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Wednesday
Sep032014

Double Eviction #2 Episode Guide - Expect the Expected

It's not just that the show and feeds have been dull and predictable this season. It's that I still haven't found any house guests to root for. It would be easier to deal with a house so mind-numbingly controlled by one person all season (Derrick) if I simply could find a reason to call somebody my favorite and then cheer him or her on.

Hasn’t happened yet, and I don’t think it will. That, along with everything which fellow contributor Scott wrote in his brilliant piece on Wednesday (see “Big Brother 2014: What went wrong?”), makes me wonder if the best seasons of this show happened years before I began watching.

Thoughts on the remaining house guests and final-three predictions in a moment. First, a guide to #BB16’s second double eviction episode:

1. Recaps for 10-12 minutes. 

2. Julie will chat with the house guests and we’ll see Nicole’s and Victoria’s repeat “save me” speeches. (Extra propz to either of them if they would simply stand up, say “Hi Mom & Dad!”, and sit right back down.) Julie will also mention, to feigned surprise, that it’s a double eviction night.

3. Unanimous eviction vote (yawn) and Julie’s interview with Nicole by about 25 minutes after the hour.

4. An HOH comp lasting three to six minutes. (If you Expect the Expected, as we all now do for #BB16, the winner will be Frankie, Cody, or Christine.)

5. Strategizing for a couple of minutes, and then nominations.

6. POV comp.

7. Strategizing again, veto meeting, and potential replacement nomination.

8. “Save me” speeches, the second elimination vote, and Julie’s second interview of the night. And then Julie signs off.

(Remember that the next HOH competition will take place off the air.)

Last year, mainstream news media coverage of #BB15 controversy led me to sample the show for the first time, and Helen quickly became my favorite.  I’ve been trying to get on somebody’s team this year but I’m just not feelin’ it. Donny almost became my favorite but his game naïveté lasted too long. Here’s my take on everybody who’s left.

Caleb. Thank heaven that he’s (mostly) over Amber. (Maybe Zingbot ... er, Kathy Griffin helped on that count. “You think she’s drop dead gorgeous. She just wants you to drop dead! Zing!”) When he’s alone with the boys, though, too often he falls back into behavior which seems to indicate he thinks of women not as people (much less respect-worthy equals) but rather only as mindless objects for pleasure. After being everybody’s #1 target in the weeks after Devin’s departure (and pulling off a string of predictable comp wins which kept him safe), the house seems to have forgotten how much they once hated Caleb. That’s Big Brother, I guess, and I admit that he did become a savvier player after Amber’s departure. But I am astonished that he’s still here, and I’m honestly worried that some bad luck for Derrick (such as getting evicted during tonight’s double, unlikely as that is) could make Caleb an actual frontrunner. I can’t stomach the thought of Caleb winning.

Christine. Meh. As the strongest female player this year, I wanted to like her. But she’s done more to swing my feelings toward “nah!” than “yeah!” She played Nicole pretty well earlier -- not that I’m a big Nicole fan either, but I was hoping perhaps Christine would lead an alliance with the other women. But her loyalty to the Detonators will be her undoing.

Cody. He has mostly stayed out of trouble, game-wise (I’m leaving the Christine friendmance thing alone), and his decision early on to ally with Derrick has certainly proven smart. Why not root for Cody? Because he’s all talk. He whined on this week’s Wednesday episode in the DR about having wanted Frankie out for weeks. But as last week’s winner of both HOH and POV, he had multiple chances to make a big move. Did he? Obviously not. Oh, and remember back in week 4, the previous time Cody was HOH? He had the chance to get Caleb (much hated at the time by HGs and me as well) out of the house when Victoria saved herself via POV ... and Cody even said “If I put up Donny instead, my brother say I’m such a p#ssy.” Sure enough, he wimped out, and Brittany went home instead. If Cody had taken even one of these opportunities, my respect for him as a player would have increased exponentially.

Derrick. My opinion is unchanged. This guy remains an absolute master analyst, strategist and manipulator. He gets everybody to do what he wants, often without their realizing it. He sets eviction targets but ultimately bends to the will of the house. He avoids winning comps to keep from getting dirtied by nominations. (Except once when he won and remained HOH. But because Devin went home that week with much rejoicing, nobody had reason for lingering resentment toward Derrick.) He’s never been on the block. The only thing which could prevent Derrick making it to the finale would be lack of luck in some chance-based comp, which seems quite unlikely. I definitely appreciate Derrick’s game mastery. But his very expertise keeps me from actively cheering Derrick on because it’s his fault the season deserves an #ExpectTheExpected hashtag.

