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Big Brother then

Enter here to talk about books, art, literature, film, TV and anything else to do with popular culture.
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jaywhat
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Big Brother then

#1 Post by jaywhat » June 10th, 2008, 5:24 am

No comment, never watch it, but I felt there was a need for this little space ....................

I can't believe I put this is culture club, I've tried deleting to no avail and now I hang my head in shame.

Maria Mac
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Re: Big Brother then

#2 Post by Maria Mac » June 10th, 2008, 11:19 am

Well it's on TV therefore it belongs here. I've been watching it but feel it's too early to say anything about this series in particular and I'm not bothered about discussing the concept in general. I like watching to see how people get on together or not and other people don't. End of story.

lewist
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Re: Big Brother then

#3 Post by lewist » June 10th, 2008, 8:39 pm

I don't watch it and have only seen tiny snippets. It is part of the popular culture of the early twenty first century and I criticise no one who watches it and treats it as entertainment. It is rightly placed in the Culture Club, provided we accept a broad definition of culture. However, I do have a problem with connecting the word reality with this particular genre. From what I know of Big Brother it should not be regarded as approaching reality.
Carpe diem. Savour every moment.

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Parapraxis
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Re: Big Brother then

#4 Post by Parapraxis » June 12th, 2008, 9:59 am

I really, really do not like Big Brother, at its most basic level its phenomenon consists of people sitting in a house, watching people sitting in a house. Admittedly, part of my venomous distaste for it derives from the fact that when E4 was announced to be avialable to Freeview viewers, I was hoping for Frasier repeats, and instead got near 24/7 Big Brother. In all my caustic cynicism, I think that anybody who watches the live broadcast (as opposed to the "highlights" shown on Channel 4) has either too much free time on their hands and/or a very empty life.

The next thing that annoys me is that some people defend the program as having scientific credence, as if it can provide some sort of psychological insight. As a psychologist (okay, I'm "only" a psychology student...but psychologist sounds better!) I think that whatever research quality Big Brother might have had, has since departed since later series just repeated the formula. It's as if Endemol (the production company) said "Let's see what happens if we put a bunch of strangers into a house. Oh, they argue? Let's see if the same thing happens again, and again and again..." and of course, any psychological research that one may present dwindles significantly compared to the shamless entertainment factors.

I could be really cynical...again...and say that all the people who apply to be on the show are narcissists, but I'll avoid such generalisations but instead hold it against Big Brother for launching the "careers" of complete airheads such as Jade Goody and Chantelle. Part of this hatred comes out of being asked to move in a club for the "stars" of Big Brother...they're lucky the security were tough on searching for weapons... :wink:
The poster formerly known as "Electric Angel"

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Big Brother then

#5 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » June 12th, 2008, 12:07 pm

Electric Angel wrote:I think that whatever research quality Big Brother might have had, has since departed since later series just repeated the formula. It's as if Endemol (the production company) said "Let's see what happens if we put a bunch of strangers into a house. Oh, they argue? Let's see if the same thing happens again, and again and again..."
I think it's much worse than that. I think that Endemol originally said: "Let's see what happens if we put a bunch of strangers in a house and control them, take over their lives, remove their privacy, restrict their movements, deny them access to the outside world, tell them to do things that are silly and demeaning, and hey, let's call it Big Brother, after the sinister dictator in George Orwell's 1984, a literary classic with which our audiences will, of course, be familiar." And then after the first series they said, "Oh, right, the 'housemates' just go along with it. They don't rebel. They don't even question. They obey. They don't seem to mind relinquishing control. They don't seem bothered about losing their autonomy, or their privacy, or their dignity. They either forget that the two-way mirrors and cameras are there, or they enjoy the chance to be exhibitionists. They don't get angry with us; they just get angry with each other. Most of them aren't even that bothered about winning. All they want is a break from their normal lives and a chance to show off; they want the toys, the games, the parties, the food, the booze, the opportunities for flirtation and furtive sex, and of course the possibility of fame, however fleeting. And that's fine. Because the audience loves it. Just look at the viewing figures! Just look at the profits from the eviction phone lines! They love it because it's an entertainment that's intellectually unchallenging but at the same time interactive and involving. And they love the intimacy of it [---][/---] the faces that become so familiar they feel like friends or family. And they love the fact that everyone they know is watching it too, so they can gossip about it. And even the people who don't love it like having something to sneer at and moan about. And the media (and media studies academics) like it because they can analyse it ad nauseam. So let's forget about Orwell [---][/---] hardly anyone seems to know who he was anyway [---][/---] and just focus on how much we can make them all demean themselves, participants and audience and media alike. Let's see how far we can push them. Let's see how long we can keep this up before everyone gets thoroughly sick of it and stops watching it and talking about it and we can't make a mint any more."

The irony is that the show has taught us something about human behaviour, about how easily we can be manipulated and controlled, just as long as we're given something we want, or think we want. Love it or loathe it, Big Brother is a microcosm of modern capitalist society.

