Posts tagged ‘Big Brother’

Let’s Fix Big Brother


Regular readers know of my love for CBS’ Big Brother, a reality series airing every summer (and one ill-fated spring season) in which twelve “houseguests” are forced to live together in a house wired with something like eleventy billion little cameras. They have no contact with the outside world, no TV, no newspaper, no internet. Just each other, the cameras, their wireless microphones, and a game in which one of them will win $500,000.

Watching season 11 (airing this summer), it occurred to me that I’ve been watching this show for close to ten years. Yikes. I skipped the first season, when the viewers at home actually voted on their picks to leave the house each week; by season two, that power was exclusively in the hands of the guests themselves, making it a more Survivor-esque competition against warring personalities, brain powers, and athletic abilities.

Since then, I have loved the show—I love that I have a tasty mindless treat to look forward to every summer, when all my other favorite shows are usually on repeats. I love the compressed editing schedule that gives the producers as little time as possible to take reality and manufacture it into “reality,” although they still manage to manufacture plenty. I love that it’s almost completely about the game; there’s no exotic foreign locale, no race-to-the-finish around the globe, no dumb job to occupy the hours not spent drinking and fucking. For shitty TV, it’s remarkably pure.

I think it needs some work, though, as it faces its 12th season next summer, and growing competition from other reality competition shows. I doubt CBS or the show’s production company will be interested in making any changes whatsoever since it does just good enough in the ratings as it is, and is insanely cheap to produce, but here’s a few ideas.



September 14, 2009 at 4:19 pm Leave a comment

Big Brother 10: Finally, Another Old Dude!

The cast for this summer’s Big Brother 10 has been revealed, and much to my surprise, they’ve FINALLY returned to their more diverse casting strategy…including an actual OLD PERSON.

Allison Grodner tells us the houseguests range from a 22 year-old bodybuilder to Jerry, a 75 year-old great-grandfather whose wife was just diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Some of my favorite BB contestants have been older folks, so this is a wonderful development. As expected, I’ll be there July 13 with bells on.


July 8, 2008 at 6:57 pm 2 comments

Big Brother 9: “Air quotes”

After a stumblingly awkward early season where the whole “couples” gimmick did way more harm than good, Big Brother 9 has settled back into the dependable rhythm of backstabbing, plotting, and strategery that has become its trademark.

Trouble is, I think the damage has already been done–the show’s typical dynamic wasn’t able to churn to life until they did away with the couples bullshit, so it still feels anemic, like some idiot’s home game version of the show. That’s not totally the producer’s fault, for coming up with a lame gimmick; it’s also the casting director’s fault, for letting this collection of losers into the house in the first place.

It’s not that losers can’t make fine contestants on Big Brother, or any reality show. There is a long, storied tradition of losers becoming perfectly acceptable reality contestants; the career of Jonny Fairplay is just one testament to that.

These people aren’t just losers; they’re boring, dense losers. Which means there’s precious little in the way of interesting gameplay happening–oh sure, Ryan and Joshuah have some secret alliance, and I guess it’s serving them well, but then there’s idiotic big-mouths like Sheila, or her “partner” Adam, who apparently doesn’t work for a non-profit helping what he called “retards” and what the rest of us know as “children afflicted with autism.”


He’s got to be one of the most physically repugnant people ever to appear on television. That picture’s flattering, trust me. He’s got creepy freaky bug eyes and a face that twists into a fun house mirror version of death itself whenever he gets animated. Bleargh.

I have a feeling that once some of the remaining detritus is evacuated from the house–people like Sheila, Adam, and Natalie (how creepy is she???)–maybe we’ll get a real game going, with the final five. Ryan, Shannon, Joshuah, James, and Chelsia all seem just smart enough to be good at Big Brother. Heck, some of the poor couple folk who didn’t get a chance to stick around might have been good at it too, but the producer’s shitty gimmick pushed them out the door too early.

Regardless, this summer’s regular season can’t get here fast enough. Please, Big Brother, no couples this time!

March 24, 2008 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

Big Brother 9: “But first…”

The legions of devoted shut-in and convicts who flock to Pop Geek each morning for the latest reality show reviews and grey-area illegal music must be shocked–shocked, I tell you!–that I’ve not yet written about Big Brother 9, or Big Brother: Till Death Do You Part.

Believe it or not, it took me about a week to get caught up on the season, and then it’s taken me about a week to digest a sad, simple fact: This season of Big Brother is honestly…not that good.

February 25, 2008 at 4:28 pm Leave a comment

Big Brother 9: It begins…

Zap2It has your first look at the cast and twist of Big Brother 9, premiering on CBS next Tuesday.

Kudos to houseguest Natalie, who has finally shattered prime-time television’s grotesque bias against bikini baristas. Fight the power, sister!

I’ve felt for a long time that reality shows need to return to the more diverse casting that made them so popular in the first place. Looking at the cast for BB9, it seems that dream is way over–only one cast mate over 30, a mere sprinkling of people of color, and everyone’s basically single and horny.

At least BB has the good sense to overtly capitalize on that trend with this season’s big twist, which I won’t spoil here, but it’s in the article above if you want to read it.

I can hardly wait to find out who the next breakout reality star of Big Brother will be–could a recap gig on TV Guide Channel or Fox Reality be in the wings for one of these pretty young hopefuls??? Only time will tell, fans!



February 8, 2008 at 10:16 am Leave a comment

Thank you, WGA!

I support my writerly soul kin laboring in the trenches of Hollywood as much as the next wannabe, but I also am glad they’re still on strike, because it gets us a bonus early season of Big Brother. Coming February 12…huzzah! The power is up for grabs!


(After Evel Dick’s shenanigans last season, my wife pledged never to watch the show again–we’ll see how strong her resolve is when faced with a bleak midwinter TV landscape bereft of the weekly scripted comforts of Lost, The Office, and 30 Rock.)

December 4, 2007 at 9:54 am 2 comments


Unsolicited opinions, snarky comments, and links aplenty—one man’s endless journey through the wild, wacky worlds of pop culture, fatherhood, and life in Central Florida.

Buy My Book!

Alert Nerd Press is an independent boutique publishing house dedicated to bringing you fiction and commentary, centered on all things geeky. Our debut release is Unconventional, a tale of sex, booze, and geeks taking place over three fateful days at UnCon, Chicagoland's largest sci-fi convention. You may buy it or download it as a free PDF.

You said…

My Tweets

RSS Alert Nerd

Flickr Photos

A Musical Note

I occasionally post mp3s on this blog, intended for illustrative purposes. If you are an artist who objects to my limited use of your music, please drop me a line and I will be happy to modify or remove the track. If you are a scary music industry lawyer, grow a FUCKING SOUL, and/or send me a Cease & Desist.

Join My E-mail List!

Google Groups
Alert Nerd
Visit this group

Old and busted.