Big Bother


Reality Bites

Ok, I am a self-professed fan of the show/format and I watched the launch show but after that, the Other Viewer and I decided not to bother watching any more Celebrity Big Brother because it looked like it was going to be a little dull.  Now look… viewing figures going into orbit, Carphone Warehouse pulling out of its sponsorship, Debates in parliament, and 27,000 complaints to Offcom.  It’s time to go back to Big Brother.  Other people (like TV Scoop) are posting sensible and thought provoking reviews based on what’s being seen but, as it’s something I’m not actually watching, it’s hard to pass informed comment.  However, it’s all over the news so worth mentioning here and answering the questions.

  • Is there racism involved here?  In the last series when Jodie Marsh was on the receiving end of a similar degree of bullying, there was a reaction that said “Well, she brings it on herself, its her own fault for dressing like that”.  Race was never an issue then, of course but the bullying was similarly uncomfortable to watch.  I’m more inclined to say that that what is being seen is ignorance coupled with emotional immaturity on behalf of Jade, with Jo and Danielle hanging on to the coat-tails and fawning over the school bully.  What racism there has been seems to be a subtle undercurrent rather than anything overt.  Still distasteful though.
  • Should it be on TV at all?  Of course it should.  It’s a perspective on real life.  It’s reality TV with real people.  And the reality is that there are some deeply unpleasant people in life, some deeply shallow people and some people who strive to remain dignified in the face of verbal assaults (i.e. Shilpa Shetty).  Everyone needs to seperate the events inside the house from the debate it’s triggered outside.  Offcom have a responsibility to assess whether Channel 4 have a case to answer in response to all the complaints but if shouting and being unkind is enough to warrant a breach of the broadcasting code then they’ll probably pull Waking The Dead from the schedules as well.
  • Is all publicity, good publicity?  Probably not if you’ve been on the receiving end of it.  Despite skyrocketing viewing figures, Carphone Warehouse have just announced that they’ve decided to pull out of their sponsorship deal, quite what happens as a result of this, I am unsure, but that’s quite an illustration of the degree of the problem here.  Channel 4 are becoming more and more pressurised by this situation but my guess is that they are loving it.  Can you imagine how many people will tune in to see the Jade vs Shilpa eviction?  The press conference just held by the exec of Channel 4 would seem to concur with this, here’s the highlights…..
    • “We’re not going to pull the show”
    • “Watch this evening to see Jade confronted by the allegations of race”
    • “We cannot prove any racist motivations”
    • “Isn’t Big Brother a great format?”
  • Where does this leave the cult of celebrity? Max Clifford has already been on the news saying that Jade now needs to launch a massive PR campaign to pursuade the public that she is not racist or a horrible person.  I couldn’t disagree more (Mr Clifford has lingered long on my list of “Most Disliked People”).  I am not one of those people who seem to be getting more vocal of late, who begrudge celebrities their fame and fortune because they haven’t done anything “worthy”.  I despair much, much more at the people who create the celebrity to begin with… those who plan the photoshoots, the magazines, the staged events, the red carpet appearances and those that buy into it.  What’s needed isn’t a PR campaign, it’s for the public to give up on people like Jade.
    • fazzinchi
    • January 19th, 2007

    I’d say you weren’t in a minority actually, Emma… I think most people would be with you. I’ve been fascinated with the show for years as it shines a light on members of society who don’t usually get much a of a voice, but I reckon the persistence of Endemol and Channel 4 to make it more and more extreme could be the final straw.

    • Emma
    • January 19th, 2007

    I’m obviously with the minority here. I watched CBB briefly yesterday, but only managed 30 seconds before I switched it off. I liked the first few BB shows, but after that it got too weird. Too much manipulation of the participants, as if we need to prove that if you lock up a bunch of misfits and put them under stress, they’ll start fighting with each other. Not for me, thanks!

  1. January 20th, 2007

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