By Trish Arab
Last night marked the start of the silver anniversary for CBS's legendary reality tv competition, "Big Brother." It also marked the 25th time I have sat down to watch this addictive and highly entertaining show.
Debuting in 2000, "Big Brother" - named after the George Orwell novel "1984" which imagined a future society where every move we made was recorded and "Big Brother" was always watching, is a game show that has just that; with almost 100 cameras constantly capturing every move the houseguests make for the duration of their time living in the Big Brother house. Each season, mostly, total strangers (there have been a few seasons where twists showed players actually being connected, and one season where twins actually switched each other out of the house without other guests realizing it) move into a spacious house set up on a sound stage in Studio City California and are completely cut off from the real world. No cell phones, no internet, no television, no music (that would be the deal breaker for me), all they have for the duration of gameplay (85 days for most seasons, however, season 25 is setting a record for gameplay over 100 days) is each other, workout equipment, and the game.
As I said, I have been watching "Big Brother" since the start. At the time, I was in university and working for a local television company part-time. One of my co-workers invited me over to watch the show one night after our shift, and we were hooked. So much so that on nights when the show started at 9 pm (the same time our shifts ended), we would do whatever it took not to get the last customer so that we could sign off right at nine and drive the five minutes to her house, only having missed the recap.
Over the years, the show has at times lost its initial appeal. CBS thinks it needs to change the format and throw in twists, but they need to understand that the game itself is great just the way it is; the personalities make a season fun. No matter how many twists you throw at them, if the chemistry isn't there, it won't keep us tuning in three nights a week on the best nights of summer!
My favourite season of all time was Season 6 with the Sovereign Six Alliance - naming your alliance is a right of passage on Big Brother - made up of Kaysar, Janelle, Howie, Rachel, James and Sarah. This actually was one of the seasons where guests had a secret connection to each other. Even though I HATED the winner and her alliance, the six players I mentioned were so good that they remain my favourites to this day (especially Kaysar, who should have won something) 19 seasons later, if I hear that someone from the past will be either playing again or appearing my instant reaction is; Kaysar? I'll never let it go.
There have been other great alliances, including Chilltown (Mike Boogie and Dr. Will), the Santa Monica Van Boys, the Brigade, The Leftovers and another legendary group, The Cookout (which caused a huge stir in the US since it was an all-African-American alliance. The cookout players and their strategy were brilliant, but if you want to see veiled racism and people angry but not wanting to be cancelled, go read some message boards on Season 23; they're a real doozy).
Last night was episode one, where we were introduced to the 16 new houseguests competing. Keeping in mind that the players make the game, I was utterly shocked that I loved every single one of them. This has never happened in the history of Big Brother. In previous years, at least one or two players have made a poor first impression on me. Even though gameplay and personality have changed my position as the game goes on, this may be a season where I hope the twists are not the focal point and the focus is on this unique makeup of players.
Especially at the end, when the first real twist was revealed, another fan favourite who never won, this time from CBS's other hit show, "Survivor," Ciri was introduced as the 17th competitor for this season (whose son is already in the game.)
I can't wait to see how all the lying, cheating, backstabbing, physical and social abilities play out. Season 25 may be one of the best yet.