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Entries in andy (16)

Saturday
Aug242013

The Perfect Backdoor -- Or Not

Amanda on the block with no ability to save herself!

That's what I woke up this morning thinking about. #BB15 events had finally led to a scenario which helped this newbie better understand the concept of the "backdoor." Indy Mike helped me learn it in generic terms:

Elissa holds court in the HOH room.- Head of Household nominates two people for eviction.

- In the Power of Veto competition, players consist of the HOH, the two nominees, and three additional randomly-drawn house guests. (Sometimes one of the chips drawn says "house guest's choice," so one player is slightly less random.)

- Earlier in the #BB15 season when the MVP picked a third nominee, the POV players consisted of the HOH, the three nominees, and two additional randomly-drawn house guests.

- If the HOH wins POV, she or he might save one of the original nominees -- so that s/he can nominate somebody different, who would then have no opportunity to compete to pull her/himself off the block before the eviction vote. This new nominee (who, by the way, would be labelled on our Ticker graphic at right as "Nominated via POV"), if evicted, would be considered to have been "backdoored."

- If one of the nominees wins POV, s/he virtually always saves her/himself ... so whomever picked the saved nominee (HOH or, earlier in the season, MVP) picks a new nominee. This new nominee, if evicted, is considered to have been "backdoored."

Power of Veto.- If a non-nominee wins POV, s/he gets to choose to pull somebody off the block. And then ... yup ... a new nominee goes up. If the new nominee is evicted, is s/he also considered to have been backdoored?

- The POV winner may choose not to use his/her veto, leaving the original eviction nominees in place. (Andy did that last week.)

As the day started this morning, the situation was this: Elissa is HOH, Aaryn and McCrae are on the block, and the POV competition was coming up. Elissa was Helen's strongest ally and she's no fan of Amanda. I haven't myself been much of an Elissa fan (I certainly had nothing good to say about her in my last post), but there was reason to think Elissa had been scheming to backdoor Amanda. And this, to me, was indeed good news.

Oh, noooo! See what Amanda's wearing today?What I didn't realize until reading Ash's "Night Owl" post this morning is that the house guests selected to be the additional POV players today were Judd, GinaMarie, and ... Amanda. Uh oh!

Here's another thing newbie viewers need to learn: An unnominated house guest who wins POV also wins immunity for the week. She or he can't be nominated.

You get one guess who won POV early Saturday afternoon. So much for the perfect backdoor! It was exactly the right time for somebody who had previously won nothing to win a comp.

My dream scenario for this next week is ruined. Since my favorite house guest (Helen) was evicted, I was hoping to see Amanda go next -- thus eliminating the two most powerful players in consecutive weeks and necessitating an entirely new power structure to be formed in #BB15's remaining weeks. That would have been absolutely delicious to watch.

Let the next speculations begin. Current thinking is that Elissa will put up Andy, Spencer, or GinaMarie. Who do you think is most likely? Amanda will save McCrae, obviously. Will Aaryn go to jury or the new nominee? Comment below or hit me up @uselesstraffic.

Knowing they're potential replacement nominees, Andy and Spencer try to get on Elissa's good side.

Thursday
Aug222013

There's Logic Behind My Loyalty

HelenThose here who like me, if anybody does, won't like me at all after reading this: I have been, and proudly remain, a loyal member of #TeamHelen.

Helen is the only house guest who hasn't annoyed me with confrontational mannerisms and deceit.

Don't misunderstand ... I'm not at all saying that she hasn't been confrontational and deceitful. As does every game player, she absolutely has employed her share of each. It just didn't annoy me.

Unlike, say, Amanda. Who has won nothing yet controls everything. Who has nothing kind to say about anybody. Who treats even her allies with disdain.

Unlike GinaMarie. Who is quite possibly the most mean-spirited non-fictional character I've ever seen on television. Geez, did you hear what she said to Candice the very last second that unfortunate woman was in the house? That was the moment when I was simply done with GM.

Amanda, you'll go eventually. Won't miss ya. GinaMarie? Sorry, I'll miss you even less than Amanda.Unlike Aaryn. Who was seemingly hated by all house guests (and viewers) for weeks yet survived it. Who has become, whether via actual skill or blind luck, one of the strongest players in the house ... yet who has resolutely and dutifully wasted the many opportunities given to her. Who has dreamt out loud in the Diary Room about big moves but who did only what others dictated.

