Tuesday April 24: Since I was at a Kylie Minogue concert at the time, I didn't get to watch this heavily promoted debut episode until the next day, in a frantic rush before the 7:00pm showing of the first 'proper' episode on the Wednesday. Considering that the show ran for an hour and a half, we didn't find out very much about the individual contestants (the family and friends interviews didn't give much away), and we found out even less about how the mechanics of the show work. But I'm hooked despite all that. Clearly, several of the contestants have been chosen for maximum conflict value, and a reasonable proportion of eye candy. |
Wednesday April 25: The first full day in the house actually concealed more than it revealed. The advertisements made much of Andy inviting Johnnie to share her bed, but this wasn't very titilating, since everyone knows Johnnie's gay (a subject the first episode dodged around but which tonight's broadcast confirmed, if there was ever any doubt). Other than this, the big events of the day seemed to be feeding the chooks, buying toilet paper and facing up to the first challenge: memorising lots of personal details about all the other contestants. Personally, I think they'll fail, since some of them don't even seem to be able to remember basic rules of the game (such as how the betting on challenges works).
After watching the show, I logged onto the site and registered. Every time I try to launch the live feed, my PC crashes, which can't be a good sign (but is probably my fault, not the site's, given my long history of technology screw-ups). Interestingly, while the TV show is heavily promoting the 'mystery' visit to hospital, the site has the whole story of Jemma's injury complete -- an inevitable problem when there's such a long delay between the 'live' site and the edited broadcasts. Also, there's a whole incident with Todd concealing a fake condom in the kitchen that was totally concealed -- why?
Thursday April 26: Cheats! We finally got some shower footage -- indeed, Andy spent the middle part of the episode roaming around wrapped in just a towel -- but every time there was even a threat of breast or genital, one of those block-out squares which I thought only appeared on cheap porn films appeared. And to add insult to injury, most of the detail from the much-touted Jemma hospital visit is being saved for the Sunday episode, when the first resident gets voted out. I wonder if they're saving the footage of her demonstrating her bondage skills on Todd for the Sunday episode as well?
The episode demonstrates the role which editing will play in people getting voted off. Throughout the sequences where Jemma was injured, the camera kept cutting back to Andy playing in the pool, apparently oblivious to it all. This made her look like a right bitch. While Jemma's absence led to several comments about how hard it would be to vote someone out, Christina visited the diary room to point out how she wanted to disagree with people. There's also a hint of romance between Peter and Christina, which should help up the shag quotient.
On that note, the site this evening notes that a discussion has taken place on who would be willing to actually go ahead and shag, with Blair and Ben effectively in favour, while Christina, Lisa and Sharna were opposed. Media speculation already has it that Blair is going to win.
Friday April 27: Hot stuff! Ten totally ruined any chance of people paying attention to the challenge quiz by showing footage of Christina and Peter in bed together right at the beginning. (Us obsessed Net site visitors knew that they'd won, anyway.)
Having tempted us with that, we had to wait until after the ad break for the show to deliver anything other than footage of rain (I'd feel sorry for 'em but it's been raining here all week) and various bits of chicken excitement. The only notable development was that Blair appeared to want to crack onto Christina as well, but, again, we all knew that wasn't going to happen.
While C+P stopped short of actually shagging (she's worried what her parents would think), it looks more or less inevitable. And if they don't, Andy apparently wants to shag everyone in sight, but especially Christina. Kinky or what? In the end, she shared her bed with Sara-Marie. Now she's admitted to being spectacularly free and easy, it's obvious why Andy made straight for the double bed on the first night.
Unexpected Saturday update: Channel 10 is definitely up to something. This morning, the picture of Christina and Peter on the site (the one with the suspicious filename ending in 'handjob' that was inaccessible) has been replaced with a completely different image, this one ending in the rather less suspicious 'under_covers'. The image also has a completely different ID number. Did someone get bored in the Big Brother Web production office and put up an adult image?
I'm obviously turning into some kind of Big Brother psychic. After writing last night that Channel 10 needs some late night specials with the raunchy bits, I read in this morning's papers that next Thursday at 9:30 there'll be a special black label edition of the show. That should get the viewers in.
