Lou Diamond Phillips wins I’m a Celebrity 2, less shocking than co-host saying, “we’ll see you next year”

After three and a half long weeks, I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here 2 ended, and the best and most obvious choice, Lou Diamond Phillips, won the show. Keeping with the show’s failure to have coherent rules or structure, there was no word at all about how much money his charity received or even how much money was raised by the show through all of the requests for money. John Salley was eliminated first and Torrie Wilson came in second, if you care. “It was incredibly close,” Damian Fahey said. That’s obvious, because when no one is voting, the margin isn’t that big.

Six years ago, CBS sued ABC over the first season of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here, claiming that it infringed upon Survivor‘s “format, look and feel,” a legal challenge CBS lost in court and I’m sure was embarrassed by once the show debuted, because ABC’s series was nothing at all like CBS’ marquee reality show. Instead, it was, at best, a weak version of Big Brother in the jungle, with a tarp to keep the celebrities dry, weak challenges, and non-celebrity celebrities.

The surprising part was that six years later, pretty much nothing changed after NBC acquired the format; it was the same weak series all around, although with more media attention. About the only entertaining or interesting thing about the show was all the press it generated from off-camera drama with certain personalities.

Early in last night’s episode, Lou Diamond Phillips said, “this is the real deal,” but clearly he’s not quite aware of what the “real deal” is. Sleeping on a cot under a tarp may not be as comfortable as home, but it’s like a four-star hotel when compared to Survivor. Later, co-host Myleen Klass said, “We’re live in camp where the rain is pouring down on us,” but they were completely dry because they were under the tarp.

The best part of the second season’s finale was that it included a lot of recaps, so after fast forwarding, it was maybe 20 minutes of real content. Before it concluded, there was one final, stupid challenge, and once again it involved animals and insects, because why be creative now? Torrie Wilson even revealed how non-challenging the challenges are when she got into pool with several small crocodiles; after retrieving two stars from its bottom, she picked up one and kissed it, revealing to us that its snout was tied shut. Frightening!

Far scarier was the way Damien Fahey–who responded well to my criticism of this awful show–said “2009” after the show’s title multiple times, and then his co-host, Myleen Klass, ended the season by saying, and I wish I was making this up, “We’ll see you next year.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.