Closing Time, 2016 Edition

Summer 2016 has come to a close, and with it the eighteenth season Big Brother ends with the closest vote in many seasons and a historic winner in Nicole, a returning player who beat a strong new player in Paul and became the first woman to beat a man in the final vote. It saw a new America’s Favorite Player in Victor, a man whose own season was historic for his multiple returns to the house in one season. It saw the It saw the promotion of the first all-online season of Big Brother, to premiere in less than a week.

With all of this came the end of one of the least popular seasons in Big Brother, and the hope that future seasons learn from the mistakes of Summer 2016.


An Unhealthy Dose Of Paranoia

In the Big Brother House, it is important that the power of paranoia not take over your game. While it is healthy to remember that it is a game and that others will be working to eliminate you, it is also important not to sabotage your own game by looking for conspiracies when none are present. Preventing yourself from falling victim to your own suspicions and paranoia is just as important as any other aspect of your social game, and the halls of Big Brother are littered with players who could not control this part of themselves.

The two evictees of the past two weeks, Frank and Da’Vonne, both suffered from shortsightedness – but in Da’Vonne’s case, her inability to control her own paranoia ended up devastating her game and alliances throughout the season.


Two Roads, Diverged

This season has seen an interesting dichotomy emerge between two players related to previous Houseguest, showing distinct  and definite alternate ways of playing the game. Whereas one of these players has capitalized on strong game play and social work, the other fell into a trap partly not of her own creation, but one in which she still exacerbated her own situation by not playing strong enough.

Indeed, Paulie and Tiffany have fallen into archetypal roles that are well-worn in Big Brother, and which clearly define how their game play has come to pass.


Playing With Integrity

One of the oldest tropes in Reality TV in general (and Big Brother, specifically) is the concept of “playing with integrity.” In the real world, playing with integrity means going through life in as morally, ethically and socially right as possible. It is a fine attribute to live up to in a person’s personal and professional life. It is also a fallacy in the realm of Big Brother. “Playing with Integrity” in Big Brother strikes an entirely different meaning, when it is most often used – here, it is often used by a player to describe their game when they are being outplayed by someone smarter, quicker and more willing to adapt their strategy and gameplay to win.

In that sense, Victor’s usage of the phrase “playing with integrity” is entirely apt – at every turn, he was outplayed and out gamed by people whose own games have had issues but who shared a common enemy.

Victor came into this game essentially thinking that he would be able to run the gamut with former player Jozea and remaining player Paul. While never a leader of the group, Victor was essentially the follower that Jozea needed least at the time – someone with total loyalty. While this is admirable in the real world, in this game it is a reason to be targeted when your leader is on the outs.

Once Jozea was evicted and Paulie became HoH, the writing was essentially on the wall – and that is when Victor began saying “playing with integrity” repeatedly with the one person who still sympathized with him – Paul. It is telling that Paul, a player who was loyal to Jozea as well, was willing to adjust his gameplay and strategy to stay in the game – and succeeded – while Victor rode his game plan out of the House.

It is not entirely impossible to play Big Brother completely honestly, but the winners of this game have shown a willingness to take the necessary actions to get to the end. This includes making the necessary changes and occasional dishonest actions to ensure that the ultimate goal – winning the $500,000 – is maintained. More importantly, they showed the ability to make these decisions at the right time – a trait that Victor missed to the end.

Sadly, his departure occurs as the group dedicated to his ouster begins to fall apart in earnest. Frank’s actions have led to a bloc of players (including his returning allies) ready to make the move against him. While this does not appear to be happening due to a Bridgette win as the new Head of Household (and the assumption that she will be loyal to Frank, a move that may seal her own fate in the game), it is clear that Frank’s own strategy may need to be adjusted before he is the next target for eviction.

The best players of Big Brother have adjusted their strategies and styles to win the game. Those who cannot make such an adjustment have been doomed to an early exit in the past.

At least they, like Victor, can claim to have “played with integrity.”


Week 3 Results:

Week 3 Head of Household: Paulie

Paulie’s week went perfectly. From ensuring his role in the larger game with key alliances being built, to ensuring Victor was taken out of the game with a true Backdoor strategy, Paulie made sure his week counted. Paul has shown better gameplay than his brother in early results, and it is good to see that the older Caliafiore has learned well from the experiences of Cody two years prior.

Week 3 Roadkill Winner: Victor, nominated Tiffany

While this had little effect on Victor’s overall game, his act of nominating Tiffany paid off in dividends for the remainder of the house, Tiffany’s inability to deal with the nomination well led to much drama on her part, and further fracturing of the 8 Pack alliance. In the end, it may lead indirectly to Tiffany’s own eviction eventually.

Week 3 Veto Winner: Paulie, removed Paul, Victor Nominated.

Paul really did have an extremely successful week. By winning Veto, Paul ensured that Victor was backdoor and eliminated.

Week 3 Evictee: Victor

At least he played with integrity.

Week 3 Player of the Week: Paul

While this may not be the person many would expect, consider this – Paul went from a definite target to safety in the span of hours with a willingness to adjust his gameplay and work with the others. In doing so, Paul isn’t seen as a person to take out any time in the next few weeks – a shift that essentially gets him to Jury, should he play his cards right. Paul rebounded well this week, and while he is a polarizing player for good reason he is still playing successfully.

Week 3 Goat of the Week: Frank

Few players have seen their stock fall so quickly as Frank this week. At the beginning of the week, Frank looked poised to stay afloat in the game for several weeks – now, it will be a surprise if he lasts two more weeks. His overplaying and multiple alliance-building sessions have manage dot do one thing – get back to the people who were most familiar with how he played before. Frank will have to rebuild heavily to stay n the game long term, and his past unwillingness to compromise may show to be his weakness.

