Monday, March 14, 2011

More Children's Books From The Celebrity Apprentice

If The Celebrity Apprentice saw a jump in ratings this week, they probably have the children's literature community to thank. Writers, book lovers, and publishing professionals tuned in, knowing it would be somewhat painful, but we had to watch, even if we'd have to do so while peeking through our fingers like we were watching a horror movie.

The challenge for each team this week was to write a children's book and perform the story in front of a group of real, live children. (And you know someone on staff had the task of checking cast members' probation requirements to make sure that was okay.)

Here's where it gets more interesting--the book had to be about someone on the team. A children's book. About one of the Celebrity Apprentice cast members. Have you seen the participants? The only way it could get train-wreckier is if they threw in the love child of Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson.

Editor Margery Cuyler of Marshall Cavendish advised the teams, not knowing that she should tell them to do the opposite of what she really wanted them to do. She told the men's team not to write a rhyming story. John Rich (of Big & Rich) interpreted that to mean he should take on the challenge of writing a rhyming book.

No, John, she wasn't daring you to try it. She really meant it. Don't.

But, the men do have two songwriters on the team--John Rich and Lil Jon, so maybe it wouldn't be too bad. The team chose John Rich to write the text of the book, probably because they couldn't decide whether Lil Jon's "Can't Stop Pimpin'" or "Move Bitch" would make a better picture book. Lil Jon did end up being the main character, though, as a boy who was teased at school because he was, well, lil. Of course the teasing intensified because the schoolchildren reasoned, naturally, that his shortness precluded him from learning the alphabet and counting. But Jon showed them at the end, via rap, that he did indeed know his ABCs and 123s. Then he promptly bust a cap in their kindergarten asses.

The women's team, after two hours of screaming arguments and insults, settled on a book about LaToya the Lion, who couldn't roar. (Spoiler alert--she was able to roar at the end!).

I know there's so much we miss because of editing, so I can't help but imagine some of the discussions that ended up on the cutting room floor. Here are some titles I would like to have seen come out of those conversations:

Gary Busey: "I got it. Let's write about a pigeon named Gary and make a book kinda like Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. We'll call it Seriously, Do Not Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. For the Love of God and the Safely of All, Do Not Let Him Drive the Bus. Or The Snowy Day would work too. Am I wearing pants?"

Richard Hatch: "No, kids like Dr. Seuss. We should write something like a Dr. Seuss Book, like Oh The Places You'll Go. Federal Prison, For Example.

Jose Canseco: "We're not doing Dr. Seuss!"

Meat Loaf: "Put the chair down, Jose, or I will beat you with my sequined jacket."

Jose: "We should do something more classic, like a fable. Kind of like Jack and the Beanstalk, but it's Jose and the Beanstalk. And instead of planting the magic beans, he eats them, and he gets big and strong. Then he kills the giant with his bare hands..."

Gary Busey: "How's he gonna get to the giant, Jose? You have to climb the beanstalk to get to the giant! You can't climb the beanstalk if you don't plant the beans! Everyone knows that! He's gotta plant the beans, man!"

On the women's team, I liked Marlee Matlin's idea to have a deaf character in the book be the one to teach LaToya the Lion how to roar. Fun twist at the end of the story. But no, Dionne Warwick said that would be too much of a downer, since the children would just feel sorry for the deaf character, of course. And children aren't ready for that kind of diversity. (So shouldn't they have made all the characters in the book the same kind of animal? They had a dog in there! And the lion was friends with a chicken! That's the kind of diversity NO ONE is ready for.)

Marlee Matlin: "If we're not going to have a deaf character, let's do a sign language ABC book. I'm thinking R Is For Roundhouse Kick to Dionne Warwick's Face."

Playmate of the Year Hope Dworaczyk: "How about a new version of Pat the Bunny? It'll be a lift-the-flap book--"

Lisa Rinna: "No, I've got it--you know what would be fun? A sing-along story, like The Wheels On The Bus. You know, like THE BUS YOU ALL F-ING THREW ME UNDER!!!"

Certainly this is just a partial list; there's so much potential in this cast. What other children's book titles do you wish came out of the Celebrity Apprentice teams?


  1. LOL you're hilarious, and I didn't even see the show :D

  2. Great post, Lynne. That was the first and last time I will watch Celebrity Apprentice. Your behind the scenes comments were great (and probably close to the truth).

  3. I love your take on this show! So funny!!!!
    I watched it too (but only caught the last half) because of the publishing theme this week.
    What a bunch of crazies.

  4. Oh, my side hurts!! LOL! I got home from London last night and was only able to stomach the plays. I fell asleep for the rest. Looks like I didn't miss anything! But I loved seeing Margery and the books! That's the only thing. I thought the deaf animal idea was a good one. After that show I no longer had any respect for Dionne Warwick or Star What's-Her-Mouth.

  5. Oh man, you summed up my thoughts on the show exactly but in a much more hilarious way!

  6. Thanks for the comments, everyone! Glad you enjoyed the suggested book titles. This season's cast does provide much fodder for humor.

  7. I don't have a TV, so I'm sure I'm not appreciating the subtleties here, but this was still hilarious; kudos, Lynne!

  8. OMG! I wanted to watch YOUR show, Lynne! Maybe the Canseco Chronicles, because there seems to be a few trolls in the bunch, and I would love to see some of them eat crow. I hope Marlee Matlin runs away with the gold, so many of the others just have no class.

  9. Hi Lynne!

    I have nominated you for the "One Lovely Blog Award."

    Please stop by my blog and get your reward!

  10. You're hysterical! Love your comments. I watched the show and was speechless with the crazy comments.
    Thanks for being the voice of reason! You rock Lynne!

  11. Thanks so much, everyone! Looks like tomorrow's show will be crazy too, although literature-free.