RECAP: The Glass House vs. Big Brother

Does Glass House live up to its copycat premise? Jun Song has the answers.

RECAP: The Glass House vs. Big Brother

The Glass House finally made its debut last night.  I’m taking an educated guess that 50% of the viewers tuning in were Big Brother fans just “checking it out”, 25% were hardcore reality tv fans who would have checked it out even if it was called The Glass Toe, and maybe 6 women who tuned in just because it was on right after The Bachelorette.  You do the math.

I watched live, from Belgium, at 4am my time (don’t worry, my newborn Noah was under the care of my baby daddy…for all you baby mama drama queens out there) and I’m glad I did.  As a reality TV fan first, I appreciated something new and different that wasn’t very new and different.  Nobody was taking money out of my pocket and nobody was making me watch anything I didn’t choose to.

There were so many negative tweets out there in the Twitterverse and I couldn’t quite understand a) why these people were taking this copycat of a show so personally and seriously and b) why they were still watching if the show was such a “rip-off”, etc.  Even many of the BB alum feigned disgust when I know you know I know that a good majority of them would be willing to be cast in FAR worse than The Glass House.  I suppose that’s why I’m the one writing this and not any of them.   As obnoxious as I can be, I can also be equally objective.

So let’s take 16 “common” attributes from each show and see “Whodunit Best”!

The Glass House vs Big Brother

COOL HOUSE: Some may disagree with me on this one, but I don’t think the GH house is “that” much cooler than BB houses.  It is cooler yes. The GH house’s furnishings probably cost more and the “coolest” effect is the glass all over the place, while much of BB comes from IKEA…making the rooms in the BB houses sometimes look too sterile.  GH does it better though, because they manage all the video/camera angles without the “people in the walls.” So GH wins this round.

ROBOTIC HOST: Now before you get all excited and let Chenbot know I gave her a “win”, just know that it’s because with the GH gives us nothing more than her monotonous voice to poke fun at. There’s no glitter, or cameltoe or cue cards to make fun of like we have on BB.  So BB wins this round.

TYPECASTING: Every show does it. It’s not just GH or BB.  However, GH and BB seem to typecast equally obnoxiously insulting stereotypes for the American public to watch.   The single mom, the single dad, the angry douche, the funny gay, the token Black/Hispanic, the sole old dude/lady, the bimbo/jock, etc.  You get the idea.  This is a draw for me.

CHALLENGES: I can totally see BB doing the challenge that GH set up for their players last night.  HOWEVER, BB always has that budget Double-Dare-feeling to all their challenges while GH’s attention to detail is clearly tighter. In addition, the outfits that GH provided their players for the challenge were of way better quality. So GH wins this round.

TECHNOLOGY: The GH pages on the ABC site are a sad example of the copycat job drawn from CBS’s BB pages.  However, the microphones GH uses are black/metal ones worn around the players necks and are FAR superior to the dinosaurs BB HGs must wear.  Notice I used HGs…a term strictly only to be used for the one, the only, BB.  Plus, the voting system that GH’s players use, etc… is much more entertaining, in theory, to let’s say the clunky nominations box (it’s heavy, trust me) that is BB.  So GH wins this round.

DIARY ROOM: Both shows employ a “diary room” where their cast members can speak freely without fear of being heard by others.  We haven’t really seen what the GH diary room looks like but we know the BB one isn’t much to write home about anyway. So this is a draw for me.

STRATEGY: Though not all BB alum have had successful strategies (some with none at all), the premise of the game is always clear. With GH, there is so much power in the hands of the viewers that there’s no real rhyme/reason to cozying up/avoiding people in the house.  A few of the GH players attempted whispered gameplay…which would come in handy with “nominations”, but still seems pointless. This is a clear choice for me. So BB wins this round.

DRAMA: There’s never a shortage of drama in the BB house and even on the first night in the GH house we saw some drunken stupidity and heard insults hurled.  But GH clearly supplies their players with more alcohol than BB ever did.  And we all know what happens when unstable people get their hands on booze with free refills. So GH wins this round.

SKIN: Like, drama, there’s never a shortage of skin of all colors and elasticity.  Whether it’s competitions involving swimwear or fake beach or pajama parties, both CBS and ABC like to provide the voyeurs with some exhibits of undress.  This is a draw for me.

FAKE BOOBS: I had to think long and not-that-hard on this one and I can’t believe I actually sat here and counted boob jobs from BB seasons past. But I did.  It’s a humiliating job but some Korean’s gotta do it.  Clearly, the casting crew from both networks always make sure there is sufficient implants on their respective shows.  This is a draw for me.

