Mouthing off: Great promo, forget about the show

There's no doubt about it: I'm A Celebrity??? Get Me Out Of Here! has me hooked.

I simply cannot stop speculating on who's going into the jungle. A hair-raising footballer? A middlingly successful singer? A comedian with false teeth?

Deciphering the clues offered by the ads and by the dutiful Big Bash League commentary team has become one of summer TV's most enjoyable intellectual exercises. I can't wait to find out whether my guesses (Ben Elton, btw) are correct or not. The trouble is, once we find out who's in the jungle, they go through with the actual show. All those people sitting in a clearing talking about toilet paper for weeks on end. The show just can't live up to the anticipation.

Realistically, it's well past time we recognised there are two kinds of TV shows: the ones we like watching, and the ones we like looking forward to. I'm A Celebrity is the latter. And there's nothing wrong with that: we just need to admit there is more than one way TV can delight us.

If I'm A Celebrity aired the elaborate unveiling of its cast, then packed up and said see you next year, everyone would be happy. It's a rare quality to entertain more in the hypothetical than the actual.

Now, Game of Thrones, there's a show you really want to actually be on TV. It just wouldn't be the same if all we got was Dr Chris Brown hinting at who would claim the Iron Throne.

On the other hand, I don't think we need Neighbours to be produced in its entirety - just a regular stream of ads introducing the new resident bad girl of Ramsay Street should keep us satisfied without having to resort to making a whole show. Once we embrace this obvious delineation, I think TV will take its next great leap forward.

This story Mouthing off: Great promo, forget about the show first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.