The Big Brother Show was inspired by a character in George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984. All over the world, the big brother reality TV show tries to replicate a modern version of a world where an All Seeing Eye watches the housemates. In Nigeria, this show is popularly known as bbnaija.
The 2020 edition of the bbnaija reality show is happening during the Covid-19 lockdown. BBnaija fans—who enjoy watching the contestants on the show live in an enclosed space to compete for a large cash prize worth over $10000—are dying to see who emerges as the overall winner.
So, while we await the big announcement, let’s talk about the priceless writing tips we, as storytellers, can take away from The Big Brother Naija show. In this article, Blessing Osung dissects and analyzes the drama in Big Brother Naija Season 5, from a literary standpoint — the character arcs, the plots, the conflicts, and the setting.
Ready to hear how we can extrapolate what we’ve learned from BBnaija to an interesting novel, a screenplay, or a short story? Read on.
BBnaija 2020: What Writers Can Learn From The Drama, The Characters, The Plots, The Triangles And The Durags
“I miss you asking me to do stuff,” Neo says and pauses. “I have too many things to say, men,” he adds. “It’s weird.”
Neo and Vee are in the lounge. Neo is slumped back in a couch, a restful recline, talking to Vee, who is sitting in the couch next to his, a dreamy look in his eyes.
From what he’s saying to her, he seems to be implying that things are not back to the way they used to be since their last fight. And it’s clear that he would do anything to go back to that.
“Too many,” he mutters to her.
Vee says nothing. Moments pass. There’s a long pause in which she simply gazes at him. Shiftily, she glances around them, at the other housemates, none of whom are in their space, before locking eyes with him again, knees together, feet on the sofa.
“I love you,” she says.
Neo stares at her, speechless. Their eyes stay locked. Seconds tick away.
When he doesn’t say anything, she says, “I need to fry plantain,” puts her feet down from the couch, slips on her slippers, and gets up and leaves.
Why BBNaija Scenes Grab The Attention Of Fans.
Awww. It’s scenes like this that make the Big Brother reality tv show a global favorite. Scenes like this have made even the nerdiest people avid fans of BBnaija season 5. (What is it about guys and that three-word sentence?). What’s so special about the word ‘I love you’.
This season’s reality show appears to have everything:
- both requited and unrequited love,
- feuds, temper tantrums,
- tempestuous relationships,
- and characters that come across as genuine in their words, tears, and–love poems.
And, oh yes, I almost forgot: a bbnaija housemate who happens to be a billionaire’s son and, who having been at the center of a few love tussles, appears to be a more worthwhile gamble than the BBnaija prize itself, for some of the female housemates, that is.
Let’s look at a few of these bbnaija characters and see what storytellers can learn from them by looking at the drama they brought to the house.
Make Your Characters’ Relationships Real Like Those Of The Big Brother Housemates.
A Comprehensive Analysis Of Lucy’s Character.
“I know this is a game, but these are real people’s feelings you all are messing with….”
A popular phrase used by BB naija’s 10th Evicted Housemate, Lucy. She made it a point to remind her fellow housemates that although this was a game, real people and real feelings were involved. Of course, it’s a fact most big brother naija housemates (and a majority of us) seem to forget.
Sometimes while sharing a memory with other members of the bbnaija house, she would burst into tears. Some fans of the show saw this as her being over-emotional, and in other instances, seeking pity votes.
Lucy would not win Miss Congeniality or be considered the most congenial bbnaija housemate. Not by a long shot. But to her credit, at least, she knows where she stands with each of her fellow housemates.
Lucy’s stay in the big brother house was rocky, but it wasn’t without its good times. She was something to behold on the dance-floor and her culinary skills made her the resident chef.
Lucy’s friends were: Katherina, Prince, and Dorothy.
Character Arc: Why She’ll Make An Interesting Protagonist In A Modern Love Essay.
Lucy is as real as they come. She wears her emotions on her sleeve and lays her cards on the table.
Sometimes, while speaking to herself, she voices thoughts that ought to remain in her head, nagging, making sure those around her hear her. Even without their names being called, her targets know they’re being referred to. Her defense? She’s not talking to them. She was talking to herself and didn’t know they were there.