And I've always wanted the opportunity to say that ... :D

Emma

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Parapraxis
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Re: Big Brother then

#6 Post by Parapraxis » June 12th, 2008, 1:15 pm

Emma W, you're making the assumption that an Endemol producer could produce such a long and coherently structured paragraph, you really overestimate their abilities...oh I'm teasing, they're probably not mindless...but they rely on the absence for critical faculties to retain viewing figures of Big Brother.

I agree to a certain extent that Big Brother is a microcosm, except it removes some of the things we perhaps take for granted: familiarity, contact with "the outside world" and free will...amongst others. Big Brother puts people into a deceptively (and abhorrently so) stressful situation.

One thing, which I feel may be a key element to the stress, is that Big Brother removes one ability to detach oneself from the situation; in "real life" we can lock ourselves in a room to find "alone time"; there is no such privacy in Big Brother.


ON NOES I'm suggesting psychological factors from Big Brother...shoot me?
The poster formerly known as "Electric Angel"

Maria Mac
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Re: Big Brother then

#7 Post by Maria Mac » June 12th, 2008, 4:41 pm

Superb posts, you two.
hold it against Big Brother for launching the "careers" of complete airheads such as Jade Goody and Chantelle.
Yes, BB has a lot to answer for in that respect but why do people take such an interest in these airheads and want to read about them and see them? :puzzled:

Admittedly, I am finding the latest series as boring as I find every series in the early stages but I hope that as time goes on I will start to get into it because on the whole I enjoy it for all the reasons Emma has said.

Beki
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Re: Big Brother then

#8 Post by Beki » June 13th, 2008, 1:32 pm

I remember writing about this at the old place. I then, and now, despise this programme and whilst I wouldn't ban it I would never watch it myself. The first series was ok, but as time passed and ratings fell, it seemed to me that the ante was just getting upped and upped almost to the point of psychological torture and I for one will not encourage or participate in it.
Big Brother puts people into a deceptively (and abhorrently so) stressful situation.
Since the original programme, that seems to be the whole idea of the programme. They take emotionally immature airheads and increase the pressure week on week. As I think I said before, when someone eventually snaps and picks up that kitchen knife, each and every viewer will have been complicit in making that act come about. That's why I can't watch it.

I know this comes off sounding really extreme and it probably won't happen, but just in case - I'll keep it firmly switched off. :sad2:
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - M Ghandi

Thomas
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Re: Big Brother then

#9 Post by Thomas » June 13th, 2008, 1:50 pm

I really don't recognise your description of the programme from the one I see, Beki. I'm not a great fan but my daughter enjoys it so I do get to see it. There's no 'psychological torture' and not everyone in it is an airhead. Some of them are very clever indeed - Jon Tickle who now presents the science programme Brainiac and Alison Hammond who is a respected reporter on morning TV spring to mind - and most of the time they seem to be having great fun. The conflicts are the same as any group of people sharing a house or office might have.

It's just a silly programme that people enjoy being on - they all say what a terrific experience it was, even the ones who ultimately can't take the stress of being cooped up together and leave before being evicted, as they are perfectly free to do, of course.

The candidates are carefully screened before being selected too - I think the kitchen knife scenario highly unlikely but if it happened, the responsibility would lie firmly with the production team rather than the viewers.

Are you sure you're not relying too much on how the media represent it for your impression?

Beki
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Re: Big Brother then

#10 Post by Beki » June 17th, 2008, 3:00 pm

Ach maybe you're right Thomas and I'm being overly-sensitive. I don't think it is the media, because I tend not to bother reading anything about it either (although I do remember reading something about a huge fight a while back and thinking "Well that is exactly what I expected").

The last thing I remember from actually watching any of the programs was when they erected a large division in the middle of the house and deliberately split the group down the middle to play them off against each other. And was there not one time when they told everyone that someone had been kicked out but then let that person watch everyone through one-way glass just so that they could hear how bitchy they were being? I just don't like watching that deliberately contrived conflict, I think it is really sick to do that to people whether or not they have agreed to take part.

I take your point about John Tickle, (he is great on Brainiac), but for every JT there seems to be 10 Jade Goody's and she is not exactly the sharpest tool in the box! (Here are some of the "best" quotes that I found on the net http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainmen ... 055968.stm). I despair!

********************************************

Jade asks Spencer if he punts boats on the River Thames.
Spencer: "No, I work in Cambridge."
Jade: "I know I'm from Bermondsey and I know that's London, but where is Cambridge?"
Spencer: "It's in East Anglia."
Jade: "Where's East Angular [sic] though? I thought that was abroad."


"The Union Jack is for all of us, but the St George is just for London, isn't it?"

"I knew Lynne was from Aberdeen but I didn't realise Aberdeen was in Scotland."

"What's asparagus? Do you grow it?"

"I am intelligent, but I let myself down because I can't speak properly or spell."

