Wednesday, June 29, 2016

From My P.O.V: Big Brother 18's Up's and Down's (Week 1)


First things first - If you're reading this thank you and welcome to the inaugural post of ‘From My P.O.V’! In these columns, my hope is to bring you some perspective on the happenings in the house, and tell you how things look, from my ‘Point of View’! In this column, and those that will follow it, I will be sharing with you my opinion on all things BB18.

A life long superfan of the show, I will be taking a critical look at the aspects of Big Brother that most draw out our collective inner scream-at-the-TV spirit animals - with a primary focus on the Houseguests (The terrible move she made, how impeccable his social game is, what alliances they both got into, etc.) Beyond just weighing in on the Houseguests as if they exist in a bubble, I also look to weigh in on the ‘Production’ aspects of Big Brother (That this twist is terrible, but that one is okay, and the other seemed rigged, etc.)

In this particular column, with so much having happened in our first week of the summer, I will be a bit more broad as there is more to assess, but in future columns my focus will be narrowed to the big personalities and events of the week. Enjoy!


Production: 

This summer (thus far) we have been introduced to “three” new twists, but by “three” new twists, they really mean two gameplay twists and the twist regarding the returning players which 98% of the Big Brother Fandom knew about anyway.

Here's what I take issue with in the two new gameplay twists (Teams, and the Roadkill competition.) They inherently change the fibre of the way the game is played, which makes the way things are unfolding feel less like Big Brother and more like some new show that's a store brand knock off.

We have seen teams in some form or another in the past (BB11’s cliques and BB14’s coaches), and my feeling on the premise remains the same - it inorganically creates alliances that aren't built to last and stands in the way of alliances forming that could be worth their weight in gold. Now, in some ways this certainly adds entertainment value, in that by putting people on teams with individuals they wouldn't work with otherwise can create some serious friction, but it takes away one of the aspects of Big Brother I love the most - people feeling one another out and deciding who they want to work with. Yes, I hear you, it still happens to a point - we’re seeing inter-team alliances and whatnot in the house forming as I write this, but they were still smashed together by production. To prove my point, if Corey wasn't on the freakzoids and in turn exposed to Nicole in excess, do you really think he would be a pivotal member of the Eight-Pack alliance? I dont. I think when Big Brother forces the Houseguests to play as teams, rather than allowing them to play as individuals and put their eggs in whichever basket they like, relationships in the house begin to feel very forced and you see an almost completely different game unfold.

Aside from the inorganic feel the teams twist creates, the other issue I take with it - that I pray is abandoned in the upcoming week - is just how many people are granted immunity as its byproduct. This week James’s entire team, as well as Nicole’s entire team, had immunity. When Frank won the Roadkill competition he had only 5 nominations to choose from. Moving forward there absolutely cannot be TWO entire teams immune from eviction. It narrows the field of players eligible for nomination far too drastically. I am a Big Brother purist, and I think  no one should be safe from nomination except for the HOH and POV holder. Everyone else is fair game. Even if Big Brother wanted to say that an HOH cannot nominate a member of their team, I could live with that, but their team should absolutely still be eligible for nomination by the Roadkill competition winner. Which brings us to our next gameplay twist of the summer - the aforementioned Roadkill competition.

I feel less harshly towards the Roadkill comp. than I do towards the team twist, but still am not necessarily in love with it. Heres what I do love about it - the anonymity, and that its “fair”. Starting with its fairness - I have seen the cries that it was rigged and that Frank winning proves that it was rigged, but take your conspiracy theories elsewhere. Frank is one of the biggest competition beasts in Big Brother history and if you dont think he won that competition fair and square you're lying to yourself, and obviously weren't watching the same show I was on Sunday night. I like that its not the “MVP” twist of BB15. THAT would be rigged - we could end up with another Elissa-backed-by-Brenchel’s-army situation. Roadkill is, at least, a fair competition in which someone wins and thusly is granted power. Thats stomach-able for me. I also like that their third nomination is made in anonymity. It creates a great opportunity to stir up chaos and make big moves.

Heres what I don't like about it - it essentially takes away from the power of the HOH. As I already mentioned, I am not a fan of twists that change the core fibre of the game, and further I am a Big Brother purist. To me, the only person who should be able to make a nomination is the HOH. Its a risk and reward assessment as old as time, when you win HOH you earn security for the week, but you do it knowing you will inevitably make enemies in the process. Such is the reason we so often see HOH competitions thrown. By allowing a third party to make an anonymous nomination, you're not only further discouraging people from competing their hearts out for HOH, you're also blatantly taking away from the HOH’s power.

