I love Big Brother! Literally, I love that show. It’s addictive, catchy and entertaining. From the host, going through the house, the gameplay and the housemates, it’s one of the most interesting reality television formats that exist today. Debuted in the Netherlands back in 1999, and has maintained itself as a TV mainstay for many years in countries like Spain, the U.K., and the United States.
Promoted initially as a social experiment back in the 2000s when most of its international debuts happened, eventually with time it became a juggernaut in the ratings, that propelled many people from the unknown to the bright shine spotlight. As I live on the other side of the Atlantic, the versions currently produced in the Americas as of 2017 are the U.S., Canada, and Brazil, with the status of Panama, Mexico and Argentina as either on hiatus or flat out canceled.
On this post, I’m going to talk about of the main things needed to make any Big Brother series to work: the host or hosts, the house, the housemates, and of course gameplay! Not all countries follow the core format, like the U.S. and Canada, but many aspects remain the same on all nations where this show airs.
But first… The hosts!
It ain’t a reality-competition show without a host, right? Well, Big Brother is nothing without a great host, and that person can help establish a good or bad image together with all other components that make this show so great!
Some countries like Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. count with great hosts for their respective editions, while countries like Spain or Brazil, have experienced changes on the hosts and the results have varied, with the former being a disaster and on the later ratings improved compared with previous seasons and the host change didn’t affect at all.
The host is so important to the show, like, many of us, may not even understand why, but they play a key role on a show like Big Brother be what it is. Iconic BB hosts from around the world, include Argentina’s Jorge Rial or Soledad Silveyra (who ran the show’s first three seasons there), Spain’s Mercedes Milá, Mexico’s Adela Micha, and UK’s Davina McCall.
Here’s a recap of Davina’s best interview moments, just for y’all to know how ICONIC she was when she hosted Big Brother UK.
Next.. the house!
The compound where the house is located in most countries is a purpose-built TV studio and its renovated for every season. Since a show like Big Brother is such a large budget show, not all countries where the show has been produced and broadcasted can afford to set up lavish pads for the participants to live.
More BB-stan places like Brazil, the United States, the UK, Canada or Spain (4 of these 5 are the countries with the longest running series of BB ever) do provide some of the most lavish and comfortable houses, while others like Indonesia (who only produced 1 series in 2011), provide more modest living conditions.
One of the dopest houses is CANADA‘s! Like, every season, they come with incredible ideas that make this version one of the most popular among fans all over the globe. Here’s their house tour for BBCAN 5:
Now, the housemates!
The housemates are the life and soul of Big Brother. Literally. The whole show revolves about their happenings within the confinements of the compound, as their every move is recorded 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for as long as they stay in the house. Also, if the right group goes in, they’ll make you fall in love with this crazy show.
Most early seasons back in the 2000s were true social experiments, but as years have gone by and the public demands more and more and more from producers, it has evolved into an entertaining yet addictive reality competition show that allows you to see these folks every move from the commodity of your home any moment, any time.
Some seasons have become legendary by the contestants that got picked to get inside that house, and the mix of backgrounds, characters and personalities can make the case for any series. And I’ll use as examples some of the housemates I shared with all of you in the picture above.
The epitome of crazy has one perfect example with Nikki Grahame, the iconic housemate originally from the UK series who also competed on the 4th installment of the Canadian version. Below, it’s a compilation of her best moments including most of her epic tantrums during BB7 back in 2006.
Your perfect bully is no other than “Evel ” Dick Donato from the American series’ 8th and 13th installments. He bullied the entire house in his original season, back in 2007, just to ensure his and his daughter’s safety throughout that season, which he ended up winning against his daughter in the final vote by the Jury. Here is the best rude awakening ever seen in BB history. Enjoy!
Inside the house, people do fall in love, even long term relationships have come out from the Big Brother compound, but girl, I’m going to tell you one thing, the Spanish love hard. If not, ask Indhira Kalvani from Spain’s 11th season, as she got expelled for attacking another housemate after that girl came between her and her man (BBUS fans, no pun intended here LOL). Below, it’s one of the few available clips on YouTube where you can clearly see why she was sent home.
Speaking of drama, Argentina‘s 2012 season was a disaster when it comes to ratings, but it gave us great housemates. One of them was Victoria Irouleguy. She was just 18 at the time she entered the house by November 2011. One of the many storylines that happened during her stay in the house was an eating disorder, she gained a few pounds and people started to worry about what was wrong with her at the time. Below, it’s a clip where this sad story was put out there for everyone to know.
Last but not least, the gameplay and the twists!
Big Brother is known for its epic evictions, crazy twists and peculiar gameplay that season after season is experienced by the housemates themselves. And as an avid watcher of the series and of several of its international formats (ahem… Spain, US, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, UK, Australia, Canada to say the ones I’ve watched at least 1 episode). Some of the best and worst twists, game moves, trends, and evictions, to my knowledge (memory!) and taste, I can resume them in 1 list:
- Gran Hermano 11 (Spain, 2009-10): Nagore was evicted with 95% of the public vote, against 2 other housemates, Arturo & Hans.
- Gran Hermano 2011 (Argentina 2010-11): Cristian U. quits the series midway through and after a shady twist set by producers, he returns to the game and eventually wins! (Argentinean producers did it again in the 2015 & 2016 seasons with the same level of obviousness as Cristian’s case).
- Big Brother 11 (USA, 2009): Chima gets expelled on Day 42 after breaking the house’s rules on multiple occasions and being a bad b*tch unnecessarily.
- Big Brother 13 (USA, 2011): Day 55’s double eviction where Daniele Donato goes home soon followed by arch-nemesis Jeff Schroeder, who left that house PISSED as f*** (one of the best double evictions in BB history!).
- Big Brother 15 (USA, 2013): The most racist, homophobic and belittling cast ever put for an American series. Aaryn, GinaMarie, Kaitlin, and other housemates, including eventual winner Andy, made horrific comments inside the house that even landed them in the news.
- Big Brother 14 (USA, 2012): Dan Gheesling became the ultimate master manipulator that he did his own “funeral” inside the house, and the guy became the only former winner to make it TWICE to the finals in the American series. He ended up 2nd in his second shot at the prize after dealing with a bitter jury!
- Big Brother Canada 5 (Canada, 2017): For me, Neda’s eviction during Day 41’s double on the most recent Canadian season was EPIC. Pretty much, she got served a nice dose of her own medicine.
- Each and every single of the past 3 civilian season in Gran Hermano (Spain 2014-2016): if you want to win like Paula, Sofía, and Beatriz, the latest winners of the Spanish civilian format did, you need to follow this prototype: young, cute, must fall in love with someone in the house, get betrayed, and then play victim until the end. And that’s it, that EUR 300,000 cheque is all yours!
I could countinue, but this post has been a bit way too long!
Until next time!