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.

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Double Play, or Struck Out

At the end of any season of Big Brother, there is no greater power than that of the Veto. From the Final Five on, alliances can be made or broken based soelly on who wins he Veto, moreso than who wins Head of Household. It is quite telling, in fact, that the two most recent Head of Household were evicted the following week. Victor and Corey’s evictions could be predicted as strong possibilities going into their respective final weeks.

What was less predictable, however, was the lack of realization in each player as to their respective fates.

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The Crushing Truth

The most painful losses in Big Brother are ones in which the person evicted had no idea how much they played a role in their loss. Players who put the blame on others for their own poor play have been shown the painful truth later on, and the realization that they sealed their own fate has caused embarrassment for many a former Houseguest.

In the end – and despite putting the blame on James for most of the week – Natalie had no one to blame but herself

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The Delusion of False Assuredness

In a game where deception and double-dealing are remarkably effective strategies for victory, it is just as remarkable that people can feel assured of anything as a Big Brother Houseguest. Any information gleaned, any promises made or any long-term plans must be taken with a heaping mound of salt, as the very motto of the game itself is to “expect the unexpected.” James was the very model of this axiom in his previous season, as he reneged on a promise and deal made during an endurance competition and ensured an enemy was taken out.

It is fitting, then, that this truth of the game – that few things can indeed be taken as truth – may in fact cause irreparable damage to James and Natalie’s long-term games, especially when this has already been used against them in recent weeks.

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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.

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The Summer of Our Discontent

For several weeks, fans of Big Brother have become less vocal in their praise of the show and a feeling of unease, malaise and overall discontent has begun to rise. Fans are less vocal on Twitter, save for commenting on fan sites and on Twitter that the show was not living up to standards we held for both contestants and the actual show itself. Even Julie Chen was not immune to criticism, as fans online expressed concern that she did not seem to be performing at her best on the show. That criticism, however, had remained in the realm of fandom for most of the season with little coming from other media or offline.

With two events this week, that changed – and with the TMZ article on Frankie combined with the reaction to Christine in tonight’s Double Eviction we have seen a change in the fandom that has rarely been exposed in seasons past. Continue reading “The Summer of Our Discontent”

Masterminded, Blindsided and Being Shown The Door

There are times in Big Brother where a Houseguest has no idea how much their game is being influenced by another player’s efforts. Whether it be because of some real or imagined slight, a game move or simply because of someone moving their game forward, players across the seasons have had their games destroyed with no real knowledge of their own until it was too late. This is the point behind the backdooring strategy, as an example – get the person out without knowing they were the target.

The latest victim of this type of play, Zach, operated for weeks never knowing that 3 players were using him as their toy in the game – and his cluelessness to the machinations being played out around him was a testament to a player who was fun to watch, but weak when it came to playing this game. Continue reading “Masterminded, Blindsided and Being Shown The Door”

The Big Brother Experience

Over the years, the phenomenon of the “Superfan Houseguest” has developed. These are the Big Brother Houseguests that have been longtime fans of the show – either through watching the show on CBS, or even subscribing to the Feeds. Some of these players have been very successful in their runs on Big Brother, using their understanding of the game to get them to Endgame (or even win, in the case of Ian). There are the fans who have ben successful in more limited ways, usually by underestimating the stress and challenge of the game – these players, while making a good run, have far more often than not burned out before the end (in this sense, McCrae comes to mind). Then, there are the players who are simply looking for the “Big Brother Experience” – the ability to be in the House, to see it all and enjoy everything without actually stepping up and playing the game fully.

In this regard, Nicole was the exemplar of this type of HouseGuest – and in this regard, her time in the House can be regarded as a success for herself. Continue reading “The Big Brother Experience”

The Difference A Day Makes

In Big Brother, the difference between “going home” and “ruling the roost” – and vice-versa – an be as little as one day – or even one hour – of game time. Many seasons past have seen alliances fall apart due to the dreaded Double Eviction days where two Houseguests go home in the span of an hour. Fallout from the Double Eviction can wreck a person’s entire game (witness Jordan and Shelly’s blowout after Jeff’s eviction in BB13).

In the span of a day, Nicole went from “possible removal of a known enemy” to “enemy remaining and two allies gone” and while she returned to possible power, her game has been weakened severely. Continue reading “The Difference A Day Makes”