TV: ABC live-streams ‘The Glass House’


Viewers are in charge of “The Glass House,” ABC’s real-time reality competition, scheduled to debut June 18. (Nicole Wilder/ABC)
June 12, 2012

As CBS’s campaign to shut down next week’s scheduled debut of ABC’s “The Glass House” gets down to the wire, ABC went ahead Tuesday and launched the new reality show’s first live-stream from inside its house — nuking much of CBS’s argument in the process.

Turns out, the real-time competition series “The Glass House” — in which 14 fame-seeking narcissists live and compete for a quarter-million dollars in a totally wired house — is not, as CBS accuses, a knockoff of its “Big Brother.”

It’s a parody. “Big Brother,” for starters, is hosted by CBS’s “The Talk” ringleader/CBS Corp. chairman’s wife, Julie Chen, whose stiff-ish performance as show host/den mom has earned her the nickname “Chenbot.”

Tuesday’s live-stream of “The Glass House” was wrangled by a disembodied, computer-generated-sounding chick voice that, on Twitter, had earned her/it the nickname “FaRi,” as in “faux Siri” — Siri being the name of the iPhone 4S personal assistant.

“Here. We go players. We’re about. To go. Live,” FaRi told the 14 “Glass House” players at the top of the stream.

“If you are not illiterate, you have been eliminated,” one competitor said, summing up the players.

“I am going to. Ask you and the fans the. Very same question. All you have to do is. Answer it for. Yourself,” the disembodied voice explained.

All questions were multiple-choice. Webstream viewers were asked to play along, and results would be compared.

Question No. 1: “What’s the best way to break up with someone?”

Glass House-rs were told to go to a different room of the house, based on the answer they’d picked. In this case, all but one headed to the room designated “In person,” though one chick went to the “Over the phone” room. Most of the viewers went with “In person.”

“Nobody here ever had a crazy boyfriend?” the lone chick in the “Over the phone” room asked defensively.

“Please reset to the living room” FaRi ordered.

Question No. 2: What is most important to you in a mate?

Most Glass House-rs headed to the “Sense of Humor” room, where the chicks, having lost their initial nervousness, began to pose, flip their hair and blow kisses at the camera. One lone, overweight guy headed to the “Looks” room, and one chick struck out alone for the “Intelligence” room.

By the time FaRi read the third question, the competitors were talking over her nonstop, and the chicks were spending a lot of time posing for the cameras, making hand-hearts, and hanging from the necks of the guys. One of the guys gave them a run for their money in the vamping department, however, opening his shirt to show off his chest hair and smacking himself on his rump once or twice.

Our merry band of ABC castmates seemed in perfect harmony when it came to a question about the most inappropriate thing you can do on a first date — flirt with someone else, natch. And all but one of them thought living with someone of the opposite sex was okay if you’re not married to that person — prompting the question: What is that one competitor doing in the co-ed “Glass House”?

They were 100 percent in agreement that dating a subordinate was more inappropriate than dating a co- worker or dating your boss — once they’d had it explained to them what “subordinate” meant. In this, they broke with America, which voted overwhelmingly that dating your boss was The Worst.

They were, however, deeply divided as to whether it’s okay to have sex on the first date, with one guy taking a firm stand that he would never date a girl with whom he’d had sex on the first date.

Encouragingly, nearly 70 percent of viewers said sex on the first date was not cool. This so impressed one of the chicks in the house that she vowed, right then and there, “I’m not putting out on a first date ever again.”

Mission Accomplished, ABC!

Another brave women stuck to her guns when asked who was The Cutest Couple, heading into the Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson room all by herself, while the herd shuffled off into the Beyonce and Jay-Z room. But viewers gave the win to Tom and Rita in a landslide.

“Some of. You did very. Well. Others. Not so. Much,” said FaRi, adding solicitously: “Did. You have a. Good time?”

Last month, CBS sued ABC and some former “Big Brother” staffers who now work for “The Glass House.” CBS cried copyright infringement, trade-secret misappropriation, unfair competition, breach of contract — even conspiracy. Last week, CBS filed a request for a temporary restraining order to halt production of the show and squash its June 18 launch date.

On Monday, ABC submitted its argument as to why the legal system should ixnay CBS’s request for that temporary restraining order. The Disney-owned network noted that $16 million has already been spent — on marketing alone — and how a temporary restraining order, even for a week, would “seriously undermine the show’s potential success.” Real cry-me-a-river stuff.

In response to ABC’s response, CBS on Tuesday noted that former “Big Brother” producer Kenny Rosen — who is the “Glass House” show-runner — has insisted in the past that “The Glass House’ is based on the flick “The Hunger Games,” but ABC has abandoned that position, the trade publication the Hollywood Reporter wrote.

For previous columns by Lisa de Moraes, go to washingtonpost.com/tvblog.

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