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.