JACUZZI: Both shows have jacuzzis.  BB has theirs outdoors and GH has their indoors (although with all the glass everything feels outdoorsy).  Having experienced both kinds myself, I don’t think there’s really a point to argue here. EXCEPT that BB always makes their HGs earn their jacuzzi.  So BB wins this round.

AMERICA'S INFLUENCE: BB likes to have us think that the viewers’ choices matter, when really, everything is pre-planned. GH producers could quite possibly be doing the same thing, since the voting is not calculated by some accounting firm who provides a big reveal like on beauty pageants. And lord knows, I’ve never bothered voting for any of BB’s past America’s Choice questions…  So GH wins this round.

LIVE FEEDS: This is an easy one. GH “feeds” are free, while BB feeds are not.  But BB feeds are 24-7 while GH feeds are barely a few hours a week.  So GH wins this round.

FREQUENCY TELEVISED: BB is on three times a week every summer while GH is on once a week.  Not that I (or any of us for that matter) would want to watch GH three times a week, once a week for a show based on BB’s everything is not nearly enough.  The beauty of BB is knowing what’s going on as much of the time as possible in conjunction with feeds and televised programming. So BB wins this round.

SHOW DURATION: BB is an all-summer show for the long haul of three months. GH is on for 10 weeks.  Plus, BB HGs do not leave the house for the duration of the summer (unless they get to go to the MTV VMA show like I did.  However, it seems GH players are only physically in the house for the week…leaving to stay at a hotel on the weekends. SO strange.

PRIZE MONEY: GH is 10 weeks for a possible winning purse of $250,000.  That’s half the $500,000 prize BB awards.  So BB wins this round.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So there you have it. Big Brother took 7 rounds while The Glass House walked away with 5.  Obviously Big Brother will win every time because there is, only, one Big Brother.



  • Chris Kelly

    Don’t be hate’n on Julie! She’s a the perfect host for Big Brother!

    • Jun Song

      Oh, it’s totally awkward and forced! But thankfully it’s not US in there! hahaha! That’s part of why I say it’s “new and different” but not very new and different in the end :)

  •!/kattviews katt falcon

    Awesome review!
    CBS have nothing on ABC Glass House.
    Case closed.

    • Jun Song

      Woah. Case not closed. Hahahaha!

  • gma

    Question…you said that BB wins the Jacuzzi, then said it was a draw?

    The Chart says BB wins Live Feeds and your blog says GH.

    Was this a test to see who reads? Do I win a T-shirt? LOL

    • Jun Song

      OMG you’re right!!! Pardon my brainfarts. They are aplenty today! Oh, and The Chart trumps everything. Hahahaha!

      • gma

        I figured if you were up at 4 am……. Was not being critical, I actually liked your review. After seeing all the ex-HG’s negatives on Twitter last night I was not sure I would. I thought the show was okay and think people should give it a chance. I did not really care for BB1 at first and it grew on me.

      • AnnieO

        Blame it on baby brain. You can do that for the first year! ;)

  • gma

    Also, BB is 10 weeks. BB13 was from July 8 – Sept 15. 3 months yes, July, August and Semptember. But it started a week into July and ended 2 weeks into September.

    • CAC

      July 8th to Aug. 8th is one month. Aug 8th to Sept. 8th is the second month so the way I see it BB is only on for 2 months and a week or two not 3 months as they state.

  • Andrew Sloan

    You can’t give The Glass House the wins in challenges just yet. We’ve only seen 1. When the challenged first started I thought it was going to be tough. However, there were only two actual sides to each board, so it was more like doing a puzzle than a matching people’s names with a fact about their past. It could’ve been great, but it turned out to be pretty stupid. Big Brother’s challenges are much better… so far anyways
    Also, Glass House drama is lame and annoying. It wasn’t on the first night anyways- They were in the house for like a week before. Plus Alex is just a loser, his fights mean nothing

  • Jm

    I’m stickin with Big Brother and CBS, because The Glass House and ABC is trying to do what The Voice is doing to American Idol. But Idol this past season pevailed in the ratings over The Voice, and I still think that Big Brother will do the same this summer period! And Big Brother still has a very good international presence today, more then that cheap, knock-off copy The Glass House will ever be! BIG BROTHER AND CBS 4-LIFE!

