Ahh, the multilayered, nuanced, colorfully dressed and sneaky trainwreck that is Dennis Rodman. Now that he has been kicked off The Celebrity Apprentice, I’m not sure what I’ll miss most: him, his rhinestones, the Ed Hardy t-shirts, or the vodka/cranberry juice drinking. This week, as the Project Manager, Rodman lead the men’s team into a uniquely underwhelming defeat; however, before drinking himself into oblivion, he proved himself to be one of the more competent members of his team. Initially, Rodman surprised his team by offering insightful information about what luxury hotel service should look like. As the day wore on, though, Rodman sucked down vodka cranberry after vodka cranberry, and became less and less effective, ultimately leaving the team to accompany some guests to dinner, and later passing out on the couch to sleep it all off.
I’ll be honest. As a recovering alcoholic, when I see Rodman drinking all the vodka/cranberries, my first thought is not “He has a drinking problem!” Rather, it is, “Who drinks the same drink, constantly, all day long, all the time?” Shortly after that, that thought turns into, “And why vodka/cranberry? Why in god’s name would he choose vodka/cranberry? Who drinks that?” Then, I think, is this a product placement? Because I had already noted that Ocean Spray advertises during The Celebrity Apprentice, and since they showed a bottle of Ocean Spray cranberry juice on screen during this week’s episode, I suspect I might be right.
I don’t know where I stand on the alcoholic issue with Dennis Rodman. Was he drinking like a fish while on this show? It appears that this is the case. Do I put it beyond him to do this in exchange for an advertising fee? Definitely not. If you think Rodman is constantly wearing Ed Hardy shirts because he really likes them, I have a bridge to sell you. Nothing you see on these shows is by accident, and once they start selling a brand at Costco, you can bet that the Dennis Rodmans of the world have moved onto something else in their day to day lives. Dennis Rodman has a host of issues, as I’ve noted before, but he is above everything a deal maker, and I’m Ed Hardy was paying him a mint to wear those shirts, and who knows what kind of deal he struck up with Ocean Spray over the drinking issue.
“People look at cars. People LOOK AT PEOPLE. THEY LOOK AT MY ASS ALL THE TIME.”–Dennis Rodman
Reality shows blur our traditional conceptions of “product.” A show like The Celebrity Apprentice is particularly confusing because there are so many products for sale, and some of them work together, appear to work together, appear to work against each other, ignore each other. Dennis Rodman is a product. Dennis Rodman as a trainwreck is a product for both the show, The Celebrity Apprentice and for Dennis Rodman the product, because he has made himself into a legend not just through playing basketball, but by making a scene. It has worked for him very well, but it also backfires. He cannot go anywhere without being noticed. Perhaps at one point he enjoyed this, but there are moments where you can see the surface begin to peel back, and you see that beneath all the rhinestones perhaps there is a private citizen who is annoyed at being looked at all the time. Maybe we only can see that part of him when he’s drinking, I’m not sure.
Again, on the alcohol issue: I will say that I’m not a fan of interventions, personally. I don’t think they are effective most of the time. I should say that I know some people for whom interventions have worked, and as such I don’t think the practice should be abandoned altogether. That said, if you’re going to use an intervention as a means of actually achieving anything–actually getting somebody to get better, that is–then I think you have to stick to a few guidelines, viz.:
- Have a professional there helping you;
- Make sure that the people participating in the intervention are close to the person on whose behavior you are trying to intervene;
- Have everyone do some kind of preparation for the intervention, including what they are going to change after the intervention in order to help the person; and
- Most importantly, don’t stage the intervention in the middle of a boardroom sequence of The Celebrity Apprentice.
I also know that interventions work when the alcoholic has hit bottom and has nowhere else to go. Dennis Rodman is nowhere near that point. He has a gig with Ed Hardy, Donald Trump and (probably) Ocean Spray. The deal he signed with Trump and Mark Burnett might only have been five weeks long to begin with. It’s impossible to say if he’s actually an alcoholic if he has struck up a deal to feature himself drinking vodka/cranberries on a national TV show. (I challenge you to do that without constantly getting drunk.) What I will tell you is that Rodman fits the profile of a certain type of alcoholic that you run into often in meetings: high achieving, troubled, but with a criminally gifted mind that translates well into entrepreneurial ventures when it can be channeled constructively. It is the type of alcoholic, coincidentally, that I suspect Jesse James (also on the show; married to Sandra Bullock) must have been before getting sober (as he revealed this week) 9 years ago. If you take the alcohol away from Rodman, what you might have is something much closer to Jesse James, who is a shoe-in to win the show, if my predictions hold true.
This evening, I asked Mr. Right-Click, as we were watching another tedious episode of Jon and Kate Plus Eight, if it was wrong that I want to see them crash and burn. He said that yes, absolutely, that was wrong. And it made me think it’s odd how I choose who to root for. I’m still not sure what I think of Dennis Rodman. I’m really not convinced he’s a good person, but I cannot believe he’s wholly bad yet, either. And when he was saying, at the end of this week’s show, “Don’t count Dennis out–Dennis is going to be OK, I’ll make sure of that,” I found myself hoping that he is right. In spite of the third person self-referent. I really do hope he is going to be OK.