Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright – Mad Men S01E13

I came into this episode having previously watched the first 6 episodes of Mad Men. I was a little apprehensive to jump forward in such a way, but given my exposure to the various circumstances, characteristics and relationships of the characters it was really intriguing to see where they had progressed leading into this final episode of the season.

In this post I’ll attempt to analyse the narrative of episode 13 ‘The Wheel’ and what this says about the characters, making reference to key lines from the episode.

The first of which comes from Pete Campbell’s father in law, Tom; ‘loose lips sink ships’. Now, there are a few ways one could read this but it is pretty obvious that this line could be applied to any one of the characters in the series, especially Peggy. And on this point of character I would like to quote Timothy Stanley, who remarks ‘although the plot and subject matter are important, it is the characters that drive the story’ (Stanley, 2009). Indeed, Mad Men is all about character.

In this instance, we learn that Peggy’s own adaptation of the ‘loose lips’ mantra has resulted in her carrying (presumably) Pete Campbell’s child (the result of a pre-marital drunken decision from the Junior Exec). It also seems that this understanding of the adage has also been the cause for the ship’s of Carlton, Harry and Don springing leaks. At least in the minds of their wives, who have each taken various forms of self-protective action. Francine’s finally wisened up to Carlton’s cheating and begins pondering poison as a coping mechanism. Francine’s pondering leads to Betty having suspicions about Don and confirming in her own mind that Don is cheating too. As for Jennifer, we’re not entirely sure why she’s not letting Harry back in the house if we view this episode alone, I would be interested to see whether this event is referenced in the 6 episodes I have not seen.

Joan in trademark fashion

Joan in trademark fashion

Indeed, it seems that the lips being referenced here aren’t necessarily the ones that exist on your face. Crude yes, but a fitting finish to a first series that has always pushed the idea that in this world, if you are a women, ‘you’re not much, so you might as well enjoy it while it lasts.’ Even more fitting is the person who notes this quite early on, Joan. A cunning gazelle in the wilderness of the ’60s amazon.

Harry Crane on the phone to Jennifer

Harry Crane on the phone to Jennifer

Underpinning this male/female dynamic dialogue is the way in which males and females predominately interact on a greater level within the Mad Men context – through marriage. And of course, the main talking point is always family. The first few minutes of the episode are devoted to this. On Pete and Trudy having a child. On Don’s unwillingness to join Betty and the kids for Thanksgiving. And a phone conversation between Harry and Jennifer – Harry teetering on the edge of begging her on hand and knee to have him back.

I would like to make note of an aesthetic theme here that flows through the show as a whole when a married couple is conversing. That is, the couple is isolated in a dark room, whether it be in bed or at the kitchen table, and the two of them are the only things properly lit on set. It would seem as though this aesthetic isn’t solely the property of Mad Men. Over at twentysomethingtelevsion, Alex mentions the striking resemblance between this aesthetic and a Gregory Crewdson photograph.

This set up effectively functions to literally highlight the bordering hostility that scores each of these marriages, Betty’s persistent wish for Don to spend more time with the kids or Pete’s desire for Trudy to support him better, albeit a selfish craving (see E06 ‘Babylon’).

Don and Betty at the kitchen table

Don and Betty at the kitchen table

Gladly, this episode finally gives us a chance to breathe while watching Betty. Her restraint and pent up frustration is just as infuriating to watch as a cheating husband might be to a non-deluded wife wanting success for her family. So, watching her stare into Don’s eyes and ask him, ‘how could someone do that to the person they love?… doesn’t this mean anything?’, is a welcome sight. Her epiphany couldn’t come sooner, finding out Don has been speaking to her psychologist, and racking the focus of her minds eye to truly see the signs as what they are. Perfume, hotel rooms, ‘something worse’. We do, however, doubt that her path will be a similar one to Francine’s. Despite the ghastly thought of making love being, only ‘sometimes… what [she] want[s]’ and others being ‘what someone else wants’, she seems to understand the greater importance that a family unit holds in one’s life. It is her backbone needless to say, and after all, ‘maybe it’s just him’.

