Likewise, it might interest UK viewers to note that, here in the U.S., the evictions are done by housemate majority votes, rather than the viewers themselves. I've always found it incredibly telling that U.S. viewers in the first season tended to pick off the more disruptive players, leaving themselves with a boring house they didn't want to watch. Once the show started having the housemates pick each other off, and the whole show became more cutthroat and eviction-focused as a result, the ratings picked back up. Americans want the conflict, but they don't want to be responsible for it -- they just want to say "who's in" and "who's out" based on some kind of made-up moral code. Last season, the winning housemate was the most hardcore of a bevy of group-huggers that self-aggrandizingly called themselves "The Friendship" and took every decision in terms of what their oldest male member, who was voted off in the third week, might do. They called him "Captain." On the other hand, the European Big Brother has become "evil" and regularly does the Pilgrim's Progress on the housemates just for fun, which is by any measure just as interesting, especially here. Then to swing back the other side again. The last few seasons of the U.S. version -- ever since 9/11 -- have involved secret conspiracies and double-agent tricks: twins switching out for each other, secret preexisting relationships, old romantic failures that erupt into violence. Not knowing who your neighbors are. Wolves at the door.
Crosbie picks up the thread of complaint: "If they keep changing the rules, I'm gonna protest, I am. You just watch me, I'm -- I'm gonna paint the walls." The Doctor stares around, weirded out, as a camera turns to focus on him. Big Brother then asks the Doctor to report to the Diary Room. He drops down into a bright red chair and Big Brother informs him, right in line with the show you know: "You are live on channel 44,000. Please do not swear." And into the camera the Doctor looks and says, "You have got to be kidding."
Episode by Russell T. Davies, smashingly directed by Joe Ahearne (favorites "Dalek," "Father's Day," and these last three). In many ways it's the best-directed episode yet, with a really stylish turn that recalls the plastic brightness of "The End Of The World," or the opening of "Rose," and matures it immeasurably. This is the only really risky one, in terms of the experimental take in certain scenes, but it certainly adds an edge I fear would be missing from another rendition. This is really not my favorite episode storywise, and unless something really crazy happens next week (which it probably will), "The Long Game" will end up being my favorite of the lot. But since this week is (a) gorgeous; and (b) connected intimately with my favorite episode, I'm down. I like Lynda, I love the last act, and I like the (fair warning) intense thinkery that it inspires.