There’s been a lot of talk recently about the relative awfulness of the Big Brother 10 houseguests. The general consensus appears to be that the Big Brother 10 contestants are a bunch of irredeemable, hell-spawned nincompoops who are pissing off Big Brother fans day in and day out. While that may not be entirely true, it got me to thinking. How much of the annoying personalities, the preposterous fights, and the plain old idiocy is a result of simply being inside the Big Brother house? It’s not like we’re watching these people on hidden cameras. These people are trapped and know they are being filmed and know they’re being watched by millions of people, a combination of circumstances that is totally unique to Big Brother. As far as I know, there has been no scientific research done looking into how people react to such circumstances. Clearly, the Big Brother 10 houseguests don’t act like this when they’re not on the show. Would any of us viewers be that much different from the current houseguests if forced onto Big Brother? Is houseguest behavior purely a product of their situation?
The key difference between a lay person like you or me and the Big Brother houseguests is that they, for the most part, actively want to participate on Big Brother. That takes a certain type of personality, someone willing to be filmed for 24 hours a day. Personally, the thought of being a Big Brother contestant sounds plain horrific. I wouldn’t do it, straight up. But, if I were forced to do it, I’m not going to pretend that I’d be so much better than the people on the show. Almost everyone who walks into the Big Brother house wants to (and thinks they will) be beloved by the national public (some don’t care, like Dr. Will Kirby or Dick Donato). After witnessing the rampant arguments and yelling and screaming inside the Big Brother house over the last couple of weeks, it seems that the house changes people dramatically. Ridiculous behavior becomes more acceptable as the weeks pass and there’s a group mentality – if one person is allowed to act irrationally, then so is everyone else. They get sucked into the environment and, with nothing else to do all day but to stir up conflict, the houseguests give us riveting television.
I could see myself yelling at Jerry or Libra or April. Who couldn’t? As level-headed as we think we might be, no one’s impervious to the peculiar insanity of (taking some examples from Tuesday’s episode) being called Judas or having one of your innocent jokes turned into an example of you being a bad person. Now, let’s say that CBS decided to cast 16 normal, non-fame seeking people, all with regular jobs and no particular desire to stir the pot. What would happen then? Would Big Brother suddenly turn into the most boring game ever? I’d guess no. Perhaps the first couple of weeks would be calm and collected, but cabin fever would set in at some point, and the yelling would soon follow.
We all do a lot of character judging while watching Big Brother, which is fine. That’s part of the show. But, after spending four seasons covering Big Brother and interviewing contestants after leaving the house, you come to realize that, for the most part, when removed from the Big Brother house these people are generally reasonable humans.
How would you react inside the Big Brother house? Do you think you’d be able to keep your cool for a couple of months while trapped inside a house full of strangers?
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of BigBrotherCaps.com)