Last year was the first year I didn’t watch Big Brother. And by that, I mean I didn’t watch a single second. And do you know what? I felt all the better for it. I couldn’t pick last year’s contestants out of a line-up. Well, actually, that’s not entirely true, because the fame-seekers and quirky try-hards are usually fairly easy to spot.
My best friend watched last year’s Big Brother and told me that there was a chubby Thai contestant who adored cookies, so she carried a cookie jar around with her all the time (of course, why wouldn’t she?) Predictably, tabloids and fans often lovingly referred to her as the “Cookie Monster”. Cookies were her quirk. That’s what supposedly made her interesting.
After hearing this from my friend, I knew I’d made the right decision not to watch. It made me think that if Howard Hughes had been put into the Big Brother house during the height of his OCD, the tabloids would probably have played up his quirk of bottling his own urine (he loves it so much, he carries a jar of piss around with him all the time!) The housemates would nickname him ‘Pissy’ (or ‘Nosferatu’, on account of his excessive nail growth).
After the life-affirming decision not to watch last year’s Big Brother, I chose not to watch the BB10 launch show last night. However, I’ve still been curious enough to read profiles on this year’s contestants, and to closely study a group photo of them all. But that’s as close as I intend to get to this year’s circus.
I really can’t be bothered doing a complete contestant rundown. But there are certainly a few people who stand out in the publicity photo, which generally screams “don’t watch!”
1) There’s Siavash, an Iranian-born Events Organiser. He looks like Guru Maurice Pitka dressed in Rod Stewart’s trousers. (In his individual profile photo he reminds me of a blind, but fiercely independent, pimp who struggles with eyeliner in the morning.) Surprisingly, his profile states that he’s a “slave to fashion”. Unsurprisingly, it also states that he dropped out of studying fashion at university. (Probably best.)
His controversial comment for the BB10 PR machine: If he could make a law it would be for ugly people not to be allowed to have children. Cunningly, so as not to fall foul of his own future law, he’s stated his desire to adopt children in the future. “There is no point having any of your own because so many are homeless,” says Siavash (quoting from Madonna’s ‘Adoption for Dummies’ handbook).
2) There’s Angel, the Russian ex-rock star. Her profile says: “she left home aged 24 to become an international rock star; she was well known in Russia and released one album.” When you set out to be an international rock star but end up having to accept that you’re only nationally “well known”, that’s got to hurt. It’s a bit like saying: “She set out to be a world famous scientist; she purchased a ‘My First Chemistry Set’, blew two fingers off in her bedroom, and called it a day.” If Fagin had allowed his band of street urchins to go to town on the Artful Dodger with stolen make-up, Angel would be the result.
3) Imagine if Billy Ray Cyrus had abandoned an unwanted love-child in the woods, to be raised by wolves. Marcus looks like the man that would turn up on Billy Ray’s doorstep 35-years later looking for acceptance and half of Miley Cyrus’s fortune. (And judging by his publicity photo, he’s a walking Rorschach test.)
4) I had to look twice at Brummie, Lisa, because I thought BB1 winner, Craig Phillips, had re-invented himself as a lesbian to see if he could secure a second win for himself. It’s not him, though. At least, I don’t think it is…
I’m sure the other housemates are a mixed bag of fame-hungry morons who claim to be feisty, argumentative, cocky and arrogant, with habits that are likely to annoy their fellow housemates (“I tend to sleepwalk and write my name on the wall in shit. That’s probably going to get on everyone’s nerves,” a contestant might say, as Big Brother cues up future flashpoints in the house). The BB10 house also seems to be home to the usual gaggle of curvaceous blondes, who’ll soon be gracing the glossy pages of Nuts and Zoo magazine in faux lesbian poses.
Ahh, remember BB1 when it was all so simple? A bunch of ordinary people who were perfectly interesting and engaging characters, and who didn’t have to heavily signpost their individuality by bullshitting their way through the audition process with excessively quirky behaviour. That was the show that gave us ‘Nasty Nick’ Bateman – a slightly awkward City broker who was turned into a Machiavellian character for trying to play his fellow contestants off against each other. That was brilliant viewing! A man reduced to tears by his own twisted desire to win.
In my opinion, Big Brother has been going down hill ever since then. And for me, now, it’s pretty unwatchable. I was fully expecting this year’s BB producers to put lesbian conjoined twins into the house (the twist: they’d be enjoying an incestuous relationship with each other). However, watching them touching each other inappropriately at the dinner table, while attempting a hopeless snog with slurping tongues (frustrating and impossible with conjoined heads), was probably considered a bit of a tough watch. Maybe next year?
Anyway, good luck to this year’s contestants. May you all sink back into obscurity once evicted.