Just as this episode marks a change in Betty it also marks a drastic turning point in the life of Don Draper. Will Dean perfectly summarises our response to this in a blog for The Guardian, ‘We’ve learned the specific facts of Don’s existence over these first 13 episodes – but it’s this one [Kodak moment] that really gives him a heart and soul – and gives us the motivation to root for a cheating, lying, deserter’ (Dean, 2010). While Don does not have the intestinal fortitude to come clean face to face with Betty when she asks him those previous lines, his understanding of his own responsibility to his family clearly shifts and we feel the change. However, it’s forced by his little brother Adam’s suicide. It seems Don is incapable of taking this leap without something so drastic taking place. While he was prompted to call his brother, we can only wonder if a conversation between the two might’ve ended up in any sort of change to Don’s routine. Instead, his brother’s death strips him back. His mind is focused, and his goals clear. He must ‘reach through stone to right here’. He must re-evaluate what’s important to him, and gladly he lands upon family as the answer.

The following scene is touching to say the least. Watching Don flick through photos of his children, his wife, his family, and note this nostalgia he feels – his ‘pain from an old wound’ – is truly mesmerising. Don has finally found a way to stop the ‘carousel’ of his own life, and take stock of the most important things to him. His family. Over at The Watcher, Maureen Ryan notes that ‘it’s not hard to have a sentimental bond with “Mad Men”’ – especially in this moment.

Yet Don channels it through work, the only other thing that could perhaps mean more to him than his family and that feeling he once knew. One wonders whether Don is right in using his family for commercial success.

A picture of Don and Betty from Don's presentation

A picture of Don and Betty from Don’s Kodak ‘Carousel’ presentation

I would argue that Director Matthew Weiner is telling us that it is not. We are led to believe Don does in fact find his place amongst his family, joining them on their Thanksgiving trip. That by some romantic notion Betty will forgive this man’s indiscretions and allow him back atop his mantle as a father. Somehow, we are so caught up in it all that we are satisfied that this could actually be happening.

That is, until Weiner adapts a kind of Rashomon effect, replaying Don entering into the house, this time his family having already left. Don sits, defeated. The camera dolly’s away from him and his isolation is imminent. Weiner overlays this with ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright’ by Bob Dylan.

Don just before the camera begins to track away

Don just before the camera begins to dolly away

Whether he means not to think about this second ending, one can only wonder. More obviously, one could assume Weiner is making a very specific statement about Don. He might’ve had a change of heart, but he was too late. Or more to the point, he is too late. It is too late to change.

Yet perhaps change is not what we want. Ryan notes, ‘for these ad men, actual truth is expendable and possibly even harmful’ (Ryan 2008). Were Don ever to truthfully understand himself it may be more cataclysmic than a dysfunctional family could ever be.

But we shouldn’t ‘think twice’. ‘It’s alright’, Weiner assures us… being an ad man.

References:

Ryan, M. ‘Looking back at the first season of ‘Mad Men.’ Chicago Tribune, 2008

Dean, W. ‘Mad Men: season one, episode 13.’ Guardian UK, Tv & Radio Blog, 2010

Stanley, T. ‘Mad Men’ Teaching and Research in Religion and Theology, 2009

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Don Draper The T[h]inker – Mad Men S01E03

In episode 3 there were a few key scenes that stuck out to me.

Obviously, Mrs. Rachel Menken taking Don to the rooftop is paramount of these. Aside from that, I would include the scene watching Don as he sits on the train home, Don making use of a Super 8 camera and the interaction between Don and Helen Bishop.

