Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Show "Big Brother"

I was totally gonna blog about CBS's "Big Brother" at the beginning of the current season (Season 15). I was gonna talk about my favorite houseguests, who I was rooting for, who was playing the best game, whether I liked the "twists" they throw in each season or not, the alliances, who I perceived as a villain or hero, the drama, etc.

I've blogged about American Idol before, and Big Brother became one of my new reality TV obsessions back in Season 8, so I thought it would be fun to write about it for one season.

What's fun about American Idol is that it is family friendly (for the most part) and you root for the underdog and are happy when arrogant or mean-spirited people leave the show... and you can control who leaves and who stays by voting. Drama doesn't get you anywhere. But a charming personality does.

What's fun about Big Brother is that there are a variety of ways to win the game - you don't have to be a good person to win. In fact, lying and being cunningly manipulative may take you all the way to the end. So, it's all the more satisfying to see the underdog who is loyal, honest, or genuine win the whole thing. And America has little influence on who stays and who goes, so we get to sit back and cheer on our favorites, hoping for the best. And it feels like there is some kind of justice or karma in the world when one of the better people win the game.

You also get to see how people really act when no one's watching, because they eventually get comfortable with the cameras being there and their true personalities start coming out. They also have the Diary Room where they can talk to America and reveal things that they're keeping from the rest of the house. We're privy to all kinds of information as viewers who can "see all" and it's fun to watch how things play out.

This season, though... UGH. If you spent any time at all watching the Live Feeds, you know that the storyline that the producers craft to show casual viewers during each episode is a SUPER WATERED DOWN version of what is really happening. I've never seen such a difference from the episodes to the live feeds before. Not to this degree.

The thing that I love most about the creation of the episodes in Big Brother is that the producers have to guess themselves who is going to win, who is going to get evicted, and how things are going to play out. Because they have to make a coherent storyline for viewers to follow. That has to be crazy hard to do. Because in reality, people go back and forth about what they're going to do and sometimes a good player in the beginning sucks in the end, or turns out to be a huge bully that no one wants to root for anymore (for example: Amanda this season... she was hilariously witty at first and looked like she was going to be able to intelligently move through the game, but she had some kind of emotional breakdown and started tearing some of the other houseguests apart.... it hasn't been pretty). Then someone who most people and America hated almost immediately (Aaryn) because of her racist impressions and attacks on other houseguests that made her a villain right off the bat, ended up being amazing at the competitions and you almost wanted to root for her.... Anyways, my point is that the format of the show is interesting to me because the producers can't really guess what the overarching storyline is going to be for the season when it starts. And they have to create episodes along the way while they're still competing and it's not over yet.

But now it's very obvious that they can use the episodes to tone down what's being perceived as happening and it can be glaringly different from reality. I seriously laughed out loud when I watched this past Sunday's episode IN DISBELIEF. The format of the episode was the last 3 houseguests sitting around the kitchen table, reminiscing about the season so far and all the houseguests who were eliminated along the way. Then there were flashbacks showing some previously un-aired things that had happened throughout the season. It was fun and light-hearted and nostalgic. But that is not what happened at all on the live feeds. They were really just sitting around tearing the other houseguests apart and being absolutely disgusting.

The Final 3

I read this forum post this morning and it's apparent that everyone who watches the live feeds feels the same way:

Screen Capture: www.jokersupdates.com

I honestly can't imagine that this is what CBS wanted out of their cast. It CAN'T be. I'm thinking maybe they were looking for drama and casted accordingly, but the group of people they ended up gathering together surprised even them. So, they're going out of their way to save the season and give us somebody to root for... by toning down certain characters ("sanitizing" them is the term used) so that we can stomach them as viewers. They did have to address it (because it was so obvious), so they did two things:
  1. They chose one cast member to vilify. That was Aaryn. Lots of people who don't even watch the show have heard that she was racist and she lost her job outside of the Big Brother house because of it (unbeknownst to her). But she was NOT THE ONLY ONE. Not at all.
  2. They give us a nice disclaimer before each episode:

That seriously was not enough. And I feel bad for Aaryn being humiliated in her post-eviction interview when there were other houseguests who were much, much worse. 

I ended up rooting for Elissa. Who... in any other context... I probably would've thought was super fake and full of herself. But surrounded by the rest of the houseguests near the end there, she was far and away the most genuine and caring and non-manipulative person left. She was the lesser of all the evils. But she was outnumbered. There was no way she could get far in the game without working with some of the people who were spouting out hatred day in and day out. And other houseguests thought she was self-righteous and acting high and mighty. But she just honestly could not stand to live with those people, and I totally get it. I'd be uncomfortable and disgusted too!


Once she was evicted, I couldn't care less who won. None of them deserve the money based on their behavior in the house, that's for sure. And GinaMarie (one of the three that's left) attacked someone for being adopted... saying her mother didn't even want her. 

*moment of silence for that sickening comment*

Okay, my rant is done. My love affair with Big Brother may be over. This season has just taken all the fun and heart out of it. :(

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