Australia, welcome to season two of Ten’s celebrity torture fest a.k.a. I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here: The Novelty Wears Off.
And the big question this year is: who will be the surprise Shane Warne?
Yes, since Christmas families have been gathering to analyse Network Ten Publicity Department’s devious clues to try and ascertain which 11 celebrities and Shane Warne will partake in this much-loved fight for survival relevance.
Are you ready to Jungggggllllleeeee?!!!
The starter’s elephant gun is fired as Dr Chris and Lady Julia make an appropriately hammy African Queen-style entrance to our television screens, and before you can say comical over-pronunciation we cut to a montage of helicopters, rapids, elephants and unknown faces covered in masks or grubs or both. Look it’s a truck! Look it’s a hippo! Here’s a truck. There’s an elephant. And now another … truck. Then some form of bird.
Ok fine, the second unit didn’t get enough shots of trademark African animals. But that’s ok we’re here to see the celebrities. And the other people they’ve put in camp with them!
— #ImACelebrityAU (@ImACelebrityAU) January 31, 2016
I’m a celebrity … No, really I am!
The aforementioned over-emphasised truck pulls up to a non-descript corner of the South African plains, and it is carrying a massive star.
No really. A huge yellow star is stuck on the side of it.
And it turns out that Akmal Saleh is also temporarily attached to it as well. Akmal grabs a martini from a waiter, who we soon learn is named George. It’s not entirely clear if George is one of the celebrities. If he isn’t, his agent can probably get him a slot in season three after this sort of exposure.
Soon George and Akmal are joined by Bonnie Lythgoe, a famed triple threat. Yes she’s a star of stage, screen and self-promotion. “You’re Mick Jagger’s wife,” says Akmal. I’m pretty sure he’s joking. And in fact if he could just keep up a constant schtick of mistaking the celebrities for, well, celebrities for the entire season he has my vote.
Next, a red-tighted Anthony Callea arrives bemoaning his separation from Facebook and Instagram, quickly followed by the legs of Courtney Hancock (eventually the camera pans up). We quickly learn that Courtney is an ironwoman. And a hugger. She has all the skills required to succeed in the artificial bonhomie of this jungle hell.
Finally Paul Harragon arrives to complete Celebrity Group A.
Holy flying metaphors Batman!
Then, in the best visual metaphor for their careers these five individuals are ever going to experience, two helicopters swoop in, covering them all in mud, literally sweeping the red carpet out from under their feet and seriously ruining their martinis, before spitting out a television vet and a former celebrity reality competition winner who will now be the face of their humiliation and torture for the forthcoming weeks.
Julia and Chris announce that the BIG NEWS is “the five of you are travelling to camp together”. Calling that news is a damning of the impact budget cuts have had on the Ten News department.
The real big news is these five NEED BETTER REPRESENTATION because it turns out these are the five Celebrities of the final 12 who signed a contract that included the option of unsuspecting parachute jumps. For in a continuing analogy they’re all about to come crashing down to Earth.
In related news, George has disappeared.
And now the live part
The best part of I’m A Celebrity is that it’s live. And by that we mean the small bits with Chris and Julia talking between the tape packages are live. We get our first of these live diamonds now, and as if to prove just how live it all is, Julia quickly references Star Wars. So we know this was definitely filmed post 1977.
Julia and Chris then walk us through the treehouse / basic concept of the series, and kick off the first promotion for the mysterious Shane Warne-type figure set to join up with the dirty near-dozen later.
Then Ten drop in a quick promotion for The X-Files which may have been actual new programming when the first parts of this episode were filmed.
And now six more … celebrities?
Nothing screams perfect I’m A Celebrity candidate like an introductory video featuring the key phrase “people may know me from my roles on…” and frankly that’s the mantra for the Celebrity B Team, who mostly aspire to B-grade status anywhere out of South Africa.
The first to use the catchphrase is Jo Beth Taylor, who also describes herself as a “a bit of a blonde bimbo” and “the bubbly one” before sincerely talking about what it takes to “survive in the entertainment industry as long as I have”.
