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Thread: Your Ideas for Big Brother (Combined)

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    Member netizen's Avatar
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    Default Your Ideas for Big Brother (Combined)

    Scattered throughout other threads are random comments that either directly or indirectly address production. I have my issues with the way the show is structured and presented, and it seems many of you do also, so I thought it could use it's own thread.

    Here are my thoughts to get the conversation started:

    For me it's about the 3 Cs: casting, conditions, competitions

    A reality show rises or falls based primarily on its casting. What makes Big Brother different from other reality shows is that it happens in real time. Most shows are recorded for broadcast weeks or months later. It also happens three times a week. On that basis alone we spend more time with cast members here than on any other show. That is made all the more true because of the 24/7 feeds. Some of us (occasionally me) spend entirely too much time with these people. As a result, our attachments to these cast members are stronger, and our feelings more passionate than are often achieved with other shows. The difference between strong ratings or weak ratings is often a function of casting.

    For me, the show succeeds best when it casts only, you should pardon the expression, real people. Casting actor/model/celebrity wannabes is an instant FAIL. These people more often than not aren't fans of the show, don't understand it, and are so protective of their future professional opportunities that they don't take any real risks. A show with the fan-following and longevity this one has must certainly have a sufficient pool from which to draw a cast, even if Robyn Kast insists on casting to type (i.e., the gay, the blonde, the stud, the brain, the minority, etc.).

    Now, conditions; by that I mean the sociological, psychological and yes, political conditions that exist in the house. The show would be just as entertaining and the quality immeasurably better if the story lines the show is structured around grew organically from these conditions.

    Sociologically, the show is interesting because it puts a dozen or more people in a confined space with strangers 24/7 for a period of months and records every word and deed. How do people respond to such conditions. Are they themselves, more extreme versions of themselves, or do they behave radically different in the house than they would out of it. Do these conditions inhibit them? How do they adjust to forced association with people they would not associate with of their own free will?

    Psychologically it's interesting to see how people respond to these conditions. Bunky cried. Some like Michelle and Keesha have full-blown meltdowns. Some become masters of their conditions by finding creative ways to relieve the stress, such as Brian's Sock Puppet Theatre or Steven's Homemade Slip-n-Slide. Some become depressed and sleep their summers away, like Marcellas did much of BB All-Stars.

    By political I don't mean D vs. R, or Red vs. Blue. What I mean is the ability to understand or anticipate other people's wants and needs and then deliver them. It's always interesting to me to see who in a cast will be the first to understand the dynamics in the house, to accurately judge other's strengths and weaknesses, to make the most convincing arguments, to cut the best deals, to count votes accurately and then deliver the votes.

    The show should utilize every opportunity to maximize these conditions and build its narratives around them.

    Finally, the competitions are a great big FAIL. They are lamest kind of Japanese game show knock-offs. In fairness, Allison Grodner and Fly On The Wall Productions seem to recognize the fairness and value in having games of both skill and chance, but the quality of the games is poor, and the theme-y nature of them is laughable. An improved and fixed series of competitions would improve the watchability of the show for regular viewers like me. One of the reasons The Price is Right works is precisely because it has a series of games that are simple and repeated, which allows then to develop fans of their own.

    Finally, and I have to remind myself of this all the time. The show is NOT a reality game show, just a reality show. It's a subtle distinction that removes the obligation Allison Grodner has to fairness, and explains the fluid and changeable nature of the show from one season to the next.

    Well, those are some thoughts. I'll be anxious to read yours.

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    BBQ Houseguest Colburn0004's Avatar
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    I said in another thread, not sure which one, but I wish they could get a cast that are real people, but also to a point have no real following of the show. Back in the first couple seasons when it was still fresh you had people forming their own opinions, voting controversy a lot more. It was people trying to win the money. Now it just seems like they are mostly fame wanna-be's and most of them know if they are popular they can get some quick money from this whether they win or not.

    I think that's why you get a lot of people just wanting to get to jury house or things like that.

    Like you I agree with the comps to a degree. They have a rotation they stick to pretty well, they really just change the look of them or something like that. I just think they need new ideas for comps, maybe take some idea's from survivor comps? Puzzles and stuff like that maybe?