Rachel Menken and Don Draper

Rachel Menken and Don Draper

I’ll start with Mrs. Menken because I believe this is where the narrative takes its first big diversion. The sexual tension between these two is undeniable from the outset. However, whereas Don can separate his feelings and emotions when bunking with Midge, it’s pretty obvious Rachel gets the better of him. And while small, her choice of Knights for his cufflinks couldn’t be more fitting. This ‘knight’ is beginning to show many chinks in his armour. As a point of comparison to this narrative thread, we see Campbell able to separate his relations with Peggy, and focus more squarely on his marriage. Yet where Campbell is pragmatic, Don is increasingly cunning – one might take Don’s line that it is not a ‘lie’, rather ‘ineptitude with insufficient cover,’ and apply it to his own extra marital affairs. Indeed, we sense his cover is beginning to fade.

It is fitting then, that Director Matthew Weiner chooses to shoot Don in close up for a lot of the remainder of the episode. While this isn’t always the case in ensemble shots, it certainly is when we are sharing screen time with Don alone – for example, as we sits and ponders on the train home.

Until this point, Don has seemed more or less infallible. But it all seems to be slowly but surely catching up to him. As he sits and ponders, quite furiously indeed, the ticket inspector returns Don’s paper which he has dropped. As petty as that may sound, the Don Draper we know wouldn’t drop his guard at any pont, lest when he is on his own. However, this time he does. The paper drops, and is returned. But it is followed by the ‘click, click’ of the ticket puncher – clear and strong. Like a revolver cocking, or, perhaps more fittingly, the cogs of Draper’s well oiled brain working through the motions to figure out his predicament.

Another occasion where this focus is tightly pulled on Don is through his use of the Super 8 camera. Through the first 2 episodes it has been overwhelmingly clear how distant Don is from his family. Therefore there couldn’t be a better way to frame this distance than Don framing the things around him that he should love – the things he should enjoy – as if they are some foreign object or event or emotion or existence that he cannot truly be a part of – forever looking on due to his own inability to be a part of someone else’s moment that isn’t his own.

Don Draper using 8mm Camera

Don Draper using 8mm Camera

Yet this isn’t to say Don isn’t aware of his outsider position. As mentioned earlier he is cunning. Not only with words, but actions. For example, taking a good half of the day to return with his daughter’s birthday cake – instead returning with a dog. So too, he passes comment in response to Ms. Bishop’s suggestion that the mothers are a ‘strange crowd out there’ – to which Don replies watching over the children on the play house, ‘same crowd out here’.

It is as if he doesn’t quite understand it all. As if it just doesn’t compute. He knows how to satisfy people’s wants, but it would seem he is inept at satisfying their needs. His wife’s. His children’s. His own.

The overwhelming sense of the foreboding is creeping closer and closer to home.

‘Happy Birthday Baby’, I hope you can sort this out soon, Don.

Radio Reflection – Part 8

When I found out that the mind behind Triple J Unearthed was an RMIT graduate it brought home how some ideas can have modest origins and great destinations.

It also pointed out the need and value in supporting up and coming artists, something radio is extremely good at doing.

It sort of this self fulfilling cycle.

An artist gets earkmarked and keenly watched, then played on national radio. And should it all go to plan, their name is sure to be up in lights.

Aided by the integration of radio stations with festivals and gigs across the country, its almost simultaneous that these artists become heralded around the country.

Take, for example, a set by St. Lucia at this years Parklife festival. The band’s frontman Jean-Philip Grobler thanked Triple J for their support, playing their song ‘September’ which must have inevitably landed them a a spot on the bill for the festival this October.

Thus, it’s not just domestic. The platform is localized, but expands its tentacles outward – interstate, international – and brings acts back to its localized position.

This doesn’t answer however, why some bands are picked over others.

Sure, there is technical proficiency, like how good the production is or how well they play live.

But undoubtedly some artists get lost in the ether.

It’s great, then, that the likes of digital and online radio will hopefully be able to fill that void, giving proper exposure to all artists that deserve it.

