Cast members from the CBS reality competition “Celebrity Big Brother” qualify for the show under a fairly loose definition of the term “celebrity.” (CBS/CBS)
TV Critic

Anthony Scaramucci has left the “Big Brother” house.

Arguably the best-known of the B- to D-list celebrities in the new season of “Celebrity Big Brother,” the former White House communications chief turns out to have been part of a short-lived publicity stunt rather than a “houseguest” in for the long haul.

But we’ll always have the memory of the Mooch, clad in a royal blue zoot suit, swinging in a giant swing and wielding a glass to catch Champagne spewing like a geyser. It was part of a totally cuckoo challenge to gain immunity from eviction.

Without the lure of Scaramucci, is it worth tuning in to episodes airing on CBS at 8 p.m. on random nights through Feb. 13?

The show can be quite annoying. The celebrities crow about their virtues and collude to avoid eviction. Confined to the house during filming, they whine about the indignities of sharing bedrooms and bathrooms. Um … they are paid to participate. And the celebrity who manages not to be evicted over roughly a month of filming wins a quarter of a mill — which does not have to be donated to charity.

But the formula of getting adults to behave like punch-drunk middle schoolers is still entertaining. Olympic gold medalist swimmer Ryan Lochte — winner of the Champagne challenge — is the embodiment of a lovable lunkhead. “I can tell when something’s up,” he says. But clearly, he can’t! He can’t even remember the first name of Big Brother participant Dina Lohan (whose claim to fame is being Lindsay’s mom and onetime manager). “I keep saying Diana,” Lochte mumbles ruefully. He also isn’t great with pronunciation. Case in point: “ath-tha-let-ic.”

Tamar Braxton just keeps on talking and inevitably says something funny. A Grammy-nominated singer and “The Real” co-host (before being fired this past fall), she effortlessly shades frenemy and “Big Brother” castmate Kandi Burruss, a singer, songwriter and “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast member: “Am I excited to see her? Hmmm, not really.” Braxton’s vocab is also impressive. She accuses Burruss of “yiddle yaddling behind the stage” when they toured together.

For additional comic relief, comedian and onetime Drew Barrymore spouse Tom Green tosses out deadpan jokes about losing a testicle to cancer.

Ratings have slipped a bit since the last “Celebrity Big Brother,” but the premiere still drew 5.4 million viewers. They’re drawn to the show like moths to an Olympic flame. Sure, you know you should keep your distance. But it’s hard to resist the shamelessness of it all.