What’s the diary room like?
The Diary Room. The room in every Big Brother house that is soundproofed, and then carpeted on the inside with some double sided mirrors on the walls. There’s a love seat in the middle of the room with a little side table sometimes, and across from the seat is a wall with a square cutout and glass separating you and a camera lens.
It’s where you get your daily meds, if you take any, and also where you’re expected to report to when summoned via a pre-record message…”Jun, please go to the diary room.”
Update: My season there were two ways to get into the diary room…you were either called or you went by the diary room door and pressed a small button to let the producer on the shift know that you wanted to get in the DR. Sometimes they let you in, and sometimes they didn’t.
Is there anyone in the room with you?
There’s nobody physically in the room expect you, and you just imagine someone is sitting on the other side of the camera wall. When Julie Chen asks for live votes, all you hear is her voice and you still don’t see a thing. You’re not supposed to see anyone but fellow HGs while you’re inside the house, unless it’s medical or reward. Periodically a camera man’s head would pop up accidentally up on the roof while filming our competitions in the backyard, and that was pretty exciting…another human face. My season, Ali and Nathan did have a dentist come in and check their teeth because they were being such crybabies about PB&J rotting their perfect teeth.
Who talks to you in the diary room?
The voice welcoming you and asking you questions in the diary room may sound familiar, because much of the pre-production staff carry over to production once the season starts. So it’s someone from production, basically, that you interacted with during the finals casting process, etc… Sometimes the voice on the speaker may not sound familiar, and really, I didn’t care who was asking me the questions. I sincerely loved the team working BB my season, but when I got in that house it was my game to win and I treated the diary room like my shrink. I answered all questions honestly and obnoxiously just like I did through my casting process, and I loved the diary room. Then we have GinaMarie who picked her nose with those grimy red shorts after blowing her nose into them, and she did it in the diary room for the whole world to see.
The photo above is one that Rob Cesternino put together for me when I joined him for a podcast on Rob Has a Website. I still don’t know how I feel about my head being so close to GinaMarie’s booger shorts, but I include the photo to give you another angle of the diary room. That’s it. GinaMarie is breaking down in front of a square plexi-glass window, except she’s not at Rikers but the BB15 house.
Do they tell you what to do in the diary room?
Yes and No. Yes, they give us instructions for ceremonies and competition. No, they don’t tell us what do as far as the game and strategic moves.
Why do HGs say the diary room told them what to do / not to do in the game?
Ask those HGs. I’ve never said it, and every season it happens more and more and then when the season is over…even years later NOBODY has stood up and said they were used or abused in the diary room. When you’re in the diary room all the questions you’re asked are questions you should already be asking yourself anyway, if your head is in the game. You can’t let the diary room get you paranoid.
What do you they ask you in the diary room?
Let’s take for example this week in the Big Brother 15 house…Aaryn and Kaitlin and GinaMarie are up on the block:
– So what do you think about the three nominated HGs this week?
– Do you think it means something that those three are all up together?
– What are some reasons you might want to evict Aaryn? Keep her around? (Then for Kaitlin, and then for GinaMarie)
– Who do you think is the strongest of the three and why? Weakest of the three and why?
– Which of the three is the biggest threat to you specifically and why?
There would be some questions about other key players of the week, for soundbites, and other questions depending on what they need. But similarly two-sided questions every time.
Do they give you hints or lead you a certain way in the diary room?
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to piece together a few things while you’re in the diary room. For example, in my season when the diary room asked me questions about my fishnet top and who I thought had the worst fashion sense in the house, and what one article from that HG’s wardrobe was the worst… I knew something was coming up as far as clothing was concerned but I didn’t know it would entail burning my poor innocent fishnet.
BB then gave us a “shopping spree” luxury competition so I was slightly appeased.
Another example it seems, this season, is that the diary room asked questions about racism. They can and should. It is is a necessary evil of this Big Brother 15 summer, and I’m 150% sure the diary room did NOT ask the HGs, “Is Aaryn a racist?”
Instead, they probably asked HGs something along the lines of:
– Whose “true colors” have surprised you the most?
– Has anyone offended you in the house more than someone else?
– Does it bother you to hear racially-motivated insults thrown around in the house?
– Who in the house do you think is most guilty of making racist remarks?
And so on and so forth. The diary room only puts words in your mouth when you have to explain instructions for a competition, or if they need you to repeat something more clearly, but that’s about it. Any BB alum can surely step forward and let me know differently…I realize “it’s been 10 years” since I was on the show.
Update: Following up on some questions around “DRs have changed”. Of course they’ve changed. I’m not saying DRs haven’t changed, but I’m saying the professionalism of some very good producers has not changed. Alison Grodner and Rich Meehan and crew now cast a very different breed of Houseguest, and it’s only natural that some of them need to be fed lines because some of them are just plain dumb. But most of the time you’re seeing “rehearsed” lines is because the first time the HG said something original in the diary room, it probably wasn’t a perfect thought. And so the diary room may ask the HG to repeat what they said in an exact way. The gist of the line is no different than what the HG originally said. The producers are just asking for specific soundbites so they can air them on the televised shows. There’s no “script” in BB…just having to say something “just right” for the diary room. It’s the least you can do. Amanda is good at this.
Until past HGs start stepping up and confirming all the conspiracy theories out there about Big Brother…that’s all they are. CBS and Julie Chen & Co., are far from perfect but…all these…conspiracy theories.