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Ratings Are Up - Why?

Between the comments section on this site and the majority of "tweeters" I read every day, this season of Big Brother is a complete disaster. The house guests are moronic at best; vile at worst. The competitions are retreads of previous season. The "twists" produce nothing but jeers.

Yet CBS put out two press releases over the past few days touting the fact that last night's episode and Thursday's double eviction not only won their time slots but were the most-watched episodes since season nine. How can this be possible?

I have a couple of theories. While summer programming is always generally a wasteland, this year found the networks basically throwing in the towel. It's really not too tough to beat shows like Minute to Win It, Wipeout, or America's Funniest Home Videos (who knew that was still on?). The highly-touted cable shows of this summer (True Blood, Mad Men, Jersey Shore, etc.) are also all broadcast later in the evening. There's just no competition in the early evening.

In my opinion, online followers also need to realize they're not typical viewers. The vast majority of viewers never watch the live feeds. They don't read the Big Brother blogs or news sites. Hell, they never even visit the network's online Big Brother section. They may throw out the occasional tweet, but they don't follow dozens of hardcore fans for live feed information.

The only knowledge these people have of the BB compound is what they see on their television three times a week, and the production team has worked overtime to create a relatively well-paced season. It helps that this group of mopes have completely cooperated with the needs of this crew. All of them have consistently delivered exactly what the diary room desires - Britney's cattiness, Enzo's fake Italian bravado, Lane's down home charm, Brendon's dedication to the woman of his dreams, etc.

Yes, some of it has been smoke and mirrors. Rachel initially received an edit that even a nun would dream of getting, which made the post-HOH incident with Kristin (and her Pandora's Box return) a shocking heel turn that the WWE hasn't been able to create since the days of Stone Cold Steve Austin. On the other hand, Matt was much more laid back and likable than the "diabolical genius" mantra they played up on the show.  This kind of material has helped producers refrain from the usual filler segments of the house guests primping, cleaning (well, they don't do that anyway), exercising, and individual quirks.

Keeping the ratings up will be a challenge these last few weeks, though. Football is back next week, and the networks will begin to slowly roll out their fall schedule this month. Plus, the diminished number of contestants make it a bigger challenge to come up with material outside of competitions. Viewer numbers are bound to decline until the big finale on September 15.

So what do you think? Why are the ratings up? Are network viewers getting a skewed version of what's actually happening in the house? 



Enzo's Replacement Is...


No big surprise to feed watchers, though, as Lane told Britney last night that's what he was planning to do. I thought he may have been just telling her what she wanted to hear, but I guess he was being honest. Feeds are already back down, so I didn't really catch his reaction to this move.

Is Ragan still the target, though? Could Britney and Lane mastermind a surprise maneuver to take over the game? Or will Der Bergade move on to the inevitable final three?


