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BIG BROTHER is a reality show that places strangers into a house for the summer. $500,000 is on the line, with competitions each week to narrow the number of people down. When two are left, the last six or so who have been evicted vote on the winner.
What makes the show interesting is the how the strangers (called house guests) interact. People of all different creeds, beliefs and so on are cast in hopes of creating interesting conflict and stories.
The show has been on for sixteen years. And while I have been a viewer since 2008, I feel the show has some problems that really need fixing.
A big part of any reality show is the Confessional Interview. Contestants are interviewed in private so the audience can hear their thoughts of what’s going on. BIG BROTHER has “The Diary Room”, often called the DR.
The DR is really important on BIG BROTHER, as it opens the window to a house guests soul. Do they really want to remain loyal to John Doe? Was that kiss with Jane strategy or genuine affection?
In recent years, the DR has become mere fodder, with House Guests merely word vomiting as they recap Competition Rules we literally heard 30 seconds ago or saying a “witty one liner” that most likely was fed to the House Guest.
Andy Dehnart of REALITY BLURRED just published an article on the Diary Room, so I’ll send you over there to read a much more in-depth explanation on how the DR segment is broken. (Click his name!)
But, the DR is not the only thing broken on Big Brother. In my opinion, the show has two other problems with it.
The first one admittedly is the lesser of the two evils. It is probably not seen as an issue for many. But, I thought to myself, ‘what is the one thing that could be changed to better the game?’ And here it is:
Producers need to enforce a rule regarding the HOH rewards.
HOH stands for Head of Household. This House Guest has earned the title by winning a special competition. They are given several rewards for the week: a private room with a bed, a CD player with one CD, a private bath and shower and a basket with assorted food the HOH winner likes.
What ends up happening however, is the HOH often ‘shares’ the rewards with other House Guests they are closest too. House guests that did not win the HOH competition will sleep in the bed, listen to the CD and unwind, and they’ll enjoy a private shower or bath.
I see this as a problem. So often, we see house guests “throw” an HOH competition. “Throw” as in, deliberately lose. They lose the competition because they might feel safe with John, a hulking strong man. They’re good with John, so they don’t need to win. And I bet that in the back of their mind, they know if John wins, they too will get to enjoy the benefit of the HOH room.
If Producers enacted a rule that only the HOH winner could use the rewards, we would probably see less competition throwing. Winning HOH would truly mean something.
Now, with this rule, House Guests could still be allowed to gather in the room to strategize. This happens when the HOH winner is in an alliance with other house guests, so said house guests will be in the HOH room, plotting and scheming.
When this goes on, many of the house guests make use of the HOH bed. It’s often large. Many will sit on it and eventually find themselves under the covers taking a nap. However, with this rule, come 10pm, house guests that might be lying on the bed will need to move elsewhere. They can still stay in the room, but it’s bed time, and the only one allowed to use that huge bed is the HOH winner.
Moving on, there is an issue with BIG BROTHER that’s bigger than the DR or non-HOH winners reaping the reward benefits. And that is: the casting.
BIG BROTHER is cast by Robyn Kass. She’s been doing it since BIG BROTHER 2, so for a very long time. Robyn has given us Dr. Will, Janelle, Dan, Johnny Mac– the list goes on. She has proven herself to find really interesting people.
However, I strongly believe that in recent years, Robyn has faced resistance and perhaps is being forced to cast people for looks rather than personality.
This season is the greatest example on how somewhere, casting is going horribly wrong. The people cast this year might look great in bathing suits, but they do not understand the game at all. We have 12 “newbies” as they’re called, people that have never played BIG BROTHER before. And then we have 4 “Vets” or “Returnees” who have played the game before. Sometimes, a Vet might have played twice already.
And this year, it is clear Robyn was instructed to cast people that were clueless on the Big Brother game to ensure the Vets had a great advantage. We have had house guests that were clueless, but this year, it’s much worse.
You have Victor, who is going around the house telling everyone he won “Big Brother Roadkill”, a new competition whose winner is secret. Any Big Brother fan will tell you, in a situation where the winner is not revealed outright, you probably shouldn’t share the fact you won. Then, you have Jozea, who outright told a vet he was targeting her. I mean, this is BIG BROTHER 101. You don’t go around telling people they are on your hit list.
As a long time viewer, this is very frustrating. BIG BROTHER has a large fan base, and there are thousands of applicants auditioning for the show each year. Why can’t producers cast from this pool of people? Why instead do we so often get Recruits? (People casting finds at bars or other public locations, that often have never even heard of the show.)
Some argue that recruits are okay, because we wouldn’t want 16 super fans in the house. People regarded as super fans often know the game inside out and the belief is that they can often turn the game upside down, because they know so much about it. However, it is a misconception that every applicant is a super fan. I know this, because I am an example.
I have tried out for the show twice. There is not a term for the type of fan I am. I’m not a recruit, because I have heard of the show and I have watched it for years. I am not a casual fan, because I watch the live feeds, which are separate from the broadcast episodes. And, I am not a super fan, because I couldn’t tell you all the winners of the game and I don’t know which week correlates to what type of competition the house guests typically have.
I’m somewhere in between “casual” and “super.” And this is the range where Producers should pull from most. Cast several casuals, then some from my group, then throw in two super fans.
The game would function so much better if the house guests weren’t completely clueless. I have no problem with one or two recruits . But, I believe we have six or seven recruits this year and that’s just too many.
Season 18 has been a dud due to the casting. I do not blame Robyn, as she casts the Canadian version of Big Brother as well and you can see a clear difference in the people she finds. Someone higher up is blocking her efforts. And it’s a real loss.
BIG BROTHER has everything it needs to be a wonderful show. But, the producers have become stale and are unaware of how awful the show is in its current state. The most glaring example of how out of touch these producers are is them bringing back “Battle of the Block.”
It was a new competition in season 16. The competition did not work as intended. Producers brought it back the next year, and it was called a “fan favorite.” Social Media caught fire with nearly the entire fandom blasting producers for being so out of touch.
It is the same with the casting, the DR, and the lack of rules surrounding the HOH rewards.
You can only hope someone in power finally sees that the show needs reworking and tries to better it.
On July 23rd, 2016, around 11pm, BBT, Allison Grodner, the executive producer of the show, did something that she’ll probably regret in the morning. She liked a tweet. Not just any tweet…
She liked a tweet that seems to indicate favoritism toward Frank Eudy, a returnee this season, who had previously been a cast member on ‘Big Brother 14’ in 2012.
During that season, Frank found himself an early target of the other house guests. But, Frank managed to win competitions to save himself , week after week. Many fans found his constant wins suspicious and accused Allison Grodner of ‘rigging’ the outcome so Frank would last longer.
It should be noted, and SPOILERS— She just happened to like this tweet during a week where Frank is in fact in danger of eviction. A twist was just announced (before Frank was up for eviction) that a secret room is in the house, seemingly with a secret power. Fans are on high alert, wondering if Frank will be the one to find the room and get a special power, with help from Production.
The liking of the tweet caught fire when an account ran by a sister of a current contestant reacted:
Fans then created the hashtag, #GrodnerExposedParty and it began trending.
Should Grodner be fired for liking this tweet? No. But, it probably was an error in judgment on her part.
If you ask me, we should not be calling for a firing over a tweet, but we instead should be questioning and demanding a change with how casting works and why DR sessions are so horrendously unnatural.