The magical thing about being HOH in the Big Brother house is that even if you are in the minority, you have immense power. Lets say you're a part of a 3 person alliance against a majority alliance of 5 or 6, if you win HOH you not only keep yourself safe but your allies as well, and are presented with the opportunity to really change the landscape of the game. The Roadkill competition takes away from that magic, because in the aforementioned scenario, if a member of the majority alliance wins the Roadkill comp. and nominates one of your few allies, your HOH has essentially been rendered a complete waste.

Like I said, there are some things I really like about the Roadkill comp. from an entertainment and gameplay perspective, but I have negative feelings about the way in which it takes away from the HOH’s sacred power in the house.

My final take on both of these production twists is that they will be short-lived, and certainly go no further than the first Jury member. I mean this particularly for the teams twist. They’ll keep it around for 2, 3, maybe even 4 weeks so it doesn't look like they're jumping ship in the way they did last year with the ‘BB Takeover’, but there is just no way the teams twist can logistically last longer than the pre-jury portion of the season. I see them dragging the Roadkill twist along a bit longer, but also think they will bid it adieu in time.

As you should have gathered by now, the day these twists inevitably get the boot wont be a devastating one for this BB Purist.


Houseguests:

There's a lot to be said about this season’s Houseguests, and I already said a lot of it in our ‘First Impressions’ article a few weeks ago. Most of those perspectives still stand for me, but here I’ll weigh in on the big changes in my feelings, as well as lend my brief opinion on the returning Houseguests (who weren't yet ~officially~ announced when our ‘First Impressions’ article went live).

To start with the returning Houseguests, to be open and honest, I am pretty disappointed. While I have heard whispers that the truly great players from seasons past (Vanessa, Derrick, even Ian, etc.) are being saved for a ‘Legends’ all-returnee season, I only truly support one returnee’s validity as a returning player, and logically accept another. The returnee I most support, and who I feel deserves this second chance in the Big Brother house is BB14’s Frank Eudy.

Frank wasn't just America’s Favorite Houseguest of BB14, he was a competition beast for the history books. Frank had to fight for his safety week in and week out in the BB14 house, and was nominated (LITERALLY) every week he was eligible. He is an honorary member of Chilltown via his apprenticeship with Mike ‘Boogie’, and is a HG whose name surfaces every year who deserves another shot at this game. Frank was a great pick, and the most deserving of the bunch from my perspective.

Nicole is the HG I logically accept as deserving another chance at BB greatness. While I don't think she exhibited any extraordinary strategic acumen in BB16, she was among the only HGs that season who were even remotely on to Derrick. She let herself get wrapped up in a showmance, which painted a bigger target on her back than she may have had otherwise. While I am not personally an overwhelming Nicole fan, I see her validity as a returnee and look forward to seeing in which ways she can improve her game and prove that she's deserving of this second chance.

James is the returnee third most deserving of the bunch from where I am sitting. Yeah, he made it (literally) exactly as far as Frank and Nicole did (7th place finishers, the lot of them), but he was never an extraordinary player by any means. He's entertaining, and seemingly kind-hearted on the surface, and even a fellow America’s Favorite Player - but theres just nothing about his strategic implementation and predisposition for the game that warrants him another shot at it. He was undoubtably brought on by production to be an entertainer, but I am just not in to that when it comes to returnees. If you're giving me returnees, give me sharks. Theres also been a fair amount of controversy surrounding James being a fame-monger since his time on BB17, and only wanting to do this again to better his chances at getting on other reality shows. Thats another article for another time, but as someone obsessively in love with Big Brother as I am, the premise is insulting to me to say the least.

I know this is where I’ll get some death threats, and hate mail, and nasty comments, but Da’Vonne doesn't deserve a second chance in the Big Brother house. I know it, you know it, America knows it. She came in 16th on BB17, lasting only 22 days. That makes her, statistically, the least deserving Big Brother returnee of all time. No other returning Houseguest in the HISTORY of Big Brother failed so fantastically as Da’Vonne did her first go-about. Fact check me. Do it. I dare you. The next closest is CBS’s show-pony Jessie Godderz who lasted only 31 days on BB10 only to return and last 40 days on BB11. Of every returnee in every season where we had returnees, she lasted the least amount of time in the house, placed the lowest, won the fewest competitions in her first chance, and did it all to HERSELF by picking an unnecessary fight with the couple in power (Clelli). All that being said, Da’Vonne can be very entertaining. I hope that she learned from her mistakes in BB17 (though evidence is proving otherwise, at the moment) and proves me wrong. Seeing Da’Vonne on the season proves the long standing theory that CBS has their favorites (Jessie Godderz) who they will continuously march out onto our televisions no matter how badly they suck at the game, purely for entertainment value. I am deeply disappointed in the choice, but hope that in a best-case-scenario I get some laughs out of her moving forward.

