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Celebrity Big Brother: Why the Brits Did It Best

After over 20 seasons, Celebrity Big Brother finally took the trip across the pond to America.

Big Brother is a reality game show that premiered in the U.S. in the year 2000 named after the successful Dutch show of the same name. That show gave way to the UK adaptation just a year later. During that same time, the UK converted the success of the original show into a celebrity version. Celebrity Big Brother UK became a huge sensation.

This year, CBB came to America for its first ever U.S. season. While the addition of controversial reality star and past friend to Donald Trump, Omarosa, did spark some interest, the American audience that is used to the UK version was largely underwhelmed. There are several reasons why the U.S. version didn’t stand up to the UK.

No theme

Most who watch the show know there is a theme for every season or recurring actions. This past season the CBB UK theme was “Year of the Woman,” meant to break stereotypes and destroy typical gender roles.  A central theme plays a large role in the activities and challenges the housemates complete throughout the season. The U.S. version failed to have a theme and seemed to be the same old game with celebrity players.

No rules

The most irritating thing about this season of CBB U.S. was Big Brother not playing its large role. Traditionally, the U.S. version allowed the castmates to do much more without showing any interference from Big Brother. CBB UK is far more interactive with the castmates, while it may be telling them what they can’t do, it’s still entertaining to watch,

Too much game talk

One of the biggest and strictly enforced rules on CBB UK is that house guests cannot discuss nominations. Keeping the contestants from discussing gameplay makes the show way more organic and gives the audience a chance to know the celebrities on a personal level.  This season of CBB U.S. was not only shorter, but it seemed like every minute of every episode was discussing alliances making it harder to actually support anyone and get to know them. The only person who seemed to show America a different side of them was Omarosa, who heavily discussed her involvement with Donald Trump.

No new fun repercussions

What makes the heavily enforced rules so fun are the punishments that happen as a result of breaking the rules. CBB UK gives individuals and houseguests punishments when others break the rules like talk about nominations or taking off their mics. The greatest moment is when people break those rules and forget that Big Brother is still listening, when they do those things Big Brother will release what they said to the entire house so there are no secrets.

No weekly twists

CBB UK does fun little twists to keep the house interesting. This past season they gave the women control one week and then gave the men control another. It’s those things that make the audience want to tune-in and watch each week. Not getting those things in CBB U.S. made the season slow and less enjoyable. Myself and others who specifically just tune-in to nomination and elimination episodes because it would be the most exciting.

Overall weak cast

For a first season of CBB U.S. the cast wasn’t too interesting. I believe they added Omarosa for shock value, but overall, the cast wasn’t that interesting to watch. That isn’t to say that every season of CBB UK has a great cast, but for a series premiere, I don’t think the U.S. version started on the best foot – not the worst, but not the greatest.

Hopefully this won’t be the first and last season of CBB U.S. If anything, the mixed reviews from the audience will give the Big Brother team thing to improve on to increase viewership and stay entertaining. Personally, until it really improves I’m going to stick with the programming across the pond, but I’m still looking forward to seeing any CBB changes that are to come.

Tranelle Maner is a senior at the University of Florida. She is majoring in journalism with a concentration in film and media studies. Her business aspirations include but are not limited to becoming Editor-in-Chief of a magazine as well as becoming a social media strategist for a large brand or company. She has a passion for podcasts, watching too many cooking videos and scrolling through social media. In her free time she enjoys writing different reaction and opinion articles as well as trying new recipes. 
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