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Big Brother

I really don't like Big Brother. It stems, I suppose, from the first season, when I watched an episode with C, and we spent half an hour watching the contestants paint a room. I was literally watching paint dry. After that, you couldn't convince me of its worth.

Some of my friends like it: it's the combination of cultural train wreck, shallowness, and voyeurism, or at least that's how it sounds when it's explained to me. I suppose I can see the attraction, but it's just not wild enough for me. It just doesn't fuck with them enough. See, every time Big Brother starts up, I think, that given the real world deprivation of the house, they could, when they drop new people in there, drop them in with the specific goal to tell everyone that the Prime Minister has died. Just ordinarily. A blood clot in his brain. Prime Ministers are not young men (and one day in Australia, women) and so the thought that one--say John Howard--might just die one night, quietly, without any dramatic sense of place within the grand narrative of life, is a possibility. Inside the house, with no way to be sure, the contestants will have to take it as truth, and react the way that they would normally. But the real trick is in what follows. See, a week or so after that, you could hire military jets and fly the planes two or three times a day over the Big Brother house and employ explosive experts to begin setting off explosions in the distance. Just a day. Maybe a night. Let the suggestion of a violent conflict exist, then take it away. Then, you explain it to the contestants, and send them phony newspapers, and news clips, and you build up, over how many weeks the show goes for, this belief that the world outside has fallen into a violent, civil war which culminates, in the final days, of the house going silent. No announcements. No lights. Nothing. Just an eerie, eerie silence, to see which of the final contestants will break and leave the house. Perhaps if you were incredibly lucky, the contestants would start drawing straws in a suicide pact.

Comments

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cassiphone
May. 2nd, 2007 11:12 pm (UTC)
See, now I'd watch that.

My main objection to Big Brother is similar to that I have to most shows with 'Footy' in the title - it's allowed to go overtime on an ad hoc basis, which screws up the rest of the evening's viewing, especially if you have set to record a particular show.

benpeek
May. 2nd, 2007 11:23 pm (UTC)
at least footy show is about something.

still, the really shocking admission is that you tape things off tv. how illegal! illegal copying! heh.
cassiphone
May. 2nd, 2007 11:54 pm (UTC)
Ha! Is that really a shocking admission?

Though actually, I record on our set top box which has no backup system at all. But probably still illegal.

Sigh. What isn't, these days?
benpeek
May. 3rd, 2007 12:06 am (UTC)
good, wholesome christian values? well. except for the incest ones.
porphyre
May. 3rd, 2007 07:43 am (UTC)
Know what footsie means in German?
catsparx
May. 2nd, 2007 11:18 pm (UTC)
Ben, I love your version of Big Brother. Big Brother Cannibal Survivor Apocalypse -- now there's a show I'd watch. It could turn out like that end of the world scenario episode of Spooks. Extremely gripping television.
benpeek
May. 2nd, 2007 11:24 pm (UTC)
it is genius, is it not? i deserve piles of money.
catsparx
May. 2nd, 2007 11:33 pm (UTC)
Or they could just let a serial killer loose in there. Or a flesh eating virus.
benpeek
May. 2nd, 2007 11:51 pm (UTC)
it's all good from my point of view.
catsparx
May. 2nd, 2007 11:52 pm (UTC)
Or they could go the retro approach: BB Rollerball.
benpeek
May. 2nd, 2007 11:53 pm (UTC)
rollerball DEATH!
kaolinfire
May. 2nd, 2007 11:29 pm (UTC)
I might even watch your version.
benpeek
May. 2nd, 2007 11:51 pm (UTC)
i so need to be sent bags of money.
kaolinfire
May. 2nd, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC)
I'm not adverse to someone sending you bags of money. :)

I'm trying to remember (and a quick search doesn't tell me) -- are you still offering review copies of twentysixlies/onetruth?

If you like the style of review at http://www.gudmagazine.com/review/ -- we'd love to do our small part to publicize your book. :)

benpeek
May. 3rd, 2007 12:07 am (UTC)
yeah, man. if you want to review it, that's cool. i haven't got any copies anymore, but if you email the publisher (www.wheatlandpress.com) she'll get a review copy to you, i'm sure.
kaolinfire
May. 3rd, 2007 12:18 am (UTC)
done. :)
underdogautopsy
May. 2nd, 2007 11:57 pm (UTC)
Ahh! I want to see your version of Big Brother desperately!
benpeek
May. 3rd, 2007 12:08 am (UTC)
i should be a TV producer.
chrisbarnes
May. 3rd, 2007 01:28 am (UTC)
Big Brother: The End Times.

Awesome. I'd definitely watch it.
benpeek
May. 3rd, 2007 04:00 am (UTC)
send me your millions!
nballingrud
May. 3rd, 2007 03:58 am (UTC)
All this Big Brother I keep reading about on Aussie & UK message boards and blogs ... we're deprived of it here. I think they tried a version of it for a year or two and it fizzled out. Our delicate American sensibilities wouoldn't allow the show the latitude it apparently has over there. Instead we are in thrall to American Idol, which actually makes THE GODDAMN NEWS.
benpeek
May. 3rd, 2007 04:01 am (UTC)
we have australian idol, here. i'd like to tell you it doesn't make the news, but it does. in fact, so does big brother.

the thing that never took off here was survivor.
lucius_t
May. 3rd, 2007 04:22 am (UTC)
Nathan, you're outa touch, man. BB America is still going strong, another season coming up.
woosang
May. 3rd, 2007 06:48 am (UTC)
I loath this show. It is a waste fo money resource and electricity
benpeek
May. 3rd, 2007 08:49 am (UTC)
i also dislike it's cheap, nothing special road to five minutes of fame.
porphyre
May. 3rd, 2007 07:44 am (UTC)
THat reminds of those psych experiemnts that used to happen where glass bottomed elevators would get "stuck" or the captains of airplanes would "die" to see what people would do.

I like yours a hell of a lot better.
benpeek
May. 3rd, 2007 08:50 am (UTC)
i totally need to get into TV and the bags of money there. who do i talk to to pitch this stuff?

;)
ex_chrisbil
May. 3rd, 2007 01:32 pm (UTC)
I'll suggest it to someone I know who does virals for Tomboy films...

Hey man, you could call it Big Mother, and then at the end all would be explained when someone staggers out yelling "Big Mother-fucking asswipes, fuckin' with my mind!"

I can't wait for Celebrity Big Mother. You'd have to get Murdoch in it for maximum effect.
benpeek
May. 4th, 2007 05:49 am (UTC)
nah, i reckon you'd have to keep it as big brother. or some other reality tv show. something really innocuous. something to trick everyone into going in and not suspecting it at all.
stevenagy
May. 3rd, 2007 01:45 pm (UTC)
Wasn't that done already with 28 Days Later? ;-)
benpeek
May. 4th, 2007 05:48 am (UTC)
no.
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