From the dawn of time, reality television contestants have taken things too personally. It’s a natural law, like gravity. Survivor was likely the catalyst, where players set the precedent early on: it was OK, encouraged even, to become irate when someone “wronged” you by playing the game they were supposed to be playing. What some still fail to understand is that betrayal is an inevitable part of shows like Survivor and Big Brother. Not only that, it’s their currency. The rules require players to lie and backstab; there would be no show otherwise. I can understand contestants in the first few seasons of their respective shows being taken aback by such seemingly amoral behavior. But, now? Is it really reasonable for people who are intimately familiar with how a game like Big Brother is played to get irrationally upset over things that have been repeated, over and over again, on that very same show?
Of course, the impetus for this article was Ollie’s behavior over the last week after being “wronged” by Dan at the Power of Veto ceremony. Ollie had a substantially lopsided deal with Dan in place, consisting of three parts. Dan kept to his end of the bargain over the first two parts, when they didn’t significantly hurt him, and then reneged on his deal at the most vital turn, making Ollie’s deal completely pointless. Ollie reacted like a little boy who was unfairly grounded, throwing things, yelling, breaking things. There’s no way around it – Ollie thew a hissy. It was a shameful display that, even after a couple of days, made Ollie out to be something of a doofus. Ollie, when evicted last night, stormed out of the house, mumbling a few words of encouragement on the way out. Once outside the bubble of the Big Brother house, it took the man all of about ten seconds to come to his sense, calm down, and realize it was all just a game.
There’s nothing wrong with being emotionally involved in a game like Survivor or Big Brother. After all, the stakes are incredibly high. However, my problem is (and has been for quite some time) two-fold: 1) Players should realize that other players, with so much money on the line, are going to do everything they can to survive. If a deal they made in the past becomes untenable in the present, consider it broken. 2) It’s insane that, at this point, players are still genuinely shocked when their colleagues make decisions based solely on their own welfare.
It’s just a game, and there’s no shame in lying to further yourself. None whatsoever. Who you are when you play Big Brother has nothing to do with who you are in the real world. If you ruthlessly backstab one of your fellow players in Big Brother, it doesn’t make you any less of a person. In fact, it means you understand what the hell you’re supposed to be doing. Anyone who wouldn’t sell out a fellow houseguest if it meant a better chance at $500,000 is a damn fool. One more time – it is a game. No one gives a crap about your word, no one should and the good players don’t.
That’s the difference between someone like Ollie and someone like Dan. Dan, like other good players, can detach the human element from the game, realizing that there are absolutely zero real-world behavioral correlations on Big Brother. It’s about winning, and about how one puts themselves in a position to do such a thing. It’s not about standards, or “your word.” On Big Brother, only the enlightened survive.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of BigBrotherCaps.com)