Frankie. Textbook case of stunt casting gone awry. Ridiculously self-centered and pompous. Although in the early weeks I couldn’t stand his on-camera persona beginning with the very first CBS show of the season, on the feeds Frankie seemed reasonably normal and likable -- enough so that I was willing for several weeks to ignore his “I’m live on camera, better amp up the flamboyancy” thing. And even for a newbie fan like me (at 13-14 months in, I’m definitely still learning game strategy), it seemed like Frankie was playing an unbeatable social game and would be guaranteed (by virtue of a deck stacked by his sister’s followers) to win fan favorite. But then the Big Ariana Reveal happened and his mean tendencies seemed to come out and stay out. So I’ve totally gone from feeling like I wouldn’t be unhappy for Frankie to win to actively wanting him out. (I also tweeted the other day my realization that Frankie is a lock to appear on All Stars. Ugh.)

Victoria. Oh, Victoria. Do you even realize that your own inability to do anything has become your strength? Although thankfully I’m no longer worried about Victoria’s mental health, I have found no reason to respect her game -- if one could even legitimately refer to what she’s doing there as “game.” On the other hand, wouldn’t it be delicious to discover during the finale (by acing the endurance and quiz comps) that Victoria has been faking her ineptitude all season? Won’t happen, obviously, but such an unexpected twist would almost redeem the season.

Tonight’s first evictee will be ... Nicole. After Monday’s POV meeting, when Caleb wimped out and put Victoria up as the replacement nom rather than Frankie, it sealed Nicole’s fate (again).

My hope for tonight’s second eviction: Caleb or Frankie.

What will probably happen instead (since we’ve all learned to Expect the Expected this season): Julie’s second interview tonight will be with Christine or Victoria.

My “final 3” predictions back in week 4 (see “Mid-July Newbie Perspectives”): Derrick, Christine, and Frankie.

My new “final 3” predictions: Derrick, Cody, and Victoria.

CBS has zero incentive to change anything now or for next year, by the way, because TV ratings remain solid. It's irrelevant to CBS what we live feeders slash hard-core fans think. As long as the country keeps providing time-slot winning viewership two or three times weekly, CBS will change nothing. Expect the Expected for again #BB17, even if it’s All Stars. Who do you really want to be evicted second tonight, and do you think it has a chance of happening? Who are you now predicting will make it to the finale? Share your thoughts in the comments or @uselesstraffic.

Wednesday
Sep032014

Big Brother Season 16, Episode 31 Recap

As I stated in a post earlier today, tonight’s episode is a tease. A huge tease. There will be a few moments where the vast majority of you will cheer, and will actually be excited for the last few weeks of the season.

Don’t get too pumped, though, as there will be an almost instant deflation. A devastating turn of events. I’m getting upset just thinking about it.

So let’s get this over with it, starting with the nominations of Nicole and Christine. Caleb says that Nicole is the actual target, and if she somehow stays she’s going to come after him “or one of my boys”. All Christine has to do, he adds, “is sit up there and look pretty”.

Derrick heads into the storage room with Caleb, and immediately gets a stupid “holla”. Caleb explains that although he’s a “country boy” and Nicole’s a “country girl”, they’re both playing completely different games. Derrick agrees, but in the diary room confides that he actually wants Christine to head out the door. “Frankly, I’m not a big fan of her.” He’s now just waiting for the results of the veto competition to make this happen.

We move on to Christine alone in the fire room. “I hate them”, she says about the boys. “I’ve done so much fucking crap for the stupid Detonators and stupid Bomb Squad, and every time I fucking get put up on the block or screwed over. I’m so tired of it.” She has to win the veto, obviously.

Nicole now comes into the storage room to get some consoling from Derrick. First, we get her godawful diary room whine. She complains that it’s even harder to make it in the game after coming back into it. Derrick tries to convince her that he’s actually her allie, and the triumphant music comes up as the tears disappear. “Anytime you want to talk, I’m here”, says Derrick.

Upstairs, Cody and Caleb are having a meeting of the mind(less). They’re going through the scenarios surrounding the veto comp. Caleb says that Victoria will be the replacement nominee, but then adds “I’ll ask D(errick) to see what he says.” Yep, there’s everything that’s wrong with this season. Think for yourselves!!!