Big Love – An Analysis

Big Love. Big goddamn, huge amounts of love. Or just kind of love. More like sex. A sex kind of love. Then again, the guy has kids? So is it love, or is it just reproduction? Reproduction for family’s sake? Who knows. Either way, polygamy is the central topic of HBO show Big Love, and it’s a thought provoking concept indeed.

I did feel slightly uneasy watching the pilot. The idea of polygamy doesn’t make much sense to me, as ignorant as that sounds, yet from what I have gathered from this episode it could be attributed to not growing up with it. Come to think of it, chances are if polygamy was regularly practiced amongst contemporary society I wouldn’t have a problem with it at all. Which is an interesting notion this show brings into light in quite a smooth and flowing way.

Polygamy is the vehicle for all central conflicts in the story. Between the three wives of Bill – Barbera, Nicolette and Margene. Between Bill and his position in society – first as a businessman and his ties to the mormon polygamists a few hours out into the country at ‘The Compound’, and later between himself and his position as a Senator in Season 5. And also, it seems, between Bill and his wives.

This conflict weaves itself into the story in very distinct ways throughout the pilot. We start to see traces of habits that each woman has adopted in order to cope with sharing the man they ‘love’. For example, we see Nicolette buying uncontrollably in an attempt to fulfil some sort of missing need. So too, Margene is relatively needy when compared to the other two wives, questioning Bill on whether he misses her more. Barb on the other hand seems relatively placid, however, without any children to her name it is obvious she is constantly saddened by this lack of progeny.

So too, Big Love opens up many other narrative threads to be followed in the coming episodes. As mentioned above, there is Nicolette’s uncontrolled spending. We also find out that Bill’s dad is sick – which leads to our first viewing of ‘The Compound’ and also gives way to Bill’s mother refusing to take him to the hospital in case they ask too many questions. (How illegal is ‘The Compound’ and this practice of polygamy? You get the sense that this community breeds like rabbits and in-breeding isn’t out of the question – as The Profit notes ‘we had 4000 at sacriment last week’ and young Rhonda explains ‘I’m married to The Profit now’).

The Prophet in all his glory

As we later find out, Bill’s dad was poisoned with arsenic – clan wars are promptly queried. This sense of illegality and conflict between parties is furthered at the diner, where Bill’s daughter Sarah pauses when she hears that her co worker’s dad is a state trooper. On top of this, Bill’s brother is somewhat excommunicated from ‘The Compound’, Bill has just opened a new store, he has so far neglected to properly acknowledge that his son Ben has been named starter and he has also been persistent on getting Barb to ‘sign over’ her monthly cheque to him. Oh, and he only wears one wedding ring. How does that work? Especially considering we can see he isn’t virile enough to keep shopping himself around these three relationships night upon night.

Money problems, family problems, legal problems, emotional problems, spiritual problems. They are all here. It is indeed ‘narratively complex’ and I can see how the different narrative threads that provoke these conflicts would satisfy the audiences ‘sense of being surprised by what you know’, as Jason Mittell puts it, once they are answered.

As such, these threads go some way to ‘recruiting’ an audience. In its existence as a serial, the show ‘taps into a widely-shared and even primal set of narrative pleasures’ (Mittel, 2009). The audience comes to the party when we can relate to and appreciate the characters they see before them, thus an audience is likely to take an interest in what will happen next. Fortunately, Big Love offers a huge cast and a diverse range of characters. Unfortunately, this is where the show pays somewhat of an homage, intentionaly or not, to daytime television. Jason Mittell suggests ‘very few primetime shows seem to be directly influenced by daytime traditions’ and I would argue that this is one.

The pilot is a tad slow, and to quote Mittell, ‘the barriers to entry are quite high’. Here I believe Mittell to be referring to the aesthetic criteria of daytime television, audience level of engagement and investment into certain characters of the story world. While I am not suggesting that these characters are soap like, I do believe that with such a huge cast, it is quite possible for audiences to selectively view the series in a similar way to how one may view a day time series. Also, given the central vehicle of the story, polygamy, one must ask oneself whether one really want to learn more about this thing and become immersed and intimate with these people. However, this distinctiveness and ‘ability to indexically portray the difficult, nuanced world around us’ (Kakman, 2010) would also qualify this show for the title of ‘Quality TV’.