Sunday April 29: Eviction time! If someone had told me I'd be waiting breathlessly for the nominations of this show, I'd have said they were mad. But I was. I even took a note as all the scores came on, which turned out to be a good idea, since there was an ad break between the last nomination and the announcement. It was obvious Andy and Gordon were for the chop, because she's very weird and he's kind of weird but mostly not that obvious, but I thought Sharna might have been next out. (With four points, she was next cab off the rank).
The reasons everyone gave were a bit dull; mostly just variations on "he/she is the person I feel least connected to/spent the least time with". Exceptions to this rule were Ben, who saw Gordon as a threat; Peter, who said Andy was "a bit pushier than the rest"; Gordon, who said Andy was "demanding in an unneccessary way"; Andy, who claimed Sharna just didn't fit in the group; and golden boy Blair, who admitted frankly that Andy "gets on my nerves".
Now, of course, I have to decide who to vote for. It's definitely not Gordon, because he was the only nominee who admitted that he might not get on with some people. Both Andy and Sara-Marie just whined and said the house would be boring without them. I don't think that's true of Sara-Marie, so she might get my vote, but I'll wait a couple of days. I suspect Andy's stocks with viewers will go up after the adults-only special on Thursday.
Monday April 30: We're finally starting to get more footage of secret midnight conversations, which is definitely upping the drama factor. Sharna and Lisa both hate Christina, essentially because they think she's a pricktease; Sara-Marie is advising Christina to act more like a pricktease until she's sure of Peter's motives. Peter, perhaps unsurprisingly, seems unwilling to discuss complex emotional matters with a camera pointed at him, although he's quite happy to be filmed sniffing his own armpits.
After receiving this week's challenge -- building a fire and keeping it going for 78 hours with a continuous two-person guard, which us Web site addicts got told about Sunday evening -- the focus moved to a ballet lesson in drag for the boys, which led Ben to come dangerously close to flashing his penis not just at a viewing audience of millions, but the dozen or so people in the house. This sequence is the first one I've ever watched on the Webcast that's made it to the finished product, although they didn't include the later appearance of what looked like a vibrator. Still, there's always the adult episode on Thursday.
Tuesday May 1: Blair and Sharna's birthday celebrations formed the backbone of tonight's episode -- and Blair getting teary over the video messages from his family was surprisingly moving -- but by far the most interesting development was Sara-Marie's screwing up the rule about two people being near the fire and then acting like it was totally not her responsibility. I think she should get the boot, and I bet Peter (for one) nominates her this weekend.
The advance promotion on the episode centred on Sharna apparently getting shagged by Johnnie, but it wasn't entirely clear from the footage we saw that it actually happened. There was also a nice bitchy shot of Andy passed out early in the proceedings, giving the lie to her 'life of the party' pose.
Wednesday May 2: A relatively quiet day in the house today, as everyone sleeps off their hangovers from the night before. It seems Johnnie didn't shag Sharna, but Peter may have shagged Christina. Blair claims Christina is "just a sister figure", so he's hanging back.
By far the most notable development was another one of those moments that demonstrate how removed what appears on the show is from what we learn from the site. During the conversations on first loves, Johnnie said he had a crush on a girl in high school. Yet the site makes it clear that Johnnie considered his "first love" to be a guy he was involved with for six months at the age of 20. Similarly, Peter told a story about a girl he met on the Gold Coast, but his line about his mum being his "real first love" didn't make the broadcast. Hmmm.
Thursday May 3: The regular episode proved interesting mostly because Andy finally looked like she was going to score with someone, after almost two weeks of proclaiming herself superslut extraordinaire. Of course, we're not getting told yet if she actually got it on with Gordon . . .
But it's Thursday, and what we were all hanging out for is Big Brother Uncut, so we could ogle everyone without any clothes on. And while the episode delivered that in droves -- they even showed the odd penis, which is pretty rare for network television, as well as Andy's and Sara-Marie's breasts every 3.5 seconds and lots of bondage instances-- what was really interesting was that a lot of things that haven't been clear in the main broadcasts became apparent.
Thus we learnt, for sure, that Peter and Christina had got it on; and, perhaps even more importantly, we learnt that everyone else in the house knew that they'd got it on. Indeed, the number of conversations generally going on about sex was much higher than anyone watching the 7:00pm broadcasts (or even the Netcasts) would suspect.