Arriving at the head of a river, Jo Beth quickly turns to find a banana daiquiri proffered by Not-George to help wash down those whoppers, and turns back to discover Val Lehman from Prisoner sneaking up on her with a shiv. Feigning innocence, Val identifies readily herself as the “who is she” of the bunch, but as the original Bea Smith she has two names, which is two more than several of her camp mates.
“I’m not a bad guy I’m just misunderstood,” mumbles a tough-to-understand Brendan Fevola before stumbling onto screen and asking “is that alcohol?”
Honestly you couldn’t make this stuff up sometimes.
As Australia rubs their collective hands together in anticipation of a Fevola-fuelled farce, the final trio arrive.
Havana Brown is a big-name DJ, Laurina Fleure was on season two of The Bachelor and Dean Geyer has a Wikipedia page.
Jo Beth notes that she remembers Laurina for not eating a dirty pie, which is just the best “why are you famous” answer ever. She politely admits however that she can’t remember Dean. Which is fair. It’s hard to remember people you’ve never heard of.
Chris and Julia arrive to throw this half-a-dozen half-celebrities into the river, but not before Dean proves Fevola can be the smartest person in a room by putting his singlet on backwards. Dean tries to make up for it by proving he can read when he grabs the instructions and sounds them out in a fashion that reminds everyone that school went back this week.
Up a creek without a profile
After a quick live incoming mystery celebrity Warne-ing update from Julia and Chris we cut back to the river, and particularly its rapids, over which we are about to travel via canoe.
Fev and Bea team up in the one canoe with Bea suggesting she’s the brains and he’s the brawn which upsets Fev who assumes he’s also a member of team brain as he doesn’t even own a Braun razor.
Soon enough the good ship Sir Brains-a-lot set off down the river backwards, while and Laurina and Jo Beth decide paddling and panicking are interchangeable.
Jo Beth then delivers the quote of the season so far in narration. “Then I was like ‘oh no my face’,” she deadpans, as we see her contrive to hit herself in the face with her paddle.
Once ashore, Jo Beth receives medical attention to assure her that she is no more unrecognizable than she was 20 minutes ago, while Fev explains just how terrified he is of a well-cleared trail with arrows marking the way to go. It’s the sort of petrifying adrenalin rush that only those who have hiked the most challenging of cinema aisles can possibly empathise with.
The only way is down
Julia and Chris get in a spin about the sports megastar that is currently aboard a Shane – sorry plane. Then…
10,000 feet above a terrified Fev, Paul Harragon, faced with the open door of a helicopter, mouths a word that this show’s time slot assures me is “sheet”.
Having lost the bet over who would be first to discuss bed linen, he is thrown out of the helicopter first. He is very excited by the experience, so much so he once again discusses linen. “Oh sheeeeeeeet!” he exclaims.
Once he’s landed and detached from the guy who did all the work, the former NRL captain explains that he is “absolutely cactus” and that it took it out of him. It’s tough work being dead weight. As all of the contestants on this show can testify.
Back up in the sky, Boob Cam is launched from the chopper. Eventually we discover the face of Courtney as well which is being manipulated by the wind in a way that is sure to launch a thousand memes.
Next up (and soon down) is Lythgow who gets halfway through explaining how she doesn’t think she can do it before they forcibly throw her out of the chopper. Continuing her premature theme, she then gives an interview to the camera halfway down, professing how she never thought she’d do it. She then lands and promptly bursts into tears because she has already used up all the possible things to say.
Akmal jumps out of the chopper with a hairy forearm for company. He lands without much ceremony, in time to report that Callea was physically shaking when he left him up top. We cross back to the chopper where it’s true, Callea is shaking. As is the chopper. And the camera. So it is either a case of nerves or physics.
Despite an effort to build suspense, that includes an unaShaned moment of megastar promotion from Julia and Chris, Callea jumps from the chopper without much fuss. He isn’t even halfway down before the piano music swells though. We cross to mid-air Anthony swearing he’ll never do this again.
Careful Anthony, I said the same thing about watching I’m A Celebrity last year.
