Something beautiful happened last night on Channel Nine. On Big Brother, a guy called Josh Moore whose brother died unexpectedly this week, exited the house with grace, poise and sheer gentlemanly class.
In a week when our TV screens have been filled with 50 year olds carrying on like the proverbial pork chops in a large House in Canberra, how ironic that it should take a bunch of 20 year olds in a large house on the Gold Coast to remind us that Australians can be decent, warm-spirited people.
Normally Big Brother is unwatchable. It is hour after hour of ineducable dullards lolling about dry humping, cooking inedible food and generally having the sort of meaningless, circular conversations worthy of stoners. But last night it rose several levels above all that.
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Years ago, while visiting Leningrad, as St Petersburg was known in the Evil Empire days, I was approached by a svelte young Russian beauty who asked me if I would smuggle some of her private letters out of the Soviet Union to her friends in Western Europe.
Telegraph, telephone and the mail were closely monitored by the totalitarian state’s notorious KGB, especially when the addressee was in the decadent West.
Being a typical risk-taking undergraduate – I’d just swum in the half-frozen Neva River from the Peter and Paul Fortress on a dare – and eager to poke a stick in the Kremlin’s watchful eye, I happily obliged my lovely if oppressed new friend (and, yes, I would have done it even if she looked like a babushka instead of Natasha Poly; but it helped).
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I am still surprised it took this long for Big Brother to return to Australian TV screens. When it finished its run on Channel Ten back in 2008, I didn’t think it would be long before another network picked it up and produced a scaled-down, low-key version for some late-night padding to help fill up their Australian content quota.
As per usual, I was wrong. Either the image of the increasingly scandal-ridden show was too tainted for our highly risk-adverse network executives, or it took the good folks at Dreamworld a full four years to come up with a wacky new hot tub design.
So, I watched last night’s premiere on Nine with a genuine professional and personal interest (being a media studies academic, and having worked in a minor role in the production of one of the show’s earlier iterations), and I really wanted to see how it would all pan out.
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If you’ve tuned into Olympic coverage recently, it’s unlikely you’ve been spared Channel 9’s desperate attempt to advertise the new season of Big Brother.
They’ve got Stefanovic cameos, shuffling, and a promise of controversy and drama between new housemates. But isn’t this whole concept a bit redundant in 2012?
It’s been 11 years since BB first took off, and a lot has changed since then. I remember being genuinely curious about the program in 2001. The tagline “Big Brother is watching,” seemed so ominous. The concept of shoving strangers into a house and watching them 24/7 was vaguely original.
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Christmas is over, the hangover from New Years has receded and instead of having a New Years resolution of giving up smoking or losing weight, you have decided you want to be a reality TV star.
Whether it is to be famous, or just to have an interesting unique experience, here are some tips that will get you closer to hearing “lights, cameras, action”! Being sexy, humorous or able to cause conflict may help you get on the show, however, all shows need a diversity of people to make it interesting and to keep it real.
1. Decide which show you are best suited for.
If you can’t sing or dance forget the talent shows like The Voice, The X Factor or Australia’s Got Talent. If you can cook Masterchef Australia, and My Kitchen Rules are possibilities.
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It seems the gloves have come off recently, and everybody is climbing on their high horse about the level of stupidity on television.
I’m not sure why there seems to be this sudden upsurge of feeling superior to those who tune in to such things as Jersey Shore—which seems to be a major culprit in the upturn—but it’s reached the point where it requires examination.
As though tuning in to the National Press Club Address somehow makes one less stupid than changing the channel to a ludicrously scripted bit of televised nonsense.
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