Friday, June 06, 2008

Honking Box Review: Big Brother 9 Launch

We are truly ashamed of ourselves. We had promised ourselves that this year’s Big Brother would be the year we’d boycott it, having gone so far as to consider booking a holiday to coincide with the launch date so as not to get tied up in it. Alas, the car crash element was too much to resist. So there sat the Sloppy Dog television set, tuned to Channel 4 and covered in venomous spittle, accompanied by a slurry of disapproving expletives. And here is the aftermath. Prepare for some bile…

Question: how do the producers get it so monumentally wrong every year? Last year, the house was saturated with starry-eyed vultures who couldn’t lay claim to a single brain cell between the lot of them. And they paid the price for it – the lowest ratings since Big Brother began, and a significant plummet of any pop culture gravitas it still had left after Shilpagate.

To think Endemol promised a diverse mix of characters, only to give us a predictable yet shockingly embarrassing infestation of losers, wannabes and frankly, utter pondscum. A balance between the sex and the sexualities, they teased. One vile, repellent gay was what we got, with a level of campness to make Shahbaz look like 50 Cent. All different ages, they promised. Instead, we’re given a 40-year-old couple dropped amongst an army of immature, zit-flecked brats. The array of promo girls ready and waiting to get their flaps out for Nuts magazine; the geeky virgin character; the gobby fat bird; the numerous brushes with fame prior to entering the house; Anthony Hutton sneaking back in and calling himself Dale.

But of course, mention must be made of Michael, the show’s first blind housemate. As each new housemate made their way through the door, the process for already-induced housemates was generally the same – the renowned look-and-judge, the polite/awkward greeting peppered with “I’m rubbish at names”, before sidling back to glug warm champagne and calculate which magazines to ‘do’ on their inevitable eviction. But the entry of Michael saw something entirely different.

A roomful of imbeciles, all desperate to push whichever tenuous aspects of themselves make them ‘different’, are suddenly confronted with someone who embodies ‘different’, whether he likes it or not. Cue an uncharacteristic silence as the line-up of braindead morons are transfixed by something so far outside of their respective vacuous fame-whore bubbles, they look as though they’re going to cry. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

Meanwhile, the ensuing Big Brother Launch Night Project acted as an advertisement of precisely why not to enter the house. Mind you, it did address some of the greater moments of the show – Nikki’s tantrums, Nadia’s patented drain-cackle, and Dame Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace kissing her teeth and saying “know yourself”, which we desperately want as our new text message alert. While mildly entertaining, quite why Channel 4 would willingly underline how much worse this year’s bunch are by highlighting previous gems is a mystery. Maybe they’ve set up this year’s series to be some sort of taxloss?

So, all in all, a series we’d written off altogether based solely on the launch show. That is, until the appearance of the lone saving grace in the form of the batshit hilarious Kathreya, a Thai cookie fiend and seemingly the secret lovechild of Nancy Lam and Iggle-Piggle. Fingers crossed she’s voted out first so we’re not required to watch for the inexplicable 93-day shitfest that promises to pollute summer screens to an even greater extent than last year’s catastrophe. In short, we’re sort of boycotting. For now. Until Kathreya goes. But we DO officially hate it. Oh, fuck off, the lot of you.

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