  • CAC

    I prefer the BB house to TGH. TGH doesn’t even let them go outdoors like they can on BB. I hope BB don’t try to steal the game ideas from TGH or there might be a law suit and our BB might be delayed. I do like the fact that we got to see TGH peeps in the house before the show started, I do NOT like the way BB lets the hg’s in the house before air time, by the time we get to see them they all know each other and have their alliances made. I do not like how TGH gets to use twitter and all the interactions are way over the top for me. These people in TGH are more like the robots being told what to do. I will tune in to TGH to see more about it but when BB starts back up my time will be spent with them unless it is down time on the feeds during the live stream times for TGH. Wish we had a graph to also fill out what we think of the two shows.

  • Jim

    Regardilng prize money. TGH, admittedly is half of BB. However, winner lasts 3 months on BB, vs 10 weeks on TGH of part time participation.

  • Sid

    “LIVE FEEDS: This is an easy one. GH “feeds” are free, while BB feeds are not. But BB feeds are 24-7 while GH feeds are barely a few hours a week. So GH wins this round.”

    GH wins?

  • quirkydude

    The limited feeds for glass house is a minus…..not a plus.

  • Rich

    Wait a second…..Jun thought the jacuzzi in BB is better? That one in GH is pretty styling :)

  • Adam Poch

    Great analysis Jun – I did not hate the show. The core of what I love about BB is the random people having to coexist in tight quarters. Once a week is fine as well. I think we may see an improved level of challenges on BB this year (but I doubt they will have more alcohol – such a damn tease in BB house!)

    I liked the microphones too! And by the way, the keybox was not that heavy,

  • gato

    Congrats on the baby Jun!!! What r u doing in Belgium?? Sorry to be nosey!!!

  • Comedyjonah

    Just finished watching GH on my DVR. Jun, you nailed right on the head! Nice job. :-)

  • rose

    There are a few differences between the two shows, but I thought The Glass House was good. Not as good as Big Brother, but it was good. I heard about this show from a co-worker at Dish and since it was automatically recorded using PrimeTime Anytime on the Hopper, I was able to watch it this morning while I was getting ready for work. I enabled the AutoHop feature and was able to skip right over the ads, which saved me 20 minutes this morning to do other things. I will keep watching because I love these kinds of shows, but I cannot wait for Big Brother to come back.

    • Pittie Brown

      I keep seeing this same comment on different sites! That’s it, I am refusing to patronize Dish or ever buy a “Hopper” because I have no respect for companies who ruin my internets by posting ads for their products disguised as comments (SPAM!!!). It is sneaky and underhanded and shows that the company (DISH) can not be trusted.

  • Maxiimo

    big brother is a lot better IMO

  • Dallas

    Gonna put my two cents in. Both shows are good, and I don’t think that GH is really a copycat of anything. They’re just following the traditional Big Brother format, that started in the Netherlands, not the UK as someone said beforehand. Big Brother is good for the fans who like watching shows like Survivor. GH is good for people who like watching shows like The Real World.

    • Kimberly Netha Forssander

      at last someone that knows that its from Netherlands (Holland), UK probably many thinks because it became / become so popular there so its even called Original Big Brother on Twitter, but I don’t think The Netherlands have BB anymore like down under don’t have it either (i miss Australias BB I liked that) Sweden only have it once in a while, they had it two years in a row now but that it because another channel took over and it sucks… I don’t like when viewers vote so Big Brother US … win in my mind, but let us not forget that Big Brother is EUROPEAN from the beginning and so is Survivor (Sweden aired it first called Robinson) btw June… are you in the Us now or in Belgium?

  • Terri

    I’ve watched BB 4 and on and had to find the others to watch. I like BB but GH is kind of different and the same. My first thought was a copycat but somewhat different how they ran the house. I like how the viewers get to vote for GH and chim in ideas how they should play but being first show it could get old. I’d like to see the players do more on their own besides picking who gets to be on their team and choose someone out. They do strategy but it seems to be a downfall in the end when the viewers have the upper hand who’s in the bottom 2. The only reason BB strategize more is because the viewers aren’t involved getting rid of anyone. I really like GH house. I like viewers participation, the games are unique, I don’t care about live feeds. I didn’t realize they only go outside to play games. I guess I was too involved what they were saying. I’ve seen the other bb shows go outside and GH shouldn’t be any different. I feel the only things I would like to see is more outside time, players more involved with decision making, and more entertainment for them. I like BB for the 3 shows they have. It’s still wins for me, but I would watch GH season 2.