Tag Archives: Big Brother

BIG BROTHER is Broken (UPDATED!)

Scroll Down to read the UPDATE!

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.

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The cast of Season 18, airing now.

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?

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Tiffany, a season 18 House Guest, in DR.

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.

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Corey, who’s not HOH, enjoying the comfy bed and listening to music in the CD Player.

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.

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Robyn Kass, the casting director of BIG BROTHER since its second season.

 

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.

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Allison Grodner, one of the producers of BIG BROTHER.

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.

UPDATE! 

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…

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Can’t quite read it? Click here.

Oops.

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:

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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.

 

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Twisty Twist- Twist.

As Big Brother fast approaches, fans are buzzing on what kind of twists or turns this season may contain. Returning Players? A rotating conversational room will mirrors all around the room? (See what I did there?)

One of the more popular podcasts, “Rob Has A Podcast” discussed at length, twist ideas submitted by fans. I missed the memo, so I was not able to offer my idea.

However, I’d like to share it, just to see if there might be any interest.

My idea isn’t exactly a “twist” per se, but would rather bring a new character into the house.

“The Big Brother Fairy.”

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A Magical Being sent to help the Underdog.

Now, I know… many people are wishing the “Nickelodeon” and “childish” themes were gone from the show, but hear me out.

The Big Brother Fairy would be an actual person, an actress, who enters the house either in person or via the television. She would only appear to one HG, and this HG would be decided by public vote.

Her appearance would be late in the game, so we have established alliances and know the HG’s pretty well.

The Fairy will humorously state she’s been watching  from afar and that this particular HG could use some help.

She’ll offer to grant the HG who sees her one wish.

The HG would then be given three options to choose from.

  1. A video from a family member that can be up to 3 minutes long.
  2. A quick scene from the house, with audio, that will help this particular HG.
  3. Something to do with eviction, like a vote counting more, or changing the veto winner.

The HG would have only a few minutes to decide on their wish.

The Fairy could only appear up to three times in the season and on the third time, she’ll be revealed to all the HG’s.

The wishes could change, obviously. Those were just ones I thought of.

I’d like to think she’d help the underdog of the household, but whom she helps would be from public vote.

Maybe she wouldn’t need to be called a Fairy, but you get the idea.

We’ve seen characters enter the house before, but they’ve never offered any power.

I know some people are purists and don’t want anyone getting any kind of unfair advantage. But this would just be a fun little thing to see. I realize it’s a tad similar to Pandora’s box, but the Fairy would not be offering any punishment.

What do you think of this idea?

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UNREAL Reality.

Unreal debuted yesterday on Lifetime. The series follows Rachel, a staffer on a reality show, as she forges relationships with the contestants to get that “critical piece of footage.”

I’m a big fan of reality television. I watch Big Brother every year, was a fan of Joe Millionaire and have watched plenty of odd series through the years. (Anyone remember Inner Beauty?)

But, like most people, I did question how ‘real’ these shows were. With Big Brother in particular, for a small fee, you can watch the house live. I would see an event play out in real time. On the show, the event would be out of order, would cut out a moment, etc. I’d take to the message boards, blasting the producers for ‘manipulating’ the footage.

With Joe Millionaire, who can forget when the show used “slurp sounds” and showed footage of a large bushy area, to imply ‘Joe’ and one of the girls was doing the nasty?

With ‘Unreal’, manipulating the show-within-a-show is what the series is all about.

Rachel works on Everlasting, which is a clear reference to The Bachelor. It’s the first night of shooting a new season, and she better not screw up. The season before, she interrupted ‘The Bachelor’ as he was about to dump one of the girls on finale night. This included damaging the set and taking off in a crew member’s car. So, Rachel is on her best behavior tonight.

Rachel, played by Shiri Appleby.

Rachel, played by Shiri Appleby.

While we don’t know Rachel’s actual job title, she mainly spends the episode talking with contestants, getting them to act a certain way for the cameras. Faith is the virgin of the group. The producer wants her to be ‘the one we root for’, but Faith is staying away from ‘The Bachelor.’ With some coaxing, Rachel convinces Faith to approach him and the Producer gets the ‘heart to heart’ she needs.

Faith, the virgin, played by Breeda Wool.

Faith, the virgin, played by Breeda Wool.