Unlike McCrae. Who lives in the shadow of an autarch without realizing he can't win unless she goes first.

I will do what I want as HOH. I will do what I want as HOH. I will -- d'oh!! (Aaryn channels Homer Simpson.)Unlike Andy. Who lies and floats and lies and floats, feigning loyalty throughout. Who, except during his HOH week, purposely avoids success during every competition.

Unlike Candice. Who deserved none of the disgusting comments thrown at her by ignorant bullies but who literally slept through her eviction week, totally refusing to compete.

Unlike Elissa. Who is there only to shill for Elissa Slater Enterprises Company Incorporated, apparently under license and permission from CBS, if rumors about her higher stipend and special considerations are true.

And, at least a little, unlike Spencer. Who seems to survive not by being likable but by being less dislikable than others.

Helen's & Elissa's alliance is inherently less powerful than McCrae's & Amanda's. Showmance trumps friendship. Would Amanda have been as powerful without McCrae?Resigned to her fate, Helen packs.Helen has played the game enthusiastically, unapologetically, and, especially this week, constantly. She talked with everybody, trying to shape events and to prolong her time. Her strategy worked for many weeks, effectively sharing power with Amanda. You might not enjoy Helen's ceaseless talking and/or the ways she manipulated (or attempted to manipulate) people, but can't we agree that Helen is way more of a game player than many others in #BB15 are or have been?

Who makes you feel like this more often, Spencer? Amanda or Helen?Yes, I'm still new to all of this ... and, yes, she's been my favorite since I started watching. But as I've learned more about this game, my respect for Helen has grown.

I have no expectation that this will convince anybody to join me on #TeamHelen. Also, despite lots of speculation, to me it feels quite unlikely that Helen will win the jury comp to bounce right back into the house tonight.

Even so, even if you don't like her, wouldn't that be delicious to watch? After endless weeks of unanimous, predictable, boring eviction votes pre-arranged not by the HOH but by Amanda and, somewhat less directly, Helen, I would love to watch the following turn of events:

- Helen wins the jury competition and comes right back in.

- Elissa or Helen wins HOH.

- The HOH nominates, say, GinaMarie and Andy, with the intent to backdoor Amanda. Or Amanda and McCrae, for the sheer theatrics of it.

Helen dreams of a miracle. With Helen or Elissa as HOH, how hard would it be to convince Aaryn, GinaMarie, and Spencer that they'd last longer with Amanda gone -- and be happier, too?  For the second week in a row, only a three-vote majority would be needed to make it happen.

Only three votes!

On the other hand, this newbie has learned that Amanda's nastiness, while universally acknowledged by the house guests, apparently has no bearing on their strategies.

I haven't yet learned why.

"Unfortunately, this is how it ends. Unless a miracle happens," Helen said (at 6:46 PM last night, August 21, on camera 4). And she's right.

I hold one hope for #BB15 redemption: If Amanda goes the week after Helen, it'll be a whole new show.

When Helen goes, I'll be sad ... but Ash and Scott will be delighted. And for the record, I will enjoy reading their snarkiness about the entire episode in their next posts, as I have in their last ones. Don't take anything we write here too seriously, folks! We're glad you're reading, even when you might not be agreeing. What's your miracle scenario? Share it below or tweet me @uselesstraffic.

Monday
Aug052013

Tactics 101

The welcome which you, both readers and fellow BBG contributors, have provided me here at the Newbie Desk has been warm. Thank you!

In my day job (which is in the information technology field), I achieve better understanding of complex technical processes by authoring our user documentation -- making things easy to understand for staffers who don't have IT backgrounds. Big Brother viewers who have been watching since the early years may not realize how complex this process is! There are deeply nuanced strategies at play which I'm only now starting to notice.

Tactical analysis is subjective, and best left to Ash, Scott, and Mike. But if there's an objective way I can contribute to our seasoned readers and not just to other newbies, it's with the new BBG Ticker which you see near the top of the right column. If Ash's daily "Night Owl" summaries, Scott's spot-on analyses, and Indy Mike's commentary help you fill in all the gaps, I hope the Ticker provides a useful at-a-glance outline. Creating it gave me a much better understanding of house guests' roles and goals.

By the way, if BBG's writers put #BB15 into high definition, then the Big Brother Podcast makes it pop in full 3D. You listen too, right?