The other effect of all this sex talk was to make Andy look much more human. Whereas she's come across in the normal show as an aloof bitch, her sexual strategising actually made her look more compassionate, not less. Conversely, Sara-Marie's blanket comment that Andy must be a "nymphomaniac" made her look harsh and judgemental. This whole episode made up my mind; I'm voting to get rid of Sara-Marie.
Friday May 4: Inevitably a little quieter after all the shocks of Thursday, perhaps the most notable development was that Sara-Marie is still a whining scrag. While the main suspsense centred on whether the fire task had been completed successfully, us online folks already knew the answer. However, Sara-Marie's ungracious whopping just reinforced her status as a non-team player. She's got to go.
Sunday May 6: "Andy, it's time to go." And boy, was I pissed off. Not because I'm a huge Andy fan -- which, to judge from the crowd reaction, put me in a minority -- but because I really wanted to see Sara-Marie get the boot. It's even more galling that there was only 4% difference between Andy and Queen Skank.
On the other hand, Andy herself made for really good post-exit interview material, and she had (by her standards) quite a dignified response to the whole thing. While it was obviously partly a defensive mechanism, I think there was a glimmer of truth in Andy's comment that she was beginning to get bored in the house. I'm glad to see she was pissed off with Johhnie over his nomination of her, followed by buckets of fake sympathy. And I can't even begin to imagine what she'll be like on Thursday's 'uncut' episode, or on Rove this Tuesday.
I guess the only consolation is that Sara-Marie's almost guaranteed to get renominated because of the fire fracas, and judging from this week's vote, she'll be history. Notably, she also got the biggest boos from the crowd.
Monday May 7: With Andy gone, the whole house has become much more territiorial. There's nothing new in hearing Sara-Marie whine, and her incessant whinging to Johnnie about how much Todd smells got really old really quickly, but it was interesting to watch some of the others crack.
In particular, Jemma's whinging about Gordon was a bit unexpected -- although the show was edited in such a way as to make it clear she wasn't just being paranoid. "I will need female contact if I'm going to stay here for fucking 12 weeks!" Charming. Interestingly, nearly all the major plot points from tonight had been previewed on the site -- are they running low on material?
Tuesday May 8: I didn't get around to watching this episode until fairly late at night, but I'd been unable to resist logging in to the site and discovering that Christina, Peter and Sharna were nominated. None of these were particularly surprising, but I was shocked at how few people even nominated Sara-Marie. Obviously the fire incident was a long way from their minds by then.
That aside, it was the Sharna meltdown that prompted most of the best bits in the episode, and there should be more total spack-outs this evening. It would seem likely that the audience vote will be for her to go, but then again, what would I know? I thought Sara-Marie was a certainty for the chop!
Wednesday May 9: What in God's name does Sharna think she's playing at? Not only is her incessant sulking likely to see her nominated again next week, but it's definitely not going to endear her to viewers. I almost warmed to her when she made her "hello, losers" comment to Peter and Christina early on, but by the end of the episode she just looked self-pitying.
Johnnie's attempts to comfort her also reeked of the same cynicism as his similar moves with Andy last week. OK, I know he has to nominate someone, but he doesn't then have to act all Mr Sympathetic.
The ongoing circus training is making the whole thing look quite surreal, with people juggling in the background while all around is chaos. Despite this, I'll be really surprised if the team actually succeed in this challenge.
Thursday May 10: With bitch mode turned down to low, I almost felt sorry for Sharna this evening; she certainly looked like a wreck when she woke up! But despite her last-minute circus enthusiasm, I still can't imagine she won't get voted off.
The song-writing made for some good viewing. Will they recut it, add the BB theme music and release a single while they're still in there?
But enough of that, it's Thursday, and that means Big Brother Uncut. Unlike last week's episode, this didn't advance the plot much, but it was hysterically funny 80% of the way through. It was interesting that Andy hadn't really realised that Christina and Peter got it on. It was also interesting that she refused cunnilingus from Sara-Marie ("no thanks, I don't like that"), but no great surprise that she'd picked Sharna to go. Having her as a co-host also seemed to work better than just Gretel on her own without a studio audience.
Notably, neither Jemma nor Lisa seem to get involved much in the late-night sex conversations. Ben also seems more likely to admit to stuff when there aren't too many women around.
