After watching reality television for well over a decade, I thought I had seen it all, but tonight's finale of the inaugural season of Big Brother Canada is easily and instantly one of the most memorable moments of all time. In a true clusterfuck, someone literally won the game by accident.
Let's backtrack. The season (which has been viewable legally via YouTube) has been controversial throughout. Production incorporated a bunch of "twists" at random points that would knock out good competitors due to no fault of their own. If you can say that reality game shows have integrity to begin with, Big Brother Canada's integrity was seriously compromised by changing its own rules repeatedly.
With just two weeks left, the show had a vote to bring back a previously eliminated contestant. Gary, a gay black male, won that vote. It's kind of impressive that the viewers rallied behind a man who would normally not be accepted by society. If I'm being honest, he was all sorts of annoying at first. He seemed a total caricature by hitting unprecedented levels of flamboyance and throwing glitter all over the house. But over time, he endeared himself to me, and the public clearly, by being unapologetically himself.
That doesn't change the fact that Gary's re-entry into the very end of the game was all sorts of unfair because not only was he already voted out, but he got to first learn crucial information from the jury members while befriending them. The show essentially rigged it for him to make (and win) the finals.
Topaz was Gary's best friend in the house. Nearly all of her screen time was devoted to her raving about how much she loved Gary and wanted him to win. Her vote for Gary was a given… so much so that she thrice said as she voted, "My vote is 150% secure" - a reference to a broken promise that chronic liar Jillian, the other finalist, made to her.
But her vote WASN'T secure: she absentmindedly voted for Jillian to win. What should have been a 4-3 vote for Gary to win instead went 4-3 in Jillian's favor. She accidentally gave her advisory $100,000 instead of her best friend. I mean, everybody makes mistakes, but to have a months-long show culminate in an erroneous winner makes the whole trivial journey seem especially trivial. There would have been an asterisk next to Gary's name if he won, and now there's one next to Jillian's instead, which is pretty lose-lose for the show.
Watching Topaz realize her error on live TV, only to interrupt the broadcast to try to switch the results had me cringing and laughing simultaneously. So did Jillian's victory speech, which is generally a moment of celebration for these types of shows: rather than being excited, she was confused and apologetic.
Anyway, way to go, Canada. This is why you're usually regulated to watching American reality shows secondhand.