Friday, June 18, 2004

Big Brother is watching his back

So, last night, after supper, Kate sat us down to make us watch Big Brother. We were all most excited. I'd been sent the exciting, unedited footage of the Big Fight covered in last night's show, and it looked all quite alarming.

I haven't watched Big Brother properly since series two - in the good old days, when the contestants had conversations. This was quite a different show.

We spent the first quarter of an hour with poor Kate and Gemma explaining Everything to me. Forgive me, both of you, for every time I've got cross when you've asked girly "why's he doing that?" questions while watching TV. Last night I couldn't work out who was who, what they wanted, and what they were saying. And this was before the fight started.

Having worked with Endemol on Fame Academy, I know how clever and manipulative they are. But I wasn't prepared for this year's Big Brother.

The set up had echoes of Sartre, Pinter and Beckett, only written by Joe Orton's talentless boyfriend. Two contestants had been locked in a bedsit for a week, watching everyone else slag them off (let's call them Slapper and Slappy). Suddenly, Big Brother announced that there would be a fancy dress party in the main house, complete with a buffet - with big silver platters.

The big reveal was that *gasp* Slapper and Slappy were hidden under the silver platters. Wow. Even Beckett didn't come up with two squealing heads surrounded by vol au vents.

The squealing heads then got drunk and caused trouble. At some point they'd had a careful plan of revenge. I believe it went:

SLAPPER: When I get back in there...
SLAPPER: I'm gonna...
SLAPPER: You know...

Anyway, as soon as they got drunk, the careful plan suddenly became running up and down, yelling, throwing food, and telling people "We've heard what's been going on. But don't tell anyone."

The first person they revealed this top secret to was the gayest man in the world (specially bred from a pile of old chicken bones and some mince). His instant reaction was to skip and scream like Road Runner being butt fucked by an air-raid siren.

Meanwhile, there were two blonde women. They were thin and sensitive, and quite above all the screaming. They proved this by sitting on a bed, sniffing into handkerchieves. Their conversation appeared to be along the lines of:

BLONDE 1: I'm really sensitive.
BLONDE 2: (Sniffs agreement)
BLONDE 1: I don't know how much I can take.
BLONDE 2: (Sniffs agreement)
BLONDE 1: The others really drag this place down.
BLONDE 2: (Sniffs agreement)
BLONDE 1: D'ya think Jason fancies me?
BLONDE 2: (Sniffs agreement)

Jason and Victor appeared to be the token Straight Men. There's another. He's called Stuart. He's very pretty... for a broom in a bandanna. He's pretty much out of the equation, as, within moments of Slappy's release, the two of them were Deeply In Love:

SLAPPY: D'yer love me?
SLAPPY: Did yer miss me?
SLAPPY: Have I put on weight?

What with all the fighting, the plotting, and the flying food, Jason and Victor were having a bad evening. This wasn't helped by their being Really Nasty People. One of them even had the unfortunate habit of speaking only in the imperative tense, so beloved of Wife Beaters.

Then the fight started. It was pretty horrid. Well, it was if you saw the uncut footage. Channel Four showed a plate being dropped and some mild badinage. In real life, however there was louder screaming, and wailing, the smashing of things, and Victor roaring "Do you fucking know what I am?" over and over again. For three minutes and 24 seconds. You can say it rather a lot in that time. And he did.

Slapper (er, Emma, apparently) replied by squealing "I will fucking kill you!" a lot.

One of the sensitive blondes went to the bathroom, where she sniffed. Sensitively.

And the other housemates joined in the screaming, merging into a constant wail, like a funeral ululation.

And, in that final cacophany, the divergent desires of Twentieth Century Drama were achieved - to express character without words, and words without character.

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