    For god sakes please redo the house again. It needs to be smaller! These people have too much room they are barely around eachother. It takes little to no effort to get away and scheme in privacy, those first couple seasons in the old house it was near impossible to get away.
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    Member Jack Skellington's Avatar
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    But if there was no "drama" to these people, would anyone watch? I believe people watched the first couple of seasons because it was new. I saw a few episodes of season 1 and 2 but somehow never went back(not because I didnt like it, but moreso that I was distracted by other things).

    Once the newness wears off, you need things to attract people. I'd like to see run of the mill people on there, but quite frankly I dont see people lining up to watch me or other average people like me on tv.

    I think some of the things mentioned would work, but you need to have that initial "something" to draw people in.

    It's why other reality shows like Bachelor/Bachelorette get crazier and crazier as they progress. Why do you think this past season of The Biggest Loser had "the biggest cast ever!"? The newness wears off but they have to continue to attract viewers.

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    Good points Jack, but if The Biggest Loser showed us anything, you can go too far. Having the majority of the cast still considered morbidly obese at the end of the season didn't feel like a payoff to me. It felt more like NBC was screaming "Hey everyone, look at the freak fatties" in the beginning of then season and "Hey everyone don't look at out freak fatties" at the end of the show. I have always known the show was about exploitation of the obese, but they took it to a whole new level last year.
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    I personally love the goofy Double Dare competitions they have. Always fun to throw a guy in a hotdog suit. But that's all well and good as long as the underlying competition is a fair and balanced game. One that doesn't favor certain houseguests and that you have control over whether you want to throw it or win it. I'm not sure I'd like a handful of established games like Price is Right (though they do recycle a few old ones and most of the HoH comps are pretty much the same), because then fans of the show would be able to study those games and figure out a solid strategy for each of them, giving them a significant advantage over the newcomers.

    I think the show strayed from the psychological because, as Jack said, they already went there. I do think that ten years later it would do good to go back to focusing on the mental strain and would be a fresh take for those who weren't here for the first couple of seasons. The strategy used to be kind of an added layer to a psychological experiment, but now it's a strategy game with psychological issues layered on that. The show's switched priorities.

    I definitely agree that we need more commonfolk instead of celebrity wannabes. They seem to have ideas of what kind of people belong on the show and I wish they'd cast outside of the box more.

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    I really wish production would stop trying to interfere with the plans of the HGs, or change their plans outright. A perfect example is when a couple HGs come up with a plan, then they are called into the DR, and we see the HG saying, "well they just told me..." and all of a sudden the live feeds switch to bubbles, or the BBAD camera changes to someone sleeping. Then the feed cuts back to the same HG, and they're talking about, "well since we can't do that..." etc. Anyone who has watched the live feeds for an extended period of time has seen an example of this occurring.

    One HG this season said it very early on that, "we're dealing with professionals", meaning AG and the 'professionals' in the DR. It is the same reason the HGs aren't allowed to talk in code to each other. On the sound stage, BB must know what the HGs are planning so there are no surprises on the live show. I'd like there to be some surprises. I'd like to see Brendon do a voluntary walk out tonight with Rachel.

    Of of the big draws of the show for me is that anything could happen based on the psychology and politics of the house. But that isn't entirely true anymore, because the HGs are kept on a really tight leash by production.

    Does anyone have an online copy of the BB rulebook and/or contract that the HGs have in the house?

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    BBQ Houseguest Colburn0004's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AverageJoe View Post
    I really wish production would stop trying to interfere with the plans of the HGs, or change their plans outright. A perfect example is when a couple HGs come up with a plan, then they are called into the DR, and we see the HG saying, "well they just told me..." and all of a sudden the live feeds switch to bubbles, or the BBAD camera changes to someone sleeping. Then the feed cuts back to the same HG, and they're talking about, "well since we can't do that..." etc. Anyone who has watched the live feeds for an extended period of time has seen an example of this occurring.

