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WHAT WE'RE WATCHING: 'Celebrity Apprentice' remains a guilty pleasure

Everybody has that guilty pleasure. Whether it's a soft spot for foods that aren't good for you or a band you're kind of afraid to admit you like (ABBA's "Greatest Hits" CD is in a steady rotation in my car), we all have those things we really ha...

CELEBRITY APPRENTICE -- Episode 1402 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kevin Jonas, Geraldo Rivera -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC)
CELEBRITY APPRENTICE -- Episode 1402 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kevin Jonas, Geraldo Rivera -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC)

Everybody has that guilty pleasure.

Whether it's a soft spot for foods that aren't good for you or a band you're kind of afraid to admit you like (ABBA's "Greatest Hits" CD is in a steady rotation in my car), we all have those things we really have no business liking but for some reason we do.

When someone finds out about our guilty pleasures, we're usually embarrassed and make others swear not to tell our shameful secret.

For me, that guilty pleasure is "The Celebrity Apprentice."

Hosted by Donald Trump, "The Celebrity Apprentice" features a random assortment of D-list "stars," who haven't been recognizably famous for years, compete in business-related tasks to win money for their favorite charity.

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Each week, Trump fires the celebrity he thinks did the poorest job on that week's particular task. Until we're left with one quasi star who is bestowed the honor of being Trump's apprentice.

As with most reality shows, along the way there's plenty of fighting, bickering, backstabbing and throwing other people under the bus.

Now in its seventh installment of the celebrity version of the once popular show, this season features Geraldo Rivera, Leeza Gibbons, Gilbert Gottfried, Terrell Owens, Kate Gosselin, two Olympic gold medalists, a Cosby kid and a Jonas brother.

The show debuted last Sunday and airs at 7 p.m. Mondays on NBC. Only a few episodes in, the show has already showed the absurdity that is has become known for.

Already Kevin Jonas threw Rivera's leadership skills under the bus, Vivica A. Fox broke down and cried, two "Real Housewives" were at each other's throats and Keshia Knight Pulliam was fired for not calling Bill Cosby and having him donate money, which made everyone in America simultaneously cringe (the season was taped almost a year ago). And all that happened in first episode.

For some reason, through the ups and downs, I have seen every episode of "The Apprentice." From its beginnings on NBC's "Must See TV" in 2004 to today's current "celebrity" editions, I have been a loyal fan, probably to a fault.

For a show that was once a lot of fun to watch, with incredibly smart business people competing for an actual job, the show has since deteriorated into somewhat of a sloppy mess. When it first began, "The Celebrity Apprentice" wasn't the greatest show on television by any means, but it had its moments. It was fun, addicting, and I didn't feel like I needed to shower after watching it.

Now the show has jumped the shark, with the only real reason to watch being to see which celebrities will yell at each other.

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Maybe it's me being determined to finish what I started and watch every episode in "Apprentice" history or maybe part of me legitimately enjoys watching the circus.

It's a lot like watching your favorite sports team while they stumble through a terrible season. On one hand, I can't give up on them after all this time, but on the other, you don't get the thrill out of watching them that you once did.

Either way, week after week I'm in front of the TV. "The Celebrity Apprentice" is one of the few shows that I still watch live and center my night around watching.

There's something about the madness that I can't get enough of. Maybe it's the hilariousness of watching celebrities bicker at each other over very minor things or the feeling of how normal I feel after watching the show, but I can't turn my eyes away.

I feel guilty watching the show week after week, year after year, but what can I say? I, Wade Rupard, am a fan of "The Celebrity Apprentice." Just don't tell anybody else.

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