Commentator Viktor Anpilov described the programme as “western trash”. He added that “It is vulgar, sick and filthy. Those who watch it are sexually immature. As for the contestants, they need professional help”.
The behaviour which provoked these comments is only too common on this programme, wherever it is shown. First it was animosity between rival males, next, what everyone was waiting for, live sex. To raise the stakes, the norm in the most recent series is lesbian love scenes. Probably in the next round, we will be presented, at prime viewing time when children are watching, close-ups of anal sex between homosexual males.
The fact that TV entertainment has come down to the bodily functions level surprises nobody. Russian TV, in the past a source of culture and instruction, is no stranger to the trend towards easy entertainment, in which the viewer, tired after a stressful day’s work and a nightmarish journey home through intense traffic, can mentally switch off and gape at the TV screen.
The Big Brother series is in the “human interest” line, where a group of young men and women are closed in a house with 60-odd cameras, filming their every move and recording all their conversations. Even in the bathroom.
What viewers do not know is that the scenes are carefully edited and stage-managed. In the Portuguese Big Brother, one of the contestants, the dominant male in the herd called Marco, a Full Contact champion and trainer, kicked a girl who had insulted his mother’s integrity. He immediately declared that he had to leave the programme under the rules, which forbid violence.
The producers argued with him for some hours, trying to persuade him to stay, because he was until then the mainstay of the programme. Two couples involved themselves in live sex scenes, one of which was shown on the channel TVI as part of the evening news. The scene lasted four minutes.
This debauched voyeurism proves two things: that the majority of the population is easily led by programmes with cultural indexes of a sub-zero level and also that those who should show some responsibility in forming public behavioural trends, namely the television producers, are failing monumentally in their task.
Instead of Western TV taking a leaf out of the eastern Europeans, the opposite has happened. Not everything imported from the West is good and not everything from the Communist days in the East was bad. Western European children, according to studies, have seen 100,000 violent scenes on TV by the time they reach the age of 12. Then it comes as no surprise that society is becoming more violent.
TV has a responsibility to present interesting, entertaining and culturally edifying programmes. Bathroom scenes involving two women making passionate love may appeal to the baser instincts of those with only a virtual sex life but nobody could argue seriously against the fact that the trend in modern TV standards is very much downwards.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru