There is an inherent irresolvable dilemma in the Big Brother format. It is this. The producers fill the house with people who they hope will be “entertaining” (entertaining in this context loosely means unpleasant, argumentative, overly emotional and if the producers are really lucky sexually promiscuous). Some of the housemates live up to this billing and some don’t. Those who live up to the billing cause the most controversy, get the most screen time, generate the tabloid headlines and draw in the audience. Unfortunately they then get nominated by the housemates who have to live with their “entertaining” personalities and then the public vote them out and everybody has a nice cathartic boo (thank you, Aristotle) on eviction night.
This must drive the producers potty. Because as the “entertaining” people are gradually whittled down the show becomes populated by the nice people. The TV audience having enjoyed their brief catharsis now finds the nice people left behind dull and stops watching. And the producers get berated for falling ratings.
The flaw lies with the sub-section of the TV audience who are the voters. And there really isn’t much that can be done about them. Let’s face it. If you’re dumb enough to voluntarily give Richard Desmond money when you don’t have to then you are unlikely to be persuaded by an argument as complex as one that states that by voting out the people you dislike you are actually destroying the vital dynamic which made the programme watchable for you in the first place. You don’t see the makers of Doctor Who letting people vote off the daleks.
So with nominations done and dusted there are three housemates up for the public vote - Frankie, Paula and Speidi. It doesn’t take a genius to know who the production team would like to be doing a Devon Lock or falling at Bechers Brook or being sent to the glue factory come eviction day.
Yep, it’s the jockey.
But Frankie having proved a fairly reliable “solid bloke” (see Saturday’s blog) is never going to be voted out. So the producers have gone for that sly twist. The “Save” instead of “Evict” vote. I assume the hope is that with Paula and Speidi having attracted all the interest so far the voters will vote for the one of those two they prefer and forget Frankie believing him to be already safe. Or that the voters are so dumb they’ll get muddled between the two concepts (remember these are people voluntarily giving Richard Desmond money) and Frankie will get voted out by mistake. It’s a long shot but when you’re presiding over the most harmonious house in reality history you’ve got to try something.
It got even worse for the producers last night when Speidi previously the most reliable source of tension and rancour bonded with their housemates over their refusal to do a task. This must have had them tearing their hair out on the gantry. One of the few cast iron certainties of Big Brother is that those housemates who refuse to participate in the task will earn the lasting hostility of the others. But not this time…
Citing their marital vows. their deep religious faith and their strong moral compass, Spencer and Heidi refused to take part in a task which might lead them to inadvertently touching lips with a human being who was not their spouse. Now as far as I understand it even the most puritan reading of the sixth commandment (adultery) doesn’t punish unintentional lip contact. But Spencer and Heidi may have a different pastor than I do. Alright, I admit the closest I actually come to having a pastor is having a pasty (normally with a steak filling though I am partial to the occasional cheese and onion). But all the other housemates believed it Ryan even allowing himself a stern admonishment of Big Brother for crossing a line.
That Big Brother later shutting a middle aged woman in a garishly painted room and subjecting her to potentially endless looped plays of pop music in order to obtain food did not cross the same line shows what a skewed world we live in. When the American military do this stuff in Guantanamo Bay it’s called torture. Oh alright, I admit Claire from Steps had an escape button.
Now to be fair to the housemates, they may not all know that Spencer and Heidi take their vows so seriously that they have already thought it necessary to make them three times (the renewing of vows stuff - for everybody not just Spencer and Heidi - is amazing to me. Everybody who ever considers renewing their vows should be given a dictionary and told to look up the word vow. The definition will not say they’re broadly the same thing as overdue library books). Nor may they know that, according to Wikipedia, their marriage meant so much to them that they considered divorcing in order to help Heidi’s career. Nor may they know that Heidi’s objection seemed to stem not from potential contact with any lips but rather potential contact with specific lips namely Spencer’s with Lacey’s.
But what the housemates do know is that Speidi are now part of the team. Spencer even admitted to liking them back. Big Brother is getting so out of control I’m half expecting come Thursday that the production team will evict themselves.