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Big Nutter

November 12, 2008

one_flew_over_the_cuckoos_nestImagine a cross between Big Brother, I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Got it? Right, that’s the closest you’ll get to watching last night’s How Mad Are You, then.

On paper it looks ghastly – even the title has offended a few (the same who wrote to the Beeb about Manuellgate, no doubt). But in reality, it’s actually riveting stuff. Ten inmates, five of which are certified keeeerazies (an anorexic, a bipolar, a social phobe, an OCD sufferer and someone with depression) all stay together in a (stunning) castle – because that’s where you find nutters, see. Usually women in attics anyway. The crazies can’t tell anyone what they suffer from, by the way, until the docs ask them if they have what they think they have as ‘twere.

The first ten minutes is a game of Guess Who – I bet most who watched were going “Him! He tried to commit suicide, looks at his miserable face! Ooooh, she’s thin. Bet she’s stuffed cotton wool down her gob.” After a while though, the tasks begin and the role of the guesser is transferred to the professionals (three doctors who hum and hah and smile smugly whenever anyone mentions that they’re worried or excited, or just generally sick of having a camera shoved in their face).

The group are first asked to do a live stand up routine in a bid to uncover the social phobe. Now, dunno about you, but the prospect of telling jokes to a room of strangers scares the bejesus out of me, and I certainly don’t have social anxiety. Surely this sort of thing scares even the most confident of people?

But they all manage it pretty well, leaving the doctors scratching their collective beards. Next it’s sorting patterned cards into piles – this should weed out the bipolar, the OCD and the depressed. Nope. Try again suckers! The docs are left frustrated so as a punishment, the inmates are sent to clean out a cow farm. Yup. Literally shovelling shit. This – the experts hope – will certainly reveal the OCD sufferer. After a blinding bit of misdirection from one of the guys, who wants “everything clean, clean clean” and orders everyone to clean in straight lines (cue much nudging and smiling from the beardies) Dan reveals himself as the OCD sufferer when he casually mentions that he intends to throw away his shitty boots and properly wash when he gets back – he clarifies this later as a shower and hand wash.

Again, if I were forced to clean cow shit (and actually I don’t think I would anyway) I’d want an all-over power shower with body scrub before I felt clean. But the bearded folk had one down, and four to go.

Next it was paintballing. Will this reveal the depressed one? Although one of the girls showed low self esteem, the boffins decided she couldn’t be depressed because she was a good leader, and spurred her lot on. Hmmm. At the end of the show they had to pick the one person they thought was definitely sane.

They chose an obese lady (sorry, haven’t learned names yet). Now, having come from the chubby end of the scale, I know that you don’t get to a certain size without having some kind of self-image or confidence issue. So why they chose her is beyond me and I don’t even have a psychology A Level. Low and behold they were wrong, and chubby lady took great pleasure in informing them so.

So to next week, when the doctors haul them over the coals again and the final five are revealed. It’s actually very interesting because it says a lot about people’s perceived expectations of how an illness manifests, and also raises issues about where a personality trait ends, and illness begins. It would be hilarious if the ten were actually all sane (or all mad) and it’s the doctors who are being judged – like what happened in this interesting experiment here (and what this show is loosely based on) – although I doubt that’ll be the case…

12 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2008 4:47 pm

    im boycotting this site on the principle of the appaling sexism being perpetrated by its owner – and refuse to make any comments on here at all.

  2. November 13, 2008 4:47 pm

    and thats my last word on the subject.

  3. November 13, 2008 4:47 pm

    end of

  4. November 13, 2008 4:47 pm


  5. November 13, 2008 4:48 pm


  6. November 13, 2008 4:48 pm

    No more from me, I say …

  7. November 13, 2008 4:48 pm

    *has left the building …*

  8. November 13, 2008 4:52 pm


  9. November 13, 2008 5:02 pm

    Indeed madam!

    You turn up at the WWM offices and expect us to jump to your tune – merely because you are wearing a low-cut blouse, some torn fishnet stockings and a half-pound of scarlet lipstick smeared across your plump, pouting lips …

    *lies down*

    Sexism, I say! Disgraceful.

  10. November 13, 2008 5:06 pm

    no, merely because you were talking about a prog no one had blogged about on wwm!

  11. November 13, 2008 5:14 pm

    You might well say that – but I can see right up your skirt – you hussy.

    I rest my case.


  12. November 13, 2008 5:25 pm

    AND I never even read the fucking article in the first place!

    How do you like these apples?

    *produces some apples*

    Aha! I rest my case madam.

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