    One HG this season said it very early on that, "we're dealing with professionals", meaning AG and the 'professionals' in the DR. It is the same reason the HGs aren't allowed to talk in code to each other. On the sound stage, BB must know what the HGs are planning so there are no surprises on the live show. I'd like there to be some surprises. I'd like to see Brendon do a voluntary walk out tonight with Rachel.

    Of of the big draws of the show for me is that anything could happen based on the psychology and politics of the house. But that isn't entirely true anymore, because the HGs are kept on a really tight leash by production.

    Does anyone have an online copy of the BB rulebook and/or contract that the HGs have in the house?
    That's another big thing! Less interference! I never heard the HG's talk about production as much as they have the last couple seasons, cause they are constantly telling them not to do this, not to do that. As long as they are not in danger and they are not endangering others, leave them the hell alone! Feeds would probably be a lot more entertaining.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colburn0004 View Post
    That's another big thing! Less interference! I never heard the HG's talk about production as much as they have the last couple seasons, cause they are constantly telling them not to do this, not to do that. As long as they are not in danger and they are not endangering others, leave them the hell alone! Feeds would probably be a lot more entertaining.
    I completely understand the frustration with this apparent manipulation, but I don't think production gives them a direct DO or DO NOT order. It has been my understanding that when a HG is paged to the DR they are met by an associate producer that may ask leading questions in an effort to elicit comments for use in the shows. For example, they may ask "Have you considered doing such-and-such?" or "Did you notice that so-and-so did something strange? What do you suppose that's about?" or "What would you do if...?"

    HGs assume, and so do we, that loaded or leading questions must have a reason so they are given extra weight. Those kinds of questions, even if there is no basis for asking them, produce doubt, suspicion and paranoia, and those in turn produce drama.

    Unscripted (I used the term cautiously) TV is no different from scripted TV in that both rely on conflict and resolution. The last thing any reality program producer wants is a cast of 13 best buddies who like everything about each other. Boring.

    Listen, not everyone gets along all the time. Forced association with people you don't like is a powder keg waiting to explode. If the casting brought these people together they wouldn't have to manipulate them into conflict, it would just happen. That's what I'd prefer.

    For example, one of my favorite pieces of dream casting would involve a gay activist (read liberal), a gay conservative, and a religious conservative. Gay activists don't understand how any gay person could be conservative, religious conservatives don't approve of any person being gay. How would that resolve itself? Would to two gays align against the religious conservative, or would the two conservatives align against the gay activist? C'mon, you've got sex, religion and politics rights there. It's gold.

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    Netizen, I consider Andrew Sullivan to be a gay activist who is both conservative and religious. What do you think?

    Also, I felt much like you in your original post about production in that they intentionally cast people who were inherently suggestible; and thereby used the DR as a mode of using leading questions and presented "what if" scenarios as a fair way to bend the game w/o actually scripting it. I think they interview and select cast members much like hired gun PhD's select jury members in court cases. Paging Dr. Phil.

    I changed my mind about 4 days ago when Britney blurted out during BBAD that she is not supposed to use any curse words, including the socially acceptible "effing" "frickin" or "friggin". Now we all know the the majority of every year's HG's curse like sailors. But she was cast as the "Elle Woods" Legally Blonde character: the cutie pie princess.

    I think it would be way more interesting to show that you can't always judge a book by its cover. Left to her natural behavior, Britney would seem a lot less princessy and more acidy. Buuutt, that wouldn't fit the stereotype she was cast to represent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by barfbagprincess View Post
    Netizen, I consider Andrew Sullivan to be a gay activist who is both conservative and religious. What do you think?
    Gay intellectual, yes, but not a gay activist. When I say that I mean someone from a group like Act Up or HRC or No H8. These groups are technically nonpartisan but overwhelmingly liberal in their makeup.

    Spoiler
    Incidentally, I am a Log Cabin Republican, so I came out twice: as gay to my straight friends, and as Republican to my gay friends.


    :whistling:

    Putting the gay aspect aside, my larger point is that there are people they could choose who come with a set of core beliefs, values, prejudices or opinions that could produce drama.
    Last edited by netizen; 08-13-2010 at 01:14 AM.

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