Lucy is tearfully sentimental. Overly so. Memories that are not-so-poignant, like the time she almost travelled abroad but didn’t, can almost bring her to tears. It appears she pities herself a lot, having grown up an orphan.
It’s natural for us to expect to bond with those with whom we share personal memories, yes. But when we are prone to mawkishness at almost every single recount, we come across as slightly off our rockers.
And in relationships, this could be a major turn off. Lucy clearly expects empathy from her closest friends in the bbnaija house. However, she isn’t quite able to empathize with them when it’s not something she wants to hear.
When this happens, she’s quick to surround herself with her armour of self-pity and sense of indignation.
Dorathy once said to her, in the bbnaija house, “If people don’t accept your suggestion, it’s nothing personal.”
True enough, Lucy needs to learn it’s not all about her: the reactions she gets are not always based on opinions formed about her.
She needs to learn to put her emotions aside so that she can appreciate some of the criticism she gets for the good places they come from, and for the good they are intended (the lessons they aim to teach), so that she can grow as a person.
She’s not the best communicator when she’s passionate about something (and she often is). Not the best team player either. Can be difficult to work with and is often misunderstood.
She needs to be objective in her interpretations of the responses she elicits from people, especially when they don’t favour her, as opposed to looking at them from her sentimentalized viewpoint.
Methinks her character will make a Modern Love Essay Pop.
An Analysis Of Dorothy’s Character (And Why She Might Make An Apt POV Character).
Dorathy is the busty housemate you can’t miss. Fondly called the Tata of the big brother naija house by Prince, she brought nothing but good vibes to the show.
Her school-girl innocence, witty comebacks, and unmatched humour warmed many hearts. Worthy of mention is her stylish collection of wigs, which gave ladies a little something extra to look forward to.
“I receive it with my full chest,” will go down as one of the most iconic phrases to be uttered by a Big Brother housemate. When Ozo nominated her as his deputy H.O.H. and she was asked if she accepted this role, those were her words.
Her level of confidence is unparalleled and, with every stay-at-home apparel she dons, she never shies away from showcasing her full frontal endowment.
Of all the big brother naija housemates, she would be my natural choice for a P.O.V. character as there are lots of things about her, including her reactions to some of the things that happen in the house, that I find enthralling.
The Relationships Between Dorathy and The BB Naija Housemates
Dorathy is best friend to all and enemy to none. Her notable friendships were with Ozo, Lucy, Katherina, Prince, and Laycon (in the final two weeks).
Her friendship with Ozo put her in a love triangle with Nengi, a situation she didn’t like, a tinder that Ebuka ignited when, on eviction night, he asked one of the housemates, Bright O., if he thought she had feelings for Ozo. And much to her dismay, Bright O. answered in the affirmative.
Dorathy’s Character Arc.
Dorathy’s secretive nature, her ability to keep her feelings on lock, makes her difficult to read if you’re not close to her. Since she will not confide in just about anyone, she needs people she can trust around her, a support system.
It goes without saying that everyone needs to vent, once in a while. Her diary sessions with Biggie must have helped her a lot as keeping many things to yourself can cause chronic stress and exasperation, both symptoms of loneliness.
Imagine reading her in a story. Imagine she was a character in a movie. Wouldn’t you be up in arms, screaming, “bare your heart to someone, for the sake of your sanity.”?
But seriously, when she leaves the world of an all-seeing Big Brother and regular diary sessions, she will need a friend or a therapist she can confide in. If for nothing else, at least for the sake of her physical and mental health.
An Analysis Of The Character Of Prince and Why He’ll Make An Interesting Hero.
A member of a royal house in the south-east region, with a charming strut to match.
Prince was the winner of Mr. World Nigeria (2019). What’s more, he won the Mr. Nigeria pageant in 2018. He was definitely a fantastic addition to the bbnaija house in 2020.
He’s what many refer to as “Husband Material – 100 yards”. He was known for his colorful durags, his sharp feet on the dance floor, his magical hands in the salon. And most of all, his determination to win the Head of House challenge.
Like the other bbnaija housemates, he tried so hard to outrun that clock and always came so close only to lose by some few seconds. A few others came close too but no one took losing as hard as he did.
Prince is skillful and intelligent. He was the 12th Housemate to leave the Big Brother House and when he left he took a lot of hearts with him.
