Big Brother and Groupthink

BIG BROTHERAnyone who knows me knows how much I love my reality TV. Survivor, The Amazing Race, Hell’s Kitchen, I love them all. My all time favorite is Big Brother. It is such an intense game from week to week. In Survivor you pretty much know what you are getting. If people are playing it right, they keep the strong players while its a group game, vote them out as soon as possible when the game shifts to individual play, and make as many friends and as few (but still some) alliances as possible.  Big Brother is a different world. Its a longer but faster game.  In Survivor you need to have an end game, but in Big Brother you can’t because the game changes so frequently that thinking about your moves more than two weeks in advance, aside from keeping your allies safe, is a waste of time. Power shifts and alliances change daily and people make big moves all the time. Well they used to, anyway.

This season has been a completely different ball game. The first few weeks were great, they got rid of the big strong boys. These were the boys that will romance girls to do their bidding and are strong enough to win competitions. I have no complaints about the way the first few weeks were played. The new MVP twist is kind of BS in my opinion; meant to eliminate floaters, it actually encouraged them. That being said, Helen and Amanda realized this and used it to their advantage, effectively “weaponizing Elissa” like they wanted to.

Where things go off the rails for me is Helen’s HOH. Her whole, “this is everybody’s HOH, come share the love, share the excitement” was ridiculous. Give your head a shake! This is a competition for half a million dollars! While I respect what she was trying to do for her social game, I really think this is where the whole idea of having to agree with everyone and vote with the house came from. I have never seen this in BB history. Usually the house divides into two separate groups around week 3 or 4. It becomes us vs. them. As a viewer you have your favourite team and each week you revel in watching who wins the competitions and hoping that if your preferred team is out of power that at least your favorite player doesn’t get evicted.

Last night Judd was voted out in a major blindside during a double eviction. Initially when Aaryn put him up I was shocked and really thought it was a brilliant move. Judd has been playing all sides of the house, and was pretty well liked personally, even if people suspected his game play. I honestly thought the elimination of the MVP and the return to a more classic game had triggered Aaryn to start making big moves. Cue disappointment. Immediately following her nomination she says, “I have to do this. This is what the house wants”. Its your HOH! Do what YOU want. Sigh…

To make matters worse, the votes were pathetic. People crying as they vote to evict Judd? I get it. Sometimes there are hard choices, but if you are Judd’s best ally in the house (like McCrae or Andy) and you know the votes are there to evict him anyway, throw the dude a vote. You may get some heat from the house, but you can explain that all away and pitch yourself as a really loyal player. Tell Aaryn you knew the votes were there, and you would have never done it if imagesthere was any doubt but you told him you would never vote against him (whether that’s true or not), so you couldn’t. It paints you as loyal to all your remaining allies, and secures some good vibes with a jury member. People seem to forget that once jury kicks in, the game you play in the house is just as important as the game that goes on outside the house. Not to mention that Julie seemed to hint that a jury member could return (a la Big Brother Canada), which means your good vibes could go a long way to securing a future alliance, something that could come in handy if you are a person like McCrae who stands to lose many of his allies when someone gets a brain and realizes that Amanda and Helen are far too influential in the house.

Side note: I think the smart move for anyone who wants really, really shake up the game is to get rid of McCrae. With him gone, Amanda falls apart, goes after Aaryn and Jessie, with whom she has a tenuous relationship at best. Helen scrambles to soothe her, making a bigger target on herself for being the only one left calling shots, and Spencer is now totally alone. Easy to pick each one of them off. Then you are only left with GM, and Andy who are fairly easy to beat in most things, even if they have each won an HOH and Elissa who is not half the player her sister was and has essentially been waiting to be evicted since week one.

When its all said and done I guess it’s kind of ironic that a game named after for the famous Orwell novel has now become self-fulfilling to the point that all the contestants now think alike, act alike and are so devoid of the ability to think for themselves that left to their own devices they crumble under the pressure.

Please – leave a comment about your thoughts on this season of Big Brother! I love to talk about this game.

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