BCN's Bubble a blast
The Bowdoin Cable Network's annual twenty-four hour reality
television show, "The Bowdoin Bubble," appropriates the term
students lovingly use to refer to this rural college. Is it possible to
depict "reality" on a campus that is notorious for its lack
of connection with the real world?
According to BCN staffers, such a feat is possible. Co-General
Manager Matt Volk and Film Director Brendan Smith-Elion chose to create
another episode this year because of the popularity last year's show,
which the BCN broadcast October 13 and 14, 2000. Volk cites an example
of the show's popularity last year: "I remember...[that at] a party
at Helmreich [House], half of the students were dancing and the other
half were watching the Bubble." Smith-Elion reports that there were
over 4,000 hits on the Bubble website last year, from students wanting
to contribute to the online forum or to watch the show live online.
Last year's broadcast, an experiment according to Volk,
laid the foundations for this year's Bubble broadcast. The show is stressful
to produce because it requires technical skill. There are also a lot of
participants to manage; nineteen students competed and twelve students
worked behind the scenes. Despite the preparation and organization that
broadcasting the show requires, the staff enjoys producing it. Volk says,
"It's a fun event and I hope the campus enjoys it. It's worth our
This year's Bubble placed nineteen students in the basement
of MacMillan House to compete for $250, which came from the BCN's budget.
Over eighty students applied to be on the Bubble, but only twenty could
participate (one student dropped out due to illness). Show producers selected
certain students in order to have a good mix of personalities.
Volk, the show's host, led three teams of five and one team
of four through various tests of physical prowess, endurance, wit and
and bravery. Such tests included trivia contests, a hidden talent exhibition,
a dance contest and a game of Monopoly. Says Volk, "The events became
progressively more challenging [as the night wore on] because people were
fried." Teams either gained or lost points according to how they
fared in the events; at the end of each event, viewers could vote off
players via the internet. Students whom the audience voted off later convened
to vote off other participants. By 3:30 Saturday morning, there were eight
students left in the game.
At 3:30 Saturday afternoon, Eric Morin triumphed over finalists
Alan Barr and Shaina Zamaitis to win the grand prize. Reflecting on his
Bubble experience, Morin says he enjoyed bonding with the cast: "It's
really cool to see all these people around now and say 'hi' and know that
we all...have something in common." Despite her loss, Zamaitis says
"It was very fun. I would recommend doing it."
What will Morin do with his $250 dollars? "I will probably
throw a massive Barbeque...and of course everyone [from the Bubble cast]
is invited, and I also wouldn't mind going out to China Rose once or twice...buying
a couple of new whiffle balls...[and] perhaps taking some girl out to
According to Volk, this year's show ran smoothly and viewers were very engaged in the show. "It was a tremendous success," Volk says, "due in large part to Brendan [Smith-Elion] and BCN staff members putting in hours."