Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Big Brother blues

Big Brother in Australia is in all sorts of hot water. Two young men have been removed from the house for performing an obscene "joke" on a female housemate - something called a "turkey slap" which, according to the myriad reports around the place, is a slap in the face with a penis. After 70-odd days locked in the house with just each other for entertainment and not an awful lot of grey matter to go around, this is the depth to which immature males would seem to descend. Schoolboy willy-wagging.

There have been calls for BB to be stopped. Not just the prudes and the religious, but politicians and media pundits. Already BB's "Adults' Only" weekly show has been canned because of its lewd and tawdry content. It consisted of whatever "sexy" clips the editors could glean from the housemates' activities. The housemates, of course, play up to the expectation of the programming. "Exposure" is a primary reason these people seek to be in the house. They sell themselves in a quest for fame.

But, as the years of BB have rolled on, the calibre of people the BB producers have chosen has been steadily sinking. This year it was quite clear to me that they had gone for the lowest common denominator - a group of exeptionally vain and vapid young people whose primary achievement in life has been the body beautiful. There's the 18-year-old who has attempted to escape her profound ordinariness with breast implants, and a series of narcissistic young males with workout-sculptured bodies...with "careers" as "personal trainers".
There is a devastatingly handsome former male model who has asserted his image as a gay farmer. He seems rather more educated than the rest of them. And there is Camilla, the former nightclub "door bitch". She is the BB House irritant - and, ironically, perhaps the most interesting character. Which says little.
These, in my opinion, are not interesting people. Their massive egos insulate them from the reality that they are really not very bright at all. I doubt that any of them would dream of reading a book for pleasure.
The one thing they are proud of, apart from their bodies, is the fact that they are young. One of the dullest of this dull group has complained about everyone older than he because, he thinks, young people=fun people. He strikes one as a crashing self-obsessed bore who thinks his age makes him "fun". He showed his idea of "fun" with a lot of canoodling in bed. Fun for him, perhaps. But, oh, how boring for the audience.

This is the stereotype BB has chosen to project - and the consequences of trapping a group of such shallow self-worshippers in a house together with nothing but each other (read self) for entertainment is indeed dooming the show to tits and teeth. And a lot of appallingly bad grammar! Poor little pedestrian souls, they are not masters of the language.

The pity of it all is the Australia's BB has been an infinitely more interesting creature than its overseas counterparts. Unlike the American version, it has a real Big Brother controlling everything that happens and he ensures that there can be so such thing as alliances and power plays. This suits the Australian character since Aussies are not cut-throat competitors. They tend to like each other and bond like a family in the house. The public, which gets to phone vote people out of the house, becomes riven as the game draws to a close - because it, also, becomes fond of the surviving housemates.

BB Australia has the potential to be a brilliant reality show. But the cynical "casting" that has been imposed has lowered the cultural common denominator to that of the universal non-achiever. The assumption has been that audiences are only interested in looking at sunbronzed bodies, that audiences are as vacuous as the housemates.

I wonder what it would be like if they tried a house with some educated grownup people? Some role models - people with a future rather than the dead-enders they have inflicted on the public this year...

And pigs may fly.

1 comment:

Mickey Mouse said...

What I couldn't believe is that so many people seem to be defending the fact that two men were involved in holding down a woman so that a penis could be slapped on her mouth and face. Even Kyle and Jackie O were defending the act as a joke and a bit of harmless fun. It sounds more like sexual assault to me.

With Jackie O so often being a self proclaimed representative on womens issues, her reaction STANK to me of rank hypocrisy.

Anyhow, on that note:

(warning, adult content)