When people tell me they can’t stand “Big Brother,” that it’s a boring show about stupid people who don’t do anything but yell and scream and sit around a tiny pool in their bathing suits, I always respond, “Yes, and? Your point being?” I’m not going to pretend “Big Brother” is anything it isn’t. It’s not a fascinating social experiment about the psychological responses of people being forced to live in seclusion with no outside stimuli to distract them from contemplating their sad and shallow lives. No. It’s a stupid show about dumb people who don’t do anything but yell and scream and sit around a tiny pool in their bathing suits. And I love it.
Yes, there are better reality shows out there. Lots of them. But I like to think of “Big Brother” as the purest of the lot. If boxing can be viewed as the purest of sports–simply two people fighting each other, without the pretext of “teams” and pages and pages of rules–then “Big Brother” is what all reality TV is at its purest level: a battle of personalities. To illustrate, here’s one of the best moments from last season: A never ending fight, and the saddest birthday celebration ever.
Last night, season 11 premiered, and it’s off to a good, and maddening, start. The “twist” this time around–and there’s always a twist–was twofold. First, the housemates were broken up into high school-esque “cliques.” Except the “Big Brother” writers apparently went to high school in the 1930s because this is how they chose to name the cliques: Athletes, Brains, Popular, and Offbeat. So let me translate: Jocks, Nerds, Popular, (fine, I’ll give them that one; popular kids are never interesting enough to have a cool clique name), and Freaks.
The second part of the twist came after the hamsters were divided into their cliques (and of course, a lot of them were not happy with their typecasting) and presented with their first Head of Household challenge. They’d be playing as teams, and if their team won, then the whole team would be safe from elimination. But the winning team would also be getting a fourth member, a player from a previous season. Well, to make a long story short, the Athletes won, and their new HoH was Jessie, the muscled up meathead featured in the clip above.
I was not pleased. Not pleased at all. He was intolerable last season. He always went on and on about how people only thought of him as a body, and not a brain, even though he was never able to demonstrate even a second of rational or complex thought. He was also very sensitive to people “irrespecting” him. So, yeah. I can only hope his stint in the house doesn’t last much longer than his stint as HoHo.
As for the rest of the housemates, at this point, I can’t even be bothered to know their names, but here’s who stands out. There’s the girl with the tattoos who’s a special effects make-up artist. She seems tolerable. There’s the girl with the ridiculously huge breasts, which she probably got to help take away from the fact that she’s pretty homely. And then there’s the 40-year-old school teacher/DJ. It’s cool that he does both, but it’s not cool that he was once a “rapper.”
The rest have kind of blurred to me at this point. But no matter. I’ll have plenty of time to get to know them all painfully well since the show airs three times a week. Three times! For some people, their summer sport of choice if baseball. For me, it’s “Big Brother.”
“Big Brother” airs Sunday’s at 8 P.M.; Tuesday’s at 9 P.M.; and Thursday’s at 8 P.M on CBS.