Shall we move on to reader comments?

leopardgrrl1 writes, "HGs ... don't seem to find much irony or humor in their watched/controlled/scripted state. Where's the snark, the sarcasm, the cleverness?"

Thou -- Andy, Helen, Clownie (Candice), and Judd -- shalt NOT talk about production. Your comment came to mind two different times while watching the feeds -- Sunday, July 28, 11:49a, camera 3, and yesterday morning (Sunday, Aug 4), 11:39a, camera 4. On July 29, When Judd, Helen, and Elissa started talking about trying out for the show, we got fish for 15 seconds. Shortly after they were back, we heard Big Brother say "You may not talk about production." About 8 minutes later, conversation again strayed back to how they got into Big Brother. We got fish for a minute and then were treated to a four-camera view of Andy and Spencer sleeping.

And yesterday morning, Andy, Candice, Helen, and Judd were sitting outside talking about things of zero consequence when Andy said, "Can we just talk real quick? Let's keep it real. They do not need an hour and a half worth of shots of us being serious. They could get that in 5 minutes, and then we could f#ckin' hang out in the back yard." Helen agrees, "I know! Why does it take so long?" Andy: "Cuz they just want us to" -- and then immediate cut to fish.

Yes, indeed, I completely agree that it would be entertaining to see the house guests talk openly about the BB experience from a "meta, beyond-the-game" point of view ... but it's very likely we'll never see it. Why don't the producers like it? Is this a newbie's lack of understanding? I understand not talking about Dairy Room conversations. But, holy good gravy, we paid for the feeds and we know they're making a TV show! If what the HGs say doesn't somehow negatively affect game play, why can't we see it, unedited?

When I whined about Aaryn winning HOH for a second time, psychodrew wrote, "One reason you see a lot of repeat winners is that there are people who throw HOH competitions because they don't want the responsibility." Teagan, Zoe, and objkshn also helped open my eyes to the nuanced strategy in this game. I see now that it's more than just winning competitions, attempting to persuade others to vote your way, and forming voting blocs (i.e. alliances). For example, some don't want the target that comes with being HOH; some choose not to evict controversial players because they hope to be paired with a "weak" HG in the finale.

Helen invited Aaryn, Elissa, and Jessie to the BBQ. Did she make the right choices?Speaking of supposedly-weak HGs, controversial remarks aside, I'm starting to think that Aaryn has got some game. If true that she was a puppet to the Powers That Be during her most recent HOH stint, Aaryn appears to have some pull over HOH GinaMarie (unless things changed last night) ... and, when selecting people to invite to the barbecue, Helen was quick to continue a "you scratch my back"-and-forth arrangement with Aaryn. Does the perception of weakness equate to stealthy strength?

Or are there subtleties at play here which are totally going over my head?

Kelli wrote, "As a well seasoned BB fan, I absolutely cannot WAIT to read your perspective!" And ErinInTx wrote, "Love the questions you asked, they are the exact same questions I hear when I first introduce someone to the madness!" Thanks to you both! It's encouraging to know that you and others appreciate hearing a newbie's perspective.

If you too are a #BB15 newbie (or at least remember what it's like), strategize with me @uselesstraffic.

Next from the Newbie Desk: Has Big Brother gone too far?

Tuesday
Jul302013

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

The only thing which I didn't want to have happen last Thursday (July 25, 2013, during #BB15 episode 13) is exactly what happened: Aaryn won Head of Household. Again.

This newbie's preference would have been for either of the following:

- For Amanda, Andy, Candice, Elissa, GinaMarie, Howard, Jessie, or Spencer to win ... so that we could see how things would go in the house from an entirely different perspective, since they have not yet served as HOH. For example, I don't think I've heard Jessie say more than about ten words in the many hours I've watched the live feeds since starting around July 17. She doesn't seem to get much air time. McCrae gets air time ... but given how often he sleeps (usually not alone), his part in this show apparently isn't a speaking role.

- For Helen to get HOH again ... because she's my favorite house guest, and I hadn't bought in to #BB15 yet when she served in that role the first time.

The cameras give the most attention to whomever the HOH is and to the noisiest, most controversial, and/or most scheming of the house guests. When they're bothering to focus on talk, that is.

