Big Brother Naija is in its third week and viewers delight in voyeurism is as popular as ever.
Drama, conflict, crises, romances and sex are some of the reasons most Nigerians religiously follow the reality show. By taking their clothes off in front of a camera, showing off pierced nipples, kissing strangers, stripping, being willing to make their private life public, 14 housemates are making it possible for most Nigerians to escape from conformity while satisfying their voyeuristic cravings.
Despite the success of the Big Brother Naija show, it has also generated a vast amount of criticism. moralistic in nature and seeking to condemn some indecent acts that come with the show.
Here's how the reality show "Big Brother Naija" works.
A group of self-absorbed individuals are thrown into a house where they will be stuck for 78 days, and they are expected to engage in mental, physical and emotional challenges as they vote each other out, week by week until the winner wins 25 million Naira and a brand new KIA Sorento. They are continuously under the eyes of total-surveillance cameras, but unlike past continental editions of the show, the Big Brother Naija show comes without the usual shower hour scenes.
I personally didn't expect the reality show to be as successful as it currently is. On the surface, the show is arguably one with no moral lesson, but that isn't stopping Nigerians, who with their social media accounts, have turned the show into a daily trending topic.
However, “Big Brother Naija” has become a success with obsessed watchers creating an impressive online community with Twitter feeds, and providing non-watchers with updates on every move. The social media era has made the show a more engaging one: Where a housemate's obnoxious behaviour goes viral and becomes a topic of discussion. Example, Bisola and Kemen's kiss, TTT and Bisola's kiss, Miyonse and Tboss' makeout sessions, Gifty and Soma's sexual moments and a risque truth or dare challenge.
The social media comes alive most when there is a sexual moment on the show - a prove that most Nigerians are obsessed with the show for their voyeuristic cravings.
On the first day of the reality show, 12 housemates were introduced. They dramatically strolled into the house with confused accents and identities. After the first few days, most of them became so used to the cameras and forgot that there are millions of people watching. Except for Gifty, every other housemate seems to be getting used to the environment. A self-acclaimed actress, every scene focused on Gify feels like a scene from a Nollywood movie, and the Big Brother Naija soundtrack doesn't help.
Watching 14 strangers crumple under the pressure of being watched 24 hours a day sounds awful to watch, but it has also been fascinating and entertaining. A show rated 18, it is important to note that Big Brother Naija is not a show that has set out to fix the deteriorating moral standard in Nigeria. It doesn't even have plans of increasing your IQ, you could learn one or two things, but that isn't its intent. It has solely been created to entertain viewers and satisfy the voyeuristic craving of Nigerians who are usually fascinated with the antics of everyone but themselves.
In other to achieve dramatic narratives, the producers cast housemates that can provide viewers with what they need; housemates that can develop complex relationships and create drama. Few of them are brilliant, others are distasteful, some others are just tedious; evoking no emotions.
However, on February 5, 2017, Miyonse and Soma, two housemates who have arguably provided viewers with the kind of sexual drama you would think they were interested in, were evicted, and Efe, a not-so-dramatic Warri man was saved. With the exit of those two, it isn't known how dramatic or entertaining the house would be to hardcore followers.
The series is an often disturbing. There are moments that even as a hardcore fan, the morally righteous part of you rears its head and you're ready to condemn. But then you remember that they signed up for every challenge that comes with the show. A recently evicted Miyonse had revealed that he had the blessing of his girlfriend to 'play' his game. During his short stay in the house, he had a fling with a 32-year-old housemate, Tboss. They kissed, made out, fought and gave Nigerian viewers the kind of drama they crave.
Nigerians are also lured by the game of strategy seen on the show. Having to watch the housemates skillfully endear themselves to other players, form alliances, and at the same time, know when to turn fiendish and vote an ally or competition out. During last week's nomination show, Tboss nominated her lover Miyonse because he was a 'distraction.' The act which is a strategy gained her popularity.
For years, viewers have engaged in voyeurism and moral condemnation of reality shows that bring together mentally unstable, stable, responsible, irresponsible personalities that are willing to bare themselves for our enjoyment, and Big Brother Naija is no exception.