It's hard to believe that the last season of I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! was on the air in the US just 6 short years ago. How have we survived since 2003 without the nightly foibles of semi-celebrities romping through the jungle, thousands of feet (maybe even miles) from the nearest luxury resort? So much has happened on television between then and now, it's almost impossible to imagine a world in which names like Tila Tequila and Flava' Flav weren't household, but reality TV has come a long way. And while the last six years have brought us award winning comedies like The Office and 30 Rock, the end of groundbreaking shows like The Sopranos and Sex and the City, and the bulk of cult favorites like 24, Lost, and Arrested Development, in the canon of brilliant, industry-changing television programming, they all pale in comparison to I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! Those shows have helped us bide our time between seasons, but it's finally back, and, dare I say it, better than ever.
Mostly thanks to Rod Blagojevich. I'll admit I wasn't super-interested in the show until I learned that Blago was a contestant... or at least was trying to be. Though some news outlets reported that he was officially cast, turns out he did some illegal stuff, or something, and might be on probation, maybe, and isn't allowed to leave the country, I guess. Come on! Who do you have to buy off in Hollywood just to illegally escape the legal system you took an oath to uphold?
Whether or not he realized what he was doing (which may be dependent upon whether or not he realized Costa Rica isn't in the United States), the controversy is now moot, as he is awaiting trial in the US and forbidden from competing on the show. Lucky for us, though, his wife, Patricia, is taking his place, which might be the most brilliant move NBC has made in the last decade besides canceling ER. Talk about D-list celebrities... Mrs. Blago would be completely unheard of if it weren't for the disgusting, grossly illegal, incredibly corrupt, and embarrassingly disgraceful actions of her husband as Governor. Glad to see that she's making the best of her situation, most likely by humiliating herself even further. But hey, the cast does get paid a fair amount for appearing on the show... maybe she's trying to raise money to buy her husband's seat as Governor back from Roland Burris. In any case, Jeff Zucker, I salute you.
(Side note: IMDB still has a photo of Rod, as if he were a contestant. It's fantastic. Makes me wish we could banish him into the jungle forever.
And that's not all. Over the next few weeks, I'll be following the show and chronicling the mishaps of the entire cast, which this season includes Heidi and Spencer of The Hills, Sanjaya of American Idol, John "Spider" Salley, Stephen Baldwin, Frangela, Janice Dickinson, Lou Diamon Phillips, and Torrie Wilson. Each has his or her own reason for appearing on this show, none of them sensical. I guess they do have a little something to gain, and absolutely nothing left to lose. Just the way I like it.
So join me on this journey, every night (Monday to Thursday) at 8pm from June 1 to June 24 with recaps, commentary, and in-depth analysis shortly following each episode. And yes, you heard right: four nights a week for four weeks. It's the most jam-packed chunk of nonsense on NBC since The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.