Celebrity Treasure Island recap: Lord of the Flies-style survival instincts kick in for the famous faces

When you deprive Olympians, athletes, media personalities, opera stars and overly-competitive weathermen of food, put them in choppy Fijian seas, and force them to wrestle over an inner tube, should you really be shocked to see them fight like animals?

Team Mako. Source: 1 NEWS

It took approximately 72 hours for the Lord of the Flies-style survival instincts to kick in for the famous faces marooned on Celebrity Treasure Island. And it was glorious to watch.

Radio presenter Sam Wallace claimed Sol3 Mio’s Moses Mackay tried to drown him (he was underwater for exactly 1.12 seconds).

Champion rower Eric Murray literally dragged champion boxer Shane Cameron halfway across Fiji’s waterfront. Olympic legend Barbara Kendall was a beast in the water - but was no match for a surprisingly physical telly host, Shannon Ryan.

All that to win some herbs and spices in the revamped reality TV juggernaut’s third episode.

But the madness began the minute the Olympic duo of Barbara and Eric speed boated their way onto the island with a "King of the World" moment on Sunday night, and were quickly forced to run around the island to find their other, terribly hidden, teammates to kick off the series.

Hello Sam Wallace, grinning like a Cheshire cat inside a coffin. Bula actress Jodie Rimmer! Are you comfy stuffed in that barrel, and can you do your influencing all caged up, The GC star Rosanna Arkle?

There were clues and keys for tiny boxes.

There were men failing to hear bang-on advice from their female teammates (I’m not saying Eric ignored Jodie, but come on, he did!)

And then, there was Karl Burnett.

The ex-Shorty legend was tied to a pole alongside Shane, and quickly forgotten when Eric’s Team Kahu bolted towards the finish line without him. It was equally heart-breaking and deadpan-hilarious.

Karl Burnett all tied up. Source: 1 NEWS

And that’s where the show is different to the one I remember from years gone by.

It’s funny. Like, really, properly funny - as it should be. Spending three nights a week watching these brave/stupid celebrities throw themselves into muddy paddling pools, rolling giant puzzle blocks, and bickering over who’s doing the sweeping, should be fun.

Shane Cameron caked in mud. Source: 1 NEWS

This is our chance, as average folk, to have a giggle at the expense of these beautiful, successful people as they wriggle in discomfort and fight to the death to win.

And watching Rosanna attempt to shimmy a biscuit down her face using only her Botox-infused forehead to win $5,000 for her charity, quickly followed by a mud challenge that saw Jodie and Shane waddling along like mud-carrying Quasimodo made one of the most iconic 60 minutes in recent TV history.

Camera people, in the words of host Matt Chishom, step away from your buckets, and stop filming now - we just won’t beat that.

Although whoever came up with the charity challenge of "Potato in a hole" was certainly trying…

Silliness aside, even early on there have been some very real moments on the reality show. And the serious and candid conversations that come from being filmed all hours of the day, in a strange and unfamiliar environment, have been revealing.

Ex-All Black Zac Guildford opened up about his "troubled" past and answered flippant questions from his teammates about any prison time he’s racked up (nothing official, despite what Sam Wallace might think).

While new dad Karl shared honest and brave revelations about his struggle with depression and anxiety, and ultimately chose to remove himself from the game.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Carolyn Robinson spoke with Burnett, who played Nick Harrison on Shortland Street. Source: Seven Sharp

These are two very different men, who have lived two very different lives, but both are absolute role models for not shying away from talking about such important things too often swept under the rug.

And there’s surely going to be more. A heated discussion about toxic masculinity, bullying and general not-cool-for-2019-boys-vs-girls behaviour is surely bubbling away.

It won’t shock anyone who has seen a single minute of a single episode, that Eric and Sam are fighting to be top dog...and Fiji’s next top coconut pant-less bikini model. (Special shout out to the graphics team, who were doing God’s work with those strategically placed lightning bolts. Our thoughts are with you.)

But a revolt is certainly brewing.

Jodie and Shannon Ryan are making no secret of their coup-planning, but it’s king-maker Lily McManus that sums it up perfectly; if she can manipulate the men into swapping tropical shirts for coconut bras, surely she can manipulate them out of captaincy and power.

In the words of our hosts, there’s a "tough old ding-dong" on the horizon.

If anyone knows about that, it’s Zac who was the first to leave Team Kahu and the island. He was beaten by a fiercely competitive Matty McLean in a game that tested his small ball skills.

Kahu lost another player just a night later when heavyweight Shane’s hands proved more delicate than those of musician Ladi6 in a game that tested them both.

Both she and Zac were put up for elimination by their captain, Sam, who is either trying very successfully to get rid of his competition, or has simply made some massive stuff ups. This is not a strong skill set for the former weatherman, and definitely not one to put on his LinkedIn profile.

For those playing along at home though, by the end of the first (made-for-TV week), Kahu have won three intense Team Face Offs and literally nothing else. The bellies might be full on that side of the island, but the mood (and headcount) is low.

Meanwhile, Team Mako have won the Captain’s Challenge thanks to Barbara, have three clues to the buried treasure and dominated two elimination challenges - but they might be starving to death in the process, winning absolutely no snacks or tasty treats.

And based on Rosanna and Athena Angelou’s attempts to catch crabs for their teammates, that isn’t going to change any time soon.

But someone needs to feed grumpy wee Gary Freeman, Stat. He’s clearly not cut out for this lentil life.

Celebrity Treasure Island screens on TVNZ 2 on Sunday at 7pm and then on Monday and Tuesday at 7.30pm.