The feeds seem to devote hours to Amanda and McCrae sleeping (or ... not) under the covers during the day. Why don't they let us listen into more conversations? With 12 people there, isn't there pretty much somebody talking somewhere in the house? Their conversations don't have to be about the game to be more interesting than watching people nap (or ... not).

My first exposure to Big Brother -- not just during #BB15, but ever -- was when news of Aaryn's distasteful speech spilled over into mainstream media a few weeks ago, so I didn't exactly leap for joy when she was re-crowned. (Neither did most of the other house guests, if I read them right.) Just when I was getting into the show, it felt like we'd be in only for a summer rerun.

Even a newbie wonders if the producers conspire to give people like Aaryn more air time for spurious reasons. Being attractive can't hurt ratings.

All right, all right -- maybe not Helen again, even though my enthusiasm about her remains high. Not Helen or McCrae or Judd or Aaryn.

Why don't they disqualify previous Heads of Household from HOH competitions? As a newbie, it feels like the advantages to the show of an always-different-HOH would outweigh the disadvantages. Or if they're going to leave it open to everyone, should they make it extra difficult for previous HOHs to win?

How would you change HOH eligibility? Or should they leave it as-is? Comment below or hit me @uselesstraffic.

Next from the Newbie Desk: Responses to your comments and questions.

Saturday
Jul272013

Gamer, Winner, or Both?

Here at the BBG Newbie Desk, I endeavor always to come clean about how my biases affect my views. I prefer to live and work in uncluttered environments, for example, and I am more apt to open up to somebody who demonstrates similar mannerisms. I am inspired by those who naturally prioritize the people they care about before themselves. I tend to assume, perhaps naïvely, that each person is inherently good until she or he proves otherwise.

My earliest viewing of #BB15 was during a few evenings while Judd was Head of Household (HOH). The first time that I tuned into the live feeds during a morning, "The Helen Show" was on. It was Sunday, July 21 ... and for more than three hours starting at about 6:45a, Helen had the house to herself. Nobody else was awake. Apparently during a Power of Veto (POV) competition the day before, Helen caught a random "punishment" of an 8:00p curfew. She had to sequester herself from all other house guests; bathroom breaks were permitted but she couldn't talk with anybody. So Helen was well-rested and eager to start the next day.

It was Helen's activities that Sunday morning which I found to be both astonishing and endearing. Rather than adopting an attitude of "Big Brother punished me, so I'm gonna do whatever self-indulgent thing I want to right now, and I don't give a hoot about anybody else" -- and, be honest, who among us wouldn't consider doing exactly that -- Helen started cleaning up the messes everybody left around the place!

Exhibit one was the bathroom. Here's what Helen found (top photo) and then how she organized things (bottom):

The kitchen was exhibit two. Dirty dishes everywhere (top photo) and then dirty nothing anywhere (bottom):

Helen even bagged up the bathroom trash and windexed the kitchen mirrors:

Only after Helen had devoted two hours to cleaning did she take time for herself to make breakfast and go jogging:

I've also seen Helen cooking huge meals (spaghetti, something called "slop balls", etc.) for the entire house several times ... and only once did I see another house guest (Andy) actually thank her for it.

Even so, while catching up with some of what I missed during the first month of #BB15, I keep reading how people say Helen is too bossy and/or too much into delivering lectures even after her week as HOH was up.

But doesn't Helen's repeated selflessness earn the right to be fully engaged in conversations with other house guests, pushing whatever strategic agenda (whether of her design or someone else's) she wants? She takes care of her fellow house guests in ways they neither realize nor thank her for, so I don't see how her frequent cooking and cleaning could be interpreted as manipulative. We don't call Judd or Spencer or even Amanda "bossy" when they push their agendas.

Not, of course, that Helen has to "earn the right." It's a game, and she's playing it -- quite expertly, from my albeit not-yet-very-educated perspective. It's true that I might be biased for having not tuned into #BB15 until after Helen's HOH week. Perhaps you have more reasons to dislike her than to root for her. I can respect that, but I'm in a different place.

The true measure of a person is found in what she or he does when nobody is watching. (In this equation, Internet viewers don't count.) Whether Helen is enough of a gamer to last longer than everybody else in the #BB15 house remains to be seen. But in my book, Helen is already a winner.

Are you already on Team Helen? Or if not, why not? Comments welcome below or find me @uselesstraffic.

Next from the Newbie Desk: What do you do when the only thing you don't want to have happen happens?