On cue, Derrick heads into the HOH. Caleb asks what would happen if Christine was able to save herself using the veto. Would she now come after him? Derrick replies that she will indeed be pissed, but she has to know that none of the guys are taking her to the end. He says that it wouldn’t bother him if Christine ended up going home if Nicole saves herself. He also reminds Caleb that Christine almost beat him in the HOH comp, and that Nicole is emotionally done even if she stays.

In the have-not room, Nicole is talking to Victoria. Nicole says that in the last few days they’ve gotten really close as they supposedly have the same views on those left in the house, and she wouldn’t know what to do without her companionship. They gossip a bit about Christine and Cody, and Victoria says she doesn’t like her. She goes on to say how stupid these people are to see her as a bigger threat than Christine, as she has nobody to work with. If Victoria wins the veto, Nicole hopes that she uses it on her. Victoria just shakes her head yes, but is more unresponsive to the idea. “I will not go down without a fight”, concludes Nicole.

More “hollas” for Derrick as he heads into the HOH. They talk about how hard it’s going to be in the final week, and Caleb spouts a lot of obvoius stuff. Derrick does his usual job of greasing up Caleb’s ego while also digging out some info. Derrick describes how he’s doing this in the diary room. After stroking his ego, Derrick then talks about how awful he is at competitions. “I think any one of you would beat me.” The third step is to throw a dig or two at the other competitiors, and for this exercise it’s Frankie and Cody. He tells Caleb that it would be a close fight between him and those two, unlike the ease he’d beat Derrick. Caleb eats it all up, and says that if he is the final HOH he is definitely taking Derrick. Mission accomplished. “That, people, is how you win five hundred thousand dollars.”

Now we see Christine talking to herself as she slowly walks upstairs to the HOH. “The last thing I want to do is hang out with these ‘Abominators’. They just put me on the block!” She heads in anyway, and Caleb says that if any of them win the veto they’re going to pull her down in favor of Victoria. Derrick, obviously, doesn’t agree with this, but is still keeping quiet.

(BTW, I just noticed that it’s not until this moment twelve minutes into the show that we’re forced to endure Frankie. Great job, producers!!!)

After commercials, we get to pick veto players. It’s kind of a wasted segment, though, as all but one person gets to play. To keep it short, and to ignore the “I have to win this” speeches, it’s everybody but Frankie that plays this week...which annoys him. It annoys him so much that he checks to see if he actually has a chip in the bag. “Unbelievable.”

Back upstairs, the boys talk about how nervous Frankie is starting to act. Caleb announces to both Cody and Derrick that he will always pick them over Frankie. Cody adds that he’s not the biggest fan of him, either, which leads to another “Derrick teaches us moment”. I’m already tired of this.

He’s now going to show us how to get the conversation “back on track”. Christine, obviously, is the real threat here, so he needs to deflect the chat away from Frankie. He points out that if Nicole saves herself, it’s actually Frankie she’s going to go after next week instead of Caleb, but if Christine stays Frankie will be safe. They all decide at that moment that if Nicole comes down then Christine has to go home.

It’s now veto comp time, and it’s a bomb-squad theme. The worst part about Frankie not playing is that he’s the host, and anytime he gets the hint of screen time he’s at his worst. Yes, it’s unbearable, especially his diary pun about “dropping an anvil” on Nicole like in the cartoons.

The comp involves videos that tell the players which wires they need to cut. If they do it wrong, their “bomb” will explode and they will be “blown out of the game”. The first person or persons out will have to wear a dinosaur outfit. Why, I don’t know.

We hear three different sets of instructions, along with the usual Nicole whine, before we begin. Oh yeah, we also get Mr. Perfect Derrick talking about his photographic mind. I guess tonight is when CBS officially crowns Derrick as the greatest Big Brother player ever.

Just after Cody says he’s confident about the game, his bomb blows up and he’s the first out. Yep, he has to wear the stupid costume. For some reason, this is also explained three different times. In the second round, Nicole attempts to create a song to help her remember the order of wires. “I have a terrible singing voice.” No, my dear, it’s your diary room voice that’s terrible. Ear-splitting, in fact. Ugh, they also have Caleb doing comedy bits here. Everybody is correct this time around.

