Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Big Brother Croatia Update: Tanja Pureta's Not So Freudian Slip

Probably the most important new development of Big Brother Croatia occurred far away from the house in Dubrava. On yesterday's Internet chat session, Tanja Pureta, show's chief psychologist, spent most of the time trying to deny any charges of manipulation or reports about her being looked down by her colleagues.

An answer to one question was very significant. When asked what led her to choose candidates she said that she only "evaluated" them and the ultimate choice was in the hands of "scriptwriters".

The choice of the word is very significant. She didn't say "producers". She said "scriptwriters".

This little slip would give plenty of ammunition to all those who claim that Croatia's most popular reality show has very little to do with reality and everything to do with the manipulation. Whatever happens on the show or, to be more precise, whatever gets presented to the public is nothing more than a carefully staged event in which everyone plays already designated part. If the show has a script, than the nothing is spontaneous and the contestants are either actors whose skill could shame the likes of Olivier and Brando or, which is more likely, victims of ruthless psychological manipulation. The public too is the victims, at least those who spent hundreds or even thousands of kunas at the phone votes, blissfully unaware that the result was rigged weeks in advance.

If there is indeed a script, than the outcome of the show becomes very predictable, but this is of little concern to RTL Televizija whose coffers are going to be stuffed exactly under such conditions.

Namely, if the idea is to have as many phone votes as possible, it becomes absolutely necessary for RTL Televizija to have a final with three men in House. All three are, each for his own reasons, immensely popular and their fans are going to besiege phone lines. So, Saša (Sasa), Zdravko and Alen are going to survive the last round of evictions.

That brings another question - which woman is going to make their company? With Valentina most likely to be evicted on Friday, this leaves Marina and Antonija.

Those two make the ideal pair of nominees for RTL Televizija. Antonija's unpopularity and increased arrogance after surviving two nominations guarantees another T-Com's delight. At this stage, Marina is arguably the most popular woman in the House, much more popular than Antonija. Even those who don't particularly like her would prefer to see Antonija go.

Another reason for Marina to stay is, of course, the emerging love triangle between Alen, Zdravko and Marina. Last nine days are going to be emotional rollercoaster, guaranteeing all kinds of "crazy" events, especially in case of Alen who, by now, knows that whatever he had with Marina is going to end. This might backfire with Alen getting increasingly uncontrollable and violent and the emerging feud between him and Zdravko receiving the physical dimension. But with some careful manipulation and editing all those problems could be avoided.

If there isn't a script and if the housemates have some freedom in shaping the events to come next Friday could bring big surprises.

At this stage, Saša and Zdravko view Alen as their biggest competitor and they would like to see him out. There are two ways to do it. They could nominate him together with Marina and hope that he would fall on his sword and leave voluntarily. But this could backfire if he decides to stay – the public could see through this strategy and sympathise with his plight during nine days without Marina.

Somewhat riskier but ultimately more rewarding alternative is for Alen to be nominated together with Saša or/and Zdravko. Saša doesn't appear to see himself as a clear favourite, just like the rest of Croatia does. But he is aware of Alen's popularity, while he can only guess whether teenyboppers love Zdravko or not. Zdravko might be more confident about his chances in a phone vote clash with Alen, but he still needs to secure his own nomination by manipulating Saša, Alen, Marina and Antonija/Valentina.

Judging by TV daily summary, he might get some assistance from Marina. Yesterday morning she was discussing the nominations with Alen and said that her biggest wish was to stay in finals with three men. In the afternoon she was discussing nominations with Antonija and Valentina and said that she would prefer "two men and two women" as more fair option. TV daily summary also allowed more perceptive viewers to notice Marina rubbing Alen's nose with the chair incident and informing audience about being regularly treated by a nurse. So, it isn't beyond reason to see two men being nominated on Friday.

In the meantime, Croatian blogosphere has gained another blog dedicated to Big Brother. This one, however, seems to be dedicated solely to one contestant – Alen. And, unlike most web additions, BIG 1.000.000 KUNA is hardly affirmative. Its author has put quite an effort to describe Alen as male chauvinist, bully and domestic abuser.


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