Then, there’s Brittany, who the Producer wants as the villain. Things don’t go as planned, but it is Rachel who manages to get her to cry right into camera A. “We can use that in the promo!’ says one of the crew members.

Brittany, the villain, played by Arielle Kebbel.

You might be privy to the real life scandal on The Bachelorette, where the promos are making it look like two of the male contestants are falling in love. There’s probably a ‘Rachel’ there, right?

While Unreal is fictional, it is important to note, the writer of this show was a staffer on The Bachelor in the early days. As a writer, even if you aim to create something competently fictional, there is always some truth to your stories.

UNREAL looks like it’ll be a fantastic series, combining reality with scripted drama. The pilot sure had me on the edge of my seat. It made me question my anger at these Big Brother producers. Yes, we want it to be ‘real’. But, maybe, there does have to be a little coaching so we get an entertaining show.

Unreal airs Mondays on Lifetime.

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The (Real) Big Brother 16 Cast: First Impressions

Oh, you guys. Yesterday was fun. But now, here is the REAL cast for #bb16. I’m going to give my first impressions on SOME of the House guests; the ones that stood out to me for one reason or another.  These impressions come from the video interviews by BIG BROTHER NETWORK.  So, without further ado, let’s get going:

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Amber Borzotra, 26.

Amber is a model. This usually makes us go “UGH” and we think they’re just here for the fame. But, Amber seems different. Firstly, she applied. She wasn’t recruited.  My first impression is that she seems genuine, kind and funny. There’s something about her that makes her likable.  She is energetic most of the time in her interviews, but sometimes she  gets suddenly reserved and nervous, which shows she’s not full of herself, which is always a good thing.  Typically, the models get the early boot. But, I’m hoping she goes far.  I get Good Vibes.

 

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Donny Thompson, 42.

At first glance, you might think this is a cast member from Duck Dynasty. I HATE that show and I was ready to throw my laptop on the floor. That is, until I realized Donny is not from that show. He just has this awful look. But, when he speak, there is this gentle, sympathetic man underneath that beard.  I love these kind of people. I mean, these are the kind of people you root for.  Donny doesn’t offer much in the way of strategy, only that he’ll wait to be approached for alliances. If he wins, he plans to use the money for laser eye surgery. In my opinion, and my first impression, he seems like a good guy who will be fun to watch if he sticks around. Christine Brecht

Hayden Voss, 21.

Hayden is getting compared to David Girton a lot. I can see why people may come to that conclusion, but I find the resemble extremely minuscule. Where David wasn’t that bright, Hayden at least can speak coherently and seems to have a “happy, go lucky” personality.  His ‘goofy’ side can turn real serious when he is asked important questions. He laughs a lot, and that’s very telling. Hayden was recruited, which I’ll rant about later. BUT, Hayden, I like.  And, let’s take a second to gasp at the fact that season 12’s winner was named Hayden MOSS. I mean, how crazy is that?  I get Good Vibes.

Christine Brecht

Joey Van Pelt, 27.

Joey seems very level-headed. But, I’m not sure she’s exactly suited for BIG BROTHER. For starters, when asked if she watches the show, she replied, “I haven’t had TV for awhile. I don’t have cable.” AKA she’s a recruit. (If you don’t know, Big Brother isn’t on cable.) Joey kept talking about wanting a all-girls alliance, which we know historically has never worked. Despite not knowing much about the show, she did say something very smart: “Those people that are quiet. Those people never in a confrontation. Those are the people to look out for.” I get Good Vibes.

 

Christine Brecht

Devin Shepherd, 26.

Devin is HUGE. But, once he smiles, you see he doesn’t fit the “tough guy” stereotype.  Devin comes across as very good natured. He repeatedly mentions his soon-to-be two year old daughter; he’s playing for her. Devin compared himself to Howard from bb15, in terms of playing an ‘honest game’, but said he would play harder than Howard and not be so silent. Devin actually applied for the Amazing Race, but he has knowledge of BIG BROTHER, being the only HG to reference the racist drama from last season.  He’s the HG I love the most, based on my first impression, and I hope he goes far.  He just has that thing about him. You know, that one HG you really like, and you’re not sure why. Devin was a minor league baseball player, by the way. We’ll see if those athletic skills come in handy.

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Zach Rance, 23.