Big Brother, Episode 23 Recap

Well, we’re now in the home stretch of a long, long season. Double eviction night sent the two hardest-working players to the jury house, and we’re down to four people who hid behind Matt for the majority of the game, and a woman who was saved by that same person last week but this week did Der Bergade’s dirty work to get rid of him.
Double eviction night concluded without a new HOH, so it’s inevitable that will be the focus of tonight’s show, along with lot and lots of self-congratulations. With nominations pretty much known the minute the new HOH was crowed, any tension shown will be primarily the result of crafty editing.
So here we go with a replay of Thursday’s episode. Hayden acts like the double eviction announcement excited him, but we know that they knew this was happening. Enzo babbles that maybe Matt wasn’t the “brains after all” since he’s lasted longer than him. Britney calls him a few choice words, and Ragan says he’s not as sad as he thought he would to see him go, as he betrayed him.
As we see Matt’s name blacked out, Hayden says it’s now time to get Ragan out of the house “before he can do any damage”. Lane says they have to “regroup Der Bergade” to ensure they win HOH. As we know, they do win with Hayden’s victory. Yes, he’s excited but it’s hard to tell as he yells as loud as normal. Britney is also happy to see that Brendon didn’t win as it means “the target is off my back and on his”. Lane says he started yelling “that’s my boy”.
Ragan knows that he’s going to go on the block “because the men in this house are working together”. He says he’s “going to do what I can to win power of veto”. Der Bergade gets together and says it has to be Ragan and Brendon put up…as Brendon walks in. Brendon pulls Hayden aside and asks if it’s him that’s the target, and Hayden denies it. Hayden explains that he really does want Ragan to go, as Brendon continues to lobby for Britney’s nomination. “Just don’t keep fucking Britney over me. You’re making a mistake if you do that.” Poor Hayden’s brain is about to explode.
Hayden indeed puts up Brendon and Ragan (as we know). Ragan knows that he HAS to win POV. “I need to fight, fight, fight.” Britney meets up with Hayden and Enzo and asks what happens if one of them wins. “One of you has to go up as a pawn.”  As we know, Ragan indeed does win veto and is “eeeee-lated”. Hayden informs Britney that she will be going up, as Brendon is pacing in worry. Ragan does pull himself down, and Britney is put up. Enzo says he has to pick who will be harder to beat. “Brendon, duh.”
Brendon, of course, is evicted. Britney couldn’t be happier. “Oh my gosh, it took forever…the Neandertall is OUT!” Enzo says they couldn’t “risk him winning any more competitions…you’ll have Rachel in the jury house. Go make ugly babies.” 
They final five are all full of themselves after Brendon’s departure, although Ragan says his “feelings have evolved”. He “takes my hat off to him” for everything he’s gone through. Hayden adds some silliness.
Britney and Ragan huddle in the bedroom, and he tells her to just be “calm”. Ragan knows that unless he wins HOH, he’s going up. At the same time, Der Bergade are still celebrating. “It’s our game”, says Enzo. “Back to back Bergade”, adds Hayden. Enzo, of course, is all bravado. “I’ll put up Britney and Ragan.” Lane hopes that Enzo actually wins this HOH so he doesn’t have to choose between Britney and a Bergade member. Good luck with that.
After commercials, it’s time for said HOH competition. They walk outside to a makeshift casino, and since Enzo supposedly plays cards all the time back home he’s set to win. It’s not really a card game, though, as they have to launch balls into a contraption rigged with a deck of cards. Again, we get to hear Ragan describe the “men’s alliance”, and more bravado from Enzo. “You can’t blame anybody else for you not winning.” Lane doesn’t want to win. (Foreshadowing, in case you were wondering.).
Lane gets a perfect score on his round, and Ragan evens his score. Oh, now Enzo is worried. Britney doesn’t do so well, and is (maybe) out. It’s now Enzo’s turn, and he hit’s the blackjack on four shots. Britney is eliminated. “I’m embarrassed.” You should be for losing to Enzo.
In the second round, Ragan only hits one of the two targets. “This is not looking good for me.” Enzo just has “got to do this”. As you may expect, he fails…which saves Ragan. Lane is furious. “I was going to throw this competition for you!” On his second ball, Lane nails the ace to eliminate Enzo. Even Hayden laughs at how Enzo is “the most consistent competitor”. Even Enzo realizes he’s become embarrassing. 
So it’s down to Lane versus Ragan in the final round. Ragan says he feels “scared…but I still have faith”. Hayden adds that the “beast has to come through”. On his last shot, Lane gets the second target. Ragan nails the toughest target on his fourth ball, but the last shot…oh snap, it’s commercial time!
