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Friday
Jul262013

Confessions of a Newbie

Short, shameful confession: I've gone bat sh!t crazy.

Just wanted to acknowledge that from the get-go ... because I'm completely new to everything Big Brother, and all of you are very not.

It has taken me 10 days just to learn what questions to ask. Jumping for the first time into BB about four weeks into the 15th season is about as easy as starting "The Sopranos" at season 6, episode 21, about 55 minutes in. I get it that the big, brooding guy must be Tony, so that's probably his wife and kid he's meeting at a diner. But who is the sophisticated young woman trying to park the Lexus outside? Why are those other guys looking at Tony kind of strangely? Is somebody about to get whacked? And then the camera cuts to ... fish. Er ... darkness. WTF?

Even if it took me a week and a half to start understanding the show, it really only took me about an hour and a half watching the live feeds to get hooked on #BB15. But that's where the crazy starts coming in. Who are all these people? This one seems very plain-spoken ... That guy is big but mostly quiet ... She seems funny ... That other woman is very conniving ... My goodness, these people are all beautiful ... Wait, did she just tell that guy exactly the opposite of what she told the woman in that other room?

The rooms! This house is absolutely astonishing. Mirrors everywhere -- ah, that's obviously so they can film from every angle. Different colors, patterns, and shapes in every last spot, almost to a visual overload level. Hmmm. It's going to take a while to learn everybody's names, I thought to myself, so why don't I try to just understand the house?

The Cockpit Room? Really?!So I loaded up the CBS web site's BB home page to learn about the house itself, and found ... nothing.

Then I tried a half-dozen different Google searches ... and I found numerous floor plans, all are which are generic or customized to previous seasons.

Crazy! The house guests talk about specific rooms and I was able to visually recognize some of them, but I still couldn't quite grok where some spaces actually exist in the building.

Time for expert help. I texted my friend Indy Mike (yes, that one), and the conversation went something like this:

Mike: here's a map of the main floor from BB12 - the "Cabanna" room is now the "Cockpit" and the "Taj" bedroom is the "Have Not" bedroom.

me: is the Cockpit room kind of divided into two, like maybe with the fuselage of a plane?  or maybe i get confused by the different camera angles.

Mike: it's a big room with the photo booth and a U shaped seating area

me: oh, so the photo booth is in the middle of the U, and it looks like an airplane?

Mike: middle of the U? No, there's nothing in the middle.

me: wait, what? so where's the room that has the airplane seats and the airplane overhead bins, with the walls decorated with the split-flap display boards reading "CANCELLED" and "DELAYED"?

Mike: That's the "have not" room - the "Taj" bedroom on the map

me: the room with the airplane stuff isn't called the Cockpit room?!

Mike: nope - they call that the "Have Not" room. Cockpit room has images of planes as well. The HGs make up the names themselves.

me: So the Cockpit Room does not, at least in the camera angle usually shown, look particularly aeronautical ... while the "Have Not" room has nothing but airplane parts and airport images? Go figure.

Will the real cockpit room please stand up?Definitely crazy! And then there's all this:

What's an HOH? POV? DR? Have-not? Twist? How does an HG become MVP and what does that involve? Can viewers influence what happens in the house? What's a lockdown? How and when do supplies (groceries, meds, booze, etc.) appear in the house? What are they allowed to ask producers for, and how often? When, how, and why do they get punished? How often do they have competitions, and for what? How and when do HGs get whacked -- er, evicted? When it gets down to two people, how do they decide who wins? Finally, how come the fish never gets called to the diary room?

That last one is a (bad) joke -- sorry. And at this point, closing in on two weeks since I started orbiting this crazy world, most of those questions are, for me, now rhetorical. 

HelenOh, one more wish: Captions! Please give me captions! During the thrice-weekly broadcasts on CBS, when host Julie Chen mentions a specific house guest by name, they very kindly cut to video of that person. Very helpful! But I wish they would occasionally caption the live feeds with the house guests' names, given that some of them only rarely look much like their photos. (I'd love to see captions on all the photos included in this blog, too -- but as the new guy, my suggestions will be kept mostly to myself.)

