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Trashy Reality Television Can Be Entertaining. But Bigg Boss Can’t Even Get That Right.

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Bigg Boss has been on air for 14 years now. Which, IMHO, is more than enough time for people to realise that it is utter garbage, even by reality television standards. And yet, the show goes on. I thought with 2020 being a topsy-turvy year, and everyone already feeling like housemates during the lockdown, viewers would give the show a ditch. Instead, Bigg Boss Season 14 is here, with the audience more interested than ever in tasks like ‘eat a bowl of mirchi to get inside this house!’ Don’t even get me started on all the fake drama that is generated specifically for Salman Khan to police the housemates. I’ll take another instalment of Dabangg over that any day, thanks.

I was discussing my disbelief with another critic friend, who pointed out that we shouldn’t be too surprised at Bigg Boss’ popularity. Humans, particularly Indians, love reality when it is infused with drama. But it is drama, infused with a tinge of reality that is our real drug (Sorry Navika Aunty).  It’s like we know this is all scripted and fake, and a 99.9% untrue, and yet, we’re playing along with the charade because they’re selling it as reality television. Watching other people’s private life in shambles makes us feel good about ours, maybe even gives us something to feel superior about. My friend was right. Weren’t we all glued to our TV screens watching celebrity images being tarnished as this whole Sushant Singh Rajput, Rhea Chakraborty and Bollywood’s alleged cannabis problem with a vat of popcorn and bottomless refill of judgement?

But, come on, guys!  Bigg Boss? Really? I mean, I’ll confess, I watched the first season out of intrigue, and Season 2 out of respect for my elders, who had control of the living room tv remote. I would often have to endure Bigg Boss conversation when some interested friends talked about it. I even sat through an entire car ride last year, with an episode playing. And for the life of me, I couldn’t understand why SidNaaz were made to keep up this ‘will they, won’t they’ couple pretence by sheer force of public will! I’ve seen more chemistry between my head and the wall after listening to Dolly Bindra on Bigg Boss.

Bigg Boss Season 14 promises that ‘Ab scene paltega’. Yeah, that’s the tagline of this season. But that’s that. The scene is much of the same bullcrap. Which is why, despite this being public knowledge, I’m here to put forth a few genuine reasons why I hate Bigg Boss. Can’t watch it, and it needs to die a quick death.

1. I don’t know half these Bigg Boss housemates! Why should I care about them?

I know the show is aimed at the older generation that watches a lot of Indian television shows and knows the actors. But honestly, you want me to watch Bigg Boss? Get some well known faces in there. I’m not saying Bollywood A-listers. We’re not reaching for the Khans here. But the ones in the house right now are people I don’t even care about! I probably recognise Sidharth Shukla, Hina Khan and Eijaz Khan from the lot. But the rest…? Even if they act ridiculously, why would I care about them? Get an Arnab Goswami in there, and show him breaking down in the Confession Room or confess to hating his loud decibel levels, and then we can talk.

2. The tasks are ridiculous. Make them solve a crossword or play a trivia quiz, FFS! We could call it Kaun Banega Bigg Boss Winner?

On Day 1 of Bigg Boss 14, they got the ‘Rejected’ housemates to do things like wear a bikini over their clothes all day, or wear the same clothes for a week, or eat a bowl of chillies to get back in the house. What are we, four? I saw a guy wear a bikini over his t-shirt and was I supposed to go, “Hawwwwww! Bra strap is showing!”

Bigg Boss housemates make this huge show of strategy and planning and teaming up, like it’s some desi version of Game of Thrones which uses careful game plans and strategy to win. Toh give them tasks that live up to the hype no? Where they have to use their brains, solve puzzles, make difficult choices that aren’t stupid to begin with! I played better games at kiddie birthday parties!

3. They get the housemates with the most annoying voices and nonsensical arguments to bicker. News debates are better. At least, it comes with a dose of current affairs.

Honestly, Pooja, what is this behaviour; Spare me the horror; and Talk to the hand are untouchable gold. But the rest is just trash. At least when you watch news anchors do it on primetime debates with politicians, you learn a thing or two. What do we get out of Bigg Boss banter other than a headache?

4. At least the housemates play their parts convincingly. Salman Khan is just humouring us, condescendingly.

Listen, there are signs, okay. The man does not care a bit about this show. He’s just standing there, condescendingly reading those bad dialogues, and laughing at us morons who’re still watching this show. I mean, the housemates and Salman Khan are getting paid to do this. What’s our excuse?

5. Trashy reality television, I get. But there’s so much scope to make it outrageous and hilarious! What’s happening here is just substandard.

Haaaaaaaaave you met Jerry Springer? Or Judge Judy? Or Keeping Up With The Kardashians? Even Too Hot To Handle felt superior, for its sheer shock value and outrageousness! When I look at Bigg Boss, there’s none of that excitement, that scalding drama, that scandal? It’s like a gully ka jhagda between neighbours, compared to other shows. Reality television can be trashy, but it can still be entertaining, and funny! Like, Indian Matchmaking. But Bigg Boss just feels terribly substandard at this point. I’d rather watch saas bahu shows, at least they have better hair and makeup.

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