What are they wearing? Where is that laughter coming from? Who are these people?
All were questions asked during the first episode of I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here! But all faded into the background, drowned out by one.
Why is this so very, very long?
Finally, Australia has the opportunity to learn that Merv Hughes has a slight issue with heights, Chrissie Swan doesn’t like cockroaches and Andrew Daddo … poos.
If that sounds like too much information then welcome to I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here, which has too much name (we’re going with Celebrity), too much banality about “celebrities” (we’re going with contestants) and way too much time on its hands.
Episode one was long, approaching two hours. The promos told us there will be five episodes a week as well as behind the scenes footage on every other show Ten can cram it into. There is going to be way too much of it.
To be fair to Ten, this could be a really great two-three hours a week. If only they would schedule it on in a time slot when we had nothing else to watch.
We were informed early in the epic first episode of Celebrity, which is being filmed in the wilds of South Africa, that the contestants are only going to get 800 calories a day in the way of food. It’s sadly the only area in which this show is lacking in fat.
It opened as an Apocalypse Now-themed flight of mystery guests. By the end, Hughes was snoring, it wasn’t an interesting story. It was accidentally ironic.
Oh yes, the mystery guests. Here’s the full list and their promo categories:
Leisel Jones – Olympian
Merv Hughes – Cricketer
Andrew Dadddo – TV Royalty (we presume)
Chrissie Swan – Gold Logie nominee
Maureen McCormick – World Famous Actress, a.k.a. Marcia Brady
Barry Hall – AFL player (not in the Hall of Fame as advertised)
Joel Creasey – Comedian
Laura Dundovic – “Fashion Icon” (well, Miss Universe Australia 2008)
Tyson Mayr – International Model (well, the naked traveller)
Lauren Brant – Kids TV Star (Hi-5)
We accurately guessed two of the contestants. We’re calling that a success rate of 33 per cent as there are really only six celebrities. Even host Julia Morris did a quick bit of live comedy about “if you are unfamiliar with Tyson?” and it got laughs, mostly from the eerily unexplained off-camera audience she and co-host Chris Brown apparently had.
She also called Leisel “Lisa” and Laura “Lauren”. That’s ok, we were still learning some names too.
The hosts were the best part of the show. They have a fun chemistry and were funny, taking the mickey out of themselves and even taking digs at the media pundits who were certain on Melissa Joan Hart. But at times they had too much to lift.
The show lost its inertia for a 15-minute tour of the empty campsite. Until then, the family-friendly kick-off had meant Celebrity had our resident four-year-old engrossed. Loved the helicopters. Excited by the quick introductions. And when Swan fell over climbing a hill, it was what he, and let’s face it we, were after.
Then it all turned into Big Brother without plumbing, but with bizarre red Santa pants.
There were good bits. Maureen McCormick took to the jungle as we hoped they all would: terribly. The Tucker Trial was amusing with Swan staked out and covered in ants, locusts, fly pupae, offal and dung beetles.
When Brown announced that “it’s ok, the locusts are now distracting the ants”, it was the best laugh of the night. Second was his follow-up: “I’ve seen people get less maggoted at the Logies.”
Watching Hughes subjectively explain the Aussie celebrities to McCormick, was what the non-gross parts of this show should be. Minutes later, Laura Dundovic was recreating her best catwalk moves and we spent 15 minutes with Daddo and the toilet. For those wondering, that was the stuff to cut.
By the end, as we learned Joel Creasey was the audience-voted candidate to participate in Circle of Strife, a challenge stolen directly from the Flash Gordon movie, it was hard to care. That was until a sound recordist meandered into the back of shot and somewhat shattered the illusion of abandonment.
Sadly Mr 4 had long gone to bed. One suspects he wasn’t the only one to have switched off.