Just Hear Me Out: The New ‘Big Brother’ Format Sucks
I really wanted to love Channel Seven’s Big Brother reboot and I have tried my darndest to embrace the change.
As a Big Brother superfan, I’ve watched every episode and every season of the series — yes, even the extremely awful season eight and 11. When Big Brother is good, imho it’s better than any other show. It is truly reality TV in its most perfect and purest form: filming a bunch of strangers just sitting around a house interacting.
The original series which aired from 2002 was similiar to the UK series, a franchise that lasted 19 seasons and arguably did the reality show better than anyone else. Don’t believe me? Watch this Celebrity Big Brother clip from 2016 where Tiffany Pollard thinks she’s been told her fellow housemate David Gest has died — and not David Bowie. This is god tier reality TV, my friends.
— REBEKKA 👸🏻 (@rebekkarnold) February 2, 2020
Back in the old days, the series understood that Big Brother is about personalities and not gameplay or strategy — in fact any talk of who people were going to nominate was heavily penalised. The original format essentially banned people playing the game strategically with each other, which encouraged everyone to have fun, let their walls down and their personalities shine through.
This new Big Brother format that the Aussie reboot has emulated is a totally different beast. Taking inspiration from recent US and Canadian seasons, the 2020 season is centred in challenges and strategy, rather than the housemates’ relationships and personalities. Some people like this kind of reality show; you know, reality formats like Survivor and Amazing Race exist for a reason. But it doesn’t feel like the Big Brother that Australians know and love.
Things I was pumped for when I heard #BigBrotherAU was back:
– the nostalgia I’d feel
– the proper big brother deep voice
– the fact that it wasn’t all about strategy, it was about the experience
– the diary room chair
– the theme music
We’ve had none of this and I’m livid. #BBAU
— Amanda Catalano (@AmandaAngiolino) June 8, 2020
I’m not saying it’s bad TV, but it just not Big Brother. It’s not the show that it’s supposed to be, which is the reason it won legions of fans, like me.
Here is a few problems with the rebooted series…
The episodes are structured badly
The structure of the new episodes are just off. Each episode favours challenges, strategy talk and evictions over anything else that happens in the house, which make for a rather predictable and repetitive reality show. I don’t need to see a 10-minute challenge, then 20 minutes of strategy talk, then a 10-minute eviction every episode. Show us who these people are and how everyone is interacting in the house. Either the episode length needs to be extended or the ratios of house drama versus everything else needs to be changed.
We just aren’t getting to know these housemates, so it’s hard to root for anyone when we only get tiny glimpses of their personalities each week. There’s a reason people stanned Angela so hard, and that’s because we as viewers got to know her more than any other housemate. Now that she’s gone, the whole season is lacking fun. Where are the boozy parties? Where is the footage of the group just mucking around? Where are the loose moments?
This emphasis on strategy and gameplay isn’t fostering genuine drama. If I wanted to watch Survivor, I’d err…watch Survivor (which I do).
Every housemate should nominate
BRING. BACK. NOMINATIONS. Only allowing the winner of each challenge to nominate sucks. Not only do they just nominate for strategy (which is super dull to watch) but we are missing the opportunity to hear from everyone else. Weekly nominations offered a chance to find out more about each housemate and it gave insight into their relationships in the house.
The OG nominations were also just extremely funny to watch, as everyone would scramble to find reasons to nominate each other, and Big Brother often wouldn’t accept nominations unless they were warranted.
Housemates shouldn’t vote to evict each other
While the nightly evictions might seem exciting at the start of the series, as the weeks go on it’s become evident that all the big and confrontational personalities have been voted out. We’re now left with a house full of people who are about as exciting as a loaf of white bread.
— Joshua #BLM (@joshie_raw) June 30, 2020
Within the first two weeks, personalities like Allan, Talia and Angela (who was thankfully saved) were all voted off. Just imagine the house right now with Allan still knocking around, getting on everyone’s nerves. This show NEEDS big personalities, even people who you love to hate.
The fact that fan favourite Angela didn’t make the top ten is straight-up criminal — with the old format she would have had a damn good chance of winning the whole show due to her popularity.
Angela getting evicted is insane. Sizzler just lost its cheese toast. This internal voting format is just beigeing out the entire cast. The winner will ultimately be the most boring human who did the least to warrant acknowledgement. Insanely flawed. #BigBrotherAU
— Michael Beveridge (@mickyb273) June 29, 2020
With every new episode, the biggest personality is usually nominated and often then evicted. This is despite what all Big Brother fans know to be true: people who are routinely nominated also tend to be the people who make the best TV. For instance, bum-dancing Sara-Marie Fedele was the most nominated housemate in season one. Estelle Landy was nominated almost every week on her series but made it to the finals based purely off her popularity among the public. Tim Dormer was one of the most nominated housemates in season ten before he won the season.
Just a reminder… had WE been able to pick who left every week, amazing, entertaining housemates like @timdormer and @TahnyLew and I would have been the first to go. And imagine how boring that would have been… @bigbrother_au #BBAU
— Tully Smyth (@tee_smyth) June 8, 2020
There’s also a vicious cycle developing as big personalities and challenge threats are voted off, housemates are being discouraged from trying to win challenges or drawing attention to themselves during the week. This means that conformity is rewarded over individuality in this new game. From a series that launched the likes of quirky contestants like Reggie Bird and Ben Zabel, this is just not what Big Brother should be championing.
If anything, housemates should vote to save each other
Voting to evict does not serve to keep the right people in the house. In the early days of Big Brother, the public voted to evict but we quickly saw this kept the boring people in, because the public didn’t hate them enough to bother to text to evict. Everything changed when the vote to save was trialled in season six and seven and then came into effect from season nine. Voting to save is the best way to remove the under-the-radar housemates, as no one will have much of an opinion on them.
this series has been excellent to watch, but this is the only downfall of the format change. so many entertaining housemates have had the chop early on in favour of bland game players with no personalities. if this was the public’s game – angela would win the whole series. #BBAU
— s a m 🥀 (@escsammmy) June 29, 2020
Finally, bring back the original Big Brother voice
This new Big Brother robot voice is dull and lacks attitude. Big Brother is the most important part of the house and the old voice was so much better. Not just as he was clearly a human man (or very occasionally a woman) but he was also extremely sassy (and sexy) and at times downright mean. Big Brother was the authority and people feared him. This new voice is way too light and friendly.
Big Brother’s voice is soo terrible I can’t, I miss the old one #BBAU
— vivian (@veephamm) June 8, 2020
— the content guy (@puggapillar) June 8, 2020
Now that Big Brother has got the greenlight to come back in 2021, hopefully the series’ producers can learn from this season’s mistakes and we can see more of the housemates and their stories next year, as Big Brother is restored to its former glory.
Also while you’re at it, bring back Big Brother: Uncut. If you know, you know…