Jun Dishes

verb/diSH/ : food or sex or gossip or fiction in real life

Not Quite Orwell’s Big Brother

Let’s just say for the sake of this blog we all agree that the reality show Big Brother is based around the novel by George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, there’s also a Kindle version, where there’s controlled chaos and:

“…tyranny is headed by Big Brother…Big Brother and the Party justify their rule in the name of a supposed greater good. The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith…is a diligent and skillful worker, but he secretly hates the Party and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother.”

This is according to Wikipedia, but anyone who’s read Orwell’s work will confirm that this is the premise. In the story, there’s a rigid social structure where 2% of the population rule as elitists. 13% of the population lived pretty well, compared to the remaining 85% of the lowest class population. In modern times, “We are the 85%” might work, but in Orwell’s work it doesn’t. There’s one dictator called “Big Brother,” and he controls everyone and everything.

“Big Brother is watching you.”

That was Orwell’s before it was John de Mol’s or Arnold Shapiro’s or Allison Grodner’s. Don’t know John de Mol, of Endemol? John’s short for Johannes Hendrikus Hubert, and he’s essentially the creator of the reality television series Big Brother. He first brought the show to air in The Netherlands, 50 years after Orwell published Nineteen Eighty-Four in 1949, in 1999. He’s had much success in other endeavors, and Johannes is a much cooler name than John but I understand…


In the novel, “Big Brother” was some probably made-up creepy dictator who ruled by brainwash and kept the 85% drowning in the social sewers.  In the movie, which was released in 1984 of course, Big Brother looked like a total creeper indeed. In the U.S. reality television show, “Big Brother” has the voice of Don Wollman we know that. Don’s voice has the perfect voice and understanding of the game for it. Big Brother’s body though I imagine is a combination of Allison Grodner and Rich Meehan and Les Moonves. I’d say the face of Moonves, the body and glasses of Meehan, and the curly hair of Grodner. Creepy.

In the novel, Big Brother ruled by using brainwashing propaganda and morbid oppression by mind control. In the reality show, Big Brother rules by taking away everything that defines each Houseguest, and putting them on watch 24 hours-a-day, for a chance at money.

One of the best parts of Nineteen Eighty-Four is that the ending is different for every reader. It can be argued whether it’s a happy ending or and ending of gloom. So where does the viewing audience of Big Brother come in? Even if we define which Houseguests are part of the elite and who else make up 13% and 85%, where does America factor in?

Who’s actually in charge here?

Always dishing,


Posted under: Big Brother, Reality TV Dishes

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  • I feel BB production in every manifestation is the elite 2%, players 13% and the audience who willingly comes back year after year are the lowly 85% wallowing in the sewers especially after this season.

  • Not once was I offended by the trash coming out of the mouths of the BB`15 HG’s. Rather, I was fascinated to watch how the trashing developed, progressed, the HG’s rationalized it and many then succumbed to it. Seeing the reactions of the viewers, on top of all this, was extra-fascinating, to say the least. Being of the ‘one world’ perspective, I would not have missed it for anything. A mind-set/stereotype/lesson/blessing – you call it.

  • I think in honour of Orwell and his great work that spawned this series, we should replace Pandora’s Box with a Room 101 type twist. It is available to anyone (not just HoH), and if someone decides to enter the Room, they will endure a punishment that is very harsh, but in exchange for a very nice reward (e.g. a Have Not for the rest of their stay in the House for a $25,000 cash reward; opting to be rewarded only half the winner’s prize money in exchange for a guaranteed spot on the jury; automatic eviction in exchange for $100,000 of the winner’s prize money; disqualification from any power competitions for a full month in exchange for never being a Have Not for their entire stay; something like that).

  • Anonymous on September 7, 2013 at 2:46 pm said:


    Jun. I dwelled in the house of Big Brother for 30 years. It’s what got me on Big Brother 4. That, plus my unnerving ability to win big competitions. Just Jack.

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