For round three, though, Caleb goes out. Derrick doesn’t want to win, so he’s just sticking around long enough to look good. Before round four, Victoria talks about how good she’s playing, which obviously means she’s the next to go out...along with more scripted diary room comedy bits. They all get the next one right, and we head to commercials. Why can’t they just end this now? This is a terrible competition, and featuring even worse production on the retells.

When we return, Derrick cuts the wrong wire, but of course he tells us ahead of time that’s according to plan. Nicole’s bomb also blows up, which means that Christine has won the veto. Now what are you going to do, Derrick?

They all notice that Frankie ran and hugged Christine when she won. Caleb says that he may have a new replacement nominee. I don’t even really here what is said for the next couple of minutes, as my ears are still ringing from Nicole.

With the girls in the bathroom, Caleb reports that Frankie was whispering something into Christine’s ear. Apparently, he stopped as soon as he saw Caleb approach. Caleb wants to find out what was said. “It doesn’t really settle well with me.” (Yep, here’s our few minutes of hope.)

Cody raises the question to Christine in the kitchen, and she says that he said that if he had been allowed to play he would have made it as far as her in the comp. Cody says he may be able to use this as ammo.

Filler time, as the diary room calls Cody in to get his dinosaur costume. Fast forward time!

Back to the game, as Dinosaur Boy joins Caleb in the HOH. He reports to Caleb the story on how Frankie was bragging about how great he would have been in the comp. Caleb is pisse.d “What’s his deal?” Cody babbles about how he’ll probably take somebody like Christine to the final two, knowing that Caleb would probably take him. Got that?

After another commercial break, Caleb is talking to Derrick and Christine about how scared he is about Frankie winning the next HOH. He firmly believes that Frankie will cut him and/or Cody loose. In the diary room, he adds that if he makes this move, he needs the support of the entire (non-existent) Bomb Squad. Christine says that she can’t stand Frankie, and would “love for him to be backdoored”. Derrick explains in the diary room that he’s torn as to what to do. (BTW, all through this conversation we get shots of Frankie applying makeup.)

Back inside, Derrick and Cody carry on with this topic. Cody thinks it’s possibly better to keep Nicole over Frankie this week. He believes that if Frankie does win HOH, it won’t be Caleb on the block. It will be him and Derrick. A non-committal Derrick final says that he’s on board with any decision.

Sleeping in the Have-Not room, Nicole complains about the game mentality in the house. At some point, somebody has to actually make some big moves. She tells Derrick that she believes he’s playing the best, most strategic game ever. “You’re the closest thing to Dan I’ve ever come across.” Ugh, really? Derrick loves this, but wants her to keep this quiet.

This compliment so unnerves him that he heads up to the HOH to stop the “Evict Frankie” movement. He says he’s down with sending Frankie home, but creates the needed scenarios to ensure that Nicole is back to being the target. (Seriously, it’s not hard with this collection of no-minds.) Caleb reads the diary room script that says he’s now confused as to what to do, and we head to the show’s final commercial break.

Let’s get this over with. Christine looks at the memory wall, babbles a bit, calls the house in, and takes herself down. They all say what production wants to hear, and then Caleb puts up Victoria in Christine’s place.

That’s it. I’m angry. I swear that CBS allowed interns to put this together. It was horribly edited, horribly scripted, and just a garbage show. I apologize to those who hate my negative recaps, but I’m tired of this idiocy.

Do you agree? Should Frankie have been put up? Are they going over the top with their “Derrick is a genius” edit? Tells us what you think!

 

Wednesday
Sep032014

Big Brother 2014: What Went Wrong?

It’s pretty clear that the sixteenth season of Big Brother is a failure. In all of the years I’ve been watching, blogging, and/or podcasting the show, I’ve never found so much apathy in the fan base. My twitter feed used to overload during network broadcasts, and it would take an hour to catch up with the overnight posts in the morning. I now see more Utopia updates in my timeline than anything Big Brother-related.

What went wrong?

It’s easy to blame Frankie. He is in my opinion the worst person ever cast on the show, and even mainstream websites are starting to report on his diva ways. As I’ve stated before, since he outed his famous sister and his own supposed online celebrity status, he’s strutted around the house like it’s his personal stage. Everybody else is just an extra to the Frankie show.

It’s also easy to complain about the twists. We were promised the “most twisted season ever”, but there were really only two twists, and both the dual HOH’s and Team America were disasters. Otherwise, it’s been the same competitions and the same returning player gimmicks that we see every year. When the contestants whose only knowledge of the game is the DVD’s provided to them before the season starts know what’s going to happen every week there is a problem.

