Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Big Brother Croatia Update: Drama Intensifies

Big Brother housemates were given a set of circus acts as their weekly task. In earlier stages of the game, those acts or, to be more precise, preparations for those acts, could have been the most attractive part of the show. But, judging by the way things are going, this spectacle is going to be nothing more than annoying distraction from what appears to be the most attractive and, in this stage, the more obvious element of the game – final re-alignments between housemates and increased hostility between clearly formed characters, factions and clans.

RTL Televizija, aware of that, yesterday dedicated almost entire daily summary to the various, sometimes very unpleasant, discussions between various housemates in which they either marked their territory, formed new battle lines or tried to secure their reserve position. For example, a single discussion between Alen and Marina has taken 10 interrupted minutes – almost one fifth of the show's running time.

The conflicts which have been only suggested are now taken as a fact – Ana vs. Zdravko, Zdravko vs. Marina, Saša (Sasa) vs. Antonija, Ana vs. Alen. There are two clans which have clear priorities and clear preferences – Good Old Boys (Saša and Zdravko) want to have Valentina as part of their final four; Axis, together with Valentina prefers either three women and a man or four women; Alen, Marina and, to a lesser degree, Željko (Zeljko), are trying to survive between the two.

Outside House RTL Televizija tried to defuse the issue of Zdravko's homophobia with official communiqué. In it they denounced any intolerance and denied any links with Zdravko's views. They said that Zdravko's alleged homophobic statement was taken "out of context" and "quickly countered by other statements", which, according to RTL Televizija, "shows what values Big Brother stands for".

RTL Televizija refusal to publicly censure or evict Zdravko is quite understandable. If they did so, they could have opened the floodgates and allowed each and every interest lobby in Croatia to meddle into show over some alleged verbal transgression. Furthermore, any explicit move against Zdravko could affect public sympathies towards him, but not in a way Iskorak and Kontra believe –Zdravko, whose standing among general Big Brother fan population is definitely much worse than he currently thinks it is, could become a martyr figure for conservative, macho, right-wing and partriarchal Croatians.


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