I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! Episode 3 Recap: "An Increasingly Awkward Con Job"

07/05/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Rob Cohen Rob Cohen is a television writer, most recently of "Jobsite" on the History Channel.

First they were there. Then they quit. Then they came back. Then they quit -- off camera. Then, in pre-taped footage, they were there. Then they quit again. And then, live, during the third episode, just two days after the whole thing began, they're back, begging for forgiveness. Whether this is actually a strategy to win the game or just to stay in the news for as long as possible, Heidi and Spencer are milking this show for all it's worth, and NBC doesn't seem to be catching on yet. They also seem to be missing the almost-universal negative press, like James Hibberd's declaration that this is becoming "an increasingly awkward con job." I guess any press is good press for Speidi.

Here's a recap of Wednesday night's episode. Thank God there's only one more left this week. As if the show weren't excruciating enough, having to watch it every night is killing me a little on the inside. I guess that's better than having my hand torn apart by angry rats.

Act One:
So they're beginning with a recap of last night's awkward live vote-off segment. They really don't have anything better to show us?

Apparently not, because now we're onto an entire segment about Janice accidentally spilling water into John Salley's boot. Do they really expect Lou Diamond Phillips to be able to spice this conflict up in a confessional? This is boring, even for I'm A Celebrity, and that's saying something.

I don't understand what they're asking us to vote on. All we've seen is them hanging out with each other in the jungle. Can't there be some ruse so we can at least pretend it's not a straight popularity contest?

Act Two:
As the feud between John and Janice continues into and through the duration of act two, I'm beginning to see a major flaw in the production of this show: if they have only one day to film and edit material for the next day's episode, there's not enough time to manipulate the situation or to edit it together to make it at least marginally entertaining. This, of course, assumes that reality shows that do have enough time are at least marginally entertaining, another assumption I'm beginning to question.

Act Three:
I guess because of the shampoo-feud, Janice has decided to sit out the food challenge. What is the point of this show? If you can just sit out of something you don't want to do and claim you're "sick," where's the conflict? It kind of makes me think that these other celebrities want to stick their hands in that wall of spiders, rats, and... fish? These celebrities look a little too happy about what's going on.

Also, John Salley, if you can stick your hand in a contained space with two tarantulas, you might need to rethink your definition of arachnophobia. You don't have it.

Act Four:
Lou Diamond Phillips is a trooper. He needs medical attention, but don't worry, "He's fine." Then why does he need medical attention? But despite his leadership abilities and tolerance for pain, he doesn't have much of a way with words. "One way or another, I was coming out of there with that star." One way or another? What other way is there to come out with the star besides sticking your hand in and just coming out with the star?

Please let this charade end soon. Four acts already feels like too much.

Act Five:
Boy, am I glad I stuck around for this act. Glad, of course, is relative. It's getting harder and harder to feel any amount of joy or happiness while watching this show. But the appearance of Daniel Baldwin was slightly entertaining, even if it was hinted at over the past few days. It's funny to watch NBC invent news ways to sell out every night.

And then came the bombshell: Heidi and Spencer are back, pleading insanity to right their wrong of leaving camp so impulsively. It might be the least sincere apology speech I've ever heard. They want to learn from the experiences of the other celebrities? Spencer wasn't going to pass some sort of 600 question psych test? What are they talking about? If I were on the jury, I wouldn't let them off so easy; you can't plead insanity if you were never sane to begin with.

However, it will be nice to have them back. Not because I like them. But because every good story needs an antagonist (or two). Throughout this episode, they've been trying to turn Janice into the bad guy. She made John Salley cry! But she's nothing compared to Speidi. Bring on the character conflict.

And putting them back in the Lost Chamber is brilliant. Just when I thought the world was no longer just, the producers have thought of the perfect punishment for the pair of deserters. Having them spend the night with rats, spiders, and jungle slime (is there any challenge that won't involve rats, spiders, and jungle slime?) is so perfect, it makes me think this entire plot was planned in advance.

Act Six:
After such an exciting fifth act, this three-minute act was a bit of a throwaway. Will they let Heidi and Spencer back? Is it even really the celebrities' decision? I'd imagine this whole Speidi conflict is fueling ratings, and when 6.4 million viewers constitutes a "good" hour for NBC, they need all the help they can get.