Callea quickly demonstrates that he DIDN’T watch the show last year by declaring that having done that it “should be easy from now on”.
I’m sorry, did you just say ‘semi-naked sat nav’?
It seems Dr Chris Brown is willing to go as far as Shane Warne levels of inappropriate communications in order to hint at the identity of the entirely already identified megastar yet to appear on the show.
Having identified the guide who just arrived to lead the celebrities away from their crash zone as “a local tribesman”, Chris, no more than two sentences later, refers to the same individual as a “semi-naked sat nav”.
And here we were concerned that cultural insensitivities might crop up once a Warnie-shaped Shane Warne arrived.
Chris is saved by the beep of another text message about the sense of Shane they should all be feeling. Hmmm, Text Messages. Do you know any celebrities famous for text messaging? Anyone? ANYONE?
It got offal even quicker this year
The “sat nav” formerly known as a human being delivers the Not-Shane Celebrity XI to their first team challenge. It’s Paddlers versus Jumpers, with Jo Beth allowed to sit it out due to having already accepted the challenge of trying to insert a paddle into her own face.
“What in the Wide World Of Sports is that?” says Harragon who has progressed from swearing to namedropping shows from the wrong network, as two pits of fish guts and offal are revealed, beneath two benches upon which sit our campers. Each also has a closed box in their lap, containing two stars and lots of creepy crawlies. And they have to remove those stars, with their teeth.
Akmal and Bea are first to bob for apples, where the apples are stars, and the not-apples are 2000 mealworms. Soon 500 cockroaches are no match for Bonnie nor Fev, while eight eels come face to face with Anthony and Havana and rightly swim away. Box Four sees 15 kilos of maggots go off their food as the faces of Dean and Courtney.
Finally Laurina faces a box full of scorpions while Paul faces his ultimate fear – a lock. It’s a terrifying challenge for each of them. But ultimately Laurina finds it easier to stick her face into a small stinger-filled space than Paul finds it to … insert a key into a lock.
The losers are unceremoniously dumped up to their waists in waste and as Paul shouts a bleeped-out “f**k”, Akmal just gets the f**k out of there by demonstrating that he can walk on water.
Akmal is shamed back into the pit just so the real punishments can be explained. Again.
The losers are set to be punished by being forced to take the long way to camp. They will also be forced to hear Paul refer to the fact that he smells like “putang” without anyone bleeping out anything.
The winners on the other hand get to take a short cut. But they will then be punished by partaking in the longest ever recorded conversation on the topics of long drops, short drops and the need to manually deliver any accidental poos from the short to long drop.
Yes, the long drop has really hit the fans an hour-and-a-half into season two of I’m A Celebrity.
Only Warne short of a dozen
Once the losers make it to camp, they find Fev and Dean gathered around the fire pit trying to make fire from sparking two stones together. It takes the ever MacGyver-like Anthony Callea to point out that the dozen or so lanterns scattered around the camp site all contain flames.
Laurina has a dear diary moment in which she complains about the ‘toxic’ waste they had been dropped in today – not actually toxic – before we see the losers all throw their largely synthetic underwear on the fire, which will ironically create actual toxic fumes.
Then, as Paul and Fev race to start snoring before the audience does, we cut to the surprise Shane Warne reveal of the secret Shane Warne megastar that Julia and Chris have been not saying Shane Warne about all evening.
Suspense. Tension. Adrenalin-fuelled frenzy.
None of these are things that are associated with the audience as Network Ten vastly overuses the LIVE badge over a clearly pre-packaged tape of Shane Warne arriving in the jungle is played.
Who saw that coming?
No seriously, it’s Shane Warne!
Just to ensure this isn’t over-hyped, within two sentences we are informed by Dr Chris “Semi-Naked Sat Nav” Brown that Shane Warne is the biggest celebrity to ever enter the jungle and also Australia’s greatest cricketer, clearly an intentional broadside to the memory of legendary safari enthusiast Don Bradman.
There’s nothing left to do but hype the fact that Shane Warne will be actually live and actually on the show on Monday which will actually be very different.
The (Shane) End (Warne)