When we return…well, you probably already know that Ragan fails to nail the intended target. First, we have to hear the idiotic babble from both him and Lane. Yes, Lane is HOH! And once again we get to hear Lane talk about what a tough decision this will be. Britney is confident that she’ll be safe, and the whole day has been phenomenal. For some reason, we have to again hear Ragan talk about the “boy’s alliance”. Enough! We get it! Enzo says that Lane just HAS to do the right thing, despite the fact that Britney is “cute and all”.
Ragan heads into the Taj Mahal and does his best Kathy impression. Yes, Ragan, we know that you’re the low man on the totem pole, and that you’re a fighter. Meanwhile, Lane is asking who wants the “pawn spot”. Britney doesn’t want it, as “I just finished”. Yeah, for a whole ten minutes! Hayden jokes that “Enzo wants the pawn spot.” Hayden doesn’t care, as long as it’s not him.
It’s already time for the HOH room reveal, and Britney says this is the first time (other than her own) that she has cared about this segment. It’s worthless as always, except for Lane saying that he has a cushy job where he just drinks and plays golf with clients. 
The segment may have backfired, though, as Britney and Hayden are sitting outside in the hammock. Britney lets slip that if it was him and Lane in the finals, she’d probably vote for Hayden since Lane doesn’t need the money. Oh, you silly twit. Hayden plays up to this, and brags to Britney all of Lane’s possessions.
Enzo, though, is worried that Lane isn’t going to put up Britney. “Me and Hayden got to wake up Lane and bring him back to Der Bergade and put Britney on the block. Or else it‘s going to be me on the block, and I‘m not having that.” They’re worried that he’s going to take her to the finals. Nice editing, CBS!
Filler time, as Enzo is acting dumb. I mean, really dumb. Even dumber than usual. He’s turned the weight set into a space ship. Please make it stop.
Oh god, more silliness. Now Lane gets a Pandora’s Box. Really? Four weeks in a row? He’s shown a tree full of gold necklaces, and obviously he chooses it (despite the delayed time for him to babble about it). He has to choose three envelopes, and he could win up to $10,000. But with every one he opens, the house gets a punishment. His first envelope is for $79, and his second is for $12. The last one is only for seventeen cents! He’s pissed!
Lane heads downstairs and accurately describes everything that happened, but Lane doesn’t believe him. Ragan is “mortified” that maybe they cloned Rachel. Lane tries to be funny, and says that “maybe” he can fill his car up with gas.
God, make this segment end! The first punishment is that all the silverware and cups have been taken away. I’m not going to waste time with the idiotic comments from Britney, Enzo, and Hayden.
Back to game stuff, as Britney asks Lane who he is putting up. Lane answers that it will be Ragan and Enzo, but wants to know if she would pull down Ragan with a veto. She obviously says she wouldn’t, but is worried that Enzo is starting to get “fired up” about competition. She wants him to put up Hayden instead. “I’m not putting up Hayden.” Now Britney is pissed that he’s more loyal to Hayden over her. Ugh!
It’s now Enzo’s time to complain, as Lane is talking about how this is the worst time to be HOH. Enzo wants it to be Britney and Ragan. Hayden is also asked if he wants to go up, and you can guess the answer to that. Enzo adds that he’s starting to not trust Lane.
Thankfully, it’s nomination time. Everybody just repeats what we’ve already heard, along with Lane complaining that he doesn’t like to hurt people’s feelings. The first key belongs to Britney, followed by Hayden. The nominees are Enzo and Ragan! Lane says little to explain himself except blah blah about competition, strategy, and POV!. Ragan again talks about being by himself, and that he is a fighter. Enzo is pissed. “It’s such a baby move. Lane is a pussy. Make the power move already. What are you so scared about Britney? Put her on the block. Who cares?” Lane responds that Enzo shouldn’t be such a baby, as he “hasn’t won anything. At least Britney’s won competitions. What have you done? Maybe Britney’s the one who should stay, and you should go.” Nice reading of the BB cue cards, Lane.
Well, that’s it. What did you think of the episode?  Did Lane make the right choices? Do you think the Pandora’s Box gimmick has run its course? Or do you believe the removal of silverware is a punishment worth airing? 

Shocking POV Results!

Yes, Enzo finally came through with a victory, and is full of bravado. He "wanted it more". "It's a war." Blah blah blah. Good for him, though.

There is apparently some controversy over the competition, though. It doesn't appear to be the morph contest, but something to do with finding CD's. I don't really get it, but Enzo supposedly yanked the winning disc out of Ragan's hand.

Not surprising, Ragan is in the bedroom crying. He knows his game's over.