Sure, we haven’t heard very much about Big Brother lately. But the classic reality show is still going strong!
If you haven’t heard of this show, be prepared: A bunch of people live in a house together, no one can leave unless they are “evicted” by either their housemates or citizens of the country where the show takes place. But perhaps Big Brother is most famous for the changes and twists that take place — past ones have included splitting the house into good and bad sections, bring back old housemates that had been voted off, and even having a contestant in the house only to mess things up for everyone else (not to actually compete!).
The show originated in The Netherlands, and the fourteenth American season aired last week to high ratings. The Internet seems to have only solidified its popularity (hello, live streams!). It’s gained a diehard audience, and is still covered consistently in tabloid magazines. There are dozens of versions of the show broadcast all over the world, even including a version that takes place on Second Life. The new ABC show The Glass House has been accused of copying Big Brother, which caused a lot of noise from fans!
But the show’s success has come at a cost. Some contestants suffered psychological effects after leaving the show, sometimes to the point where they were afraid to leave their houses. The show’s been accused of being ageist (biased against older people). Offhand comments by a contestant on Britain’s Celebrity Big Brother incited protests and burning of effigies in India. Big Brother Brasil was under fire this year because of an alleged rape that took place between contestants (the accused perpetrator was eventually kicked off the show).
Maybe this show is proof that being watched constantly can drive people crazy. Or maybe it’s a Lady Gaga-esque parable of fame driving people crazy. But no matter what, it’s definitely true that this show changed the landscape of reality television. And it may only get more outrageous over time!