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It's 2am In The Big Brother House. Why Are You Still Watching?

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It has always eluded me what possible pleasure anyone could possibly derive from watching a group of people- each progressively more abhorrent than the last- living in a house. How could the broad northern accent declaring “It is 2:30am in the Big Brother house… everyone is fast asleep.” Possibly be of any interest to anybody possessing more than two brain cells?

The one and only time I tuned in to Big Brother it was to find myself witnessing two housemates change their names, LEGALLY, to Dogface and Halfwit. Regardless of how humorously accurate these two names were, the unrelenting stupidity of these two as well as the other housemates was enough for me to make up my mind.

Never. Again.

In an attempt to understand the appeal the show holds, I found myself today asking one of my friends- a fan of the fiasco- what made him tune in every day? The response I received was as follows. “Well, it’s an escape, isn’t it? Our own lives are so boring and structured and normal… it’s fun to watch some of the stupidest people on the planet making such absolute fools of themselves in such unrealistic situations.”

This got me thinking. Shows like Britain’s Got Talent, The X Factor, American Idol, Big Brother, I’m A Celebrity… Is that all they are? An escape from reality? Sure, some people watch simply to laugh (and marvel) at the insanity of some of the people with whom we share this planet- but does the one in a million chance at fame and fortune achieved by people such as Carrie Underwood and Leona Lewis offer a sense of hope and a promise of better to some people?

Perhaps therein lies the appeal of reality TV. We watch filled with cynicism and disbelief at the actions and, ultimately, desperation at the actions of fellow human beings- but still, we watch.

Although Big Brother is a step too far to endure without wanting to cry at the very thought that there have been eleven seasons of this banality: Even I tuned into the finale of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent, and I will definitely be watching the audition stages of X Factor, along with the majority of the rest of the country.

Because although the specific dream of fifteen minutes of fame that they strive towards holds no appeal for me personally- the promise that if I strive hard enough I will eventually be successful in my chosen field- regardless of how many people I have to surpass to get there- is enough. And for many people, reality TV is a glimpse at a future of recognition and importance… no matter how fleeting.



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SmileAndTheWorldWillSmileBack said...
Jul. 4, 2010 at 2:29 am:

I am totally with you on this. It really makes me wonder at what we have become when as you say we find enjoyment in watching wannabees making fools of themselves in the Big Brother House. Big Brother in particular has never held any appeal to me but I do find myself caught up in the excitement of X-factor, without knowing it you can become sucked into this whirlwind of reality TV and it isn't until afterwards that you realise how ridiculous it all was. I feel ashamed at school, when everyone... (more »)

 
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