In our day and age, reality TV shows have become a common phenomenon. Whether it’s due to the unique experience of sating our deep curiosity by having the opportunity to watch the lives of others real-time or the thrill of watching them going about their everyday challenges; while approving or criticizing their choices from a safe distance, reality TV shows are a highly enjoyable form of entertainment and are here to stay.
However, few reality TV shows have rocked our airwaves in Nigeria like the Big Brother Nigeria. Known by all, loved by most, talked about by the majority, the Big Brother Nigeria is the biggest and arguably, the most controversial reality TV show in Nigeria. It offers a wide variety of viewing pleasures; from the exciting opening ceremony and welcoming of the housemates, the suspense and sweet sorrow of the eviction shows, the challenge of the arena and Head of House games, the love stories, the betrayals, the house drama to the sheer delight of the wild parties, the Big Brother Nigeria show has something for everyone as they root for their favourite housemates.
The show also provides the platform for the housemates to showcase their abilities and their businesses, thus placing them on the fast lane to achieving their dreams and aspirations. The viewers also get a chance to win several exciting gifts and cash prizes by engaging in the various games and activities for viewers, thus making it a win-win for the housemates and viewers alike.
The show, however, faces criticism as unwholesome for viewers and the society at large due to certain reasons. Firstly, it is considered to encourage time wastage as many of the viewers remain peeled to their TV not wanting to miss even a single moment and when they aren’t watching, they are talking about it, thus wasting valuable time that could be used to pursue other profitable endeavours. Another point in view is due to the laxity of the restrictions on the housemates, to allow their full expression, there are concerns of indecency in their dressing and conduct, making the show unsuitable for young or impressionable viewers who inadvertently follow the show. Although the show is rated 18, that has never really stopped anyone.
The Big Brother Nigeria show has also been viewed as a reflection of the society’s value as a whole towards entertainment as opposed to development and intellectual achievement. Competitions like the Cowbell Mathematics competition, debate competitions amongst others, have very poor viewership, sponsorship and prizes or rewards. While the winner of the Cowbell competition gets a cash prize of 2 million naira for all his troubles, the winner of the Big Brother Nigeria gets a whooping 30 million and other rewards, all adding up to about 85 million naira! This tends to encourage the youth more towards entertainment and less towards erudite pursuits.
Lastly, it is believed to be an enactment of totalitarianism with invasive surveillance and control by an unaccountable ruling party; a theme portrayed in George Orwell’s book 1984, in which the ruler of such a system went by the appellation ‘Big Brother’, which happens to be coincidentally or not so coincidentally, the name of the show.
These and many more give the show its widespread acclaim. While an excellent form of entertainment, I believe more can be done by the organizers to not just entertain but to also promote, encourage, and reward intellectual prowess and hard work. The viewers also have the responsibility of exercising self-control in order to ensure they put their time to good use. Parents and guardians have the responsibility of regulating how, when, and the duration their wards watch the show and also placing restrictions as required.
In conclusion, the Big Brother Nigeria show is here to stay and in as much as you thoroughly enjoy yourself, watch responsibly.