Regarding Big Brother versus Survivor, there are some similarities, but there are fundamental differences as well. For one thing, Big Brother is broadcast in near real time, and some portions of it are broadcast live. There’s probably some of the misleading editing that goes on with Survivor, but not nearly so much. There just isn’t time for producers to reach a consensus, develop story lines and arcs, put it all together and make it believable because they only have a couple of days between airings. Big Brother airs three times a week. Survivor, on the other hand, is complete before it airs except for the final vote reveal, and producers have oodles of time to steer the story their way. In fact, I would say that Survivor is as famous and controversial for its editing as for anything else.
Another difference is that Big Brother contestants are forced into positions of leadership and responsibility. The winner of the weekly Head of Household competition not only can, but must nominate two people for eviction. While others are relegated to barely middle class sleeping arrangements, the HOH is given a relatively luxurious room with lavish treats — momentoes and pictures from home, favorite snacks and beverages, a plush queen-size bed, cleaning service, linens and bath items, and so forth. It is a mixed blessing as the power-mongers jostle for your attention and favor. But your power is not absolute. The winner of the Golden Power of Veto gets to decide whether to leave your nominations as-is, or to “save” one of them by nullifying your nomination. If the GPV person does that, you must immediately select someone else to take the place of the person he saved.
To me, it seems that the interpersonal relationships aspect of Big Brother is more “pure” than those of Survivor. Although certainly important on the islands and in the jungles, the same skill in a closed modern house without the frankly rather cartoonish trappings of stone-age scenery is a bit more realistic. Instead of there being dozens of production people hovering all over you trying to stay out of the shots, there are only two-way mirrors and hidden cameras, with directors calling more of the shots than producers — rare for television. Thus, there is a bit less playing to the camera and a bit more honesty.
Unlike most of the people who have posted so far, I really like this season of Big Brother, probably more than any before. I like the character mix, and yes, I do like the DNA angle. Okay, it’s a bit hokey and overdone with the Do Not Assume thing, but nevertheless, it has been interesting to see the change in dynamic when, for example, Cowboy discovered that Nicomis was his half-sister. I also like the Adria-Natalie trick that is being played on everyone. On the first episode, two of the house guests revealed that they had twin siblings. But Adria kept quiet about hers. That’s because she and her twin have been secretly trading places for the past three weeks — six times so far. They look so much alike that their own mother cannot tell them apart most of the time. If they manage to pull off the charade for two more weeks without being discovered, then both of them get to continue competing separately, as individuals. Lori’s reaction this week when, after being evicted, she saw the two together for the first time on videotape was truly priceless. If they both come into the game (and I believe they will — no one has any clue that they’ve been switching) the effect on the strategy of the so-called Four Horsemen will be dramatic.
My two favorites are Adria/Natalie and Drew. The women are, in my opinion, quite beautiful, and have that healthy southern spark, with just the right amount of gumption. They’re smart and cagey, each one playing perfectly the role of one single under-the-radar-but-significant player. I like Drew because of his good-hearted nature and his (thank God) obliviousness to the silliness about his being some sort of Apollo. I like hating the Jase-Scott pair. (It was a bit startling last night when Drew mentioned that one thing he looked forward to as the new HOH was having a nice bed for him and Scott. I don’t think he quite realized either how that sounded or the fact that he gets the room by himself.) I also like Nicomis. She has balls. And I like her independence. Her half-brother, meantime, is a woefully pathetic tool, so much so that I almost (but not quite) feel sorry for him.
Holly is an incredibly insufferable bitch. I can’t stand her personality, her voice, or her stupidity. She is a dumb blond playing like she’s playing a dumb blond, and the effect is a bit jarring. Her “tribute” to Lori last night was petty and foolish. I cannot recall ever seeing anyone, no matter how much of an enemy, say something bad on the tribute tape about an evicted house guest. But Holly did. Her counterpart is Marvin, a black man playing like he’s playing a black man. He is somehow oblivious to the fact that he is being greased by Jase-Scott. He says he was pissed that Jase saved Holly at the veto, so why the hell didn’t he replace her with Scott, Jase’s Siamese twin?
Anyway, that’s how I see it. Thankfully, we have DVR, so we get to see other shows as well if they’re on at the same time. But this year, Big Brother is one of the best reality shows on TV, in my opinion.