Losing a task on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ is certainly bad enough. To have your ideas summarily rejected by the project sponsors and by the Trump family judges in front of millions of viewers is embarrassing. But that pales in comparison to what just happened to me on this week’s edition of the hit NBC show. My entire macho man strutting self-image has been irreparably dented.
The task had to do with dancing and nostalgia.
The specific task was to produce a viral video promoting a new single-serve offering from Chock Full O’ Nuts coffee. The company is one that has been part of Rivera family lore since at least the 1950s. My parents, Cruz and Lilly met in a cafeteria on the corner of 42nd Street and 6th Avenue. Their romance blossomed with the company’s iconic theme song playing in the background.
I gamely strutted through Lorenzo’s choreography, confident that with my top hat and cane no one would notice that I was gimpy.
Everybody follow the bouncing ball and sing along.
“Chock Full O’ Nuts is that heavenly coffee,
Chock Full O’ Nuts is that heavenly coffee,
Better coffee millionaire’s money can’t buy.”
So my teammate and project manager for Monday night’s task, actor and director Lorenzo Lamas, had the idea that I would play the part of the millionaire and sing and dance to the theme along with Kate (Plus 8) Gosselin as my dance and presumably life partner. Lorenzo’s hook was that we would start in a 1950s era black and white setting then cut to a boisterous modern hipster upbeat MTV video-version of the ditty in riotous color.
I loved the idea and to make a long story short played my top-hatted role alongside Kate, the reality veteran more accustomed to herding her impressive flock of kids. My problem is that I am hobbled as the result of botched back surgery which destroyed my right foot. I can usually cover up my handicap with a flamboyant presentation and attitude. My operating theory is to never let them see you limp. So I gamely strutted through Lorenzo’s choreography, confident that with my top hat and cane no one would notice that I was gimpy.
Then in his exit interview Lorenzo launched his off-hand bombshell. “Geraldo being a Latino and all, I expected him to “bring it,” he said with a sly almost wistful smile, adding that he was surprised when I could not. I thought my head would explode when I watched the show Monday night. Me, a famous Latin from Manhattan, accused of being unable to dance. I can hear my old mates now, “Geraldo Can’t Dance.” There is no crueler cut.
As it turns out, it would not have mattered if I had danced with the grace and skill of Fred Astaire or Pitbull. We were up against a team of sexy and determined Real Housewives who brilliantly showed just enough skin and passion in their Chock Full O’ Nuts commercial to titillate, earn an R-Rating and blow our G-Rated offering to shreds. Watching Brandi and Kenya engaged in a bra-less cleavage-filled pillow fight was sexy and hilarious and headed to viral vitality. The fact that nobody watching their spot would remember what the product was that we were supposed to be promoting makes no difference. Those divas in a pillow fight? No red-blooded male coffee drinker could resist.