John Walker's Electronic House

Big Brother 8: For The Ladies

by on Jun.01, 2007, under Television

You know what? Big Brother 2 was a really great social experiment. I watched it obsessively, more the live feed than the nightly broadcasts, including, I will confess, falling asleep to the image of their falling asleep. I do not boast this, and I don’t pretend to defend it. It gripped me for one summer, and I genuinely believe it was a very different programme back then.

BB2 was won by Brian – super-camp and very sweet young guy who I imagine is now selling the sort of jewelry that turns your skin green on a channel in the deepest depths of the cable swamplands. And I think he deserved it. Not for the reasons broadcast on the nightly episodes, but those constantly revealed in the live feed. While the newspapers fellated themselves into a mad twisted snake over Pa”Ya’know, I mean, sersiously”ul and Em”I like blinking I do”ma, the much more quiet Dean and Elizabeth (oddly painted by the edited show as deathly boring and deeply evil, respectively) made it their mission to help Brian change from the selfish little brat that entered into the rather lovely chap who deserved the win, and the TV work that followed. They literally created school time for him (at his request), where they would send him away to read a chapter of one of their books, then talk over what he’d read. He declared himself Catholic, but had never heard of Adam and Eve. Rather than being disgusted, Dean instead patiently taught him the history of his religion. They cared for him, and he transformed. Meanwhile Dean would strum melodically on his guitar, and when pestered by the housemates, sing some of his songs. (He was of course announced by the papers to be simply trying to promote a singing career by forcing his music on everyone).

Of course, a couple of things stand out rather oddly now. Books and instruments are now banned from the BB house. They made it “boring”, because people “would just sit around reading.” God forbid it. It’s imperative that instead they spend their days lying perfectly still in their competitive efforts to see who can grow the most threatening melanoma/atheroma. FAR more interesting! Of course, just to be safe it’s also been the policy to only allow in those very unlikely to know what a book is, let alone stare confused at the pictureless words inside.

For the last three years I’ve not even been able to bear the thought of watching a single minute of it. I’ve tended to read the BBC news stories during the launch week, have a scan of the profiles to be sure it’s everything I’ll hate, and then dig myself a bunker in the garden to avoid the Summer rays of gleaming headlines and asinine conversation. As Jesus nearly said, “Wherever two or three are gathered, bleating about Big Brother will be there.” This year I admit to having been intrigued. Not because it’s an “all women house”, but because those women appeared, from their descriptions, to have been chosen by their potential political conflicts. Yes, yes I was stupid and wrong.

For your pleasure I will now tell you why everyone involved is hateful, and why I shall be back in the bunker from now on.

Sam and Amanda are twins! Blonde twins! They like pink! They squeal! Perhaps these two things could be combined if someone were to slit their bellies open and spill them inside out. They like to speak at the same time, and simultaneously announced that they don’t like people who “speak in dictionary language.” Just actions people, just actions.

Lesley is in the WI, and is 60, and has serious hair and serious glasses. Watching her face became the only reason to continue putting up with the hour’s descent into the abhorrent, as each screeching halfwit entered the house and her spirit died a little more. It’s looking like it could be Britain’s first televised suicide.

Charley can’t spell her name. She also considers herself an It Girl, and has big earrings and the mutant mouthchild of Billie Piper and Julia Roberts. I imagine she’ll announce her friends call her “Chazzer” soon, and then I get carried away and imagine she’s run over by a combine harvester.

Tracey is possibly the most irritating human being of all time. Kudos to the producers for finding her. She’s a “mad quaver” or something, with PINK HAIR OMG! and a man’s set of chromosomes, which she uses for largin’ it. She is in fact a really badly programmed robot, malfunctioning horribly such that it can only sputter three phrases no matter how irrelevantly. “‘AVE IT!” she must shout at the post as it arrives through the letterbox in the morning, followed by getting the kettle “BUZZIN'” before “LARGIN’ IT” into the mug. “‘AVE IT TEABAG!” She collects carrier bags because, well, because she’s an idiot. She won’t break down impressively because the malfunctioning robot has taken over completely now. Instead she’ll go all dark and moody, and punch a door, and then all the others will cluck in worry and bump into the walls.

