Monday, July 03, 2006

Aussie Big Brother: Another Ugly Reality Show Incident

I've been reading about this little ole incident that happened on Australia's version of Big Brother, and it has threatened to kill the show in that country.

The incident, to put it delicately, involved two male contestants making inappropriate sexual contact with one of their female housemates one night in a bedroom, actions which resulted in the two male contestants being thrown out of the house while the others were otherwise engaged. If you want to know the dirty details, they are out there, but I am going to leave it as vague as possible.

Now, I guess that after 71 days in a house filled with cameras, those two gentlemen who decided to make such a transgression just forgot that people could see what they were doing via online feeds into the house. Not to mention the people who are in charge of the show as well. And because these two individuals decided to do something that was so aggressive and demeaning, the Australian government has been talking about pushing for Big Brother to be cancelled.

Of course, in thinking about this present situation, there were other controversies like this on other shows, the most infamous is the alleged date rape (because no charges were filed) of a woman during the taping of the Real World: San Diego, where the supposed crime in question took place in the bathroom, the one area of the house that did not have cameras, so there was no photographic proof of the crime, though other forensic and medical evidence did indicate the event took place. And on the second season of America's Big Brother, a contestant named Justin was almost immediately ejected from the house because during the middle of a conversation with a fellow female contestant, he held a knife to her throat and asked her if she would be upset if he killed her. I am sure there are others, but those are what came immediately to mind.

I think such incidents are probably a little more common on reality television than we have been led to believe by clever editing, but I think this is more reflective of the kind of casting these shows do than the nature of these shows themselves. I mean, good and natural people often make bad television, do they not, and since ratings are king, those of questionable mental state and moral compasses seem to be better choices. But I guess things are getting pretty bad when a couple of contestants can bring a show to the brink of cancellation due to their actions inside the game.


Red said...

I hadn’t heard of this. It is quite shocking. More shocking to me, perhaps, is the fact that the girl is downplaying the incident, saying there was no malice intended and they were doing it “playfully”. Wow, gee... it’s all right, then.

We are currently watching Survivor: Exile Island (courtesy of some friends in Oz who tape it and send it to us, since UK TV doesn’t show it), and I was gobsmacked to hear Shane tell Courtney, “If you double-cross me, I will come to your apartment and I will kill you.” Then he had the audacity to say that she is personalizing stuff and can’t take a joke! Nice joke... I ain’t laughing.

I am quite the fan of (some) reality TV, but I am the first to admit that some of the people on these shows don’t belong in civilized society. They certainly shouldn’t be given a public platform from where to promote their thwarted view of the world on an often-undescerning (usually young and impressionable) audience.

Sorry about the mammoth comment!

The Newsbitch said...

Ugh, BB is the spawn of Satan. Even so, I was appalled to read about that. Recently I've blogged about the state of Big Brother over here in the UK, and the fact that producers have taken it too far. You're absolutely spot-on; it's the casting of these shows that makes things bad. Here, our BB is like free admission to a freakshow.

Last year, a group of housemates got drunk and one couple began messing round in the pool. The next day, the dirty excuse for a woman went to ask for the morning-after pill, telling everyone how she 'might be pregnant' - of course, the man was denying that they slept together. Nobody knew exactly what happened as they were all too drunk, but even so, filthy Makosi milked it.

Not only did I find this horrendously disgusting as this woman was using the fact she had had unsafe sex as an attempted ratings boost, but I find that this show promotes atrocious behaviour, low moral values, and quite frankly, a cheap backstreet brothel has more class than Big Brother. It's saddening how lots of people obsess over stuff like this. Seeing as the show is guaranteed to pull in viewers, producers cast the most horrid, 'up for anything' misfits in the country.

It's a total disgrace. It should be cancelled across the globe! Hehe. (Sorry for the rant - and welcome to the Chronicles, hope you have a fab week!)

Karl said...

I remember that episode from BB2. I am a fan of Big Brother and I'm not entirely embarrassed to admit it. I agree with you about the casting. Clearly they're looking for outrageous personalities to put in the house for 12 weeks. That's what makes for "watchable" television.

Sad, not only did those two jerks think it was acceptable for them to do what they did to that girl, but the girl thought it was acceptable just to blow it off.

And there's some MAJOR editing going on. They're filming 24-7 and yet there are only 2-3 hours on TV each week? Imagine the crap they're not showing.

MC said...

Massive posts require a massive response.

After I wrote this blarticle, I actually got a chance to see the video... and it was even more surreal than I had thought. Why? Because unlike in America, it is one huge common bedroom... so there were a lot of other people around when it happened and everyone was gabbing to each other, including the participants.

The weirdest thing was right after it was pretty much through, the cameras switched to the living room... now this was an internet broadcast, so someone had to have switched it over at that point, wouldn't they?

When the first Big Brother aired in North America, it was condemned by critics for being to boring because the people they cast were too normal and not freaky controcausers... and that's why that incident on season 2 happened. The producers were really trying to spice things up.

From what I've heard, the participants on reality shows almost always claim that their filmed lives are shaped by editing to make them fit a certain dramatic role, even when the incidents throughout a game belie that role. It seems to be the number one complaint from these people. Of course, the longer between the taping and the airing, the more subtle manipulation can be done to make a story happen. Sort of creepy really.

It certainly seems like North America doesn't hold a monopoly on these kinds of activities(I heard that there was an x-rated version of Big Brother as well in Australia that was recently cancelled).

Angry said...

Well I don’t mind telling you that as an Ausie I’m embarrassed…

But then, what should we expect when we put a bunch of young, self obsessed, socially ill-equipped, attention seeking, inept, bored, fame and fortune hungry people in a house with just themselves and alcohol for stimulation and entertainment?

The only way it will be forced off the air will be if it has broken Australia’s fairly broad broadcasting rules. That’s being looked into, but the Government, and in particular the Queensland State Government don’t have the power as such to remove it from the airwaves without such a breach. Incidentally the show receives financial backing of some sort from the Queensland Government.

As for the show itself…

Not only are these carefully selected ‘for odd ball traits’ people all in a common bedroom, but it is arranged from day one and continues as people are evicted and replaced by ‘intruders’, that there are more people than individual beds which forces strangers into shared beds. The desired (desired by producers and viewers alike, mind you) affect is to fast track intimacy and break down inhibitions quickly so as to get a juicy show going from as early as possible. Mix alcohol and boredom into that and voila.

Most of my family watches it and some just wouldn’t miss it, but I can take it or…. No actually I can’t take it and usually manage to find something better to do with my time.

MC said...

See, it is that shared beds with strangers thing that I think is just so odd.

Anonymous said...

I think if you don't like a show, change the channel. If you're worried about younger people watcing the show, well that's their parents responsibility to stop them viewing things they deem inappropriate. They guys in big brother were kicked out of the house without any prizes. what does that say? It says that it's wrong, immoral, what they did. and yes, camilla, the girl who got slapped in the face with a penis (incase you didn't know what happened) did say it wasn't a big deal and that means it wasn't a big deal to her. She is an adult who can make up her own mind. And if you don't like big brother, don't bother talking about it because after the alleged sexual assault (aka, "turkey slap") the show got more viewers than they had ever had before.
Thanks. This comment isn't to anyone in particular, just expressing my point of view.