Big Brother has entered the building after an absence of 5 years, this time on Nine.
New host Sonia Kruger shuffled onto the Dreamworld stage via a huge neon eye before an enthusiastic crowd. Early nods from the first series, including narrator Mike Goldman and a catwalk (now running parallel to the stage) were all there.
A confident Kruger showed us glimpses of the house, most of which had already been published by weekend newspapers. It’s a bright mix of retro and contemporary, pool and garden, and includes a “Secret Room.” The diary chair is hot red and black leather.
The first housemate is Michael: 26, copywriter from Qld. Hairy, unshaven, admits he “looks funny” and could double for Tim Minchin. He is the first to enter the house. “I need to go the toilet,” he says. “This is the worst because I know I’m being filmed.” Michael is quick with the punchlines and should become an early favourite. “Laundry, that’ll happen.”
Next up is Sarah: 30 Car Sales Person from NSW. “I love a chat,” she says. She enters a Parlour Room where she can watch Michael via video.
She is followed by:
Angie, 21 Sales Rep from Qld. “I want to be a girly girl,” she says. “My friends call me Mange because of the way I eat. I love to eat slobby foods.”
Zoe, 23 Student, a 6 foot girl from the NSW bush, who has never had a boyfriend. “I don’t like rude people,” she says. Zoe is a conservative and doesn’t agree with “boat people.” Should prove to be outspoken.
Layla. 23 Unemployed from Manchester, living in Queensland since February. “My bad habit would be that I don’t shut up.” She’s hoping for a surfer dude in the house with a big surfboard.
Josh. 28 Musician, lead singer in a band from South Australia. “I pretty much live pay cheque to pay cheque,” he says. “Mum would describe me as a lovely boy.” Surfer. He enters the house and joins Michael, both now watched by the girls in the Parlour room.
4 more housemates enter:
Charne, 32 Pin up Girl, works at Dracula’s on the Gold Coast. “Do your own thing, that’s my mantra,” she says. “I’m not anyone else, but myself.” Nicknames: Chaa or Va-Va.
Estelle, 23, Law student from Victoria. “Humanitarian law is something I’d really like to get into,” she says. Describes herself as “a little bit street,” and “a debate queen.” Dislikes anyone who is racist, cruel to animals, homophobic, or sexist. Cool.
Stacey. 24 Account Manager from NSW. Nickname ‘Totes.’ This city lover says, “Maybe I’m too much but maybe someone will like me one day for that.” Could be Julia Zemiro’s doppleganger?
Hmm. There’s a lot of big hair in this house…
Finally another male arrives: Bradley, 18 ‘Checkout chick’ from Coraki, New South Wales. “I would call myself a geek and proudly. Talking to a girl is like talking to an alien for me.” He has never gotten to second or third base with a girl. Bradley also stutters. Should prove a popular inclusion.
With all of the females in the Parlour, Big Brother set the girls a challenge -to match up the boys with their secrets.
I have the IQ of a genius.
I have Ornithophobia as a result of an emu attack.
I have been fired from every job I ever had.
I haven’t had a girlfriend since I was 11.
I am a juvenile offender.
I have dated more than 100 women.
I am a multi-millionaire.
The girls have one week to match the secrets but forbidden from direct questions. With that they entered the house and joined the boys.
“It’s like an infinite supply of women,” observed Bradley.
4 more males will enter the house this week, including 2 on Tuesday in a Live event (1 will be the multi-millionaire).
It’s great to have Big Brother back on the telly, the social experiment aspect to the show can throw up so many surprises. But casting wise I feel like it’s similar to previous years.
They are predominantly young. They are all so, so white. Nine, where is the diversity, please? You’ve cast with the same approach you take to The Block. Keep ‘em white, keep em young.
This show sorely needs some ethnicity. It is screaming for someone who arrived as an asylum seeker to trigger some discussion and understanding. Former housemate Merlin put that topic on the table years ago. I hope that’s coming in the next few males, but by the same token I’d be very concerned about one person from a multi-cultural background being in there on their own.
The age range 18-32 is very narrow. No eye candy yet. Is anybody gay this year? Granted it’s only early days, but first impressions are so terribly important in the current TV landscape.
Also looks like we will be getting a BB dog. Red Dog nod?
Sonia Kruger will fit very well as host. I look forward to her settling into very big shoes and giving us her trademark wit.
Camera work in the auditorium was awkward. Backs of heads? Really?
I also feel like the secrets (and we use that term loosely for some) have been disclosed too early. Farmer Dave had a secret in previous Big Brothers. Logan twins was a compelling secret. ”I haven’t had a girlfriend since I was 11,” is no secret….
A lot of the conversation, including with Sonia Kruger, was about wanting to find partners, so I’m not convinced the show has necessarily revamped. But on first impressions it is at least a faithful return to what has been, and can still be, a watercooler format.
Whether it can succeed will come down to the mix of these 14 people. Will we like them? Will we be hooked by their social interaction? Or will they just be another batch of twenty-somethings with inane conversations that feel like every other season of the show?
One way to find out. I’ll be watching….
Big Brother airs 7pm weeknights on Nine.