In what's probably a telling comment on me, most of my notes from tonight's show consist of rampantly filthy quotes from various participants. So here they are:
Friday May 11: Circus time! While the group didn't succeed in the goal, it was certainly entertaining enough watching them. And it provided yet another opportunity for Skanka-Marie to demonstrate her lack of commitment to the team effort: "I'm enjoying myself . . . I'm not gonna stress myself!" Predictably, she stuffed up.
As ever, the TV show didn't tell the whole story; it didn't mention, for instance, that the reward for the human pyramid task was an extra hour's hot water. Sharna was much less visibly aggravating, and she actually gets around to apologising tomorrow, but I still can't help thinking she's history.
Saturday May 12: While the BB site went into a detailed explanation of how Sharna had first apologised to Jemma and then to the group as a whole, the whole issue was lucky to rate two minutes in the broadcast version. This seems a little unfair to Sharna, since it makes her look like even more of a bitch than she already is, but it might have been a case of too little, too late anyway.
As ever, the Saturday show was a fairly slow affair. Notably, the guest appearance by Krista Vendy from Neighbours was upstaged by one of the show's producers, whose revelation that Peter and Christina had been warned about not colluding on votes was far more interesting than Ms Vendy herself.
Sunday May 13: "I don't wanna go . . . I'm gone." Indeed, with 76% of the vote, Sharna's was a much more convincing dismissal than Andy's. But she handled it with grace, maintaining her bluntness and characteristic honesty throughout the questioning. In fact, she seemed less upset with being evicted than with being nominated in the first place. They finally showed the footage of her apologising, but with that vote figure it's unlikely that could have made any real difference.
It was very pleasing to see Sharna's outburst when she realised Johnnie had nominated her. "I'm not two-faced!" she exploded. She also didn't look too pleased when she saw Ben nominating her, but it didn't stop her selecting him as the house member she could fall in love with. Despite saying Todd was her least-favourite member of the house, she never gave him any points during nominations.
They're bringing her back for the Saturday show next week; obviously there ain't enough nude footage around, probably because of her careful-with-the-towel tactic. Hopefully, on Tuesday Skanka-Marie will be in the limelight again. Or is it Todd's turn to suffer?
Monday May 14: Because the show mostly covers Sunday pre-eviction, and we all already know the results, there's not always too much new development come Monday night. However, there was plenty of simmering tension building up, especially between Lisa and Gordon. It was good to find out as well that Christina had seen through Johnnie's nice guy image, and had correctly deduced that he had nominated her the previous week.
The blocked toilet was also an interesting plot development, if only because it showed that even in as well-planned an environment as Big Brother, things can still go wrong. But just how much longer can one copy of Lord Of The Flies hold out?
Tuesday May 15: Yes! Sara-Marie is back in the nomination fold! Unless Todd is far less popular with the public than we have previously supposed, then she's probably going to get the boot; after all, when she went head-to-head with Gordon last time, she scored nearly three times his vote. I also had to make more than half-a-dozen redials at 7:30 to get through to her eviction line.
What was surprising was how far in front Gordon was; with nine points, he was streeets ahead of Todd and Sara-Marie, who only got four each. Blair and Johnnie have maintained their record of no nomination points; how much longer can that last? The next runners are Jemma and Lisa, each of whom have run up just five points in three rounds. Ben is close behind on six.
Obviously, the programmers were hoping for a dramatic Sharna-style spackout during the live nomination period. It didn't happen, with indifference seeming the main reaction, but maybe everyone was remembering the impact of Sharna's reaction. It was interesting watching the housemates speculate about if they were still being broadcast, but why didn't the programmers do the obvious thing: throw on Boney M and force everyone to get up and dance?
Wednesday May 16: Maybe I'm just a sadist, but I really enjoyed the way that Big Brother totally wrecked Johnnie's attempts at meditation by playing his dance marathon song three times this evening. What probably seemed to the housemates like a very simple task is turning out to be rather stressful! I'd also concur with Todd's observation that Sara-Marie would be the most likely to mess up the challenge ("if anyone's gonna fuck it"), although it should be said that Todd's own dancing in the group 'Daddy Cool' number was nothing to write home about.