Week 3 Game Move of the Week: Victor nominates Tiffany as Roadkill Nominee.

While this did little to help Victor, his nomination of Tiffany set in motion several other key events – Frank’s decision to target Tiffany, her own paranoid fears about the other alliance members coming to light, Tiffany’s attempt to win the Veto competition (Which had the result of Da’Vonne getting upset with Tiffany), Da’Vonne’s targeting of Tiffany and the eventual realization that Frank was working against the overall alliance and more for himself. Quite a bit of drama can be developed from this one act, one that could have benefitted Victor more had he not told everyone he had one the Roadkill competition.


The Benefits Of A Classical Education

While some of the best players of Big Brother have been those who had not been fans of the show prior to their appearance on the game, the truly great players knew the benefits of learning from those who came before them. Learning strategy and social gameplay is key to doing well in Big Brother, and the most successful game players have had this skill set from Day One. It cannot be stressed enough – strong players are strong all around, even if a little luck helps them along the way.

It is in this sense, with this perspective in Big Brother History, that it is clear why Jozea may be judged as one of the worst players to ever appear on Big Brother.


Ian Hits The Bullseye

Every year in Big Brother, there is a player that becomes a massive target for some reason. Whether earned or unearned, this target grows as long as the Houseguest remains in the house. In years past, such targets as Jase and Brendon managed to save themselves in key moments. Rarely does the House target survive through to the Final 3. In Frank’s case, a man who had been nominated 6 times and won veto 3 times managed to make it to the Final 7- a respectable performance, but one that nearly assured to end in defeat. That Frank had dodged so many bullets on his way to Julie’s Couch was amazing; that the aim finally struck the intended target was cathartic.

In retrospect, Frank’s Big Brother run is incredibly impressive when looked at statistically. 3 HoH wins, 2 Veto wins to save himself and 6 nominations before eviction are All-Star level numbers, and almost assure him a run at the game a second time somewhere down the line. Frank’s physical game was unsurpassed, and his mental game was even the source of a win. Where Frank fell was in a social game that lacked severely. Frank was never humble about his victories, a trait that his coach instilled further into him than what may have already been festering inside. Added to this was a tendency to lash out verbally at inopportune times, along with an unbelievable streak of continually trusting the exact wrong person at the exact wrong time.It was Frank’s undying loyalty to Boogie that made him a target during the Coach phase of the game. it was his continued partnership with Boogie that solidified him as a target, and it was the trusting of Dan and members of the Quack pack alliance at the end that sealed his blindsiding.


Dan Used Veto – Jenn Down, Joe Up

After his first Veto Win of the Season, Dan decided to use his Power of Veto on Jenn, removing her from the block. It’s a good game move that covers his bases with all the players in the house, with one obvious exception. Joe – who Ian chose as the replacement nominee.

Taking Jenn off both repays her for using the Veto on him last week, and gives her and Frank the impression that his ‘alliance’ with them is still solid. There is a chance that Joe could go home rather than Frank. Frank has the added benefit of not being able to play for the next HOH. This, as we know, will be the first in the Double Eviction Thursday night.


Dan Wins Veto

 With Ian finally upstairs in HOH, his second time around again proved his loyalty to the crashed, burned Quack Pack he somehow resuscitated and recovered. By nominating Frank and Jenn, he kept Dan off the block and went so far as solidifying a final two deal with the former winner after Dan won the much anticipated OTEV Veto Competition today. His first win of the season, on his birthday, no less.

Dan now having the power to save either Frank or Jenn from the block, who he formed an alliance with last week that kept both him and Danielle in the game, means we will see which side he thinks will get him farthest in the game. So far it looks as though his loyalty to the QP will last at least another week, as Ian his HOH.  


Masterminded and Blindsided

Memorable game moves in Big Brother can be the stuff of legends. Some become so well-known that they become standard game strategies later on- witness the “Backdoor Plan” of Nakomis that sealed Scott Long’s fate in BB5. Others are considered so hideous that their backfiring can become infamous as well. Howie Gordon can attest to this, after his HoH that removed a key ally from the game.

After this past week, it can be assured that Dan Gheesling has entered the pantheon of Big Brother Game Masters with his Hail Mary move that assured his staying in the game. Dan had been known as a strong game player from his previous win, but it had been assumed that he was a weaker winner of the game. After his strategy came to light and his game move assured him safety this week, it can no longer be questioned- Dan has become a master of the game, possibly one of the best to ever play it.


Britney’s Frank Rant

From the live feeds this evening, transcribed by Angel:

Britney to Danielle

“Way to go Frank, you’re right you are the best player in big brother history. Let’s see you took a chum bath for 21 hours, you got put into an effing carrot suit, you dyed yourself green, and you bench yourself for two HOH’s just to use the veto anyway. You are a mastermind. Why haven’t I just been listening to you this whole time you’re a freakin genuis.”

Danielle laughing

“You’re a freaking genius!”

Silence, Dan comes back outside

Dan “Sorry, it’s only 9:24 though”

Britney “The night is young”

Dan “It is”

Britney “Allow me to repeat what I just said.”

Dan “Whatever it was was funny because you were both smiling”

Britney “Yes Frank, you are the best player to ever play this game, you dyed yourself green, you put yourself in a carrot suit for a week, you benched yourself for the next HOH competition, and…what was his other one?”