When I first found out early on in 2000 about the very concept of shows like "Big Brother" and "Survivor," I was appalled. I knew right then, as a playwright, that I had to respond to this in my usual way: by writing a play. But, to do that, I would have to immerse myself in the world of these shows, and in their message boards.
So, that first season, I got to know Brittany, Jamie, Cassandra, Eddie, and the rest of them in the "Big Brother" house. I watched bits and pieces of "Survivor" as well. I also hung out in some message boards. I was initially planning just to lurk, to eavesdrop, but once I was there I couldn't resist posting opinions. It became habit-forming.
Well, I wrote my play, "Jocelyn," which was decisively not one of my better-received works, but a curious legacy came of the whole experience. My opinions remained unchanged--I still think shows like "Big Brother" exploit, endanger, and commodify the contestants--and yet I've managed to make myself a full-fledged member, even a contributing one, of the reality TV message board world.
And now, those links I promised you.
NEWEST LINK! Newly compiled excerpts from my 2000 play "JOCELYN." NEW!
A recent essay, written in late April 2005; at this time, the houseguests have not yet been announced, and rumors are flying.
An interview, done by Miss Mary and her associates at the old Reality TV Fans board, in spring 2001.
Making myself useful, I covered the March 2001 New York reunion of six of season one's houseguests. After all, I did feel like I knew them.
An essay: "Why People Watch Reality TV: One Playwright's Perspective." (An earlier version of this piece is included in a college textbook, At Issue: Reality TV, published in 2004.)
Another essay, written at the start of season three in late June 2002: "Looking Back at Justin and Jocelyn, Looking Ahead to a Dangerous Show's Future."
Some humor: "A Cartoon, As If I Could Draw."
Some more humor: "The Producer's Song," to the tune of "King Gama's Song" from Gilbert & Sullivan's Princess Ida
Another play of mine, "Phantom Rep" by Ben Alexander If you're looking for that play, please click.
And now for some voyeur TV fan sites.
Reality TV Fans Refugees: Some of the nicest people are here, even if they do like "Big Brother." This site has people who were once regulars at Reality TV Fans, and before that, if anyone remembers the site, 3bigshows.com.
Joker's Updates: I call this the site where the voyeurs never sleep. If you want to know what's happening on the live feeds, and what the most unconditional die-hard fans think about it--for whatever reason, whether you condone this show or want to gather evidence to close it down--this is the place.
TV Grapevine: This site deals with a lot of TV shows, voyeur and otherwise. A good source for news, as well as more forum commentaries. And half the users on the BB discussion boards are earnestly trying to get themselves into the BB house. Don't ask me why, because, in the words of Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, "I'd be equally as willing for a dentist to be drilling, than to ever" (be one of Shapiro's hamsters).
And, that's all for this page. Feel like telling me off? Feel like asking for a copy of "Jocelyn" to read? I can be E-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.