Ash, Scott, Mike, and the others here have forgotten more about BB than I'll ever learn. Their episode summaries and analyses are awesome; I won't be trying to do any of that. Instead, I hope simply to provide occasional thoughts and questions from a newbie's perspective ... starting next time with this: How come nobody here likes Helen?

Except me, it seems. And I really like Helen.

Which undoubtedly to you makes me ... wait for it! ... bat sh!t crazy.

 

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Reader Comments (11)

I like Helen also! I think she has s good chance of winning the game.
July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterQuincy
Welcome newbie! By comparison to the excellent writers here at BBG, I guess I'm a newbie, too, having discovered BB after Season 12. I got the feeds in season 13, looked back to the archives or older seasons, and was hooked.

Here's something you might write about, if you're interested, and if you observe the same thing I have. The thing that struck me the most while binge-watching the season 12 episodes was the way language is used in the house, and the complete lack of sarcasm/humor the HGs seem to have about the game. To the first point, I know the show elements are scripted, but the conversations between HGs are also full of hackneyed phrases like "100%". "You're not my target." "His name didn't come out of my mouth." I could go on, but you get the idea.Why do these people all speak alike about the game? The second point is related. Most of them don't seem to find much irony or humor in their watched/controlled/scripted state. I would expect more ironic reaction to the supremely weird life situation of living inside a TV show, not being allowed to talk about Production, and being forced to read cue cards several times a week. Where's the snark, the sarcasm, the cleverness? Is the lack of these, and the tendency to use a modified version of "sports speak" a function of the kind of people that are cast?

So, hey! Maybe it's just me, looking for a place to unload questions I've thought about since I started watching this crazy show. Feel free to write about what YOU wanna write about.
July 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterleopardgrrl1
Great first article! I like Helen just fine and she just might walk away the winner :)
July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMissAslan
As a well seasoned BB fan, I absolutely cannot WAIT to read your perspective!! Welcome to our madness!
July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelli
Welcome John ;)
July 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterindymike
I am a BB fanatic!!! Because I'm retired, I have the time to stay up to date on what's going on in the house, & then I give my friends updates.
To answer your question about Helen not being liked. She is really good at manipulating people to get what she wants. I believe she can win this game. However, the others don't like the lies & back stabbing that's needed to win. My opinion is, you came to win $$, not friends. If you make friends, great, but don't let that get you off your strategy. This year seems to be more controversial than the past seasons. More racist, homophobic remarks being made, that can make a lot of stress in the house. I'm looking forward to see who prevails in the house of crazy!!!
July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSheila Nelson
Welcome, noob! Great first post.

Here's my take on Helen. She's exhausting! She's extremely charming at first, especially that first week where she didn't have any power. Once she won HOH, though, her whole demeanor changed. She decided she was running the house. She decided "America" loved her, and used "us" in her interrogations...I mean discussions. She's hypocritical in that she has made a million deals but still is next to tears whenever she recalls the Moving Company (I know that's primarily a game move). She tells every single person in the house her exclusive "secrets". Primarily, it's the fact that she can't go a minute or two without babbling.
July 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterScott
Welcome, John!! Great first post. I look forward to reading more. =)
July 27, 2013 | Registered CommenterAsh
Love the questions you asked, they are the exact same questions I hear when I first introduce someone to the madness! Only your questions are better for one reason: They aren't during the show and interrupting my watching! :) My first few seasons i frequently visited the CBS page to remember who's who.
July 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterErinInTx
Great first post! Love to hear your take on the HGs!
Love this site! 😀
July 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGweez
Thanks for your newbie perspective. I would love to see a truly newbie cast that had never watched BB. Give them a test on all things BB and anyone making over 25% should be thrown out. That way we wouldn't see all of the strategy reruns and the preparations for past competitions and the same BB jargon year after year. I don't want to watch Chilltown 5.0 or the "Bragade" crap anymore. Hey Grodner...listen up!!
July 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLissersmom

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