Monday, July 03, 2006

Some thoughts on the Big Brother kerfuffle

Not that I've been watching this series, but hey, the world is full of people who don't let their complete ignorance of a topic prevent them from having an opinion. So ...

When I first heard about this yesterday, I took it for granted that it was a staged and ratings-grabbing exercise for which the participants would no doubt be rewarded in some unpublicised way.

Having read some of the reports this morning, I'm now not so sure. The bigger picture is that BB contestants are obviously selected for their combination of youth, hotness, stupidity, narcissism and potential for sexual and emotional upheaval of one kind or another. (As somebody has pointed out, of course they are selected for these qualities, as one does not wish to watch BB and be bored by the behaviour of a bunch of non-exhibitionist, well-regulated and well-controlled housemates.)

That being the case, the show rides along a sharp and narrow ridge where unchecked savagery (I use the word in the anthropological sense, as of a rampant and unmediated Id) meets the 'strict BB rules'. The entertainment factor of the show has its heart at the place where the potential for sexual and emotional anarchy meets a bunch of regulations set to stop the House just short of that anarchy. And in the meantime, management titillates it towards that unbalanced point all the time, as with the idiotic instructions about Camilla having to kiss Ashley and Ashley having to resist and so on and so, mindlessly, forth.

Yes, it's immoral -- not in the wowser way that people are fretting about this morning, for my view here is that the young people can amuse themselves any way they want, as long as I don't have to watch them doing it or pay the cleaners, but because it's a ruthless, cynical, greedy, exploitative exercise in making money for the producers and their shareholders. This unsavoury show is about exploiting the character weaknesses of a bunch of young morons who are deeply imbued with this country's current (sexist, conservative, consumerist, hypocritical) values and pushing them unrelentingly to their various well-defined limits so that slick older people behind the scenes can make as much money as possible. Every now and then, with so dangerous a formula, it's going to blow up in their faces.

So to speak.

And if young Camilla had had her wits about her, she would have used her teeth, pled self-defence, and given every sub-editor in the country a field day thinking up headlines.

5 comments:

tigtog said...

Oh, if only she had. Then BB could adopt Ilyka Damen's carrot based rating system for scenes which threaten castration (scroll down to end of post for graphic).

telfair said...

"This unsavoury show is about exploiting the character weaknesses of a bunch of young morons who are deeply imbued with this country's current (sexist, conservative, consumerist, hypocritical) values and pushing them unrelentingly to their various well-defined limits so that slick older people behind the scenes can make as much money as possible. Every now and then, with so dangerous a formula, it's going to blow up in their faces."

You are so right, and I just think this is the best summation of why this show is distasteful that I've ever read. The closest I've ever come to verbalizing it is by saying that it panders to the lowest common denominator...but that doesn't even cover it by half.

Lucy Tartan said...

Let's not forget, this sort of stupidity happens to lots of girls - it's not just the telly show that's at fault here.

Melly` said...

It gave me the opportunity to have a very... interesting conversation with my teenage girls.

And the words "turkey" and "slap" - will never be the same in this house. EVER.

Cozalcoatl said...

The only time i've seen the show was with the sound down at the gym, and still it bored me silly and i wanted to slap them.(not turkey slap i must add)
Lets hope its a bit of a wake up call concerning behaviour but I'm a optimist.
What I love about it is they start with $1m prize money, remove more and more as they are naughty (i wonder how much will be lost over this?) and end up only having to pay out $35.98....brilliant plan by someone.