It's official. I have a new summer obsession: "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!"
Last night's two-hour premiere was a marathon of train wrecks, egos and schadenfreude ... and I loved every second of it. Who knew that watching Stephen Baldwin, Lou Diamond Phillips, Sanjaya and Janice Dickinson chow down on raw tripe and cow-intestine milkshakes would bring me such immense joy?
In a weird way, I was proud of my home-team players, Spencer and Heidi Pratt. Those two MTV superstars stole the show with their delusional expectations, spontaneous prayer sessions and cartoonish scheming.
Here are my five fave Speidi moments from the premiere of "I'm a Celeb ...":
5) The 9th contestant on the show? Heidi's hair-care products. During the final live moments (where the celebs were put in positions resembling waterboarding — except instead of liquid, they were covered with creepy crawlies), Heidi sat the challenge out and personally contributed to 40 percent of our ozone layer's depletion by obsessively spraying her hair. Random side note: Heidi without makeup? Awesome. Remember the old Heidi, the one from the first couple of seasons on "The Hills," when she looked ... um ... different? Apparently, when she doesn't have a hair and makeup team touching her up every five minutes, Heidi looks a lot like her younger self. Perhaps all those plastic surgery rumors are fake after all?
4) Speidi eat gross things. In a food challenge, the "celebs" were forced to down nasty jungle treats, or as WWE's Diva Torrie Wilson put it, "delicatessens." Heidi chomped on a rat tail (with ferocious focus), Speidi ate a live bug, and both swallowed their pride.
3) Speidi tried to quit the show almost as many times as they tried to get married. At first they were pissed that the no-namers in the cast would hurt their (ahem) credibility. Then they freaked out because they thought the jungle was gonna be like a spa retreat. Then Heidi realized she wasn't going to have sex with Spencer for three weeks and threw a tantrum. THEN they just decided to make a run for it, only to be stopped by show producers. (If only there were Tasers involved.) In any case, Spencer and Heidi masterfully positioned themselves as the show's major plot through-line.
2) Speidi reach out to Patti Blagojevich. In an oddly almost-moving moment, Heidi and Spencer offer solace to the wife of fallen Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich with a prayer. Speidi (and Janice Dickinson) think Rob is being unfairly persecuted for his federal corruption charges, so the newlyweds pray for Patti and her family, moving Mrs. Blagojevich to tears. (I don't think she realized that Speidi weren't being 100 percent sincere. Is anything they do in front of a camera not completely calculated? Also, how depressing is it that this lady is on the show?)
1) Spencer disses "The Hills." After Heidi suffered a meltdown of Susan Boyle proportions, Spencer quipped, "First time you cried on TV that's not fake!" Snap! Honorable mention: admitting that his apology to the other celebs for being a twerp was his first "real" apology ... thus implying his LC mea culpa on "The Hills" was bogus.
The Speidi saga was just the tip of the iceberg in the epic two-hour broadcast. We also learned that Sanjaya can swallow iguana tails whole, VH1 "Best Week Ever" stars Frangela don't know how to walk and Damien Fahey scored an awesome post-"TRL" gig hosting a high-profile summer reality show on a major network.
If you missed all the "Celeb" excitement last night, turns out MTV will be re-airing this week's episodes in a mini-marathon this weekend, so make sure to tune in. Tonight is when America gets to vote, and I know I'll be voting through Speidi to the end, if only to watch them squirm on TV and get covered in jungle slime for three more weeks. Let's keep 'em on the show, kids! Start the voting campaigns now! Save/torture Speidi!! (Although rumors are now flying that the couple has quit the show ... again. We'll have to tune in tonight to find out, I guess. I'm shaking my fists at those brilliant PR peeps at NBC as we speak.)
Anyone else catch the premiere? What did you think? Are you as hooked as I am? Weigh in below!