Prince’s Relationships in The BBNaija House
By his own admission, he liked a few girls in the big brother naija house. And he went ahead to study them for a while to decide which of them was the right fit for him.
At one point, he was in a love triangle with two housemates: Tolanibaj and Wathoni.
Another time, it was with Nengi and Ozo (Nengi being at the centre of two guys). In the end, he settled for Tolanibaj — some would say, after losing out on Nengi.
Prince and Dorathy also gained wild fan love due to their brother-sister relationship, right before Prince’s eviction From the big brother naija house.
The Character Arc Of Mr Prince The Chilvarous.
He’s a gentleman and an old soul, somewhat. He’s a sage too. He’s perceptive and gives good advice.
His desire to win every task as well as his attitude towards losing rubbed some of his fellow housemates the wrong way. It’s commendable to be competitive. But when you put too much pressure on yourself, the risk is, you might buckle under the weight of your own expectations.
He’s the kind of character who needs to learn how to balance the right amount of competitiveness with the right amount of just doing-one’s-best and enjoying the moment. Believe me, his nerves will be grateful for it.
A quick learner, always trying to better himself, he has a bright future ahead of him, if only he can find the balance between wanting to win and having fun, between appreciating the stakes and appreciating that he’s already doing all that it takes (and there is nothing more he can do).
A Character Analysis Of Vee (And Why She’ll Make A Great Central Character In A Story).
Victoria, a.k.a. Vee, is bold and eloquent. Like a true Leo, she is fearless (when it comes to speaking her mind) and a leader as we saw in quite a number of group tasks.
Vee’s Interesting Relationships
She and Neo have a relationship not lacking in fights and making up. Their union served them well in the penultimate week of the show, when they found themselves in opposite teams, and were instructed to deliberate and decide who, in the opposite team, they wanted to put up for eviction.
Vee fought to make sure Neo wasn’t nominated and Neo did the same for her.
Asides her Relationship with Neo, Vee has a sister-brother dynamic with Laycon (whom she met in the big brother naija house).
Their friendship spun from a mutual respect for the other’s musical prowess and grew stronger with each passing week.
Vee’s Character Arc During The BBNaija Season 5 Show.
Vee can be blunt when she wants to be and is rather quick-tempered too, tending to lash out at those who upset her.
Those who are quick to anger should be quick to forgive, in my opinion; they ought to be elastic, ought to be able to return to their original length after a strain, if you know what I mean.
Harbouring ill-feelings and piling them up will do her more harm than good. I like that she’s able to let go of any animus she feels towards Neo. She should extend this to others.
A Character Analyses Of Neo The Storyteller And Why He’ll Make An Interesting POV character.
Just like Efe and Omashola, two big brother naija housemates in previous seasons, Neo is a proud Delta State native, yet another ‘Warri’ brother (Deltans have been a constant on the show).
In typical ‘Warri’ brother fashion, he is a storyteller and can be quite loquacious and jocular, or if you like, loud.
Neo’s Relationships In The Big Brother Naija House
Neo found love with Vee in the big brother naija house and even though they fought constantly, their love seemed to wax stronger.
His bromance with Ozo was notable for a few good moments.
The Character Arc Of Neo The Storyteller.
On occasions, Neo’s temper gets the better of him, leading to near-physical spats between him and Vee. Though smooth in other ways, he could learn a thing or two about controlling his emotions, especially when dealing with the opposite sex.
He’s the kind of character readers would want to pull aside to offer some good words of advice. Yes, your readers will be cringing and urging him, in their hearts, to be the bigger man and indulge his girl a little so things won’t get out of hand.
It’s not about who’s right or wrong, sometimes. It’s possible to be right and unhappy. And sometimes, you should choose happiness over ‘rightness’.
We want his character to be sensitive, to observe his woman, and say, “Honey, what’s wrong?” when she’s being—what an uncouth observer would call— ‘a bitch’.
It’s these little things that differentiate men from boys, differentiate those who are new to relationships from those who aren’t.
A Character Analysis Of Ozo The Career Man And Why He’ll Make A Good Hero In A Romance Novel.
A master’s degree holder in Economics, a career man in the UEFA Federation, and a family-oriented guy with impeccable light skin and a nerdy old-school physical charm, you could say Ozoemena has it all.
