The Glass House (ABC) - Series Premiere: Synopsis and Review
On June 18th the new ABC Reality show ‘The Glass House’ premiered at 10/9c. The fact that ABC aired the show is quite notable seeing CBS requested ABC to stop production of ‘The Glass House’. CBS claims that ‘The Glass House’ shows to many similarities with their own show ‘Big Brother’. Another thing CBS claims is that ‘The Glass House’ used trade secrets for ‘Big Brother’. This is not so weird to think since at least 20 former ‘Big Brother’ employees are part of the production of ‘The Glass House’. Even though there are similarities ABC claims they didn’t use any trade secrets from ‘Big Brother’. CBS requested a temporary restraining order, which means ABC would have to stop production of ‘The Glass House’ until further notice. A judge, however, denied this request which means the show could premiere on the planned date. In the meantime the game in the glass house is on its way so let’s talk about that for a bit.
Update: On August 17, 2012 CBS decided to drop the suit because of low viewership of 'The Glass House'.
The rules of the game are very simple. Fourteen players enter the house, and the last player to remain wins $250,000. To be the last player remaining, others will have to be sent home. This is where the viewers come into play. Every week two players will go in ‘limbo’, which means you will be separated from the group and are in danger of going home. The viewers get to vote on who of the two is going to stay and who is going to leave. Who these two are is decided via a challenge and a vote. Each week the group is split in teams, each team has a captain. The captain of the losing team will be sent to limbo together with one of his teammates. Every player in the house gets to vote who this should be.
Viewers not only get to vote who’s going home, they also have a say in many other things that happen in the house. Two things viewers can vote on each week are who’s going to sleep in the friends-room and who in the enemies-room. As the names indicate, viewers pick a couple who they think are friends, and two people who are enemies. The friends have to sleep in the same room, but the two enemies also have to share a bedroom. Every week all the players are given the chance to ask a question (in private) to the viewers. The answer to this question has to be something like yes/no or women/men. The answers will be publicly announced, but no one except for the player who asked the question, will know what it means. For example, one of the players asked if he should align with the women of with the men. The viewers answered ‘women’.
So what happened on this first episode? Quite a lot actually. From the get go it is quite obvious that all these people were casted either because of their looks or because of clashing personalities. This is of course a common strategy for reality shows so they are certain to get drama in the house. It’s a strategy I understand, but this show has gone a little overboard. In this first episode there is more drama than most reality shows have in a whole season. After, as it seems, only a few minutes in the house, the first vote of the viewers is revealed and the bedrooms are divided. The show is pretty fast paced and before long the group is split in two teams (East coast vs. West coast) and the challenge is underway.
We learn that team west, which includes Alex, loses and right away Alex starts to lobby. He doesn’t want to go to limbo but his strategy seems to have the reversed effect. At this point it gets revealed that he asked the viewers if he should be the worst villain in reality TV history. Of course the viewers said yes. Don’t we all want to see him tear up that house!?! So this is when Alex starts to call people fat and really get on their nerves. He does this quite brilliantly and with an almost unanimous vote he gets picked to go to limbo. Although this is a bad thing, the chances of him going him are quite small because he’s causing drama and we all know America loves drama.
After only a few minutes we were overwhelmed by all the things people had been voting on the last couple of days. It was way to much and it seemed like they only did this to prove ‘The Glass House’ is really different from ‘Big Brother’. But even without these pointless votes this show is different from ‘Big Brother’ because the way you have to play this game is really distinct. In ‘Big Brother’ it is all about having an alliance and being friends with as many people as you can. In ‘The Glass House’ however, the viewers control who’s going home. So it is key that you entertain the viewers more than the person who’s in limbo with you.
The way this show is edited can sometimes be a little confusing. The episode didn’t contain much strategy talk or other long conversations, all that was shown were small bits and pieces of people fighting and the outcome of the polls. Seriously, there were too many polls for my taste, but enough about that. Something worth noting is the huge studio ABC is using. They can build some pretty nice challenges in that back yard, and seeing the first challenge they are willing to spend time and effort to make it look very nice.
So, you might be wondering if you should watch this show. I don’t really have a straight answer to that. This show is really all about the drama. The producers chose their players very carefully to create a lot of drama, but there doesn’t seem to be a real strategy to win this game, other than creating the drama the audience wants so bad. If you like shows like that, you should definitely watch this show. If you like shows where players really need to rely on a strategy to win, you might want to skip this show.
If you want to know more about the lawsuit or if you’re interested in keeping up to date with everything that happens in the house make sure to visit this blog with all the ins and outs about ‘The Glass House’.
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