Big Brother is often simply referred to as “BB” in English speaking countries. As the theory goes the idea sprung up at Endemol, an Italian television production firm. During a brainstorming session the concept came together for Big Brother, and two years following the birth of the idea it was broadcast. In 1999 the first adaptation of Big Brother came into being on Veronica in the Netherlands. Of course, since then the series has not been restricted to the Netherlands and now it has become a worldwide format and television show. You can watch it online when you subscribe to one of the Charter Internet Plans.
The basic concept is generally the same throughout each county with a few details added or changed. Contestants are confined to a specially-designed house where cameras and microphones monitor their every word and decision. They are not allowed to have access to the outside world and are restricted from using electronics and communication devices to either stay informed about events or to communicate with anyone. In many countries those competing on Big Brother are widely known as and called “housemates” but in the US and Canada they are generally referred to as “houseguests” instead.
The term Big Brother itself has interesting origins in George Orwell’s classic book 1984, published in 1949. In his book Big Brother is the symbol and leader of a totalitarian state where no one has any privacy. The fictional characters are constantly reminded that “Big Brother is watching you” because the characters of 1984 are always being surveilled, even in their homes through a television surveillance system. Thus it isn’t difficult to see why the TV show got its name.
Big Brother’s biggest attraction, that primarily sets it apart from any other reality TV show, is this living under continuous observation, but other than that there are qualities which make Big Brother the series that it is. These other defining characteristics of Big Brother are the evictions—which are normal for most TV game shows—and the weekly tasks which the housemates must perform. The housemates also have the ability to share their personal thoughts in the “Diary or Confession Room,” and this is also where they sometimes share who they are voting to evict from the show.
Aside from housemates voting as to who should be evicted viewers also have the opportunity to participate in this area, via voting through telephone, social media, and applications. This option is not available for viewers in the US or Canada. After a person is evicted the host interviews them and they exit the show. There are exceptions through “double evictions,” when two people are evicted, and occasionally when no one is evicted. The last person to remain in the Big Brother house is declared the winner of that season and rewarded luxuriously, with prizes like cash, vacations, cars, and sometimes even houses.
In general most important aspects of the series are the same across the world. Housemates are watched constantly and those participating are not allowed to talk about who they plan to vote for. The US changed up the rules for the game, however, in this regard. In the United State’s version of Big Brother contestants are allowed and even encouraged to form strategies with one another as to who should be eliminated, thus advancing the game and adding an element of human nature and drama.
Isolation is a very important element in Big Brother. Not only are contestants not allowed to communicate with the outside world, or access to television, the radio, or Internet, many version do not allow contestants to have any books or writing materials either. Some exceptions are usually made for religious reasons, such as for the Bible or other religious texts. In some version of Big Brother even eyeliner and lipstick are taken away, or anything else that may be used to write. Contestants are allowed to watch television events as part of a reward depending on the specific version of Big Brother and when the season takes place. Sometimes they may leave the house for tasks and they may always leave in case of an emergency.
Outside of one another housemates have basically no interaction with anyone else. Some exceptions include the host, who the housemates meet with on scheduled eviction nights and speak to. House mates are also given orders throughout the day by Big Brother. In some version they are allowed to talk to a psychologist in the Diary Room via telephone.
Different version of Big Brother have implemented different twists and surprises to keep the housemates on their toes and the viewers entertained. The UK, for example, implemented Evil Big Brother. As opposed to normal Big Brother, Evil Big Brother would take away rewards and inflict harsher punishments on the housemates. The US has used twins and triplets, asking them to change places a certain number of times without getting caught. The UK often opens each season with a new twist.
One viewer mentioned that Big Brother sits somewhere between Survivor and the real world, while also explaining why they thought the show was so great. There are many people who compare Big Brother with Survivor, many of whom say that Big Brother is the better of the two and more strategic and entertaining. There are plenty of avid fans of the series who think that Big Brother is the best reality TV show on television. Quite a few people find themselves getting very connected to the housemates on Big Brother. While those who like the show have to at least be indifferent to drama and backbiting, many of its fans are actually attracted to these qualities.
There are, on the other hand, those who do not like the negative attributes which Big Brother encourages in people who are primarily money hungry, at least most often. They do not want to see a TV show that depicts the worst aspects of humanity. Of course, different critics of the show have different reasons for disliking it, and many people like the overall concept of Big Brother but dislike certain outcomes within a season. People who like reality TV shows typically enjoy Big Brother.