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Review of the debut of Celebrity Big Brother - Does Sharon Osbourne have any idea of what's going on?
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Review of the debut of Celebrity Big Brother – Does Sharon Osbourne have any idea of what’s going on?

I
At 9:15pm, Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne, known for their past appearances on The X Factor, are now in a vibrant makeshift house on the outskirts of west London. Louis whispers to Sharon, gripping her shoulders, questioning what they are doing. Sharon, with a frozen and bewildered expression, seems to have agreed to a brief TV appearance for a lucrative amount without fully considering the situation. Soon, they are escorted to a hidden area in the Celebrity Big Brother house, where they secretly observe other housemates, including Love Island’s Ekin-Su and the Princess of Wales’ uncle, sipping champagne and engaging in small talk on a couch.

The start of this show is quite unusual, especially since it takes place in 2024. In this time period, people carefully control their TikTok accounts, make apologies on the Notes app, and participate in scripted “reality” TV shows while promoting products on Instagram, such as jade rollers and vitamin gummies. It’s not common to see celebrities – and I use that term loosely – speak in their natural tone with all the awkward pauses and self-conscious mannerisms that can come from a genuine interaction. At one point, the camera shows Louis and Sharon again. Louis casually shares, “I just enjoy simple food and I can make tea and order takeout.” Sharon stiffly nods and adds, “I can make baked potatoes.”

The unusual nature of Celebrity Big Brother was what made it so entertaining from the start. During the 2000s and 2010s, there was hardly a more absurd and captivating show on television – and that’s not an exaggeration. Some iconic moments include Pete Burns angrily smoking a cigarette after his monkey fur coat was confiscated, drunk Verne Troyer purposely crashing his mobility scooter into the diary room door, and Tiffany Pollard mistakenly thinking David Gest had died of cancer in the diary room after a series of mistakes involving Angie Bowie announcing her ex-husband’s death. And let’s not forget – or perhaps we should – MP George Galloway crawling on all fours and pretending to drink milk from Rula Lenska’s hands.

However, while there are moments of exaggerated ridiculousness in ITV’s reboot of the iconic reality show (such as Osbourne’s comment about a Real Housewife’s outfit resembling a character from Cats), the initial launch lacks the lively charm of its predecessor. AJ Odudu and Will Best make valiant efforts as hosts to maintain high energy, but it doesn’t generate the same buzz as it once did. Presumably, not all of Britain is tuning in (in its prime, a CBB launch could attract 7 million viewers). As a result, the atmosphere lacks the slightly frenzied excitement of celebrities vying for a second chance at fame, while the cheering audience (clad in warm jackets and scarves) resembles a family outing to watch fireworks.

The list of housemates is quite mild. The issue is not the lack of famous individuals – CBB has previously succeeded with various C-listers. However, the lack of diversity is noticeable. Many of the housemates are young stars from other reality shows, such as Love Island, Strictly Come Dancing, Ibiza Weekender, or British soap operas. In the past, CBB was a melting pot of different types of people. There would typically be a couple of major American names – like Dennis Rodman or La Toya Jackson – paired with odd combinations like Bez or Vanessa Feltz, coupled with a completely random person like Preston from the Ordinary Boys. The excitement came from watching someone like Tara Reid interact with Jedward; a wide range of ages and categories of celebrities willing to put aside their pride for a large sum of money.

It is uncertain at this moment if ITV’s Celebrity Big Brother will be successful, although it shows potential. It is enjoyable to see a TV show that is less calculated and scripted, bringing back memories of a time before streaming. However, to fully appreciate this show, it would be best to forget about the original version completely. Unfortunately, we cannot go back to the 2000s, a time of rebellion where celebrities would freely smoke, drink, and argue with their roommates over coffee without thinking about the consequences. And perhaps that is a good thing – this decade is filled with more caution, less unfiltered content, but possibly less cruelty.

  • Big Brother is on ITV 1 and ITVX

Source: theguardian.com