It's this time of year again. Your friends won't have time for anything any more, your nights in rather than out will quadruple and, for a few weeks, you will not only deal with your own warped emotions, but also with those of a group of random strangers. Big Brother is back. With a new house, new rules and a brand new bunch of exhibitionist nutcases. Here is what they do: they share a house, they cook together, they don't have a telly and they are kept occupied with a number of ridiculous tasks (Pogo Sticks, anyone?). And, most importantly, the nation watches. Great. Brilliant. Now that's what I call novelty television. Only that the novelty is now several years old and the contestants seem to get dumber each year. The latter is to do with the fact that everyone is trying to top last year's housemates' ever so incredible deeds. Big Brother has turned into one hell of a perpetuum mobile fast. But, for the contestants, the task sounds simple: you leave your brains at the gate, you go in, you undermine everyone else and eventually cause havoc. And, hey presto, you're on television, too.
And because everyone really wants to see YOU taking a dump, YOU boiling pasta and YOU emerging from the shower with nothing but a towel around your waist, everyone is happy. We're all voyeurs at heart. But, hang on, isn't the whole point of voyeurism to see something that not everyone can see? Big Brother defeats this point. Completely. So we find ourselves discussing the events and non-events in The House with our colleagues and mates. 'Oh my, Helen on that Pogo Stick! Dean is really musical, isn't he?'. The point being? Exactly. No point whatsoever.
Alternatively, you join the dubious masses who patiently wait for The House to morph into an orgy. Which tends not to happen, and thank God for that. The last thing I want to see is a bunch of publicity hungry 'people from next door' getting it on on MY TV screen. Yeuch. There really is no need for that. And the sheer possibility of sex on Big Brother is much more exciting than the actual event, anyway.
Have you ever wondered what happens to the contestants after Big Brother? One of them gets money, obviously. Apart from that, Big Brother really is nothing but Warhol's '15 minutes of fame'. Just think ... Craig from two years ago appeared on Graham Norton the other day. He held the opening ceremony of someone's bathroom door. Anna (the skateboarding nun who spent best part of her days crying) met Mr Shake-Hands-Man on Banzai last year, musical (?) Dean has toured the university toilet circuit ...
On the plus side, Alistair McGowan's Big Impression of Paul and Helen actually IS very funny and as long as Big Brother is on, you'll always have a number of chances to pick fights with your friends. 'Why are you watching this crap?' - 'Because I like it!' - 'You're stupid!' - 'Am not!' etc.