12 days of reality: Five golden vetoes

My love/hate relationship with Big Brother is well-documented. Compared to Survivor, which blew regular TV out of the water with its stunningly produced first season, the other CBS reality series was a complete disaster its first season, and has always remained the ugly runt of CBS’ flock. But its obsessive fans still love it.

The show was resuscitated when new producers took over in season two and changed everything except Julie Chen, introducing a new format, including, in season three, the ridiculously named golden power of veto (if you’re a houseguest, you’re required to pronounce that “vito”). That at least made the game play potentially more interesting, even though its production values still never aspire to much beyond what came out of the series of trailers in a parking lot that served as the house the first season. (Another gift: This year, TV critics toured the house during season 12, and I learned a lot about the complexity of the production, and also gained insight when I interviewed its producers.)

While Big Brother does not belong in the same category as day four’s selection, The Mole, it’s worth celebrating for the occasional, stupid entertainment it provides, and especially for the one season when everything worked, from the twist to the game play to the absurdity to the fights to the utter delusion: Big Brother 6. When I criticize the show, I do it out of love for that season, because I want it to once again reach that bar it set for itself.


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