30
May 04

KITTEN’S GAME

Do You SeePost a comment • 348 views

KITTEN’S GAME

“I think I’m playing a different game from the others” sez current reason-to-watch-BB Kitten. I don’t know what the game is though and I don’t think she does either, but based on last night’s show she’s winning it.

Kitten is annoying and her rule-breaking is childish – “let’s have a mini revolution” she says, why?, just ‘cos! – but what’s interesting isn’t her, it’s the way the others react. Some ignore her; some are nice or indulgent or reason with her; others turn on her immediately and vehemently.

Kitten is at first sight a troll (she may even be a plant; I don’t think so though). Like online trolls her m.o. is to enter a community with no intention of obeying its customs and bylaws. But unlike most trolls she isn’t out to attack or offend the other community members. Her rebellions pose the question – whether she means them to or not – ‘what is Big Brother about?’ If it’s about 12 people interacting in a closed environment, what she’s doing is harmless. If it’s more about the tasks and rituals and arbitrary rules, what she’s doing is dangerous. The reactions of the other housemates tell you which side they’re on – business school student Vanessa, for instance, leaping within half a second on the chance to punish the rule-breaker.

Channel Four’s whole pre-publicity this year (and last year and the year before) focussed on the latter ‘point’ of BB – the housemates were going to have to jump through particularly nasty and demeaning hoops. So the most interesting thing about last night’s show was Davina’s performance. She either actually detests Kitten or gives a very good impression of it. Before the ad break, when it became clear that K. was the one who would lose her suitcase, she gloated to camera about how badly she’d take it. As it was she took it well and nonchalantly, so Davina cut back to the studio and started rifling through Kitten’s suitcase – raising eyebrows at the “rather feminine” shoes, laughing at the photographs of home (“it’s a man…in a dress”). Suddenly and quickly she stopped and they cut back to the house – I’m sure I wasn’t alone in imagining the horrified producer shouting in Davina’s headpiece, “Christ, don’t you realise how awful this is making you look?”. Too late, though: Davina was implicated, playing Kitten’s game as much as the other 11 housemates, and losing round one.

(I think I found the whole thing particularly fascinating cos I saw myself in it. I have an addiction to arbitrary rules systems – as an RPG Games master in my teens or a message board moderator in my 20s. I think the rules I’ve made are generally quite good or harmless ones but I do know how easy it is to get attached to them, and lash out when people break them. Big Brother made for sobering watching from that viewpoint.)

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