It just gets bigger and bigger

Despite my own feelings about this show, I think the pilot is extremely successful at establishing the diegetic world it exists within, and stating exactly where it stands in relation to polygamy. There’s the good polygamy of Bill and his family, and the bad polygamy of the compound – yet the distinction isn’t entirely clear, thus it would make for some interesting viewing to invest in this program going forward.

It brings up many telling questions. What is family? What is marriage? The fraught relationship between men and gods and as a result, the religion that surrounds them. Going forward, it would certainly be an interesting study to consider these themes and how the shows represent them as a kind of ‘operational aesthetic’, whereby one could intertextually study the images and visual representations of the above as a way of analysing ‘creative cultural reception practices’ (Kakman, 2010) – one would indeed hope that the result is ‘something broadly more meaningful’ (Kakman, 2010).

I would like to finish by examining the opening sequence of the show as a way of summarising the core focus of the show. I believe I have adequately delved into the key themes and narrative threads that come alive in the pilot, thus this summation is a way of trying to understand who the target audience/taste culture is that could potentially embrace this show.

Stop skating around him, tell him what you really think?

The show begins with Bill in skates, on ice. Each of his wives swans around him on the ice, and they are all clothed in period garments. The distinction between each wife is not necessarily expressed, however, the use of their names as an introduction could be a device to make this distinction. Then, we watch as each of them links hands, the emphasis on their ring fingers. Staring longingly at each other as they spin in a circle (presumably with their hands still linked), the ice begins to crack and splits Bill from Margene and Nicolette, while Barb and Bill remain on one side. Now, we witness the four moving wistfully through white sheets, as if they are floating in the womb, and they each separately reunite with Bill, ending up at the dinner table finishing grace on top of a planet, more or less in space.

Only one ring?

Now. Having watched both the pilot and an extract from the last episode of Season 5, the last season, it would seem that the following is being artfully represented. This ‘family’ as I will refer to them, at first skates peacefully on ice, separate from the country that surrounds the ice – the badness of ‘The Compound’. However, as their bond and proximity gets closer and their separate yet interlinked marriages are highlighted (the wedding rings), the ice – their utopia – can no longer hold the weight of their relationships, thus they must retreat to a more primitive existence. (Why exactly Barb and Bill are separated from Margene and Nicolette I am not entirely sure). Then, having retreated to the safety of the womb, in order for their polygamous existence to be maintained, we transcend the earthly and are shown how their bond through polygamy and religion (referenced through the speaking of grace) is the key to them being the masters of the world (their own world or the world itself). This is further bolstered by The Beach Boys track, ‘God Only Knows What I’d Be Without You’.

Grace is theirs atop of the world.. or is it?

However, it could also be seen that their bond, while harmonious for the four of them, is futile and out to space, unable to be understood by earth and the world. Indeed, only God is able to comprehend this.

Where both these contentions stand in relation to Kakman’s suggestion of viewer’s using the show (in this case the opening) to ’embrac[e] the dream of a more complex world. Maybe, even, a more just one’ (Kakman, 2010), I am not entirely sure.

Thus the question remains, is this polygamous world one you want to embrace by watching this show? In a summary of the finale, Alan Sepinwall notes that ‘if you went into the finale with more affection for Bill, and/or the series, perhaps you were more touched by it all’ (Sepinwall, 2011). And it seems this is where it stands. Embrace the idea of polygamy and the Henrickson representation of this or treat the show as a dolled up version of Soap opera.

I will leave you to decide which of the two you subscribe to.

That being said, I’d love to hear another take on how to read Big Love.

