Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Oh Brother

I was in two minds as to whether or not I should bother with this posting, as publishing any comment on Big Brother by definition validates its existence, and I feel conflicted about that. As someone who despairs for modern-day Australian television, not to mention an aspiring TV writer who, thanks to reality television, has a maximum of about 6 shows for which he can currently hope to write (and 4 of those I wouldn't touch with a 5-foot cadaver), I despise reality TV. Reality is to television what Carrie is to Prom Night: Take something pure and beautiful and see it mutate into a bloody orgy of carnage and hopelessness. Then throw in a Telstra ad.

Even today, I still believe television can use its powers for good instead of evil. Australian execs don't need to continue saving money on actors and scriptwriters by giving us yet another gay-nanny-extremely-makes-over-a-90's celebrity's-restaurant-in-front-of-ten-thousand-cameras-while-they-simultaneously-trapeze-and-tango-and-build-Trump's-latest-hotel-out-of-coconut-shells-on-a-deserted-Pacific-island-in-an-amazing-race-to-sleep-with-their-new-moms-before-their-old-home-is-detonated. Honestly they don't. Stop giving delusional people the false belief that they actually have talent or longevity and start giving us original quality programming that actually dares to tell a dramatic narrative instead of contriving one. The US finally seems to be getting this message and the prime-time imports we're getting from them fulfill this criterion - think Desperate Housewives, Lost and Medium for starters. So I assume this means we can look forward to Australia doing the same thing in a couple of years' time.

Having said all this: Yes, I watched the first series of BB religiously and last year I also tuned in and out, mainly to catch Ryan Fitzgerald getting around clothes-free (the hot ones are so much hotter when they're labotomised and can't talk proper-like). And although I wanted to slap Merlin (I have this condition I call the "Orlando Syndrome", named after Orlando Bloom, whereby I have a totally irrational and uncontrollable urge to slap some people hard across their face based solely on how they look and talk. Orlando, Scarlett Johansson and Paris Hilton fall into this category), I had a quiet respect for his protest on BB. It was the first time on the show since the whiney little toad from I think the first season who was a member of the Young Libs - Katrina? - that politics featured so explicitly BB instead of the usual defining subjects of the housemates' conversations - underwear, beer, lip gloss and other profound human experiences. Merlin once caught my bus and he's better looking in real life, I have to say. Still wanted to slap him though, but the bus driver threatened to tear up my blue TravelTen if I did.

So I tuned in fleetingly last night only to catch the "imposter" crap. Seriously, how far behind is reality TV? Neighbours used the Blakeney twins (remember them, Gayle and Gillian, used to be on Wombat?) for that exact storyline nearly 15 years ago. I was hoping I'd see some political head-bashing, because apparently BB execs have realised that nothing sets off fireworks more quickly and effectively than politics. Sounds a little unfairly stacked, however - you have Nelson, the Army reservist from Queensland who reckons Johnny Howard's doing a great job and Kate, the 21y.o Maggie Thatcher wanna-be, and then on the left side there's Tim the journalist, who sounds pretty soft.

So I say all we centre/left/anti-Howard/anti-evil/pro-good bloggers swallow our pride, get text voting and get the Howard and Thatcher babies the hell out of there. This may be the only season in which BB exposes 4-year-olds (I believe this is the mean age of BB viewers) to politics, and as we all know, the Queer Mafia always seeks to recruit your children. Seriously though, it's a mainstream and high-rating medium facilitating, even if only for entertainment and conflict purposes, a political discourse, and I don't think we should let the little window of opportunity close.

In other news: I like Nic's idea of a Big Brother: Blog Edition. Big Blogger? All they'd need to supply are rusty bayonets in the toilet and we'd have ourselves some quality viewing.


At 10/5/05 12:25 pm, Blogger j(aded) said...

Hey Sam, only just came across your blog but have been reading your articles in SX regularly. Great site!

I tuned into BB last night and I have to admit I was actually quite excited about the whole twin swap thing. It'll probably last for about a week cos I'm almost certain that they're gonna get caught out.

Looking forward to hearing Tim stir up the political pot so to speak too!

At 10/5/05 1:28 pm, Blogger Sam said...

Thanks j(aded) (or do you prefer Occasional Screaming Queen?) Yours is looking good too.
Am I right in saying there are no cute gay bois in this series? There's Michael (who's not cute, or am I just being presumptuous about his sexuality based on his piercings) and one half of the Logan twins who's a Sydney "metro" (ie closet case)?

At 16/5/05 7:51 am, Anonymous Homo au Go Go (Brisbane) said...

Unlike most so-called reality Tv shows, I usually find something interesting in BB. Enough to wander in and out over the course of a winter, anyhow.

Interesting that Howard-lovin' Nelson is one of three HMs currently under threat of expulsion because they lied about their relationship status to get into the house. He explained that he'd decided to "do whatever it took" to get into the house and win a car. What a great role model our PM is to the youth of today. It'll be scandalous if these three aren't disqualified and expelled, but there's signs some other lesser punishment may be in store.

At 16/5/05 12:40 pm, Blogger j(aded) said...

Is it Logan Greg that is the Sydney "metro"...? He seems to be doing something for me or perhaps that is by default given no-one else in there is!

At 16/5/05 4:21 pm, Blogger Sam said...

I dunno j, Dean's pretty hot.

H-a-G-G: Sounds like a Young Howard in a nutshell, lie to get whatever he wants.


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