Day two dawned in the Big Brother house/basement/none of the above but in fact a highly controlled and expensive TV studio and the house/basement/studio mates were settling into their roles. By this I don’t mean anything to do with what was already clearly a lame and failing basement/main house divide. What I mean is settling into the roles which may allow them to win/survive. There are broadly four roles one can adopt to win yourself a reality show:
11)The Solid Bloke. This is fairly self-explanatory. A solid bloke is normally over 25. He demonstrates a modicum of common sense and dignity (the audience’s sense of disbelief allows them to forget that going on a reality show is by definition the abandonment of dignity), doesn’t talk too much and is capable of self-deprecation and selfless gestures. The pitfall is to become domineering – television audiences don’t like aggressive alpha males. Their interactions with Big Brother should be minimal and characterized by a rueful, humourous, stoicism. Ryan, Sam and Razor are currently working this particular line by all self-sacrificingly refusing to leave the basement. However Ryan, has become a clear leader after generously getting mucky to give everyone in the main house hot water.
22) The Chatty Camper. A chatty camper is usually though not always male. They must talk all the time and using as much intonation as possible. They must be quick-thinking and narcissistic. Ideally they should be ignorant of facts such as, for example, the capital of France whilst possessing a encylopaedic knowledge about series 4 of Footballer’s Wives. In order to really grab the nation’s hearts they should cry at more than one point. The difficulty of this role is measuring how bitchy one should be. Bitchy enough to be entertaining but not enough to be cruel. Their interactions with Big Brother should be regular and should alternate between conspiratorial and intriguing with occasional sprinklings of emotion. Rylan is at the moment walking away with this category. Presumably Frankie was intended to compete with him but he has been totally outcamped so far.
33) The 2nd Best Cheerleader. Women have a much harder time winning reality TV than men. Their best option is to be young, enthusiastic, a good sport, not stupid but not clever either and pretty but not too pretty. The biggest pitfall is to become too sexual. TV audiences still get very judgemental when it comes to women and sex. Their interactions with Big Brother should always be positive and cheerful. None of the women has really had a proper go at this role yet though Lacey would probably have a chance at pulling it off if she wasn’t hampered by the baggage of being a Page 3 model and therefore potentially having broken the too sexual rule before even entering the house.
44) Pretty but Dumb. On the whole TV audiences like their very attractive people to be incredibly stupid – they should know neither the capital of France nor anything about Footballer’s Wives. In fact they should know nothing about anything but themselves and be vaguely mystified anybody else does. They should be close to their families. Their interactions with Big Brother should remind one of a very stupid rabbit. Essentially they are pets and the Britsh are great animal lovers. Indeed the pitfall of this role is to acquire enough human insight for the audience to begin to perceive them as narcissists. Sam looks a shoe-in for this role, though he is mistakenly attempting to be a solid bloke - a role he is disqualified from by being too good-looking. Rylan senses Sam’s mistake and is trying to guide him gently towards his allotted role but so far without success.
Those are the four categories. The astute amongst you will have noticed that one demographic has been left out – step forward women over 35. Yep, women over 35 as well as apparently having less chance of finding a potential partner than they do of being kidnapped by aliens (it’s a demonstrable fact made true by the numerous idiots with loud, braying voices tell you it at parties) have virtually no chance of winning reality TV shows. And yet despite this self-evident truth reality show producers keep flooding their shows with these poor unfortunates who are doomed to suffer at the hands of the public vote before they step through the door.
Why? Because for some reason older women can normally be relied upon to react against the artificial situation they have thrown themselves into quickest and often with aggression which gives the producers the pot of gold at the end of the TV rainbow – drama. But they need more than one of them because they have such a high early attrition rate – women over 35 are the first world war pilots of reality television – they don’t last long and they normally go out blazing. Paula looks likely to be a suitable Red Baron but the producers must be concerned as neither Clare from Steps nor Gillian Taylforth have so far even hinted at putting on their goggles and crying, “Chocks away!”
Which covers pretty much everyone apart from Spidey who are something else entirely in the reality TV firmament but I will save them for next time (this is me attempting to generate artificial tension - an effect I will try and heighten by having a sudden and unexpected…