As a reality TV enthusiast, I await new seasons of Survivor, Amazing Race, American Idol, etcetera, etcetera with hands clasped, eyes locked on the opening theme songs in excitement for all of the edited drama. So when I heard that Big Brother was coming to Canada, after accepting that I couldn't pull off booty shorts and a sports bra on national TV alongside the 20-somethings, I resigned myself to the fact that I would be the show's biggest fan.
When the first episode introduced the Houseguests/contestants, or what I like to refer to as a societal microcosm, I noticed but was not deterred from my eagerness to witness the "showmances," "bromances," and frenemies entangled in torrid, two-faced action, that not only were several Canadian provinces not represented, but the province of Nova Scotia, the population of which is half that of the city of Toronto, could boast TWO contestants in the lavishly furnished Big Brother house. Fortunately for the show, I'm that much of a fan that the exemption of any Manitobans did not dampen my spirits as I awaited the twists and turns cleverly created, and often scripted, by the Big Brother producers.
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What I didn't expect, however, was the ensuing vulgarity, as contestants "eff-ed this" and "eff-ed that," without so much as a hiccup to cover their expletives. I certainly can't sit here in complete judgement since my husband has pointed out to me on numerous occasions that I'd make a soldier blush with some of my own language, but after watching the American version of Big Brother with my daughter for several summers, not only have I noticed that our Canadian cast is far more fond of potty mouth (which is not always bleeped out on Slice), but shock value abounds in the "Diary Room," as contestants pour their hearts out to the Canadian folks about what is going on in lock-down and how they feel about it; using memorable little catch-phrases such as "sweating like a whore in church."
Now normally I'd spit out my drink through my nostrils at something like that, but in the context of a TV show that I've become familiar with via the American counterpart, the unexpectedness of the Canadian contestants' outbursts, and their willingness to tell the camera that the current strategy in play is bull...well...doodoo, the present continual use of profanity has me questioning my continued devotion.
There are great minds in this cast of Big Brother, and a game that has 15 people vying for $100,000 by daring them to put up with each other for three months certainly could push the most serene of people to shout out the name of bodily fluids with conviction. But in the U.S., they don't. And I like that. Of course I understand that once in a while, in the heat of a fight over meal preparation, tempers may flare in the Big Brother house. But in the U.S., where, might I add Honey Booboo is a household name and angry dance moms have their own TV show, ironically there seems to be a bit more class in the Big Brother house.
After asking the contestants in my TV several times, "Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?" I'm now wondering why Canada feels it necessary to amp up its version of the show in this manner. Is it reflective of the underlying current of hostility in our country masked by our polite "please" and "thank yous"? Do we think that having the girls on the show wear skimpy outfits for all of the challenges and prompting everyone to cuss each other out in front of the nation will draw more attention via shock-value? Whatever the rationale is for allowing and perhaps even encouraging contestants to drop the F-bomb more times than Gretzky has scored, the outcome is that the players, their strategic qualities, and their respective personalities as representatives of Canada is being hidden beneath a veil of blatant unnecessary vulgarity.
And it's too bad, because some of these contestants, such as Gary Levy who was born for the spotlight, could not only be forces to be reckoned with in the Big Brother household, but could also go on to become memorable and respectable Canadian activists for whatever causes they chose post-Big Brother. Unfortunately, with their current depiction, I'm not certain I'd be proud to call some of these people MY people.