Monday, September 04, 2006


Big Brother America Allstars is down to the wire, with 4 contestants left. Allstars reality shows never really live to their hype (e.g. Survivor) and less-than-fantastic ratings have meant that a week has been cropped off the schedules this year. Allstars isn't really like a new show in itself - more like a compilation of all of the other series merged together.The programme has become increasingly self-referential - with characters wearing t-shirts that parody their appearances in earlier series while playing out their personas in an overly self-conscious way. Even the mechanised host, Julie Chen has gotten in on the act, residing over a game called "But First..." - an ironic nod towards the catch-phrase which earned her the name Chenbot.

From where I stand, the endgame looks like a horrific car-crash of David Koresh like proportions. Will and Mike - two fast friends (some would say "heterosexual" life partners) from Season 2 are involved in "showmances" with buxom blonde power-house Janelle from Season 6 and languid pilates instructor Erika from Season 4. Both girls believe that the guys are going to take them to the end. However, Will and Mike only have eyes for each other. The relationship between Erika and Mike is particularly twisted - Erika is in love with him, talking about having his babies etc - and is being completely played for a sucker - Mike boasts in the diary room about how he's going to Hell. Worse still, the Mike/Erika showmance is being engineered by Will - who instructs Mike to "get upstairs and showmance Erika". Will has perfected the strategy of charismatic lying and machiavellian manipulation which ensured he walked off with the top prize 5 years ago. He looks on track to do it again. By losing contests on purpose, he's then sat back and engineered almost every eviction in the house - deflecting the blame elsewhere. There's something eerily cult-like in the way that Erika and Janelle desparately want to believe that they're part of the inner-circle. When Erika gets out of the house, we may be witness to the first reality-tv show murder...

Only Janelle stands a chance of evicting Will - to look at her, you'd think, ditzy brainless blonde bimbo - but like an Austin Powers fembot, she's a killer in disguise, a competitive power-house - winning more contests than anyone else - no matter that other contestants occasionally get kicked in the face. Her only flaw is believing in Will. Which is likely to make him the better player - because Big Brother isn't just about winning contests - it's about strategy and manipulation.


John said...

Sadly, right now the only way for Will to get evicted is that Janelle win the veto, instantly putting him in her place. It's then up to her to vote him out.

But for whatever reason, she won't do that. I like Janelle but I wish she'd realise she's been played.

matty said...

I miss watching Julie Chen host that show. She always looked a tad uncomfortable and wore some of the oddest ensembles I had ever seen. I particularly enjoyed seeing her sit with the evicted house guests. I always worried for Julie as she had to sort of touch them. Most worrying.

Wow -- that show has been on for a long time! I don't think I have seen it since 2001 or something.

The UK version sounds more fun, tho.