Oh boy. This guy. To me, I see him as a mix of David Girton and Nick Uhas. He’s got this sort of goofy side that’s reminiscent of David and the calculated strategy like Nick. But, there’s this sort of manipulative, sketchy feeling I get with him. He seems like the guy who will easily be able to make friends in the house, while secretly planning to back stab them all.  It’s worth noting, he was the only one who was able to complete WLBB’s Cookie task. (He had to get the cookie from his forehead to mouth without his hands.)  He’s also very driven by money and countless times he has said, “I’m here for 500,000 reasons and no more”. I get Goodish Bad Vibes

To read about all the other HG, head on over to cbs.com/bigbrother.

 

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BIG BROTHER: It doesn’t have to be trashy

Well, BBAU has ended. (Big Brother Australia.)

The program was such a treat. It was a breath of fresh air, after the disaster that was BIG BROTHER 15. (For those who don’t know, this was the latest US edition.)

Like with any reality tv show, my opinions of the HM’s (House mates, as they are called here) changed throughout the season.

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Tim, who was a trickster with a heart.

I didn’t like Tim at first, but then, appreciated his humor and was happy to see he did have a heart, showing kindness throughout the experience.

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Jade, who proved to show compassion and did not think she’d make it to the end.

Jade came in, with us all thinking she was the ‘pretty girl model’ who had nothing to offer. But, she proved to have compassion and was a good sport. She was blinded by her love for Ed, but the Jade we knew was there returned when Ed was evicted. I was so happy Jade made second place, because, she represented the good, while Tahan was the ‘bad.’

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Tahan, a HM who cared more for her make-up than her experience.

Tahan, while she was fun to watch in the beginning, proved to be a spoiled little girl, who was most interested in her hair dryer and a Kim K clutch bag. Tahan also has a famous boyfriend, which no doubt, added to her votes in keeping her there until the final three. It angered me that the show portrayed her as being “extremely honest.” Tahan did not exibit honesty. She exhibited bluntness, which is different.

I wanted Jade to win. But, ultimately, Tim winning was a good fit. The jokester with a heart made it to the end. You could tell he appreciated it, that he really felt ‘in a dream’—- congrats!

BBAU is a step up from the US version, it’s incredible. There’s drama, yet it isn’t tasteless. People cry when people are evicted. There were only personal attacks by two HM’s at most, verses almost the entire house in the US. The audiences are much larger, the HM’s feel more like this is an EVENT. An interview with an evicted HM is on average, 8 minutes, verses the shorter of the US. I mean, I could go on, but you get the point.

Allison Grodner needs to take some notes and overhaul the Us version of BB.

BBAU proves that ‘Big Brother’ can be a truly enjoyable show and doesn’t have to be a liar’s game with backstabbing and personal attacks. 

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On this version, all HM’s are evicted and the winner is decided by a public vote.

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Big Brother 15: The Dreadful Final Three

Well, here we are.

Big Brother 15 is about to end. The final three has been decided, and fans everywhere are saying it’s the worst final three in history. Personally, I’d have to agree. This reminds me a lot of season nine. That final three consisted of Sheila, Ryan, and Adam. I was rooting for Sheila. But when she left, I didn’t really care who won because I didn’t particularly like the final two. Ryan was a blah of a person and Adam was like the really drunk guy you met at the bar.

Let’s break down season 15’s final three and talk about each player individually:

Spencer:

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Let’s talk about Spencer’s game for a moment. I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t know everything there is to know about this game. However, I am a devoted viewer. And I would call Spencer a floater. By my definition, a floater is someone who sleeps most of the time, does not particularly win competitions, and is not particularly loyal to any one person.  (And game talk is far and in between.) Now, I realize that Spencer was in The Moving Company and is currently in The Exterminators. However, the moving company fell apart and Spencer was most arguably the most expendable member. He didn’t win HOH until a few days ago, and he’s only won one veto. I will be talking about the exterminators later. But, in short, Spencer truly has not done much in the game. While he was on the block for eight times, he was kept around because he was a floater.

Now let’s talk about Spencer as a person. Spencer does have good qualities. I’ve seen them. There are little moments where you see a gentle human. The best example I can give, is Spencer’s HOH blog. Within that blog, Spencer emerges as an articulate, intelligent, and kind man. So we know he isn’t all bad. But, it is hard to forget his child porn joke, exposing himself while walking down the HOH stairs, and talking about how he would love to trap Elissa in a room and kill her. I could go on, but you get the point.  He’s mainly just awful and him winning would be a huge tragedy.

