Posts tagged ‘reality TV’

Let’s Fix Big Brother

bigbrother1

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.

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

Unmaking the Band

I genuinely like P.Diddy.

Whenever I see him, whether it’s on one of his several reality programs or on a red carpet or something, I enjoy hearing him speak. He seems to have a genuine sense of humor about himself, has a relatively down-to-earth personality, and is always busting chops.

Also, because DIDDY OBAMA BLOG.

Because I like P.Diddy, I watch Making the Band 4 every week, and because P.Diddy is good at making reality shows, it also happens to be a fun watch even when there’s little Diddy content.

But there’s always Diddy content, and you can tell he genuinely enjoys fucking shit up on his show. He seems to relish being the kind of “character” who can walk into a room full of fresh-faced recording artists and mess up their lives with a couple words.

This week’s episode boasted a much-hyped “serious talk” between Diddy and the five members of his platinum-selling girl group, Danity Kane. In it, Diddy (SPOILER ALERT!) shitcanned Danity Kane’s resident diva skank, Aubrey.

What’s interesting is that the episode was pretty much normal until like the last ten minutes–the gang went down to Cabo and swam with dolphins and goofed off, and then all of a sudden, BAM–it’s meeting time and Diddy’s laying down the law. Also, this seemed to have been billed as the “season finale” for MTB4, but instead, the ten minutes of serious chat was apparently just a teaser for next week’s ACTUAL finale, which I’m hoping is just an hour solid of them bitching at each other around a conference table at Bad Boy.

Diddy made some comment to the effect of, “You’ve lived part of your lives on camera, and you’ve lived part of your lives…off camera.” The suggestion was that the girls were all playing roles for the film crews, and then existing in an entirely separate universe when the cameras were off. In that universe, I guess they hate each other.

It was sorta fascinating to watch–you could see Diddy chipping away quietly at the girls’ defenses, seeking not the heightened and glossy versions of these people that we see every week on MTV, but the real women underneath it all, and where they were at regarding the business enterprise that is Danity Kane. It’s always rare to get “reality” from your “reality TV”; rarer still is the determination of a pop star like Diddy to scratch away the thin veneer of showbiz that coats any reality series after mere moments on the airwaves.

October 9, 2008 at 5:39 pm 1 comment


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