Things I Hate About TV: Celebs Screwing Their Charities on Reality Shows
by Joel Keller, posted Apr 4th 2010 3:02PM
It's a time-honored tradition in the world of TV: a celebrity goes on a game show or reality contest, playing for his or her favorite charity. Then, instead of buckling down and trying his or her hardest to get as much money as possible for that charity, they laugh and joke as they either go down in flames on the show, or -- even worse -- don't look like they're even trying.
The latest case of this happened on last week's 'Celebrity Apprentice.' And, with the next episode set to air tonight, I wanted to talk about why the results from last week got me so annoyed.
If you watched the episode, you'll know that ex-Met, Dodger and Yankee Darryl Strawberry seemingly fell on his sword and asked Donald Trump to fire him instead of firing the RockSolid team leader that week, sprinter Michael Johnson. At first, Straw looked like he was sacrificing himself because he thought Johnson did a fantastic job despite the fact that the Norton and LifeLock execs liked the Tenacity team's ad campaign much better than they liked the men's campaign.
As a Yankee fan who appreciated his contributions to their late-'90s championship teams, I at first thought, "Good for Straw; he's being a team player as usual." But it didn't take long for the evidence of why Darryl really wanted to get fired started creeping in. Trump asked Straw if he was a tired and wanted to leave. Straw struggled and tried to dance around answering, but he finally admitted that he was "a little" tired.
Then, a couple of days after the episode aired, Strawberry admitted to the New York Post that he was more fatigued than he let on. "I knew physically and mentally, I was done," he told the tabloid. "So, I made sure I went instead of him. Honestly, I hit the wall."
Mind you, this wasn't after a dozen or so episodes; this was the third episode, which meant that they had been taping for only a few days. Holly Robinson Peete, who, like Strawberry, was playing to fund autism research, got angry with her fellow contestant, saying he was "giving up on his charity."
I'm with Holly. If Straw didn't think he was going to at least try to raise money for his charity via the show, why did he go on in the first place? I'm sure he cares a lot about his cause, and has raised a lot of money for it outside 'The Apprentice,' but at that moment he looked like he wasn't willing to go the extra mile to get them money they desperately needed. I'm sure it reminded a lot of Met fans of the version of Straw that played for their team in the '80s.
It's not like we haven't seen this behavior from celebs in the past. How many people went on the celebrity versions of 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' and gambled away something like $125,000 on a wild guess, then didn't even look like they felt bad about doing it? Or how many times have you seen someone go on celebrity 'Jeopardy!' and laugh his or her ass off as he completely blew questions that were too easy for the Teen Tournament?
One could argue that the seeming nonchalance is a cover for being embarrassed. But, really, it just looks like they don't care.
Straw is lucky; the Post article says that we'll see him back on 'The Apprentice' at some point this season, where he'll get a pleasant surprise from The Donald. But if I were the people he was raising money for, I wouldn't have been very happy with him after last Sunday's dive.