Big Brother 2016 Review – Review

Before we head into Celebrity Big Brother, let’s look at the regular version. I say regular, that implies it is for regular people. People off the street, plucked from obscurity in the elusive chase for fame. Those days have long since passed. Now it is a junkyard for people on the fringes, of those on the fringes, of fleeting fame. Failed “reality” TV stars that try to make it on an original reality TV pioneer.

The problem is, Big Brother is now a modern reality TV show. It feels part scripted with “contestants” too aware of the medium. Craig from Season 1 had no idea what being in the house meant. The players of 2016 haven’t got a game plan to win, they have a career path that are attempting to manipulate with TV time.

Emma Willis is the face of this charade but her stewardship is equal to Davina’s from the original and light years ahead of Brian Dowling’s failed effort. Like Davina McCall, she appears to love the show and is absorbed in the characters. She adds warmth and familiarity. But as good as she is, if the show failed in between her live shows, nobody would enjoy her.

This year the feel of the entrants made it worth sticking around. Despite being an ensemble of people already used to media exposure, the balance of fame-seeking and genuine personalities shone through.

Welsh girl Lateysha Grace sums this up best. She came across as a slapper on MTV’s The Valleys. Acting the promiscuous tart she took offence to being labelled as in the house. And rightly so. Judging her on her views and actions in BBUK, she was down-to-earth and lovely.

So why knowingly play a role using her real name, for just five minutes of fame?

It undermines her true self.

Her only cracks came when she was tactically booted. As a single parent, she felt her reason for winning had greater validity. Lateysha still needs to learn one important lesson: Life owes you nothing.

Her axe wielder was eventual winner Jason. His presence, made the belief the whole thing could be rigged gain credibility. In an early “twist” there were two houses. The Others occupied a secret home alongside the main one. Jason spent days going on about an ex he couldn’t possibly do the Big Brother experience with. Guess what, she was part of The Others and soon joined the main cast.

A similar plot occurred with geezer Chelsea and kiss-and-tell Jayne.

This wasn’t real people showing the diversity of the British public. It was pure, pre-ordained, entertainment.

But it survived the cynicism – just.

Other standouts were Jackson. He had more voices than tattoos; came from the street (but was actually a model); fell in love with a posh bird he made out was a fairy tale dream. Being BBUK, she complied and the fairy tale came true.

That’s when Georgina wasn’t dictating to Jackson. But her harshness was a defensive mechanism. In a house of frauds, she displayed true emotions. I hope for her sake, Jackson proves himself to be genuine.

Proving BBUK can always provide a disillusioned, despicable human, we met Laura Carter. A woman who described herself as “an established actress” before entering the house. If that’s true, I’m Barry Norman.

She’ll be remembered for sleeping with Marco Pierre White’s immature, overactive son. Pretending she is vulnerable but savvy. Pretending she had a long lost love. Pretending she wasn’t selfish or self-centred when she embodies both those evils.

Andy was the “intelligent” addition. Proving that repeatedly saying something, doesn’t make it true. Pretty fun watching him not know how many make a baker’s dozen. In the kingdom of the blind…

He got engaged on the show, when during a task, his boyfriend entered the house for an overnight stay. While it provided a touching moment, it shows how far the show has fallen from the original social experiment. A founding rule was: No contact with the outside world.

Now they get news updates and Tweets read to them and hands in marriage.

Ryan had a love affair with fan-favourite and runner-up, Hughie. The former was a scouser playing for the cameras. The latter an intriguing Irishman, that came in, broke taboos and stereotypes, and allowed a heart of gold to shine through.

He was easy to disagree with, at times. But “real” people show all sides and all shades. It’s proof the makers of Big Brother can go back to basics and bring in the general public. Real is more explosive, more engaging.

Big Brother shouldn’t be a retraining school for failed reality stars. It should be relevant. Right now IMDb don’t even add new series to their page.

Go back to basics, BBUK or face extinction.



Finding Carter – Season 1 – Episode 1

I may be a damn fine reviewer but I’m not a police procedural expert, however, I feel well equipped enough to say Finding Carter isn’t a realistic representation of what would occur if a missing girl was discovered, thirteen years after her kidnap.

After being picked up by the police with all her mates for trespassing on a fairground, Carter watches her pals go home while she waits for her mother to collect her from custody. Problem is, she’s been identified as a missing person and the police are waiting for child protective services.

In this show, protective services protect the child by dropping a massive bombshell: Your mom, isn’t your mom. She robbed you. And by the way, your real folks are here and they’re taking you home.

She even pleads that she isn’t ready. But any delay would slow the show, and we couldn’t have that.

Her real mom is Hurley’s girlfriend from Lost. She was more believable in that show as the crazy-turned-sensible-chaperone to the big guy. Here she plays the bad mom to Carter’s lovable thief mom. But even her rendition as a cop is more realistic than how the show pops Carter into a brand new family and within a day is perfectly comfortable.

She enjoys immediate immersion into the family dynamic and appears in no way phased by the 100% change to her situation. One character even says, “Wow! You must be majorly freaked out.” Yeah, she should be but if she was, it’d get in the way of taking her newly discovered sister to a party. So she goes to the party – without a care in the world.

If the show was carrying a deeper hidden message about the adaptability of children, and how Carter is the product of her experiences, including those that have been supressed and known only by the subconscious mind, this sequence would be a powerful metaphor. But this is MTV produced for a teen audience, rather than examine human factors, it’s more important to throw in some love interests.

There is a moment Carter tells the new mean Mom she is loveless and hasn’t displayed any affection to her family. New brother explains she is like this because of Carter’s kidnap. Rather than be touching, it’s MTV’s way of reminding us, Carter was kidnapped, the unfortunate family has suffered ever since.

Unnecessary twist alert! New Mom was having an affair with a cop she was using to follow Carter. She was going to leave her husband but can’t now. Oh, let that resentment build. Layered, MTV. Layered. Just so happens Carter’s latest love interest is the son of said cop.

The Mom that raised Carter, Lori Stevens, risks capture to arrive at Carter’s new (and deliberate) place of work just to see her. And also to dangle the there’s-more-to-this-than-you-realise carrot.

Whether that is enough to pull you back for more will depend on how much you have bought into the mess so far. I’m tempted because sometimes, when things are so bad and ludicrous, it almost makes them good.