Like most television shows with the words “celebrity” or “star” in the title “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here,” is going to be kind of a disappointment if you were actually expecting bona fide celebrities. Seriously, just once I would like to turn on one of these shows and see Tom Hanks and Angelina Jolie ice skating to Shania Twain or eating bugs and crap. Is that honestly too much to ask? I could totally see Tom Hanks eating bugs. C’mon man, it’s for charity. In fact, about half of the cast will only be immediately recognizable if you’re either already a fan of reality TV — celebrity-based or otherwise — or a religious watcher of “The Soup.” Personally, I was thrilled to see “American Idol’s” Sanjaya in the cast despite never having watched a minute of the season he appeared on (or likewise any season of “American Idol”) just because I miss his floating head graphic so damn much. Also favorites of “The Soup,” notorious “The Hills” retarded famewhores Heidi
Montag Pratt and Spencer “flesh colored beard” Pratt are on hand; as well as Janice Dickinson, who got her big reality break on “The Surreal Life” a few years back and has since even appeared on the UK version of this very show. Finally, there’s Stephen Baldwin who, contrary to popular belief, is a different Baldwin than the Baldwin who appeared on “Celebrity Fit Club” and “Celebrity Rehab,” but is the Baldwin who appeared on “Celebrity Bull Riding Championship.” Got that?
Rounding out the other half of the cast are the celebrities who won’t be immediately recognizable from reality TV because they mostly won’t be recognizable at all. Other than maybe Lou Diamond Phillips, of course. Come on La Bamba, what are you doing here? You’ve got 92 IMDB credits to your name. Shame on you. The others include NBA Player John Salley, WWE wrestler Torrie Wilson, “comedy” duo Frangela and Patti Blagojevich. Yes, the wife of disgraced governor Rod Blagojevich is actually appearing on “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!” Actually, Blagojevich himself was supposed to be on the show (the header image was one of the original promo shots) but ultimately couldn’t leave the country as he was awaiting trial for, you know, federal corruption charges.
But the rest of the characters are essentially superfluous, because it became clear from the get-go that this show is all about Heidi and Spencer. If you’ve never seen “The Hills,” Heidi and Spencer’s claim to fame is apparently being the “villains” on a scripted reality show, and have a penchant for stirring up drama and making everything all about them. They are, in a word, horrible. In this case there’s really no exception, except that outside of their comfort zone of upscale restaurants and velvet rope clubs it took Spencer approximately two hours to go Lord of the Flies on everyone’s asses after they landed in the remote jungle location in Costa Rica. Shortly after arriving at the group campsite on the first episode, the two decided that they were too good to slum it with the rest of the F-listers and threw a temper tantrum threatening to leave. They reluctantly agreed to stay the night but the following day disappeared again over some bridge they weren’t supposed to cross or something that takes them out of the camp to an area of the set they’re not allowed to be in, so again, everyone assumed that they went AWOL. When they returned, Spencer discovered that the rest of the cast divvied up their supplies and reacted in the most adult way possible by knocking a water bottle out of Frangela #1’s hand and spit-screaming in her face. He went completely apeshit, however, when he found out that Torrie Wilson had ripped the labels off of Heidi’s “dry shampoo” and then mocked her with it. I can’t believe I’m typing this, but that’s what really happened.
It’s kind of unsettling, actually. I mean, you know when Janice Dickinson is the voice of reason in a situation, something really fucked up is going on. At first I figured Heidi and Spencer’s theatrics were all just an act to make themselves the assiest and likewise most talked about people on the show (mission accomplished) but after awhile it seems like the strings really start coming loose, particularly when it comes to Spencer. You can see it in his eyes. Those are crazy eyes. If those cameras and crew hadn’t been there, it wouldn’t have surprised me in the least if the guy ended up going on a killing spree and started eating people. Mark my words: We’ll be watching this one on the news someday. Heidi on the other hand, is generally creepy with her constant praying and reciting scripture like she’s the whoriest, most fake-titted Tammy Faye Baker ever. When Spencer “apologized” to the rest of the cast for being such a psychotic asshole, she threw her arms up in the air and chanted “Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus!” She attempted to rationalize her husband’s depraved and unbalanced behavior by saying that he’s a “new Christian,” and at one point she actually said: “It’s like a momma bear … You mess with the cubs, you have to deal with the wrath of the daddy bear.” That just as much disturbing as it is totally incorrect use of the adage.
Beyond all the Heidi and Spencerness, the show more or less follows the same basic formula of most “Survivor” type reality shows and their ilk. The teams are split between guys and girls, they compete in challenges each episode which seems to have a running theme of having something to do with oversized insects, someone gets immunity, people get voted off, blah blah blah, then finally someone gets crowned King or Queen of the jungle and the charity of their choice gets a big paycheck. There are two Vanilla McBean hosts who show up to introduce challenges, make subtlety condescending remarks about the contestants and give viewers a recap of what just happened before the commercial break — because this complex Machiavellian farce is really just too goddamn difficult to follow along on your own.
“I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here” is ostensibly NBC’s answer to the pre-summer doldrums — as well as proof that they’ve stopped giving a shit — so they’re airing it every single night from Monday through Thursday for the next three whole weeks from 8:00-9:00p.m., and I believe the finale will also be aired the week following. So you’ve got plenty of chances to tune in. Unfortunately (or, “fortunately,” however you want to look at it) Frick and Frack finally did escape on the second episode that aired last night, so there’s almost no point in watching now. Although I hear they’re going to bring in the Junkie Baldwin to replace Spencer, so that might be fun, trying to tell the difference between the two loser Jesus-freak Baldwins? Eh? Like you’ve got anything better to do every single night of the week between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. anyway.
Stacey Nosek is the world’s most articulate idiot, and a television columnist for Pajiba. You can also find her ripping on celebrities at Webster’s Is My Bitch.