I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! Returned for it’s 13th series last week and, aside from Matthew Wright's wibbling and a memorable cameo from Rebecca Adlington's tampon, it was sweet-but-dim Joey Essex that got everyone talking. Here, Paul Flynn tells us why….
If you want to do a little sociological research as to why Joey Essex is turning into the best reality show contestant ever, pop down your local boozer. Somewhere amid every male friendship group there is a man-child that doesn’t like ‘confrontating’, can’t eat a bar snack ‘because it smells of willy’ and over-sprays his DSquared2 aftershave. Joey is denoted by his strange mixture of naivety, vanity and incorruptibility. He’s the innocent who takes the shame of the gang. He is attractive to women in a way that other men will never understand. He is permanently cast in the role of the little brother. His hair, vocabulary, demeanour and all-round sense of wonky, super-groomed wrongness make him a mascot of male lovability. How can you not adore a man who can pull off wearing hot-pants with sincerity?
Joey’s type of maleness doesn’t talk with his brain or brawn, his fists or crotch. His is a maleness that talks with a curiously winning combination of hair product and purity. He is the boy that granny’s still want to pinch the cheeks of, despite being fully grown. Every gang needs a Joey. Niall is the Joey of One Direction. Alfred is the Joey of Downton. Todd was the Joey of Breaking Bad. Joey Barton, pleasingly, is the Joey of football. The Coalition really needs a Joey. In life, as in I’m a Celeb, you want a Joey because he has not denied his difficulties, complications or faltering inadequacies but turned them into something rather wonderful.
5 Reasons Why We Love Jungle Joey
1. Because he made up a a new word in the English language: ‘I’m not a very confrontational person. I’ll only confrontate someone if it’s for a purpose.’
2. Because he worries about the big things: 'One of things I'm probably most worried about [in the jungle] is doing my hair. It's really naturally wavy, so if it's got nothing in it, no product, then it'll be really, really wavy.'
3. He doesn’t know stuf: 'It's snowing!' (it’s hailing).
4. But he thinks he knows stuff: ‘So the rainforest, it obviously rains on purpose, dunnit?"
5. Fashion is always the first thing he thinks about: ‘Are these manbags?’ (they’re water canisters).