Sunday, 6 July 2008

Oh Brother!

OH GOOD, BROTHER'S BACK.....Is a sentence possibly uttered by someone, somewhere, once. Personally though, I couldn't be more disappointed that television's voyeuristic cash cow has had yet another pail of milk squeezed out of its already tender, bruised udders.

Somewhere in the darkest depths of central London, in an IKEA clad over-sized office, behind a huge desk, a Channel 4 executive sits counting piles of money like tap nosed super villain Cyril Snare. The only thing that can match the size of this individuals ego, desk and bank balance is the massive irremovable grin on his face. And it's there for a reason; this show makes money, a lot of money. Approximately 5million people tune in to watch the Friday night eviction show every week. If you add this to the 7 or 8 insomniacs that tune into the live show every night then we get a total of five million and eight people who Id rather cross the street than have a conversation with. This man (or men as the case may be) is now my mortal enemy. He is the Joker to my Batman, the Oasis to my Blur, the Patrick Viera to my Roy Keane.

The problem is this shit sells. Somewhere there should be a government bill passed to cease the filming of any show that contributes to the dumbing down of our nation. People don't seem to realize that all they are watching are people, living in a house. No matter how many flashy lights or cowboy psychologists, or seemingly ever pregnant TV presenters you pin to the thing, it is simply....wait for it....people living in a house. God I would have loved to have been there when this one was pitched to the head of programming. Talk about pulling an idea out of your arse at the last minute. I imagine the conversation went a little like this:

So what've you got for me?

wiping a nervous sweat from his brow, wishing he'd spent last night developing ideas instead of snorting blow out of a hookers navel
Well I have a concept....

go on......

We...we take some people

not really listening but instead recalling how last night he was snorting blow from a hookers navel

And we put them in a house

Semi detached or detached?


Go on....

And we it

Anything else?

Yeah....we give them something to do every week, like urm....they could dress up funny or something


Fuck it, I'm sold! Let's do lunch

I understand I may be dumbing down a little. If pushed, and it would have to be the kind of 'I have a gun at your head and you will say something positive' kind of push, one could argue that Big Brother is a valid social experiment. An experiment which groups together people from different walks of life, places them in front of a dozen TV cameras and sees how they react when faced with a variety of tasks devised to push people to their psychological limit. What tasks? I hear you ask. Well, generally the kind of tasks you'd face in the outside world, such as separating different coloured M'N'M's, completing an assault course or performing a dance routine every time the loudspeaker blasts out Chumbawumba at 6am. God knows, with what little life experience I have, I can just about figure out what will happen if you piss people off enough by putting them in a house with a bunch of overly attentive, attention seeking wankers, deprive them of food and sleep and then occasionally feed them booze. And we've had some moments haven't we. Kinga with the wine bottle. Jade Goody with...well everything really. But are we really supposed to sit back and let Channel 4 purposefully humiliate people? Sure, why not. I'm on no moral crusade here. I just don't like the show. It's fun to watch people argue and freak out every once in a while, but as we go into what is now the Big Brother's ninth series, you have to wonder if the producers are beginning to flog a dead horse (note to self; suggest flogging a dead horse as a task for next seasons BB). Each year the contestants have become stranger, to the point where the Big Brother is now pretty much a show solely about social misfits. It has become a modern day freak show:
"Roll up, Roll up, watch the trans-gendered, turrets suffering scouser try and articulate his inner sorrow in the diary room!"
If this pattern escalates I wouldn't be surprised if next year we are presented with a house full of religious zealots, all from different religions and a token atheist. Fuck it, that’s a show I'd probably watch. Seriously, lazy TV programming is something we've all become used to, but the humiliation (albeit of idiotic fame hungry media whores) of the general public, for the pleasure of the general public, is where I draw the line. If I want to spend my evening watching retards on the telly box then I'll rent "One Flew Over he Cuckoos Nest" or I am Sam".

The program itself is bad. But as if this isn't enough to make my blood boil, it’s fucking relentless. There's a nightly show, a nightly live show, a weekly eviction special and 24 hour coverage on the internet. For those of you who haven't had the displeasure of watching this I'll enlighten you: Imagine people sleeping....are you still with me? Good. Imagine 10 people sleeping. Right, now we're on track. Now imagine watching 10 people sleep, interspliced with footage of three people in the other room having a conversation about the most inane subjects known to man. Now imagine this already soul-destroyingly boring conversation occasionally censored by the sounds of tweeting birds and jet engines. Welcome, dear friends, to big brother live!

I can just about handle the fact that a program I hate monopolizes most of the air time Channel 4 owns. The real bitch of the situation however, the real thorn in this lion's paw, is that I always end up watching it. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, for those precious few minutes of my life, which i will never get back, I have joined the dark side and am in cahoots with all that I believe to be wrong with the world. In fact, even as I write this I have it on in the background. There are three social misfits and an attractive young lady, who as far as I can figure out is a mute. They are talking about Britney Spears and why she shaved her head. I shudder and pray for the bird noises to come back.

I wonder If George Orwell saw this coming when he wrote 1984. My guess is he's turning in his grave....and Channel 4 are probably filming it.


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