Fandom, Tiers and the Importance of Access

The Big Brother fandom has always been one where there are tiers to the group. There are the casual fans, those who have seen a few episodes each season or maybe tune in to just the eviction nights. There are the TV Fans, who have seen each episode of the show but do not subscribe to the Feeds. There are the Superfans, which is a term that encompasses many tiers within itself – old-school fans from the earliest seasons, more recent fans who have gotten addicted after a later season, etc. These fans typically are feeds subscribers, read and participate on websites that discuss the show, discuss the shows on social media, listen to shows or podcasts that discuss the show and in general are heavily invested in this summer show.

It is important to consider that despite the differences in these groups, the fandom has an obligation to respect the other tiers and on occasion take a walk in their shoes – an idea reinforced by this writer’s recent experience as a tv-only fan.

(NOTE: Unlike normal articles, this is a personal experience discussion relating my own experiences as a tv-only fan for a week. Normal analysis of the week will follow.)

I began the BB week as a typical superman, watching the feeds into the late hours of Thursday night as developments were fast and furious. Following that night, I was limited entirely in my access to occasional check-ins on the website, brief looks at Twitter and the tv shows only. That tv access was, itself, limited to Wednesday and Thursday night as I caught up on the Sunday show three days later.

In doing so, I gained several key insights. One of these insights was very simply that limiting oneself to just one form of watching cuts you off from huge amounts of data. Those who only watch the feeds are cut off from Diary Room sessions and nuance that we never get on the feeds. An example of this has been Audrey’s Diary Room confessionals, in which she has revealed some motivation for her actions. There is, of course, the competition aspect in that the competitions and ceremonies are only shown on the CBS show. Feeds-only fans are cut off from this information, save for retellings on the feeds themselves.

For TV-only fans, this is a cutoff from huge amounts of information. The feeds are covered extensively online – a fact that can be beneficial to those who want the feeds but do not wish to (or cannot, in some cases) incur the cost of the feeds. However, those recaps do not convey the entirety of the situation in the House at any given time. Moreover, the CBS show misses large swaths of information.

For the large part, that last piece is intentional. There are dozens of cameras recording thousands of hours of footage every week – and moreover, there are only 126 minutes of show each week.While this has led to controversy in the past – and rightly so – for the most part items that Superfans feel are vital may in fact be deemed unimportant in the grand scheme of things by Production when dealing with the CBS show.

At times, this has backfired – Feeds viewers knew longer than CBS-only viewers about the issues with the case of BB15. BB9’s season had horrible controversy that was never covered on the CBS show. Other times, this has been to pump up the story on the CBS show – witness the countless “showmances” that in reality were nothing to report (see BB14’s “showman” between Ian and Ashley for a prime example).

In watching the CBS show as my primary source of information,  I felt reasonably informed on the main storyline of the week but knew that much nuance had been missed. Lots of detail was glossed over, but the big points – the twin reveal, Vanessa’s intended target in James, Austin’s laying down in the Veto Comp – were covered reasonably well.

What I missed – and what I feel the large part of the non-Feeds audience misses each week – were the more subtle movings and maneuverings of the week. While there are large swaths of the feeds that are unimportant, the important parts are huge. This is the key to the show’s success – to really know what is happening, you need to have the full experience that you can have. Whatever you choose as your experience with Big Brother, though, one thing is key – make sure you’re enjoying it.

As a final note, I would be remiss if I did not advise that feeds can be purchased through


Week Three Results


Week Three Head of Household: Vanessa, defeated Austin in BotB competition

Vanessa’s reign as HoH was one of the oddest on record. She was successful, to be sure – an early target was taken out – but her (at times) erratic behavior had many in the audience wondering which way she was heading in her decisions. That being said, she solidified a group with an intended goal – get to 5 evictions without losing 2 key allies. Her week solidified that plan.

Week Three Veto Winner: John, saved himself, Jeff placed on block

John’s win was once again key to the success of removing the real target. While this was not Vanessa’s intented goal (her main target of James was one that she had hoped would be accomplished with keeping John in the second spot), her secondary goal of nominating Jeff was still accomplished. Moreover, John showed a key strength of his game – willingness to do what is needed to secure his position.

Week Three Evictee: Jeff

Jeff’s position as a likable guy was hurt by a disastrous strategic game combined with a social game that failed him mightily at a key point – his argument with Vanessa in which his moves against others (notably Clay and Shelli, a key power couple at this point) was entirely revealed. Once this happened, his game was over.

Week Three Player of the Week: John

In a week where many big moves were made, the dentist musician showed a much larger understanding of how the game is played. He played the good guy when nominated as a pawn, but knew enough to know that pawns can go home His Veto competition play was strong once more, and he showed an ability to play the game longer than others with a low-key social game.

Week Three Goat of the Week: Austin

Austin went from an easy position to one of distrust with the HoH. Vanessa never believed Austin’s initial claims of not throwing the Veto competition, and his pursuit of Liz may be the cataliyst for her throwing a vote against James tonight. Austin’s game needs to improve and soon, if he wishes to remain in the game for long.

Game Move of the Week: An Alliance of 6 is formed to save the Twins

Vanessa’s move to create a 6 person alliance to keep the Twins in the game through the 5 eviction point played out perfectly. At the time of this writing, 2 (3 with Julia) members of this alliance are in power as Dual HoH. They have the votes to make a move against non-alliance members. Moreover, they have had power for a 3 week swing – a huge amount of time to make key moves to solidify power. This was a move that has the potential to manipulate the course of the game, provided this alliance can hold.

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