Publication date August 11, 2023

“Expect the Unexpected”: The 25th Season of Big Brother Premiered This Month

Dr. Carol Morgan

Carol has a Ph.D. in communication, and is a professor, writer, speaker, and coach.

The 25th season of the American reality TV show, Big Brother, made its premiere on August 2, 2023. And as the show’s motto says, the audience should still “expect the unexpected” this season!

For those of you who might not be familiar with Big Brother, let’s start by giving a little bit of history of the show and its origins.

Big Brother

Source: USA Today

The concept of “Big Brother” originated in the 1949 book called 1984 by George Orwell. Big Brother is a fictional character in a dystopian future where he is the leader of a totalitarian state. All the citizens are under constant surveillance by the authorities by the use of telescreens. The people are constantly reminded of the fact that they are being watched every moment of their lives by the slogan, “Big Brother is watching you.” 

In modern culture, the term “Big Brother” has become a synonym for abuse of government power. It makes people think that their civil liberties, freedom, and privacy are totally non-existent when “Big Brother” is involved and constantly watching them.

This concept of 24/7 surveillance by cameras is the reason this reality TV show was named Big Brother. The cast of this show is locked into a house for up to 90 days (100 this season). Each week, one contestant is voted out until the final winner remains to win the grand prize.

The first season of Big Brother in the United States premiered on July 5, 2000. While in the house, the people are completely isolated from the outside world. They have no phones, TV, internet, newspapers, or any other contact with people who are not in the house. 

Big Brother

Source: Media Traffic

However, back then, the format was different than it is now. In 2000, the nominees for eviction were voted on by the viewing audience by phone. Whoever got the most votes would be banished from the house. This is much different than in subsequent seasons where the fellow contestants vote for the evictions.

Since none of the cast members had to vote each other out in the first season, the dynamic of the house was very different than it is today. It was “the house” (the contestants) against “Big Brother.” During their time in the house, the house guests were given a weekly shopping budget. Then, they would have to wager a portion of this money on the tasks they were to complete. If they lost, then they lost the money to “Big Brother” and they suffered, such as running out of food or toilet paper sometimes.

As a result, this bonded the contestants together instead of tearing them apart, such as how we see it today. “Big Brother” was to be feared because it could punish the house guests. However, as the years went by, the concept of the show changed. Eventually, the contestants voted each other out, which led to a lot of lying and backstabbing that we see currently.

Now, 23 years later, Big Brother 25 has debuted following a 25th anniversary special on July 26th. Another thing that is different in recent years is that the grand prize went up from $500,000 to $750,000.

But the concept remains the same. They still live in a custom-built house that is outfitted with cameras and microphones that record their every move 24/7. They are still sequestered and have no contact with the outside world whatsoever.

Big Brother

Source: Gold Derby

Each week, they still compete in competitions to win the Head of Household in order to nominate two contestants for eviction. They share their thoughts in a room called the Diary Room on their fellow house guests and their day-to-day lives living inside the house.

In the first episode of the 25th season, there was a “BB Break-in.” It turns out that it was three former Big Brother contestants from previous seasons: Frankie Grande, Britney Haynes, and Danielle Reyes. They “broke into” the house with a “time laser.” All three of them lost on their seasons, and so they attempted to “go back in time” and change the outcome of their seasons. However, this backfired and it unleashed the first twist of the season, which would be revealed later on.

The season 25 premier was the most watched show of that night. So, how is it that Big Brother has maintained its popularity for 23 years and continues to do so? 

Well, after that first season, the producers decided to turn the game into more of a “reality soap opera” so they could create more conflict between the house guests. So, it turned more into a dramatic “story-telling machine” after the first season, and the viewers have loved it ever since.

Since that format worked so well, the producers haven’t changed it since the second season. However, what does change is all the new twists and turns that are created for each season. This element of Big Brother led to its motto: “expect the unexpected.” 

Big Brother

Source: CBS

Each season brings in a new group of people with their own strategies and alliances. The audience loves seeing how they measure up to the Big Brother legends of seasons past. Who will turn into the competition dominator (the “comp beast”) or a “floater” (the person who avoids attracting attention and flies under the radar)? The audience is anxious to find out.

Through the years, Big Brother has had some milestones. For example, in 2021, the show crowned its first black winner. And this year’s contestants are quite diverse.

For the first time, the show has its first Sikh house guest, the first female house guest over 60, the first Australian house guest, and the first one from Appalachia, and the first fully deaf house guest who is an Olympic swimmer. 

So how long is Big Brother going to keep going? Well, if all their Emmy nominations and high ratings mean anything, probably for quite a while. 

The audience members who watched it from the very beginning have gotten their kids hooked on it throughout the decades. And then they will probably have their kids watch it with them too when the time comes. So, it looks like Big Brother 25 isn’t even near the end of its reality TV show reign. It could go on and continue to be popular throughout the generations to come.

Author: Dr. Carol Morgan

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