Big Brother Canada starts with a lie

Big Brother Canada‘s first eviction episode also included the show’s first blatant lie to viewers: it was repeatedly sold as being “live,” both on air and in various promotions, but as feed watchers and the studio audience knew, the show had been pre-taped.

Host Arisa Cox said during the Thursday episode, “welcome to the first-ever live eviction on Big Brother Canada,” prompting Hamsterwatch to declare that “they are fibbers” because feed watchers had earlier seen moments of an endurance competition and realized someone had already been evicted.

Slice responded to the reaction late last night with a Facebook post that said, “We understand the confusion and appreciate your questions and comments. To clarify, the Thursday show is filmed in front of a live studio audience two hours prior to broadcast airing.” (Earlier, I asked Slice if it was in fact taped, and if so, why it was billed as live. I received an acknowledgement but have not yet received a response.)

That justification does confirm that the show was pre-taped, but the embedded justification is a whole lot of bullshit, since that language and rationale makes anything taped in front of living people “live,” like every game show. Heck, that would even extend to shows from Survivor to Chopped to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo to The Walking Dead–all live, since they were taped in front of a live crew and living people.

This is a relatively minor lie, but the problem is that 1) it’s a stupid lie because 2) it doesn’t matter at all if they pre-tape the episode so 3) it’s totally unnecessary to lie, especially when your viewers have access to see what’s happening inside the house and are crazy insane passionate about the show and about blatant attempts to manipulate viewers.

Just say the eviction was taped earlier or say nothing at all. No one would care. CBS’ version of Big Brother sometimes pre-tapes its eviction episodes but doesn’t sell those as live.

Since the first eviction episode ended up being “hardly riveting viewing”, maybe the show needed to add the sense that anything could happen, even nothing had already happened.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.