References:

Mittell, J 2009, ‘More thoughts on soap operas and television seriality’, Media Commons Scholarly, 2009

Kakman, M. ‘Quality Television, Melodrama and Cultural Complexity’, 11.09 Special Issue: Flow Favorites 2010, Volume 11, 2010

Sepinwall, A. “‘Big Love’ Reviewing the series finale’, HitFix – What’s Alan Watching, 2011

Journey

Journey’s are interesting things. They can be preordained. They can be spontaneous. They can happen when you don’t think they’re happening at all.

Read/Land is one of those Journey’s that’s preordained. The even more interesting thing about it is, it’s also spontaneous and happening all around us.

In asking for people to contribute in any way they felt comfortable, Read/Land is a journey that has a present, a past and a future.

The central concern of ‘the land’, dictates that contributions aren’t subject to temporal constraints.

We hope that an audience will emotionally respond to this stimulus in a way to brings forth memories, feelings, smells, sounds and all that has been with ones experience with the land.

We hope that stories emerge that themselves could stand alone as portraits of Australia, and the world over.

Insights, knowledge, understanding.

These are key to this project and will form the basis for compiling contributions nearing the end of the project.

Will it say the most about identity? Will it speak volumes about what it means to be Australian? Will it be something less romantic?

Regardless, we hope this journey is a fulfilling one.

yearingcat – is a moniker necessary?

Is a moniker necessary?

I would say not really.

Yet I use one.

Why?

I’ve always looked at actors who change their names to something outlandish or plain strange as a little deranged.

Yet a name change such as Olivia Wilde or Kirk Douglas is rather more intriguing than alienating.

So where does yearingcat fit into this?

I chose to write under a moniker as a way of linking all formats together by this name.

Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress. Each of which are @yearingcat or use yearingcat in the URL.

Increasingly, however, I’ve found myself wanting to write under my own name.

I wonder whether this is a wish to closely link the words I write and the images I post with my own consideration of self.

While I could also suggest yearingcat is an extension of ‘me’, it’s also a facade and wall that is erected which allows me to post more or less anonymously.

Who knows, I may change back to my real name yet.

Radio Reflection – Part 7

Is radio in Australia really that different from anywhere else in the world?

I remember Hamish and Andy broadcasting from their various Caravan of Courage tours. From America, the UK.

I wondered whether these people would be watching these two Australians galavant through their town and wonder what the hell was going on, or whether they may have seen it all before.

Now, obviously Hamish and Andy are unique in their own way, bless their souls, so I’m sure they probably hadn’t seen anything quite like these two.

But the question I want to ask is whether radio can really differ a great deal between nations.

When you consider a station such as NPR through All Music Considered plays artists that Triple J also plays, is this enough to suggest that perhaps we should just determine a station by category (commercial, independent/talkback, magazine) rather than the country it comes from?

The Institutional Landscape: The Market of Virtual Communities

Song, F. (2009). “The Institutional Landscape: The Market of Virtual Communities”. Virtual Communities: Bowling Alone, Online Together. New York, Peter Lang Publishing: 77-99

Where do the internet and the market intersect? Well, they don’t really. At least not in a singular relationship. As Song highlights in his article “The Institutional Landscape: The Market of Virtual Communities”, the internet has become the context within virtual communities have been able to flourish. As such, these virtual communities are the ideal platform for marketing strategies.

Perhaps the most interesting community that Song touches on is that of the LGBT Community. Prior to the internet, Song suggests it was increasingly difficult to tap into this market, of which, he notes, most are willing to pay ‘top dollar’ for goods, are generally well off and spend quite a lot of time online. It’s an interesting notion that a community as diverse as the LGBT one can be pigeonholed into certain ‘categorical identities’ – i.e. ways of thinking about people as audiences, by way of their ‘common characteristic, status, or preferences’.

Yet, this is the way in which the market works. It is, at its core, a ‘defining institution’, and everything, once properly positioned, can be seen from a commercial standpoint. To Song, this results in the market transforming ‘our very concept of communication’. Indeed, while the internet may have started as a ‘means of power through information that could undermine both government and corporate power’, ‘the utopian visions of the counterculture were quickly replaced by the venture capitalists’ eye for profit’.

