Saturday, May 28, 2005

The (unlucky) 13 contestants in this year's Big Brother are rather more hard-faced than usual. The producers must have decided that this year's policy is "let's make it like last year, but moreso". So we have three very camp bitchy men (one whom is a cross-dressing Muslim, another is Jamie4U), several people with questionable and somewhat incompatible political beliefs (including a gay black Tory fox-hunter and a woman who is quarter Sri Lankan but doesn't like immigrants), a "white" witch with mad staring eyes who believes she has been abducted by aliens "about seven times" and a variety of confident show-offs (one of them calls himself Science The Great). Three of the contestants were actually booed by the rent-a-crowd as they entered the house. Ordinarily I don't like the booing and find Big Brother's rather cruel and childish machinations to be morally questionable while feeling sorry for the housemates. However, this year it seemed like a bunch of extremely unlikeable people had chosen to voluntarily incarcerate themselves for 10 weeks while undergoing a variety of humiliations and having to put up with each other. It's like they've been put in the house to be punished for having such awful personalities (although I'm sure even these "personalities" are manufactured and they're not as bad or annoying as they immediately seem).

In order to contrive immediate conflict, one of the housemates was chosen at random and told in secret that she would be up for eviction unless she acted horrible to everyone and got the most nominations from housemates. Every year as it strives to maintain originality, ratings and revenue from advertising and viewer's telephone votes the programme gets nastier and cruder. This is a one-way street - capitalism dictates it must be so. But where will it all end? Only when the show becomes so morally bankrupt that viewers are sickened and stop watching. But I suspect we have a long way to go before that.

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