I love Big Brother. It’s the best terrible show on television. And it was truly love at first sight. First sight, that is, if one defines it as “utterly ignoring something for seven years.” It wasn’t until the summer of 2007, when there must have been nothing else on TV, that I first tuned into BB8. I vaguely knew the show existed, being a huge fan of its sister show, Survivor. But Big Brother always struck me as the slimy underbelly of reality TV. Twelve to sixteen Americans, locked in a house for three months, their every shower tracked by dozens of cameras streaming to a live Internet feed.
I have no idea what compelled me to watch for the first time. I was fortunate, however, that BB8 was one of the better seasons in Big Brother history. Larger than life characters, a twist that created drama, and little of the producers’ manipulation that the show has become known for in recent seasons.
I’m so obsessed that I recently went back and watched BB2, the first ‘real’ Big Brother season. This was 2001, the height of reality TV mania, when Survivor was drawing mammoth ratings. Near the end of the season, four Survivors spent the night with the remaining four houseguests. As expected, they debated which game was harder: living outdoors with minimal luxuries or living indoors with nowhere to go. Before they entered the house, the Survivors scoffed at the idea that Big Brother was even comparable to what they had endured. But after just twenty-four hours, they changed their minds. On Survivor island, when you want to escape that insufferable castaway, you can walk into the jungle. What are you going to do on Big Brother? Lock yourself in the bathroom? If someone is out to get you, all she has to do is stand outside the door and yammer away. What do you do to pass the time on Survivor island? Build a fire. Fix the shelter. Find food. Gather water. What do you do in the Big Brother house? You can make up games, go for a swim, sit in the hot tub. It’s not so bad, right? But you can’t escape! You can’t be by yourself. And all your fellow houseguests want to do is talk the game and strategy. Survivor is a physical struggle with a mental aspect. Big Brother is a mental competition. Who can endure without going stir crazy?
What does this have to do with real estate? You don’t live in a house with a dozen strangers, each gunning to expel you. You’ve got all the creature comforts you can afford. You don’t have to be bored all day with nary a book to occupy you. Let’s face it, you’d get tired of the pool and hot tub eventually, or when the weather changes. Most importantly, you can come and go as you please.
There’s a reason the tritest cliche in the business is “location, location, location.” You need to be close to where the action is. For some, it’s shopping. For others, culture or wide open spaces. You might have the finest house money can buy, with every amenity you can dream up. But what is its value to you if it’s not where you want, or need, to be? Buying a house is a major investment. Choose one that’s right for you, but not at the expense of the location that’s best for you. After all, no matter where you live, you can outfit any house with the same generic trappings, but location is specific.
So don’t be a Big Brother. Find the house of your dreams in the most intriguing location you can imagine, get out into the neighborhood, and live!