07/14/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here Episode 7 Recap: Hitting Its Stride

Something weird happened as I watched Thursday night's episode of I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! I enjoyed myself.

Don't get me wrong, it's still terrible, disgusting, and demeaning even to the rest of reality television. And for the record, most of my previous recaps have pointed that out. I couldn't even get through Wednesday night's episode without a few beers. OK, more than a few. Too many to count.

But Thursday night, for the first time, I think I'm A Celebrity found its stride. I still can't stand half of the celebrities, but I couldn't tear my eyes away, either. The conflicts may be fake (planned and encouraged by the producers), but now they're so real (inherently dramatic). It may be a fluke--I'm perfectly ready to go back to hating the show and everything it stands for--but Thursday night, I was pleasantly surprised.

Here are some highlights:

Janice's "extended" big-break story was excellent. I know it was probably edited to make it look worse and taken out of context, but I don't care, it's brilliant. Good work, editors.

It is pretty amazing that Patti Blagojevich recognizes that the reason she's famous and on this show is because of something terrible. Not amazing enough for me to feel any sympathy for her, but amazing, and surprising.

It's funny that they get to lounge on inflatable rafts in the river. The celebrities don't get any food other than rice and beans but the producers have provided a giant inflatable whale? Fantastic.

These Skype phone calls are surprisingly enjoyable. Seeing Rod Blagojevich at home with his kids is interesting. It's weird that everyone else in camp is watching them, though. But these people were home two weeks ago! They must've left home for more than two weeks before! Lou even said his kid looked like she got bigger. What? And Daniel Baldwin was home just a few days ago--could his wife's stomach really have gotten noticeably bigger? But the best part has to be the hosts struggling to get through the lines they were fed while keeping a straight face: "Some incredibly emotional stuff right there." You wish. Nice job.

Sanjaya breaking down while calling Lou Diamond Philips a father figure is causing a visceral reaction in me... it's not a positive reaction, but it's intense, and if reality television can do that, it must be good, right?

It's sad that Daniel is going home, only because I enjoyed when he and Stephen would gang up on Janice.

Speaking of Janice, why was she yelling "Say no to Prop 8!" as Daniel was hugging everyone and saying goodbye? And why did no one else react? And why did they not show her on camera at all while she was screaming? Something fishy is going on. I don't understand. But at least it's intriguing. Also, the fact that Janice is exempt again for medical reasons from the next challenge is ridiculous. But I do want to come back for more...