The world drastically changed in just the last month and a half over COVID-19. But while restaurants have shuttered, schools have closed, toilet paper has become a priceless commodity, and the stock market plummeted at a pace never seen before, none of this fazed the contestants on television's "reality" show Big Brother -- because until just a day or two ago, reality hadn't reached their carefully monitored sets.
Here they are on March 14, on Canada's Big Brother, wondering why there wasn't a live audience during their eviction episode:
Apparently, after this clip was shared on Twitter, Big Brother had a change of heart. According to Mashable:
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On Monday, a couple of days after a clip of Big Brother Canada housemates discussing the lack of a live audience was shared on Twitter, the show released a statement to clarify that contestants have now been "provided a thorough update on the domestic and international status of COVID-19."
"In addition to having been in isolation for more than three weeks, the production has a resident doctor who has assessed and determined that no houseguests have exhibited any signs or symptoms related to COVID-19," reads the statement. "In light of the extremely unique situation regarding COVID-19, the houseguests were each provided a letter from home and remain in the Big Brother house at their own will."
Piers attempts to embarrass UK reality TV star Hayley of "Love Island" by asking her, "Do you know Pythagoras's theorem to the nearest five decimal place?" Um... wut?
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I’m a Reality TV producer. I make the stuff. Oh, go ahead, scripted television snob, snark away, I’ve heard it all before. If it makes you feel any better, I’ll confess: we have created a Monster. But why are rational Americans surprised by Trump? Twenty years after The Truman Show sent up a cautionary flare about our obsessive self-regard, we are now living in a reality TV show -- a nation of over-sharers and approval whores, each of us our own pathetic little brand. We’re all producers shooting our own docu-series now.
So Reality TV has given us the worst president in living memory. There’s that. Still and all, I will defend Reality TV as a viable and ground-breaking storytelling vehicle right up until the day Trump drops the big one on North Korea and I’m out of a job. As a longtime producer on The Bachelor and its numerous spin-offs, I’m here to point out that it’s time to stop dissing the genre and acknowledge it as a powerful narrative delivery system that can hold its own with anything else in the streaming cosmos - I’m looking at you, Transparent.
Just as Balzac and Zola’s novels savaged the petit bourgeois of 19th century France, with its inflated self-regard, it’s frivolous customs and status-hunger, so Reality TV shows like The Real Housewives franchise do much the same. Reality TV is the new Comedie Humaine, television as 19th century French Social Realist novel.
This is not a popular position to take in Hollywood (first, you have to find someone who’s read Balzac). Read the rest
In this masterfully edited "interview" Stephen Colbert talks with Trump about his mental health, nuclear war with North Korea, and other fun subjects. Read the rest
The contestants in the latest season of Big Brother don't receive news from the outside world. Last night, the producers made an exception to the rule, and told them that the winner of the election was Big Brother himself. Read the rest
The questions posed by David Cay Johnston include some tough-to-avoid queries about Trump's involvement with the mafia, the regulatory findings against his company for unfair and unsafe employment practices, and times when Trump had admitted to shading the truth or lying outright about his affairs. Read the rest
I have not yet watched this 2-hour BBC television play, called Year of the Sex Olympics, but it sounds good. It's a science fiction story that predicts a world in which the masses are pacified by pornographic, humiliating, and violent reality TV shows.
In the future, society is divided between 'low-drives' that equate with the labouring classes and 'hi-drives' who control the government and media. The low-drives are controlled by a constant broadcast of pornography that the hi-drives are convinced will pacify them, though one hi-drive, Nat Mender (Tony Vogel), believes that the media should be used to educate the low-drives. After the accidental death of a protester during the Sex Olympics gets a massive audience response, the Co-ordinator Ugo Priest (Leonard Rossiter) decides to commission a new programme. In The Live Life Show, Nat Mender, his partner Deanie (Suzanne Neve) and their daughter Keten (Lesley Roach) are stranded on a remote Scottish island while the low-drive audience watches. Mender's former colleague, Lasar Opie (Brian Cox), realising that “something got to happen”, decides to spice up the show by introducing a psychopath, Grels (George Murcell) to the island. When Grels goes on a murderous rampage, Ugo Priest is horrified when the audience reacts with laughter to the slaughter and The Live Life Show is deemed a triumph.
The costumes, sets, and makeup are great. Read the rest
In the LA Times, an interesting piece on the dangerous nature of working in reality television. As shows compete against each other to present the grossest, riskiest, and most outlandish spectacles, the men and women who labor on these productions are exposed to greater risk for injury and illness. Read the rest
Christopher Walken, Colin Farrell and Sam Rockwell interpret scenes from the TV program, "Here comes Honey Boo Boo".