June 2005

Arts & Letters

‘Big Brother’ Channel Ten

By Kerryn Goldsworthy

Tragically, Big Brother is back. As with Australian Idol, this show’s soundtrack of non-stop hysteria is provided by a mob of nine-year-olds leaping about and screeching as though their complimentary jumbo drink-bottles of red cordial have all been laced with speed. And that’s just the housemates. This year’s lot seem obsessed by the question of who’s going to have sex with whom. Given that they are a largely undifferentiated mass already and most of them seem incurably narcissistic, you’ve got to wonder why they care. But I wish they’d all hurry up and get on with having sex; it’s got to be more entertaining than their conversation.

Then there’s the hostess, who used to be a quick-witted, good-looking brunette with a mobile, lived-in face, a gifted comic who wouldn’t have been caught dead mouthing platitudes or keeping up an inane fiction night after night. It’s time Big Brother called this strangely smooth-skinned and po-faced poppet into the Diary Room and asked her a few pertinent questions. Who are you, and what have you done with Gretel Killeen? And why are you wearing the back half of a polar-bear cub on your head?

One wonders who’s profiting the most from this cheap-to-make TV, its prime-time advertising and all that frantic text-messaging. Telstra or Channel Ten? Not the housemates who provide this cash cow’s fodder, that’s for sure. And who’s going to win? I’m barracking for Glenn, the down-home country boy. He’s honest, relaxed, sweet-natured, competent and he’s neither a boor nor a fool. I can’t think what he’s doing on this show.

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