Not much else emerged aside from the dancing frenzy, since most of the footage came before yesterday's live nomination. Gordon is not doing himself any favours by raving on about the gender imbalance; does he really think he's going to get any action with the remaining women as it is?
Thursday May 17: Timing is everything when you're watching Big Brother. I didn't get to see either of today's shows until Friday afternoon, but by then I'd already visited the site so I knew the whole 'wedding' routine was a joke, and that the dance task had been completed successfully.
The biggest outcome from the whole wedding setup was to reveal (yet again) Sara-Marie's skankiness and Johnnie's constant attempts to be Mr Nice Guy. Her comment was a flat "I'm going on strike", while Johnnie volunteered to talk to Todd.
Meanwhile, Gordon's continuing attempts to jump Jemma are failing, and mightn't help his chances of getting booted off. (Nor will remarks if "I was single I'd do you sideways" to Sara-Marie, when it's obvious that his relationship wouldn't be an impediment in Jemma's case.)
Uncut was the usual hysterical roundup of sex-related dialogues, although I was disappointed that they didn't choose to pick on Blair this time around. The whole penis size conversation was a particular highlight, even if some of the female expectations seemed a bit unreasonable. As Ben remarked: "What are you with, bulls?" The 'should Jemma's muff get an airing?' discussion was . . . well . . . odd.
Friday May 18: In their overseas versions, stars of reality shows such as Big Brother have often gone on to pursue media careers. To judge from the attempts at filming advertisements for the 40 Hour Famine on tonight's episode, this is not a path that the Australian housemates will be pursuing. (Admittedly, I could see Andy going for a hosting job on a late night sex chat show, but so far appearing at suburban RSLs seems to be her main gig.)
While supporting the Famine is a worthy cause, it does mean that everyone has spent even more time lying around than usual, which doesn't make for compelling television. However, it's perhaps not so surprising that Ten jumped at the suggestion; this way, there won't be too much going on during Friday, and hence it won't be so hard to compress everything for the Saturday night edition of the show.
Saturday May 19: With nothing much more than the usual family and friends footage, perhaps the most interesting feature of tonight's broadcast was the revelation of the voting figures. Sara-Marie is narrowly in front, but all that could change by tomorrow.
Libby Gorr made a good guest for discussing the implications of household relationships, and certainly worked a lot better than the endless psychiatrists they've been reeling out. Maybe she should become a regular.
Sunday May 20: "No idea at all." And it seems the housemates weren't expecting Todd to get the boot either, judging from their highly emotional reaction to his 38% ouster. Given that Gordon got the majority of housemate votes this week, that isn't all that surprising. In fact, Todd's low score (just four votes) meant that he had relatively little reaction to the nomination process.
The deliberate showing of the votes throughout the evening added to the tension, especially for those viewers like me who really wanted to see Sara-Marie go. I suspect, though, that she's kind of bulletproof for a little while, unless she really screws up another one of the challenes. We can live in hope!
Monday May 21: Curse my video recorder! I stuffed up setting the timer and, as a result, missed the episode (I was out to dinner at the time). At least it was Monday, which is generally a slow episode because it's mostly pre-nomination buildup and we already know about that, but I shall have to be more careful in future.
Tuesday May 22: Todd's prediction that Lisa could well be the next nominee for eviction turns out to come true, as she pulled in seven points, one behind Gordon with eight. Peter just pulled ahead of the others with three. From that batch, I think I'd have to vote for Gordon, but there's no telling how the public will react to Lisa, who hasn't been up for eviction before.
Notably, both Blair and Johnnie also scored their first nomination points; up until this week, the boys both had a spotless record. In household terms, Gordon is by far the least popular, with a whopping 27 points, followed by Sara-Marie with 15 and, oddly, Christina with 11. Her reactions to the threat of Peter leaving could also be interesting . . .
Wednesday May 23: Live broadcasts from the house make the next day's episode of Big Brother very weird, since they're mostly concerned with stuff that happened before stuff we've already seen. This episode tried to get around that problem by showing the post-nomination reactions first, then jumping backwards to earlier in the day. Not very useful.
In any case, there wasn't much to reveal, apart from the fact that voting so far is split 21-39-40. I'd guess that the 21 is Peter, but what would I know? It certainly wouldn't be Gordon, who seems to get more arrogant by the minute.
Lisa is the unk