That still doesn’t fully explain why fans are leaving in droves.

The real answer is a bit more subtle. Like a high school boy mesmerized by his classmate’s short skirts, week after week we’re being teased mercilessly. Every Sunday or Monday, we have a glimmer of hope that the season will be saved. For a few hours, or a day or two, there’s a strong possibility of a big move.

Week after week feed watchers are played like fools.

Typically, it all begins with an idea that it’s time to blindside a so-called strong player. Hours of conversations are held; scenarios are played out. Quite often, the decision is made to make the big move.

Just as quickly as the idea is sprung, it’s deflated. A “voice of reason”, aka Derrick, decides it’s not the right time to make this move, and some combination of Victoria, Nicole, Donny, and Jocasta have remained on the block. From Monday afternoon to Thursday’s eviction, there’s been little worth viewing.

Most viewers can be ok with this type of turn of events once or twice. We’re now at weeks and weeks of this exact same scenario. I’m tired of it, and I know I’m not alone.

What is sort of funny about this lame season is that a lot of the blame goes to a player who was dispatched the second week of the season. Remember how we laughed and laughed when Devin (who?) created that alliance that included almost the entire house? It’s because of his work that a group of five have controlled the house ever since. They’ve been a part of every week’s HOH, and have orchestrated every set of nominees. Even when their plans don’t work out, they’ve been able to regroup and ultimately end up with that combo of noms I already mentioned.

This week was no different than the week before, or the week before that. As you’ll see on tonight’s broadcast, Caleb had a moment of clarity on Sunday, and for a few hours it looked like our long summer nightmare could be dispatched. Frankie was all but guaranteed to be evicted, but Derrick (along with some paranoia-inducing chatter from Frankie) convinced Caleb it wasn’t the time to do this. When will it be?

It’s really time for CBS to step in and fix the show. Forget about “twists” or stuntcasts. Stop recruiting in bars. Don’t call a person a “superfan” just because she made t-shirts of the cute, nerdy boys. Find people who have some knowledge of the game, but not enough that they’ll be too guarded to let loose on the live feeds. Mix up the competitions. Do something to fix this mess, as it’s looking more and more outdated every year!

 

Monday
Sep012014

The Night Owl - Sunday Night

Well, tonight started out potentially exciting as Caleb seemed to become more and more convinced that it might be a good idea for him to go ahead and backdoor Frankie this week.  Derrick continually gave him push back throughout the afternoon and night saying he thought Nicole was just as dangerous.

At some point in the night there was another over the fence yeller who screamed something about Frankie destroying Caleb and Derrick in the DR and then there was a lockdown.  For a while, every single time Caleb got Derrick or Cody alone to discuss the idea of backdooring Frankie, Frankie would room pop and bust up the conversation.

Eventually in the wee hours of the morning Frankie went to bed and left Caleb, Cody, and Derrick to run the scenarios...and boy did they run them all.  For hours and hours and HOURS they went on and on and on about if Nicole wins the next HOH, if Frankie wins the next HOH, if Christine wins the next HOH.  The conversation looped and looped and looped.  I've never been so close to literally slamming my head against the desk to make it stop. 

For a while they would decide to send Nicole home. Then they would decide to send Frankie home, then they would go back again.  The really ridiculous part? I stayed up until now (7:30am in the morning) and now they have decided to sleep on it and make their decision in the morning. 

As of now, Cody and Derrick are saying they are on board to put Frankie up and get him out instead of Nicole because Nicole is easier to beat, she is going after Christine for sure, and Frankie could beat them in the end.  Caleb however has stared to back pedal and thinks he might rather put up Victoria and just send Nicole home.  So the fate of Frankie lays in the arms of Beastmode Cowboy and he just isn't sure what he is going to do.  I waited this long to post the blog in hopes of giving a more difinitive answer, but there just isn't one yet.  Today's post veto fallout may be the most boring one in history with Nicole and Victoria sitting around doing nothing, or it could be the best thing ever with Frankie in total meltdown mode.  We won't know until it happens. 

You all know how I feel about Frankie and that I want him gone, but I refuse to get my hopes up at this point.  I feel like Caleb will probably decide to play it safe and put Victoria up...but I could be wrong.  I guess I'm going to go set my alarm so I can see what happens after the veto meeting.  As always you guys can follow me on twitter @ashes2ashes13 for more overnight updates. Until next time..

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