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Big Brother: Mario, stop patronising Mikey!

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Damon Rose Damon Rose | 11:34 UK time, Wednesday, 18 June 2008

We had an empassioned email through today about the awkward situation in the Big Brother house from Lizzy, a student at Durham University.

we've been following BB9 here in the Ouch office and noted that Mario has become Mikey's self appointed guide dog. He appears to be smothering the poor blind fella to the point where it's seemingly difficult for him to strike out on his own, be independent and make solid bonds with the other housemates. I'd have said somethign by now had it been me but our man is staying remarkably quiet.

Anyhoo, here's the email. Thanks for mailing us Lizzy.

Without getting into a discussion about the merits of Big Brother, something ridiculous is happening within the show.

There's a man on it, Mikey, who is blind. Then there is Mario, who is, as far as I'm aware, fully able bodied and likes to inform everyone of his incredible
managerial skills. Anyway, Mario seems to think that Mikey is not just blind but is infact incapable of anything at all. It would appear that Mario does
not have malicious intentions, he is just ignorant and thinks that Mikey does in fact need a babysitter. However his protective behaviour is getting increasingly
more suffocating.

In a recent episode, the housemates were required to play a musical instrument. Mario decided that Mikey should play the triangle or the drums, because
he was blind and this made him incapable of playing anything else. This is ignoring the fact that for some of the instruments, such as the flute, you cannot
really see the keys when playing them. Perhaps it was reading the music that Mario was concerned about, but presumably Big Brother had taken this into
account - they wouldn't want to be accused of being inaccessible to the disabled.

The really annoying part of this is that as far as I'm aware, Mikey produces music for a living. I should think that someone who produces music is perfectly
capable of playing various instruments. Similarly, Mikey in fact helped one of the abled bodied housemates to play an instrument because she was struggling.
He later told Big Brother how keen he'd been to try out that instrument, calling it by its name (which I don't know, it's quite obscure), hardly the actions
of someone who cannot manage anything other than the triangle.

Normally Mikey seems to take Mario's behaviour in his stride, but this time he did point it out, informing Big Brother that he'd had to play the triangle
because apparently blind people can't play instruments. It was difficult to watch a man of notable musical talent having to play a triangle as a result
of misconceptions based upon his disability.
The number of times Mario has informed everyone that Mikey is blind is impressive. It seems that Mario needs to refer to it at regular intervals, perhaps
he's worried that Mikey has forgotten he's blind and has to be reminded of it. Mikey is a pretty outgoing person and does not appear to have any quarms
about asking for help if he requires it. He doesn't need someone to look after him, if he needed that, Big Brother would have provided it.

Leave a comment or email us directly - unless you're trying to sel us bodily enhancement patches or tablets.


  • Comment number 1.

    It's great that Mario is so altruistic but he has lots of learning to do. What a great opportunity for Mikey to speak up and educate people like Mario. What holds him back from saying something?

  • Comment number 2.

    The instrument he is playing now is a theremin, and I'm pretty jealous, they are such fun to play!

  • Comment number 3.

    Great post, Damon. It was good to see Luke nominating Mario for these reasons yesterday.

  • Comment number 4.

    What's been troubling me is the whole BB arena. 'Unleash the freaks' as the placard read if I recall rightly. It's all very well for us 'freaks' to rise above it and either watch with interest or choose not to watch at all. But I just can't see this in a positive way. I've tried, but it makes me sick to know that prejudice is being reinforced. Am I wrong in thinking the combined powers of the editing suite, the hyped and at times warped atmosphere inside the pressure cooker that is the BB house and the views of both the housemates and the viewers just make for a bad combination all round? If I'm wrong, tell me why. I set out to watch this series. I couldn't bear it after the first week.

  • Comment number 5.

    I think Mario is going to get a bit of a shock when he finds out how people feel about his 'helpfulness'. And I am predicting he won't last much beyond the next eviction. So, it will be interesting to see if Mikey does become more assertive once he has left. I think at present Mikey doesn't want to upset his 'friend' - having said that, they haven't seemed so 'chummy' in the last few days.

  • Comment number 6.

    Although it was interesting to watch, I didn't like the "blinding goggles" task. It may have made them ever so more impressed by Mikey's coping skills, but it also, well, its like putting someone in a wheelchair for a while so they can "understand how someone in a wheelchair feels"... its only a superficial understanding, and it makes someone think they have a more profound understanding than they actually do. It was good, and interesting, and good telly, but no longer a valid exercise to build sensitivity for the disabled. I would rather they had made amovie of all the wonderful skills Mikie has out in "real life"- be impressed by what he can do instead of what he cant.


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