You can save yourself the bother (and frequent distress) of having to watch Big Brother by reading Grace Dent’s excellent Radio Times blog. She was better when she wasn’t writing every single week day – her material gets stretched a little thin sometimes – but she’s never worse than readable and at her best she absolutely nails everything that’s good and bad about the show.
For example, this is her on Mikey:
Mikey isn’t an idiot by any means, but he behaves a lot like one in fights. Just say, for example, Ash gets into a spat with Mikey over “who drank the last of the milk”, so they both begin bickering and she snaps and says something innocuous like: “Oh, whatever, do what you want! Just go away, Mikey! Get out of the kitchen!”
Et voilà: now Mikey has his foothold in the argument. Mikey could argue about that “Get out of the kitchen” line for hours and hours on end: “Don’t be sayin’ dat dis is your kitchen! Don’t do dat, you can’t be sayin’ dat. It’s not what you said, it’s dah way you said it. Yooo said to me get out of the kitchen! Well, I’m saying to yooo that you don’t have the right to say dat dis is your kitchen and…”
Two hours later, everybody has forgotten about the lack of milk, but it has been established that nobody has the right to tell Mikey to get out of the kitchen. Nobody! Mikey has won the argument.
And on Glyn:
Glyn wanders into the diary room and begins jamming his mitt on every number and sniggering. He hits six, then nine. “Six…nine,” says automated Big Brother. “Sixty-nine!” gurgles Glyn, making a perv face like Rik from The Young Ones. “Sixty-nine!” hoots Glyn, who is overjoyed by this comedy gold dust. The more I look at Glyn, the more I think he’s a virgin. How convenient that all Glyn’s sexual partners appear to be mysterious women he met up hills that he’s never spoken to again.
Glyn reminds me of the boys in my class who’d come back after summer break with tales of mystery “dead-pretty girls on holiday” they’d been rutting senseless. It was always glaringly obvious that they’d actually spent two weeks in a caravanette with their mum and dad, drooling at girls over the top of their Terry Pratchett novel, with their cherries wholly untroubled. “Sixty-nine!” shouts Glyn again, working himself up into an accident.
Richard is the king of the passive-aggressives: get on the wrong side of him and he will non-aggressively chide you through vaguely mean jokes that you can’t quite put your finger on why they annoy you until the end of time. It will be a death of a thousand paper-cuts and ultimately he will win.
One of the good things about her writing is that she’s resolutely independent of the conventional wisdom that comes flowing out of Channel Four and the tabloids – Nikki good / Aisleyne bad, stupid people = excellent TV / people with brains = bad. She’s particularly strong at seeing the good points of the “villains” and the bad points of the “good guys”. She watches it the way I do, in fact – to see what happens when a group of interesting people are left alone to see how well they can get on with each other. Not poked with a sharp stick and starved to make them argue.
Yesterday, in a post with the slightly baffling title “Back by dope demand“, she was spot-on about the sheer stupidity of the latest twist, whereby a contestant eliminated by the public vote will be put back in the house with a chance of winning. I want to quote the whole damn lot, but here’s a bit:
Not only were they were turfed out by a majority* vote because of their unpopular behaviour; since then, they’ve all been home to their families, slept well and recharged their batteries. They’ve eaten nice food, been down the gym, seen all their mates and had their hair coloured and cut. They’ve bought some new clothes, had a good look through all of their tabloid clippings, and now they’re allowed back into the house once again – fresh as they were on day 1.
Meanwhile Pete, Richard, Ash, Imogen, Jennie and Glyn sit in the house feeling addled, flabby, homesick and slightly deranged.
Big Brother can experiment with fake evictions, golden tickets, secret houses and secret gardens, but the moment they simply just change the rules so they can re-instate Nikki, Grace and Lisa, whose deranged behaviour wins ratings, and then give them the chance of winning £100,000, the whole concept of Big Brother begins to feel utterly pointless.
If nobody at Big Brother gives a hoot about the last ten weeks of texts that everyone has spent money on, then why are we still lining their pockets by voting at all? It’s just a thought, but why not just stop voting? Then the producers can decide among themselves who wins and why, while at least we enjoy the ongoing antics for free.
I can’t see the point in voting any more for Big Brother 7.
If Endemol are losing people like her, they’re in trouble.
* She’s wrong about this in the case of Nikki, it was a plurality, but the point stands.