The subtle genius of ‘Celebrity Big Brother’



By Mallory Atack, Reporter

The star-studded spin on the original show and a vague reference to George Orwell’s “1984” wrapped up its third compelling season on Feb. 23. 

For those unfamiliar, “Celebrity Big Brother” is a reality TV show which locks 11 celebrities in a house together and forces them to compete to evict each other in various humiliating competitions. Cut off from the outside world, they have nothing but each other and occasional announcements from host Julie Chen Moonves. 

It sounds somewhat dystopian, but it’s a lot more fun than it seems. Alliances, drama, betrayal and conflict, “Celebrity Big Brother” is a captivating dumpster fire. 

It’s not the most artistic or critically acclaimed show on television and is just about what you’d expect from a reality show of its nature, but the analysis that comes from watching each episode is entertaining and takes real contemplation.

Predicting who will be nominated for eviction, how the alliances will affect each competition and every vote taken to evict is the best part of watching the show and is genuinely fascinating. It’s even more fun to watch with another person and to discuss various strategies and predictions together.

The show’s non-celebrity counterpart, “Big Brother,” is essentially the same thing but without the big names. Unfortunately for “Big Brother,” what makes “Celebrity Big Brother” the more enthralling show are the participants themselves.

They range from star athletes such as Lamar Odom to performers such as Todrick Hall to reality TV stars like Cynthia Bailey and Teddi Mellencamp; the cast is fascinating to watch. Seeing celebrities you know interact in a silly and stressful situation is unbelievably amusing. 

For example, watching Todrick Hall and Lamar Odom having to wear matching mojito and lime costumes while handcuffed together was almost completely unnecessary to the competition, but it was a ridiculous and funny touch.

It’s certainly not the most serious show, but it’s also clear that the competition means a lot to the contestants, and eventually their drive becomes intertwined with the viewer’s investment. 

Similar to lots of reality shows, there are numerous alliances, betrayals and ride-or-die duos that keep the action fast paced so it never gets stale.

One aspect that makes “Celebrity Big Brother” interesting is the ending. After everyone but two contestants are eliminated, all the previous participants take a vote for who will win. It’s a great culmination to keep in mind throughout the show; you may be able to manipulate everyone else into winning, but will they vote for you in the end? 

After all, everyone that’s eliminated gets to go home and watch the past episodes and see how people truly acted. It’s a genius touch that makes the show even more thought-inducing. 

A lighthearted and captivating show, “Celebrity Big Brother” is entirely worth the watch. It’s fun for all ages. I’ve watched all three seasons with my mom, which has made it very entertaining, especially because she knows all the reality stars, which I don’t. I won’t spoil the outcome of the recent season, but there were lots of frustrating, dramatic moments towards the end which made it all the more enjoyable.

The complexity of “Celebrity Big Brother” is likely not the goal of the creators — they likely just wanted to make another reality competition show — but it truly is a well-crafted and intriguing watch.