He credits his respect for women to the fact that he grew up in a house full of women. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders — and I mean this literarily, but when you think about it, he does have … (Enough of that already) — as he has well-laid out plans for his future in sports management.
The king of short shorts and a fellow ambassador of the “durag” brand is a sweet heart. His leadership skills and level of diplomacy is one that we can all learn from. He loves peace.
This is evident in the manner he conducts himself in the house, playing peace-maker, trying to calm wrangling housemates, choosing to leave them alone when they can’t be pacified, resisting the urge to get passionately involved, which would only ruffle them more.
His sportsmanship and commitment to the game has earned him several prizes, recently a brand new Innoson Caris, which makes him the most bankable housemate when it comes to tasks.
Can’t you just imagine him in a rom-com novel?
Ozo’s Relationships With The Big Brother Housemates.
He kept courting Nengi despite her telling him that she’s in a relationship (outside the house) and that they can only be friends.
When his close pal Dorathy got into the picture, it appeared there was a love triangle. Being the lover of peace and the leader that he is, he took his time to clarify things before the whole house so it wouldn’t lead to more drama.
Nengi clearly has feelings for him. But the question of the century is, Will he win her over in the end?
His noteworthy friendships with housemates Dorathy (his one-time deputy H.O.H.) and Neo makes a lookback at his time in the house not all about Nengi.
The Character Arc Of Ozo.
Throughout his stay in the Bbnaija house, Ozo seemed to fall deeper and deeper in love with Nengi, getting more desperate by the day. Some would argue that his feelings for Nengi caused him to lose sight of the Big Brother Naija game at certain instances, like when he got a strike for writing her a love poem. But wasn’t that romantic? Even if foolhardy?
Clearly, he has a good heart — what woman doesn’t want a guy who will put her on a pedestal? Still, a little manly stoicism on his part won’t hurt at times. Else he risks being henpecked and handbagged by some overambitious heroine.
No, we don’t want this romance novel hero being taken for granted.
A Character Analysis Of Nengi And Why She’ll Be A Good Fit In A Kiru Taye Novel.
Nengi, a one-time beauty pageant, emerged as the first and the last Head of big brother naija season five House. That should tell you something about the level of determination and doggedness to succeed that she exudes.
She’s an eyeful who never shies away from displaying her rear assets, commanding the attention of nearly all the male housemates. And yet, she’s, surprisingly, humble and down-to-earth.
Nengi’s team spirit, groundedness, and her ability to carry others along is something worthy of emulation.
You can just imagine her as the heroine of a romance suspense novel.
Nengi’s Relationships in the Big Brother Naija House
All through the time they were together, Nengi’s relationship with Ozo survived everything that was thrown at it. However, fans can’twait to see how this romance suspense story ends.
She is certainly not blind to Ozo’s qualities as a human being. One thing is for sure, even if they don’t get married, they could have a real friendship. (That is, if Ozo is willing, and if their significant others are not opposed to it).
Nengi’s friends also include Neo, Vee, and Kiddwaya. When the show began, t was Wathoni. But we all know what happens to friendships: they either evolve or devolve.
Character Arc Of Nengi The Classy Heroine.
Even though classy, when ticked off, Nengi can fly off the handle. What’s more, she can get low and dirty. We want her character to show a little more restraint when provoked so she can remain the queen that viewers perceive her to be.
Big Brother, in a diary session, helped her with her Ozo situation when he advised her to be open with Ozo about her boyfriend outside the house and what she plans to do.
When you value people, you shouldn’t keep certain truths from them, things that would help them understand where they stand with you, even if you fear it might drive them away.
Now, can’t you imagine how that conflict might unravel in a novel?
A Character Analysis Of Kiddwaya And Why He’ll Make An Interesting Character In A Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Novel.
What is the son of a billionaire looking for in Big Brother’s House?
This was the question on the lips of everyone when Kiddwaya walked into the house. Viewers soon stopped asking this question when they realized he wasn’t just another rich boy looking to ride on daddy’s money for the rest of his life.
He was looking to step away from his father’s shadows and make a name for himself.
Kiddwaya’s fresh good looks and questionable dance moves kept viewers glued to their sets. He came with a healthy attitude to being in the house: to enjoy himself above all else.
