Doctor Will takes home the $500,000 prize as the CBS reality show reaches its innocently trashy conclusion, says Josh Wolk
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Big Brother
Credit: Big Brother 2: Tony Esparza/CBS
Big Brother

”Big Brother 2”’s finale is insignificant fun

The show has gone on for David Letterman, Jon Stewart, and the other talk hosts. So why shouldn’t ”Big Brother 2” have seen things through to Thursday night’s finale, in which Will, a Miami physician, was crowned King of the Backstabbers and awarded his $500,000 prize. Many argue that the show now seems irrelevant in light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. That may be, but did it ever have that much import in the first place? It’s not like anybody ever proclaimed that deciding this winner was the driving issue in the country. CBS’ ”Big Brother 2” was always frivolous entertainment. Hilariously addictive, but frivolous… much like 90 percent of everything else on TV, which is soldiering on, too, as all the belated season premieres start to appear in place of news.

During the final hour, less was mentioned about the terrorist attacks than had been during the previous episode, which, frankly, is the way it should be. Serious words from a goofy reality show minimizes the scope of the tragedy. It’s like losing a loved one and then having Carson Daly call to tell you that everything’s going to be okay.

Some of my coworkers thought that the remaining houseguests, once free, would be angry that they weren’t told the breadth of the destruction. Yet the finale proved that many of those who had been voted out prior to the attack still had no perspective on how insignificant the game was compared to the tragedy. When the jury of expelled players were allowed to ask the finalists questions, Krista spat at Nicole, ”What God do you believe in, if you believe in God?” Obviously she was still angry that Nicole helped bump her out, but bringing God into something as piddly as this show was laughable. One’s faith has been tested in far greater ways recently than in whether one game show contestant should have evicted another.

Bunky attempted to look considerate when he smugly asked Will if he’d give any of the money to charity. ”No,” Will said, he was going to ”waste it,” which didn’t seem so heartless considering he still didn’t know the breadth of the disaster. However, the subtext of Bunky’s question was not ”Will is uncaring,” it was ”Look at me! Bunky cares more than anybody! Love me!” This followed an oddly vague announcement that he was having a Bunkymania tour (100 cities in 100 days!) where he’d raise money for charity. How? By showing up in town, proclaiming, ”Bunky’s here!” and expecting people to be so happy they start throwing cash at him? The attention and adulation is what he’s really seeking; the charity is just the vehicle to get it. Kent had the only remotely human comment, when he cast his vote for Will and said the game ”pales compared to the anguish the American people feel.”

So instead of expecting these houseguests to deny their true natures and actually consider world events, I just enjoyed them being the same self-involved freaks they’ve been all season. Mike Boogie laughably proposed to Krista, in a move that made ”Survivor 2”’s Keith’s online proposal seem downright touching. (And the prospect of these two — who don’t have a grasp on reality between them — raising Krista’s daughter made me want to dial child welfare.) Shannon still maintained she was misunderstood and not, in fact, a bitch supreme, all while flashing the same smirk that Hannibal Lecter does right before he eats someone. And every single one of the guests self-righteously accused the others of not being good people, conveniently forgetting that voting people out was the point of the damn game and was something they all had done. (Note to them: There’s a name for game shows where everyone is kind to each other, and it’s ”Big Brother 1.”)

Now it’s over. Will has made his last arrogant pronouncement, an oddly accusatory speech condemning his housemates for not liking themselves. (Perhaps he was trying to compete with Susan Hawk’s memorable ”rats vs. snakes” monologue.) Yet he still won. Runner-up Nicole, a personal chef from Atlanta, took home $50,000. Before the attacks, this victory would have been attacked as further evidence of a society that values wickedness over goodness. But last night, it was just another TV show, something to take your mind off a global crisis for an hour before diving back into news, where we’d get a far more relevant lesson on good vs. evil.

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Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

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