Normally I’d say at this point it’s too early to tell. But actually the current series seems more likely to be predictable than most.
The bookies agree with me.
Steve is an ex -serviceman, who has lost two legs and an eye fighting for his country. He’s built like the proverbial brick shit house, albeit with two metal legs.
So far, he seems like a very straightforward guy. He’s in fact straightforward enough that the edited show barely shows him doing anything apart from snoring loudly.
Historically, Big Brother thrives on newspaper coverage and ‘story arcs’. Basically, you can rely on the person with the best angle (preferably self improvement, or something inspirational) to win.
Unfortunately this is means whoever can be summarised the quickest, without being irritating, will win.
So we had the trans woman seeking acceptance from society. The Tourrette’s sufferer who fell in love (and did it all for God). The nonentity who became a celebrity (of sorts).
Certain people are easier to predict winning than others. And I suspect Steve’s story will be what the tabloids want to promote.
And on a personal level, it’s hard to see anyone nominating (within the house) or voting for (outside the house) someone whose been through so much and come out smiling.
I don’t want to put Steve down, I am truly impressed with the strength of will it takes to deal with such injuries so stoically. To continue to raise 8 children (though he also seems like the kind of traditionalist man who will be leaving most of that to his wife/partner) and be positive and warm (which he undoubtedly is) is really impressive.
So I suspect he’ll win. And there’s an argument to say he deserves it. Though I don’t know what that proves about our national attitude to people with disabilities. I’m pretty certain that Nadia’s acceptance by the ‘Great British public’ doesn’t really indicate any greater understanding of gender variance in general. Cathartic phone ins don’t amount to meaningful change.
And of course, another housemate, Ife, was shown to suppress some negative statement in the diary room recently. She said she felt she couldn’t say what she wanted to in public. Either she feels embarrassed to complain about a disabled man’s snoring, or there’s something we’ve not yet noticed going on that could change everything.
I’m sure most of you who don’t share my feelings aren’t reading any more, so this should’ve probably been the introduction, but the fact is, that Big Brother isn’t a really a game show. Nor is it a freak show (though it increasingly looks like one). And it certainly isn’t a genuine social experiment.
It doesn’t matter who wins.
What matters is that we get to look at people, empathise with people, and try and understand extreme situations, and people who are not like us at all.
It doesn’t matter that they are caricatures, and we caricature them even more.
It’s the empathy that matters, not the winners.
Illustration by Adam.