With a new season of Big Brother Australia underway, Tara Ward looks back at the show’s history through a single object: the diary room chair.
Chairs. Where would we be without them? Our posture would be better, we’d probably be fitter, and I wouldn’t have split my jeans that one time in the Centre City food court. Other than that, we’d be screwed without a seat, and there’s one reality television show that knows this more than any other: Big Brother Australia.
With a new season of the classic fly-on-the-wall reality series now airing on Three, we can finally discover what it’s really like to be stuck in a house and isolated from the real world for several weeks. Send me to the diary room and throw away the key, because there’s one thing I need to find out about the 2020 season: I need to see the diary room chair.
The diary room chair is the true hero of Big Brother. It’s reliable, it’s comfortable, and it’s the only safe space for housemates to release their true feelings. Can you imagine contestants pouring their hearts out while perched on a foldable camping stool? Never! The diary room chairs capture a moment in time, becoming so recognisable that Big Brother used to include them in Dreamworld’s behind the scenes tours while others have even ended up in museums. They are as iconic as the Bum Dance, and it’s time for the chair to have its moment.
We’re about to celebrate furniture like it has never been celebrated before, so recline your mind as we take a stroll down the Big Brother Australia camera run of memories to rank these beauties from worst to best. I’m sorry about the rankings, but I had to nominate someone and there are no hard feelings. I love you all.
My memories of 2003 are as fuzzy as this screenshot, but that’s probably my fault for having too many Purple Goannas on an empty stomach c.1999-2004. BBAU’s third season featured two houses, and the Square House diary room was a geometric nightmare that hurt your eyeballs before you’d even looked at it. That chair was built to last, sadly, and let’s not even mention the state of that coffee table. Marie Kondo to the diary room, ASAP.
13) 2003, again
2003 was evidently a dark time in décor and a dark time in chairs. While this seat promised comfort with its soft, rounded features, contestants were basically sitting on a spotty turd. Someone nominate the poo chair for eviction, immediately.
Bootleg jeans were on the way out and so was the poo chair with 2007 introducing a more modern and versatile look in the diary room. Navy blue hides the stains and wipe-clean surfaces are always your friend, and that’s a lesson that will take you a long way in life.
It’s the same chair as 2007, only snazzier. Wake up, sheeple!
We bloody loved a bit of denim blue in the new millennium, and the second season of BBAU was all over it. It gave us denim from lunch to breakfast time, especially in the diary room where this oversized armchair was bang on trend. Trendy! That was 2002 in a nutshell.
Half a shitty chair still beats some of those early BBAU seat shockers, but who’s to say why? The heart wants what the heart wants, and the arse will sit where Big Brother tells it to. The psychological warfare ramped up in 2013 as half the house was sent into, well, half a house. Still, look at the padding on that thing. One of your butt cheeks would love it.
It’s bold, it’s brave, and if you stare directly at it for three minutes without blinking, the Sydney Harbour Bridge will magically appear before your very eyes. Sadly, the diary room chair was the least of the housemate’s worries, as this season featured a giant bed that all the contestants had to share. I never liked 2008 anyway.
Sit back, relax and enjoy your journey to the inside of an orange.
6) 2008, again
I don’t know why there were two chairs in 2008 but this is a fine velvet pair of lips and frankly we don’t see enough of those in the Freedom Furniture catalogue these days.
Get your Ugg boots out, bitches: this chair has it all. Reclining in this soft retro beauty is like being cocooned in your mother’s lap, if your Mum was made of purple upholstery fabric and had disproportionately long arms and a flat head.
There’s a hero if you look inside your heart, and there’s a hero piece in this diary room. This curvy throne pisses all over last decade’s efforts, even though you’d probably slide right off if you sat down wearing shiny pants. When will someone take health and safety seriously? I’m filling out a form about this right now.
Heavenly. Put it in the Louvre.
This was arguably the best season of BBAU ever, and scientists have traced its success back to the superior design of the diary room chair. 2013’s chair was a sparkly specimen of luxurious comfort, warmly enveloped within Big Brother’s metaphorical womb. One glimpse at this golden masterpiece and your truths came gushing out. It’s a fact. It’s science. It’s Big Brother.
Take me back to the rainbow kind of magic of 2001, when times were so simple that we were happy to watch a bunch of normies feed chickens for 85 days. The first diary room was just a cupboard and a chair, and yet we lapped it up like it was nectar from the TV gods. Basic as hell, and therefore a timeless classic.
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