GinaMarie:

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GM is an interesting case. Early in the game, she was besties with Aaryn. Along with Kaitlin, the three became known as the big brother mean girls. GM was second in line with the racist comments. Commenting that Helen should do her nails, Candice was already on the dark side because she was dark, and who could forget GM claiming she had “N…” Insurance.

For a good while, GM was hated outside of the house. However, she then began to exhibit moments of likability. She would have hearts to hearts with Helen, she wouldn’t lie to your face, and there was a certain kindness to the girl who loved the boy with the blue hat. Many laughed at GM’s breakdown when Nick got evicted, but I didn’t. You saw raw emotion from the woman. And a hateful person doesn’t ever exhibit that.

And just when you began to like her, her ugly side emerged again. As Candice walked out the front door, GM commented , “At least I got a mother that likes me…” (Candice is adopted, so this was a bash at that.)  Again, there are countless other examples. But you can clearly see the dilemma. Judd, a person clearly with no knowledge of the outside perception, is rooting for GM to win and said she was very loyal. And this is true. GM has been loyal to a fault. She has won competitions and she does do a lot of game talk.  It does appear that on some level, GM has had a very good game, considering. I would not call her a floater. However, if she wins, her initial negative comments will cause her to be the black sheep of the big brother family.

Andy:

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Here is where things are going to get a little tricky. When I saw Andy’s pre-season interviews, I loved him. I loved his energy, I loved his strategy plan, and he just seemed like a very nice guy. Now, apparently Andy has said very nasty things about Elissa. believe the nastiness of the others hasrubbed off on him. We have to remember he never said anything racist or homophobic. It is true he never spoke up for anybody, but I don’t think he has  ever bashed anyone except Elissa.I’m not excusing his behavior but we must remember she got a lot of help from production and she is the sister to a big Brother winner. I can see how her unfair advantage would get under people’s skin causing them to say nasty things about her.

Moving on, let’s talk about Andy as a floater. I hear a lot of people call him that. But I don’t agree. There are several definitions of this word but in my eyes he is not one. Andy is well-liked in the house. To me, if the majority of the house likes you, this means your social game is on point. Remember that montage of HG’s in the diary room? Six or seven HG’s said they felt he was trustworthy and on their side. You can get mad at Andy for playing every side there is to play, but I wouldn’t call that floating. And I will admit, I did not like this aspect of his game.  (I was on the rat train for a week.) But when I saw an overwhelming amount of criticism of his game, it made me angry. I thought about the situation more and my opinion changed. In terms of the competitions, he has won them when he needed. To me, that’s all fine and dandy.

Now, let me talk about the recently formed alliance. The Exterminators hasn’t been around long. I cannot remember Dan Gheesling’s exact words, but he also brought up the fact that the alliance was formed when virtually no one was left. When you take into account season 12’s alliance, The Brigade, was formed very early on— and those members stayed faithful until they absolutely had to turn on one another— The Exterminators sure seems like a “We’re the only ones left” kind of deal. How and when it was formed does not give it any points and it will not go down in history,

I personally believe this is a dreadful final three. But, this was the hand we were dealt, and we must live with it. And in my opinion, of the three available, I would say Andy deserves to win. And I know, there are people reading this angered at him for what he has said since Elissa has been evicted. I know it’s horrible. It’s not that we are to ignore that aspect, but we must look at the positive attributes he exhibits. Of the final three, Andy is the lesser of the evils and him winning would not be a total loss. I think GM or Spencer winning would certainly have much more dangerous consequences due to the really, really, really nasty things they had said.

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Overall, I think we can all agree this was the worst season ever. I know every season someone calls it the worst season. But truly, we can all agree that finally we have had the worst season of Big Brother. Never before have we had such an awful group of people. There may be one or two bad apples in a cast. But this year, we had five bad apples. Six bad apples if you want to count Andy. With that many awful people it’s hard to enjoy the season.

However, even though this cast was a total flop, I do not want an All-Stars next season. I want casting to be reworked and reevaluated and newbies next year.

Now keep in mind, this is my opinion. I am a fan, just like you are. The difference in opinion is what makes the show fun. We all like different people for different reasons. I hope you can see my point of view just as I have seen others when it comes to Andy and so on and so on.

Who do you think deserves to win out of this dreadful final three?

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