Rant over.

Moving on to some actual gameplay of the past week - When Nicole nominated Paulie as a pawn against Jozea I nearly screamed. Not just because I like Paulie and think he has shown a greater aptitude for the game than I expected, but also because its just one of those typically bad “rookie” mistakes from a HG who ISNT a rookie.
Photo Credit: BigBrotherNetwork.com

Often called the most overused phrase in Big Brother, Nicole apparently pays no mind to the mantra, “Pawns go home.” Lucky for her, thanks to the implosion of the “Newbie’s Messiah” *eye roll*, her plan seems it is going to work out. I still feel inclined, though, to highlight why nominating Paulie as a pawn against Jozea could have been a near fatal mistake (at least at the time it was made).

Heres the long and short of it: The pawn game DOES NOT work if you don't have the guaranteed numbers to make it work! If you don't control the votes, your pawn WILL go home. Its as simple, cut, and dry as that. Yes, now Nicole has the Eight-Pack alliance on her side (another potential folly, in my eyes), which gives them the numbers to essentially ensure Paulie’s safety, but at the time of the nominations nothing was guaranteed and she could have ended up packing the bags of one of her only allies in the game. Now though, it seems Nicole wouldn't have been so heartbroken anyway…

Frankly, I think Paulie was used. He has a continuously growing relationship with Frank, which is good for him, but after being groomed by the Vets to become a pawn in their game against Jozea, he has largely been left in the dark and isn't even a member of the Eight-Pack alliance. The Vets essentially made him feel comfortable - citing their loyalty in past games as their bond - put him on the block, and just assumed things would go their way. They took a big risk with Paulie’s life in the game, and I hope Paulie remembers that down the road when he is making decisions from the room upstairs.

Speaking of the Eight-Pack, I am going to keep my piece on them short, but there are a few major concerns about the group that should be at the forefront of BB18 fandom’s minds before just hopping on their bandwagon. 1.) Alliances that size never, ever make it. They just don't.  And 2.) To that point, the Eight-Pack is already fracturing. Theres the Fatal Five, and Da’Vonne putting her eggs in other baskets, and Frank too - the layers of the alliance are becoming more and more apparent everyday. An alliance with layers creates discontempt which leads to historic falling outs. The Eight-Pack will hang in there for a few more weeks, they could even make it to jury before falling apart, but not without a few members cut loose, sacrificed, or lost as a casualty along the way.

I couldn't end this inaugural ‘From My P.O.V’ without addressing the inarguable biggest flop of the season. He wanted to shine bright like a Frankie, and boy did he ever - Jozea Flores.

I’ll be the first to admit. I was wrong about Jozea. In our ‘First Impressions’ article, I cited Jozea as someone who seemed to have a high degree of social intelligence, was too introverted to make waves, and didn't have the big personality to be a Frankie-Grande-type. Guys, I have never been more wrong about anything in my life.

Jozea is a historically bad player. We’re talking BB16 Devin bad. Hes delusional. He thinks the entire house loves him, and even is the self proclaimed “Messiah” of the newbie players. He's even gone so far as to say he doesn't plan on packing his bags for eviction night because he KNOWS he's not the one who will be walking out the door.

All of this confidence with a 7 to 4 vote planned against him. To give him a little, tiny bit of fairness that he doesn't truly deserve, the newbie players of the Eight-Pack alliance are lying their faces off to him saying he has their votes. So he has reason to feel that he's safe, but if he had ANY of the social intelligence I originally saw in him (again, incorrectly) he would be able to put the puzzle pieces of his demise together. Thats not the case, though.

This guy has hubris that we’ve only seen from the likes of some of the greatest players to ever play the game. I mean really, this guy has Dr. Will level confidence, and doesn't even realize he is going to be the first person to be rightfully evicted from the house. (Poor Glenn).

I got one thing right about Jozea in my ‘First Impressions’ takes - I said that his inability to see holes in his game hints at a greater lack of self-awareness that could prove troublesome down the road. Boy, did I ever nail that one on the head.


When the dust settles, this first week in the BB18 house will have been a relative success. While I clearly have some bones to pick about the types of twists we’re seeing, and more glaringly have some strong feelings towards some of the Houseguests, I am more excited than ever to see the ‘wildest summer vacation ever’ play out on our televisions over the next 90-some-odd days.

Thank you for hanging with me for my first edition of ‘From My P.O.V’, and stop by next Wednesday for my ‘P.O.V’ on the happenings of the week passed!

Make sure to follow Matthew on Twitter - @JYABBSuperfan

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