Why ''Big Brother'' is reality-show perfection. We expose the four essential ingredients that make the reality show a tasty TV delight
Big Brother
Big Brother

”Big Brother” has long perched proudly on the top rung of reality TV’s evolutionary ladder. It has elevated every character archetype and example of irrational behavior common in backstab-umentaries like ”Survivor” and ”The Real World” to their most refined and absurd form. Here’s a look at the time-tested formula that makes ”BB” reality-show perfection.

LUST ISSUES While ”The Real World” disingenuously passes off its night-vision bedroom peeping as anthropological character study, ”BB” producers live to come a-knockin’ when the house is a-rockin’! The camera leers over ”BB3”’s thong-wedged, sunbathing female exhibitionists, and all sex talk — such as under-the-covers Lisa asking Eric if she can ”play” with him — is accompanied by ’70s porn music. Shicka-shicka-bow-bow!

HYPOCRISY AT WORK ”Survivor” finales feature high-minded rants by losers who claim the finalists are dirty liars…even though that’s the point of the game. (And said losers have lied too — just unsuccessfully.) But the ”BB3” roomies reach new heights in self-delusional holiness when nominated: Take twice-dinged Marcellas, who calls his housemates ”evil” and says only people with ”integrity” should stay in. If you want integrity, Marcellas, go live in PBS’ ”1900 House.”

RUBE AWAKENING Reality casting directors often pick the most stereotypical fly-over-state folks to represent the landlocked. (Case in point: ”Survivor: Africa”’s overalls-wearin’, chicken-chasin’ Tom.) The hick hunters at ”BB” discovered ”BB1”’s Brittany and ”BB3”’s first-ousted Lori, both Midwesterners with accents that make Fargo sound like ”Gosford Park.” And don’t forget ”BB3”’s cheese-obsessed Tennessean, Amy, whose little brother was shown shooting a ”BB” gun at a picture of Josh’s face. Did the audition tape from the ”Deliverance” gang get lost in the mail?

BUT SERIOUSLY — WAY, WAY TOO SERIOUSLY After players are ”executed” in the ”Mole” (read: kicked off), those left eulogize them with silly ”he/she has a great heart” speeches. But ”BB” players seem to think they are at an actual execution, weeping melodramatically over their friends’ evictions: When ”BB3”’s Tonya left, Chiara wailed about losing her closest friend in the house. Uh, could someone please tell her that Tonya isn’t dead, she was just outside talking to Julie Chen? Hmmm…on second thought, maybe that’s a reason to cry for her.

Episode Recaps

Big Brother
Big Brother

Julie Chen hosts as the houseguests battle it out.

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