He’s confident and, when he wants to be, is caring, and seems to know the right things to say (or do) to cheer people up or calm them. A guy’s guy, as well as a lady’s man, he kept it real.
And if you ask me, he’s the only male housemate with that swagger, that panache, that enslaving I-don’t-care charisma that some girls find hard to resist.
Kiddwaya’s Relationships In The BBNaija House.
An adonis with devilish good looks (and deep pockets), I can see every lady in the house pining for him in a season of The Bachelor, Naija version.
As distracting as the aura around him can be, and even though he was caught between a few love tussles, it now appears that only Erica, his in-house love, with whom he publicly displayed affection, fell victim to this charm.
You can imagine him in a literary novel, annoying some feminist narrator and/or intriguing another female sociology professor.
The Character Arc Of Kiddwaya.
He’s overly confident in his ability to woo women. To him, relationships are all about pushing this button and that button, and … presto! — he gets what he wants.
He must guard himself against his lingering narcissistic tendencies, where all he does for others is aimed at winning him favours.
His character is interestingly flawed in this manner. Perhaps lessons on selflessness would help him overcome his fear of commitment, some readers will think.
Hopefully, altruism would teach him about commitment. At least, he won’t be so indecisive about who or what situation makes him happy.
At some point in the bbnaija house, Kiddwaya describes himself as slow to love and blames his upbringing for this. You see, Kiddwaya’s parents were super duper busy. And most times, his mom and dad jetted off to the next business meeting, leaving him well-provided for and in the care of stewards. (Mind you, this was before the Era Of Zoom Meetings.)
He didn’t really learn to show affection. This is why he’s afraid of not being able to give the women in his life the kind of affection they want, the kind they deserve. If he were a character in a CNA novel, we can imagine him on a therapist’s couch, singing about his life’s truth. Hopefully, he will find healing in the process. Also, we can imagine him writing a memoir, an experience he will find carthatic in the end.
It would certainly help to have someone with whom he can be honest about his insecurities, his worries, his desires, and his honest feelings.
There’s certainly a lot of room for Kiddwaya’s character to grow. His internal conflict makes him an excellent lit fic hero.
Why Laycon’s Character Will Make A Great Addition In A Wole Soyinka Play.
“I wouldn’t have been happy with myself if I left this house without letting you know how I feel about you…”
If Laycon had known that his feelings for Erica would contribute to the series of events that led to her disqualification (like her flirting with him in a drunken state at Saturday night parties), would he have kept these feelings to himself? I’d like to think so.
His composure in the face of Erica’s public body-shaming and accusation that he was trying to use her to gain popularity on the show (‘using her to trend’, was how she put it) to the point of spreading lies about her was exemplary.
Apart from his musical talents, Laycon was known for his sensitivity and overall respect for others. He made quite an impression on his fellow housemates with the verses he kicked. There was wisdom in his words and skill in his delivery.
Laycon The Philosophy Graduate always seemed to know the right words to say and the right time to say it.
Imagine Socrates In the bbnaija house.
Laycon’s Relationships In The BB Naija Season 5 House.
Laycon’s overall outlook on life will make an impression on most. His mental capacity and ability to say the right thing at any given time is certainly one of the things Erica saw in him.
His brother-sister bond with Vee helped him get back to himself when he was heartbroken.
The Character Arc Of Laycon.
For someone who plans to take the world stage by storm, he has some work to do on his self-esteem.
He told Erica how he felt about her after he survived his first eviction vote. It wasn’t to put her in a difficult position, but to do away with any feelings of coulda, woulda, shoulda he thought he would feel if he left the house without letting her know.
Those words only came from a pessimist who feared he would be one of the first housemates to leave the house because, in his own view, he wasn’t as appealing as some of the other housemates.
You can just imagine him in a play. You can imagine the gods smiling down on him. Laycon gains more exposure and his fortune changes and he experiences a boost in his confidence with women.
He’s the kind of character you urge to never give up on love, because like the gods, we’re all rooting for him.
A Character Analysis Of Erica And Why She’ll Make A Great Disney Character.
“I’m attracted to Kidd physically and I’m attracted to Laycon.”
Maybe Erica’s lot would have been different if she hadn’t uttered these words. Erica, an actress, model, and former beauty queen whose stay in the house was cut short when she was disqualified, had the potential to make it to the final day.