Chanelle is, as far as I can tell, the sort of name that only ever appears on Big Brother. Surely in the real world a child named such would be generously drowned to save it from her parents? Chanelle wants to be “rich, or famous, or a speech therapist in Spain.” She also wants to be Posh Spice, and has confused Planet Earth with a giant look-a-like contest. If anyone watches this (and I know you will be, James) could you alert me the moment she says a sentence that doesn’t include some form of the phrase, “People tell me I look a lot like Victoria Beckham”? Thanks.

Shabnam is apparently made of soggy tissues.

Emily conspiratorially informs us that “there’s a new music and it’s taking over our country. It’s called Indie.” Goodness me, whatever must this new sound be like? Will it catch on? Can you dance to it? Can you catch on fire? Reading about her she appeared interestingly right wing. In reality, she’s just going to vote Tory because Mummy and Daddy do. Annoucing, “Education, education, education” in her introductory video somewhat gave away her confusion over politics. But she hates stupid people. She’s rich and posh! Private school doesn’t seem to have held her back from investing her massive intellect into working as a waitress.

Laura was the crowd’s favourite because she’s fat and deeply stupid, and thus not a threat to the sorts of egos who give up a day to stand and scream as eleven people walk past them and go inside a building. Until a fatter and more stupid contestant came along after. My accurate prediction: She will spend the vast majority of her time in the house in tears, because that’s always got her the attention she needs before. She will refer to every other younger constestant as “Such a mean… sniffle… bitch” at some point.

Nicky wants to prove that being Indian doesn’t stop her from not being Indian. Or something. Possibly the only contestant with a life potentially containing some interest (she was living in Mother Theresa’s Indian orphanage at one point in her life), her vacuous demeanour suggests that we’ll only get to learn her favourite lipstick. Were we to watch. Which we won’t.

Carole is the result of some mad scientists’ seeing what would happen if they crossed the colour grey with a binbag full of wet clothes, and brought it to life. A massive 50-something bisexual (ie. divorced and so desperate) who dedicates her life to announcing her geographical location (east London, apparently) and saying “fuck” like a teacher trying to appear trendy during assembly. “I’m going to shake it something rotten. And they will be shaken shitless.” So much so she’s too busy to be employed at the moment, what with all her war protesting and all. War’s not nice, we learn. And if the others can’t cope with her, then, well, that’s their problem because she’s who she is, and that’s just the way it is. It’s funny how it’s only the most wretched people who feel the need to announce this, rather than reflecting on the fact that everyone they ever meet hates them, and therefore there might be something about themselves that could be questionable. No! Stop the thoughts! Swear some more – and I speculate here – and spell Tony Blair, “Tony BLIAR!!!”.

If anyone can think of a reason not to bolt the doors shut, turn off the cameras, and quietly forget about them, then, well, you should probably go in and join them.

7 Comments for this entry

  • km

    May each one show up in your nightmares like some screwed up pop culture Christmas Carol.

  • Rob

    The only thing keeping me watching (aside from the fact that my housemate’s TV has no tweeter on its speakers, which thankfully keeps me from hearing pretty much anything the twins “say”) is our theory that there are ostensibly no men in the house, because several of the housemates used to be men themselves.

    The obvious candidate is Tracey, not least due to having a man’s face, a man’s voice, and a man’s ENORMOUS ADAM’S APPLE, but I reckon the smart money is on Charley. Aside from having a face like an unhappy, wet dog, she wears the kind of clothing that you normally only see on very effeminate transvestites prancing around Vauxhall in the wee small hours at the weekend, and looked incredibly shifty when the others started shrieking “where are all the men!” at the top of their voices.

  • bob_arctor

    Nice one John that had me laughing. I didn’t even know it was an all woman’s house.

    How much do you need to be paid to watch it and then tell us what is happening in a funny manner?

  • John

    Fifty million pounds an episode.

  • Nick Mailer

    This article was much better than your “won’t somebody think of the dark kiddies” one. Keep it up.

  • Tom

    Incredible how this show just keeps coming on, and each year it takes me longer and longer to realise it’s started again. Another year to become disappointed in friends and relations for indulging in its numbing idiocy. “It’s just trash, it’s not supposed to be good or anything”, they cry. “There’s better trash than this shit,” I posit, no longer sure of myself.


  • The_B

    And then they add the pretty boy.

    And no, I shouldn’t be watching it – but unfortunately with only freeview on the television, and not a good enough connection to watch the US stuff, I’m resigned to finding out through inevitablility, even if I make a point not to watch the actaul shows themselves.

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