By Mimi Ucheagwu
The Big Brother Naija reality show is living up to all the hype and buzz it generated prior to its opening. Various social media platforms are exploding with comments, debates and even teams are being formed to root for their favourite housemates. Biggie, on the other hand,is keeping housemates on their toes with tasks, tricks and intrigues that are receiving commendations from viewers who cannot wait to see what Biggie comes up with next. So far, housemates have shown Nigeria and indeed Africa all the beautiful things they know about Nigeria including folktales, dance, craft and drama.
Big Brother Naija has brought together 14 young Nigerians with diverse cultural backgrounds to live together and relate only with one another without any contact with the outside world. They do not have contact with their mobile phones, the internet, television sets, except the TV screen they use to interact with Ebuka, the show host, on live shows. This is how it is going to be for the entire duration of the show and with viewers watching housemates. They must also put on their game faces in order not to be evicted before the show ends.
With the current arrangement, one wonders how Biggie keeps everyone sane for that length of time without serious boredom setting in. How does he maintain a steady stream of exciting activities to keep housemates excited and not have them turn on each other, or lash out at Biggie? It must certainly take one with vast experience in these situations to hold young people in ‘lock down’ for 12 weeks and still keep things interesting.
Typically, an average adult cannot remain confined in a place for up to 48 hours without developing claustrophobia and wanting to get out for air, several studies have shown. Although the Big Brother house is huge and has beautiful furnishings and fitting, the housemates lack the freedom to open the doors and walk out at will. The only way they can leave is if there is an emergency or a housemate asks to leave. In that situation, the housemate will not re-enter the Big Brother house. According to a study on boredom by The Business Insider, people who are bored do not hold balanced conversations or what is called a conversational extreme. They hardly say anything, they cannot make you laugh, they do not see from another person’s perspective and in extreme cases, they become hostile. A classic example is the outbreak of savagery after a shipwreck in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.
It takes a special kind of skill, experience and preparedness to keep young adults in an enclosure, keep them entertained and educated while bringing out their creative and entrepreneurial talent. Since the first Big Brother show in 2003, the reality TV show seems to grow more adept at bringing on the wow-factor, which keeps viewers glued to their TV screens. In the Big Brother Naija house, Biggie has shown he is up to the task of keeping the housemates and the viewers spellbound.
Although the show is in its second week and the first real eviction will be taking place on Sunday, none of the housemates has shown any sign of wanting out. In fact, the tension during the nomination stages is so palpable that it is evident that they did not enter the house to ‘look bridge’. Granted the prize money is a huge motivation, but the activities in the house have been such that housemates are made to exercise both physically and mentally as well as learn a lot from each other. TallThinTony, one of the housemates’ said that as long as they have been privileged to be in the house, their lives will never remain the same after BBNaija.
The organizers of the show have done their home work well. When you think that nothing can beat an exciting moment, Biggie comes up with another twist and throws housemates off balance. Just two weeks into the show, Biggie has been able to shake things around and bring out the hidden nature of some of the housemates. The act of making the Head of House (HoH) the supreme ruler and being hailed Igwe, the way traditional rulers in the South-Eastern part of the country are addressed, have ruffled a few feathers. To add salt to injury, some of the housemates, as identified by the Igwe are the Haves, depicting the upper echelon of the community, while the others are the Have-nots, depicting the lower class.
Biggie also made the Igwe instruct the Have-nots to cook breakfast for the house and even wash the feet of some of the Haves. They are to obey every single order of the Igwe without complaints. The Igwe was provided with a black book from which more instructions were written. According to the house rules, the Igwe will lose his/her position if he/she is careless with the royal regalia and is discovered andtaken by someone else. It really became interesting when Igwe CoCoIce lost her crown and Staff of Office to Efe, who she had earlier nominated to replace Gifty whom she saved from the eviction list. To cement Efe’s kingship, he needs to be in possession of the Black Book or Diary Book as it is called. Igwe Efe demanded the book from CoCoIce who insisted that she did not have it. CoCoIce then said she would only hand it over on Biggie’s instruction.
Interestingly, Biggie is yet to comment on the new status and is not reacting to the Diary Book saga. This heightens the suspense and viewers cannot wait to see Biggie’s next move. Igwe Efe has instructed his subjects to search the entire house for the book and one wonders what will happen if the book is found, after all, Biggie has instructed that it is for the eyes of the Igwe alone.
From all indication, the coming weeks will be full of intrigues, suspense and excitement and it is safe to say Biggie still has a lot of tricks up his sleeves. Housemates will be put on their toes. There is no room for boredom and viewers should look out as Biggie unveils more tricks.