She racked up a series of strikes for engaging with the camera crew, bullying her fellow housemate, and threatening to end the life of a fellow big brother naija housemate: Laycon.
Being under the influence of alcohol might have mitigated her punishment, but for the fact that she had already been issued warning strikes prior to that.
Erica’s mesmeric smile, warm energy and general good vibes were sorely missed.
You can imagine her playing the role of a tortured heroine, like Queen Elsa Of Arendelle in The Disney Animation Movie, Frozen,
Erica’s Relationships With The Other BBnaija Housemates.
Erica’s romance with Kiddwaya was, without a doubt, one of the attractions of the show. They weren’t shy about making out in public and there’s something un-African about that.
Erica’s friendship with Laycon started out as a fan-idol relationship — Erica, the fan, and Laycon, the idol. This dynamic went on for days, and they quickly became best buddies. But Laycon’s admission that he had feelings for her saw a change in their relationship, and her efforts to let him down easy reached all ears with her now famous words:
“I’m physically attracted to Kiddwaya and mentally attracted to Laycon,”
Erica’s friendship with Tolanibaj and Kiddwaya added some dynamics to the drama yet to unfold.
The CHARACTER ARC Of Erica.
Erica’s insecurities got the better of her in the end. In the first two weeks of the show, we saw how, when she was hurt, she would isolate herself from the rest of her housemates to have a good cry.
I remember, specifically, when Kiddwaya came to her side like Jack Dawson on a ship deck and stopped her from going overboard. Then, we had seen what she was like when she was hurt; we hadn’t yet seen what she could be like when she retaliated.
When she’s on the offensive, it’s common for her to accuse her opponents of playing the victim, implying that, now that she was coming at them, they were acting like she was the aggressor, forgetting that they had attacked first. Those are the words of a bully. “You’re now cowering away, aren’t you? Come out and fight.” Amazing, isn’t it? — how a character like this can go from a sweet girl to a bully.
Erica is sensitive and emotional. And there’s only so much she can stomach before she goes ballistic.
Her character would benefit from a course in anger management. In a script, her character will rely on a support system of friends and family to help her control her temper.
Kiddwaya was able to do it with words and kisses. She is sensitive and needs to be assuaged with TLC, the language her rattled nerves understand. I assume that this includes using the right tone of voice and facial expression.
The episode that led to her disqualification, from the big brother naija house, happened at a time when Kiddwaya was serving a ban from the H.O.H. lounge and couldn’t act as her deputy, nor could he enter the lounge. Talk about Fate dealing Erica an unfair hand in the bbnaija house.
Some of her ‘madness’ took place in that lounge. I’m talking about her bullying Prince, whom she had chosen as her deputy (as she couldn’t pick Kidd).
Kiddwaya had been aware of her temper tantrum and had shouted her name from the doorway, but she hadn’t heard.
Under the influence of alcohol, Erica will spill her guts and express pent-up emotions.
This isn’t good for anyone. If she drank less it would help. The less spontaneous, the less prone to acting and speaking on impulse, the better.
But it’s these little imperfections that keep us glued to our screens.
Wrap Up On BBnaija: Everything Writers Can Learn From The Characters, Conflicts, Setting, Fate and POV.
The Big Brother Naija Lockdown House Season 5, now in its last week, has given us loads of drama.
BBnaija 2020 is definitely full of characters that we can learn a thing or two from, characters whose learning arc still continues, sadly, leaving us with an unfinished book.
But that’s why you’re a writer, right? You can finish that novel you already started.
The major plot — who wins the competition grand prize of 85-million-naira — will conclude this Sunday while the subplots — what happens in the individual lives of the characters — continues.
I’m sure some of them remind us of ourselves. As a matter of fact, we may still struggle with a few of their deficiencies/challenges like needing to keep our tempers in check, loving those who do not love us back, being bad communicators, being a little too detached in the midst of love, and more.
Wouldn’t you love to see how these plots reach their conclusions, how these characters overcome their challenges (if they ever do)? Unfortunately (or should I say ‘fortunately’?) our lives must go on.
About The Author:
Blessing Osung is a graduate of Computer Science from KAAF University in Ghana who loves reading, writing and acting. Acting and movies are her first love as she plans to be a part of the entertainment industry someday. You can find her on Instagram : @bibi_osung.