To Jonny when the others were complaining about him while he was lying in bed: "You'll interiate." (As opposed to "deteriorate".)

To PJ after he revealed he knew someone who kept pet peacocks: "You see those things... don't think I'm being daft... but them things that look like eyes, are they their real eyes?"
Jade picks up a photo of PJ on holiday by the sea.
Jade: "Is that where you live?"
PJ: "Yeah, Birmingham seaside."
Jade: "Have they not got seasides in Birmingham?"


"Jonny, I'm not being tictactical in here"

Tim suggested Jade move to the US, to which she replied: "They do speak English there don't they?"

"It's Mona Lisa who's symmetrical, innit?"

When asked by Big Brother to name two vegetables in the garden: "Strawberries and spuds".

"Rio de Janeiro, ain't that a person?"

"They were trying to use me as an escape goat."

"Do they speak Portuganese in Portugal? I thought Portugal was in Spain."

On the final day, in the garden: "Are they really filming us out here? I look like a state."
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - M Ghandi

Maria Mac
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Re: Big Brother then

#11 Post by Maria Mac » June 20th, 2008, 11:17 am

That selection of quotes doesn't include Jade's worst one, IMO, which went something like this:

"I don't know nuffink about Eskimos. I don't even know if they can talk like other people or do they just go ............ (makes weird noises)?"

And this was her second time in BB when she was several years older and wealthy as a result of her celebrity. BB has got a lot to answer for.

I'm inclined to agree with Thomas that I don't think there is any real danger and most of them seem to love it in there and the few that don't just leave. But I am appalled at the fact that some people who are really undeserving of celebrity have achieved it and it's not just because the public are interested in them but because Channel 4 forces them on us. They use a lot of former contestants, who should have disappeared back into oblivion, as promoters of the programme, sending them out on the streets around the country to interview people etc and most of them are absolutely useless and should not be given any type of job on TV.

Diane
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Re: Big Brother then

#12 Post by Diane » June 28th, 2008, 3:08 pm

I haven't watched any of it so far this year but I understand that something of note has happened. What is 'spitgate' all about?

Maria Mac
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Re: Big Brother then

#13 Post by Maria Mac » June 29th, 2008, 5:11 pm

A group of them were having a row and one of them had a hissy fit and spat at another of them. The offender has been expelled from the house.

Bryn
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Re: Big Brother then

#14 Post by Bryn » July 1st, 2008, 5:02 pm

And the ratings have shot up since.

What is it about (some) human beings that they love to watch conflict?

Maria Mac
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Re: Big Brother then

#15 Post by Maria Mac » July 7th, 2008, 3:26 pm

I don't think it's "some" human beings, Bryn. All people, to a greater or less degree, are interested in conflict even if they hate being in the middle of it. That's why every successful piece of fiction will involve some kind of conflict - even Mills & Boon stories have conflict before everyone makes up and lives happily ever after. The greater mystery is why people who enjoy fiction and soap operas would scorn a show like BB which, to my mind, has the ingredients of a soap but is more interesting because the characters are real.

I've been more drawn into this series of BB than in the previous couple of years because I find the people more interesting and the conflict has started earlier and been more intense. I have found escapism in focussing on other people's conflict instead of being worn down by own and it has lifted my spirits tremendously.

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Alan H
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Re: Big Brother then

#16 Post by Alan H » July 8th, 2008, 10:04 pm

Maria wrote:the characters are real.
What? You mean they're not just bad actors?
Alan Henness

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Chineapple punk
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Re: Big Brother then

#17 Post by Chineapple punk » July 10th, 2008, 10:34 pm

Ok. I'll admit that I have been watching BB but only because I know someone who is in it. Mickey and my other half are colleagues. They both work at The Royal National Institute of the Blind in Glasgow.
Give quiche a chance.

Maria Mac
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Re: Big Brother then

#18 Post by Maria Mac » July 12th, 2008, 2:15 am

The latest gossip on Mikey is that he said 'nigger' and there are calls (from members of the public) for his explusion from the House. However, some people are claiming that he didn't actually call anyone a nigger but was reciting 'Eenie, meany, miney mo...' and shouldn't therefore be penalised.

Better than a soap opera, I tell you!

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Alan H
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Re: Big Brother then

#19 Post by Alan H » July 12th, 2008, 2:32 am

Chineapple punk wrote:Ok. I'll admit that I have been watching BB but only because I know someone who is in it. Mickey and my other half are colleagues. They both work at The Royal National Institute of the Blind in Glasgow.
Hey! I know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who's famous! :D
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Chineapple punk
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Re: Big Brother then

#20 Post by Chineapple punk » July 12th, 2008, 2:05 pm

Alan H said:
Hey! I know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody who's famous!
I know, it's very sad of me!

Bloody hell, if he did say that, he deserves to be removed. Pretty stupid comment to make considering all the previous shenanigans on BB.
Give quiche a chance.

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