-page ad for Saveur magazine promoting Trump Hotels Collection.
Jones, who considers herself a connoisseur of elegance and sophistication, instantly volunteered to be project manager. None of the guys felt comfortable with the “ultra luxury” sector that Trump was trumping but Rich raised his hand to be the head of Backbone this time.
On the surface, this appeared to be Jones’ challenge to lose. “I can be a bit pretentious,” she said. “For once in my life, being pretentious does not hurt me.”
At one point, Star directed NeNe and LaToya to pick up props. But NeNe wasn’t comfortable going with LaToya. So Star forced the two to clear the air.
And they did. Shockingly, NeNe accepted a heartfelt apology from LaToya and the two got along okay after that.
On the other side, Meat Loaf would occasionally befuddle John Rich, who preferred working with rap star Lil Jon. Rich said the Atlanta star is more than just the diamonds and bling, that there’s real substance there.
Anyway, both sides mess up in multiple ways. The women create what could be potentially great photos, but then clutter them up in the actual ad. The Saveur magazine guy said it looked like a cheap stripper ad you might see in Vegas. (Ouch!) The women’s presentation with everyone saying adjectives supposedly describing the Trump brand fell flat and lacked emotional resonance.
The men ignore advice to avoid butlers and shots of buildings. They take photos of a butler and buildings. Their creative juices, after eight challenges, appear to be shot. But they still made a nice presentation, using personal anecdotes but failing to connect their words with their ad. They also forgot to include a phone number or website on the ad, which is Marketing 101. Again, I think fatigue is truly setting in here.
For the first time, there is no winner, only a worse loser. And that would be… the women!
Star Jones does not want to go home, naturally. She targets LaToya as the weakest player to date. Trump is surprised. Though he felt he had underestimated her in the past, executives tended to like her. Her coyness was initially interpreted by NeNe and others as weakness. But she has backbone and a determination that is far deeper than meets the eye. I grew to respect her.
Unfortunately, Star brought LaToya and NeNe back to the boardroom, sparing Marlee and Hope. And NeNe, despite her misgivings about Star, told Trump from a business standpoint, LaToya was weaker. Trump agreed. LaToya, despite a spirited defense, was fired.
Afterwards, LaToya in the cab ride called Star “cunning” and “evil.” She did not blame NeNe for supporting Star.
NeNe, however, was having second thoughts about focusing on business only and told Star afterwards that Star needed to be a little more flexible down the road. They appear okay at that moment.
But we all know things get worse because we see the previews for next Sunday, which are Bravo-licious:
“THE WRATH OF NENE,” the screen says. Then we have NeNe yelling at Star and threatening to “take you down.” Star even says, “This is not ‘Real Housewives.’ ”
But Trump and the NBC promo folks are going to milk this confrontation for all its worth. Heck, we saw it in promos months ago!
So if you want vintage angry NeNe, we get it next week for sure!
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog