Because you are a soft fleshy mortal human.
And you recognise some similar traits the the two of them.
I’ll be honest. I haven’t been following the goings on in the Big Brother house for a while. I watched the parade of the old housemates going in. I instantly worried about Chantelle. The idea of putting her in with her ex husband when she appeared to still be somewhat infatuated (and he still appeared to be somewhat an arrogant prick) seemed like torture. The psychological risk being amplified by essentially putting them into the same state/situation in which they first fell in love.
The appeal of Big Brother has never been the spectacle and the arguments and the silliness and the extreme arrogance of the people involved. It’s always been the simple fact that these are real people, in a real (albeit artificial and bizarre) situation. The housemates are left in their weirdly decorated MDF purgatory for long enough to treat it like it’s normal. At that point, there reactions to each other, to the situation, and to the ongoing stresses and boredom, are real.
It’s impossible not to empathise. At least for me it is. I think for most it’s the same. Obviously, a lot of people choose not to. To put a barrier up between them and the cartoony, self centred, arrogant show-offs that tend to go into the Big Brother house. I can understand not wanting to get involved. But for me, it’s a period of learning about human behaviour that I can’t resist. Every year I go back for more (even if I normally run out of interest after a month or two).
So what is it about Chantelle and Preston’s story that’s particularly engaging? Like I say, I’ve not been watching it, so I’m not the best person. But on the basis of a thirty second chat with someone last night. I’ll make some judgements.
Most people with hearts have had them broken once or twice. Chantelle’s story is an overly romanticised one. The non-celebrity who got on the celebrity show and fell in love, and then won, becoming a celebrity. She’s always been presented as something of a Cinderella type. The dream come true.
Of course, she really only won a bit of money, hit H-list celebrity status, married a guy from a short-lived ska-esque band (his entrance VT actually made him look quite lonely, though this may have been a carefully judged decision, trying to emphasise the possibility for reconciliation) and then got divorced a few months later.
But I guess she still saw it as the dream, and who has a right to deny her opinion of events?
Now we watch her get tortured by the prospect of turning back the clock. And part of us pines for it, because all of those with broken hearts have spent time pining for someone we’ve lost.
Big Brother is surprisingly capable of showing deep human stories.
You just have to look.
I’ll miss it.
Illustration by Mark.