Tears are currency in the Big Brother house and the overlord won’t be deprived of their salty goodness
I have a vague childhood memory of collecting tadpoles for school (before this was considered cruel) and the teacher accidentally leaving them in a tank over the midterm break. When we returned there was one fat gluttonous tadpole left.
I haven’t seen Big Brother in years (since it went to Channel 5) so when I tuned in to watch it on TV3, I expected to see just one neglected bloated cannibal contestant, probably George Galloway, and the CEO of Endemol apologising profusely to all of our parents. But no, while the ancient Big
Brother TV format is showing signs of neglect, there are still 14 housemates: 15, if you consider The Twins as two people, which
Big Brother does not (The Twins nominate and are nominated together).
Long gone are the psychiatrists who once gave this “experiment” a sheen of respectability. Long gone is Davina McCall, though it’s said that if you pause your telly you’ll see her ghostly form shampooing her hair and shrieking.
Yet the disembodied voice of Big Brother still booms and when not catering to its capricious whims, the denizens of Big
Brother enact ennui-filled vignettes.
An Irishwoman talks to herself while applying her make-up. “It’s an eyebrow, just an eyebrow,” she says, as though starring in a one-woman Becket play. Some grown men fence with spoons. Contestants wear rosettes declaring the fickle public’s judgment of them as “superficial” or “fake.” A woman mutters to Big Brother: “You can’t trust no one.”
Big Brother tasks Eileen, the oldest housemate, with convincing people she is a) desirous, b) fearful, and c) filled with anger. Some contestants don’t seem to think her behaviour bizarre, probably because they’ve never met an older person before. They treat her like the people of future Earth treat Peter Ustinov in
Big Brother is constantly orchestrating opportunities for tears and luckily most of the housemates love a good cry. A woman called Harriet praises a woman called Sarah for being a strong character. Sarah puts her hand to her face. “Am I going to make you cry?” says Harriet hopefully. “No, my face was itchy,” says Sarah
Harriet is disappointed. Tears are currency in the Big Brother house and she’s been deprived of their salty goodness.
During a compulsory game of Truth or Dare, half of The Twins tells underwear model Aaron he doesn’t need to be in the house because he is already successful. Aaron takes to his bed sobbing inconsolably. Half of The Twins doesn’t know where to look. The rest of the housemates grind to
Gold Digger by Kanye West. As well as weeping, housemates also like rendering language meaningless. After Harriet tells Adjoa that she thinks she’s greedy, she makes amends by saying: “I really do adore you” when what she really means is: “You are an acquaintance whom I can learn to tolerate. Yes, I’m pretty sure I would be upset for a while if you died.”
The housemates are obsessed with eggs. On Tuesday, egg distribution is discussed in soviet detail. On Monday, housemates muse about egg origins. “An egg comes out just under a chicken’s beak,” says Joel, who also spends time pretending to host a chat show in the bathroom. “An egg comes out of a chicken’s bum,” says Chloe, and this seems to settle matters.
No one bursts into tears, except possibly the ghost of Lord Reith who envisioned such high minded chit-chat when considering the future of public broadcasting.
Later Big Brother decides to get housemates to nominate one another for eviction face-to-face. Weeping, they denounce one another for being arrogant, or aloof, or, in the case of Eileen, old. Scores are settled. Hunkily nonsensical Cristian nominates no-nonsense Chloe because of a difference of opinion during a discussion of threesomes. “You said: ‘You’re too young to be having threesomes’,” he says sadly. “I was a bit put out by that.”
Adjoa, Sarah and Eileen are chosen and come week’s end, one will be banished/cast into a volcano. Cristian is saved because Jack, who has been arbitrarily granted the power to protect one housemate, chooses him. This moves Cristian greatly. “I think God sent Jack to do such a thing,” he says with tears in his eyes. “People are going to laugh at that but that’s where the name Cristian came from.” (He really does love Crist).
After the show trial, housemates drink alcohol. Aaron, who wishes to be seen as more than just an underwear model, dances in his underwear and shouts: “I love wine. Wine is my friend.”
Later we watch Aaron vomiting alone. Then the words “we have failed as a society” flash up on the screen and the credits roll in complete silence (full disclosure: only one of the previous two sentences is true).
Aaron, who wishes to be seen as more than an underwear model, dances in his underwear and shouts: ‘I love wine. Wine is my friend.’ Later we watch him vomiting alone
Eileen: like Peter Ustinov in Logan’s Run