Amy Stern (bigbrotherreads) wrote,
Amy Stern

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The Big Brother season is over (and Survivor's just begun- it's a reality cornucopia around here, really), and wiht that comes my traditional fights with other people who watched. I don't actually know why it bothers me so much, how other people feel about reality television. I mean, I know it's the Somebody is WRONG on the internet phenomenon, but while I totally own that that's what my issues during the season are, I feel like during post-show it covers different grounds. It really, really bothers me that people attempt to monitor reality contestants' lives for the rest of their lives.

Which, you know, I'm a hypocrite. I read up on the blogs, I own some Kirby Dermaceuticals products, because it is HILARIOUS, and god knows my twitter feed is basically a giant reality where are they now. (Answer: last weekend, in Vegas; currently, in Houston.)

I'm sure this could just be me overrationalizing, but I feel like there's a difference between following them like this, and following their relationships.

Case in point: fans are CRAZY about the relationship between Jeff and Jordan. The fact that they're still dating all of two weeks out of the house causes absolute giddiness. It's not like this is a new thing, either; it's been going on at least as long as I've been following reality fandoms. I've been guilty of it at some points- not at the level of "paying a few thousand dollars for a gift basket with the secrets to their relationship," but definitely in a "I hope those crazy kids work out" kind of way. Jeff and Jordan had a chat last night and BB fans exploded with the news that they're still together. (Note: "still" = ten days after the show ended.)

And I guess I just find it creepy. When they're in the house they're in a vacuum, and anything/everything they say is influenced by their situation and production, but once they're out of the house all of a sudden the relationship becomes a new level of performative, and it feels like that level of humanity is gone. It's not the presence/absence of fans, to me, but rather their sudden introduction to a developing relationship. Of course no Big Brother relationship has ever worked out; how could it, with that kind of pressure? The one reality relationship I can think of that worked out was Amber and Boston Rob, and they had a ton of time between when the season stopped filming and when the audience caught up on their relationship to be together, outside of the pressure cooker but also outside of the public gaze.

I still don't want to spoil Catching Fire here, so I'll keep it super-vague, but the parallels ring true: it's HARD to be performing a relationship 24/7, because outside of the arena it's a whole different game, and life doesn't work like a reality show, generally, but people still want the editor-friendly happy ending. And I, once again, feel awful for all the people who were on this show, who are out in the real world and dealing not just with getting their lives back but also with getting the crazy fans, so they become this weird blend of Leading Their Life and Appeasing The Audience.

Or maybe I'm just creating an artificial dichotomy. Is it reasonable for me to expect a serious distinction between the characters in the house/on the show and the people in real life?
Tags: reality: bbus, reality: performativity
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