Every student’s favourite, The Guardian, recently described the latest series of Celebrity Big Brother as a “grim, unwatchable carnival of misery”. But that doesn’t really do the show enough justice. It’s more like a bacchic jamboree where forgotten Z-listers slink off like ageing cats to die, a festering festival of vitriol and vindication; the kind of fun-fair held out-of-town by peculiar ‘carnie’ types with about one set of teeth between an entire family. An aberration; a stain; a miserable little televisual wet turd.
And yet there’s something gallingly compelling about it all. Abuse, melt-downs and the increasingly bemused Keith Chegwin- like a confused elderly extended Uncle who’s wandered into the wrong house for a family party- this series has had it all. Akin to idly flicking through the darker parts of 4Chan or Reddit, or similar to that moment you crane your neck to look at an accident on the side of the road, the show has a bitterly addictive quality to it. The trashier it becomes the harder it is to tear yourself away, and that is of course exactly what Channel 5 wants.
And on the subject of trash, the first to find themselves hauled from the compound was Jeremy Jackson, famous for being a meth head. And also for starring in Baywatch. In actual fact he wasn’t evicted but ejected, for drunkenly groping at fellow housemate, Chloe Goodman. Naturally no winners emerged in this tawdry episode, with Chloe left understandably terrified, whilst a pissed and witless Jeremy was sent into isolation before getting the boot, dispatched into a small room which basically emerged as Big Brother’s equivalent to the Supernanny naughty-step for would be sex pests. Not many other shows manage to turn sexual abuse into an entertainment form, but CBB took it in its stride.
Ken Morley was the second to be kicked out. When he first waddled in he seemed quite an affable little man, and with his round friendly face and penchant for bright articles of clothing, he looked a bit one of those harmless old timers who get in your way when you’re trying to power walk your way through the Arts Centre on a Sunday, fiddling around with a walking stick whilst hanging about to watch The Theory of Everything,or something.
Not so. In a disastrous turn of events, it turned out nice old boy Ken was actually a bit of an arsehole, and not, in any way, ‘cute’, in that rather patronising way we sometimes like to applaud elderly people. No, Ken was instead a pug nosed lingering fart of a man, the sort of git you might see drinking in The Jet if you ever plucked up enough courage to go and buy yourself a drink there. He said some sexist things, and then some racist things, and then goodbye. Bye Ken!
So with the pervert and the racist banished, doomed to the very bottom of the Mail’s sidebar of shame for the rest of eternity, the braying British public began scrabbling around for another hate figure. Except we didn’t have to scrabble around for very long. For emerging ready-made from out of the golden celebrity shit heap came American showbiz blogger, Perez Hilton.
Perez is widely hated for his infamous brand of internet trolling and it’s amazing how well he lives up to this reputation in real life. He has the look of a dementedly metrosexual Tyrion Lannister kicked through last season’s Urban Outfitters catalogue; his eyes constantly trained on the nearest mirror to make sure that he hasn’t disappeared into the arrogant gravitational pull of his own gaping backside. But then what can you expect from someone who re-named themselves in honour of Paris Hilton, a woman so utterly unnecessary that her entire existence can probably be summed up in one word: why?
Speaking of why: why on earth did the formerly very attractive Alicia Douvall feel the need to undergo over 350 plastic surgery procedures? Unfortunately, she now looks slightly like the image of one of those novelty twenty quid sex doll reflected back into a spoon, and a soup spoon at that. She hasn’t really ingratiated herself with her new housemates, and didn’t help herself out by recently revealing that she only got around to learning the alphabet in the past three years. She’s 35.
This particularly irked the human sluice gate that is Katie Hopkins, who has somewhat bizarrely positioned herself as the sort of moral arbiter of the house. Which makes about as much sense as the BBC getting Nigel Farage to DJ on BBC 1Xtra. Or the MOBOs getting our good old friend Ken onstage to present an award. Don’t worry, Hopkins is still a classist old cow, she’s just slightly less of one given the people she’s in close proximity to at the moment.
But still, the fact that she’s one of the more measured personalities pretty much tells you all you need to know. Celebrity Big Brother is an awful show, really, evoking vitriol and vindication not only in its contestants, but in everyone watching it, too. Which, in a roundabout sort of way, makes it the perfect television programme of our age. So, go on. Switch it on and join the dark side. I think.