Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Big Brother Croatia Redux: Happy and Predictably Endings

Cast and crew of Zabranjena ljubav, RTL Televizija show heavily promoted as the “first Croatian soap opera has recently celebrated the making of 100th episode. The mere fact that the show managed to survive that long is a reason enough to celebrate. Its ratings are abysmally poor, which led RTL Televizija to take some desperate measures.

Following the heavily promoted photo shoot of Zabranjena ljubav top actresses “in provocative outfits” and those pictures appearing on the cover of Klik magazine, RTL Televizija apparently decided to use Big Brother Croatia cadre as its last reserve in the losing ratings battle. With Ana Gotovac, one of Big Brother Croatia contestants, already hired to do few bit parts on the show, Croatian tabloids were discreetly informed about two other contestants dating Zabranjena ljubav actors. Zdravko Lamot, the finalist, was dating Anita Berisha while Antonija Blaće (Antonija Blace), contestant evicted before the finals, was dating Marin Knežević (Marin Knezevic). Many speculated that about such coincidence being too convenient and that all those liaisons were nothing more than publicity stunts. Such speculations were fuelled by the fact that both Lamot and Blaće were later scheduled to appear in various RTL Televizija shows – Lamot in the small role of scheming bartender in Zabranjena ljubav and Blaće as the subject of reality show dedicated to weight loss.

Today, Jutarnji list reports that another soap opera had a predictable plot twist, although not predictable to those who had followed it on the pages of the very same Jutarnji list. Few days ago Lamot announced that he was only “a friend to Berisha”. Not much time has passed before the official end of his status of single. Jutarnji list today reported that Marina Bajlo, Big Brother Croatia finalist – and the only woman among the last four contestants – had left her family home in Pula and moved to Zagreb one month ago. In Zagreb she saw her former housemate Lamot as “the only one to whom she could rely on” and two of them now announce that they are couple.

This must be a shocking news to all those who had relied to RTL Televizija and Jutarnji list as the only source of information about Big Brother Croatia. For months, both mediums worked very hard to convince the public that Marina Bajlo and Alen Macinić (Alen Macinic) were match made in heaven and that their relationship was nothing less than the passionate romance. This line was followed until the very end of the show when Macinić finally admitted that his feelings towards Bajlo were “nothing more than friendship”. Those who followed Big Brother Croatia via Internet live streams, on the other hand, are hardly going to be surprised. In the scenes not included in daily TV instalments or not reported by Jutarnji list, Bajlo not only used plenty of opportunity to explain to Macinić and other housemates that the relationship was “only friendship”, but also showed clear signs of attraction to Lamot, especially when under the influence of alcohol.

Whether this new development is just another publicity stunt or not, remains to be seen. But it won’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. Big Brother Croatia was always more show and less reality.


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