There's a moral conundrum I often face when watching a season of reality television. Whether it's Big Brother
or The Amazing Race
, your first inclination is to root for whoever you like the best. You don't root for who you respect. You want those to succeed who you feel some sort of connection with, a person you might want to get a beer with. But, a quandary will occasionally arise: what if the person your rooting for doesn't need the money, and their competitors do. A million dollars (or, in Big Brother's
case, $500,000) means different things to different people. For most reality participants, that amount of money is unequivocally life-changing. For a rare few, it's padding. It won't affect their already successful lifestyle. Do we, as an audience, have a moral obligation to root for the person who would most benefit from the prize money? This question once again came to mind when I read a story on TMZ today: former Big Brother winner Mike “Boogie” Malin won around $150,000
in a gambling spree in Las Vegas.
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Mike Malin can make that much money because he is successful and can lose that kind of money. He is the successful proprietor of trendy restaurants nationwide, including popular Los Angeles restaurants Geisha House and Les Deux. Like him or not, Malin is a good businessman (apparently – he may have just gotten really lucky). He was already in the throes of success when he appeared on Big Brother 7: All-Stars
and won. At the time, I was a huge fan of Chilltown, the alliance comprised of Malin and Dr. Will Kirby
. I'm still a fan, I suppose. But, how must Erika Landin
feel now upon hearing news of Boogie's gambling winnings? Landin was the runner-up on Big Brother 7.
She ultimately lost the final jury vote versus Malin. If I was on that jury, it would be hard to look past the monetary needs of the contestants. Hindsight is 20/20 and, in all fairness, a vote should be based on one's gameplay. Boogie was clearly the better player and deserving of the win.
Should the needs of a person have anything to do with how much they deserve a reality TV prize. Probably not. However, reality shows tend to cast somewhat normal humans. Successful people typically do not need to go on reality shows and therefore do not attempt to. On Big Brother
, there are a couple kinds of contestants – those who really want the money and those who really want to be famous. Fame whores are very common on reality TV, and these types of people often try and parlay their exposure into a successful career. I generally do not like these people. I like the contestants who are competing for competition's sake and who could really use the money. But, I also really like people who are good at the game and think outside the box, which is what Mike Boogie and his cohort Dr. Will did during Big Brother 7
. My point, I suppose, is that the quandary is a difficult one that cannot be solidly answered. Good for Boogie, I guess.
This story has to reflexively stick in the craw of all the has-been Big Brother
contestants, does it not?
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
Source and Image Courtesy of TMZ