On the 7th December, a most undesirable event befell me. I had the misfortune of seeing, for the first time, the abomination that is I’m A Celebrity. It so happened to be the final, which, helpfully or unhelpfully, provided a recap of the whole series – meaning I was presented not only with the most recent trials, such as the consumption of unappetising parts of both camel and ostrich, but with a horrific past instance of a contestant drinking deer’s blood.
I had heard a great deal about this show prior to seeing it, of course. It is extremely difficult to avoid, what with the painful media focus on bikini bodies and jungle flirtations, and the fact that it seems to dominate headlines throughout the few weeks of its run. What I had not realised, however, was the sheer depravity of it. Drinking deer’s blood? Really? In what world do we live that considers this a suitable form of entertainment? Forcing someone to search for tokens underwater, a fear that she has previously stated to be her greatest, simply to ensure that she receives a meal for herself and her campmates? I am aware that the jungle experience is meant to be challenging, and battling for privileges (if food can be considered a privilege) is part of this experience, but why is it something that we watch? Who was it that originally thought ‘Yes! Forget quality scripts and talented acting! What we need on our televisions is a program where ‘celebrities’ drink blood and have to face scorpions with just their tongues – or, to add just a touch of extra spice, are almost buried alive!’?
It does not take too great a leap of imagination to compare this to popular fictional contests both past and present, whether remaining within the realm of television, or branching out to film and literature. While there is no competitive murder involved, it is the gruelling and torturous elements of these contests that draws us in, and keeps us watching. What will happen next? What new trauma will the contestants experience? Which gruesome part of a fellow creature will they be forced to consume, for the sake of our entertainment? I admit, I watched the entirety of the final as a result of this common morbid curiosity, but it was nearly too much – it sickened me that this was the depths to which entertainment has sunk, and I felt almost as if I needed a cold shower after the show had finished to rid myself of the stain of it. I just hope that the drop in ratings from previous years (a positive sign, I pray, that this is not in fact what the viewing public truly want to see) will make the creators of I’m A Celebrity think just a little harder about the nature, content, and sheer baseness of the ‘entertainment’ that they are producing. It is not entertaining in the slightest: and if it is sincerely considered as such, then God help us all.