The ever admirable Phil over at ‘a very public sociologist’ has a fine post about the new format of Big Brother ‘Celebrity Hijack’. Offering a blow by blow account of the ‘toe-curling’ first episode last night, Phil reminds us of BB’s racist priors (Jade), justifiably ranting at how crap its looking this time round, and warns of the ‘celebrities to come – Brian Sewell, Kelly Osborne, Joan Rivers and Andrew Loog Oldham [this last I've added as a wish item from my previous].
Well, I suppose I was prepared to be sympathetic to a new panto season version of the anthropology-made-simple that is Big Brother, but nope – they have not redeemed themselves at all. Read Phil’s critique HERE.
Myself, I think the problems are even more obvious and this obviousness finally absolves even the most perverted of us from ever watching the show again [yes, finally I give it up, sad day] – I mean, just look at the NAME of this new format. Celebrity Hijack - ahhhg, Winston would turn in his grave.
[In the end I did go watch on replay - slo mo car crash it was - but I repeat my comment here from Phil's page for those who can't be bothered to follow the links or for those who refuse to endure the show even as 'sociological interest' - that evergreen standard alibi for tv slumming... Thus:]
Phil, do you think we can go so low as to play into Endemol’s sensationalist bad taste game and get outraged that this is the wrong time to try to rehabilitate the idea of hijacking as such, even if in the hands of the lovely wastrel Kelly herself. I guess its a long time since ‘that’ september so its ok, but I don’t suppose they will be inviting any Muslim celebrities to sit in the chair eh?
Could there be some mileage in this as mock outrage for a week or two – then perhaps this cynical sensation-hunting could morph into a recognition of how hijackings have been used in the past to make political points of some significance. Agree with the intensity of the actions or not, the Palestinians offered something more serious than Endemol, and with more cause.
Whatever… Really, I am just amazed that ‘hijacking’ can become pop culture sloganeering like this without comment – I guess its because we never get TV transmissions on those in-flight seat back screens.
I think Aki Nawaz should be invited to do a stint in the BBCJ chair, but even as that’s impossible, I know he’d have had fun.
All that said, Scott McQuire’s article on Endemol and other matters is worth a read: McQuire, Scott. ‘From Glass Architecture to Big Brother: Scenes from a Cultural History of Transparency’, Cultural Studies Review, 9.1, May (2003), 103-123.