The Antichrist and Big Brother
Wednesday, July 29, 2009 by Jack Kibble-White
It was good to see Mark Lawson in The Guardian last week turning his attention to Big Brother. Good that is, because it seems quite a large number of those in the TV appreciation community (for want of a better phrase) seem to absorb Lawson’s point of view and then adopt the opposite position. So hopefully, with the erstwhile Late Review presenter joining in those many others happy to lay the boot into to what seems to now be officially described as Channel 4’s beleaguered reality show format, a small groundswell of contrary opinion might just develop.
So let me be one of those happy few (currently less than 2 million), to say that not only am I still watching Big Brother, but I’m enjoying this series more than perhaps any in the last three or four years. Outside the house, the show’s luck seems to have completely run out, but get past the camera runs and the opposite is happening. Fate has decreed that storylines such as housemate Noirin’s ability to infatuate all the heterosexual males in her company, have been allowed to twist and turn to their fullest extent.
Let’s take Noirin, for example. Her first admirer was bullied out of the house by Marcus, who swiftly became admirer number two. This led to an entertaining and protracted period in which Marcus’ ego was able to inflate to such an extent that not only had he convinced himself Noirin reciprocated his lust, he also started referring to himself as in mythological terms, labelling himself Captain Cool-As-Fuck and the Dark House.
As a viewer you were desperate for his comeuppance to be delivered on screen, but in classic Big Brother style as soon as it came, your allegiances began to shift and Marcus suddenly became a sympathetic figure. And that’s how it has been this series – it’s been a year of shifting allegiances, slow-burning storylines, and at least a few genuinely intelligent housemates. Plus, the show can still deliver some excellent and insightful editing by the production team.
Listening to the radio the other day, Mark Kermode said of the controversial Lars Von Trier film Antichrist, (and I’m paraphrasing here) anyone who slags it off without having first seen it is an ignoramus. It would be good if the same rule could be applied to Big Brother.