Guilty Pleasures: Big Brother Amplified

For the last four years or so, I’ve been trying to quit my TV addiction but I keep failing every time. You see, Television practically raised me, It was my companion when my folks where off picking cotton and I was that lonely kid who was too weird to have any friends . It kept me off the streets during my self-destructive mid-teens years, where I was drunk half the time and the only time I wasn’t drunk was when I was glued to the idiot box. If it weren’t for Television, I would have probably ended up in prison getting anally raped because I was born pretty. But as much as I love Television, I feel as though I wasted most of my life letting American television shows teach me about crass consumerism, when I could have spend it doing something worthwhile. Like learning social skills during my developmental years, or getting around to writing that Robert Rodriguesque so-bad-that-it’s-so-good novel that’s been lying in my head during my last two years of irregular employment.

For the Past four years, I’ve been trying to quit this passive habit of mine but each time I see some progress a kick ass show such as NBC’s ā€œCommunityā€ comes along and derails my plans. Or I get unemployed and end up wasting time vegetating in front of the Television. Last year during my six months of unemployment, I spent most of the time watching Al Jazeera and RT and I managed to convince myself that I wasn’t being utterly unproductive since I was learning about world affairs and stuff. Since my irresponsible self decided to quit that dead end job, I have been back at it again. Initially I was content with Al Jazeera and RT, but then the Arab youth decided to start a revolution in the Middle East and North Africa, and Al Jazeera ended up spending most of it’s budget covering that. The news specials like the one they did about the gentrification of Washington DC, or the one about the forced sterilization of HIV+ women in Namibia and KwaZulu Natal where slowly replaced with unnecessary analysis about Gaddafi. RT on the other hand decided to get all sensational for no apparent reason. With both these network deciding to alienate me as a viewer, I could have used this opportunity to switch of the TV and start doing something meaningful with my life, but I’m a loser, so I didn’t. I ended up switching to a more asinine Television programme, Big Brother Amplified.

The Big Brother Series is the Lowest Common Denominator of Television. It’s like saccharin, providing instant sweetness but will probably give you cancer in the long run. Logic tells me that I should stay far away from it but I can’t help it, I’m hooked. I don’t know why but there’s something appealing to me about a show featuring people locked up in a house for three months while we get to watch their every move. It amazes me how, with all the different people that audition for the show, every season the producers decide to bring us variation of the same contestants, i.e. Upper-middle class raised, University graduate, working in the media industry, celebrity in their respective countries. Each year they bring us the one token white guy who always feels out of place when the group of black Africans bicker over food (T.I.A).

What I like about the show is that, unlike other reality shows, it is shown 24/7, no editing for dramatic effects*. Viewers can watch and make up their own minds as to who they want to give the $200K’s to. I like how high-school social dynamics play out throughout the duration of the show. I love how the text bar at the bottom of the screen says much about Africans’ negative perception about themselves and western culture Idolization that any paper I’ve read. Etc.

With every reality show one has to have a favourite, right? Well, if that’s the case then my Favourite hands down has to be Karen from Nigeria. Just like yours truly, she’s weird and misunderstood, and the more she tries to get people to understand her, the more they get confrontational towards her. For some odd reason, this years housemates aren’t as interesting as the ones from the previous years, and the conflict and tension she creates in the house is one of the reason the tails house is way more interesting than the heads house. Do I think she will win the money? No. Although she’s popular right now, it’s only a matter of time before the fickle public turns on her. Right now, they’re just loving her because of the novelty of watching an eccentric individual, they’ll soon get tire of that and give the money to one of the boring housemates the producers decided to torture us with.

*Unless you count the daily hour update show, which are edited for dramatic effect and the difference between the depiction of certain housemates between the update and the live show is quiet revealing of who the producers want to get evicted on Sunday.