Another day, another celebrity putting themselves out there to be mocked and humiliated in an ill-advised attempt to raise their fame.
This is a fantastic time of year. The fragrance of jasmine fills the room. That golden afternoon light has decided to stay a little longer. And SAS Australia is set to return to television screens.
Nothing puts a bounce in your step like seeing a celebrity get waterboarded on national television.
The intense Channel 7 reality series, which premieres Monday at 7.30 p.m., follows a group of celebrities (cough) as they through a rigorous military training program designed to physically and psychologically shatter them.
But there’s a lot more to it than that. SAS Australia’s real charm and subtlety cannot be expressed in a single statement.
It’s not only about celebrities being waterboarded, for example. They’re also thrown from helicopters.
Last year, an injured Roxy Jacenko resigned after being shoved out of a helicopter and then assaulted in the face by former Iron Woman Candice Warner barely hours into the course.
Candice was hauled into a concrete prison cell in the middle of the night, shackled to a metal chair, and ruthlessly grilled by professional military personnel about her famed toilet tryst scandal, while we watched with our jaws open. Then the communal toilet pail at the campsite burst on her. (As a side note, toilets were a recurring topic throughout the series.) If you’re looking for symbolism, think of the green light in The Great Gatsby.
The celebs had no idea what they were in for because this was the first season of the show. They had no clue that every embarrassing gaffe and scandal from their past would be shown live on national television.
That was one of the reasons I was skeptical of the second season. After witnessing how last year’s went, I figured there was no way any celebs would want to be a part of this. Producers would have to recruit some genuine ding-dongs.
Whelp. They were up to the task. On Monday, we’ll see 18 people who look familiar.
Brynne Edelsten is there. An ex-Miss World Australia contestant. A Bra Boy, to be precise.
I can confirm that it delivers based on a sneak peak at the first episode. It’s the type of thing that happens at a million miles per hour.
We witness Manu and Mark Philippoussis taking a crap just a few minutes into the debut. Free-to-air television is not dead, ladies and gentlemen.
Sam Burgess, the disgraced football player, is the main drawcard, coming off a tumultuous divorce, many court appearances, and a drug-driving conviction. On Monday’s episode, the troops question him. Fingers hoped that his ex-wife Phoebe goes rouge and Goggleboxes his performance on Instagram Live. While applying her endorsing moisturizers, she can let loose.
Former Home And Away actor Dan Ewing deserves particular notice. It’s apparent he’s our SAS MVP from the moment he appears on screen. Why? Let’s just say he has a smidgeon of Firass Diranis in him.
Last year, Firass was a competitor, and he — how can we put this without sounding dramatic? — utterly destroyed his acting career. Soldiers, celebrities, and the general public reacted angrily to his poor behavior. He took himself extremely seriously, was completely oblivious to how he seemed on television, and made Australia cringe every time he spoke in woo-woo actorly terms about his “trade.”
Exhibit A: “I’d like to leap over the gulf of self-discovery.” I’m trying to see if I can… actualize. To test if I’m capable of becoming the person I’ve imagined. I just want to push myself to dig.”
Dan Ewing, who played Dan Firass in Home And Away, apparently missed Firass’ car crash SAS performance because he performs the same thing with the contemplative reflections.
He refers to himself in the third person when he says, “There’s no acting on this course for me — this is Dan Ewing.” “So, what does Dan Ewing do when he doesn’t get enough sleep? What will Dan do if he hasn’t eaten in a while? When he’s shivering and getting yelled at? When Dan Ewing’s back is against the wall, what does he do?”
All of these are critical inquiries. And he’s not done yet.
“Dan Ewing at 35 is not the same person as Dan Ewing at 25. He tells us that he wakes up every day, meditates, journals, and exercises. “Obviously, there will be elements that you’ll notice in some of my films – because people are familiar with me because of my films.”
Did you just cringe as you read that? It made me squirm as I typed it. Someone start the meme generator.
He’s like a never-ending present. Later, before a challenge, he meditates while sitting cross-legged on a mound with his eyes closed. He is immediately yelled at by a military.
He then brags to another soldier about a movie he was in while being teargassed.
It’s something they’ve never heard of before. We haven’t either. A simple Google search reveals that the film has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 47%.
On the other side, what about SAS Australia? 100% of the time. Five out of five stars. All of the Logies should be given to it.
SAS Australia premieres on Seven at 7.30 p.m. on Monday.