Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Week Three: Stop Trying To Make Big Brother (not) Happen

For this week's topic, Michael asked us to fill in the blanks: Stop Trying to Make BLANK Happen. I have been pondering this one for a while; nothing immediately sprang to mind. I think that's because I'm generally quite a positive, sunny sort of person, and my default setting is "hey, if you're into it, good for you!" There isn't much in the world that I find objectionable - barring, you know, racism and homophobia and prejudice, but I'm not sure Gretchen Weiners would appreciate an entry entitled "Stop trying to make the BNP happen!", and I'm absolutely certain it's been done better by people far more intelligent than I. Than me? SEE? I AM TOO STUPID TO CONSIDER POLITICAL MATTERS. I AM THE GEORGE BUSH OF THE GRETCHEN WEINERS BOOK GROUP.

(Oh, blast. I think I just got political without meaning to. Oops. To quote Zak Sally (formally *sniff* of The Best Band In The World™, Low) "We don't like to be political at our shows... but George Bush just SUCKS.")

Anyway. So as I am mostly down with everything, if you want to make something happen, I am right behind you. Fetch included. So I thought this would be a really tough week for me. But then it struck me. There are lots of things that people are trying to STOP from happening. Things that do not jive with me, my friends (such as the use of the word "jive"). And one of the things that people are trying to make NOT happen that I feel particularly strongly about is Big Brother.

Now, I have heard every criticism about Big Brother and I agree with pretty much all of them. The show can be horrible. It can highlight the absolute worst aspects of the British public, of modern television and of humanity in general. It has been racist and sexist and homophobic. It has inflicted some of the most boring Z-list celebrities ever upon us (Chiggy, I'm looking at you, so don't you think I'm not). It has been tedious (BB4), mean-spirited, over-hyped, nauseating (step forward Kinga and Craig) and, above and beyond that, absolute trash... but it has also moved me in ways other television programmes fail to do.

Whether it's Eugene crying in the diary room and taking his share of the money because he knows he would "never win", the BB7 housemates reading each other's letters from home and all bawling, Jonny so honestly delighted that Kate has won that he chicken dances all over the sofa, Hira crying because she is so pleased Rodrigo has got to fulfil his lifetime's ambition of writing to the Queen, or Craig achieving the now impossible task of hiding his intentions for the entire series and then donating all his winnings to a good cause, Big Brother never fails to make me cry. And it has never failed to make me laugh, either - Alex hiding behind the door on rollerskates and mouthing "That's The Way (Uh Huh) I Like It", Imogen and Glyn worriedly telling Big Brother they had just seen a ghost only to receive the response "Who're you gonna call, Imogen?", the sheer genius that was THE BOX TASK, Science's "I respect you, Mr Moth. You move for no man.", Kate falling over when drunk, the electric shock tasks, Aisleyne's fierce "You better know yourself, little girl", Big Brother burning Stu's massive cowboy hat... somebody stop me, I could go on all night.

And no housemate sums up the two greatest things about Big Brother better than Nadia. Nadia, for those of you who somehow managed to escape the phenomenon that is Big Brother, was a male to female transexual who entered the house having transitioned to living full time as a woman. Although the audience knew she was a transsexual, the housemates didn't, and it was the first time Nadia had been able to live entirely as a woman, without people knowing her history. While some housemates suspected, nobody said anything to Nadia, and she continued her journey through the house in absolute delight that she was finally able to be who she was. She was convinced, though, that she could never win, because the British public would never accept a transsexual winner of Big Brother. But she was happy just to be there and to be herself, and she provided some of Big Brother's all time genius comedy moments; her diary-room rants about the lack of cigarettes, her obsession with heels, her cleaning, and, my absolute favourite Big Brother moment of all time: Nadia, lathering up her hair in the shower and forming it into a cone, and finding herself SO HILARIOUS that she banged on the window and beckoned to her fellow housemates to come and laugh at her, too. Oh, Nadia.

But then, as she continued merrily not expecting to win, things started to turn around. The UK public were growing ever more fond of her. Okay, the Sun still ran headlines like "Show us your nads, Nads!" and "Portu-geezer!", but they were, surprisingly, in the minority... the rest of us had sort of forgotten about Nadia's past and were focused on the fact that she was sweet, funny, entertaining and bolshy in a truly brilliant way.

And then she went and did it. She won. She tottered out the house on her six-inch heels a winner, in hysterics the whole way. She hugged Davina like she might faint if she didn't hang on to something. And she cried in utter disbelief that even though we all knew her secret, we had decided we didn't give a toss and loved her just the way she was. She entered the house a 50-1 outsider, and left the house with 3.9 million people picking up the phone to vote her their winner. Not despite who she was, but because of who she was.

And I just don't understand how anyone can want to make THAT "not happen".

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