Big Brother You Are Being Watched

No conspiracy theories here, or Orwellian musings, just some thoughts about a television program which I very lackadaisically watch from time to time.

I watched the first UK version of the Big Brother series with rapt attention. It was different. I like different. I even considered applying for it, but didn’t follow through on the whim. It was also a fascinating psychological mind fuck, for viewer and contestant alike. They didn’t really know who was watching and what would happen or not happen, neither did the viewer, and so it was a bit of a mad scientist experiment. Fun, weird, and interesting. That was why I wanted to apply, I harbour a mad scientist within, the sort who likes to try things out on myself like Dr. Jekyll.

Then the show just kept going and going, and the contestants and viewers knew what to expect, and then celebrities participated, and it all got very predictable and slightly cringeworthy. My mind does not enjoy predictable, and cringing is too uncomfortable, so I stopped watching.

I do however like to watch the contestants, or housemates, go into the house. After that I don’t watch any other episodes because I really don’t care, and it’s edited and manipulated so much that there really isn’t anything to see. It’s just another TV show which does what it always does, and it seems to go on for so long that an entire year passes from start to finish. I don’t have that kind of viewing dedication.

The reason I like to watch the very first episode of the series is because I like to see who is insane enough to subject themselves to such intense scrutiny. We all want to be noticed by others, even those of us who are introverts, the occasional attention is nice and lets us know that we are indeed real and exist. But privacy, secrecy, and a certain amount of anonymity is also nice. Being under a rather warped microscope is… too much attention, and too much of anything is just too much of it.

Speaking of being real, it never ceases to amuse me how often a Big Brother housemate likes to tell the other housemates, often repeatedly and out of context with the conversation, how real they are. What do they mean by that? Aren’t all the housemates real? I know, they mean that they aren’t fake. Because being fake is a no-no. Yet what is fake and what is real, doesn’t the interpretation of that differ from individual to individual.

Probably the most interesting housemate this year is the one who is actually a fake housemate. The actor employed to be an agent of the public in the house. I may watch more episodes this year just to see how he copes with the role he is playing. How long will he be able to keep up the pretence. Basically he is mimicking the behaviour associated with being a Big Brother housemate. Pretending to be excited and nervous. Conflicted by tasks which he is being given, yet having to cover up the fact that he has been instructed to do certain things and make certain decisions. He is being watched, and watched, and watched again. There are moments when he is allowed to drop the act, but even those moments are being recorded, shown and watched. What a psychological conundrum to deal with. Life is confusing enough as is… I wonder if he will crack before he has completed his role as a public and program mole.

The thing I find most interesting about observing Big Brother contestants in the first episode is that when people are thrown into a new social gathering one of the first things they feel compelled to do is to establish their identity within the group. So most conversations are entirely made up of ‘I am…’ statements. The intriguing thing about ‘I am…’ statements is that they often work without any proof to back them up. People will subconsciously absorb that information and believe it about you, especially if you keep saying it in a similar way that a hypnotist would. But at some point the mind also begins to compare behaviour with ‘I am…’ statements, and if the talk and walk don’t back each other up… then the ‘Fake’ label comes out.

Also, we all have different internal dictionaries which cause problems with how we interpret ‘I am…’ statements. If someone says that they are a down to earth person, my interpretation of down to earth may not be the same as theirs, thus if they behave in a way that I don’t consider to be down to earth, but they do, well I’m going to think they are lying or deluded, and they will think I’m being judgemental.

Social interactions are a minefield of misunderstandings and the clashes of different interpretations. Perhaps because of my dyslexia I place less importance on what people say about themselves, because I find words deceptive due to their ever changing abilities, and I place more emphasis on actions. What people say has to be confirmed by their actions for me to truly understand the person. People who think talking is the action confuse me. If a person says they love all people and are very sociable, then proceeds to do things, such as bitch and moan about other people, and push other people away, then that is confusing. It is a contradiction and makes no sense to me.

Anyway… Anyone else watching Big Brother this year? Any thoughts to share about it?