I am a big fan of the Big Brother reality show. ABC-TV, using castoff Big Brother producers, aired their copycat show last night called — “The Glass House” — and it is an awful and pale program in comparison with the original inspiration.
There is a terrible claustrophobia in The Glass House that you don’t get with Big Brother. There’s no outside. The set is dark. The rooms are compressed and transparent. You’d think all those things would add up to incredible tension, but they do not. They only make you uncomfortable as a viewer.
The Glass House’s main problem is the sheer spitefulness of the unfriendly cast. You root for none of them. They’re all shallow and bitter. The one person ABC wanted us to root for — a nasty fellow with shark teeth and The Joker’s smile — completely misunderstood the game. You don’t become “the greatest villain in the history of reality television” by calling women fat and men stupid to their faces. You become a memorable bad guy by actually believing you are good, hiding your treachery, and successfully flying so low nobody in the house suspects your true intentions. You don’t get voted out of the house at the first opportunity — as happened last night.
Another problem with the show is that a cast member quit last night. That must be a reality show record — and it demonstrates poor casting. Why invest so much time and promotion in a person who doesn’t have the guts to stay around awhile to see what will really happen?
I know CBS was furious with their Glass House betrayers, but Big Brother has nothing to worry about when it comes to this miserable show. I can’t imagine The Glass House will last the entire season. There’s no live-streaming 24/7 video from the house — and that instantly removes any sort of fanaticism that is one of the best and gleaming hallmarks of Big Brother.