When we’ve reached the crushing post-Christmas slump, the days continue to be short and they’re filled with cold winds, drizzle and existential misery, Channel 5 immediately ‘come to the rescue’ in January with their annual series of Celebrity Big Brother.
The spectacle is always agonising but compelling; Z list nobodies loved by The Sun, glamour models, long forgotten ‘national treasures’, several obscure Americans and ‘that man who is a friend of a friend of George Clooney’s second son twice removed’ all get thrown together in a house they can’t leave while their bank balance has a new, more satisfying number (for now).
These poor souls are fished out of the depths of a green, slime filled pond of broken dreams and after a meeting with their management that probably lasted all of 6 minutes, followed by lots of tabloid tittering and speculation they’re unleashed onto a boring, substandard version of a ‘red carpet’ that you can only imagine has been built by a bunch of miserable 4 year olds irresponsibly given hammers as part of an evil Channel 5 child labour programme.
The opening night has always seemed dystopian and George Orwell to me. People long forgotten whose heydays were, on average happening in 1985 (if not 1867) excitedly dance down the walk way, with a stiff (usually botoxed) grin that looks like a bleached cattle grid. We all know as they stare at a handful of youths in greying hoodies, holding homemade cardboard signs saying ‘HELLO MUM!’ while cheering and whooping, that part of their soul is slowly being chipped away. What’s left of their ego is being farted on from a great height and the stench is pungent (it’s post-Vindaloo digestive discomfort).
But ah the money, at least their rent for the next year is paid.
Once the house is full however, that’s where the dystopian dream ends. Viewers are subjected to humiliating, dull, everyday scenes of people like Ken Morley (Reg Holdsworth from Corrie) wandering around in their ugly pants, eating Weetabix, making ill advised non-PC ‘jokes’ and suffering things like constipation and dandruff on national television. THEY’RE JUST LIKE YOU AND I LOL! (no we knew that anyway, the average youth doesn’t know who the fuck these people are).
Of course some of the drama can be genius (that is when it’s not painfully uncomfortable). This year ex Baywatch star Jeremy Jackson decided to throw himself off the wagon despite his personal struggle with alcoholism and not only vomited all down himself in the process, but also decided to sexually assault glamour model Chloe Goodman (and to think 20 years ago the nation’s TV highlight was family fun like The Generation Game).
There’s also the inevitable tension and subsequent arguments between personalities that are totally opposite. Party boy gossip columnist Perez Hilton has been seen regularly going head to head with bigoted Conservative motormouth Katie Hopkins (no shit sherlock).
You wouldn’t stick a mouse in the same room with a cat, would you? Then again if you did the results would be far more joyous.
Channel 5 are madly grasping onto this tired, stale format like Prince William clutches onto his quickly diminishing hair follicles, which goes to show that the whole thing should either be euthanised or overhauled completely. They dug the programme out of Channel 4’s bins for fuck’s sake and paid approximately a fiver for it.
Alternative Idea: A bunch of Z list nobodies, glamour models, relatives of Hollywood stars thrice removed and obscure Americans go into a house for 6 months, they are starved and given an array of dangerous weapons. All they have to eat is cannabis cakes and tabs of acid, they regularly have to win fights against wild bears in order to acquire clean water to drink. Do you see where I’m going with this? There’s nothing that would bring me more happiness than a stoned, disorientated Keith Chegwin trying to make sense of the spear he’s placed in his hands while his ankles get eaten by wild animals.
I guess I can dream.
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