À Bientôt, J’éspère, Dennis Rodman

by anna on March 31, 2009

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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.

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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.:

  1. Have a professional there helping you;
  2. Make sure that the people participating in the intervention are close to the person on whose behavior you are trying to intervene;
  3. 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
  4. 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.

{ 14 comments }

Heather March 31, 2009 at 6:08 am

I’ve never watched any of the Apprentice shows, this one included but when I was at work yesterday, one of the girls brought it up that Dennis Rodman is an alcoholic. So whether or not he signed some sort of deal with someone to drink a certain brand of cranberry juice with his vodka, the impression that was left by his behaviour is that he has a drinking problem. Even if he did have a deal, he didn’t have to drink all day, either. Like, a few drinks with the product placement I am sure would have sufficed. He strikes me as someone who’s fame has gotten the best of him, his antics to draw attention to himself has backfired. Now he wants peace but he can’t get it.

No, you aren’t the only wrong one, I’d like to watch them crash and burn too. *lol* I can’t help it, I think they are both well…crazy. I just don’t see how a neurotic, OCD person can have that many children and then moan about cleaniness. It just strikes me funny that their kids seem to annoy them so much and yet they have so many. *lol*

Ryan March 31, 2009 at 6:18 am

Think about the kind of drunks that come home and sit down and take to drinking beer after beer until a case is consumed. That makes less sense to me than a guy pounding vodka with some juice to take the bite off. I don’t agree that Ocean Spray would have anything to do with product placement of this kind. I will agree you are dead on with the clothing.

Almost everything I have seen Dennis Rodman do publicly is a screaming on the floor leg kicking cry for help and sympathy. Dude just needs a 7 day hug and the reassurance he will be loved despite his demons. Nobody self sabotages quite like Rodman. Most people have such a fear of success they never get near the limelight. This guy seeks out the public eye, firmly plants himself in it and then proceeds to fail. I loved watching him play basketball, I never knew if he was going to foul out on purpose or break NBA records. He knew how to get noticed playing alongside Jordan. Anyone that can figure out how to do that has a gift for the spotlight… no he just needs that hug I was talking about.

at no point this morning did I think for a second I would write about Dennis Rodman this much. Blogging is weird.

Ryan´s last blog post..Week 26

NGS March 31, 2009 at 6:27 am

I read on a blog somewhere the opinion that Dennis Rodman is a walking suicide. I don’t know if I disagree with that. He seems mentally unstable, despite whatever endorsement deals he may have. I hope you are right and that he is doing it for television and I hope he will be all right.

NGS´s last blog post..45 x 365 #134

Ginny Marie March 31, 2009 at 8:10 am

All Dennis Rodman has to do is take out his piercings and stop his swagger. He would walk into a room and no one would know who he was.

Ginny Marie´s last blog post..Sirup: It’s not a typo. Random Tuesday Thoughts

Chris March 31, 2009 at 8:15 am

I enjoyed your post. In a hurry on my end, but a couple of thoughts. I too found it curious he was drinking cranberry juice and vodka – didn’t jive for me – felt funny. His drinking, behavior and “intervention” – all sad to watch. He’s wicked bright though. I agree with you.

Jon and Kate – something’s changed for me. I’m finding myself wanting to see/hear the bad news. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve sensed some smugness over the past year or so… Not sure. I’m not sincerely rooting for them, and I haven’t watched the show recently (only seen the trailers so I’m generally aware of what’s going on). However, I still dig the Roloffs.

Chris´s last blog post..Supermodel

anna March 31, 2009 at 8:53 am

I knew I’d get some doubters on the cranberry juice thing. Listen, I don’t know anything for sure, I’m just saying something is odd there. As far as whether Dennis Rodman can go unnoticed–uh huh. Have you ever stood next to an NBA player? Do you understand how freakisly tall they are? It is very hard to get a concept of this when you watch them on TV. My husband is 6’2″ and people think of him as a big guy. I went on a date with a guy who was 6’5″ and nicknamed him AbsurdlyTall because standing next to him, I was like, “DUDE THIS GUY IS HUGE.” People would look at us because he was so tall. NBA players are 6’5″ and up, you have the odd point guard who is 6’2″ and below, the Spud Webbs who somehow make up for their 5’7″ heights by jumping and being absurdly quick, but in general, NBA players are freaks of nature. I think the crazy dress and piercings make it obvious that it is Dennis Rodman, but people would look at him no matter what he did. He’s huge.

I do think he needs a giant hug. He needs to be reassured. But I think people who have been watching him for years–Mr. Right-Click included–are sick of his bullshit. They’re just tired of it. So a lot of his old fans don’t care anymore.

I still find him interesting in a tragic way, though.

rebecca March 31, 2009 at 10:08 am

I read the bulk of your post thinking of an episode of Jon & Kate in which she gives her kids non-blurred Juicy Juice. Odd. She always insisted on organic before. Then began the Juicy Juice commercials and a sponsorship plug. And, of course, you brought this post around to them in the end.

Rodman could have had his cranberry juice plain, pretended to spike it, or use very little vodka and still convey his product placement. BTW, that is a yummy drink and I’ve heard it called a Cape Cod.

Finally, I’ve been part of an intervention and I agree with all of your rules. I also watch that reality show Intervention. I think the draw is that social scientists could NEVER ethically set up, study, or record the things we see on reality television.

rebecca´s last blog post..Solar Power Rocks!

Denise March 31, 2009 at 1:19 pm

FWIW, some people I used to know drank vodka/crans because they didn’t like the taste of alcohol but wanted the buzz.

Another good post, lady. :)

Ginny Marie March 31, 2009 at 1:41 pm

I didn’t say he would go unnoticed. I said no one would know who he was.

Ginny Marie´s last blog post..Sirup: It’s not a typo. Random Tuesday Thoughts

anna March 31, 2009 at 4:55 pm

You may be right about that, @Ginny Marie!

vegas April 1, 2009 at 9:48 am

With today’s television (where most shows are staged) I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case here. Funny thing is that I didn’t see ONE bottle of vodka in the whole show, the dude only poured in the cranberry :\

But it could be true, idk :\

Deb on the Rocks April 2, 2009 at 11:42 am

I’ve been thinking about that episode too. Good description of the layers of products for sale. I was absolutely certain at the time, and even more so after thinking about it, that the whole thing was gamed. The choice of drink is suspect. The episode where the glasses were all left to be counted and taped, staged. Your photo is terrific proof. But most telling is there is no way that those other products, especially Joan Rivers, and certainly not the show producers would confront on television anyone about being an alcoholic unless it was expressly permitted/invited/planned. No way. I want to believe, and do, that a lot of the show is not scripted, but that absolutely had to be. Why, other than good TV, I have no idea.

I have an Ed Hardy bag, but I want one of those scarves Dennis wore in the baddest way. Baddest.

Deb on the Rocks´s last blog post..I’m Running for Office: TV Judge

Tiaras & Tantrums April 7, 2009 at 7:21 am

Did you see Dennis on Leno the following week? IT was a good interview. Obviously, Dennis needed to go there to clean up the fiasco that was The Apprentice. I think the Dennis seen on Leno is more to the true Dennis. I really think they played Dennis to be the bad guy. Dennis stated on Leno that all the other celebs were a bunch of AHoles and took it way to serious and he took it as a game. He also stated that he has been in therapy for 1 year already.

Tiaras & Tantrums´s last blog post..Does this mean I am no cup size?

anna April 7, 2009 at 7:32 am

@Tiaras & Tantrums–No, I’m sorry I missed that. I do think that they wanted him to play a certain role on that show.

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