People were and are still being defined by the virtual communities they exist within, both by the community itself, the site that hosts this community and the market strategists who wish to tap into their consumerist power. All the while, these sites attempt to position themselves at the forefront of opportunity for the market, by creating ‘sticky’ communities – ‘fostering a legitimate, safe, and creative social spaces that is attractive and welcoming’.

And it is quite sobering when one realises how this exactly works. Song eloquently scribes that ‘the temptation to wax poetic about the internet’s inherent freedom and unbound creativity is tempered when one realizes how many online communities are strategically planned and organised’.

By promoting themselves as a sustainable, controlled environment, each community is subject to the marketing process of capitalist regimes. Yet Song wants us not to view this as the only aspect of the Market vs. Virtual Community vs. Personal Identity triangle.

Rather, there are many other points that need to be explored, many of which may form the basis for the new markets that emerge in the next decades to come, as undoubtedly, this market surely cannot survive. It too must evolve with the context in which it exists, the internet. And quickly it changes indeed.

Big Brother – A Star of the Past

You know, fame is a funny thing. I remember hearing from a friend of mine whose friend was on Big Brother. He recounted that his friend was actually surprised at how little recognition he received once leaving the House. As if fame was something to be immediately bestowed upon him once he had made his appearance. Yet it wasn’t. And walking along the streets of Melbourne he was still just himself.

Sure, I also have friends who jumped at the chance of a photo with him when we saw him out and about the other night. Yet it seems the shine of a reality star is nowadays much harder to maintain. To that end, its even problematic in itself to form a worthwhile reality star in the first place.

Which is the funniest thing about Big Brother. A departure from previous incarnations of the show, 2012 promised not to buy into the hoopla and bizarre interactions that defined the show in previous years and launched the stars of Chrissie Swan, Ryan Fitzgerald and Blair McDonough. Instead, it presented itself as a show for everyman, and the contestants were pitched as exactly that.

In an article for The Age Green Guide on Thursday August 23rd, Daniel Burt describes how this normality translates – ‘Big Brother is proudly non-event television – ordinary people in extraordinarily ordinary circumstances’. He goes on to highlight the result of this humdrum approach – ‘in the big brother house, there becomes such a thing as dramatic mundanity.’

Considering the above, is it safe to assume that no true star will come bolting out of the Big Brother milky way and take Australia by storm?

I think it is.

Burt couldn’t be more on the point when he suggests the show is nothing more than ‘a mash up of soap opera and soft porn’. And even if the execs behind this show think these contestants are more wholesome and less vile, they haven’t considered how times have changed. We all consider ourselves some form of public figure these days thanks to the uptake of social media, narcissistic – yes we are. Thus ‘by having their narcissism validated by 108 cameras, 42 microphones and 300 production crew, these house mates are merely projecting bigger versions of what others are doing online’.

This inflated projection of ourselves is one of the reasons these stars are going out with a big bang. Or perhaps more fittingly, no bang at all. To quote Burt again, ‘in 2012, there is no illegitimate path into show business, although show business has perhaps itself become more illegitimate’.

Indeed it has, and we are more aware of it than ever before. These people are just like us and hence we’re less willing to grant them celebrity status.

After all, ‘reality tv contestants might prostitute themselves, but at least prostitutes get paid’.

Well said, Burt.

All you need is…

All you need is a little support.

That’s all it takes to change an idea from a thought in your big fat head to a 6 figured view video, or cult blogger with a big head.

An idea. Support for that idea. The ability to maintain it.

I think the most important thing here is that it will all fall apart if you don’t have a passion for the idea in the first place.

After all, what if this idea does get embraced? Are you really going to want to put the work in to keep it up and running?

I guess you might not know until you see the mountain of work that sits before you.

What’s my idea?

I’d be silly to tell you.