For the first two months of Big Brother 2, the television audience was purposely kept in the dark about the banner planes that routinely fly over the house, bearing messages from the outside. Now, they have finally come clean -- but it certainly wasn't because they wanted to. Why did they suddenly allow discussion of the banners?
Despite the constant stream of banner planes flying over the compound this season, Big Brother 2 has done everything they can to keep the topic of banners off of the TV show, and off of the live feeds. When I tuned it to Tuesday night’s episode, I was very surprised to learn that the producers have finally decided to end their silence over the not-so-well-kept-secret of banners. In the past they have instructed the houseguests to not to discuss the banners, and whenever the topic comes up, or whenever a banner is overhead, the producers abort the live feeds. This despite the fact that banners have contributed directly to events inside the house. For example, it was a banner that informed Krista of the real fate of Hardy’s toothbrush, that Shannon had used it to scrub the toilet. Their silence was in vain however, as the more resourceful BB fans have not only known about the banners all along, but also have access to the exact text of nearly banner that has flown over the house, which are listed on various websites, such as Banner-Bunch.
I can only speculate why BB previously tried to keep the banners a secret. One probable reason is because the game would lose some credibility if viewers knew that the houseguests were having contact with the outside in the form of banner planes bearing messages from their loved ones. Also BB probably wanted to keep quiet so they would not encourage even more people to send banners; currently there is already a rough average of one banner per day.
But now they have let the proverbial cat out of the bag. In Tuesday’s show, not only did the houseguests discuss the banners, BB actually showed a camera shot of a banner plane flying over-head. Why did they decide to finally break the silence? It certainly wasn’t because they felt guilty about misleading their viewers. No, the reason was that there was no other way that they could explain Nicole’s crisis during the past week without telling us about what had led up to it. Surprisingly, BB also admitted (but downplayed) the fact that they had relayed message to Nicole from her husband. I suspect the only reason they did this is because of the outcry over the fact by many BB fans. However, they only mentioned the first time they passed a message on Thursday, and conveniently failed to mention the other three times that the no contact rule was broken.
Another thing that upset me is that on Tuesday’s show they seemed to dismiss the “hot-tub” incident between Will and Nicole as merely a rumor started by some mischievous internet fans. Although surely many of the accounts of that night have been embellished, the truth is that Nicole’s actions in the hot tub were not in line with the way a married woman should behave, unless maybe if she’s a swinger. I suspect that BB belittled the incident because if it were true (and it is), then Nicole’s “family crisis” would more clearly have been the result of her own actions inside the house. This would have made it more difficult for BB to justify allowing Nicole contact with her husband.
Overall I must say that I am pleased with BB’s steps to “come clean” on certain issues, although I’m sure they only did so because they felt they had no other choice. Up to now it has been clear that if you only watch the show on TV, you are getting a totally different story than the people who have access to live feeds, or people who frequent update pages and reality TV websites like this one. I am constantly amazed at how much material that would make for great television only ends up on the cutting room floor. Let us hope that the Big Brother producers are learning from their mistakes, and will in the future give its viewers greater access to the “reality” of what is going on in the Big Brother house.