The brother of all households
It was fascinating to spend one night in the house with 13 strangers, writes
IF you’ve seen the classic movie The Wizard of Oz, no doubt you remember the scene where Dorothy is transported by a hurricane from her humdrum life in Kansas to the wonderful land of Oz, and the movie itself changes from black and white to eye-popping colour to symbolise her arrival in a magic land. Entering the Big Brother house is a bit like that.
A week prior to the Channel 9 relaunch of the popular reality-TV show, I joined 13 others in the show’s Gold Coast compound to spend a night under the constant gaze of the camera.
It was a taste of what life would be like for this year’s crop of 14 housemates, exiled from the outside world for three months, filmed by 50 cameras, microphones recording their every whisper and word.
Surrounds include a spacious courtyard, complete with heated pool, comfortable outdoor furniture and an entertaining area.
The kitchen is decked out 1950s style, all laminex surfaces and knick-knacks, while the living room has ’70s wood panelling and furry rugs. The dormitory-style bedroom is a vision of ’80s neon and pastels.
As time passes, another man enters and then another until there are seven inside. The seven women who were to enter the house are nowhere to be seen, though.
So we enjoyed the food that had been provided, introduced ourselves to one another, shook our heads and laughed at the surreal situation we had found ourselves in.
And it all felt perfectly natural, like we were at a party where we all knew the host but not each other and had to reveal bits and pieces about ourselves. After a while, the seven women made their entrance – they’d been watching on a monitor and making guesses about what each of us did for a living.
Most of the housemates were in their 20s. Some were students, others with jobs including a dancer, nurse, supermarket technician and a shipwright.
Most came from different backgrounds with various interests but being placed in a situation where there was nothing to do but interact, we quickly found common ground. After only a few hours it was clear friendships and factions were being formed.
I walked out of the Big Brother house 12 hours after I entered it, happy to have regained my freedom. Real contestants could be there for the next three months.
Monday to Friday, 7pm, Nine, NBN; Sunday, 6pm, Go!; Sunday, 6.30pm, Nine, NBN.
housemates make their entrance.