(The Original)

Amateur Scribe

Give the Freaks a Break

BigBro Eye

Shocking stuff really: Hot tub frolicking; acres of twitching, desperate flesh; artificial mounds of jiggling silicon; Slavering tongues slurping feverishly at any available orifice – but enough about Elton John’s Live 8 after-party…

It was also kicking off in the Big Brother House this week as the residents stripped off and oiled up for some fruity Jacuzzi shenanigans. Hormone levels were high as a tiresome Graham-Norton-wannabe camp crimper was practically eaten alive by a pneumatic, bunny-boiling, nympho Ulsterwoman and a big-haired African princess with the sleek lines of a Serengeti lioness and the plummy accent of a minor English royal was brought to a gasping climax by a perma-tanned, sexually ambiguous Geordie midget with a chopper the size of a prize-winning marrow. Titillating? Maybe not. Explosive television? Certainly.

I tried hard to steer clear this year but, with the nagging inevitability of a toast-landing-butter-side-down-type-scenario, I have been gradually sucked into Endemol’s world of murky morals, annoyingly earnest commentary and questionable taste in furniture.

Because I really don’t want to watch it – I just don’t have enough of a life to avoid it. It’s not my fault if I happen to be slouching on my sofa at ten o’clock on a Wednesday night, flick to Channel Four in the hope of chancing upon a hard-hitting documentary about the plight of Somalian refugees and am instead confronted by cross-dressing Turk munching on a fish finger sandwich and staring vacantly out of the window at a drizzly compound in Borehamwood. Nor is it my fault if I repeat this process on a daily basis.

But it’s the only one I watch.

Makosi

Makosi: Important exponent of social and cultural experimentation; or unpleasant, sex-obsessed, exhibitionist slut. You decide.

Somehow the predictable deluge of subsequent reality show clones have never really lived up to the hype of Big Brother. They have, if you will forgive the rather clunking analogy, acted like little brothers, aping, fawning and generally trying to be like their aloof, trendy older sibling, only to be nonchalantly flicked away, burst into tears, piss their pants and go snivelling to their mother. Or ITV, as I like to call it.

My Christ, for an institution that has been churning out television for half a century, ITV isn’t half shite at it. This year’s BB has the distinct advantage of screening soon after the hateful Celebrity Love Island, and, as a result, has a comfortable hold on the reality TV moral high ground. One day I will muster enough strength to write a cutting, incisive précis of just why Celebrity Love Island was so bad, but for now let me just say that any show giving a bizarre, jumped up little scrote like Paul Danan access to scantily clad (if inexorably stupid) Playboy bunnies, needs some pretty serious criticism.

Big Brother is far from flawless, but the televisual concept is touched with the same genius as Orwell’s pen. It is a show that purposefully polarises opinion with its shameless recruitment of geeks, weirdos, trannies and deviants. But we should not be critical of these hapless idiots and we should certainly not be dismissing them as “dull” which is how the tabloids and countless other pompous idiots describe them.

It is not as if they are the only ones who applied for the goldfish bowl treatment. Thousands of “madcap” Brits put themselves up for it every year and are immediately discarded. Indeed, I suspect a healthy portion of the snide detractors – the smug, joyless imbeciles who gather gleefully round the water cooler with their Heat magazine and their cretinous sneers of derision – are actually rejected applicants.

And from that it would be fair to surmise that the people in the House are a good deal more interesting than you.

When will they learn that middle-class graduates who drink red wine, work in PR and whom their friends refer to as “the zany one” are not quite what the programme-makers are looking for. Audition tapes of these giggling berks dressed in school disco garb and pigtails dancing on their sofa to Like a Virgin are simply not going to cut it.

The sad fact is most of us couldn’t get on to Big Brother even if we wanted to. Normalcy is not an option:

  • Successful audition tape: Hi boys, I’m Wendy. By day I’m a cheeky, busty waitress from Essex; by night I’m a whoring dominatrix vampire with a lust for blood, mayhem, virgin sacrifices and orgies with gay Tory MPs and farm animals.
  •  
  • My audition tape: Er, hello – I’m Tom. I like doing crosswords and I make a good risotto.
    • Whose life would you rather watch?

      So have a go at them for being narcissistic show-offs, social misfits or physical freakshows, but not for being boring. It is we, my friends who are the dullards.

      That’s why nobody with the ability to rationalise would even consider going on a show like that, where all bad habits are ruthlessly exposed: Nose-picking, arse scratching, the general inanity brought on by weeks of fomenting tedium. Not only that, but the paranoia of how you are being perceived in the outside world. Imagine every square-inch of unsightly body hair zoomed in on and studied by a panel of experts, while Dermot O’Leary makes quips about your bald patch. Grim.

      The editing process can paint you however the production team fancies. I say maybe one witty, intelligent thing a day – if they were to cut them all together into a highlights package, I would look like a regular HL Menken. But I reckon it’s more likely they would focus on the farting, armpit-sniffing and childish innuendo which would, let’s face it, give the public a more accurate portrait of the real me. It would also provide them with considerably more footage.

      And then there’s the thorny issue of sex. Under normal circumstances you can get away with some sly self-gratification even in unfamiliar surroundings: Who hasn’t slipped away to a guest bedroom at their Gran’s for a sly fiddle after watching Connie Booth in Fawlty Towers? Nobody? Oh. But imagine what it’s like in there! Nine weeks without touching yourself for fear of turning up on the front page of the Sun: “Big Bro Baldy Gives Himself a Hand”. NINE WEEKS! No wonder the current batch of housemates have turned into crazed, lustful monsters.

      And if, by the combined miracles of strong cider and female desperation, you actually manage to pull, The Big Brother House is hardly an ideal location for the tentative early expressions of physical love. The added pressure of a television audience can, no doubt, cause predictable misfiring. Saying “I’m sorry, this has never happened to me before…” is bad enough in front of one mortified bedfellow – In front of four million baying armchair critics (including your mother) it takes on unimaginable horror.

      So we shouldn’t criticise. We should applaud our unhinged antiheroes for those dual characteristics of pluck and stupidity and thank our lucky stars that all of our little foibles – every covert scratch, snort and nocturnal emission - remain safely private.

      July 2005

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