Why ‘I’m a Celebrity’ has been such a breath of fresh air this year

30 Jan 2021

From left to right: Jack Vidgen, Paulini Curuenavuli, Toni Pearen, Jess Eva, Grant Denyer, Travis Varcoe, Abbie Chatfield, Alli Simpson, Ash Williams, Robert DiPierdimenico, Pettitfleur Berenger, Colin Fassnidge image courtesy of New Idea

When I’m a Celebrity announced their cast this year, I was chuffed, as one of my favourite irreverant comedians Ash Williams, was among the celebs heading into the ‘so-called jungle’ (in reality the bush out the back of far northern NSW near the QLD border).

What escapist fun it has been this year, with a strong undertone of personal development and being truly inspiring to people, young and old. We have been allowed the complete departure from our everyday lives to feel the conveyed confidence from Jack Vidgen (and occassionally Dipper as well) snapping his fingers and saying ‘YES BITCH!!!’

I’m a Celeb has brought us all back in front of the telly again and enabled us to shut the laptops, have a drink and have a good belly laugh, completely switching off from the day. It has really been something to look forward to. Gushing about Julia Morris‘s style has become a daily occurrence (me EVERY night “omg she looks incredible”).

With a diverse cast including the beautiful, funny and real Abbie Chatfield (god I wish she’d been on TV when I was a teenager! What a girl!), former AFL footballer and all-round nice guy Robert (Dipper) DiPierdimenico (please give us Dipper’s DMs as a real show!!), Gold logie winner and extremely layered personality Grant Denyer (who I am sure has a second life as a stand-up comedian, he’s REALLY funny), charming self-proclaimed bogan Jess Eva (anyone else want her as your best friend? Also, pre-order her book ‘Why Wouldn’t Ya!‘ it looks good!), the gorgeous, honey-voiced and lovely bully-destroyer Paulini, recently retired AFL footballer Travis Varcoe (what an awesome bloke), MKR straight-talker (we all need it sometimes) and large cooking-pot owner Colin Fassnidge, former Gogglebox best mates Adam & Symon (splitting them up was like splitting up Hamish & Andy, traumatising), confidence queen and former Real Housewife of Melbourne Pettifleur Berenger (I want a pep talk from Pettifleur!!), comedian and dog lover Mel Buttle (who I was so sad to see go so early but she still had a big impact) and more.

I can honestly say I really liked every single person in that ‘so-called jungle’ this year. So much was addressed in a real manner, racism, sexism, homophobia, poverty, and it was all handled with such empathy and people chatting about it in a way that connects with kids and adults alike. The contestants were generally respectful, and learned a lot about each other, and things they may not understand as well.

However, former 90s TV star and pop idol Toni Pearen, is someone we really need to talk about. Of course, growing up in that era (albeit as a young kid), I knew of her, but, I don’t think anyone (aside from her close family and friends) knew of the sheer guts, determination and heart that she has shown on this year’s cycle.

Toni Pearen, all-round superstar, and my favourite from this year’s I’m a Celebrity

Having the face of someone you just want to spill your guts to, and tell her all your secrets (she LOOKS nice, how? I can’t tell you, obviously she’s very pretty, I just mean she just looks like a nice person), Toni Pearen has continually shown up to smash expectations, kick arse and take names.

In one challenge, she admitted to being scared of snakes, and then promptly got bitten on the face by a snake FIVE TIMES. No-one would have begrudged her for leaving after that, but did she? Nope!

After that, Toni then went on a giant fear-inducing height-trial where she managed to get all the stars, purely from gumption, grit and pushing through. What an incredible inspiration this was to young girls everywhere. You can do anything. Toni jumping to get the last big star was an amazing and iconic moment to watch.

I’ve found myself so, so endeared to the women on this season and screaming and cheering for them every step of the way. I spat out toothpaste with joy and was jumping up and down when Toni jumped to get her big star, I was shouting “no no no oh poor Abbie!!!!” when Abbie got bitten by the snake (and then put her hands BACK IN!!!! WOW!!), I was laughing and rooting for Jess when she threw her pants off after the ‘ants in your pants’ trial, I was shouting ‘get it Pettifleur!!’ when she was exuding confidence and showing them all how it’s done. I was shouting during Alli’s ‘hellevator’ trial at how CRAZY that was!! The push of these women!!! The message is clear – if they can do THAT, I can do this one thing!

The great thing about I’m a Celeb is that it’s a family show, the hosts are hilarious, the challenges are jaw-dropping, the contestants this year were all lovely, and that there are so many teachable moments during the program. I think Winston the Wombat of Winfinite Wisdom would be proud of everyone, hosts, casts and crew, for the fantastic accomplishment of this year’s show.

After the absolute garbage bag of a year 2020 was for so many people, to be able to turn the news off, put your phone down and scream, laugh and cry with a bunch of relatable people – I’d say you’ve likely got some new faves. Forget your troubles! If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend checking it out on the 10Play app!

Things I want now:

  • Toni Pearen new album
  • Paulini new album
  • Jack Vidgen new album
  • Grant Denyer comedy tour
  • Pettifleur Tony Robbins-style conference (or book?)
  • Ash Williams ‘tell-all’ show (he’s copped a fair bit of flack that I think is just misunderstanding his comedy style)
  • Jess Eva book tour!!! Can I get mine signed please?
  • Dipper’s DMs new TV show
  • Abbie Chatfield show at the comedy festival (maybe for her podcast? Also I just want only good things for Abbie omg)

I just want to see so much more of these people!

Who will you be voting for this year? Grant, Abbie, Travis, Ash, Toni, Jess or Colin? I’ve thrown a vote to them all because I like them all so, so much but most of my votes are going to Toni Pearen!

Text TONI to 1995 1010!

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