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June 10, 2007



"people are dull, inarticulate, self-obssessed and (rightly) uninterested in each other": aw, come on, you're quite articulate really.

Fabian Tassano

The "normal" person may well be dull and inarticulate, perhaps even more so when placed in the ludicrously artificial environment of a "reality" show.

But if BB was ever about demonstrating the tedium of normality, it has surely moved beyond that. By now it seems to be more about putting freaks on display and encouraging their exhibitionist tendencies. Freaks duly behave bizarrely, we the viewers duly sneer, and feign shock when the lab rats express taboo attitudes which we secretly know are not that uncommon.

Thoroughly degrading for both performers and audience. But I suspect that all-round wallowing in degradation is a good part of the point. (Look how sophisticated we are; we're soo beyond bourgeois conventions.)


Agree with the comment above: I know a lot of people. None of them would past the intensive screening process and get into the big brother house. This said, lovely though my friends are, they'd probably be even more boring than whoever was chosen to go in.

Maynard Handley

The argument that "reality TV" is interesting bacause it mirrors reality rests on the assumption that it DOES mirror reality.
As others have pointed out, this seems unlikely because of the contestants chosen. But, even beyond that, do you have conclusive proof that the producers are not pulling the strings? Engineering conflict, even feeding lines to people?

In the US reality TV is rather less prevalent than a few years ago, and I suspect that at least part of that was that the audience lost interest when it became public knowledge that, on at least some of these shows, there were in fact puppet masters behind the scenes. There is, presumably, a reason why the term of art shifted from "reality TV" to the current "unscripted TV"; I'd love to know the history behind that (were threats of lawsuits involved?)

Fabian Tassano

Having had my "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" moment above, I'd like to add:

I do occasionally find BB fascinating and educational, but only for c. 30 mins. After that I start to feel icky, and find myself agreeing with Germaine Greer:

"Watching BB is about as dignified as looking through the keyhole in your teenage child's bedroom door. To do it occasionally would be shameful; to get hooked on it is downright depraved."


Nah, people are fine, go the pub with your mates or riff with the people in work who aren't busy worming their way up the boss's arse and a laugh or two is practically guaranteed, fortunately. It'd be a grim existence otherwise.

The people in BB...
a. Dont know each other
b. Have little in common, insane vanity excepted, a trait rarely exhibited by anyone worth knowing*.
c. Are predominantly young and dumb; Unless they're not, personally, I don't watch it
d. Are systematically denied stimuli
e. Are surely conscious of the constant surveillance they're under, which ain't a recipe for laid back good vibes.

*Except me.


Oh, and presuming gossip is preferable to opinions; from today's Popbitch, Britain's email of record...

"A former Big Brother employee says that psych tests were performed on applicants not to weed out the mentalists, but to make sure they are among the contestants selected (e.g. Shabnam?)"


The boredom might also be down to:
- being deprived of all the things we usually find to occupy ourselves, and use as talking points
- being taken out of a peer group with whom the housemates share a history, background, etc.

I don't think they're that representative anyway. Most of them must have been raised by wolves, the way they carry on.

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