Big Brother 21 started this week and it looked like a rerun of about every season before it.
The absolute predictable thing happened first thing: The alpha white guy (Jackson Michie) won a house election (for camp director) and immediately nominated the two African Americans (David Alexander and Kemi Fakunle), one Puerto Rican (Jessica Milagros) and the token old guy (Cliff Hogg) for eviction.
Not a person who has ever watched this reality TV show was surprised.
Buckle in viewers for yet another one-dimensional season.
We deserve better.
The four nominees were forced to compete to retain their place in the house.
Alexander was the last to complete the task, meaning he was immediately eliminated from the house.
And that’s too bad because many of us had him picked to be the first African American winner in the shows history.
After 21 seasons there has never been a black champion, mainly because the casting is so terrible season after season.
Alexander touched on it in the diary room following his eviction.
“The reason I wanted to win, the reason I wanted to compete and be on this show, I want to be the first, like, black person to win Big Brother,” he told the camera. “I wanted to represent African American culture in a different light. I wanted to show that.”
Sources say Alexander is still in the house and will be reintroduced into the game shortly.
That’s the best move CBS can make.
Twitter was upset with Michie’s picks, with some viewers calling them racist.
— Erica 🖤 (@rogerthat417) June 27, 2019
You mean to tell me….during the same episode a Black man is the 1st boot for no reason…Julie uses the phrase “Color War” & im not supposed to see how racist this season is? GTFOH #BB21 pic.twitter.com/zQ0JOOgAev
— Mental Medjay (@RantGodDave) June 27, 2019
— Elisha Hill (@elishaah81) June 27, 2019
Others called out ageism, because Hogg is the oldest player this season.
I agree with Reality Blurred that there has been – and is once again – a disturbing tendency towards implicit, or possibly more conscious, racism and ageism rearing its ugly head once again on #BB21 https://t.co/Ws1bfjumxp
— Teeuwynn (@Teeuwynn) June 27, 2019
Hi, I wrote about why the people who play Big Brother likely aren’t racist, but the casting of the show supports Systemic Racism, Beautyism, Ageism, and overall puts People of Color on the bottom of the totem pole in such a way that it represents what this nation sadly is. https://t.co/4LeIhBu65F
— Simply Allan (@TheAllanAguirre) June 27, 2019
I’m done……this idiot should showed us how he feels about minorities. He displayed sexism, ageism and racism in one episode. Can’t imagine how he will infect the house.
— Bill Allen (@wsaj1430) June 27, 2019
We have written about the blatant ageism on Big Brother for years.
We also interviewed Big Brother 15 contestant Nick Uhas following his eviction from the BB house on a season that was ridiculed for its blatant racism.
My obsession with Big Brother started 15 years ago when I was anchoring the news in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Conway mortician Marvin Latimer had been cast for the fifth season of the popular CBS show.
He was one of the few African American men cast up to that point.
Marvin was 36 when he entered the house.
He was loud and witty in a house with many strong personalities.
Marvin lasted until the 9th eviction of the season, becoming the fourth member of the jury.
“I did my own thing,” Marvin told me in an interview. “When I was casting for the show I had to do a little spiel. I’m a big Samuel L. Jackson fan, as you might have guessed, so I did a part of Pulp Fiction and the producer was like ‘I love him, he won’t make it a week!’”
But he went a lot deeper into the season than anyone expected.
“I’m not a huge fan of the show, but I watch a few episodes every season,” Marvin told me. “Yes, the cast is way younger now, and has no variety like it used to have. They seem to be targeting that core instead of appealing to everyone. So, if a rising star gets voted out, they have 14 more just like him.”
I asked Marvin how much responsibility Big Brother casting must take in this obvious growing issue of racism and age discrimination.
“I’ve had quite a few talks with insiders, and after the cast is set you have what you have,” said Marvin. “If they suck, there’s not much you can do as far as spicing things up. So it’s all in the casting.”
Marvin is exactly right.
For twenty years Big Brother USA has been cast for a young, white and summer audience.
That’s where the demographics are to sell ads and generate the revenue.
“They are more concerned with keeping their core audience than building a bigger audience,” said Marvin. “And with the way TV is splintered now with choices like Netflix, Amazon, DVD On Demand, the competition is triple what it was when I was on the show. So, it’s really hard to have another American Idol now.”
Thus network programming, in the increasingly competitive multi media world, is less worried about diversity.
And that is making Big Brother really boring.
Let me repeat here what I wrote about BB 16 several years ago:
“There is not enough diversity both in age and in ethnicity.”
How sad that we could write the exact same thing years later because absolutely nothing has changed.